Category Archives: North America

Travel News: The Time is Now to Check Your Passport

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Get your passport now
It’s now the busy season for passports. Take the time, at least 9 weeks before your departure date), to look at your passport and make certain that it is valid for six months past your return flight to the US. The US Passport offices are processing a multitude of renewals the closer we get to Spring and Summer peak travel seasons. 
 
Brazil Introduces e-Visa
The Brazilian Government has announced a new e-Visa for USA citizens for Tourist, Business, Transit and Artistic or Sports Activities travel purposes. The new visa type will be valid for 2 years, multi-entry with a max stay of up to 90 days per year. The new e-Visa is only currently offered to US, Australia, Canadian and Japanese citizens. The e-Visa processing time is excepted to be 7-8 business days. 
 
American Airlines suspends Smart Luggage with Lithium Batteries
In mid-January, American Airlines stopped allowing “Smart Luggage” that includes built in lithium batteries to be placed in the baggage compartment of the plane. But if you can remove the batteries you can put them in your carry-on. If they aren’t removable then either the TSA or AA will allow you to check the bag in the baggage hold where there is not access to the area from inside the plane on most planes today. So, think twice about taking a non-carry-on sized SMART BAG (more than 22 inches). The theory is that any fire that erupts from the battery in the cabin can be put out easily. Remember, if you can remove the lithium batteries from the suitcase you can check the bag and put the batteries in your carry-on.
 
First Exhibition Exploring ‘Golden Age’ Of Ocean Travel To Launch At Victoria & Albert Museum in London
Travelwire reports Ship design, groundbreaking engineering, architecture and lifestyle aboard the great vessels will all be explored in the exhibition which sees the V&A team up with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts and Viking Cruises for their first major exhibition of 2018. Ocean Liners: Speed And Style showcases more than 250 objects, including a wooden panel fragment from an overdoor in the Titanic’s first-class lounge. It traces the revolution of sea travel from the mid-19th century with the emergence of the ocean liner. A precious diamond and pearl Cartier tiara rescued from the sinking Lusitania in 1915 is among the more luxurious items. Exclusive Maison Goyard luggage previously belonging to King Edward VIII. who became the Duke of Windsor after abdicating to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, will return to Europe for the first time since they were acquired from the Windsor Estate. The set of luggage was used by the couple as they traveled between their adoptive home in France and the US, with the duke’s personalized with his title and yellow and red stripes. Also included in the collection is a Christian Dior suit worn by German actress Marlene Dietrich as she arrived in New York aboard the Queen Mary in 1950. As the largest machines of their age, ocean liners were powerful symbols of 20th-century modernity and the exhibition will also feature works from Modernist artists, designers and architects including Le Corbusier, Albert Gleizes, Charles Demuth, and Eileen Gray. Director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt, said: “This seminal show reveals hidden design stories of some of the world’s most luxurious liners, from the Titanic to the Normandie and QE2. “We have collected ship-related objects and ephemera for well over 100 years, and now have a startlingly brilliant collection of ocean liner material, making us uniquely placed to present this exhibition.” Ocean Liners: Speed And Style will run at the V&A from February 3 until June 17 2018.
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Madrid Prepares for Its Greenest Year Yet
The European city with the most ambitious plans to improve its air quality this year probably isn’t the first one that comes to mind. In fact, it’s Madrid, which is embarking on what, policy-wise, could be its greenest year yet. The country’s capital is actually getting down to business to improve its poor air quality, making the city altogether more healthy and livable. It’s doing so by introducing a host of air-cleaning measures under a 30-point plan entitled Plan A, “because there is no plan B,” Mayor Manuela Carmena says. The first major change actually started last month when Madrid closed its main drag, the broad, often car-filled avenue Gran Vía, to cars at the beginning of December. Cars returned on January 7, but the streets won’t be the same for long. Madrid plans to start doubling the street’s sidewalks, taking space from car lanes to give pedestrians an extra 58,000 square feet of space, plus a segregated bike lane down its busiest stretch. While this will reduce car space on a very busy thoroughfare, Gran Vía will soon be one of the few parts of central Madrid that admits non-local cars at all. In June, Madrid will debut its Zero Emissions Zone, which will only allow local residents, people with limited mobility, or zero-emissions vehicles to drive into most of the old city. 
 
Qantas 787 Dreamliner Makes Long-Haul Flight On Mustard Seed Biofuel
The aviation industry has been experimenting with cleaner-burning fuels to lower the carbon footprint of flights. We’re far from a complete switch to biofuels but work continues to make that a possibility at some point in the future. Case in point: the world’s first biofuel flight from the United States to Australia. A Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner made the long-haul flight from the Los Angeles to Melbourne with 24,000 kilograms of mustard seed based blended fuel. The QF96 flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne used biofuel extracted from the Brassica carinata mustard seed. The extraction process was developed by Agrisoma Bioscienses, an agri-tech company based in Canada. According to reports, the fuel from this mustard seed offers over 80% reduction in carbon emissions compared with conventional jet fuel across its life cycle. That blend that was used in the Dreamliner flight will see a 7% reduction in emissions on the route as 10% of its tank was filled with the biofuel. Qantas is planning on running flights regularly with biofuel by 2020. The company’s historic biofuel-powered flight comes after it was named the least efficient carrier in the region. Qantas was found to be the least efficient by the International Council on Clean Transportation and that it burnt the most carbon of all major airlines that fly across the Pacific.
 
In-Flight Wi-Fi Is About To Get A Lot Faster
Bloomberg reports in-flight Wi-Fi is finally emerging from its role as a punchline as the cost of buying and installing better hardware has fallen far enough that many airlines have begun upgrading to faster speeds, and smaller airlines are adopting Wi-Fi for the first time BUT what you’ll pay for it may be outrageous. Worldwide, 82 airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi, 12 more than last year, with the amenity now common enough that there’s a 43% percent chance your plane will have it, according to an annual airline report from New York-based Routehappy Inc. (And more than 80% in America.) Airbus SE and Boeing Co. also fit most of these newer systems onto new airplanes as part of the final assembly process. In terms of the most Wi-Fi access, Delta Air Lines Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and Emirates take the top three spots, with Delta and Emirates also among the 13 airlines that offer Wi-Fi on all of their long-haul flights, according to the report released last week. 
 
Holland America Expands Denali Experience
Travelwire reports Holland America Line has announced an expansion of the guest experience on its Alaska Land+Sea Journeys with the addition of new guest accommodations at its Denali operation. The 99-room addition will feature the first-ever junior suites at the resort and is expected to be open for the 2019 summer Alaska cruise season. The 55 new junior suites will showcase balconies, larger living areas and greater amenities for guests. The company said that the new rooms are an extension of its overland Alaska experience to Denali, which includes the McKinley Chalet Resort hotel and Denali Square, a gathering area to relax, shop, dine and for music and entertainment. The addition will be located just west of Denali Square with views of Mt. Healy and Denali National Park. According to a prepared statement, the three-story project will feature junior suites and standard rooms with “rustic-chic” décor. All junior suites have balconies offering views of the surrounding Alaska wilderness. Each floor will have a central, open-air lobby. The third floor has open public deck space with tables and loungers.
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Montreal Adding Capacity for More Demand From Cruise Lines
Montreal inaugurated a new cruise terminal in June, which will be joined by a second operational terminal in 2018, along with the existing alternate terminal located east of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. The trio of berth locations will help the iconic city accommodate extra ships during its peak fall season. The two new berths offer shorepower and a direct connection to black and grey water collection lines. As 2017 ended, the port was expected to report 52 international ship calls, according to a spokesperson, a 20,000 passenger increase year-over-year. 2018 will continue the surge, with 16 more calls on the books and a prediction of 130,000 passengers, up 50,000 year-over-year. New business includes summer cruises from AIDA, and the debut of Windstar Cruises in the Saint Lawrence. The Seabourn Quest is also offering a round-trip Montreal itinerary. More hopes lie in the winter, where the port city is working closely with the Cruise the Saint Lawrence group to develop a winter program to make the river a year-round destination. The port also recently joined the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition as it expects more river traffic and is developing a business plan for river cruising.
Heathrow Enhances Service For Passengers With Disabilities
Heathrow has announced a multi-million-pound package of investments and tools to improve the travel experience of passengers with disabilities and mobility restrictions at the airport. The number of passengers requesting special assistance at Heathrow is rising at approximately 8% annually, with over one million requests in 2017 alone, more than any other European airport. Following a report by the Civil Aviation Authority this year, Heathrow is taking proactive steps to transform its service for these passengers, backed by an investment of £23 million in a revamped, upgraded contract with its special assistance partner, OmniServ. Heathrow announced the introduction of a distinctive lanyard that will allow passengers that need tailored help and support to discreetly identify themselves to Heathrow staff. This lanyard is part of an established service initiated at Gatwick and rolled out in other UK airports, and is supported by leading UK charities including the Alzheimer’s Society, the National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss.  Special assistance staff, security officers and passenger ambassadors at Heathrow have been trained to identify the lanyard so they can provide additional assistance, or allow passengers wearing it more time or space as they travel independently through the airport. 

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Happy 2018 All!

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January 10, 2018 · 7:47 am

Travel News: Turkey Resumes Visa Application Services for US Travelers

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Turkey Resumes Visa Application Services For US Travelers

Washington Post reports that after suspending visa services for Americans, which prevented travelers from visiting Istanbul and taking the Bosphorus ferry, In early October, Turkey had suspended visa application services for Americans. Turkish Airlines was offering refunds on Turkey-bound flights through Christmas, and US citizens with plans but no visa were stuck in limbo. Early last month, the country partially lifted the directive. US travelers can apply for visas at Turkish embassies and consulates, or third party visa companies. However, Americans cannot obtain the document through two previously available channels: the online system called e-Visa and visa booths at Turkish airports. To apply for a visa, start by filling out the online form and select a date for an in-person appointment with consular services. The next available time could be two weeks out, so plan accordingly. For the interview, bring a bank statement, proof of travel insurance, one passport photo, a passport valid at least six months after time of entry, your travel itinerary and $160 in cash. The process should take about five business days, and travelers can pick up their visa-adorned passport at the consulate. Companies that help tourists obtain travel documents have also resumed their visa services to Turkey. Justin Chapman, director of sales at VisaHQ, said the firm’s average processing time is 20 to 25 business days. He added that travelers typically do not have to step foot inside the consulate, but never say never. “The embassy may request an appointment,” he said.

Airline Food Quality: Delta Healthiest And Hawaiian Airlines Worst In The US

Travelwire reports American and Delta Airlines have once again started offering complimentary meals in economy class on U.S. domestic flights, something passengers haven’t seen in more than 15 years. Delta is the clear leader among the major carriers and is tied with Virgin America this year as the healthiest airline. The worst airline food when it comes to health is on Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines. United, the 4th largest airline in the US, needs to change the way it thinks about its food offerings. They have very little food transparency on the website, meaning that nutritional information is not available. In addition to its complimentary snacks, American began providing complimentary main cabin, but nothing very healthy. To read more on this issue: http://www.dietdetective.com/annual-airline-food-investigation-2017-18/

Hurtigruten To Expand In Arctic in 2019

Hurtigruten has announced an expanded Arctic deployment for 2019, not only sailing from Tromso to Russia, but offering expedition cruises in Svalbard with five ships, and a Northwest Passage transit on the new Roald Amundsen. It will be the first time a hybrid ship has sailed the Northwest Passage. In addition, the company announced that both the Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen will offer expedition sailings along Norway’s coast in 2019. Among new expedition offerings are departures from Tromso calling at Murmansk and Frans Josef Land. A 15-day expedition departure on the Spitsbergen will cross into Russian waters and Murmansk before sailing the Barents Sea to Franz Josef Land for five days of expedition landings.

United Airlines Will Be First US Carrier Since Continental To Fly Mainland-Tahiti

Besides Hawaiian, the only US carriers to serve Tahiti have been Continental, South Pacific Air Lines, which flew Papeete to Honolulu and Pago Pago, American Samoa, in the 1960s and Pan American World Airways, which flew from Los Angeles and Pago Pago in the mid-1960s. Continental flew Los Angeles-Papeete in the late 1980s, according to the Tahiti-Polynesia Handbook published in 1989, and may have continued into the 1990s. In an era of growth enabled by strong economies, high demand and deliveries of new widebodies led by the Boeing 787, United has now announced 13 new international routes, some primarily business and some primarily leisure, in 2017.
They include San Francisco to Munich, Zurich and Tahiti; Newark to Buenos Aires; Porto, Portugal and Reykjavik, Iceland; Los Angeles to Singapore; Chicago to Mazatlán, Mexico; Denver to London Heathrow and Cozumel; and Houston to Mazatlán, Mexico and Sydney and Dulles to Edinburgh, Scotland.

US Customs & Border Protection Is Piloting Facial Recognition

Business Travel News reports US Customs and Border Protection is investigating whether forthcoming biometric facial scans for departing foreign travelers could speed up other airport processes, like Transportation Security Administration checks, baggage tagging, lounge entry and even duty-free purchases. The agency will introduce facial scanning in 2018 to reduce the need for fingerprinting on arrival.

Etihad Sells The Good Life To Economy Passengers

Airline Ratings reports Gulf carrier Etihad is to start charging for some items in economy class, but there’s no need for clanging alarm bells. Instead of the usual charging for goods or services that were once free, Etihad is giving economy passengers the opportunity to buy a few extra comforts. All the free stuff in Etihad economy, including complimentary meals and drinks will remain but passengers will now be able to sample some of the good things usually reserved for people at the pointy end. This includes male or female Christian Lacroix amenity kits with exclusive Omorovicza skin care, products, Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut NV champagne or Christian Lacroix cotton sleepwear. Those wanting to chug down a Planet Coffee cold brew coffee will also be able to do so and in 2018 the airline will be selling what were once known as selection boxes containing sweet or healthy treats. The move comes as the Gulf carrier has been selling other “enhanced services” to passengers, including pay-for-lounge access and chauffeur transfers at some airports as well as neighbor-free and extra-legroom seats.

Delta To Charge Basic-Economy Passengers $60 To Check A Bag To Europe Next Year

CNBC reports US airlines collected nearly $4.2 billion in checked baggage fees last year. That sum could rise even more as airlines bring such fees international. Starting in April, Delta Air Lines will charge passengers who book highly restrictive basic economy fares $60 each way to check a bag for travel between the US or Canada and Europe or North Africa. The airline, among others, is taking basic economy abroad, in hopes that it will drum up more revenue as record numbers of passengers are traveling by air. Airline executives, including those at Delta, estimate that about half of passengers opt to pay for a higher coach-class fare than selecting the cheaper basic economy. The fee to check the bag, $60 each way, is the same sum that Delta is offering travelers to “upgrade” to regular economy, which offers a free checked bag.

The Futuristic New Cruise Ship Which Lets Guests ‘Walk On Water’

MSC Seaside has been designed to “bring guests closer to the sea than ever before. Among MSC Seaside’s unique design features are a wrap-around seafront promenade (dubbed to be the widest on any ship ever built) tracing the perimeter of the 323 metre-long ship, dotted by a series of bars and restaurants, while its two 40 metre-long glass-floored catwalks have been designed to simulate the feeling of “walking on water”. Guests can enjoy 360-degree views from two panoramic lifts that transport passengers between decks. MSC Seaside will offer modular cabins that can accommodate up to 10 guests. Other vertigo-inducing highlights include a glass-bottomed pathway (known as the Bridge of Sighs) at Deck 16 where guests can capture never-before-seen views from 40 metres above the ocean, as well as two panoramic glass lifts offering 360-degree vistas while transporting guests between the ship’s main pool areas and other decks. Designed to “bring guests closer to the sea than ever before”, more than 75% of the 5,119-capacity passenger ship’s cabins offer ocean views, including a selection of adaptable modular cabins that can accommodate up to 10 guests. The new ship also houses the most interactive water park at sea, built with five attractions including the first-ever “slideboarding” facility, featuring 160 meter-long dueling waterslides. Other entertainment options on offer include the two longest zip lines at sea, each stretching 105 meters, a full-size bowling alley, an interactive 5D cinema and an F1 racing simulator.

Russia To Implement Tax-Free System To Boost Tourism

Travel & Tourism Industry News reports Russia is ready to implement a tax-free system on some retail goods starting from January 2018 for tourists. According to the authors of the initiative, this should become a driver of the inbound tourism in Russia as well as a boost for trade and retail in the country. However, they also warn that next year the system will only work in a pilot form in an attempt to understand the benefits of the project. The tax-free system will be launched in six Russian cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Vladivostok, Sochi and Veliky Novgorod. It is expected to apply mainly on luxury goods, clothes, souvenirs, but not cigarettes or alcohol.

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Travel News: Plan-A-Cruise Month!

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Celebrate Cruise Month with deals to tempt you up the gangway for a fabulous holiday at sea

Plan-A-Cruise Month is the bigger and better successor to National Cruise Week!! SALES from dozens of cruise lines have STARTED and ends Tuesday October 31. Dreaming of a cruise to Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Asia? Call Willamette Intl Travel for huge savings and perks on your next Cruise! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Starting October 26, 2017, NEW TSA rules are in effect

Some travelers INBOUND to USA may be selected for an interview at check-in counters and airport gates by TSA staff. This is aimed at tightening security at airports and for airlines and its passengers. Both American and global airlines must comply, affecting all of the 2,100 flights from around the world that enter the U.S. on any given day. This will lengthen the amount of recommended time passengers need to check in before their flights. Usually Willamette Intl Travel recommends 2 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international, but you may want to add 1 hour extra to ensure that you meet your flight.

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Viking Cruises Named ‘Best River Cruise Line’

Currently celebrating their 20th anniversary, Viking Cruises has been voted the Best River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards. The line has scored in the top o the list every year since the river cruise category was introduced. Also, after only two years of ocean cruises, Viking was again named one of the Best Ocean Cruise Lines. Over 300,000 readers submitted millions of ratings and more than 100,000 comments as part of the 30th annual readers’ choice survey. Acclaimed for their innovation, modern Scandinavian design, inclusive value, and destination-focused offerings, for the past 20 years Viking has amassed awards from industry experts and the travel trade.

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Airlines Bring Out the Bubbly And Ice Cream In Coach

Major US airlines are beefing up their menus in an attempt to stand out against a growing sea of low-cost carriers that advertise fares less than $100 for a flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Delta Air Lines announced earlier this month that it is serving free Prosecco on international flights in all cabins, just a few weeks after it unveiled new transatlantic routes for next year that include non-stops from Los Angeles to Paris and Amsterdam, New York to Lagos, and Atlanta to Lisbon. Delta was careful with its wording as a traveler sued a Canadian airline for advertising Champagne after he received sparkling wine. By the end of next year, Delta’s first, business and premium-economy passengers will be able to preselect their meals before boarding.

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Emirates Airlines Hires Boredom Specialist To Keep Kids Entertained

Emirates has hired a psychologist and boredom specialist to keep kids entertained on their aircrafts. Young flyers will take just 49 minutes and 47 seconds to ask the dreaded, ”are we nearly there yet?” so with parents battling the boredom threshold, Emirates has teamed up with Dr Sandi Mann, a psychologist and boredom specialist at the University of Central Lancashire to find a solution. Dr Mann has worked with the airline to create the Child Boredom Quotient (CBQ), helping parents identify the exact moment their kids will get bored so they can enjoy stress-free travel.

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First Airport Terminal Gym In Europe Opens At Estonia’s Tallinn Airport

Leading fitness club operator, MyFitness, has this month opened Europe’s very first gym situated within an airport terminal. The gym is located at Gate 6 in the Departures area of Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport with views on to the runway. The gym is fully equipped with state of the art modern equipment with internet connection, as well specialist training machines and a stretching area. The gym is equipped with a treadmill, elliptical trainer, rowing machine, exercise bicycle and a staircase trainer, all equipped with a screen and connected to the Internet. There four specialist training machines for feet, shoulders, chest and back exercises, plus a stretch area. Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport is known to be one of the most unique airports in the world in other areas too.

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Cunard To Offer Short Alaska Season In 2019

In 2019, Cunard Line will sail in Alaska, offering a handful of departures in May and June aboard the Queen Elizabeth from Vancouver. The ship will then transport passengers down the West Coast of the United States, through the Panama Canal to New York, on to Iceland and the British Isles, the company said. Cunard will offer four 10-night round-trip Vancouver sailings with more time in port and opportunities to visit the natural wonders of Tracy Arm Fjord and Hubbard Glacier.” Departures from Vancouver will be departing May 21, 31, June 10 and 20, 2019. Itineraries feature scenic cruising through the Inside Passage as well as full days in several of the region’s ports, including Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka. The itinerary also includes the Tracy Arm Fjord or Endicott Arm, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier and Victoria.

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NEW Spring 2018: Legoland Castle Hotel

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Opening in Spring 2018, lookout for the upcoming Legoland Castle Hotel in San Diego!

Some of you may have booked a vacation to the Legoland Hotel California in San Diego,  right at the entrance to Legoland California. This fun themed hotel offers a free breakfast buffet, nightly children’s entertainment and in-room treasure hunt full of fun surprises for the kiddo. Legoland California was listed on TripAdvisor’s list of Best Family Hotels in the USA, and we completely agree!

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But NOW, we’re happy to announce that there’s a new guest in town: Legoland Castle Hotel is coming Spring 2018! It’s right next to Legoland California, Legoland Water Park, and Sea Life Aquarium. This new hotel offers family adventure fit a king, with exclusive Lego characters and interactive treats. Here the theme is kingdoms, full of knights, wizards, princesses and villainous dragons.

Choose from THREE themes: 

  • Knights & Dragons – deluxe (5 ppl), balcony (5), or suite (7)
  • Magic Wizard – deluxe (5), suite (7), or deluxe accessible with roll-in shower (5)
  • Royal Princess – deluxe (5), balcony (5), or suite accessible with roll-in shower (7)

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All rooms include: 

  • FREE breakfast
  • Exclusive early Park access
  • King size bed
  • Kids’ own sleeping area with entertainment center, bunk bed and pull out trundle
  • LEGO bricks to build with in your room
  • In-room treasure hunt with LEGO surprises

Packages include Legoland/Sealife Hopper Tickets (Kids enter FREE)

Legoland Castle Hotel is available for stays beginning May 11, 2018. 

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California is a perfect kids’ vacay spot, with Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and San Diego Zoo all within driving distance of each other. Fly from Portland into Orange County Airport for a few days in LAX before driving southward, or fly in straight from Portland to San Diego International Airport to be close to the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and Legoland California.

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Book your California Vacation for next May 2018 with your Willamette Intl Travel travel agent. 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com to plan your San Diego vacation. 

 

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Travel News: Oregon and Washington delay their REAL ID program by one year

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Oregon and Washington delay their REAL ID program by one year

For Portland:  You’ll be able to use your current driver’s license to get through airport security awhile longer. That’s because the federal government has granted Oregon, Washington, and 15 other states extensions to comply with the Real ID program. This is a law passed after 9/11 that requires people to have real IDs to board airplanes or enter government buildings. Having one is proof of U.S. citizenship.
Oregon and Washington both recently agreed to cooperate with the program.
They now have until next October to phase it in.
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Dublin’s Statues Will Now Call Your Cell Phone

Ten of Dublin’s most famous landmarks have been given the gift of speech, thanks to Fáilte Ireland’s new tourism initiative titled “Dublin’s Talking Statues.” The project allows tourists to answer calls on their smartphones from Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and more, Lonely Planet reports. How does this work exactly? New plaques have been placed at the statues with QR codes. Passers-by simply scan the code with their phone, which will immediately ring. Each call features a famous Irish actor reciting a monologue written by a current Irish author, given from the point of view of the statue in question. The goal is to persuade the public to look at these landmarks with new eyes, almost viewing them as animate characters with feelings and backstories instead of just objects to walk past.

DFW Airport Has New Automated Security Lanes

Last Thursday, passengers got a glimpse of a more efficient and hopefully speedier future with the unveiling of automated screening lanes at DFW Airport’s Terminal D. The two Terminal D lanes join two other automated lanes that opened recently in Terminal A. For now, their presence is limited to just two checkpoints out of dozens at the airport’s five terminals. DFW plans to add six more lanes in the coming months at a total cost of $5.7 million, paid for out of the airport’s budget. “We’re looking for opportunities to create different, new and more positive experiences for the traveling public,” said Ken Buchanan, DFW Airport’s executive vice president of revenue management. DFW Airport is one of ten airports using the new technology. The screening enhances security while decreasing wait times.
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Royal Caribbean Sets Return To St. Thomas

Royal Caribbean International has set the date for its much-awaited return to St. Thomas since the Caribbean destination was impacted by the hurricanes last month. On Nov. 10, the cruise line will make its way to St. Thomas for the first time since early September with Adventure of the Seas. With power and water to the island fully restored and most downtown shops, restaurants and bars and tour operators fully operational, guests will be able to experience a diverse and extensive array of dining, shopping and activities. Guests can enjoy boat and catamaran excursions to explore the turquoise blue waters and abundant sea life of the Caribbean and soak in the sun at some of the region’s best beach destinations: Secret Sands Beach, Secret Harbor Beach Club, Lindquist Beach, Abi Beach and Honeymoon Beach on Water Island.

Disney World Hotels Are Allowing Dogs For The First Time

Walt Disney World will allow hotel guests to bring dogs to four of its on-property resort hotels. Starting yesterday, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney Port Orleans Resort, Riverside, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort cabins will welcome four-pawed guests. As part of the new dog-friendly test program, Disney is ensuring all schnauzers, great danes, poodles, and very good dogs travel as comfortably as their owners with an amenity kit given upon check-in filled with puppy pads, dog walking maps, disposable bags, a pet ID tag, a mat and bowls for food and water. Guests will also be given a hotel room door tag to indicate that an animal is inside. The Fido-friendly program will cost $75 per night at Disney’s Yacht Club and $50 per night at Disney’s other three participating resorts, with a limit of two dogs per room.

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Bali’s Volcano Activity Reaches A New High

Earthquake activity from Bali’s Mount Agung volcano has reached its highest level since the volcano came back to life in August. The Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) has the volcano at its highest alert level short of an eruption. Over the weekend there was an earthquake that measured at 4.6 on the Richter scale while there are almost 1000 smaller tremors a day being recorded. There are increases in shallow and deep tremors indicating magma is moving upwards. All airlines are monitoring the situation closely and travelers have been urged to make sure their contact details are up to date. Various governments have warned that travel to Bali could be severely affected by an eruption and Bali’s international airport has set up an emergency operations center.

Viking Orders Six New Longships

Neptun Werft has already delivered 51 vessels for Viking River Cruises and have confirmed another order for six vessels for Viking River Cruises. They are due for delivery in 2019. These additional Viking Longships will stretch 135 metres, are 11.45 metres at the beam and have a draft of 1.6 metres. Each can accommodate 190 passengers in 95 outside cabins; additionally, 31 cabins are available for the crew. Equipped with diesel-electric propulsion, the vessels are tailored for operation on numerous European rivers including the Rhine, Main and Danube as well as Dutch inland waters.

Bergen Caps Daily Cruise Visitors To 9,000

Cruise Industry News reports Bergen, Norway’s busiest cruise port, has informed cruise lines it is limiting the number of cruise calls per day to four ships and/or 9,000 passengers. The cap will come into effect immediately for new bookings, whilst honoring existing bookings, says Sandra Diana Bratland, the new cruise development manager at Port of Bergen. ‘Tourism is both important and welcome in Bergen, but on a few days every summer the city and its attractions can be crowded. The city’s popularity, its attractive location and steady growth of visitors has in recent years led to discussions as to how many visitors the city can comfortably accommodate per day,’ noted Bratland. The municipality, in collaboration with Port of Bergen and Visit Bergen, decided to limit the number of passengers per day, ‘to maintain Bergen as a sustainable and popular city to live in, to visit and to do business in,’ remarked Bratland. 490,546 cruise passengers visited Bergen in 2016.

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Travel News: Hawaii Hikes Hotel Tax To Pay For Honolulu Rail Transit

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Hawaii Hikes Hotel Tax To Pay For Honolulu Rail Transit

ETN reports Hawaii Tourism Authority issued the following Travel Industry Notification RE: 1% Transient Accommodations Tax Increase Takes Effect January 1, 2018: Please be advised that, effective January 1, 2018, the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) applied to lodging accommodations in the State of Hawaii will be increased by 1%, raising the TAT from its current rate of 9.25% to 10.25%. This increase is scheduled to stay in effect until December 31, 2030. The TAT increase is being put into effect to help pay for Honolulu’s rapid transit system that is currently under construction. The light metro rail system will extend 20 miles from Kapolei in Leeward Oahu to Ala Moana Center in Honolulu with 21 stations along the way, including the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, the State of Hawaii’s main port of entry for air transportation. Following is a summary of State taxes that will be applied by lodging properties statewide when the 1% TAT increase takes effect on January 1, 2018:

New Features For Symphony Of The Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is getting a real makeover!

  • two-level Ultimate Family Suites with a slide, floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, air-hockey table and the surround-sound movie room with its own popcorn machine and a library of video games – and 212-sq-foot wrap-around balcony with full-size whirlpool and bumper pool table
  • New ‘friction-less’ mobile check-in.
  • A reimagined Boardwalk with a massive Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, spanning the length of the neighborhood, will be a family magnet with more than 30 televisions, arcade games (video and vintage, like ‘Pac-Man’), draft craft beers, wings and burgers,
  • A redesigned Solarium offering a casual seafood spot, including oysters shucked to order, for lunch and dinner in a casual venue with great views,
  • The world’s largest laser tag arena,  housed in the Studio B ice rink that will be converted for this glow-in-the- dark family activity,
  • Broadway hit ‘Hairspray.’ And a new original ice show, ‘1977,’ features a time-traveling hero on a jewel-heist adventure.

The ship will debut April 18 with weeklong cruises from Barcelona before repositioning to PortMiami’s new Terminal A in November as the first Oasis-class vessel to sail from the ‘Cruise Capital of the World.’ This puts four Oasis-class ships in Florida ports including, also, Port Everglades and Port Canaveral.

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Virgin America Days Are Numbered

Virgin America will cease to exist on April 25, 2018, when all of the airline’s flights will switch over to Alaska Airlines, according to an internal memo. After acquiring Virgin America for $2.6 billion in 2016, Alaska has slowly been rebranding the 10-year-old airline, replacing some signage and ticket counters in airports, with plans to completely rebrand the airline by 2019, AirlineGeeks reported. For fans of the airline, the upcoming disappearance of Virgin America is even more of a reality with the latest announcement. According to the Alaska Airlines internal memo obtained by FlightGlobal, “Alaska Airlines has posted the new Airbus schedule for flights after April 24. The flights will be Alaska flights and will only be available through Alaska channels.” Travelers attempting to book a flight after April 24, 2018 on VirginAmerica.com will be redirected to AlaskaAir.com. On April 25, both airlines will become one in terms of website, mobile app, and ticket kiosks, and will be solely run by Alaska.

Grand Turk Rebounding After Hurricanes, Port To Open In November

Work is full tilt at Carnival Corp. & plc’s Grand Turk Cruise Center to restore the destination to receive ships in November. Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed seven sailings to call next month: Carnival Magic’s Nov. 4 cruise from Port Canaveral, Carnival Ecstasy’s Nov. 5 cruise from Charleston, Carnival Splendor’s Nov. 5 and Nov. 19 voyages from Miami, Carnival Glory’s Nov. 11 and Nov. 25 sailings from Miami and Carnival Conquest’s Nov. 25 cruise from Port Everglades. Further calls are booked in December. The Turks and Caicos Islands sustained a one-two punch from hurricanes Irma and Maria, and Grand Turk was among the hard-hit destinations. However, a senior Carnival Corp. official told Seatrade Cruise News the pier is fine and work is going 24/7 to restore landside facilities and tours. The cruise pier did not suffer any damage while the cruise center facility suffered mostly cosmetic damages and loss of some landscaping. The Carnival Cruise Line shore excursions team and local tour operators, have undertaken their own recovery efforts in gearing up to welcome back passengers. Marc Melville, director of Jamaica-based Chukka tours, which has a staff of about 100 on Grand Turk, as well as sizable operations in Jamaica and Belize, said the message to cruisers is that once Grand Turk reopens: ‘We need you to come back as soon as possible.’

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