Category Archives: Europe

Exclusive D-Day Private Package with Context Travel

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2019 promises to be a huge year in terms of D-Day events in France, as this year marks the 75th anniversary of this historic landing. with commemorations all across Normandy, Paris and London. So you can bet that availability for tours this summer are extremely limited!

Which is why we were thrilled when Context Travel, one of the most esteemed guides in the world, announced a special D-Day overnight tour running this year.

If you’re lucky enough to be in France this year and a military history buff, it just might be up your alley.

The tour includes a full two days of insight the historic event from a French perspective, including the daily life of Parisians at the time, with an excursion to the Normandy beaches.

No online booking available! Call your WIT Travel Agent to book – but hurry as spaces are extremely limited! 503-224-0180 or inquiry@wittravel.com.

Subject to availability of Context Travel’s specialist guides. 

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75th ANNIVERSARY D-DAY PRIVATE TOUR PACKAGE

from $2648

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visits both Paris and Normandy
  • The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
  • Juno Beach
  • Omaha Beach
  • Place de la Concorde
  • Champs-Elysées
  • Normandy Beaches
  • École Militaire

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Day One

We’ll pick up our story in the Paris of 1940, exploring what life was like in the city under the four years of Nazi Occupation. Over the course of roughly 3 hours, we’ll learn about individuals like Helen Berr, Marchal Pétain, Sacha Guidry, François Mitterrand, the French Gestapo group Bonny-Lafont, and artists like Chanel and Picasso, using their stories as a window into the Occupation, the French Resistance, and the experiences of Jewish families living in Paris up to the Allied liberation in 1944. Our route will weave from the Left Bank to the Right, visiting sites relevant to the Occupation years like the Champs Elysees (where Hitler’s Grand Tour took place) and the Place de la Concorde. We’ll finish by discussing what happened to German collaborators, the return and reaction of Jewish survivors to their homes in Paris, and how France has since managed the historical weight of this turbulent period.

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Day Two

On our second day, we’ll pivot from a strictly Parisian viewpoint to take in a broader understanding of D-Day itself with a 12-hour excursion to Normandy. Starting in Paris, you’ll take a 2-hour train to meet your Context expert and driver at the Caen station. We’ll vary our particular stops based on the interests of your group, but typical sites along the Normandy beaches and coastline include Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, Normandy American Cemetery, and Arromanches (where we’ll discuss Operation Overlord). In the company of your expert, you’ll witness firsthand the cliffs, beaches, and fortifications that were the site of the greatest amphibious landing in history as well as unspeakable losses on both sides.

Those venturing back to Paris will follow the footsteps of Allied soldiers as they officially reclaimed the French capital in August 1944, a mere 10 weeks after the D-Day landings. Regardless of your next destination, our two days examining the decisive impact of D-Day on France will leave us with a greater understanding of World War II in Europe as a whole.

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More posts with Context Travel: 

Japan for Families

London Walking Tours with Context Travel

Stockholm with Context Travel

Vatican After-Hours

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Travel News: Archaeological Discovery In Egypt To Boost Tourism

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Archaeological Discovery In Egypt To Boost Tourism

Travelwirenews reports in a major archaeological discovery, Egypt on Saturday unveiled the tomb of a Fifth Dynasty official adorned with colourful reliefs and well preserved inscriptions. The tomb, near Saqqara, a vast necropolis south of Cairo, belongs to a senior official named Khuwy who is believed to have been a nobleman during the Fifth Dynasty, which ruled over Egypt about 4300 years ago. “The L-shaped Khuwy tomb starts with a small corridor heading downwards into an antechamber and from there a larger chamber with painted reliefs depicting the tomb owner seated at an offerings table,” said Mohamed Megahed, the excavation team’s head, in an antiquities ministry statement. Flanked by dozens of ambassadors, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enani said the tomb was discovered last month. It is mostly made of white limestone bricks. Ornate paintings boast a special green resin throughout and oils used in the burial process, the ministry said. The tomb’s north wall indicates that its design was inspired by the architectural blueprint of the dynasty’s royal pyramids, the statement added. The excavation team has unearthed several tombs related to the Fifth Dynasty. Archaeologists recently found an inscription on a granite column dedicated to Queen Setibhor, who is believed to have been the wife of King Djedkare Isesis, the eighth and penultimate king of the dynasty. Egypt has in recent years sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism that took a hit from the turmoil that followed its 2011 uprising.

California Plans Ban On Single-Use Toiletry Bottles In Guest Bedrooms

Travelmole reports California could become one of the first places where hotels are banned from providing single-use mini plastic toiletry bottles in guest bedrooms. The US state’s lawmakers have proposed a bill to ban single-use plastic bottles in all guest accommodation to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. Instead, hotels would have to use re-fillable bulk dispensers. If the law is passed, it would take effect in 2023 and would ban plastic bottles under 12 ounces. “By not offering small bottles of personal care products, hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments can promote more sustainable business,” said assembly member Ash Kalra.

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Paris Restaurants To Charge Cancellation Fees & Fines To No-Show Clients 

RT .com reports cafes and restaurants in the French capital have opted to follow the lead of hotels and guest-houses, and start charging their customers with cash penalties for late cancellation of reservations or failing to appear in time. Hundreds of Paris eateries are currently adopting the system that is widely used in the hotel industry, the Times reports. Restaurants oblige clientele to leave details of their credit cards while making reservations, with big-name places warning customers over a potential charge in case of a no-show. The measure is reportedly connected to losses the restaurants have to suffer when people make several reservations for the same day and then cancel at least one of them. “Even in great restaurants, customers cancel without having the slightest idea of the economic impact of their action,” the managing director of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, an association of top restaurants Nicolas Chatenier told the media. Restaurants reportedly have to follow the trend due to French gastronomical habits, in particular, fondness for lengthy meals. 

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Singapore Changi Airport Opens Mega Mall

Changi airport on Wednesday opened a $1.7 billion retail and nature-themed complex that aims to give it a competitive edge as an air hub in the region. The 135,700 square meter, 10-story complex, named the Jewel Changi Airport, offers 280 retail and food outlets as well as a hotel and is linked to Changi’s Terminals 1, 2 and 3. It is more than just a shopping mall as it houses the world’s largest man-made indoor waterfall, surrounded by a lush artificially created rainforest to give shoppers a unique combination of both retail experience and leisure. Standing 40 meters tall, the gigantic circular water feature has become the main attraction for visitors with its water plunging from a height of about seven stories from an oculus in the huge glass roof of the building. The climate around the waterfall is controlled to appear cool and misty. The complex, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, is aimed at turning the airport into a tourist destination and attracting more transit visitors. Taking advantage of Singapore’s abundant rainfall all-year round, the waterfall uses rainwater that has been funneled into it, with the water also diverted for irrigation of indoor plants. Changi airport was voted by air travelers as the world’s best airport for the seventh consecutive year this year, with Tokyo’s Haneda airport in second place and South Korea’s Incheon airport coming third. It is the world’s seventh busiest airport for international traffic, with a record 65.6 million passengers passing through last year.

More information here: www.Jewelchangiairport.com

Other attractions at the Jewel include: 

  • It will house SIN’s largest indoor garden; Forest Valley, Canopy Park, light and sound show at the Rain Vortex which is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall (5 stories)
  • Forest Valley is a 5-story garden, made up of around 3000 trees and palms with plant species from Australia, Brazil, China, Malaysia, Thailand, and US
  • Canopy Park is located at the top level of the complex. Spanning 14,000 sqm (approx.. 11 Olympic-size pools), it is the home of the play attractions, a topiary garden and all-day dining options set within a/c comfort.
  • There are 2 mazes, a hedge maze and a mind0boggling mirror maze — And if that’s not enough, there is a walking net, suspended over a 25meter void. 

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The 7 Most Instagrammable Bits of Uganda

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Have you been following WIT Agent Nancy’s adventures in Uganda on the blog? Africa Wild Explorations has some jaw-dropping itineraries that get you up close to nature, “silverback” mountain gorillas – all at an affordable price.

For our penultimate post on Uganda, here are the most Instagrammable places in the country. See you all in Uganda! What are you waiting for? 😉

  1. Queen Elizabeth National Park

2. Crater Lakes

3. The Equator (where’s your photo Nancy?) 😉

4. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

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5. Kibale Forest National Park

6. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

7. The Tree-Climbing Lions at Queen Elizabeth National Park

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Travel News: 6% More US Citizens Traveled Outside The Country In 2018

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6% More US Citizens Traveled Outside The Country In 2018
Skift reports more Americans traveled outside the United States than ever before last year, spurred by a growing economy, favorable exchange rates, and high consumer confidence. According to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office, the number of US citizens traveling outside the country for business and leisure jumped by 6% last year, reaching a total of 93 million. Of those, 45% or 41.8 million flew to overseas destinations, 9% more than in 2018. Europe had the highest numbers and saw the biggest gain, up more than 12%, though the data also includes travelers going through Europe to other destinations. Other big gains came from travelers heading to Oceania, South America, and Asia. 

Isla Bella Beach Resort Opens In Marathon Key
Caribbean News Digital reports the Florida Keys’ highly anticipated Isla Bella Beach Resort officially opened to guests Monday. The five-star oceanfront resort is the first full-service luxury hotel in Marathon and the largest newly built private waterfront hotel in the Keys. Located at the entryway of the iconic Seven Mile Bridge, Isla Bella Beach Resort is two hours from Miami and just an hour from Key West. Highlights include 199 rooms and suites ranging from one to five bedrooms, one mile of private beach, five swimming pools, four dining outlets and more than 24,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Isla Bella Beach Resort also features convenient on-site water sports, a fishing pier and a marina. A full-service spa, fitness center and a marketplace retail and cafe concept will be added in May. The 4,000-square-foot spa will feature a relaxation room along with five dedicated treatment rooms, a lounge, couples massage room, steam room and a spa garden. The Spiaggia Suite will offer guests hair treatments, makeup application and other services while the 1,000-square-foot fitness center will boast state-of-the-art Peloton treadmills and bicycles in addition to free weights and other equipment. Activities and experiences available to guests will include complimentary kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling and fishing as well as games such as badminton, bocce, croquet, giant chess, cornhole and volleyball, among others.

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One-hour London-New York Flights Move A Step Closer To Reality
Travelmole reports hypersonic jet travel has become a step closer to reality after UK researchers completed a milestone test in its plan to operate an aircraft capable of flying London-New York in under an hour. Reaction Engines has tested the aircraft at simulated speeds of Mach 3.3, three times the speed of sound, using ‘pre-cooler’ technology that allows the aircraft to travel at high speed without causing the engine to melt. The next stage will see the technology tested at Mach 5.5 (4,200 mph). At top speed, it could lead to superfast transatlantic flights, with aircraft traveling at up to Mach 25, or 25 times the speed of sound. That is the equivalent of flying London-New York in under an hour. Reaction Engines, based in Oxfordshire, built a testing facility on the ground in Colorado and used a General Electric J79 turbojet engine to replicate the conditions that the vehicle will experience at hypersonic speeds. The firm hopes to make a reusable vehicle that would combine the fuel efficiency of a jet engine with the power and speed of a rocket. The pre-cooler is designed to lower the temperature of compressed air rushing through an engine from more than 1,000C to room temperature in one-twentieth of a second, according to The Times. The new experimental engine would be called Sabre and would work like an ‘air-breathing rocket engine’. From take-off to Mach 5.5, the Sabre would draw oxygen from the atmosphere where it would be ignited in a rocket combustion chamber alongside stored liquid hydrogen. It would then switch to burning liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen from onboard fuel tanks, allowing it to reach 25 times the speed of sound to enter space. Mark Thomas, the Reaction Engines chief executive, told The Times: “If you can pull it off, it’s a game changer. It kicks conventional rocket engines into touch.”

Aegean Airlines Named ‘Best Regional Airline in Europe’ 2019
Greece’s Aegean Airlines has been named “‘Best Regional Airline in Europe” for 2019 at the Traveler’s Choice Awards for Airlines, according to travel website TripAdvisor. Aegean Airlines is also named Best Regional Business Class Europe and Best Airline in Greece for 2019. Aegean, the leading airline in Greece and member of the Star Alliance, carried 14 million passengers in 2018. The Greek airline had also received the same award in the 2018 Traveler’s Choice Awards for Airlines. It was also honored with the Skytrax World Airline award, as the best European Regional Airline for 2018.

Aloha! Hawaiian Airlines’ Debuts Boston To Honolulu Flights As Longest Route Between States

USA TODAY reports the airline’s Flight 90 made history Friday as the country’s longest interstate route, traveling from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) on Thursday and arriving at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) on Friday morning. Hawaiian Airlines announced the new route in September. Boston was the biggest US market that didn’t have nonstop service to Hawaii before today. Going west, from Boston to Honolulu, the flight runs approximately 11.5 hours, and Honolulu to Boston runs about 10 hours. Travelers will fly 5,095 miles.

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Great Lakes May Be The Next Cruise Ship Hot Spot 

Travel+Leisure reports cruise ship operators on the Great Lakes are adding trips this season, and lines that left the destination are returning. According to the Chicago Tribune, industry experts are predicting that companies who have never traveled the Great Lakes area will be coming on board. Routes on the Great Lakes include an eight-day loop around Lake Michigan that begins and ends in Chicago, a 10-day trip between Toronto and Chicago, and a 16-day trip from Chicago to New York City on Great American Waterways passes through four Great Lakes and the Erie Canal. Many of the ships cater to fewer than 100 passengers, keeping the experience intimate. Blount Small Ship Adventures Pearl Seas Cruises, and Victory Cruise Lines are all either expanding their routes or adding new vessels. Ponant, a French luxury cruise line that hasn’t sailed the Great Lakes in a decade, is returning this season alongside the German-based Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. New to the scene is the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which will start cruising in early 2020 and has expressed plans to eventually expand its fleet to the area. In addition, there are rumors that cruise giant Viking Cruises is considering the Great Lakes.

TSA’s New 3D Scanners Will Let Travelers Keep Laptops In Carry-On Bags

Open Jaw reports the new machines, with more advanced technology to detect explosives and other threats, will be phased into select airports this summer. New 3D scanners coming to airports across the country will allow travelers to keep laptops, liquids and other materials in their carry-on bags for inspection. The Transportation Security The roll-out will continue into next year. TSA began testing the 3D scanners at airports in Phoenix and Boston in June 2017. Since then, the machines have been expanded to 12 more locations. “These state-of-the-art 3D scanners will enable our screening officers to detect explosives and other threats to commercial aviation with unprecedented precision,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “The nation’s transportation systems are now better off, more secure, as a result of their [Congress’] work on funding this technology.” While the current 2D scanners only provide a few images from certain angles, the new machines use computed tomography (CT) to take hundreds of images per second with a spinning X-ray camera, building an interactive image that can be rotated and analyzed from 360 degrees by screening staff.

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Travel News: Eat With The Fishes At Norway’s New Underwater Restaurant

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Eat With The Fishes At Norway’s New Underwater Restaurant
Open Jaw reports a new restaurant with what’s being billed as Europe’s first underwater dining room will soon open on the southern tip of Norway. The semi-submerged, aptly named Under is housed in a 112-foot long rectangular building, one end of which sits on the seabed, 18 feet below the surface of the North Atlantic.
The other, above ground end looks kind of like an intermediate species dragging itself from the sea on an evolution chart or, as The Guardian more picturesquely puts it, a “whale resting its head on the rocky shore.” Diners descend through a steadily darkening interior, decorated with earth-toned wood and metal, pink and coral textiles, and finally rich greens and blues, before reaching the submerged dining room, where 40 guests are seated in front of a 36-foot wide, 11-foot high window looking out on the aquatic goings-on. The menu will showcase locally grown produce and locally caught seafood, such as stone crab, rugose squat lobster, limpets, clams, and sea cucumbers. Try to ignore the horrified looks of the fish swimming by the window as you eat their neighbors. Unusual and underappreciated ingredients will be welcome in the kitchen. A dessert made with two types of algae is promised. Located in southern Norway’s forested, beachy, and often stormy Lindesnes region, Under opens to the public on April 2, but we couldn’t find an available reservation until September, so book well in advance.

List Of New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Countries modified
In October, requirements will change for people from several nations planning to visit New Zealand. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETV) along with an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy will be introduced. The visa waiver applies if visitors intend on staying for three months or less.  Here’s a list of New Zealand visa waiver countries but who will need to get the ETV: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia (citizens only), Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA, Uruguay, Vatican City.

Cuba Set To Build Over 3,800 Guestrooms In 2019
Open Jaw reports as part of an ambitious Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) development plan through 2030, this year around 3,805 hotel rooms should be completed across Cuba, with another 5,000 to be renovated and improved. Currently, according to José R. Daniel Alonso, Mintur’s general director of development, investment by Cuban state enterprises and international companies are geared towards expanding lodging capacity. Alonso said, “We are doing so in important tourist poles like Varadero, where there is investment by the Almest furniture enterprise and Mintur’s real estate company, Inmotur. In this case, we can mention the Oasis and Varadero Internacional hotels. Meanwhile, in this destination, other investment projects are in the preparation stage.” New facilities are being built in the center of the country. For creating diverse range of tourist options across the island and taking advantage of its natural potential, Cuban investments are also being made for new hotels on the Ramón Peninsula and in Guardalavaca, Holguín. Also, the development of a tourist pole on Camagüey’s Cayo Cruz is planned by the Ministry for reaching the capacity projected for 2030. Another issue that needs to be addressed is connectivity. The Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry of Communications, is carrying out a national development plan for getting hundred percent Wi-Fi coverage in all tourist facilities.

 

This Is The Best Cruise Destination In The World
Travel+Leisure reports if you’re looking for the ultimate cruise destination, one place just took the top spot in the cruise industry’s Wave Awards: Greece. The U.K.-based awards recognize the best of the cruise industry, from the best locations to the best operators, and winners are decided by a combination of industry judges and public vote. The judges named Greece as the best destination, both as a port and a country, for 2019. Greece has more than 2,000 islands each offering their own charms and attractions, and the country’s ideal climate makes cruising possible for most of the year. Wave Awards representatives highlighted the picturesque seascapes and many cruise options, including smaller ships that visit quieter islands, as a major benefit. Explore lesser-known gems like Giola, a natural pool located on the island of Thassos. Greece’s islands are a longtime favorite, particularly with Travel + Leisure readers. The island of Páros was named the best island to visit in Europe and one of the best islands in the world in the World’s Best Awards. The country’s tourism sector is growing at a record place, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. In the public vote, Greece came in second, just behind Barbados. Barbados also has a lot to offer, from the pristine coastline and 70 miles of beach to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bridgetown.

 

A Wisconsin Cruise Ship Passenger Faces Years In Cayman Islands prison After A Gun Was Found In Her Luggage
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Carol Ann McNeill-Skorupan’s ship had anchored at George Town in the Cayman Islands last month, the first stop on a nine-night Caribbean cruise that departed from Florida. Once in port on Feb. 3, the 68-year-old Madison, Wisconsin, woman got a notice that her third piece of luggage, which hadn’t arrived with her flight from Wisconsin to Fort Lauderdale, had been found and flown down to the George Town airport. But when McNeill-Skorupan went to pick it up, her vacation turned into an expensive lesson in how American gun rights don’t always travel well, and that could land her in a foreign prison. Inside that third bag, X-rays showed, was a .25 caliber handgun and six rounds of ammunition. Despite her claim of a Wisconsin concealed carry permit, in the Caymans, it was considered illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm. Conviction carries a mandatory seven-year prison term upon a guilty plea, 10 years if convicted at trial, unless the court finds “exceptional circumstances.” She’s among dozens of Americans caught up in the Cayman Islands’ strict enforcement of gun laws, but one of only two facing trial and the risk of significant incarceration. According to reports in the Cayman Compass, the Cayman Islands’ main news outlet, McNeill-Skorupan spent three nights in jail before her release on $10,000 bail and the surrender of her passport. She was living in a hotel with an evening curfew while awaiting trial next month. McNeill-Skorupan didn’t ask that Delta forward the bag, her lawyer told the court, and had directed that it should be left with a friend in Florida, Meadors said. A judge later granted her permission to travel, and Meadors said she’s back in Madison. He said he has been tracking her case because it could impact his own and has been in touch with people who have spoken with her. Meadors, 54, who is in Florida awaiting a hearing in May, is in bigger trouble. He has already pleaded guilty to bringing his 9mm handgun to the Caymans, where he was building a multi-million dollar retirement home, but was allowed to return to Florida for medical treatment. It’s unclear if McNeill-Skorupan was planning to bring the gun on her cruise since Celebrity Cruises bans passengers from taking firearms on board. Guns and ammunition are strictly regulated in the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica, as several other visitors have learned recently.

 

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Travel News: Wow Air, Viking Sky

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Disney Doing Away With Smoking Areas, Oversized Strollers

Orlando Sentinel reports Disney announced Thursday that it will be removing all smoking areas from theme parks and banning oversized strollers. On May 1, Disney is going smoke-free. Smoking will be prohibited in all parks, but designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances of the parks, and in designated areas at Disney Springs and at Disney resort hotels. Also, starting on May 1, strollers will have to be no wider than 31 inches, which is a reduction from the current 36-inch limit.

Viking Sky Cruise Ship Engines Failed Because Of Low Oil Levels,

USA TODAY reports Norwegian authorities are investigating why the Viking Sky cruise ship sailed despite a weather warning, leading to engine failure, a mayday call, and air evacuations. The Viking Sky cruise ship that had to be evacuated off the coast of Norway over the weekend had low oil levels that led to engine failure, according to the Norwegian Maritime Authority, which has been investigating the incident.

Norwegian officials opened an investigation into the incident Monday. The NMA indicated in a press release that while oil in the tanks was relatively low, it was within set limits. But as the ship crossed rocky seas, movement of oil in the tanks triggered an alarm. Norwegian media reported gusts up to 43 mph and waves over 26 feet. “The heavy seas in Hustadvika probably caused movements in the tanks so large that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped,” Alvestad said. “This triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which in turn shortly thereafter caused an automatic shutdown of the engines.”

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Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport Has Banned Irregular-Shaped Bags

New rules for checking in bags of irregular shape and size have come into effect at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport from Monday, March 25, 2019.

The new rules are aimed at preventing blockages and breakdowns in the baggage handling system caused by bags that do not have any flat surfaces or that have long straps or grips as per the International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines. The new rules have been agreed to after extensive consultations with the Airline Operators Committee (AOC) and other bodies representing airlines. Effective, March 25, 2019, only regular-shaped bags will be allowed at check-in counters; The bags must have at least one flat surface to be accepted on the check-in system; Round or irregular-shaped bags will not be allowed at check-in counters; Bags with longs straps will not be allowed at check-in counters. Passengers trying to check-in bags that do not conform to these rules will be offered the option of having their baggage wrapped with one flat side at the airport approved baggage wrapping stations.

United Airlines Announced It Will Be The First Airline To Offer Nonbinary Gender Options For Customers To Book Flights

The airline said the decision was made to “lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity.” United Airlines announced Friday that it has become the first US airline to allow customers to have the option to book flights with a nonbinary gender prefix and title, “Mx.” In a press release shared by the company, United said customers “now have the ability to identify themselves as M(male), F(female), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified), corresponding with what is indicated on their passports or identification.” The airline said the decision was made to “lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity” and “to exhibit our care for” its customers. As part of its security screenings, federal Transportation Security Administration regulations require all flying passengers to disclose their gender identity prior to their flight, but TSA agents will accept any gender identification as long as it’s consistent with what’s listed on the flyer’s government-issued ID. Several states now offer IDs that allow people to identify as something other than male or female.

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Amsterdam Bans Red Light District Tours, Sold As Shore Excursion On Cruises

Cruise Critic reports Amsterdam is banning all tours of its Red Light District as part of an ongoing effort to address tourist congestion and to show respect for the city’s sex workers. Tours of the city’s Red Light District are popular excursions offered by many cruise lines, oceangoing and river, as well as independent tour operators. Each week, more than 1,000 guided tour groups pass through Oudekerksplein, the Red Light District’s main square, according to the city. During peak hours, between 11 a.m. and noon, and 7 and 8 p.m, more than 25 groups routinely crowd the area, disturbing businesses, and residents. The implementation will be gradual: As of April 1, guides will be forced to end tours by 7 p.m. as opposed to 11 p.m. The full ban goes into effect on January 1, 2020. “We are banning tours that take visitors along sex workers’ windows, not only because we want to prevent overcrowding in the Red Light District, but also because it is not respectful to sex workers,” Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said in a statement. “It is outdated to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction.” 

Wow Air Collapses

Wow Air has officially ceased operations after it failed to secure a rescue deal. The cash-strapped airline had already canceled some flights earlier this week after a potential rescue deal with rival Icelandair fell through for a second time. Icelandair had reopened talks with Wow after the low-cost carrier lost the support of a potential US financial backer last week, but discussions broke down over the weekend. Icelandair announced on Sunday that ‘its possible involvement with Wow Air’s operations, as announced on 20 March 2019, will not materialize’. Chief executive of Icelandair Group Bogi Nils Bogason added: “The financial position and operations are such that we did not see any reason to continue.” The airline, which operates low-cost flights from the UK to Reykjavik and onwards to the US and Canada, has been scrapping unprofitable routes since late last year. It is telling passengers to rebook with other airlines and says these might be offering special ‘rescue’ fares. “Passengers whose ticket was paid with a credit card are advised to contact their credit card company to check whether a refund of the ticket cost will be issued. Those passengers are advised to contact their travel agent to arrange an alternative flight. “Passengers who may have bought travel protection, or those passengers whose credit card terms may include such protection, may be entitled to claim compensation and assistance due to delays or travel disruption. 

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Uganda’s Kibale Forest National Park with Africa Wild Explorations

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This April, WIT Agent Nancy is embarking on an incredible trip to Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations. Uganda is THE destination for mountain gorillas. But for her first stop, she’ll spend a full day at Kibale Forest National Park, one of the best safari destinations in Africa for chimpanzee tracking. 

Read on to follow in her (upcoming) footsteps!

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After breakfast, her guides will escort her by vehicle through lush highlands to the West, through tea, coffee and banana plantations. Uganda grows more bananas than any other country in Africa! They’ll also have unobstructed views of the Mountains of the Moon! Peaking at 5,109 Meters (16,762 ft!), the Rwenzori Mountain Range can certainly call itself one of the most iconic summits in the world with pride.

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KIBALE RAINFOREST NATIONAL PARK

The national park is a paradise for primates, home to 13+ different species of primates and countless other mammals, butterflies, and birds. The flora in the park ranges from wet tropical forest to dry tropical forest, and on to woodland and savanna along the rift valley floor.

The African jungle has the greatest variety and concentration of primate species found anywhere on the continent. It’s certainly a happy habitat to the parks 1,400+ chimpanzees, like the uncommon I’Hoest’s monkey, endangered red colobus, black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey, bush baby and potto.

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PRIMATE LODGE

During her visit to the rainforest, Nancy will be staying at the Primate Lodge Kibale. Tucked in right at the heart of the park, the lodge is at the doorstep of the Chimpanzee Habituation, and the point from which the Chimpanzee tracking excursion departs. From the comfort of your Luxury Cottage, you can unwind and listen to the chattering of the red-tailed monkeys in the dense branches.

Eco-Lodge, Eco-Travel!

Primate Lodge’s commitment to Sustainable Tourism matches the surrounding environment. The lodge was constructed with local materials, draws on solar-powered electricity, and the lodge’s economy contributes to the livelihood of many families in surrounding communities.

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LUXURY COTTAGES

The lodge keeps nine spacious and ensuite luxury cottages, with eco-friendly habits, a rustic ambiance, spacious verandas, and plenty of cozy room.  The luxury cottages are secluded and furnished in a rustic African interior.

Made of local brick and thatched grass, the cottages have been specially designed to enjoy the warmth of the tropical sun rays yet without oppressive heat or cold. Beautiful and artistic wall hangings, soft colored full length drapes on locally made rails as well as soft handwoven jute and wool rugs adorning the classic wooden floor finish this 30m² suite secluded in its corner of the forest for maximum privacy and comfort.

STANDARD COTTAGES

There are also seven standard cottages. These are newly refurbished, private and ensuite with a cozy bedroom and bathroom. Each room also enjoys beautiful views of the surrounding forest vegetation from the wide glass windows and doors as well as from the spacious veranda over-looking the rain-forest

FAMILY COTTAGE

Traveling with your family? No problem. L’hoest Cottage and Colobus Cottages are adjoining, with individual bathrooms and an interconnecting door.

HONEYMOON COTTAGE

The popular double storied ‘Elephant Banda’ comprises an upstairs bedroom which extends out over a large, elevated thatched wooden deck/veranda which too seems to extend right into the forest canopy. The deck is very popular for evening relaxation with a drink as you soak in the sunrays sipping through the tall forest trees. It is also an ideal spot for private room-service dining, either breakfast or lunch in the company of Black and White Colobus Monkeys or Red Colobus Monkeys that frequent the surrounding trees! It can also be amazing for candlelit dinner for your special night. The room also comes with a giant 7×7 King Size Bed. Not surprisingly, this cottage is especially popular with honeymooners or those celebrating anniversaries!

Stay Tuned to Next Week to hear of Nancy’s adventures in Queen Elizabeth National Park and cruising on the Kazinga Channel — and of course, the gorillas!

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