Travel News

Travel News

Mexico News

U.S. Extends Travel Restrictions with Mexico through June 22

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Embassy and Consulates in Mexico announced on May 20 that the temporary travel restrictions with Mexico and Canada have been extended through June 22, 2020. The restrictions first went into effect on March 21.

While essential travel between the countries remains open, individuals traveling for tourism purposes, such as sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events are not permitted to travel.

Despite the continued border restrictions, destinations in Mexico are preparing to reopen. The Los Cabos Tourism Board recently announced its reopening five-phase plan, which started on June 1 and runs through the first quarter of 2021. In Phase 1 (June 1), the destination will implement its set of health and safety standards; following in Phase II (July), the international terminal is expected to reopen.

Quintana Roo, the Mexican state that includes Cancun, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Holbox, Tulum, Maya Ka’an and Grand Costa Maya, says the state’s tourism industry is reopening on June 8.

Elsewhere, the Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau recently launched a Tourism Wellness and Best Practices Guide, outlining the new standard of sanitation and safety protocols. The bureau added that it is anticipating a summer reopening.

Cruise News

Updates on Cruise Lines

Uniworld: As with other river cruise lines, Uniworld is still operating with a wait-and-see approach. It has yet to cancel any August sailings and is still hoping to have ships sailing in late August, but it all depends on when North Americans are able to get over to Europe.

Royal Caribbean: Right now, Royal doesn’t have concrete plans as to when its ships will start sailing again and executives said that it will vary from region to region.

Norwegian Cruise Line: NCL announced that it would extend its suspension in operations another month, through July 2020. Though the line still doesn’t have a date when it will restart its operations, chairman Frank Del Rio said that NCL still expects to sail sometime this year.

Windstar: Small ship cruise operator Windstar will look to restart its operations in September 2020. Windstar will restart first with Wind Spirit in Tahiti on September 3; Star Breeze in the Mediterranean on October 27; Wind Surf on November 29; WindStar on January 16, 2021 in Costa Rica and the

Panama Canal; Star Legend on March 1, 2021 in the Mediterranean; and then the Star Pride on July 5, 2021 in Northern Europe.

Avalon Waterways: Globus’ Avalon Waterways said it was looking at September 1, 2020 for a return to river cruising and unveiled its safety plan for future river cruises.

Hurtigruten: Expedition cruise company Hurtigruten will look to restart its cruise operations beginning on June 16. The restart will include a gradual phase-in of its sailings starting with its Norwegian operations and then its Arctic operations later this summer in areas where restrictions are lifted.

Virgin Voyages: The new luxury cruise line Virgin Voyages will be canceling all sailings through October 15, 2020. Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady, was initially supposed to debut in April.

American Cruise Line: ACL plans to begin cruising again on June 20 with American Song on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and June 28 with American Harmony on the Mississippi. The company is looking toward late June or July to begin cruises in Alaska with American Constellation.

International News

Alitalia to Resume Nonstop Rome-New York Flights

Yes, there will be a way to get to Italy this summer. Alitalia resumed non-stop Rome to New York service starting June 2. The airline will fly on 30 routes to 25 airports.

From Rome, Alitalia increased services with 15 flights within Italy and 10 abroad including to Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Zurich and New York.

Alitalia also continues to organize special flights in coordination with the Crisis Unit of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to repatriate Italian citizens still stranded abroad.

All passenger flights operate with the aircraft capacity at less than 50 percent in order to comply with the provisions of Italian law on social distancing on aircraft. Alitalia never suspended its flight operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. – John Steinbeck

Deal of the Week

NCL Includes All ‘Free at Sea’ Amenities for Every Booking

Norwegian Cruise Line has tweaked its “Free at Sea” promotion, including all five amenities for every booking, regardless of cabin category booked. The Free at Sea promotions, which NCL introduced about five years ago, is a value-added package that provides up to five free offers applied to all bookings until this change.

The five free offers are: free open bar (20 percent gratuity not included), free specialty dining, as detailed (20 percent gratuity not included), a shore excursion credit, free Wi-Fi, and kids sail free.

Under the old rules, depending on the cabin category they booked, passengers could choose one, two, three or all five offers. Under the new rules, passengers receive all five offers but the free specialty dining amenity has been trimmed.

Passengers booked on cruises of 3-to-5 nights will receive one complimentary specialty dinner; those on sailings of 6-to-8 nights will have two specialty dinners; cruisers of 9-to-10 nights receive three specialty dinners; sailings of 11-to-14 nights include four complimentary specialty dinner; and those on cruises of 15 nights or longer will get five included specialty dinners.

The change applies to new reservations only. Guests with existing bookings will not be affected.

Judy Newell, an international travel consultant since 1971, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She custom designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, physical abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel. Cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949-300-3682; email

Sources: Travel Agent Central, Insider Travel Report, Travel Market Report, Cruise Critic