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Travel News This Week: Kilauea Updates

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Passengers Stuck In Shrunken Lavatories On American Airlines

The London Times reports executives face suggestions that they have gone too far in their attempt to keep hold of customers. Some passengers, in fact, were said to be struggling to extricate themselves from the loos. Flight attendants complained that the sinks were so small they could wash only one hand at a time. In the fierce fight to offer cheap flights to more of the traveling public, American Airlines has trimmed the space between rows and shrunk its lavatory cubicles to pack in more seats. Complaints that the cubicles were trapping unsuspecting travelers were first raised by Zach Honig, an editor for the website The Points Guy, who crammed into one of the airline’s new Boeing 737 MAX planes for a flight from New York to Miami.

Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano: What travelers to the Big Island need to know

  1. Yes, it’s still safe and there are many things to do, from friendly manta rays to snorkeling in Kailua-Kona… Read the full list at Hawaii Magazine.

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Honolulu’s USS Arizona Memorial is closed indefinitely 

Built in 1962 to honor the 1,177 sailors and marines who died aboard the USS Arizona during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Memorial has closed until further notice. Concerns began when a transportation operator reported cracks on the exterior. The Memorial hosts 4-5,000 visitors daily. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center remains open for business, where the guests can watch the documentary film and take a harbor tour of Battleship Row near the USS Arizona Memorial. Bookstores, gift shops, Pearl Harbor museums, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and the Pacific Aviation Museum are still open. 

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NOAA’s Predictions For 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season

What will the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season bring? That’s the question everyone’s asking after last year saw 17 named storms. Ten of those storms became hurricanes, including six major hurricanes, making 2017 the seventh-most active season since 1851, based on the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a near- or above-normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2018. It has determined a 70% likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of at least 35 mph) of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including one to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher). Last year, the NOAA predicted an above-normal season with a likelihood of up to 17 named storms. “With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said according to the NOAA’s prediction. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.”

Emerald Waterways To Offer Nile River Cruise Sailings In 2019 and 2020

Emerald Waterways will begin Nile River cruises in February 2019, offering two different itineraries. The line has two cruise tour options planned, with seven sailings in 2019 and eight in 2020. The 10-night Egypt and Nile cruise tour spends five nights on MS Hamees, a chartered 142-passenger ship owned by Movenpick, as well as four nights in Cairo. The 15-night Egypt and Nile River cruise tour adds time in Jordan, with visits to Amman, Petra and the Dead Sea. The tours encompass the major sights of Egypt, including the Pyramids of Giza, Luxor’s Valley of the Kings and temples on the west bank, Abu Simbel and Aswan. The ship, which has been newly refurbished, has a main restaurant with international and local options at meals, as well as a sun deck with a swimming pool. The ship also has its own private dock in Luxor. After many years of dormancy, Nile River sailings have been making a comeback. Viking River Cruises has invested in the region with a new ship, Viking Ra, debuting this year. Other river lines that offer cruise tours on the Nile include Uniworld, Vantage and Emerald Waterways’ sister company Scenic. Meanwhile, Emerald Waterways continues to expand. The line debuted in 2014 and quickly grew to seven ships in Europe and one ship on the Mekong. Emerald Waterways recently announced that it will be offering yacht-style cruises on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast in 2019 on the 36-passenger Adriatic Princess II.

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Travel News: The World’s Longest Sea Bridge

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Airlines Must Continue To Accept Service Animals

Reuters reports the US Department of Transportation told airlines on Tuesday that they must continue to allow the transport of the most common service animals, but said it was asking for public comment about amending its existing regulations. The department said in a statement that it “wants to ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also helping to ensure that the fraudulent use of other animals not qualified as service animals is deterred.”

Yokohama On Track To Open Two New Cruise Terminals In 2019

Yokohama, Japan, is gearing up for increased calls and accommodating bigger cruise ships with two new cruise terminals due to be fully operational in 2019. Last year the Japanese port, 20 minutes away from Tokyo’s Haneda airport, welcomed 178 cruise calls and a similar number is expected this year. Five years ago in 2013, there were some 152 calls and 120 calls ten years ago. Princess vessels have been a regular highlight of the Yokohama skyline since they first began calling with Dawn Princess in 2009, Sun Princess in 2010 and Diamond Princess in 2013. Last year Diamond Princess alone made 21 calls and Majestic Princess made a maiden call. In 2019, Princess returns for a sixth season with round-trips from Yokohama.
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China Unveils World’s Longest Sea-Crossing Bridge

China’s new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, spanning 34 miles (55 kilometers), is the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built. Guo Xinglin, assistant director and senior engineer at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Authority, said the tough conditions his construction crew experienced, as they perched on precarious platforms, working miles from land and high over the water, are evident. Due to open to the public this summer, this long snake of bitumen will connect a relatively small city on the Chinese mainland with the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Since the bridge was first suggested in 2003, it has stirred controversy. This massive span of concrete and steel is not just proof of China’s ability to build record-setting megastructures, it’s also a potent symbol of the country’s growing geopolitical ambitions.

Hawaii Tourism Gives Perspective On Volcano Situation

The Hawaiian Tourism Authority says that “there is absolutely no reason at this time for travelers to change or alter their leisure or business plans.” Here are some facts to back up the claim: All of the Hawaiian Islands are unaffected by Kīlauea volcano except a remote area on the island of Hawai’i’s east side. Out of the island’s 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in Puna is affected. All flights into Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole, KOA (west) and Hilo International Airport, ITO (east) are operating normally. All accommodations, activities and attractions on the island are also operating normally, with the exception of those in the area affected by the lava activity. Air quality on the island of Hawai’i remains largely unchanged with this situation. However, air quality near where the lava is flowing can be hazardous (SO2-sulfur dioxide), and officials are continuing to monitor air quality. 
A Few Other Facts to Note About Kilauea: 
  • Big Island is 4000 sq. miles.  The volcano action is in one very small corner
  • Tradewinds blow from NE to SW and the volcano is in the SE of the island. Fumes and VOG would have to move SE to NW (reverse of the trade wind pattern) to impact Hilo, Kona, Kohala coast, etc.
  • There is another volcano, Mauna Loa, between Kilauea and most of the rest of the island.  Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on earth. Lava can’t flow uphill –
  • Yes, it is tragic for the people that have lost their homes, but it is a still a very small area that is being impacted.

Orlando First US Destination To Top 70 Million Annual Visitors

Open Jaw reports Orlando has become the first US destination to surpass 70 million visitors in one year. In 2017, 72 million visitors traveled to Orlando, an increase of more than 5% over the prior year, once again making it America’s most-visited destination. Visit Orlando, the region’s official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the number at a gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders. “Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our marketing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States. We also continued our focus on communicating the unique emotional connection visitors have with Orlando.” 

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