Category Archives: Europe

Travel News: Hurricane Maria Aftermath

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Hurricane Maria Update: The Most Current Island-By-Island Reports

Many of you have favorite destinations in the Caribbean and are concerned how they are faring post-hurricanes. Here’s the latest update for each island. 

Royal Caribbean Says Key West Could Open To Tourism By October 20

According to Royal Caribbean International, Key West’s government expects the destination to be open to tourism by Oct. 20. Meanwhile, though calls are canceled, the line is working to schedule a humantarian stop as part of a Cuba voyage. During that stop Empress of the Seas would deliver much-needed supplies to the people of Key West following Hurricane Irma. Since the city sustained heavy damage in the storm, Royal Caribbean is going to substitute a sea day on Empress of the Seas’ Sept. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 2, Oct. 7 and Oct. 11 Cuba cruises. Passengers who elect not to sail on Empress due to the modified itinerary will receive a 100% future cruise credit to use for a sailing booked within the next year. In addition, Enchantment of the Seas will instead visit Freeport on its Sept. 18, Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9 sailings.

BA Signs Deal To Convert Household Waste Into Jet Fuel

British Airways has entered a partnership to design a series of waste plants that will convert household waste into renewable jet fuel to power its fleet. The venture, in partnership with Velocys, a renewable fuels company, is part of the airline’s plans to develop long-term, sustainable fuel options. The first plant will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes of household waste each year, including diapers, plastic food containers and chocolate bar wrappers, and convert it into clean-burning, sustainable fuels. The plant will produce enough fuel to power all British Airways’ 787 Dreamliner-operated flights from London to San Jose, California and New Orleans, Louisiana for a whole year. This will contribute to the airline’s commitment to reduce net emissions by 50% by 2050. As well as helping the airline industry reduce its carbon emissions this initiative will also significantly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

 

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Join Star Clippers on a special Smithsonian Channel this Sunday!

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WHEN: Sunday, September 24, at 11PM PST. 

Tune into The Smithsonian Channel this Sunday night for a special show on tall ships!

“Mighty Cruise Ships” is an on-going series on six remarkable cruise ships around the world. Whether their breaking glaciers in polar extremes, or exploring remote passages in the Caribbean, witness how different crews work around the clock for their guests.

Sunday’s episode will feature Star Clippers’ first ship, the Royal Clipper. Star Clippers is a unique sailing line with iconic winged sails. The show will look closely at this elegant tall ship and the ports it visits. With 42 sails, 439 feet in length, and 19,000 square feet of open deck, this is certainly one ship to pin to your bucket list.

A Sneak Peak:

The Royal Clipper is the largest and only five-masted full-rigged sailing ship built since 1902. At 227 passengers, its petite and elegant figure can reach a lot of the small ports that big cruise ships simply can’t handle! The interior is as equally stunning, with hidden balconies, three swimming pools, passenger crow’s nest, Captain Nemo Lounge, three-deck atrium, and three-level dining room.

Sail back into time to the ages of grandeur past with Star Clippers. Explore the tiny port of Hvar Island, a favorite getaway for Byzantines and Venetians. Marvel at the architectural jewel that is Dubrovnik. Coast along Montenegro to the unspoiled medieval city of Kotor, and farther south into the colorful harbor of Mykonos.

WIT Agent Nancy has traveled with Star Clippers and is a huge fan. Call her for a chat and some firsthand feedback!

Call our agency at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com to learn more about Star Clipper.

 

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Solo Traveler? Why not try a Solo Cruise in Europe this Fall?

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Calling all Solo Travelers!

Solo Traveling is on the Rise. AmaWaterways is offering independent travelers exceptional savings on 2017 river cruises. Plus special services tailored to your solo adventure.

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Cruises Include:

  • No additional single supplements
  • No baggage hauling
  • Inclusive meals
  • Group excursions
  • Service of an attentive crew that heeds your preferences
  • An invitation to an exclusive Welcome Cocktail Reception
  • A welcoming dining environment made possible by the restaurant’s seating plan
  • An invitation to dine at the Captain’s Table
  • Assistance with planning your ideal shore excursion program during the cruise
  • Safe, convenient and rewarding river cruises the classic rivers of Europe
  • Ships that carry no more than 164 passengers

So what is a single supplement?

This is the cost of traveling single on any tour or cruise. On cruises, the single supplmeent can be up to 200% of the per person cost for two! Throughout the year, we receive notifications from cruise lines and tour operators who offer a special single rate on select trips and departure dates. We’ve seen these as low as 20% higher than the per person cost — and sometimes, as in AmaWaterways, they’re even waived altogether!

If you’re thinking of traveling solo, book select 2017 sailings in Europe or Asia and pay NO single supplement on your cruise fare.

Need more ideas for Solo Travel? Sign up for Willamette Intl Travel’s Solo Adventurer email list today and get discounts in your inbox as they come!

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Sample Cruises

Taste of Bordeaux

Bordeaux to Bordeaux
7-night deluxe cruise accommodation
Outside stateroom (most with French balconies)
Dates of Departure: Oct 26, Nov 2, Nov 9, Nov 16 (wine cruise)

Your cruise begins in Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine in Southwestern France and one of the world’s undisputed wine capitals. You’ll discover stately chateaux, abundant vineyards and stunning scenery as you sail along the Garonne River and its surrounding estuaries, calling upon port cities like Cadillac, Bourg and Libourne. Enjoy tastings of some of the region’s most distinguished wines and visit notable sights before concluding your journey.

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Paris & Normandy

Paris to Paris
7-night deluxe cruise accommodation
Outside stateroom (most with French balconies)
Dates of Departure: Oct 5, Oct 12, Oct 26, Nov 2 (wine cruise), Nov 9

Begin your journey in magical Paris, the “City of Light,” where you will embark your luxurious river cruise ship. Visit the village of Giverny, where Monet lived and worked for 43 years, and Honfleur, a charming French harbor town immortalized by generations of artists. Stroll through Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, then take an unforgettable excursion to the famous Normandy beaches of WWII. Visit Les Andelys, home of Château Gaillard before concluding your trip back in Paris.

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Romantic Danube

Vilshofen to Budapest
7-night deluxe cruise accommodation
Outside stateroom (most with twin balconies)
Dates of Departure: Oct 25, Nov 1, Nov 6, Nov 8, Nov 13 (wine cruise), Nov 15 (wine cruise), Nov 20 (wine cruise), Nov 22

Framed by rolling hillsides, lush vineyards, and medieval castles, the Danube River has captivated musicians, artists and poets throughout the centuries. Travel to legendary destinations on a 7-night cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest. Explore a 2,000 year-old city, savor Wachau Valley wines, and experience the timeless beauty and fascinating history of Vienna and Budapest.

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Enchanting Rhine

Amsterdam to Basel or Basel to Amsterdam
7-night deluxe cruise accommodation
Outside stateroom (most with twin balconies)
From Basel: Oct 14, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 9 (wine cruise), Nov 18.
From Amsterdam: Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 2, Nov 4, Nov 16, Nov 18 (wine cruise)

Begin in Amsterdam, with its legendary canals and distinctive architecture. Visit the majestic cathedral in Cologne, the university town of Heidelberg, medieval Strasbourg and the Black Forest region before concluding your cruise in Basel, Switzerland.

Call your WIT Agent today to arrange your cruise vacation and your solo trip! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

Need more ideas for Solo Travel? Sign up for Willamette Intl Travel’s Solo Adventurer email list today and get discounts in your inbox as they come!

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Travel News: United Announces New Routes to Europe, Iceland

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It’s been a couple of rough weeks as Hurricanes fly in the Caribbean and Florida… follow the latest at Weather

United Announces New Routes To Europe, Including To Iceland   

Yesterday United announced four new transatlantic routes, including two to destinations that they don’t presently serve. United has announced the following routes: Newark to Porto, Newark to Reykjavik, San Francisco to Zurich, Washington to Edinburgh. United will operate a daily Boeing 757-200 flight between Newark and Porto between May 4 and October 4, 2018. United will operate a daily Boeing 757-200 flight between Newark and Reykjavik between May 23 and October 4, 2018. United will operate a daily Boeing 787-8 flight between San Francisco and Zurich between June 7 and October 26, 2018. United will operate a daily Boeing 757-200 flight between Washington and Edinburgh between May 23 and October 4, 2018. United is extending other seasonal routes as well. In addition to the above, United has extended the service windows for a few other transatlantic flights, as follows: Chicago to Edinburgh will operate between May 4 and October 26, 2018. San Francisco to Munich will operate between May 4 and October 26, 2018. Chicago to Dublin will operate between April 9 and October 26, 2018. Washington to Lisbon will operate between April 9 and October 26, 2018. All of these new routes are available for booking now.

Port Everglades Safe

The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port has determined that Port Everglades is safe for all marine traffic, and that the Port can return to normal operations with no restrictions.

Tear Gas Attack At Frankfurt Airport Injures Six Passengers, No Suspects Or Source Identified Yet

A tear gars attack at Frankfurt Airport that left several people injured, respectively treated for breathing problems puzzles German authorities as they currently investigate where the substance came from. The affected check-in area of Terminal 1 has been shut down and passengers evacuated while investigations continued, causing delays and confusion. Witnesses said the check-in area at Terminal 1 was affected. Police said six people were being treated for breathing problems after the incident at the country’s busiest airport. “The cause is unclear, investigations continue,” a spokesperson added. Frankfurt Airport operators said the fire brigade’s operations had ended and found no “harmful substance” in the departures hall. Tear gas at the airport (if it actually was that substance) is obviously highly unusual because it’s not something that an individual casually carries around.

Tourists Urged To Stay Away From Florida Keys

The Florida Keys remains a no-go zone for tourists, who are being urged to stay away for the time being. Some residents have been allowed back to survey the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma but the island chain remains off-limits to visitors. Tourists have been urged to contact their airlines and hotels to change plans for any immediate trips to the Keys. Hotels suffered varying degrees of damage, ranging from minimal to severe, and most will only reopen for business once all power, water and communications are restored, tourism officials said in a statement on the fla-keys.com website. Both Keys airports are operational but are being used solely to bring in relief supplies and workers to help with rebuilding. It is unclear exactly when each area the Keys will be ready to welcome visitors again but Key West city officials said they expect their island will open by the time the annual Fantasy Fest takes place on October 20. Federal Emergency Management Agency said up to one in four homes throughout the islands are feared destroyed and nearly two-thirds suffered significant damage.

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Travel News: Car Rental Companies in the UK Urged to Clean Up Their Act

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Car Rental Companies In The UK Urged To Clean Up Their Act

Consumer watchdog, Which? is calling on the car rental industry to stop slapping on ‘steep, unexpected’ charges to customers. It comes after an investigation into more than 40 car hire contracts from 18 providers found some had ‘unclear terms and conditions, surprise fees and penalties’. Which? has submitted its findings to the Competitions and Markets Authority, saying the industry need to improve and act on these industry practices. Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said only 14% of customers surveyed read through their rental contract in detail. “Few people have the time or inclination to read these lengthy, clunky contracts. Alarmingly, this could lead to consumers being slapped with steep, unexpected charges that can ruin a trip,” he said. Potential charges may include late fees, speeding charges, low fuel costs – or even charge customers who have forgotten to print out their confirmation. Note: WIT Agents only book car rentals with respected and trusted suppliers.

Singapore Airlines To Code Share With Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has added Singapore Airlines as a global partner. On Sept. 27, Alaska’s Mileage Plan and Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer will begin offering reciprocal mileage accrual. Reciprocal redemption will come at a later date. Singapore Airlines already offered loyalty program reciprocity with Virgin America, which Alaska has acquired and will have absorbed by next year. Alaska Airlines and Singapore Airlines also are seeking government approvals for a codeshare partnership, which will enable seamless ticketing and baggage handling through Alaska’s Los Angeles and San Francisco hubs. Other new global partners are Condor Airlines and Icelandair.

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Sydney, Nova Scotia Added To Cruise Itineraries Due To Restrictions In Gulf Of St. Lawrence

The Port of Sydney will have at least five extra cruise ship visits this fall. In what has already been its busiest cruise ship season on record, the Port of Sydney, N.S., can look forward to some unexpected extra business this fall due to new regulations restricting ship speed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The restrictions were brought in recently to protect the endangered Atlantic right whale population. Federal scientists determined whales have suffered injuries, and in some cases, been killed when they were struck by large ocean-going vessels in the Gulf. Reduced speeds for right whales prompted a surcharge for Oceanex Montreal-St. John’s route and the speed restriction has forced some cruise lines to change their itinerary to cancel a stop in the restricted speed zone and go to Sydney instead. Because of the geographical positioning, Sydney is completely outside that protected zone, so ships are looking to go there, away from the speed reduction area. The changes mean five previously unscheduled cruise ship visits will happen this fall including: Norwegian Dawn (Sept. 25 and Oct. 9), Seven Seas Mariner October 12 and Oct. 22), Silver Whisper  (Oct. 18). 2017 will be a record year, with 89 ships having visited.

Tactical Traveler: Joe’s Weekly Briefing for Business Travelers

Tactical Business Traveler Digest from “Business Joe,” including: – The high cost of Harvey for the Houston-hubbed airlines. – Hypocrisy, thy name is Delta’s new Indianapolis-Paris route. – The immediate future of U.S. lodging in one word? Marriott. – Air Berlin chops its U.S. nonstops to Berlin – Amtrak’s “soft” upgrades – and more: http://www.tacticaltraveler.com. 

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Filed under Cruises, Europe, Singapore

How to Book a Train with a Travel Agent

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Truth be told, there’s nothing easier then booking trains with a travel agent — because guess what: they do all the grunt work for you.

We’ve booked more trains than we can count, because there’s nothing like a train to epitomize the essence of old world travel – elegance, luxury, slowness, deliberateness. It takes everything that’s delicious and romantic about travel and wraps it all in a choo-choo package.

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Most of our clients book trains in Europe, whether it’s the Eurostar Paris-London or an overnight from Warsaw to Amsterdam. Switzerland is an ever-popular choice, from the Chocolate Train that transports you to the Maison du Gruyère, to the Glacier Express crossing St. Moritz-Zermatt. From bullet trains like the Shinkansen to steam trains (wait they still make those? Yes!)

Then there are the rarer, specialized trains like the luxury Palace on Wheels in India and the 3-Day Spirit of the Andes in Ecuador, the futuristic Shikishima in Japan and the sleek Rovos Rail from Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.

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At WIT, our agents even book overnight sleepers from Chicago, tickets from Montreal to New York with Amtrak and trans-Canada routes on VIA Rail that go from coast to coast and sometimes bring you head to head with a polar bear (thank you Churchill).

There’s even the Trans-Siberian tours by the MIR Corporation, that speeds through the heart of Siberia and branches out to Eastern Europe, Central Asia and China. Did somebody say the Silk Road?

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So what are you waiting for? Whether you want a train journey in the forefront of your vacation, or it’s merely a luxurious point A to point B situation – there’s only one way to Book a Train with a Travel AgentCall us today! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. All Aboard!

In Portland this December? Join us Dec. 3, 2017 at Castaways, 1900 NW 18th Ave. for our 40th Birthday Bash and meet many of our awesome vendors, including a few who specialize in trains!

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Travel News: Second U.S. Passports Recommended for Outbound Travelers

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Happy Labor Day Weekend!

We know it’s been an intense week, with Hurricane Harvey and other hefty storms. So here are some friendly photos that might help you ease into the holiday weekend.

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Laura & kids from Laura’s Township Tours in Cape Town

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Polar Bears dancing the Waltz near Churchill, Canada

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Elephants at the Ithumba Camp

Head over to our Gallery for more colorful photos of wildlife, in Tanzania. 

(Oh and some news too 🙂 )

Second U.S. Passports Recommended for Outbound Travelers

Second passports are a great option for international travelers. If you’re a frequent international traveler you should have two valid us passports. This way you have one to send, to a consulate so that you can get a visa for a future trip while you use passport #2 to take a more immediate trip. Ask Willamette Intl Travel about your travel visa options. If you book a trip with us, we can help to arrange your visa to China, Russia or elsewhere.

SAS Potential Pilot Strike In September 2017

SAS pilot unions are not happy that the airline has plans to open bases in both London and Marbella to lower costs and plan to strike after negotiation period is over perhaps starting September 11, 2017. SAS has pilot unions in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Last year, SAS pilots did strike in Sweden while Danish and Norwegian ones continued to operate flights. Pilots at Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) haven’t been able to negotiate the airline’s controversial plans to hire and base new pilots, at lower wages and benefits, in England and Spain. They’ve thus resorted to raising old demands, like getting more weekends off, and are warning they’ll walk off the job if their demands aren’t met. The prospect of another major pilots’ strike in Scandinavia means passengers face more severe travel disruption in September. Three unions representing SAS Danish and Norwegian pilots have sent out their first formal warnings of a labour conflict, after talks officially broke down late last week. DN noted that EU regulations, meanwhile, prevent the establishment of the new bases from being part of their negotiations.

Boston Airport Could Start Charging Fliers Arriving, Leaving By Car?

The Associated Press reports the Massachusetts Port Authority has agreed to study imposing a fee on drivers coming and going from Logan International Airport. The operators of Logan International Airport in Boston have agreed to study a plan to charge drivers who pick up or drop off passengers at the terminals in an attempt to cut down on congestion and pollution. The Boston Globe reports that the study is part of an agreement between the Massachusetts Port Authority and the environmental group, the Conservation Law Foundation. In exchange, the foundation will not oppose the agency’s $250 million plan to add 5,000 parking spaces at Logan. Massport officials say more than 20,000 cars per day pull up to Logan’s terminals to either drop someone off or pick someone up. More flights in an out of Boston in the last few years means more pollution. The review is expected to be completed by July 2019.

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Dubrovnik Seeks Solutions To Summer Overcrowding

ETN reports Dubrovnik Port Authority is working with the city’s mayor and public authorities in seeking a solution to overcrowding in the Old City of Dubrovnik, particularly in the summer months. Katarina Varez, marketing and sales manager Dubrovnik Port Authority, told Seatrade Cruise News that following meetings with the mayor and relevant public services, ‘We are looking at several objectives for reducing visitors, with the aim of avoiding port and city congestion, regulating traffic and securing a high quality stay in the destination.’ Varez said these focus on extending the peak cruise season and increasing calls in the shoulder months, better daily distribution of cruise calls and longer cruise ship stays. She said the port has been ‘actively endeavouring to implement a sustainable cruise destination policy in recent years.’ This is in response to a UNESCO mission to the World Heritage-listed city in 2015 which recommended a cap on cruise passengers of no more than 8,000 a day. Almost 750,000 cruise passengers will arrive on 538 ships in 2017, a decrease in numbers for the first time, partly due to this policy, the port confirmed. The mayor of the city told the Telegraph he would lower the passenger cap from 8,000 to 4,000 a day in an attempt to ease the crowds. “Some of the cruise lines will disagree with what I’m saying but my main goal is to ensure quality for tourists and I cannot do it by keeping the situation as it is,’ he told the newspaper. “Any restrictions will not affect those calls already confirmed and the process of reducing cruise visitors is to be implemented gradually.”

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