Travel News: Scotland’s coastal city Dundee is all abuzz

festivals around the world (3)

Scotland’s coastal city Dundee is all abuzz

A billion-dollar-plus plan to revitalize the historical city kicked off in 2001 and in 2014 Dundee won the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design. The cream on the top is the upcoming and much-awaited opening of the Victoria & Albert Museum of Design Dundee, set to open this September. The museum was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuta and will feature a dramatic, curved exterior that mimics the sides of a ship. Exhibitions will include a homage to the city’s past called “Ocean Liners: Speed and Style” and a look at Scottish designs in jewelry and architecture. 
Mains_Castle

Main’s Castle in Dundee

New Roof terrace at Frankfurt Airport

The transit zone of Frankfurt Airport’s Terminal 1 has added a roof terrace. Besides fresh air, it boasts a spectacular view of the bustling activity at Germany’s largest aviation hub. If you’re drawn to take a closer look, there’s a telescope you can use for free. A stand provides information about what’s going on down on the apron. And a monitor screen shows the weather report for the next few days, straight from the German Weather Service. Comfortable seating surrounded by plants rounds out the attractions.

European airlines must now pay passengers for delays caused by strikes, too

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has ruled that airlines must compensate their passengers for flight delays and cancellations, even though the reason for such was a strike by airline staff. Until now, airlines strikes of all kind have been considered extraordinary circumstances that exempt airlines from their duty to pay compensation. From now on, airlines must compensate their passengers with up to $700 per person if they were affected by flight delays or cancellations due to strikes by airline staff IF the airline carrier is based in the EU or the departure airport is within the EU. The airlines are now going to face a wave of claims, as this ruling also applies to all previous strikes, the three year statute of limitation being the only barrier. Extraordinary circumstances such as storms or medical emergencies mean that the operating airline is exempt from the obligation to compensate air passengers.
rome-1093295_640

Piper of the Vatican

 

Holland America Line celebrated 145th anniversary last week

HAL was founded in 1873 as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company, a shipping and passenger line. Within 25 years the company had a fleet of six ships operating between Holland and the Dutch East Indies.  It was based in Rotterdam and also provided service to The Americas, leading to the name Holland America Line. Transportation and shipping were the primary sources of revenue, but in 1895 the line offered its first vacation cruise. However, it continued to be primarily a carrier of immigrants from Europe to the USA until after 1900, bringing nearly one million people to new lives in America. Several ships also served as troop carriers for the Allies in both world wars. The company sold its cargo division in 1973. Through the early 1970’s, HAL established schools in Indonesia and the Philippines to train future employees. The line has been based in Seattle since 1983 and was purchased by Carnival Corporation in 1989. It currently operates 14 ships sailing to 400 ports spread over all seven continents.

Extraordinary Vatican Museums By Night

Starting Friday, April 20, the 2018 edition of the extraordinary night openings of the Vatican Museums that runs until October 26 will take place and offer visitors a unique experience of a visit in an atmosphere of artistic beauties and music proposals. From April to October, the Pope’s Museums will open their doors at sunset to reveal themselves in a suggestive and unusual nocturnal atmosphere. Every year, to enrich the special visit experience, a rich concert review is also on the night agendas animated with beautiful sounds, songs, and dances. The evenings will provide not only art and history, but also shows and a tasty Happy Hour in the charming Cortile della Pigna for a regenerating moment of escape. Starting at 7:00 pm, for more than 6 months, and for a total of 27 Fridays, the Pope’s Museums “double” their cultural offer by proposing a new evening version that is very much appreciated by the public and tourists, especially during the cool nights of spring and summer. Thee Friday Night openings are now a consolidated reality, happily experienced in recent years with great success. Useful to know about night openings: Period: April, May, June, July, August, September, October. Day: Friday. Timetable: from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm (last admission at 9:30 pm). Concert start time (if scheduled): 8:30 pm. Admission booking and guided tours: mandatory online.

Radisson Blu maintains lead in European upscale hotel segment

According to a ranking from MKG Hospitality-ON, Radisson Blu Hotels has maintained its ranking since 2010 as Europe’s leader in the upscale hospitality segment. The Radisson Blu brand leads the European hotel industry in size and scale, with 186 Radisson Blu properties on the continent, located in major cities, as well as at airport gateways and notable leisure destinations. Worldwide there are 380 Radisson Blu hotels, open or coming soon. The MKG Ranking scope includes 28 countries within the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Ukraine, Turkey (European side of Istanbul), Russia (only the European area, west of Ural), Iceland, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Moldovia, Montenegro, Jersey, Guernsey, Serbia, Belarus, Andorra and Monaco. The results of the 2017 ranking also include Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels in the UK.

Good addition in Global Entry Program

Global Entry, the (in my estimation great) U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States, has with little fanfare made a change in the process of approval.  After submitting required paperwork, all applicants must undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. There have often been long delays before those ready to be interviewed could make an appointment for such. Now, Enrollment on Arrival, as the program is known, allows Global Entry applicants to complete their interviews upon arrival into the United States without making an appointment at an enrollment center; all application documentation must have been done in advance, with notice received from Global Entry that one is eligible for an interview. The new program is available at 28 airports in the United States as well as at preclearance facilities in Canada at six major airports. At airports with multiple terminals such as New York’s John F. Kennedy, the program is available in terminals 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8, and at San Francisco International in terminals A and G.
vatican-3014119_640

Vatican Museums

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

In Memoriam of Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick

women's day.jpg

Last Thursday, Willamette Intl Travel received the saddening news of the passing of Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, founder of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. As a longtime partner of Origins Safaris, Willamette Intl Travel has organized numerous trips to Kenya over the past few years, which often included a visit to the elephant orphanage program of this heart-warming and inspiring Wildlife Trust. Christina and John have also taken small groups out to Ithumba Camp, located in a remote area of Tsavo East National Park where the orphans are gradually released back into the Wild. All who have gone with them have said that this was a life-changing experience.

Nusu (1)

Born in Kenya in 1934, Dr. Dame Sheldrick devoted her life to African wildlife. Together with her husband David, the founder warden of Tsavo East, she transformed Kenya’s largest national park into a safe haven for wild species, including the largest elephant population in the country. Upon David’s passing in 1977, Daphne founded The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which for the past 40 years has been dedicated to the protection of elephants and rhinoceroses. During one of Christina’s very first visits to Sheldrick, she was thrilled to meet both Dame Daphne and her daughter Angela, who will carry on her mother’s amazing work. 

In memoriam, Angela has delivered the following words: 

What an example Daphne was to us all, and I feel blessed to have been able to call her my Mum because she was quite simply ‘one of a kind’. She was a national treasure and a conservation icon. Her legacy is immeasurable and her passing will reverberate far and wide because the difference she has made for conservation in Kenya is unparalleled.

She will be sorely missed, but never forgotten, and this is what Daphne drew the most comfort from in her final weeks; knowing that her memory and work would continue with the tiny steps of baby elephants for generations to come and that the work that she pioneered has been able to achieve so much for wildlife and wild places throughout Kenya. She died knowing that she will continue to make a difference each and every day upon a land that she held so dear to her heart through the work of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, thanks to a dedicated team she leaves behind. Daphne was fortunate to live long enough to preside over mud baths at Ithumba with well over 100 orphans, ex-orphans and wild friends frolicking, and be able to say to herself, ‘but for I’. What a gift she leaves us all with, as she really is a shining example of the finest of humanity. Thank you all for your love and passion and support.

If you wish to make a donation to commemorate Daphne’s life and help The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust continue to protect the wild lives she loved so much, the Trust has created the following link: 

DONATE 

Every dollar donated to the DSWT is put to good use, saving wild lives and keeping families together. Case in point: Last month, the DSWT/KWS Amboseli Mobile Veterinary Unit freed this tiny calf from a water hole. Racing nightfall they put the baby in their truck (with the pint-sized passenger trumpeting as loudly as he could) and set out to find his mum. The two were successfully reunited and walked off into the sunset together.

Roi

For those who attended WIT’s 40th birthday last December, you may remember the beautiful painting of wild elephants at Ithumba Camp, a silent auction presented by Kenyan artist Edwin Selempo.  WIT collected and donated the proceedings of that sale to the David Sheldrick

Read more on our blog about the Wildlife Trust, Tsavo East National Park and the Ithumba Safari Camp (where Christina and John have stayed with many clients during their visit to Tsavo and the elephants): 

African Safari Elephants at Tsavo East National Park

A Closer Look: Ithumba Safari Camp in Kenya

An important note: To stay at either of the Ithumba Camps, you need to take over the entire camp, four tents at each of two camps. Guests must also arrange their own food and drinks and safari driver-guide. Click on the link above to learn more about Ithumba.

All Photos included in this post are courtesy of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Leave a comment

Filed under Africa, Kenya

Travel News: Extraordinary Vatican Museums by Night

festivals around the world (1)

Air France pilot strike continues

Striking Air France pilots and cabin staff insisted they weren’t backing down, as their latest walkout forced the cancellation of some 30% of the airline’s flights worldwide Wednesday. Union members protested at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, where screens showed “canceled” notices next to multiple flights. Air France-KLM has lost more than 100 million euros ($124 million) in sporadic strikes since February. The Air France actions are coming amid other French labor action. 

Lindblad Expeditions Unveils Short Galapagos Cruises

Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Islander will sail a series of short one-week Galapagos cruises in 2018 and 2019, giving vacationally-challenged people the opportunity to see the bucket list destination without spending too much time away from home or work. Dubbed the “Wild Galapagos Escape,” the one-week journey is onboard the recently refurbished, 48-passenger National Geographic Islander and features five days in the archipelago, plus a one-night pre-voyage stay in Guayaquil and the option of another night post voyage at no additional charge. All sailings include multiple shore excursions each day from walks and hikes to kayaking, snorkeling and paddle-boarding. New in 2019, passengers on any Lindblad sailing in the Galapagos receive complimentary drinks (excluding certain premium brands) and an hour of free Wi-Fi per person, per day. Dates for the Wild Galapagos Escape sailings are: 2018: November 24 and 29; 2019: April 27; May 2, 11 and 16; August 31; September 5, 14 and 19; and October 31. For those who have a little bit longer and also want to see Machu Picchu, the eight night Wild Galapagos & Peru Escape trip includes a night in Lima, two nights in Peru’s Sacred Valley and five nights on National Geographic Islander in the Galapagos. Departures for this tour are December 1, 2018; May 4 and 18, September 7 and 14, and November 2, 2019. Both trips include roundtrip charter flights from Ecuador to the Galapagos. Call your travel agent to advise you more about cruises to the Galapagos and other itineraries with Lindblad Expeditions. 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

giant-tortoises-2872006_640

Emerald Waterways Opens Bookings for Dalmatian Coast Ocean Cruises 

River cruise line Emerald Waterways has opened booking for its first ocean sailings, week-long itineraries along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. The 22 trips are being offered between April and October 2019. Passengers will sail aboard the newly-commissioned, 18-cabin Adriatic Princess II, which has a sun deck, an open-plan dining restaurant, and pool ladders offering easy sea access for swimming or snorkeling when the ship is stationary. The line’s “Islands of Dalmatia” itinerary will travel the Adriatic Sea between Dubrovnik and Trogir, Croatia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a medieval town center. Highlights include the island of Brac, famous for its white limestone that was used in the building of the White House, and a visit to Krka National Park with its spectacular waterfalls. Other ports of call will feature the island of Hvar, noted for its lavender fields, and vineyards, and mainland Split, the largest city on the Adriatic coast with the Roman Diocletian’s Palace. Passengers can also book a three-day extension in Zagreb, or a seven-night extension, which, in addition to Zagreb, includes three nights in the seaside resort town of Opatija and two nights in Lake Bled, Slovenia, at the foot of the Julian Alps.

U.S. Streamlines Global Entry Application Process

Without much fanfare, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency announced a new program to facilitate Global Entry applications. Enrollment on Arrival, as the program is known, allows Global Entry applicants to complete their interviews upon arrival into the United States without making an appointment at an enrollment center. Global Entry allows passengers entering the United States to bypass the line for passport control and use a kiosk instead of submitting a paper landing card and interacting with a Customs and Border Protection agent. The new program is available at 28 airports in the United States as well as at preclearance facilities in Canada at six major airports. At airports with multiple terminals such as New York’s John F. Kennedy, the program is available in terminals 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8, and at San Francisco International in terminals A and G. To complete the Global Entry process, simply follow signage to a Customs and Border Protection officer who will then conduct the interview. No additional documentation beyond a passport is required.

New IATA certification for animal handling by airlines, airports and more

IATA recently announced a certification program designed to ensure the well-being of animals traveling by air. The voluntary certification program, called the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) for Live Animals Logistics, builds on IATA’s current set of animal transportation rules — widely regarded as the industry standard — with input from air transport and animal experts to improve service quality throughout the supply chain. The certification program, which was announced April 5, involves training personnel to account for the physical and emotional health of animals across a variety of species and is intended for airlines, airports, ground handling, freight, and animal shipping companies. Companies who obtain the certification will be listed in a registry on IATA’s website. 

art-school-of-athens-1143741_640

Extraordinary Vatican Museums By Night

Starting Friday, April 20, the 2018 edition of the extraordinary night openings of the Vatican Museums that runs until October 26 will take place and offer visitors a unique experience of a visit in an atmosphere of artistic beauties and music proposals. From April to October, the Pope’s Museums will open their doors at sunset to reveal themselves in a suggestive and unusual nocturnal atmosphere. Every year, to enrich the special visit experience, a rich concert review is also on the night agendas animated with beautiful sounds, songs, and dances. The evenings will provide not only art and history, but also shows and a tasty Happy Hour in the charming Cortile della Pigna for a regenerating moment of escape. Starting at 7:00 pm, for more than 6 months, and for a total of 27 Fridays, the Pope’s Museums “double” their cultural offer by proposing a new evening version that is very much appreciated by the public and tourists, especially during the cool nights of spring and summer. Thee Friday Night openings are now a consolidated reality, happily experienced in recent years with great success. Useful to know about night openings: Period: April, May, June, July, August, September, October. Day: Friday. Timetable: from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm (last admission at 9:30 pm). Concert start time (if scheduled): 8:30 pm. Admission booking and guided tours: mandatory online. Museum sectors that can be visited: Gregorian Egyptian Museum, Pio Clementino Museum, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Geographical Maps, Rooms of Raphael, Apartment Borgia, Collection of Contemporary Art, Sistine Chapel, Galleries of the Vatican Apostolic Library. Exceptionally open museum sectors: Sale di S. Pio V (collection of medieval and Renaissance ceramics, minute mosaics). Museums to visit during night openings include the Sistine Museum and Chapel as well as the Vatican Museums.

Old sail technology back to power a Viking Line ship as of today

Viking Line’s passenger ship Grace will cruise using the power of a newly-installed rotor sail for the first time this week, becoming the first passenger liner to do so. The rotor sail is developed by Finnish firm Norsepower and is expected to reduce Grace’s carbon emissions by up to 900 tons per year. Compared to many other cruise ships that run on diesel around the world, Grace – fuelled with liquid natural gas (LNG ) – is already relatively environmentally-friendly. The vessel has traversed its island-dotted routes through the archipelago between Turku and Stockholm, Sweden since 2013. The principles behind the rotor sail technology itself is not new and actually about a century old, but the company said the need for more environmentally-friendly power options has brought it back into use. 

Call your Travel Agent for the latest travel advice, 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

Spring in Normandy on the Seine with Viking Cruises

normandy viking cruises seine.jpg

On Friday, WIT Agent Racheal will embark on a Spring Europe River Cruise with Viking Cruises!

Over the next few days, we’ll follow her on her journey through the Heart of Normandy.

8 Days, 7 Guided Tours, From $2,649 per person. Sailings available for April to Dec 2018 and March to Dec 2019.

Solo Traveler? Why not join a River Cruise this Spring?

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 3.26.23 PM

Château Gaillard

 

She’ll step out beyond Paris to uncover elegant gardens and Claude Monet’s farmhouse in Giverny. From Le Pecq, a charming waterfront town of cobblestone streets, the boat will glide along the picturesque Seine River to Vernon, a town of half-timbered houses. From there, it will be an easy stop in Rouen, with its fine Gothic architecture. She’ll take a step back in history at Normandy’s American Military Cemetery and WWII beaches. On the route back to Paris, she’ll have a chance to see the imposing Château Gaillard, remnants of a castle that overlooks the lovely town of Les Andelys. Throughout it all, she’ll learn about French history and culture from expert guides, and savor the unique cuisine of the Normandy region, inspired by the ocean and the province’s Celtic cultural roots.

Call your Willamette Intl Travel agent to book this fine French cruise! 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

My husband and I took the Normandy Beach tour for our first Viking cruise. The ship was absolutely gorgeous, there was no request too little or too small that wasn’t met beautifully. Our ship was extra special because everyone’s last port was to see Normandy. That meant that we were traveling with men and women who have served our country, past present and future. Every single minute of every single day was absolute joy. I will sail on Viking, and only Viking, again and again.

–Review from Greg & Lisa, Viking River Cruises

Included on the Cruise:

  • One complimentary shore excursion in every port of call
  • Unlimited free Wi-Fi
  • Visits to UNESCO Sites
  • Enrichment lectures & Destination Performances
  • Beer, wine & soft drinks with onboard lunch & dinner
  • 24-hour specialty coffees, teas & bottled water
  • Port taxes & fees
  • River-view stateroom
  • Hotel-style bed with optional twin-bed configuration; luxury linens & pillows
  • 40″ flat-screen LCD TV with complimentary Movies On-Demand
  • 110/220 volt outlets & USB ports
  • Refrigerator; security safe; hair dryer
  • Spacious glass-enclosed shower
  • Heated bathroom floor & anti-fog mirror
  • Premium Freyja® toiletries; plush robes & slippers
  • Stateroom steward & twice-daily housekeeping

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe

The Scoop on the London Pass

london-pass-england

So you’re planning a Spring getaway to London, City of Sherlock and tea and Dr. Who and amazing museums.

Nearly every metropolis has its transport+sightseeing card, and you can bet that London has a few. One of the best the London Pass. But is this little card actually worth it?

Validity

You can buy the London Pass for a validity of 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 consecutive days.

Cost/Benefit Factor

One Day is 69 GBP ($98), which may seem steep at first – but if you factor in everything you get and all the time/confusion you’re spared, it’s actually a pretty good deal. The card offers free entry to over 55 top London attractions, including Must-Sees like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It also has bonus activities like the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour, the Thames River Cruise and discounts on West End theatre tickets. Plus you can Skip the Line at certain venues, and they throw in a free guidebook for good measure. Of course, the more days you spend in London, the more it pulls its weight – a 3-day pass will cost you only 38 GBP ($54) per day.

torre-245996_640

So how does it all break down?

For example, one morning you visit to the Tower of London, then take a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour. After lunch you tour the stunning Westminster Abbey, and wrap up the day with entrance into The Shard, the tallest buliding in Western Europe. The whole day without the pass would set you back around 110 GBP ($155). With the pass of course it’s $98 – so you’ve already saved more than $50.

Transportation

If you throw in $21 extra, then you also get the London Travel Card, usable on all public buses, trams, and the Underground for the whole day.

Where to buy?

Willamette Intl Travel sells the London Travel Card issued by Raileurope, which, if you’re an American who’s pre-booked your rail tickets in Europe, you’ve used in all likelihood. We’re in Portland – call us at 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

Final Verdict

If you’re the type of traveler who loves museums and can spend a whole day wandering around London to the Albert & Victoria Museum, the British Library, the jaw-dropping British Museum—then yes, it’s worth it. Order it before you depart USA from Willamette Intl Travel.

london-2164680_640

Leave a comment

Filed under England, Europe

Travel News This Week

festivals around the world.jpg
Royal Caribbean Tightens Cruise Cancellation Policy
Royal Caribbean International is tightening its cruise cancellation policy, making passengers more on the hook for a larger portion of the fare if they decide not to go before sailing. The policy has multiple changes. Chief among them: the cancellation window during which you would only lose a deposit is gone. For full cancellation details, be sure to contact your Willamette Intl travel agent! 
 
NASA To Develop Supersonic Airplane
CNN reports NASA to develop ‘quiet’ supersonic airplane for those who still hanker after the supersonic air travel offered by Concorde. NASA has announced it’s going ahead with plans to develop an aircraft that can break the sound barrier, but quietly. Without the sonic boom the plane could operate commercial routes over land. NASA has awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to build the supersonic aircraft. It wants the aerospace company to refine, build and test the experimental aircraft, known as the X-plane or “Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator,” and deliver it to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center by the end of 2021. 
 
American Airlines Lifts Curtain On Chicago-New York Shuttle Today
Chicago Business Journal reports American Airlines will debut its branded Chicago-New York shuttle service Wednesday. The shuttle launch is sure to spark yet another heated operational rivalry between AA and United Airlines, both of which have major hubs at O’Hare International Airport and both have extensive flights between two of the nation’s principal business markets. 
 
Travel Fraud Is Exploding, and It’s Hurting Travelers
Travelwirenews reports Travel fraud is on the rise, and it’s quickly becoming everybody’s problem. The rise of online travel has created a wealth of convenience and opportunity for users, who can now access last minute and discount fares to a degree unheard of even 20 years ago. However, says the digital security firm Sift Science, this has also created a broad platform for thieves and con artists. Travelers, hosts and even huge companies are vulnerable. Thieves steal, on average, between $283 and $588 per fraudulent transaction. In total, fraud costs billions of dollars per year. Airlines alone lose from $2.4 billion to $4.8 billion to credit card fraud annually, and it happens at virtually every point in the industry. For many travelers, it can represent a very real problem. For researchers and industry, “fraud” defines any purchase made under false pretenses. The trouble is that in travel there are many points of contact where this can go wrong. Thieves can often book travel using stolen credit cards or financial information, effectively stealing a high-value airline ticket or hotel room in the process. For hotels especially, same-day bookings are up to 4.3 times more likely to be fraudulent because the short time frame makes it far harder for the hotel or authorities to detect anything wrong. By the time a consumer has noticed the charge on his or her credit card statement, the criminal is often long gone. 
taj-mahal-3244750_640
 
India Limits Visits To Taj Mahal To 3 Hours Per Person
CNN reports the enormous white marble tomb, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can attract at least 50,000 visitors a day on the weekend, according to a spokesman for the Archaeological Survey of India, which oversees the Taj Mahal. “Sometimes people end up spending a whole day at the Taj. This creates a situation where there are too many people,” the spokesman D N Dimri told CNN. “It is being implemented so that the movement of visitors can be regulated. Day by day, the number of visitors are increasing. This is to ensure no untoward incidents or accidents occur.” He added there had been no incidents due to overcrowding at the site. 
 
China To Unveil World’s Longest Sea Bridge
Travelwirenews reports it is billed as the world’s longest cross-sea bridge. After seven years of construction, the new link between Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China is finally complete. Beijing says the $20bn project will cut travel time in half, bringing China and its two territories closer together.
 
New Whale Protection Strategy In Gulf Of St. Lawrence
Canada has developed a more nuanced approach to protecting North Atlantic right whales from vessel strikes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The 10-knot speed cap applies in certain areas, but ships will be allowed to travel at normal speeds in two set shipping lanes when no whales are observed. 2018 sees a fixed speed restriction in a large area of the Gulf where the whales aggregated in 2017 and a dynamic management approach for the shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island where temporary mandatory speed caps will be activated should a right whale be observed. 
 
Airport Pays $7,500 For Dog To Chase Birds From Runway
Fox News reports Yeager Airport, located in West Virginia, has purchased an 18 month border collie named Hercules to help protect public safety. The pup has been hired to chase birds and other animals off the runway, a problem that has been a concern for the Charlestown, W.Va., airport. “Every airport has problems with bird strikes and wildlife on the airfield. It’s a big safety hazard, so a dog can be a real predator,” Nick Keller, assistant director at Yeager, said. “It will keep birds, deer, coyotes, rabbits away from the airfield.” Hercules will have a reflective vest, safety goggles and ear protection to wear while he is at work. Keller said the dog could potentially reduce deadly animal collisions once trained. Hercules is currently being trained in North Carolina on a range of verbal and whistle commands. Yeager staff must also be trained to handle Hercules while he is at work. While on the clock, Hercules will be outfitted with a reflective vest, safety glasses and ear protection.
 
Scenic Expands To Northwest Passage, White Sea
With Scenic adding a second ‘discovery yacht’ in May 2020, the company is expanding itineraries. New are a 21-day Northwest Passage exploration, a 13-day adventure through Russia’s White Sea and, in late 2019, two opportunities to visit North America’s Eastern Seaboard, from New York City or Halifax. Scenic new Northwest Passage cruise will embark in Copenhagen and skirt the coast of Greenland before transiting the Canadian Arctic to end at Nome, Alaska. Limited to just 200 passengers and departing Aug. 15, 2020, ‘Across the Northwest Passage’ is a once-in-a-lifetime journey and a pinnacle of polar exploration. With the highest ice class rating of any luxury ship (Polar Class 6), Scenic Eclipse will make its way from Copenhagen along the coast of Greenland and through the Canadian Arctic until reaching Nome, Alaska. Travelers will get to visit Inuit communities and learn from the shipboard expert discovery team. There will be opportunities for kayaking amid icebergs, viewing polar bears and Arctic foxes and hiking across the frozen tundra. Russia’s White Sea is another seldom-visited area Scenic will explore. 
iguana-20894_640
 
Lindblad Expeditions Unveils Short Galapagos Cruises
Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Islander will sail a series of short one-week Galapagos cruises in 2018 and 2019, giving vacationally-challenged people the opportunity to see the bucket list destination without spending too much time away from home or work. Dubbed the “Wild Galapagos Escape,” the one-week journey is onboard the recently refurbished, 48-passenger National Geographic Islander and features five days in the archipelago, plus a one night pre-voyage stay in Guayaquil and the option of another night post voyage at no additional charge. All sailings include multiple shore excursions each day from walks and hikes to kayaking, snorkeling and paddle-boarding. New in 2019, passengers on any Lindblad sailing in the Galapagos receive complimentary drinks (excluding certain premium brands) and an hour of free Wi-Fi per person, per day. Dates for the Wild Galapagos Escape sailings are: 2018: November 24 and 29; 2019: April 27; May 2, 11 and 16; August 31; September 5, 14 and 19; and October 31. For those who have a little bit longer and also want to see Machu Picchu, the eight night Wild Galapagos & Peru Escape trip includes a night in Lima, two nights in Peru’s Sacred Valley and five nights on National Geographic Islander in the Galapagos. Departures for this tour are December 1, 2018; May 4 and 18, September 7 and 14, and November 2, 2019. Both trips include roundtrip charter flights from Ecuador to the Galapagos.
 
Air New Zealand And Virgin Australia To Terminate Alliance
Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are set to end their seven-year-long trans-Tasman alliance in October. The termination will impact the strategic alliance launched by the airlines at the end of 2010 to partner on various services between New Zealand and Australia. Both carriers decided not to renew their existing regulatory approval for the alliance, which expires on 28 October. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Europe

Explore & Experience Southeast Asia with VExplore Tours

Looking to Step off the Beaten Track in Vietnam?

Think you know Thailand? Think again!

Always wanted to explore inner Myanmar?

VExplore Tours is one tour company that we highly recommend for unique itineraries in Southeast Asia. Discover a world beyond stuffy museums and explore terraced paddies, ancient stupas and hidden rainforests that are usually unknown to the avereage tourist.

Read More: WIT Agent Wailana’s Trip to Thailand and Laos with VExplore Tours

VExplore guides seek to open up new roads to travelers, so they “don’t just visit – they explore and experience.” Here are some unique itineraries that delve deeper into the heart and soul of Southeast Asia:

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 5.26.21 PM

Discover the Central Highlands of Vietnam

11 Days / 10 Nights – Saigon – Pleiku – KonTum – Buon Me Thuoc – Danang – Hoi An

For travelers who want an overview of Vietnam’s countryside

Step off the beaten track into Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Traverse splendid tea, rice and rubber plantations and encounter unique ethnic tribal groups exhibiting their traditional lifestyle through their work, ancient ceremonies and rituals. Immerse yourself in the serene and lush landscape of picturesque waterfalls, lakes, rivers, emerald mountains and the bucolic setting of lakeside minority groups.

From $1958 per person, includes: private roundtrip airport transfers, local English-speaking guide, 8 full days sightseeing tour with admission fees, 10 buffet breakfasts, 7 lunches and 2 special dinners, 10 nights superior hotel accommodation

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 5.26.33 PM

A Photography Expedition in Northwest Vietnam

12 Days / 11 Nights – Mai Chau – Moc Chau – Nghia Lo – Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai – Fanxipan Mountain – Sapa

For travelers who are photography enthusiasts or professional photographers

Trek deep into NW Vietnam to capture breathtaking panoramic images of stunning emerald terraced paddies, spectacular mountain passes, scenic valleys and crystal clear mountain streams. Photograph timeless village life, lively local markets – Vietnam is a photographer’s paradise.

From $2219 per person, includes: private roundtrip airport transfers, local English-speaking guide, 11 full days sightseeing tour with admission fees, 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 nights superior hotel and 3 nights homestay

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 5.26.41 PM

Island-Hopping in Southern Thailand

8 Days / 7 Nights – Phuket – Koh Yao Yai – Krabi OR Koh Samui – Koh Tao – Koh Phangan

For beach lovers and watersports enthusiasts

Thailand’s tropical islands are renowned for their idyllic and exotic beaches, top diving areas, laid-back vibe and scores of water activities. Discover prehistoric worlds of hidden sea caves, recline on pristine sandy beaches, kayak through secluded coves and sample succulent seafood.

From $1169 per person, includes: private roundtrip airport transfer, joining speedboat transfer islands-hotels, one day sightseeing tour, buffet breakfasts and 7 nights superior hotel accommodation

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 5.27.00 PM

Secret Adventures of Thailand

9 Days / 8 Nights – Bangkok – Khao Sok Elephant Hill – Cheow Larn Lake – Khao Lak

For travelers looking to get off the beaten track in Thailand to explore the country’s beautiful rainforests

A remarkable opportunity to explore rare primordial rainforests and bond with elephants at the eco-friendly Elephant Sanctuary.

From $1868 per person, includes: private roundtrip airport transfer, local English-speaking guide, 6 full days sightseeing tour including admission, 8 buffet breakfasts, 5 lunches and 2 special dinners, 6 nights superior hotel accommodation, 2 nights Luxury Tented Camp.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 5.27.05 PM

Myanmar, The Golden Land and Ayeyarwady River

11 Days / 10 Nights, Yangon – Mandalay – Ayeyarwady River – Mingun – Sagaing – Bagan – Kalawa – Inle Lake

For travelers who step back in time to explore Southeast Asia’s last undeveloped frontier.

The mysterious land of Myanmar showcases its rivers, lakes, magnificent ancient stupas, monasteries, one-legged rowing fishermen, village life, extraordinary markets and the holiest sights in magical Myanmar.

From $2588 per person, includes private roundtrip airport transfer, local English-speaking guide, 10 full days sightseeing tour including admission, 10 buffet breakfasts, 9 lunches and 2 special dinners, 8 nights superior hotel accommodation, 2 nights onboard Ayeyarwady River Cruise. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 5.27.13 PM

A Tapestry of Adventure in Northern Laos

14 Days / 13 Nights, Golden Triangle – Houeyxay – Nam Kan National Park – Mekong River – Pakbeng – Oudomxay – Muang La – Nong Khiaw – The 100 Waterfalls – Pak Ou Cave – Luang Prabang

For travelers who love adventure and heading off the beaten track.

Relish the adventure of exciting river trips and nature at its most exotic. Trekking and gliding through pristine forests, you will experience wildlife encounters in Black Gibbon territory and find yoruself overnight in an amazing treehouse high up in the jungle canopy. As you venture from the Thai Golden Triangle into the lush and remote mountainous areas of Northern Laos you will encounter intriguing local hill tribes and find there is no experience like this anywhere in the world.

From $3868 per person, includes private roundtrip airport transfer, local English-speaking guide, 12 full days private tour including admission, 13 buffet breakfasts, 10 lunches and 2 dinners, 30 nights superior hotel accommodation. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Laos, Vietnam