Awaken Travels’ owner Cindi Sanden and agents Teresa DeGraff, Vijal Ludlow, & Camila Gonzalez discuss alternative cruise lines and travel news.

Travel news from around the world

  • Travel partner countries (ages 12+) will be allowed to submit a negative rapid antigen test instead of a PCR test when they arrive in Fiji. In addition, the government ended its nationwide curfew (although masks are still required in public transportation and other places).
  • Bermuda won’t accept unvaccinated visitors ages 12 and older starting March 7. (Travel Weekly has more details.)
  • Hawaii won’t require a COVID-19 booster shot for visitors to be considered fully protected. Maui County also dropped the requirement.
  • In India, the mandatory 14-day quarantine has been replaced with a 14-day self-monitoring period.
  • Starting March 1, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises won’t require fully vaccinated passengers to wear masks. Additionally, they won’t have to take a COVID-19 test prior to boarding, but they’ll have to provide proof of a negative test within 48 hours for U.S. ports, and 72 hours for foreign ports.
  • Australia extended its cruise ban by two months to April 17.
  • The state of Nevada no longer requires casino guests to wear masks.
  • Club Med is expanding majorly through 2024, with brand-new all-inclusive resorts in Utah, the Italian and French Alps, Japan, Malaysia, and Spain (Marbella). It’s also renovating properties in Greece, the Italian Alps, and Thailand.
  • A new 2,770-passenger Virgin Voyages ship will sail from London’s terminal next month and then move to Barcelona in May.
  • Emerald Cruises got their first ocean ship, the 100-passenger “Emerald Azzurra”, in Vietnam last week. On March 11, the ship will leave for Jordan before heading to the Mediterranean and Adriatic for the summer.
  • Carnival Cruise Line celebrated the launch of its 6,500-passenger “Carnival Celebration” at a shipyard in Finland. It will start operating in the Caribbean this fall after a trans-Atlantic repositioning voyage from Southampton.
  • Universal Orlando Resort ended its policy of requiring fully vaccinated guests to wear masks (while unvaccinated guests are encouraged to wear them indoors).
  • In the coming months, Qantas is resuming six international routes from Australia: Sydney to Dallas (Feb. 16); Brisbane to Singapore; and Sydney to both Manila and Jakarta (March 27); Sydney to Bali (March 28); and Brisbane to Los Angeles (April 1).
  • At Dubai International Airport’s Concourse B, Emirates has opened a new unaccompanied minor’s lounge right next to the airline’s first-class lounge.
  • 115 brand-new guestrooms and five all-new dining options are coming to the 315-room Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh on Egypt’s Red Sea coast next month.
  • 243-room Southernmost Beach Resort in Key West, Fla., got a $15 million makeover that included updated guestrooms, breezeways, and facades.
  • Swiss-Belhotel International just de-branded its property in Doha, Qatar because it didn’t meet company standards.
  • San Jose’s former Fairmont property (which has been closed since March 2021 due to the owner’s bankruptcy) will reopen April 25 with 805 rooms as the Signia by Hilton San Jose after major renovations. It’s Hilton’s first property in that state.
  • Here are some hotels that opened/reopened recently:
    • The Thompson Denver has 216 rooms
    • The Blossom Hotel Houston has 267 rooms
    • The 275-room Dubai Edition hotel
    • The 105-room Hyatt House Lewes/Rehoboth Beach in Delaware
    • The 111-room Hotel Indigo Silverthorne in Colorado
    • 143 rooms at the Hotel Indigo New Orleans-French Quarter
    • Hotel Indigo Omaha Downtown has 90 rooms
    • Hilton Porto Alegre with a 170-rooms
    • Ibis Styles Johor Puteri with 152 rooms
    • Radisson Resort Pondicherry Bay with 51 rooms
    • The 152-room Ibis Styles Johor Iskandar Puteri in Malaysia
    • The 51-room Radisson Resort Pondicherry Bay in India
  • Here are some upcoming hotels;
    • Magma Resort Santorini, 59 rooms (May)
    • Bloozz Resort Bonaire (fall) has 46 rooms
    • The 106-unit Sunset Beach Resort Bonaire (by 2023)
    • The 99-room Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino (2023)
    • The 200-room, 280-room Sofitel Cairo New Capital Hotel & Residences in Egypt (2024)
    • A 120-room Movenpick Resort & Spa in Agoi
    • 160 rooms at Mercure Agoi Resort in Russia (2025).
  • American Airlines is bringing back pre-departure meals and drinks for domestic first-class passengers (on flights longer than 3.5 hours) on Wednesday.
  • Brazil has joined Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program to speed up Brazilians’ entry.

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