Travel News of the Week

Have a Happy and Safe Memorial Day Weekend Everyone!

— Your Friends at Willamette Intl Travel


Royal Orders Oasis Five, Two More Ships for Celebrity 

Yesterday Royal Caribbean Cruises announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with STX France to build a fifth Oasis-class ship for delivery in the Spring of 2021, and two additional Edge-class ships scheduled for delivery in the Fall of each of 2021 and 2022, according to a statement released late on Wednesday. Edge-class is one of the most highly anticipated new projects, following the high bar of Modern Luxury design set by its predecessor, the Solstice-class. The line already has two Edge vessels on order, the first coming in 2018 and the second in 2020. Each will carry 2,900 passengers. 

Experimental TSA Screening Lanes Open For The First Time

The TSA is launching an experiment at the world’s busiest airport. Today, Wednesday, TSA officials will be showing CNN their new passenger screening lanes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, aimed at speeding up a security system that many are finding insufferable. Bins with suspicious bags are automatically rerouted to a separate conveyor belt to keep the lanes moving. Baggage bins automatically recirculate after they move through the security machine, saving staff time. The lanes include areas where passengers can take off shoes at their own pace, which will speed up lanes. The TSA has been talking about these ideas for years, said Chad Wolf, a former TSA assistant administrator. 

Switzerland To Open The World’s Longest Train Tunnel

Seventeen years ago saw the first blasting in the historic heartland of Switzerland of the longest train tunnel in the world. Wednesday 1 June 2016 will see the festive opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, adding a further pioneering attraction to the world’s densest public transport network. The tunnel will bring Switzerland’s neighboring countries, regions and cities north and south of the Alps closer together. Travel by train will be quicker, easier and more convenient and the tunnel will be the longest and the deepest in the world. The tunnel extends for 57 kilometres to a depth of up to 2300 meters below the Gotthard massif. This flagship project for efficient and sustainable transportation on the north-south axis will permit high-speed travel through the Alps in only 17 minutes. The Gotthard Base Tunnel enters into regular operation on 11 December 2016. The dual-track tunnel will enable passengers from near and far to spend more time discovering the many delights of Switzerland north and south of the Gotthard.

Airlines To Stop Flying Over Middle East War Zones

New routes will soon open up around conflict zones for flights across the Middle East in an aim to redesign and improve the region’s airspace. With crises raging in Syria and Iraq, commercial flights have been affected with longer routes and heavier traffic on those routes to avoid war-zones. Although most flights pass over Iran, aviation experts said a route over Iraq, taking planes further away from the conflict zones, would be safer and cheaper to fly. IATA has been working over the past year and a half addressing these ideas to find out what requirement they need to make that transition comfortable. 

Royal Caribbean International Could Move to Cuba Cruise Market This Summer 

During a press conference onboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas’ inaugural sailing President and CEO Michael Bayley indicated that the cruise line could move into the Cuban market as early as late July. The Empress of the Seas is currently going through an refit that will be finished by May 28. It would not be going to Cuba until at least the end of July and needs permission from the Cuban government before it can set sail to Cuba. 

Queen Mary’s Celebrates 80th Anniversary 

The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage May 27, 1936. The 80th anniversary of that event will be celebrated on the ship with media and public events planned. Government and civic leaders will join Randolph Churchill in recognizing the Maiden Voyage Anniversary. Sir Winston Churchill had a life-long connection to the Queen Mary. He was there at her launch and maiden sailing; used the ship as his ‘war-room’ at sea; traveled aboard in peacetime. In recognition of that relationship, his great-grandson will open a new Churchill paintings exhibition on the ship. The collection includes paintings by Sir Winston Churchill and personal mementoes. Loaned by the Churchill family and National Churchill Museum, the priceless collection will be presented in a new gallery space. In recognition of the 80th Anniversary, public admission to the ship will be complimentary, Friday – May 27. 

New Private Jet Outfitted With Gigantic Windows And Skylights 

Aerospace company Embraer has figured out a way to make onboard sky-gazing options much more fabulous, Its new Lineage 1000 model private jet can be made with not only loads of skylights, but also with windows that are as large as doors. Actually, what makes the latter possible is simply replacing doors with airplane-grade glass. Those who prefer to sleep while in the air need not worry. The gloriously large portals to the outside world come outfitted with shades. Other amenities on the roughly $53 million jet include a shower, well-appointed kitchen, and separate sleeping chambers. See it here: Its Beautiful

Volcano Ash Covers Costa Rica Towns

A volcano has erupted in central Costa Rica, belching smoke and ash up to 9,840 ft into the air. The eruption is believed to be the strongest in the past six years. Hundreds of people have gone to hospital, complaining of breathing difficulties and skin problems. Some schools were shut and some flights into the country cancelled or diverted. People in the capital San Jose, about 30 miles)west of the Turrialba volcano, said layers of ash had coated buildings and cars and there was a fierce smell of sulphur. Costa Rica’s National Emergencies Commission has advised people to wear masks and tight clothing to protect their lungs and skin. However, both San Jose and Liberia airports are open and fully operating.

LAX International Airport To Get A 5.5 Billion Improvement Project 

Currently a $14 billion overhaul is underway at Los Angeles International Airport, the seventh-busiest airport in the world. Construction starts next year on the Landside Access Modernization Program portion, which is a massive $5.5 billion project that includes a people mover and consolidated rental car facility and will take six years to complete. For the first time in 30 years, LAX terminals are being remodeled. Concourses, gates, check-in areas and baggage claim are being made over from top to bottom. It will include an elevated people mover more than two miles long. Passengers will be whisked to pick up and drop off spots, a metro station and a new rent-a-car facility. LAX just finished completely overhauling the Tom Bradley International Terminal which took them almost a decade. 

Greece Is Looking At New Tourism Taxes

Greece Tourism contributes 25% to the country’s GDP. The Greek administration is proposing tax raises and saving programs in order to meet the designated savings target of 5.4 billion Euro set by its creditors. Greece can only expect further financial aid if it successfully arranges these savings. The prices for overnight stays, drinks, museum fees, and other tourism-related products and services are going to increase when the taxes become effective. Studies show that roughly 40% of hotels and pensions in Greece struggle to make ends meet. 

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