Travel News of the Week

Updated: Sep 21

Cruise News


Disney Cruise Line


The Disney Magic will resume sailing in the United States with mostly 4- and 5-night itineraries out of Miami, FL beginning Oct. 28, 2021. Additionally, the Disney Fantasy will begin 7-night and longer voyages out of Port Canaveral beginning Oct. 9, 2021 and three Disney Fantasy itineraries have been modified.


SeaMails will be sent to Guests for all cancellations, itinerary modifications, etc.

Also, please note that beginning Sept. 3, 2021, Guests are no longer required to purchase the Vacation Protection Plan (VPP) or provide proof of a valid travel insurance policy in order to sail with Disney Cruise Line.


Disney Cruise Line is cancelling two sailings on the Disney Magic:

  • 3-night sailing on Oct. 21

  • 4-night sailing on Oct. 24

For both sailings:

If paid in full, Guests will receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit

If not paid in full, Guests will receive a full voyage refund

Disney Magic itineraries with Key West, FL as a port of call through May 2022 have been modified to remove Key West from the itinerary. Nassau or Castaway Cay will replace Key West on those sailings.


Additionally, itineraries for the Oct. 9 and Oct. 30 Disney Fantasy 7-night sailings have been modified.


Castaway Cay, photo credit: Disney Destinations


Due to recently updated technical guidance from the CDC, Guests 11 years of age and younger are not required to be vaccinated but must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (paid for by the Guest) taken between 3 days and 24 hours before their sail date. The test should be a rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test. Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted.


For Guests who express concerns on the timing of the test or have questions about any alternative options, the following three (3) options for pre-cruise PCR COVID-19 testing can be provided:


Option 1 (NEW!): Beginning Sept. 13, 2021, Guests may use the Safe Passage website to purchase and schedule a pre-trip test to be performed at a testing site in Central Florida, performed 1-3 days before their sail date. The cost is US $98.33 per test (which includes a 3.5% processing fee).


Testing locations will be set up at the Orlando International Airport and at the Radisson Resort in Cape Canaveral, Florida.


The Orlando International Airport Testing Location will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.


The Cape Canaveral Radisson Resort, near Port Canaveral, will be open 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week.


Results take 24-48 hours to process and will be sent to the email address provided during the registration on the Safe Passage website.


Guests who completed an at-home test kit, but did not mail it to Inspire via UPS, can drop off their completed test sample at one of the onsite testing locations in Central Florida.


Option 2: Guests residing in the United States may purchase an at-home PCR testing kit directly from the Safe Passage website by Inspire Diagnostics at a cost of US $98.33 per test (which includes a 3.5% processing fee).


Test kits must be administered and mailed back to Inspire Diagnostics exactly 3 days before the sail date and mailed using the pre-paid UPS envelope included with the kit.

Guests must drop the envelope at an official UPS drop box or at a UPS store location. Guests must not use a “UPS Access Point” for shipment, which are drop boxes located at a retail outlet such as pharmacy, grocery store or gas station.


Results will be available 24 to 48 hours from the time the sample is received by Inspire Diagnostics and will be sent to the email address provided during registration on the Safe Passage website.


Guests who completed an at-home test kit, but did not mail it to Inspire via UPS, can drop off their completed test sample at one of theonsite testing locations in Central Florida located at the Orlando International Airport and at the Radisson Resort in Cape Canaveral.


Option 3: Guests may obtain their PCR test from any independent testing provider. When selecting an independent testing provider, Guests should choose a provider with the fastest processing time, as the window for testing and submitting test results is between 3 days and 24 hours prior to their sailing. If the Guests is submitting their test sample to an independent provider by mail, overnight mail is recommended.


Additionally, the following is an update on how old a child must be in order to sail with a negative COVID-19 PCR test:


Guests who turn 12 within 5 weeks of embarkation are permitted to sail but will be required to follow testing protocols, which include providing proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (paid for by the Guest) taken between 3 days and 24 hours before their sail date. This test should be a rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test. Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted. Additionally, they will also be required to take a COVID 19 test administered by Inspire Diagnostics at the terminal before boarding, per recently updated CDC guidance.

Princess Cruise


Pre-cruise testing & mask requirements extended: In addition to the previous announcement that pre-cruise testing will be required 2-days before sailing, effective September 19, they have now, based on CDC guidance, extended their pre-cruise testing and onboard mask requirements through the end of 2021. As a reminder, cruise guests must also have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Currently, children under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive a vaccination for COVID-19 and will not be able to sail. Once on board, guests age 12 and older will be required to wear face masks in elevators and in designated indoor entertainment areas, all retail shops, and in the casino and dining rooms, except when eating or drinking, as well as in other designated areas where larger number of guests may congregate.


Princess has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to provide over 1,500 locations in the United States to schedule a no-cost COVID-19 test appointment, with results delivered within 48 hours. This COVID-19 no-cost-to-you program is available to eligible individuals when billed to a health plan or the government. This program will help streamline pre-cruise preparation for you and make testing more convenient and accessible.


MSC Cruises


MSC Cruises has received a Conditional Sailing Certificate from the CDC for the MSC Divina to begin sailing again. Beginning on September 16, 2021, MSC Divina will be the first MSC ship to depart from Port Canaveral, its new homeport.


Guests may enjoy 3, 4, and 7 night sailings to the Bahamas and the Caribbean with a stop at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises' private island in the Bahamas. The sailings will depart from Port Canaveral and Miami. Guests may spend a full day enjoying the island participating in activities such as kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, or just relax on the white sand beaches.


MSC Meraviglia will also be adding 7-night cruises in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.


The Bahamas now requires all cruise guests (12 years and older) to be fully vaccinated beginning September 3, 2021, and such requirement is currently planned to remain in effect until November 1, 2021, at which point the policy may be updated. Accordingly, MSC Cruises requires guests ages 12 and older to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing. They will continually evaluate these requirements and make updates as local public health standards evolve. Please read the requirements based on your departure date for exact information and to ensure you are not denied boarding. MSC Cruises highly recommends guests are fully vaccinated in order to enjoy a superior experience while sailing with us. Guests who are not fully vaccinated will be required to purchase a Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19, MSC Cruises COVID-19 Testing & Related Services and will be subject to more stringent protocols which will be in place by the time you cruise. At the moment, these include but are not limited to the required purchase of MSC sponsored shore excursions in order to go ashore, required testing upon embarkation, while on board and disembarkation for cruises 5-nights & longer. On board their ships sailing in the Caribbean, all guests will be able to enjoy a variety of entertainment, activities, venues, and dining options. At specific times, events, activities, venues and dining, will be designated for vaccinated guests only. If you are traveling together with non-vaccinated guests they will not be allowed to enter the vaccinated only areas, however they will have plenty of options for events open to all.



Royal Caribbean Cruise Line


The U.S. CDC revised pre-cruise COVID-19 testing requirement for unvaccinated kids, making it easier. Previously, only PCR tests were accepted. Now, unvaccinated kids ages 2 to 11 may present either a negative PCR or antigen test result. The test must be taken no more than 3 days prior to sailing, but not on boarding day.


Then on embarkation day, unvaccinated kids ages 2 to 11 will undergo a complimentary PCR test for COVID-19 at the terminal. Pre-cruise test cost continues to be the guest's responsibility and telehealth home tests are still not accepted for unvaccinated guests.

Theme Park News


Walt Disney World


Beloved ‘Candlelight Processional’ will be returning on November 26 through December 30 for the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth.


“Candlelight Processional” is a long-standing Disney Parks tradition, dating back to 1958 at Disneyland park. Walt Disney World guests have enjoyed the annual “Candlelight Processional” since 1971, initially at Magic Kingdom Park and since 1994 at EPCOT. After being greatly missed during last year’s holiday season, this magnificent production will once again grace the America Gardens Theatre with a live orchestra, cast choir, and celebrity narrator retelling the traditional Christmas story in spectacular and heartwarming fashion.


Since all these performers – including cast members, musicians, singers, and narrators – will be required to be fully vaccinated, this year they are not planning to host choirs from different community groups and schools. Instead, to maintain the grandeur of the performance, they are expanding the cast member choir to fill the stage with voices. They’re optimistic that the guest choirs will be able to rejoin next year for this special holiday opportunity.


Starting September 23, the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be paused, and Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios may experience this incredible attraction using a traditional standby queue for the first time since it opened in 2019.


The Resistance needs your help! Hidden in the forest outside Black Spire Outpost, the Resistance is gathering recruits for a secret mission.

With the First Order desperate to extinguish the spark of the Resistance, the mission is bound to have unexpected twists and turns. When your transport is captured by an imposing First Order Star Destroyer filled with legions of stormtroopers—and even Kylo Ren!—you’re going to need all the help you can get. Fortunately, a covert team of Resistance fighters—including Rey and BB-8—is at the ready to give you a fighting chance to escape… and a chance for the Resistance to rise.


Guests can get ready to let their taste buds take (a simulated!) flight 220 miles above Earth’s surface as Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT officially begins virtual departures on Sept. 20 for walk-up diners. Reservations will be available to book on Sept. 20, with the first reservation date available on Sept. 27.


The out-of-this-world dining experience will take diners on a journey from Earth to the stars, a simulated 220 miles above Earth’s surface, for an immersive experience that will delight all the senses. This experience is unique to EPCOT, where the magic of human imagination and possibility come to life.


Serving upscale, contemporary fare, Space 220 Restaurant offers a two-course prix fixe menu for lunch and a three-course prix fixe menu for dinner. Guests will enjoy a selection of “lift-off” appetizers, “star course” main entrées, and a choice of “supernova sweets” for dessert. “Satellite sides” will also be available à la carte.


Diners can expect unique beverages with a colorful lineup of atmospheric spirits, zero-proof (non-alcoholic) cocktails, big dipper brews, and worldly wines.


photo credit: Disney Destinations


New updated “Finding Nemo — The Musical” is coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in 2022. Although the Disney Live Entertainment team is still in the early stages of development for the show, the musical retelling of this underwater tale of family, friendship and kindness will feature new story material, as well as fan favorite songs such as “In the Big Blue World” and “Go with the Flow.”


photo credit: Disney Destinations


The Creations Shop, the new flagship store replacing MouseGear in Epcot, opened on September 15th. Creations Shop celebrates Disney’s legacy of creativity by honoring the nostalgia of EPCOT’s past and the exciting promises of EPCOT’s future. Disney Imagineers used one-of-a-kind art installations, meaningful souvenirs and a contemporary architectural design to bring the story of EPCOT and Disney creativity to life. Each thoughtful detail within Creations Shop was purposefully chosen to represent story elements and foster a memorable shopping experience for Guests.


Creations Shop will feature unique merchandise dedicated to EPCOT. Exclusive to Creations Shop is the EPCOT Light & Color Collection, an assortment of futuristic gear inspired by EPCOT’s historic transformation. In the same way that Disney Imagineers implemented color, materials and light throughout the design of Creation Shop, the EPCOT Light & Color Collection explores the story of EPCOT through the whimsical application of light, the playful use of bold color and iconic EPCOT landmarks and characters.


Also reopened on September 15th is the new version of Club Cool in Epcot. Club Cool features popular Coca-Cola flavors from around the world, and the samplings of soda are free for guests to try.


Dessert parties will be returning to Walt Disney World. Guests can join in the parties as of October 3rd, and reservations are now open.


Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors and Fireworks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort


A sophisticated evening awaits at this event, where Guests are welcomed to the private Sonoma and Napa Rooms at California Grill to sample a selection of specialty drinks, canapes, sushi and small plates. Several items pay homage to the original menu from the resort’s opening in 1971, including a Florida Lobster Bisque. After an elevated cocktail hour, Guests can step outside to the observation deck on the 15th floor for a unique viewpoint of Disney Enchantment, complete with the synchronized music. The event continues back inside after the show with petit-fours, cordials and coffee.


At Magic Kingdom Park, three dessert party options put Guests right in the middle of the magic to view Disney Enchantment. Each event includes 50th anniversary-themed delights at different times throughout the evening at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. No matter which party Guests choose, they’ll discover a host of 50th anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, including chocolate-dipped strawberries and butterscotch pudding, plus a variety of cheeses. Drink selections will also be available, including an assortment of beer and wine for Guests ages 21 and over.


Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Pre-Party


Guests can sweeten the evening at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant at Magic Kingdom Park with 50th anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, a variety of cheeses and beverages, with selections of beer and wine included. Then, before the show begins, Cast Members will escort Guests to a reserved standing viewing location in one of the plaza gardens with prime viewing of Disney Enchantment.


Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats


After a day of Magic Kingdom Park fun, Guests can enjoy 50th anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, a variety of cheeses and beverages, with selections of beer and wine included. Guests can experience the fireworks views from the comfort of dedicated reserved seating at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant.


Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment After-Party


Like the Disney Enchantment Pre-Party, this experience includes reserved standing viewing of Disney Enchantment in one of the plaza gardens. After taking in the sights and sounds of the spectacular, Guests can visit Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant for a spread of 50th anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, a variety of cheeses and beverages, with selections of beer and wine included.

Now available at Disneyland Resort and coming soon to Walt Disney World Resort, Guests can also use mobile order service to order their favorite confections from select merchandise locations with candy kitchens.


Guests can satisfy their sweet tooth and save time in line when they use mobile order service at the following locations, and pick up treats from cupcakes and cookies to chocolate-covered marshmallows and elaborately-decorated candy apples. Walt Disney World Resort

  • Candy Cauldron, located at Disney Springs – available Sept. 14

  • Karamell-Küche featuring Werther’s Original Caramel, located at EPCOT – available Sept. 16

  • Zuri’s Sweets Shop, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park – available Sept. 21

  • Goofy’s Candy Company, located at Disney Springs – available Sept. 23

Main Street Confectionery at Magic Kingdom Park also plans to offer mobile order service after it reopens from its current refurbishment.


Disneyland Resort – Now available!

  • Marceline’s Confectionery, located at Downtown Disney District

  • Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen, located at Disneyland park

  • Pooh Corner, located at Disneyland park

  • Trolley Treats, located at Disney California Adventure park

Disneyland Resort


It’s Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, and the Downtown Disney District is a bubbling cauldron of exciting seasonal things to do, sights to see, shopping to explore and treats to discover!


The new Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit is the new pumpkin hunt in the Downtown Disney District. First, purchase a game board and stickers at select Disney merchandise locations, including World of Disney, and search for 13 different hidden pumpkins throughout the district, each inspired by a different Disney character. Then, place the corresponding stickers on the game board! Whether players choose to hunt for pumpkins or not, they can return their game board to a redemption location at World of Disney or Disney’s Pin Trader for a chilling surprise.


Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit is subject to cancellation or change without notice including—without limitation—dates, surprises and prices. Game boards available while supplies last. Limit 5 game board purchases per Guest. One surprise per game board. Game board valid for redemption through November 7, 2021 or while surprise supplies last.


Along with Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit, their Horticulture and Resort Enhancement teams have been filling the planters with more than 1,100 whimsically painted pumpkins, 2,000 real pumpkins and 300 gourds!


Celebrate favorite fall flavors and enjoy tasty pumpkin-spiced sweets, savory dishes and spooky cocktails throughout Downtown Disney District. Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes, Ballast Point Brewing Co., Uva Bar & Café, Marceline’s Confectionery, Kayla’s Cake, Sprinkles, Jamba and Salt & Straw are just a few of the many restaurants and snack stops to order seasonal menu items.


photo credit: Disney Destinations


The Disneyland Resort just added a new separate ticket, limited-capacity offering, Disney Merriest Nites. Since Mickey Mouse adores the holidays and celebrating with friends, he’s invited some of them to help host six themed parties in one throughout Disneyland park. Join Mickey Mouse and his friends on one of five select nights during November and December with the purchase of a ticket!


As the host of the party, Mickey Mouse will welcome Guests to Disney Merriest Nites with Victorian flair on Main Street, U.S.A. Over in New Orleans Square, Princess Tiana plans to ring in Noel with Guests at her bayou-inspired celebration. In Frontierland, Miguel from the Disney•Pixar film “Coco” will be wishing everyone Feliz Navidad while Guests kick up their heels during a jolly dance-filled fiesta. Three more character-hosted holiday parties await with a tropical party hosted by Lilo & Stitch in Adventureland, a wintertime celebration with Elsa in Fantasyland, and Buzz Lightyear taking the holidays to new heights over in Tomorrowland. Guests will enjoy enhanced entertainment such as themed photo backdrops and character sightings, and themed specialty food and beverage offerings within the event.


Attendance at this separately ticketed holiday event offers Guests limited-capacity, after-hours access to Disneyland park attractions and entertainment. Select attractions will be available, including the seasonal transformations “it’s a small world” Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday, along with a special viewing of “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade.


With unlimited Disney Photopass digital downloads from the night, Guests may want to wear their favorite holiday attire!


Disney Merriest Nites tickets will be sold for events on Nov. 11, Nov. 16, Nov. 30, Dec. 7, and Dec. 9. For event highlights and additional details, please visit disneyland.com/merriestnites. Tickets will be available for purchase on September 14, no earlier than 9 am PT, on Disneyland.com and the Disneyland app.


Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Mickey’s Toontown and Critter Country will not be accessible during the party.


Entertainment, experiences, attractions, and offerings may be modified, limited in availability, or unavailable, and are subject to restrictions, and change or cancellation without notice.


Disney PhotoPass is subject to the Disney PhotoPass terms and expiration policy found at Disneyland.com/photopass-terms-conditions/. Online registration required.


photo credit: Disney Destinations


SeaWorld Orlando


SeaWorld's Craft Beer Festival has been extended through October 31st. The Festival features more than 100 crafts brews, wines, seltzers, and cocktails. Sample an unbeatable mix of domestic and local Florida favorites. Plus savor more than 20 food items expertly paired to match your preferred brew. And to top it all off, festive entertainment will keep the party going all day long. This is the one craft beer celebration you won’t want to miss.


If you purchased a Craft Beer Festival lanyard and still have samples left on it, you can continue to redeem them now through Oct. 31.


photo credit: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment


Universal Orlando Resort


Rock the Universe: Florida's Biggest Christian Music Festival will be returning to Universal Orlando Resort on January 28-29, 2022. Join an unforgettable weekend of faith and fun. Experience two nights of powerful tunes from Christian Music’s brightest stars and mind-blowing rides at Universal Studios Florida.


Lift your hands and let your heart soar with amazing artists including Casting Crowns, for KING & COUNTRY, Matthew West, Big Daddy Weave, Zach Williams, and more!


In the World News


Denmark


Denmark is not allowing unvaccinated, US travelers to enter the county, however if there is a worthy purpose for the unvaccinated traveler to visit, they may be able to do so with a negative Covid-19 test. Fully vaccinated US travelers may visit and do not need to test or quarantine.



Switzerland


There are updated requirements to travel to Switzerland:

  • As of Monday September 13th, only fully vaccinated Americans and Canadians will be allowed to travel to Switzerland.

  • Recovered and tested Americans will no longer be able to travel. This is due to the fact that the EU has removed the United States from its safe travel list.

In addition, as per decision of the Federal Council, the extended COVID certificate duty comes into effect as of Monday, Sep 13, 2021:

  • For any “public indoor activity” (except visiting shops and commuting by public transportation), access will be granted upon a valid COVID certificate (vaccinated, recovered or tested) only.

  • As only Swiss as well as any other EU/EFTA/Schengen COVID certificates are acknowledged, all our guests from all non-European countries incl. USA and Canada will become subject to repeated testing during their stay in Switzerland.

  • The Federal Council is aware of this issue and has launched a consultation with cantons and social partners as well as industry associations (incl. Switzerland Tourism) for a specific solution for international guests. The consultation ends by Sep 14, a decision by the Federal Council can be expected by Friday Sep 17, and any solution will merely be implemented earlier than Sep 20.

Switzerland Tourism is lobbying strongly for a pragmatic and easy solution, so that oversees guests vaccinated with a vaccine listed in the WHO emergency listing can continue traveling in Switzerland with as little interference as possible.



Curaçao


AMR™ Collection announced a new resort brand management deal, Zoëtry® Curaçao Resort & Spa, bringing the Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts brand to the island of Curaçao. This property will be located at the former Floris Suite Hotel and is planned to open in November 2021.


Located on Piscadera Bay in Willemstad, Zoëtry Curaçao Resort & Spa will feature the following amenities:

  • 72 renovated rooms

  • Three restaurants and a café

  • Three bars including a pool bar

  • Two pools

  • A fitness center, tennis court and a luxury spa

  • Access to a private white sand beach

Zoëtry Curaçao Resort & Spa will offer guests all the benefits of Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts’ Endless Privileges®, which offers exceptional amenities including finely appointed accommodations, no check-in or check-out times, gourmet cuisine, unlimited top-shelf spirits, 24-hour concierge, cultural enrichment activities, and more. The brand also offers AMR™ Collection’s CleanComplete Verification™, 360-degree safety and hygiene protocols centered on guest safety and peace of mind during vacation.


Hawaii


Effective Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, all Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa food and beverage locations, including quick service and takeaway, will be restricted to Aulani resort Guests only. Per City & County of Honolulu guidelines, they will require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours for all Guests ages 12 and older dining on property.



Olelo Room Bar & Lounge, photo credit: Disney Destinations


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