Tag Archives: portland

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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Un-Cruise Adventures: Not Your Typical Cruise

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Are you an adventurer by heart? Sailed with a large cruise line and on the lookout for something a bit different? Try Un-Cruise! We recommend Un-Cruise Adventures to travelers seeking an entirely unique trip experience.

Our clients who have sailed with Un-Cruise have raved about their small ships and the cozy, casual vibe onboard. The cruise line stations seven boats in Alaska, Hawaii, the Sea of Cortez, the Columbia River and British Columbia–each of which invites fewer than 90 guests at any one time.

The crew are dedicated to providing an exceptional vacation, and onboard you may be joined by wildlife rangers, historians, actors, or lecturers that bring the destination to life. There are ample opportunities for kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and cultural encounters.

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Call Wittravel at 503-224-0180 to find out more on any one of Un-Cruise’s amazing trips:

Alaska: Explore Alaska’s Inside Passage and Glacier Bay on an unforgettable expedition.

Hawaii: Cruise among the islands of Moloka’i, Lana’i, Maui and Hawai’i on a 36-guest yacht.

Columbia River: Visit the Columbia river gorge and discover pioneer history roundtrip from Portland Oregon.

Sea of Cortes: Sail into a world of wildlife: whales, manta rays, sea turtles, pelicans and more roundtrip from San Jose del Cabo.

Galapagos: Venture out into the famed Galapagos Islands on a 9-night journey to eight islands and islets.

Last year, WIT Agent Linda sailed on an Un-cruise ship around Baja:

We stopped at 5 different deserted islands where we would snorkel, hike or enjoy water sports such as kayaking and paddle boarding. Out of La Paz, we were taken out to see the whale sharks…the world’s largest fish species with lengths of up to 46 feet and weighing up to 66,000 pounds! There is such a wonderful ambiance onboard and the crew will do anything for you. One guide tried to get me standing up on the paddle board one day – I couldn’t quite do it, due to the swells being too high, so enjoyed paddling on my knees, but she was so supportive and kind. Honestly, the entire crew was phenomenal and I felt so at home with all of them. I highly recommend Un-Cruise Expeditions.

Click here to read her whole trip report!

Or call 503-224-0180 to talk to Linda directly about her incredible trip!

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Happy Holidays from Willamette Intl Travel!

Start the Holidays off right!

The Pearl District Business Association is holding a special holiday event, and Willamette Intl Travel is joining the festivities!

We’ve dressed up our windows on Irving Street to reflect the holiday spirit—look for the Chinese lanterns and humongous fortune cookie! Thanks to Jill Jeske, student at the Art Institute of Portland, who acted as designer of our lovely window display.

You can find us at 1314 NW Irving St., Suite 101 in downtown Portland, OR.

PLUS: Enter the PDBA raffle by taking a selfie in front of our store and posting it online to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #PearlHolidays and #BestWindow!

For bonus points, attend the annual Tree Lighting celebration in Jamison Square on November 29. The first 50 guests will win a free PDBA logo umbrella, and earn extra raffle points if you take the selfie with the umbrella in hand.

Willamette Intl Travel is closed Thanksgiving weekend, from November 27 to 30. We’re open again from 8 to 5:30pm on Monday, feel free to drop in!

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WIT Agent’s Insider Look: The North

This week we’re taking a close look at WIT Agent Wailana’s trip to Iceland early October. Today we continue on the Ring Road to Mývatn and Akureyi—checking out some amazing waterfalls on the way.

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The NE Highlands, photo by Wailana

Dettifoss & Goðafoss

Though waterfalls are chiefly associated with the South, there are two memorable falls in the north part of the country that you must not miss on you road trip aroundIceland. On the empty road from West Iceland to Akureyri lies Goðafoss, the “waterfall of the gods.” Legend has it that in 1000 c.e., the high chief converted Christianity and threw his pagan idols down this waterfall. He might have picked a more dramatic location—the water falls a mere 39 feet down—but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

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Dettifoss, photo by Wailana

Much more majestic is Dettifoss, which lies about an hour east of Mývatn. The most powerful waterfall in Europe, it is situated on the massive Jökulsá á Fjöllum river that flows from the massive Vatnajökull glacier. The falls are 330 ft wide and plunge 150 ft down into the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.

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Myvatn Area, photo by Wailana

Mývatn

Mývatn (pronounced “mee-va”) is a large lake in the north that is famed for its bird-watching, beautiful landscapes, and otherworldly natural attractions. Mývatn is also known for Hverabrauð, a delicious molasses bread that is slow-baked for 24 hours underground by natural geothermal heat.

Though the towns surrounding the lake are fairly tiny—the entire circumference home to only 450 inhabitants during the winter—you can easily base yourself in Reykjahlíð or Skútustaðir. Book far ahead–this is one of the more popular destinations in Iceland in the summer!

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Dimmuborgir, photo by Wailana

Mývatn is a volcano lover’s paradise. What it lacks in verdant forests, the region more than makes up in the way of rock pillars, eruptions, and lava caves. Wander through Dimmuborgir, the “dark forts,” an area of volcanic arches, towers, caves and bridges. You can spend half a day exploring one of the many well-marked trails. Check out Hverfjall Crater, a massive tephra crater nearby. For some interesting lava caves, drive 45 minutes away to Lofthellir lava cave, which runs about 370m long and boasts some of the greatest natural ice sculptures in the north. The south side of the lake, Skútustaðir, is home to many pseudocraters. Krafla volcano is less than an hour’s drive away. Its latest eruption lasted from 1975 to 1984, and the area is still steaming. It’s definitely worth a visit to explore its striped lavafields, nearby geothermal field, hot mud pools, solfataras and fumaroles.

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Grjótagjá Cave, photo by Wailana

Akureyri

About 45 minutes’ drive west of Mývatn is Iceland’s second largest city—Akureyri. With a population of 18,000—positively gigantic after hours and hours of farmsteads and wilds—the city is the unofficial capital of North Iceland. It’s a great base for exploring nearby Mývatn and Goðafoss, plus it has a few noteworthy sites itself. Don’t miss the picturesque town center, the Lystigarðurinn botanical garden, and the “art canyon” or Listagilið street—home to galleries and artwork. Check out Hallormsstaðaskogur, the largest forest in Iceland, something of an anomaly in a land without many trees!

Stay Tuned for Next Time: The West Fjords

Thinking about a trip to Iceland next summer 2014? Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com to chat with one our agents! Wailana would love to share with you more of her firsthand impressions about traveling to Iceland!

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Global Entry Opens at PDX

The Global Entry Enrollment Center is now open at Portland International Airport. Hours of operation are from Mondays through Fridays, 9am to 3pm.

What is Global Entry? GE is a program that promotes expedited clearance for pre-approved low-risk travelers entering the U.S. U.S. citizens and permanent residents at least 14 years of age are eligible to apply. If approved, membership is valid for five years. Members are also eligible to participate in other Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs such as TSA Pre, the expedited screening process for domestic travel on five airlines: Alaska, American, Delta, United and US Airways.

How Do I Apply? To apply, fill out an online application at www.globalentry.gov and pay the $100 nonrefundable application fee. (The $100 fee is waived for American Express Platinum Cardholders.) If approved, you’ll be contacted for an interview. Bring your valid passport and one other form of government-issued identification. CBP officials will take your photo, obtain fingerprint information and provide you with a profile number. The GBP sticker is placed on your passport. After your card is issued, give your travel agent your Global Entry information so they can add it to your reservation.

How Do I Use Global Entry? While at the airport, locate the Global Entry kiosk. You will go through a few seconds of identity verification—the camera will take a quick photo and scan your prints. This automatically pulls up your flight information and once you verify you have nothing to declare, the machine will print a GE ticket. Give this to the customs official in a special Global Entry line, bypassing the long customs and/or immigration lines and you are on your way.

Global Entry kiosks are available at the following airports:

http://www.globalentry.gov/locations.html

Where is the Global Entry Enrollment in Portland International Airport (PDX)?

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 Willamette Intl Travel Agents are up to date with all the latest and current travel news. Call us for more details, 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

 

 

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Seattle Trip Report

This week we are reporting on WIT agent Wailana’s trip up to Seattle mid-July to view Celebrity and Disney cruise ships. Today we take a look at her impressions of Seatown herself.

Seattle Trip Report: By Wailana

Seattle seems to thrive on its tourism—Pike Place, the main shopping area, feels like your wandering through a carnival. You can find gourmet marmalade, freshly fried fish, bubble tea, piroshky and 1930s art deco advertisements of Morocco. On hot days, expect to see DVD-tooting magicians and jugglers spinning plates.

photo by Rafael Amado Deras

I departed from Salmon and 6th, downtown Portland, on the Bolt Bus. I rate the quality of ride similar to Amtrak’s—leather seats, electrical outlets, free wi-fi. A month in advance ticket cost around 8$, a week in advance $14. Purchase when boarding was $25. Future expansion of routes expect this Fall—to Bellingham and Eugene. Took about 3h30 to arrive in Chinatown, Seattle—just next to Union train station.

I arrived around seven o’clock in Chinatown, hungry. I checked in at the Belltown Inn, great location on Third, decent rooms for a brief stay. The free bike rental was a plus. Ask for a courtyard room, because it can get quite loud due to all the buses. Why Seattle insists having most of its buses on just one street I will never know.

Transport is pretty manageable downtown—if you are keeping to the main sights, the downtown bus is free 6am to 7pm or you can walk everywhere.

I first hit up Pike Brewery, the downstairs brewery just off of the market, with glossy, wooden counters. They had a sweet raspberry lambic served in a traditional flute glass and an IPA. The crowd here was mostly businessmen and tourists. Colors were bold and gaudy, hops were stuffed in glass cases—it was like drinking in a Planet Hollywood.

On the main corner of the market, I can recommend two places everyone must hit up—the crumpet shop and the piroshky shop. Crumpets are warm biscuits served with everything from pesto to honey butter to nutella. There were dozens of kinds of piroshkies, onion and beef, Bavarian custard, grilled chicken, polish sausage—all stuffed into crispy phyllo dough.

photo by WK

I felt more at home on Capitol Hill; though it has grown up a bit, it still maintains of laid-back, comfortable atmosphere. Streets are lined with thrift shops, eateries with gray and weathered window shutters, hipster-run cafes and bookshops. I spent one morning in Elliot Bay Books, nibbling at my latte and lemon curd muffin while buried in a Jan Morris travelogue. Not far walk from here is Elysian brewing—Greek pantheon-themed beer in love with its hops. I had the Perseus Porter.

Saturday was Bastille Day, and that evening down in one of the postalleys Café Campagne dressed up in all her tricolor finest. There were French jazz musicians—bassists, guitarists, accordionists—and two costumed ladies who danced the high-step to Piaf’s La Vie En Rose. A young Japanese-American girl was passing out brie and pear baguettes in a sailor dress and beret, and tightly vested hostesses were dispersing rosés and cabernets.

Of course, I was in Seattle to tour both Celebrity’s Infinity and Disney’s Wonder, two impressive cruise ships, and the Pacific Science Center’s exhibition on King Tut. Tune in next time to hear about them! In the meantime, check out my trip photos here.

Willamette Intl Travel can recommend great hotels, activities, and sights for your trip to Seattle. Call us for details at 800.821.0401 or email wailanak@wittravel.com.

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Summer in PDX

photo by Michael Silberstein

We interrupt our very productive series of glamorous destinations to focus on one closer to home—in fact, it is WIT’s home, the City of Roses–Portland. Summer is blooming here in the city, and every Portlander is awake, alive, moving on the streets, through the rivers and across the mountains. The rain has, for the time being, abated, and of course with the weather comes a variety of incredible local tours ready to hit the path.

Portland Spirit Cruises

There are a number of cruises on the Columbia River just perfect for sightseeing excursion down the lovely Gorge. The Sternwheeler houses 499 passengers, and resembles a steamboat from the 1800’s. They board in Cascade Locks, and have a number of themed options available, from sightseeing, brunch and dinner cruises, to the spectacular “landmarks of the gorge” cruise—including Multnomah Falls, Beacon Rock, Bonneville Locks and Dam, among others.

Also check out the new Outrageous Jet Boat adventures, which take you out on your very own motor coach to either Astoria or Cascade Locks. For those interested in the history of region, check out the Portland Bridge Cruise, a tour that takes you from St. John’s to Sellwood Bridge, and— new in 2012—the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge. There are discounts for groups, seniors, children, as well as upgrades, gift cards, and private rentals available.

Hop-on Hop-Off Portland Trolley Tour

This sightseeing tour includes live narration and 11 stops at major attractions all over Portland. Departures start 10:00 AM at Pioneer Courthouse Square, last train at 4:00 PM. Stops include The Rose Garden, Oregon Zoo, NW23rd shopping district, Powell’s Books, Chinese Garden, and OMSI, plus many more. See the city of roses with an expert tour guide, at your own pace. One day passes are adults $27, children (6-12) $14, and two-day passes are adults $32, children $16. Under 6’s ride free.

Evergreen Escapes

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking nature of the Northwest with these inclusive tours that merge mountains and waterways with local culture, food and beverages. Customize your experience with a range of available tours, from half days to multi days, with activities from kayaking and rock climbing to cycling and wine/brew tours. Evergreen Escapes operate from March to October only, and run the gamut from Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood, to Silver Falls and Cannon Beach. All tours are escorted in groups of 9 or smaller, include tea and pastries, with select Oregon wines and fruits where available. Call for more information on specific tours.

Interested in exploring what the Northwest has to offer? Email at info@wittravel.com or call 503.224.0180 for more information and reservations. We have local connections for excellent hotel rates in Portland and the metro area.

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