(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI (April 22, 2021) – The Caribbean COVID-19 Tourism Task Force is calling for continued diligence and adherence to public health safety protocols and encourages all tourism-related stakeholders who are able to do so to be vaccinated as vaccines become available.
The Caribbean has generally been successful in containing the virus over the past year to levels below that which is being experienced in many parts of the world. COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death rates are among the lowest in the world. This has been attributed to the early and ongoing response by many Caribbean governments, health care and tourism industry leaders, and the large number of Caribbean residents who have adhered to health safety protocols.
The task force cautions that now is not the time to “let down our guard”, as the next several months will determine how quickly the tourism-dependent region will be able to rebound. Tourism is viewed by many as the catalyst for getting people back to work and restoring much needed revenue that governments have lost due to the pandemic.
“We are now in a race against time,” cautioned Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director for the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). “Particularly given the presence of variants which spread more rapidly, we must adhere to health safety protocols lest we find ourselves moving backwards, rather than forwards. We must remain diligent while we continue to accelerate vaccinations of our populations, now that approved vaccines are becoming more available,” she stated.
“We urge countries to continue to intensify their surveillance activities to rapidly screen, identify, test, quarantine, isolate and trace contacts of new cases; and for every resident and visitor to the Caribbean to do their part through physical/social distancing, wearing of masks, and practicing proper hand hygiene,” she advised, speaking on behalf of the Task Force.
The Task Force also urged all members of the public who are able to do so to become vaccinated once they become available and they are eligible. Data overwhelmingly supports the safety of World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccines.
The Task Force was established over a year ago to develop and collaborate on strategies and programs aimed at helping to share information; develop health safety protocols and guidelines for the tourism industry to protect employees and travelers; conduct health safety training; monitor and minimize COVID-19 incidents in the tourism industry; and advocate for sound health safety practices and the harmonization of said practices.
Through the agency’s efforts, more than 5,000 hotels and tourism-related managers and supervisors have undergone CARPHA-led health safety training, which has reached thousands more who have been trained by the initial graduates. The Task Force member organizations include CARPHA, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and the Jamaica-based Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center (GTRCMC).
For information about vaccines and health safety protocols, visit www.carpha.org.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI April 22, 2021 – Furthering Crystal’s ongoing commitment to stewardship of the world’s oceans, today the line announced a new partnership with the California Ocean Alliance, (COA) an organization dedicated to cutting-edge marine research to safeguard oceans for the protection of marine mammals worldwide.
Scientists from the COA will join Crystal Endeavor, the line’s new expedition yacht, aboard a series of five remote expedition cruises to collect data on whale behavior utilizing submergible acoustic recorders, drones, suction cup tags, and remote biopsy sampling, and engage Crystal Endeavor guests to assist with their research efforts while traversing the waters of the Antarctic. Ranging in length from 11 to 19 nights, these select voyages depart roundtrip from Ushuaia, Argentina, December 2021 through February 2022.
“It is a privilege to join with the California Ocean Alliance in its critical research to inform and promote conservation and management of our oceans and the health and survival of marine mammals,” said Walter Barinaga, Director, Crystal Destination Experiences and the You Care, We Care Crystal Voluntourism Adventures program. “Crystal guests have a thirst for exploration and a passion for the oceans and the destinations and wildlife they experience on our voyages. They will, no doubt, be enriched by the chance to engage with and learn from the distinguished researchers from the alliance for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the diverse ecosystems we explore.”
“We are excited to partner with Crystal as not only do we know the company’s steadfast commitment to operating responsibly but we have the opportunity to conduct important conservation research in this remote area of the world,” said Dr. Ari Friedlaender, Associate Researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz and part of the senior leadership team for COA. “We also look forward to sharing our knowledge and engaging with Crystal’s guests to help foster a deeper understanding of marine animals and ecosystems and the direct connection between the health of world oceans and marine mammals to the well-being of ecology and all living organisms across the globe.”
New Details for Disney 'Wish' Released
(PRESS RELEASE)_CELEBRATION, Fla. (April 23, 2021) – The Disney Wish, the fifth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, will introduce a brand-new, distinctly Disney design concept unlike anything at sea. The motif of enchantment — found at the heart of so many beloved Disney stories — is the architectural and thematic foundation of the ship’s design, weaving imagination, emotion and adventure into the very fabric of the vessel’s unique personality.
“Enchantment is about unlocking the wonder in everything we do and experience,” said Laura Cabo, portfolio creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “For the Disney Wish, we are creating a signature design language that exudes this emotional magic like only Disney can, by infusing every inch of this enchanted ship with more Disney stories and characters than ever before. The Disney Wish will be a place where families really do get to wish upon a star.”
Imagineering an Enchanted Ship
Enchantment is the special ingredient that brings the worlds of Disney films to such rich and vibrant life. Translating this concept into a design theme provides an unparalleled platform to infuse Disney storytelling into the cruise experience, giving the Disney Wish a completely new look and feel.
Inspired by nearly a century of Disney fairytales, Walt Disney Imagineers have captured the essence of enchantment through three design lenses, using:
How the motif will be expressed throughout the design is as much a reflection of the ship’s distinctive personality as of the wide range of stories that will be represented on board, from Disney and Pixar to Marvel and Star Wars.
Designed with Character
The Disney Wish will continue the Disney Cruise Line tradition of incorporating an elegant, classical exterior design — a tribute to the golden age of cruising — in the emblematic colors of Mickey Mouse.
A hallmark of Disney Cruise Line is the adornment of two character art pieces on the hull of each ship. For the Disney Wish, elegant filigree artwork on the bow — an intricate scrollwork pattern reminiscent of the classic ocean liners of the 1930s — will feature Captain Minnie Mouse for the first time, solidifying her pioneering place at the forefront of the fleet’s future.
The stern of the Disney Wish will boast a custom sculpture of the optimistic and adventurous Rapunzel. Suspended by her golden tresses, this artistic Disney Princess will appear to be “decorating” the exterior of the ship with her trusty paintbrush and the help of her chameleon pal, Pascal.
To take it one step further into enchantment, Imagineers have added a whimsical curvature to the deck edge along both sides of the Disney Wish, which will create a sense of magic and visual movement both inside and out.
A Castle on the Seas
The spellbinding Grand Hall — a bright, airy and elegant space that will welcome guests as they first step on board — is the truest embodiment of the enchantment motif. The heart and hearth of the Disney Wish, this fairytale castle-inspired atrium is touched with Gothic, Baroque and French Rococo influences that will give life to the columns, carvings, trimmings and adornments.
The Grand Hall will be Disney Cruise Line’s castle on the seas, an enchanted realm where glittering trails of pixie dust climb majestic three-story columns, spill across the ceiling and animate the shimmering chandelier above with an effusive burst of magic. The chandelier is the manifestation of wishes come true – a swirling spiral of crystal gems punctuated with light, its crown jewel a wondrous wishing star.
At the base of a grand staircase, beneath the glow of the wishing star, will stand the personification of wish fulfillment herself: Cinderella. A pillar of The Walt Disney Company’s legacy, Cinderella’s story is the epitome of magic transforming wishes into dreams and dreams into reality. The beautiful bronze statue of this beloved princess is just one of many tributes to her story in the Grand Hall’s design – others include railings that glisten with elegant stained glass in her signature colors, rich carpeting embellished with icons from the film, and sophisticated nods to her carriage and glass slipper in the delicate metalwork and light fixtures.
The Grand Hall will be the enchanted gateway to everything that awaits on board the Disney Wish: fairytale worlds, heroic challenges, epicurean indulgences, thrilling adventures, galactic encounters, peaceful escapes and so much more.
More Magic on the Horizon
The Disney Wish is the first of three new Disney Cruise Line ships to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany through 2025. All three ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons, will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
New information on the experiences, itineraries and booking dates for the Disney Wish will be revealed on April 29, 2021, during a first-of-its-kind virtual event. For more information, visit the Disney Parks Blog.
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.
Cunard Announces 2022 Event Voyages
(PRESS RELEASE)_VALENCIA, Calif., April 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Luxury cruise line Cunard announced today its 2022 line-up of Event Voyages, offering a rich and compelling variety of themes on board flagship liner Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth. Welcoming back guest favorites including the Literature Festival at Sea in partnership with Cheltenham Literature Festival, The Times and The Sunday Times; and much-loved Anthony Inglis and the UK National Symphony of Orchestra, Cunard also introduces the line's first Art & Design Week, and Beatles and Beyond: Celebrating the Best of British. Also joining the roster is the highly anticipated London Theatre at Sea with the Olivier Awards.
Guests will enjoy an opportunity to meet and mingle with renowned authors, West End theatre stars, wax nostalgic with one the world's top Beatles tribute bands, and learn insider views and latest trends with the line's new Art & Design Week.
Every journey offers the opportunity to delve deeper into an existing passion or discover something new, with an enriching program of interactive workshops, masterclasses, performances, and thought provoking speakers and discussions with fellow guests, truly there is something for everyone on board.
"Cunard is excited to again offer an incredible array of Event Voyages in 2022, which have become an eagerly anticipated hallmark of Cunard's on board experience," said Jamie Paiko, vice president of Sales for Cunard North America. "From art and literature to music and design, our guests enjoy the luxury of time to more deeply delve into their passions, and appreciate the opportunity to meet notable luminaries form all over the world. Anticipation is high for the return of Event Voyage favorites, as well as those new to Cunard, and ones we hope will be equally revered in the future," Paiko added.
Here's a taster of what to expect:
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, APRIL 20, 2021 – Luxury travelers now have more choices as they plan to explore again, as reservations open today for Crystal Symphony’s 10-night Luxury Caribbean Escapes embarking August 5 through December, including a holiday cruise. The 15 consecutive voyages will sail round-trip from the home port of St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda on journeys highlighting the tropical allure of Barbados, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago*, St. Maarten and British Virgin Islands. The itineraries, together with the recently announced Luxury Iceland Expeditions aboard Crystal Endeavor and Luxury Bahamas Escapes aboard Crystal Serenity, comprise the resumption of service of 97 percent of Crystal’s oceangoing fleet.
Highlights of Crystal Symphony’s Caribbean season** will offer travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the warm hospitality and ease of island life a bevy of choices, enhanced by Crystal’s own celebrated luxury and personalized service. A blend of outdoor adventure, blissful beach days, UNESCO World Heritage Sites of great historical significance, fresh island cuisine and spirits and plenty of pursuits in the turquoise waters of the destinations are all on offer.
Best Available cruise fares start at $2,999 with Book Now Savings of up to $1,000 per guest and As You Wish spending credits of $200 per guest. Returning guests will enjoy double Crystal Society Savings of five percent while new to Crystal guests will save 2.5 percent. Travelers can book their Crystal Symphony Luxury Caribbean Escapes with a reduced deposit of just 15 percent and have until 60 days prior to departure to make final payments. Single supplements for these voyages begin at just 125 percent. Guests with Future Cruise Credits and Future Cruise Payments may redeem them on these voyages.
Designed with inherently abundant personal and social space throughout the ship, Crystal Symphony will return to sailing with reduced capacity, increasing its social spaciousness even more, with the onboard Crystal Family welcoming guests’ home, with an experience that is punctuated by spacious guest staterooms and suites and social areas; abundant choices for activities and enrichment; elegant surroundings and amenities; and most importantly, the genuine, personalized service provided by Crystal’s celebrated crew.
A leader in unrivaled luxury cruising for 30 years, Crystal Cruises distinguishes its ships and its voyages with fine details and nuances that make a big impact for discerning travelers. All-inclusive experience with award-winning entertainment; diverse enrichment options; globally inspired dining, including Nobu Matsuhisa’s only seagoing restaurants; unlimited pours of fine wines, beers and premium spirits and an unwavering standard of genuine, personal service for each guest underscores the Crystal difference.
Crystal announced in February that guests must be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to boarding any Crystal ship. This requirement is in addition to existing, comprehensive Crystal Clean+ measures, including negative COVID-19 tests for both guests and crew, reduced capacity, social distancing, mask requirements and health screening questionnaires.
*Trinidad and Tobago is subject to government review with changing health and safety conditions.
**As more islands in the Caribbean begin to open, Crystal may add additional ports to the itinerary and will inform its guests and travel partners of any changes.
(PRESS RELEASE)_Shanghai, April 20, 2021 – Royal Caribbean International today announced that Wonder of the Seas, the latest evolution of the revolutionary Oasis Class, will set sail from Shanghai and Hong Kong, China in 2022 on thrilling 4- to 9-night adventures through the Far East to the best of Japan and more. Currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire, France, Wonder will be the world’s largest cruise ship and the first of its kind to call China home when it arrives in March 2022. The ship’s inaugural season cruises are now open for bookings.
On the horizon for vacationers with their sights on a getaway aboard Wonder are visits to popular destinations in Asia. Between March and November, guests can sail roundtrip from Shanghai to Japan, where they can immerse themselves in the local sights and sounds. From pleasing their palate in Osaka, to exploring the nation’s oldest official residence in Fukuoka, to tasting the best beef in Kobe and enjoying the natural scenery of the islands of Okinawa, all senses can be fulfilled on these culture-rich itineraries. The combination of ports of call to choose from also include Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Ishigaki and Miyazaki, Japan.
Wonder will transition to warmer climates and homeport in Hong Kong, November 2022 through January 2023, to offer highly anticipated Christmas and New Year’s holiday sailings to several ports of call. Part of the destination lineup are Chan May, Vietnam; Busan and Jeju, South Korea; Kochi and Okinawa, Japan; and Taipei, China.
“China continues to be one of the most important parts of the world for Royal Caribbean. We have won the trust of our partners and the favor of travelers and built on that significantly since we first set sail 12 years ago. By introducing Wonder of the Seas and the iconic Oasis Class to China, our strong commitment to the market’s growth is reaffirmed yet again for years to come,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “It will be a remarkable moment to see years of partnership realized when the industry’s newest, most innovative ship becomes Shanghai’s new city skyline and takes cruise travel beyond imagination.”
Wonder is the fifth ship in Royal Caribbean’s renowned Oasis Class. With a gross tonnage of 236,857, the ship is 362 meters long and 64 meters wide, and it features a total of 18 decks and 2,867 staterooms to accommodate up to 6,988 guests. On deck for travelers of all ages are the signature amenities the world’s largest and unmatched ships are known for since they first revolutionized cruising more than a decade ago, including the unique neighborhood concept. Wonder will be the first of its kind to be designed with eight neighborhoods, introducing the new Suite Neighborhood alongside returning favorites Central Park, the open-air AquaTheater, sporting a new look and where jaw-dropping, high-diving acrobatic and aquatic performances take place; Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea; and a 25-meter zip line 10 decks above the Boardwalk neighborhood.
Eight Distinct Neighborhoods & Highlights
AmaWaterways Opens 2023 Bookings
(PRESS RELEASE)_Calabasas, CA – (April 19, 2021) – Leading river cruise line AmaWaterways today announced its 2023 Europe river cruise itineraries are now open for individual and group bookings, a full seven months in advance of previous years. A record level of bookings in March further confirms the extremely strong pent-up demand for intimate river cruise vacations leading AmaWaterways to offer guests earlier than usual access to enriching experiences including new itineraries ranging from 5 to 46 nights. Guests interested in locking in the best balcony staterooms and suites by June 30, 2021, will receive 5 percent cruise savings on 2023 Europe sailings.
“Reservations for our 2022 season are the strongest we have ever seen. We have already received such incredible group and charter interest for our 2023 itineraries that we decided to move ahead quickly and open up these cruises for individual bookings,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. “I am excited about our new classical music cruises, 5-night Danube itineraries and Seven River Journeys that have just been announced – each offers an innovative twist on traditional river cruising with unique and inspiring experiences sure to please new and returning guests.”
New itineraries for 2023 include a series of 5-night Majestic Capitals of the Danube cruises visiting Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna with optional new land packages in Kraków, Poland or Salzburg, Austria and 7-night Celebration of Classical Music: The Danube cruises between Budapest and Vienna with enriching concert experiences added to the program of included excursions. AmaWaterways also announced two epic Seven River Journeys through 14 countries for spring and summer 2023. Following overwhelming pre-launch demand, the Summer Edition has very limited availability, however the Spring Edition, sailing from April 20 to June 4, 2023, which concludes with two weeks on the luxurious AmaMagna, is now open for reservations.
In addition to these immersive new experiences, guests have a variety of other ways to delve into Europe’s rich history, wonderful wines and remarkable architecture while being pampered by spacious staterooms and attentive onboard service. There are 10 different itineraries exploring the iconic cities and charming villages along the Rhine, Moselle (picture right) and Main rivers in addition to the immensely popular Enticing Douro and Flavors of Portugal & Spain itineraries, through the stunning landscapes of Portugal. With five ships in France, each with a different itinerary, guests can combine cruises and explore the four culinary corners of this fascinating country cruising through the Bordeaux, Normandy, Burgundy and Provence regions. With the rising trend of longer vacations and slower travel, guests can customize their travels by combining multiple itineraries and save 10 percent on the second or third river cruise or add on a land package pre- or post-cruise to extend their European journey. Newly introduced pre-and post-cruise land packages available to book for 2023 include a 3-night St. Malo package with the Impressions of the Seine & Paris itinerary and a 3-night Geneva, Switzerland and 3-night French Riviera (Nice and Monaco) with the Essence of Burgundy & Provence itinerary.
Renowned for its variety of included excursions, warm, personalized onboard service and unparalleled dining options, AmaWaterways’ 2023 sailings are set to be unforgettable journeys for returning guests and many new-to-river cruisers. From the rambling vineyards to the historic monuments and the breathtaking landscapes, guests will discover hidden gems and incomparable beauty around every river bend. Whether looking for a short break to soak in the festive holiday season or an extended journey of discovery to celebrate a milestone event, AmaWaterways 2023 program has incredible voyages planned.
“I am very optimistic on the future of river cruising and as a pioneer in this sector, we are always looking for new ways to surprise and delight our guests while working closely with the local communities to offer unique experiences that AmaWaterways is known for,” said Rudi Schreiner, president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. “Whether looking for a traditional 7-night sailing, a shorter 5-night itinerary or an immersive journey spanning multiple rivers and discovering lesser-known destinations, our 2023 offerings meet the needs of every type of traveler.”
Travelers with pent-up wanderlust who are eager to plan their future vacation can secure their preferred itinerary and stateroom while taking advantage of AmaWaterways’ Early Booking Reward. Guests who reserve their 2023 Europe cruise by June 30, 2021, will receive 5 percent cruise savings on balcony staterooms and suites.*
*Other terms and conditions apply. Please see website for details.
To book an AmaWaterways river cruise, contact your preferred Travel Advisor, visit AmaWaterways.com or call 1.800.626.0126. Follow AmaWaterways on Facebook at Facebook.com/AmaWaterways, Instagram @AmaWaterways, Twitter @AmaWaterways, and YouTube at YouTube.com/AmaWaterways.
Hurtigruten Supporting Alaskan Wildlife
Seattle, WA (April 19, 2021) –Hurtigruten Expeditions, the world leader in exploration travel and advocate for sustainable travel, is launching a sale for Earth Week to allow more Americans to discover some of the most unique places on Earth, while its Hurtigruten Foundation will donate to support Alaskan wildland. The Foundation will donate 1% of the total cost of each Alaskan cruise sold during Earth Week to Alaska Wilderness League, which will help protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, located in Alaska’s northeast corner, as well as other wildlife reserves. Comprising 19.6 million acres of wildland, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest unit in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Fittingly ahead of Earth Week, Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam was named one of AFAR’s 2021 Travel Vanguards for his and the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
“Sustainability is an integral part of Hurtigruten’s DNA and our priority any day of the year. From introducing the world’s first hybrid electric-powered expedition ship, the MS Roald Amundsen, a few years ago, to most of our ships soon operating with biofuel from organic waste and battery power, we can confidently claim we have the greenest fleet in the industry,” said John Downey, President of Hurtigruten Americas.
By GERRY BARKER
Seatrade Cruise Virtual, the cruise industry’s premier event, just concluded, and as the name implies, it was held online as the world continues to deal with the COVID pandemic. Over the course of three days, industry experts and cruise executives shared the state of where cruising is today and a look ahead to what guests can expect when cruising restarts on a wide scale.
READ MORE AT ALL THINGS CRUISE
Holland Launches 'Have It All'
(PRESS RELEASE)_Seattle, Wash., April 15, 2021 — For travelers who appreciate taking an inclusive vacation with extra amenities factored upfront into the price, Holland America Line is launching a new “Have It All” premium package that includes shore excursions, beverages, specialty dining and Wi-Fi in one base cruise fare.
Available year-round on all itineraries six days or longer except Grand Voyages, “Have It All” is valued at $99 per guest, per day, for a seven-day cruise, and “Have it All” cruise fares represent incredible savings of 50% or more off the included amenities compared to purchasing them individually. “Have it All” fares will be available for booking April 21, 2021.
“We conducted extensive research with experienced cruisers and travel partners to understand what they find most valuable when purchasing a cruise and the results overwhelmingly pointed toward one simple fare that included our top amenities,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Our past promotions that offered these perks have been extremely popular, so we created a premium package that is available all the time and on nearly all our cruises.”
More Value and Convenience with “Have It All”
In addition to all of the amenities that typically come with a standard cruise fare, “Have It All” also includes four high-value extras in the fare with more amenities as the length of cruise increase.
Cruises of 6 to 9 days:
Cruises of 10 to 20 days:
Cruises of 21+ days (excluding Grand Voyages):
When guests go to book a Holland America Line cruise, the “Have It All” fare is presented as an option with the included perks already factored into the price across all stateroom and suite categories. Guests who prefer to cruise without all of the extras have the option of a standard fare when making a booking. Each guest in a stateroom must book the “Have it All” cruise fare to receive the extras.
For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel advisor, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.
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