Carnival is looking to freshen things up with a lot of new ships being launched by other cruise lines and may on the way. Just announced in the past week, the #CarnivalTriumph will be heading to dry dock for a two month long makeover from bow to stern starting March 1, 2019. Not only will you see new food venues, spa and other upgrades, it will also get a new name. When it resumes service sometime in May 2019, it will be called #CarnivalSunshine. It will stay on the East Cost, sailing out of #NorfolkVA and #NewYorkNY before heading to it's home port in Ft. Lauderdale sometime in October 2019. There are some early bird pricing available before it goes into dry dock, if you want to check it out the renovations first hand.
In a surprising move, #RoyalCaribbeanCruiseLines bought 2/3 stake (66.7%) of #SilverseaCruises. With this new acquisition, it now give RCCL an ultra luxury cruise brand to add it is already robust portfolio. Starting later this month, the Silversea fleet will begin a multi year renovations and enhancements. Now with Silversea's fleet, it brings the total number of ships to 59 across all its brands with another 15 ships on order. now, you can choose not just the itinerary but the experience you want.
Does this scenario sounds familiar to you...You are heading to Mexico for that much needed time away but just before you land the flight attendants walk down the aisle to hand you the immigration form to fill out. You are search for a pen or call dibs on the pen when then passenger next to you is done. Once you have the pen, hopefully you have all the information readily available and that you don't make an error.
Well, that is all changing! You can now fill out the immigration/tourist card online 30 days prior to your arrival.
I've provided two different links - one is the from the Mexican Immigration Department and the other is from the Cancun Airport. Forms look different but the end result is the same.
Here’s what you need to complete the form:
- Contact information
- Passport information
- Full Name of the Hotel in Mexico (Address is asked, but not required)
- Arrival flight information
- Email address to send you the Tourist Card
- A printer to print the Tourist Card
- Don't forget to sign the form!!
The Dominican Republic is one of the hot spots for Caribbean travel. Price wise it is comparable to flying to Cancun, which is a huge draw for many. The only thing additional we had to do to was purchase a "tourist visa" to enter the country. It was a minimal cost of $10 per person but you had to either pay for it when you arrived along with the other passengers or until couple of years you could prepay it online then print it out to take on your trip.
It was just announced a few weeks ago that a change was made when it came to the tourist visa. Effective April 25, 2018, the Dominican Republic government allowed the cost of the tourist visa to be included in the ticket cost. You still need to show documentation but it has been advised that you will get your "paperwork" when you check in for your flight at the airport. So make sure that on day of departure you stop by the ticket counter to make sure you have your paperwork in order or you may be stuck back in line twice before you are allowed to leave the terminal.
For those who cruise, the most time consuming part is getting on and off the ship. Many of the cruise terminals are old and outdated. In some cases barely able to accommodate the larger mega-ships that are at sea today.
Norwegian Cruise Line just broke ground on their new terminal at Port Miami which is scheduled to open in Fall 2019. This new terminal will be able to handle ships up to 5000 passengers and have state of the art technology which will support faster and more efficient embarkation and disembarkation, along with expedited security and luggage check in.
Recently, Royal Caribbean just finished with its new $247 million dollar terminal, also, at Port Miami Terminal A. It is scheduled to open in October and is set to host its Allure and Symphony of the Seas. Carnival Corporation also did a multi-million dollar renovation at its Ft. Lauderdale port at Terminal 2. This particular port hosts Princess Cruise Lines only. It boats a more streamlined design with a more interactive experience, which includes large LED TVs and a movie theather. These changes to bring cruise travel into the 21st centruy will make a big impact as we expect more renovations and buildings to come.
For you Disney fans, you've all seen to Disneyland in Californai and DisneyWorld in Florida - but have you seen Japan - Disney Style? No? Well, now you can!! Adventures by Disney - the guided family tour side of Disney - has released Japan as part of their 2019 destinations. They have partnered with the Japan National Tourism Organization to create a trip that is both culturally authentic and deeply immersive. this 11-day, 10-night itinerary, travelers will visit Kyoto, Osaka, Takayama, Hakone and Tokyo. They will explore historical shrines and temples, such as Fushimi Inari Shrine, Sensoji Temple, Pure Water Temple, the Kamakura Daibutsu and Meiji Shrine.
Hawaii's Mt. Kilauea volcano has erupted on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was also reported that earthquakes could be felt proir to the eruption. One of the subdivisions has been ordered to evacuate, affecting over 1,800 people. In these areas, it has also been noted that there is very high levels of sulfur dioxide gas causing even more concern. Even one of the other nearby craters has colapsed causing even more earthquakes. Kilauea located at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has shut off this part of the park but the rest of the park is still open to the public, but is giving warning to those entering the park in case of the immediate need to evacuate.
In the past couple of weeks, many resort parent companies have announced expansion plans.
Sunscape Resorts announced that they will be opening its fist property in Cancun on December 1, 2018. It will be names Sunscape Star Cancun situated between Puerto Cancun and Playa Mujeres. The Star concept is designed to offer clients an elevated level of service and amenities, along with its signature Unlimited Fun inclusions.
Playa Resorts not only went public in the last 30 days it also sealed a huge deal purchasing five large resorts in the Montego Bay and Ocho Rios area in Jamaica. The resorts it purchased was the Hilton Rose Hall, and all four Jewel properties - Dunn's River, Runaway Bay, Paradise Cove and Jamaica Grande. It currently operates two Panama Jack resorts in the Cancun/Rivera Maya area in Mexico, the two Hyatt properties in Jamaica, as well as the Sanctuary resort in the Cap Cana area in the Dominican Republic.
Temptation is expanding it's "sexy vacation" options as it released the news that is spending $70 million to build a new resort in the Dominican Republic, which is scheduled to open at the end of 2019. Temptation just recently reopened its Cancun location after a major renovation closed it for several months. It also announced it will be offering the first ever topless Temptation Caribbean Cruise out of Tampa schedule to set sail on February 13, 2020. There will be theme nights, VIP performance and celebrity DJ's on board.
Royalton Resorts is opening a new property in Cancun scheduled to open at the end of 2018 and another resort in Antigua in early 2019. The Cancun resort will offer oceanfront luxury suites and the first Royalton Rooftop SkyClub. Antigua will have very modern accommodation and situated on a private beach.
Last week Southwest received from the Hawaiian Department of Transport the permission to land in Honolulu. This is the first step to bring service to the Hawaiian Islands. The airlines is working on clearance to flying the Trans-Pacific route. It is still anticipated that service will begin sometime in 2018 but no other details have been released. We do know that the flight will originate somewhere on the West Coast, and if I had to take an educated guess, i would say service would be from Los Angeles, given the fact that we have seen expanded service to/from the LA area in recent months.
Many of you heard about the travel warning that was released back on March 7th. The US Consulate was shutdown due to explosive devices found on the ferry from Cozumel. In fact, one of the devices did detonate back in February injuring 25 people.
Since then, there have been updates but none of it has been release by the US media. It was announced that the consulate has since reopened in Playa del Carmen and the warning/restriction has been eased. In other words, there is no more warning. Like many other US tourist destinations, you still need to use common sense when traveling - whether domestic or international.
It was discovered that the devices found were not terrorist in nature but in retaliation toward one of owners of the ferry company. Who, at one time, was the governer of the state who was brought up on charges of corruption. This was someone who was upset with the owner and the company and did what he could to get back at him. Sounds familiar these days, I'm sorry to say.
For those of you, who are have already booked your travels or have been on the fence about booking since this warning/restriciotn was announced, you are gonig to be safe gong to the Playa del Carmen area..
No matter where you travel internationally, we do recommend that you do register your travels with the State Deparment, in the event that something should happen abraod in your area. This way they know who is in the area and can reach out to you.
If you have more questions or would like to talk more about this topic, please email or call us.