Travel News of the Week

Updated: Sep 6

Theme Park News


Walt Disney World


“Disney Enchantment,” an all-new nighttime spectacular, will debut in Magic Kingdom Park on October 1, coinciding with the launch of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”


This all-new spectacular inspires everyone to believe in magic, with captivating Disney music, enhanced lighting, immersive projection effects that extend for the first time down Main Street, U.S.A., and an emotional original song, entitled “You Are the Magic,” by seven-time GRAMMY-winner Philip Lawrence. And throughout the show, stunning fireworks fill the sky, providing a great experience for guests throughout the park and neighboring resort hotels.


In “Disney Enchantment,” we join dreamers like Tiana, Miguel, Rapunzel, and brothers Ian & Barley from “Onward,” and we set out on an incredible journey with adventurers such as Moana, Raya, and Judy Hopps. Joe Gardner from Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” takes us into “the zone,” where we discover a whimsical world inspired by the style of legendary Disney artist Mary Blair and filled with beloved characters from classic stories like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Alice in Wonderland” to contemporary tales including “Luca” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” Everything builds to a climactic moment, as Tinker Bell takes flight, spreading shimmering gold pixie dust and empowering us all to believe in ourselves and the magic all around us.


“Disney Enchantment” features characters, moments, and music from dozens of Disney and Pixar animated films. The show takes us beyond the ordinary to a land of magic, where we’re swept up in a world of wonder filled with friendship, love and fun. Through it all, we’ll discover we only have to look within to find the power to believe and make dreams come true, because the magic was inside us all along!


photo credit: Disney Destinations


There are new experiences coming to Disney’s Contemporary Resort for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration!”

Located just off the lobby, Steakhouse 71 will be a new casual themed dining concept that gets its name from the resort’s opening year and will be open in time for the celebration.

Upstairs at California Grill, a new dining experience will also be available later this year, featuring a limited-time menu with items inspired by the restaurant’s history.

While these experiences are not yet available for reservations, more information will be coming soon.


photo credit: Disney Destinations


The short-lived NBA Experience at Disney Springs is not expected to reopen since its closing due to Covid in March 2020. There is no report as to what may replace it on the West Side.


The Contemporary Feature Pool at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will be unavailable in winter 2023 while it undergoes maintenance work. As an alternative, Guests staying at this Disney Resort hotel may enjoy the Bay Pool, leisure pool at the Contemporary Resort.


Additionally, the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will be unavailable beginning January through April 2023 while it undergoes maintenance work. As an alternative, Guests staying at this Disney Resort hotel may enjoy the Wilderness Swimmin’ pool.


During this time, it is possible that Guests may see or hear construction, but noise should not be heard from Guest rooms, Guest cabins and campsites between dusk and 9 a.m.


Disneyland Resort


The New Tenaya Stone Spa is opening September 16, 2021, at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort. This upscale spa is nestled in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Guests can begin planning their spa day now by making advance reservations. Tenaya Stone Spa initially will be available for Guests of the three Hotels of the Disneyland Resort, and will be open to non-hotel Guests at a later date.


Inspired by the spirit of nature and California heritage, this full-service spa is a rejuvenating haven. Guests can enjoy a spa day their way by choosing from an array of luxuriating body treatments, massage and salon services, all performed in this serene setting.


Tenaya Stone Spa is another wonderful addition to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, where Guests can take time to relax, recharge and reinvigorate their senses to help them feel their very best. The spa is tucked away near GCH Craftsman Bar where spa Guests may enjoy a bite to eat before or after their spa treatment, just steps from the hotel’s entrance to Disney California Adventure Park.


Salon treatments are for ages 18 and older; children (ages 14-17) receiving salon services must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. At this time, all spa Guests are required to wear an approved face covering during their entire visit.


photo credit: Disney Destinations


SeaWorld Orlando


SeaWorld has announced the opening for their first launch coaster, Ice Breaker. Named after the icy Arctic summits, Ice Breaker will feature four airtime filled launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida - a 93 feet tall spike with 100 degree angle. The thrills continue as riders fly over a near vertical tophat maneuver into a series of exciting twists, turns, and airtime hills. The brand-new coaster will be located across from Wild Arctic and opens February 2022.


photo credit: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment


Busch Gardens Tampa Bay


Just in time for spring break, Iron Gwazi, North America’s tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world, will open in March 2022. Iron Gwazi takes thrills to new heights, plunging riders from a 206 foot-tall peak into a 91-degree drop and reaching top speeds of 76 miles per hour. Riders on Iron Gwazi will experience a dozen airtime moments, including three inversions, as they sink their teeth into crocodile-inspired thrills

Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, the newest addition at Busch Gardens will be a wood and steel hybrid coaster design, featuring a maximum height of more than 200 feet tall. The ride will feature all-new thrill elements, as well as restored elements of Gwazi.



In the World News


The US government announced it extended the ban on nonessential travel along the borders with Canada and Mexico once again. The borders will remain closed to land crossings through September 21, 2021 at least.


Hyatt Hotels Corporation® will be acquiring Apple Leisure Group®, including ALG Vacations®. Hyatt’s deep expertise and global brand footprint along with ALG’s strong leisure-focused brands, operating capabilities, robust development plans and a differentiated position in the leisure travel market will create a leader in luxury leisure travel, strengthened to deliver life-long memories to guests. Included in the acquisition is AMResorts with 102 properties across 10 countries. The AMResorts brand includes Secrets, Dreams, Breathless, Zoetry, Alua, and Sunscape brand.


Apple Vacation brands include Funjet Vacations, Blue Sky Tours Hawaii, Travel Impressions, CheapCaribbean, and BeachBound.


The acquisition will increase Hyatt's Europe presence by 60%, giving Hyatt a foothold in popular resort destinations in the Greek islands, coastal Spain and the Balearic and Canary islands.


Following the expected close of the acquisition, which could take approximately three months, ALG is expected to become a distinct operating unit of Hyatt.


St. Martin


All visitors must complete the health pre-authorization application through the Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS), submit proof of a negative Covid test 72 hours before arrival or antigen test done 48 hours before arrival. Once authorization is approved, travelers receive a pre-authorization e-mail which contains a QR code showing vaccination status and Covid test result.


The St. Maarten SXM Protection Plan is mandatory health coverage for all visitors. The plan covers hospital costs, ICU costs, doctor consultations, Covid-19 tests and, if necessary, medical evacuation. For those 15 and up, the cost is $30 for visits up to 180 days; it is $10 for those under 15 years of age. Travelers from a high-risk country (the U.S. is considered high risk), will receive an automated daily email alert with a link to submit body temperature and any symptoms during first five days of their stay.


U.S. Virgin Islands


Every U.S. traveler 5 years and older must apply through the USVI travel portal and submit a negative Covid-19 test result taken within five days of travel. This applies to vaccinated as well as unvaccinated travelers. Upon arrival, travelers must submit the test result and travel authorization received from the portal. Travelers unable to produce the required test result are subject to a 10-day quarantine with testing until a negative result is achieved.


Germany


Germany considers the US to be high risk therefore all American visitors must be fully vaccinated to travel there. They may also show proof of recovery from Covid-19 to enter.


Unvaccinated travelers will need to "demonstrate an important reason for entering Germany" or isolate for 10 days. Children under 12 must quarantine for five days, but do not have to get tested at the end of the quarantine period.


All travelers must fill out a digital registration form as well.


Cruise News


Holland America Cruise Line


Travelers looking to get back to sea on their favorite Holland America Line ship can anticipate a restart date of May 2022 for Volendam and Zaandam. The ships will join Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Rotterdam and Zuiderdam, which have returned to service or are slated to restart cruising by November 2021.


When Volendam returns on May 1, the ship will offer longer explorations ranging from 14 to 35 days through exciting Baltic and Northern Europe destinations. The ship also sails along the Iberian Peninsula to the Mediterranean and down to Egypt and Israel.


Zaandam restarts on May 12 in the Canada/New England region, with a cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Boston followed by itineraries between Boston and Montreal. In July, the ship will offer the popular 35-day Voyage of the Vikings itinerary roundtrip from Boston to Canada, Greenland, Iceland and other destinations.


With these new start dates, the Grand World Voyage and Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage will not operate in 2022 and will resume in 2023.

  • When the Grand World Voyage departs Jan. 3, 2023, Zuiderdam will debut on the 128-day around-the-world sojourn.

  • Volendam will return for the 74-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage in 2023 that departs Jan. 3, 2023.

  • Guests who were booked on the 2022 Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage will be automatically moved to the 2023 departure aboard Volendam.

  • Guests who were booked on the 2022 Grand World Voyage aboard Zaandam will be automatically moved to the 2023 Grand World Voyage aboard Zuiderdam.


Neptune Lounge, Zuiderdam

Princess Cruises


Princess Cruises, the world’s leading international premium cruise line is announcing updated restart timing for Island Princess and Diamond Princess. Island Princess will now return to service with a series of cruises to the Caribbean in Spring 2022, prior to its 14-day Panama Canal Ocean to Ocean voyage on April 27, 2022. Diamond Princess will also return to service in Spring 2022 with a season of Japan sailings. Details of both new programs will be announced shortly.


Island Princess and Diamond Princess join eight MedallionClass™ ships - Majestic Princess, Grand Princess, Ruby Princess, Enchanted Princess, Sky Princess, Regal Princess, Caribbean Princess and Emerald Princess—which have returned to service or are scheduled to restart by November 28, 2021, taking guests to Alaska, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, and the California Coast.


As a result of these changes, Princess Cruises is cancelling its 2021-2022 South America & Antarctica Program on Diamond Princess, and its 2022 World Cruise along with two December 2021 Island Princess cruises.


For guests booked on a cancelled cruise, Princess will offer to move them to an equivalent future cruise with the added benefit of protecting their 2021/2022 fare on their future cruise. Alternatively, guests can choose a future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid or a full refund to the original form of payment.


Requests must be received through the online form by September 30, 2021, or guests will automatically be moved to the default alternate. FCCs can be used on any cruises booked by and sailing by December 31, 2022. 


Seabourn


Seabourn, the ultra-luxury ocean and expedition travel company, continues to work with various global government and port officials to develop plans for a full return to cruising. The line is currently operating two of the five ships in its fleet. As a result of the current environment and forecast for destinations to reopen, Seabourn has updated the restart of one of its remaining ships, Seabourn Sojourn, to open in time for the summer season in the Mediterranean on June 6, 2022.


The ship will resume service in Europe, where it will spend its summer 2022 season sailing the Western Mediterranean and exploring the French and Italian Rivieras, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Malta and the Canary Islands.


The revised restart date means the brand is cancelling the 2022 145-day World Cruise on Seabourn Sojourn, which was originally scheduled to depart on January 11, 2022 from Los Angeles. The 2024 World Cruise itinerary will replicate the highly anticipated 2022 World Cruise. The 2024 World Cruise will be available for booking in October 2021.


Carnival Cruise Line


Carnival Cruise Line has informed its guests of changes to its protocols to adapt to evolving requirements of some of its destinations, including The Bahamas, which require that all guests on cruise lines calling on Bahamian ports be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, effective September 3, 2021.


Carnival is already sailing all its voyages to meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) definition of a vaccinated cruise, by which at least 95 percent of all guests and crew are fully vaccinated. All Carnival crew members are vaccinated, and more than 95 percent of guests, with the exception being a small number of capacity-controlled exemptions that are approved for children under 12 and certain adults who are unable to be vaccinated.


Effective August 28 through October, for departures from all Atlantic and Gulf homeports, only children under 12 and adults with a medical condition that prohibits their vaccination are exempt from vaccination requirements to sail. Carnival is advising guests of this update, and any guests that have received an exemption applicable through October have been informed of this change and that exemptions beyond these two categories are rescinded.


Per the protocols already in place, all Carnival guests are required to confirm their vaccination status and show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test. More information on mask policies and other guest protocols are available at the Have Fun. Be Safe. page on Carnival.com.


Carnival Vista, photo credit: Carnival Cruise Line


Disney Cruise Line


Beginning September 3 until November 1, 2021, The Bahamas will require that all cruise ship passengers ages 12 and older be fully vaccinated in order for a ship to be allowed entry into any of its cruise ports, including private islands like Disney Castaway Cay.


To comply with this new requirement, all Guests ages 12 and older on upcoming sailings must be fully vaccinated to board the ship. Approved vaccines include those produced by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Please note, in accordance with CDC guidelines:

  • Guests who have received both doses of Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose has been administered.

  • Guests who have received Johnson & Johnson are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving one dose.

  • Guests with both one dose of Moderna and one dose of Pfizer are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose.

  • Guests who have received one single dose of a vector vaccine (e.g. AstraZeneca) and one single dose of a mRNA vaccine (e.g. Pfizer, Moderna) are not considered fully vaccinated.

Guests who choose not to provide proof of vaccination to meet the requirements of The Bahamas will not be permitted to board the ship.


Guests on a sailing to The Bahamas (including Disney Castaway Cay) departing from September 3, 2021, to prior to November 1, 2021, may modify their sail date or cancel their sailing without any Disney-imposed cancellation fees by contacting your travel agent by September 3, 2021.


Disney Cruise Line is temporarily modifying the itineraries of select 4-night Disney Dream sailings to include an additional day at their private island, Castaway Cay, instead of visiting Nassau, The Bahamas. This impacts sailings on September 13, 20 and 27, as well as on October 4, 2021.


The itinerary will now include:

Monday – Port Canaveral, Florida Tuesday – Day at Sea Wednesday – Disney Castaway Cay Thursday – Disney Castaway Cay Friday – Port Canaveral, Florida


Additionally, on 3-night itineraries, they are temporarily modifying the itineraries of select Disney Dream sailings to include a day at sea instead of visiting Nassau, The Bahamas. This impacts sailings on September 10, 17 and 24, as well as on October 1 and 8, 2021.


The itinerary will now include:

Friday – Port Canaveral, Florida Saturday – Day at Sea Sunday – Disney Castaway Cay Monday – Port Canaveral, Florida


Disney Dream











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