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. 

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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. 

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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.  

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