Category Archives: Europe

Travel News: New Overwater Bungalows in the Bahamas, and More

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It’s been quite a whirlwind of travel news lately, but hopefully things will clear up soon. In this week’s travel news, we have a few lighthearted and cheery updates to share:

New Ride At Universal Studios Hollywood – The Secret Life of Pets

A new ride based on The Secret Life of Pets films will open at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles on March 27. The new attraction. called The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, it will feature 64 animated figures along with voices from the actors in the films. Riders will be seated within vehicles resembling cardboard boxes, like the box in which Max is found as a puppy. Passengers will travel along a track as if they were stray puppies, heading towards the Pet Adoption event in New York and the happy ending of ‘forever homes’. Visitors can also use the park’s Virtual Line technology which enables them to join the ride based on the next available time.

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Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

Air New Zealand Unveils Beds In Economy Cabin

Good news for long-haul flights to New Zealand! Air New Zealand is planning to install beds in its economy class cabins on long-haul flights. The airline operates some of the world’s longest flights, such as the upcoming Auckland to New York service, which will take up to 17 hours and 40 minutes.

Banyan Tree to Open Resort With Overwater Bungalows In The Bahamas

Luxury resort brand Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts is coming to The Bahamas! The new Banyan Tree Bahamas on the island of Bimini. The new project, designed by renowned architect Chad Oppenheim, will be the first-ever resort in The Bahamas to feature overwater bungalows. The property will consist of 50 keys and 54 luxury residences. All of the hotel suites will come with private terraces and plunge pools, with hotel amenities including a signature Banyan Tree Spa and a series of curated events like music series and oceanside meditation gatherings. 

Reading for the Plane

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Photo by @Lodophotos on Pexels.com

5 Ways To Explore Ireland This Year

Is Gothenburg Europe’s Greenest City

The adoration of Ghent: art, history and flavours in Flanders

Why Georgia is one of the world’s most underrated skiing destinations

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Photo by Rudolf Kirchner on Pexels.com

In other news: 

Group Tours Banned From Amsterdam Red-Light District Windows

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Filed under Asia, Bahamas, Caribbean, Europe

Back in Africa! – Tanzania January 2020

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The golf course at nearby Kilimanjaro Golf and Wildlife Estate is the first 18-hole championship golf course in Tanzania and is up to par with the most demanding international guidelines.

It’s that time of year again, when WIT Founders Christina and John have recently returned from another spectacular trip to Africa. As usual, they escorted a small group of clients for a full two weeks in Tanzania.

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Photo by Hendrik Cornelissen on Pexels.com

They saw the main highlights – Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, and Lake Manya. Organizing their trip was no other than Unique Safaris, one of our all-time choice Africa tour guides.

If you’ve been following our blog for some time, you’d know that Unique Safaris has escorted hundreds of our clients in the past on unforgettable holidays all over Africa. Their services and quality are truly unparalleled in this part of the world.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To book a safari holiday in Africa, call Christina, the specialist on all things to do with African safari. If you’re looking for tips on when and how to go, look no further than Willamette Intl Travel.

Call 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com.

Read on for more highlights of the trip!

Arrival at Kilmanjaro

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As the group arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport, they were met by a representative and driven to the lovely Siringit Villa

From the Masai word for “endless plains,” Siringit is a golf and wellness retreat, overlooking the vast grassland plains and acacia-studded savannas.

This gorgeous luxury villa houses just 6 bedrooms, a truly intimate stay in the African bush. Christina and her group stayed in four of the rooms, tended to by a full staff and personal chef, Chef Axel.

The golf course at nearby Kilimanjaro Golf and Wildlife Estate is the first 18-hole championship golf course in Tanzania and is up to par with the most demanding international guidelines.

Chef Axel Janssens perfected his culinary art in Michael Star restaurants and since 2006 brought his talents to Tanzania. Guests and critics alike rave about his fresh ingredients and creative dishes.

Ngorongoro Crater

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After a full breakfast, it’s off for a drive through Arusha Town to Ngorongoro Crater. They spent around 1.5 days at the lovely Ngorongoro Crater on game drives.

Nicknamed as the 8th wonder of the world and a UNESCo World Heritage Site, the crater is the world’s biggest unbroken caldera. Safaris venture into the crater for a chance to glimpse rare animals like the black rhino. As a protected area, the crater also plays host to buffalo, hippos, blue wildebeest, gazelles, waterbucks, eland, and zebra.

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A full day in the crater (and an overnight nearby!) means that Christina’s group got to stay longer in the day than most other tourists. Day trippers tend to leave around 3pm, which means that most of the crater is less crowded in the later afternoon.

Lion’s Paw

This unique luxury camp is situated close to the crater and where the group spent two nights. Hidden on the slopes of a rainforest, Lion’s Paw offers matchless views and a secluded atmosphere.

As one of the few tented camps in Ngorongoro, many animals visit the camp, especially the buffalos. You can easily see the balcony other animals on the crater floor, like Elephants, Rhinos, Lions, Wildebeest, Zebras and more.

One activity at the camp is the evening Bush fire. After a long day on safari, this evening is all special wine and storytelling under the African starry sky.

Stay Tuned for More African Adventures – next time on the WIT Blog.

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What Are the 6 Top Luxury Cruise Trends for 2020?

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According to one of the world’s leading travel advisors’ organization, Virtuouso, more cruisers are looking for the unique in 2020. The network just revealed its top cruise trends for the year, and January through March is prime booking season, so let’s get started.

The 6 Top Luxury Cruise Trends for 2020

6. The more unusual and faraway, the better

“In 2020, cruisers are choosing itineraries based on destinations and the more unusual and faraway, the better,” said Beth Butzlaff, VP of cruise sales at Virtuoso.

More travelers are beginning to see cruises less as passive, “floating vacations,” and more like dynamic destinations. Time in the port and excursions onshore (and off!) are equally of valuable.

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“Passengers want to enjoy the essence of these places through interactions with local people and culture.”

No longer just focused on the Caribbean or Mediterranean, cruise ships visit ports as diverse as Muscat, Oman; Manta, Ecuador and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

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5. Cruisers are looking for the immersion

This means stays in port, pre nights and post nights, shore excursions that take you to meet local people and cultures. All capped off with complimentary evening performances in port. Seabourn for instance, offers cultural, culinary, adventure and mindful-living shore excursions that go the extra mile.

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4. The Arctic is Hot

Everyone seems to be jumping on the adventurous cruising bandwagon these days. With Arctic cruisers becoming more selective, there are a range of cruise lines that offer colder climes such as Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, and Norway.

Tastes as varied as Crystal, Seabourn, Viking and Ponant are all seeking pure, untouched Arctic destinations with a touch of wildlife and once-in-a-lifetime excursions. 

Silversea offers a private-jet trip so guests can visit the Antarctic without having to traverse the Drake Passage, and Quark Expeditions will feature heli-skiing in Antarctica in 2021.

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3. Conscious Travel

Mindful travel is more important than ever. Cruise lines are responding to cruisers’ growing appreciation of their cruise line being environmentally friendly, and designed to give back to the community they visit.

By 2030, the cruise industry is hoping to reduce its fleet-wide rate of CO² emissions by 40 percent. Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions, Aqua Expeditions and Royal Caribbean International are leading the way on conscious cruising.

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2. Micro-Cruises

In this day and age, sometimes people just can’t find the time off from their jobs. Enter micro-trips, short jaunts for people to enjoy quick 2-5-night cruises. There are dozens of options for weekend Caribbean trips, sailing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, New Orleans, and Galveston — even for the luxury cruising folks.

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1. Americana

Yes, far-flung is in, but that’s not to say those tides closer to home are forgotten. Cruises closer to home–the Mississippi, Pacific Northwest’s Columbia, and St. Lawrence Rivers are all flourishing. Itineraries are offered regularly by American Queen, American Cruise Line and UnCruise.

Have an idea of a luxury cruise or voyage for the family? Call our excellent cruise experts at 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

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Filed under Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruises, Europe, Luxury Travel, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Un-Cruise, UniWorld, Viking Cruises, Windstar Cruises

Travel News: New USS Arizona Memorial Opens Next Month

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Updates from the Travel News vector! Every week we feature the latest in industry and traveler-friendly news. So you can stay up to date with the world of travel. 

In the growing trend of kid-friendly themed hotels, Cartoon Network has just opened up a hotel in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The 165-room hotel sits on a 9-acre property just next to the Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park. Check it out at Cartoon Network Hotel and MORE Cartoon Network Hotel.

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There’s a new USS Arizona Memorial in the States—but it’s not in Hawaii, it’s in Arizona. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), located near Scottsdale, Arizona, is proud to announce the public opening of the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River next month on February 22, 2020. The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River honors the brave individuals that served aboard the USS Arizona that sank on December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Silversea’s Silver Whisper becomes the first cruise to visit all seven continents in one trip! Their Legends of Cruising 2020 embarked on January 6, and will travel into 62 destinations in 32 countries—including Antarctica.

Australia Updates

Learn more of what is and is not impacted by the Australian firesAustralia Fire Impact on Tourism Sites. Also see Swain Destinations re Australia bushfires

Reading for the Flight

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Mythbusting for spa newbies: Sage advice for those planning a journey into the world of wellness

A Uniquely Japanese take on Nostalgia

10 of the best budget spa holidays in eastern Europe

‘It’s Iceland meets New Zealand’ – exploring Europe’s most epic archipelago

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Russia’s Mysterious City of the Dead

Everything We Know About Cairo’s New Grand Egyptian Museum

The Glitzy European City Going Green

Up in the Air

Facial recognition continues to gain traction. The tech has been added to the Global entry program at 15 airports in the US and overseas, allowing for international travellers to re-enter at a much faster pace. Instead of your fingerprint, it’s your face that gets scanned and matched with government databases—like passport or visa photos.

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For more travel expertise, book an appointment with our agents at our Portland office! 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

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Filed under Egypt, Europe, News

Uniworld’s 100th Anniversary Celebration Event SALE

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Uniworld River Cruises is part of The Travel Corporation, which is why they’re celebrating a special 100th Anniversary!

This means a fabulous 30% discount on select 2020 voyages!!

Join a Uniworld cruise in celebration on any of these amazing departures in 2020 –>

30% OFF: 

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Enchanting Danube, 8 days to Budapest to Passau

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Rhine, Moselle & Blissful Baden-Baden, 12 Days from Baden-Baden to Frankfurt

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Gems of Northern Italy, 10 days from Milan to Venice

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Alluring Amsterdam & Vienna, 15 Days from Vienna to Amsterdam

And many more up to 30% off!

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Call Willamette Intl Travel to find out if a Uniworld Cruise is right for you. 

503-224-0180 | inquiry@wittravel.com

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Why Uniworld?

Uniworld was named #1 River Cruise Line for Families by Travel + Leisure readers for several years in a row!

Respondents noted Uniworld’s “beautiful, one of a kind ships,” “excellent food,” and “impeccable service” (it claims the highest staff-to-guest ratio in its class). One reader simply commented, “Uniworld sets the standard.”

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Uniworld offers cruises around the world, on the Danube, Ganges, Mekong, Nile, Yantze and many more!

Their one-of-a-kind ship collection is famous for their excellent food, impeccable service, fantastic family cruises, and experiential lectures into history, culture and geography.

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Filed under Europe

Travel News: Eurail Pass adds Latvia & Estonia

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Rush My Passport. There is a new passport courier service that may serve you time when ordering your passport. RushMyPassport can expedite the delivery of your passport from 1-18 days for a fee. It’s even authorized by the US Customs and Border Protection. Got a trip departure and just noticed your passport is due to expire? Learn more at Rush My Passport.

Gatwick Airport in UK is installing permanent facial-recognition for all passengers in addition to passport checks. The tech is supposed to lead to easier traveling, less stress, and faster boarding, and due to roll out in 2022.

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Photo by Simon Clayton on Pexels.com

In Sustainable News, Norwegian becomes the first major cruise line to eliminate plastic bottles!

American Airlines has become the first airline to introduce the Google Assistant’s Interpreter Mode technology in its airport lounges, namely its Admirals Club lounges at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The tech translates 29 languages, including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Amsterdam is now on the growing list of cities increasing their city taxes. From Jan 1, Amsterdam now asks for an additional 3 euros per person per night, on top fo the current 7% tourist tax.

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Photo by Aleksejs Bergmanis on Pexels.com

The Eurail Pass has added even more countries! As of Jan 2, 2020, the ongoing list of countries now includes Estonia and Latvia. There’s never been a better time to explore Riga and Tallinn! You can also save up on 50% on international ferries such as between Riga and Stockholm, or Tallinn and Helsinki. No seat reservations required! WIT Agents issue various Eurail Passes for your trip to Europe. Ask your agent the details. 

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When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?

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Celebrated Experiences recently published great tips on how to do Ireland right – and when! So we thought we’d share it with our readers.

Does it rain a lot on Ireland?

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The rumours are true, Ireland’s weather has a lot of rain! Though it can be challenging to predict when the rain will fall, remember that the rainiest months are in the winter. It rains about 150-225 days per year.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that when it rains, the rain lasts all day. Showers often come from the Atlantic and quickly across the country. Plus, don’t forget: without rain, you can’t have rainbows!

When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?

Ireland has a mild climate, and the weather changes rapidly. Since it’s an Ireland, the country doesn’t suffer from extreme heat or cold.

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In spring and autumn, temperatures generally range from the high 40s to the low 60s (Fahrenheit).

In summer, temperatures average in the 60s, but it can definitely get warmer. In winter, temperatures rarely drop below freezing.

While these temperatures are “averages,” it’s not uncommon to see two, three or even four seasons in a day!

Celebrated Experiences is one of our recommended tour guides in Europe. They curate vacations to your tastes, with trips to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy. Stay in a castle or a small bed and breakfast. 

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What should I wear to Ireland?

After the weather, the most thing people want to know about is what to wear in Ireland. Since the weather changes a lot and temperatures vary, pack in layers so you can always put on or take off a sweater as needed. Sweaters, pullovers, fleeces and similar items are smart choices. Lightweight jackets or raincoats are a must!

The Irish tend to dress more casually than other European countries. but if you’re dining out in a fine restaurant, it’s more common to wear slacks with a jacket and blouses with skirts or paints.

When visiting religious sites, more conservative dress is appropriate–long pants and covered shoulders.

Call your agent at WIT to learn more about Celebrated Experiences’ excellent customizable itineraries. 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

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