More travel options becoming available; get out and go! – The News Star

more-travel-options-becoming-available;-get-out-and-go!-–-the-news-star

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Remember when Joni Mitchell sang, "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?" Well, in my opinion, about the only gift of Covid is we now  have a much greater appreciation for travel. We no longer take it for granted. It has become a priority in our lives, and, for a travel agent like me, I think that is great, because summer is almost here and it's "go" time!   Luckily, the list of places we can go in our world is steadily increasing. For example, only last week, we learned cruising to Alaska will be able to return this summer, and although it  literally took an act of Congress to make it happen, the news is definitely encouraging.  The start up date for most cruise lines -- including Carnival, Princesss, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity-- to return to this market is mid-July.  Norwegian, the other major player in this upscale cruise market, has posted an August 7th start  date, but, like her competition, all ships cruising this beautiful state will be departing from Seattle.Because of the later start up date, the ships plan to linger longer in Alaska so you will have more time to get onboard.  Some cruise lines are actually extending their sailings until early October.  Another major change -- and, to be totally honest, this applies to the entire cruising  market right now -- is that cruise sailings are only going to be available to vaccinated passengers only. There is a possibility this restriction could be lifted by November, but, because cruising is so very popular, I wanted to give you an update on which cruise lines have committed to welcoming vaccinated only passengers aboard at this time: *American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines, two sister brands sailing U.S. rivers, will both require a COVID-19 vaccination for all guests beginning on July 1, 2021, and this restriction will remain in place until the CDC recommends otherwise.*Azamara, which plans to begin sailing to Greece at the end of August, will require all guests to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding their ship.*To board Celebrity Cruise Lines, guests 18 and older must be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. Those under 18 and older than 2 years old will be required to show proof of a negative PCR test. Celebrity will return to the Galapagos first with Celebrity Flora, their state-of-the-art mega-yacht, on July 4, and, then, will follow with Celebrity Xpedition on July 24 and Celebrity Xploration on Sept. 18.They also have ships departing out of Greece this summer with the launch of the new Celebrity Apex. These seven-night sailings will kick off on June 19 from Athens                and stop at the Greek islands of Mykonos, Rhodes, and Santorini; in Limassol, Cyprus; and Haifa and Jerusalem, Israel. Call me soon for space on this popular itinerary.*Crystal Cruises is requiring all guests to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding if you expect to cruise one of their new seven-night trips from Nassau and Bimini starting in July on the Crystal Serenity or their 10-night cruises from St. John's in Antigua in August.*Disney Cruise Line will have sailings this summer from U.K. ports, including London Tilbury,  Newcastle, Liverpool, and Southampton, and all guests age 18 and over must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.*Norwegian Cruise Line is requiring all guests to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding for all their sailings through Oct. 31. Norwegian is restarting operations in Europe from Barcelona and Rome as well as itineraries to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles beginning Sept. 5, 2021.The Norwegian Epic will cruise seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries from Sept. 5 through Oct. 24 and the Norwegian Getaway will sail 10 to 11-day Greek Isles voyages from Rome (Civitavecchia) from Sept. 13 to Oct. 25.*When Oceania Cruises restarts their sailings to Scandinavia and Western Europe in August, all guests must be vaccinated in order to be allowed on board. Oceania will also require COVID-19 antigen testing prior to boarding and a second test prior to                disembarkation.*Ponant Cruises requires all guests to be vaccinated when the French cruise line resumes sailing on June 16.  Guests will also need to show proof of a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours of boarding the ship.*Guests 18 and older aboard Royal Caribbean International ships will be required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding, too. Guests under 18 must show     proof of a negative RT-PCR test.  This is extremely important for families thinking about a holiday cruise.  In addition to cruising Alaska, their return to cruising kicks off on July 10 with the Jewel of the Seas departing from Cyprus and visiting ports in the                Mediterranean until October.*Regent Seven Seas Cruises will require all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding.*All Seabourn guests aboard their 7 day Greece cruises this summer must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to boarding.*Luxury cruise line Silversea will require all guests to have been fully vaccinated  against COVID-19 when it launches the  Silver Moon – the cruise line’s new flagship –            on June 18. The 10-day itineraries will sail the Eastern Mediterranean from Greece,     with calls to Santorini, Paros, Mykonos, and Crete, as well as Haifa (Israel) and        Cyprus. Silversea also has their new ship, Silver Origin,heading to the Galapagos Islands on June 19. Check out her two itineraries for an unbelievable journey in time and to see some strange creatures!*Viking Cruise Line will require guests to be fully vaccinated to board their ocean and river cruises this summer. Viking has also added more sailing dates for this summer to Iceland and Bermuda, and, just last week, they announced plans to homeport two ships in the Maltese capital city of Valletta for 11-day roundtrip itineraries in the                Mediterranean between July and early October 2021. *The Viking riverboats are also starting up again on the rivers of Europe in July as are the competing riverboat lines of Avalon, Amawaterways, Scenic, and Uniworld. You do not have to worry about booking so late, because space just opened up on these boats.  You just need to call Monroe Travel Service and make your plans now.Even if cruising from the U.S. ports has not started just yet, the floodgates are beginning to open again.  The very fact that a 27-nation bloc in Europe voted last week to permit  U.S. travelers within their borders this summer is huge. Trans-Atlantic flights are resuming, it means we can "go" again. Who knows? Next week may bring even more good news, but, right now,  the reality is this:  at Monroe Travel Service, we finally have a wave of new and fun itineraries to enjoy on the waters of our world--that is, if you are vaccinated, of course!Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service.  For your next vacation, whether a cruise, resort, or tour, call 318 323 3465 or email [email protected]  We would love to send you away.
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