News & Views of the Week



Brazil Launches eVisa Platform for American Travelers

By Matt TurnerDec 6, 2023 12:29pm

Brazil TourismFederal Travel RegulationsDestination InformationTravel Documents

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
(Photo by marchello74/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Brazil has officially launched the platform through which citizens of the United StatesCanada and Australia can obtain their electronic visa (eVisa) to enter the country. Travelers from these countries will need the visa to enter Brazil by air starting January 10, 2024.

The electronic visa will allow multiple entries and will have the same validity period as conventional visas. For Americans, this means a validity of 10 years (five years each for Canadians and Australians).


Travelers will have to input their personal information and confirmation of a flight reservation and pay a fee of $80 to secure the visa—all of which is done online. Once approved, a PDF file containing your eVisa will be emailed to you. Download and print this eVisa for presentation during boarding and upon landing in Brazil. Tip: The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends keeping a copy of the eVisa file on your cellphone. It also recommends registering for a visa if you’re traveling within a few days prior to January 10 in the event that your flight or other travels are delayed.

Brazil first announced the reintroduction of its visa requirement in March with the goal of having the program in operation by October. In September, however, it was delayed until January 2024. The move to suspend visa requirements took place in 2019 by then-president Jair Bolsonaro in order to facilitate tourism. Coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic and also reportedly weakening Brazil's ability to negotiate with those countries that still required a visa for Brazilian travelers, the lifting of the visa requirement did not fulfill its intentions.

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Windstar Begins Updating Its Three Wind-Class Ships

By NewsdeskDec 6, 2023 10:41am

Windstar CruisesCruise Ship RenovationsCruise InformationWind Star

Windstar Cruises' new pool deck rendering
The new pool deck for Wind Star, Wind Spirit and Wind Surf.  (Windstar Cruises' new pool deck rendering)

Windstar Cruises is embarking on a multimillion-dollar initiative to redesign and update three classic sailing yachts—148-guest Wind Star and Wind Spirit and 342-guest Wind Surf.  The multi-year initiative kicked off Wednesday, with Wind Star completing Phase One of its renovations. 

Wind Star is the first sailing ship to start the process and is currently in Lisbon, readying to welcome guests onboard. A second phase will include remaining staterooms and dining venues in 2026. Wind Spirit will be fully remodeled and its renovations will be complete in 2025, while Wind Surf's update will be in two phases—2024 and 2026. The project encompasses a full redesign of all public spaces with new layouts, furniture, wall and floor coverings, lighting and custom art. Guest staterooms, Premium Suites and Owner’s Suites will be fully refurbished, as well, with new furniture, interactive televisions and décor.


Windstar Cruises' new lounge rendering

The new lounge onboard Windstar's Wind-Class ships. (Photo by Windstar Cruises)

Project Highlights for Wind Star, include:

  • Lobby — Opening up the space creates a more expansive reception area with added seating and expanded retail space.
  • Lounge — The layout has been redesigned with new furniture, lighting and finishes enhancing the area for daytime relaxation and evening entertainment. 
  • Spa and Fitness Center — The World Spa by Windstar and gym have been redesigned with wellness and respite in mind. Both areas have all new finishes, color palettes and equipment. 
  • Pool Deck — The pool deck has been expanded with the removal of the skylight. A new pool and jacuzzi have been added, and the pool bar has been extended. New furniture includes sofas for lounging and colorful poufs, ottomans and chairs around the pool. New speakers, lighting and finishes add to the fun of parties on the pool deck. New flora and greenery around the pool bar add a pop of color.
  • Artwork — Through its partnership with Fountainhead Arts in Miami, the line is sourcing a curated collection of artwork for all three yachts. All are specially commissioned for Windstar with a common theme around "the convergence of nature, organic materials and the essence of yachting." 
  • Technology — New, larger televisions in every cabin will be fully loaded with curated content and movies, plus the line’s Wayfinder application. Additional Wi-Fi access points will provide a better connection to Starlink internet.

Updates planned for guest staterooms, the main dining room Amphora, and lunch/breakfast restaurant Veranda will occur in Phase Two. 


Carnival Cruise Line Opens Additional West Coast Voyages

Carnival Cruise Line Opens Additional West Coast Voyages
Carnival Cruise Line will be offering more Mexico and Hawaii sailings, departing from the U.S. West Coast, for the 2025-2026 season.
Credit: 2023 Carnival Cruise Line

In preparation for the arrival of Carnival Firenze in Long Beach, Calif., next spring, Carnival Cruise Line is expanding  available sailings from the West Coast for the 2025-2026 season.


To Mexico, Firenze will embark on four-, five- and six-day cruises, spending two days in Cabo San Lucas on the six-day ones. And Carnival Radiance will feature three-, four- and five-day routes.


The line will welcome Firenze earlier than originally expected, on April 25, 2024, when it will depart on a weeklong sailing to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

Firenze, formerly Costa Cruises’ Costa Firenze, will deliver “Carnival Fun Italian Style,” according to the line.


Carnival will offer six special Carnival Journeys onboard Carnival Radiance. The 14-day sailings will visit Maui, Honolulu, Kauai and Hilo, as well as Ensenada, Mexico, on roundtrips from Long Beach. Departures are scheduled for Oct. 18 and Nove. 29, 2025, and Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 7 and April 4, 2026.


What's new on Celebrity Cruises' newest ship, the Ascent

By Andrea Zelinski 


Dec 05, 2023


The redesigned Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud restaurant on the Celebrity Ascent.

The redesigned Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud restaurant on the Celebrity Ascent. Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises

Andrea Zelinski

Andrea Zelinski

It's difficult to stand out as the fourth ship in a class, especially when many of the innovative characteristics that formed the class identity have rolled out on three previous ships.

But Celebrity Cruises' fourth ship in the Edge class, the Celebrity Ascent, offers a few changes and experiences that are certainly worth a second look.

sailed for two days on the brand-new Ascent after its naming celebration in Port Everglades this weekend, where the ship will be based for the next two winter seasons when not sailing in the Med.

Like its sister ships, the Ascent includes elements that make it a distinct Edge-Class ship, like the glass-lined Magic Carpet traveling platform, the trendy Eden Restaurant and a high-tech, rounded theater with oversized moving screens.  

In size, the Celebrity Ascent is a mirror image of the Celebrity Beyond. Both of ships are 140,600 gross tons, nearly a 9% increase over the Celebrity Edge, which debuted in 2018, and the Celebrity Apex in 2020. The Ascent and the Beyond carry 3,260 passengers at double capacity, up from the roughly 2,900 on the Edge and Apex.

But Ascent's main differences from the Beyond include redesigned spaces. One example is Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud, one of the ship's specialty restaurants, with smooth curves on the ceiling and furniture. The sleek space was designed by KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group.


The Celebrity Ascent's casino.

The Celebrity Ascent's casino. Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises


The casino, an area Celebrity Cruises president Laura Hodges Bethge called "super important to a lot of our guests," has also been redone. While maintaining the same footprint, it now has a new layout with new slot machines.

The Ascent also introduced a private experience called the Annex. The rentable space includes games like a golf simulator and karaoke or a private area to watch a sports event. The space meant for up to 15 people can be rented out for two-and-a-half hours at a time; it's stocked with soft drinks, and guests can order alcohol and food from the Craft Social bar. Prices vary by activity and whether the ship is at sea or in port, but they range from $150 for a movie night or game-day streaming in port to $350 for the golf and sports simulator on a sea day.

"It's a really great place if you're celebrating a birthday or you just have a large group on board or you just met some new friends and you want to go enjoy there," said Hodges Bethge.  


A Closer Look at the Design of Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas

A Closer Look at the Design of Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas
Icon of the Sea’s Royal Promenade
Credit: 2022 Royal Caribbean International

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Nov. 30, 2022. It will continue to be updated as new ship details emerge.

During a sailing onboard Allure of the Seas from Galveston, Texas, Jay Schneider, chief product innovation officer for Royal Caribbean International hosted a detailed information session on the line’s upcoming new ship, Icon of the Seas.


Giving more insight into the ship’s overall design, he indicated that guests can expect Icon of the Seas, which sets sail in January 2024, to be a blend of the Oasis, Quantum and Radiance class ships. Despite being inspired by a mix of previous elements, however, Schneider described Icon as a truly “white paper ship” that had been newly designed from the keel up. Although originally expected to be a smaller ship, it ended up much bigger in order to fit all the inclusions.

Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming vessel.

Reprising the Classics


The three-pronged approach to Icon is “tradition, evolution and revolution,” Schneider said. Guests can always expect brand favorites, such as the Schooner Bar, to return, but they will be evolved versions of the traditional classics, while being revolutionized to reflect features that are entirely new to the ship.


The Royal Promenade, first introduced with Royal Caribbean’s Voyager class, is one such reprised neighborhood, and this time it will have no dead ends, as the mezzanine level will be fully accessible. (And it will finally have views of the sea, tackling a common complaint of the neighborhood thus far.)

The mysterious pearl structure, teased on social media, will be a structural element that permits massive glass expanses on either side of the ship. Its core is one part an atrium stairway and one part an art installation that leads all the way up to Central Park. Meanwhile, the namesake Pearl Cafe looks like it will be an updated version of the Cafe Promenade.

Also included along the Royal Promenade, which will be even wider than before, will be the line’s first pub with darts, aptly titled Point & Feather. Grab-and-go convenience will be the name of the game onboard the ship, from bars to eateries.

Situated above the promenade will be a lusher Central Park with new entertainment, a relocated and expanded hibachi restaurant, and Izumi on the Park (with takeaway as an option, as well).

The Observation Lounge, Reimagined

Fans of traditional forward-facing observation lounges will greatly appreciate the AquaDome. Initially touted as the new home of the popular AquaTheater, this replacement of the alfresco Solarium on former ships will actually be an entirely enclosed and climate-controlled mega venue that includes the Overlook Lounge. (Think: corporate cousin Celebrity Cruises’ Eden but on steroids, and located at the very front of the ship instead of stern.)

And we now know what shows will be staged in the AquaDome. “Aqua Action!” will consist of a high-energy cast of high divers, skateboarders, aerialists, slackliners and synchronized singers. Theatrical robotics and a double 3D flying system will join in to craft a live-action, movie-style experience. Additionally, “Pirates vs. Mermaids” will mythically battle in a comedic action set piece appealing to children and adults.

Dining Meets Entertainment

The dome will also feature Celebration Table as a hybrid restaurant experience, hosting chef’s table experiences and celebratory meals. There will even be Panoramic Suites inside the dome’s dramatic glass enclosure, as well as Infinite Grand Suites elsewhere — again, taking cues from Celebrity’s signature infinite verandas. Plus, the suite neighborhood will have a double-decker Coastal Kitchen restaurant that’s exclusive to guests and looks into the AquaDome.


Swim & Tonic in the new Chill Island is Royal Caribbean’s first swim-up bar at sea.
Swim & Tonic in the new Chill Island is Royal Caribbean’s first swim-up bar at sea.
Credit: 2022 Royal Caribbean International


Chill Island and Thrill Island

With the upper deck getting a lot of attention lately, Chill Island and Thrill Island will be two sides of the same coin, with one offering serene relaxation, and the other focusing on sheer adrenaline. No matter a clients’ choice, most pools — one of which will be glass-sided — will face outward toward the passing scenery.

Given how visually busy the aquatic levels look, I asked Schneider if there was a strategy for noise abatement. Schneider says that Royal Caribbean is working on such efforts on the inside of the ship, but admitted there will be some sonic crossover on deck. (So, don’t expect The Hideaway, located right below the drop slides, to be super silent). But the adults-only Cloud 17 — complete with its own Lime and Coconut bar, one of four onboard — will be much quieter.

Then amping things up again will be Crown’s Edge, surely a reference to the line’s iconic Viking Crown architecture, where the onboard ropes course will have a trap door element that initiates a rail slide that suspends participants over the water below.

“Why not dangle people off the side of the ship?” Schneider playfully asked.

Family Fun

Last, but not least (as only a fraction of the ship has been revealed so far) is Surfside. The new neighborhood, which takes over the Boardwalk, will be dedicated to families and will be the location for the ship’s Splashaway Bay, plus Baby Bay and pool, an aqua park complex for little ones. It will again be positioned near a Sugar Beach candy and ice cream shop, a new family-focused secondary buffet and a beach-themed carousel.

The Absolute Zero Ice Rink

Entertainment onboard Icon will include a Royal Caribbean-favorite ice rink, dubbed Absolute Zero, this time in a circular configuration, allowing skaters to gain more speed along the perimeter to enhance their performances, Schneider said.

Ice shows hosted here will include “Starburst: Elemental Beauty,” as an “artistic interpretation of the periodic table of elements … about the building blocks of life," according to the line, further incorporating digitally mapped backgrounds to tell the story. And “One Upon a Time: The King’s Royal Ball” will bring together various fairytale characters with spins on their stories, ideal for family audiences.

Headlining Royal Theater

More traditionally staged in the Royal Theater will also be a pair of headlining shows. “The Wizard of Oz” will be retold, employing a 16-piece orchestra and original score, more than 600 costume elements and special stage design and effects. Meanwhile, “Showband! Live. Music. Now.” will delight music aficionados with a multi-sensory audiovisual experience played by 16 live musicians.

Other Entertainment

Even beyond the typical entertainment venues will be live music throughout the ship, adults-only standup sets from three comedians in the Comedy Club, and a “Ships Ahoy!” parade of swashbuckling characters along the Royal Promenade.


Inside Look: River Cruise Inventory Available Into 2026

River cruisers should begin looking into their river cruise plans for 2024 and 2025.
Credit: 2023 Alberto Giron/

Editor's Note: This story was last updated on Dec. 6, 2023.

As many ocean cruise lines debut itineraries available for booking into 2026, several river cruise lines are also looking ahead as far as 2026. 


Here’s what travel advisors need to know about upcoming regional and international river cruise options available through the next couple years.



In 2024, AmaWaterways will add an additional date for its popular Latin Touch sailings dedicated to Spanish-speaking travelers, as well as debut AmaMagdalena, its first ship on the Magdalena River. There will also be more family-friendly charters available from partner Adventures by Disney along three European rivers next year.

The line has additionally begun releasing its 2025 inventory for sale, including onboard the next new ships, AmaMelodia and AmaSintra. Plus, AmaWaterways will launch a fresh weeklong Imperial Danube itinerary that sails roundtrip from Budapest, Hungary. The line will also combine popular routes into extended Grand itineraries for sailings up to 14 nights along French rivers and Dutch and Belgian waterways.

Ama also has limited availability for its Black culture-focused Soulful Experience voyages covering either Egypt or France in November 2024.

American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines is preparing for 2024 with a series of special U.S. National Parks Cruising river voyages. The 12-day Great Smoky Mountains National Park traverses the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and includes two days in the featured national park. The 16-day National Parks & Legendary Rivers, meanwhile, showcases the Columbia and Snake rivers, as well as spends seven days in three national parks: Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Next year, the company is also offering an extended 16-day Grand Ohio River Cruise, as well as the 35-day Civil War Battlefields Cruise and the 60-day The Great United States sailing.

American Queen Voyages

American Queen Voyages is scheduling its new five- and six-day abbreviated itineraries into 2024. American Countess, for one, will navigate the Lower Mississippi River during Roundtrip New Orleans, visiting St. Francisville and Nottoway in Louisiana.

Avalon Waterways

Citing increased demand, Avalon Waterways is adding departures in 2024. The line is expanding its season on the Seine and Rhone rivers next year into November, and it’s also adding departures on the Rhine and Danube rivers, including more Festive holiday voyages.


Avalon Alegria
Avalon Alegria
Credit: 2023 Avalon Waterways


Plus, 2024 will mark the launch of the brand’s new Avalon Alegria along the Douro River in Portugal for the first time.

Emerald Cruises

A new 2024 itinerary from Emerald Cruises will showcase Budapest for an extended period of time. During the season running from April to October 2024, the 10-day Danube Explorer & Highlights of Budapest will include three days in the Hungarian port and visit five countries, including Germany and Austria. There will be Six EmeraldActive hiking and biking tours available along the way.


An EmeraldActive group
An EmeraldActive group
Credit: 2023 Emerald Waterways


European Waterways

Serving clients looking for intimate barge cruising, European Waterways will introduce its new eight-guest Kir Royale in May 2024 in the Champagne region of France along the Marne River.

“For its maiden voyage with us, Kir Royale has been upgraded to meet the highest standards of luxury and comfort that are the hallmarks of all European Waterways vessels,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways.

Features of the ship will include three sundecks, a spa pool, an upper panoramic observation deck and four staterooms with en suite bathrooms and air-conditioning.

In celebration of its 50-year anniversary, the line also just released its 2024/2025 brochure.

Riviera River Cruises

Next year, travel advisors can book three new extended 11-day itineraries from Riviera River Cruises: Paris, Normandy & Historic Treasures of the Seine River Cruise (from Paris to Le Havre, France, and back); Cologne, the Rhine Gorge & Medieval Germany River Cruise (from Cologne, Germany, to Nuremberg, Germany, and back); and The Moselle, Luxembourg & the Majestic Rhine River Cruise (from Cologne to Trier, Germany, and Luxembourg, to Mannheim, Germany, and back).

“They’re the ideal fit between our eight-day cruises — which some might think aren’t quite long enough — and our 15-day cruises, which might leave others wanting to get home,” said Marilyn Conroy, executive vice president of sales and marketing for North America at Riviera River Cruises.

Plus, Riviera is now preparing to open its 2025 sales on Nov. 15. 

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

For 2024, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours is breaking down its itinerary list by category. There are Epicurean Delights, which feature regional culinary immersion; Nature’s Wonders, showcasing European gardens, valleys, gorges and more; and Seasonal Delights, which are unique timed events, such as Christmas markets or springtime tulip season in the Netherlands. 

Next year, Scenic will also tout offer more than 50 new Scenic Freechoice excursions and two fresh routes: The 10-day Danube in Depth (from Budapest to Nuremberg) and the eight-day Iconic Danube (available with a three-night Prague extension).

Additionally, the June 18, 2024, Bordeaux Affair sailing will feature chef Bryan Voltaggio of “Top Chef” fame. Guests can meet and spend time with him while enjoying meals that he will customize exclusively for this departure.


Tauck will launch six new European itineraries in 2024, each showcasing a special shoreside dinner in either a historic castle or private palace. Pre- or post-cruise hotel stays will be available in cities new to the company, including Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, and Montreux and Geneva, Switzerland.


Tauck is adding to its European portfolio of river cruises.
Tauck is adding to its European portfolio of river cruises.
Credit: 2023 Tauck


"We’re absolutely thrilled to be expanding our river cruise offerings in such an unprecedented way, with exciting new itineraries that will appeal to our loyal past guests and new travelers alike,” said Dan Mahar, CEO of Tauck.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

In our world cruise showcase earlier this year, we previewed Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ unique 55-day journey onboard four of its Super Ships that will visit three continents and 10 countries starting next October.

Also for 2024, the line will offer several 10-day Mystery Cruise sailings, where only the embarkation and disembarkation airports are revealed ahead of time. Uniworld will additionally launch cycling-themed voyages and multiple Out! On the Rivers departures dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community. Uniworld will also charter two former Crystal River Cruises vessels from new owner Riverside Luxury Cruises as S.S. Victoria and S.S. Elisabeth in Europe in 2024 and 2025, respectively. 


Viking is preparing itineraries out into 2026, launching another 10 European riverboats by then, as well. Currently under construction are five signature Viking Longships for 2025 delivery, and five more for 2026. (That’s not even mentioning its upcoming second ship on the Mekong River for 2025, with its own regional routes open through 2026.

Also rapidly growing is Viking’s presence along the Nile River, with two more riverboats planned along the waterway in 2024 and 2025, respectively, in addition to Egyptian itineraries now open through 2026. The 12-day Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary includes a weeklong river cruise bookended by pre- and post-sailing hotel stays in Cairo.

Earlier in 2024 will be the launch of Viking Hathor, plus a special “Paris & D-Day 80th Anniversary” itinerary and an extended “Lyon, Provence & the Rhineland” voyage, combining a cruise on the Rhine River and in southern France. And beginning in 2025  will be the “London, Paris & D-Day" voyage.


The New Sun Princess Will Debut With Brand Favorites and New Venues

The New Sun Princess Will Debut With Brand Favorites and New Venues
Princess Live! Features game shows, trivia and the daily Wake Show.
Credit: 2023 Princess Cruises

When Princess Cruises’ upcoming new Sun Princess launches in early 2024, it will feature fan-favorite venues and reveal some new offerings, adding to the previously announced enhancements to the Piazza and The Dome.

“With the construction of any new ship, we have the incredible opportunity to design standout spaces with our guests’ preferences in mind,” said John Padgett, president of Princess . “With the new platform and size of Sun Princess, we’re uniquely able to refresh venues we know our guests love and expand upon, redesign and elevate them to the next level. We know our sun-inspired designs will exceed expectations and elevate the entire Princess experience.”

When complete, Sun will be Princess’ largest-ever ship carrying 4,000 passengers and featuring the line’s full-service and interactive Princess Medallion experience. The vessel is currently being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the country that has inspired the ship’s design heritage. It will also be the first in the fleet to be powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), just one of 11 such fueled ships for parent company Carnival Corporation.


Sun Princess will begin sailing in the Mediterranean in early 2024, and its inaugural season is already on sale.

Here's a peek at what clients can expect onboard Sun Princess. Editor's Note: This story was last updated on Nov. 28, 2023.

Horizons Dining Room



Combining what typically had been three separate main restaurants on previous Princess ships will be Sun’s singular triple-decker Horizons Dining Room and its focal architectural sculpture.

Stretching from deck 6 to deck 8 — and scenically overlooking the stern — each level will sport unique personalities and serve distinct experiences, with varying degrees of formality. The line promises a venue that is “open and flexible, featuring dining options to suit every mood.”


The triple-decker Horizons Dining Room
The triple-decker Horizons Dining Room
Credit: 2023 Princess Cruises


Princess Arena

Similarly innovative for the line will be the Princess Arena, evolving on and opening up earlier Princess Theater designs. Three different configurations will take advantage of the venue’s in-the-round orientation, thanks to moveable seats and an overall capacity of more than 1,000 patrons. At the center of it all will be a visual anchor crowning the stage and incorporated into shows, which will be further encircled by tide-inspired curved walls.


The Arena theater will house three new productions and one remounted favorite. “Fiera!” will return with its classic musical love story. The new “Vallora, A Pirate Quest,” will debut onboard, featuring themes of searching for what’s lost, as well as all things family and love, set to 1980s tunes like Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.”

“Stage Struck” will showcase musical theater with numbers from show such as “Rent,” “Dreamgirls,” “My Fair Lady” and more. And lastly “Viva La Musica” will include dancing from Latin American choreographer Liz Imperio and hits such as Miami Sound Machine’s “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” and Pete Rodriguez’s “I Like It Like That.” The latter will also be interactive, with a dance couple inviting spectators to the floor.

The Dome, meanwhile, will be home to a trio of acrobatic performances: “Blue,” “Come Fly Away” and “Artbeat.” Additionally, the ship will host new takes on the line’s sail-away party, welcome show, themed deck party, farewell show and other game shows.

Dining Favorites

Returning to Sun will be Crown Grill, Sabatini's Italian Trattoria and Alfredo’s Pizzeria, baking some of the best pies at sea with a new open-mouth oven that can reach temperatures of 968 degrees.

The reprised Crown Grill, the ship’s signature steakhouse, features a more contemporary design with leather booths, circular seating and modern art, as well as a show galley. And Sabatini's will feature a bistro-like geometric environment complete with a “pasta room” for viewing the venue’s fresh pasta making.


The Crown Grill is the ship’s signature steakhouse.
The Crown Grill is the ship’s signature steakhouse.
Credit: 2023 Princess Cruises


Entertainment and Other Activities

Meanwhile, a classic Princess Casino, the largest in the fleet, will be located in the central Piazza with more than 200 slots and video poker games.

The casino will feature a “Buffalo Zone,” bringing popular games from Aristocrat onboard. There will also be new linked blackjack and poker table progressives and a high-limit slot section, as well as other interactive audio-visual experiences. Altogether, the facility will measure in at about 9,000 square feet, with 10-foot-high ceilings, 227 slot machines and 13 live tables.

Princess Live! will also be back. Taking cues from past Explorer’s Lounges, it will offer a comfortable and interactive setting for game shows, trivia and the daily Wake Show, among luxurious fittings and inviting lounge seating. Attached bar service and a large LED screen at the stage will be showcased.

And The Shops of Princess will consist of five modern retail stores, in addition to an art gallery.

Rounding out the spaces on Sun will be newly designed takes on Crooner’s, the Wheelhouse Bar, International Cafe, Good Spirits and a Gelateria.


United is now flying the Airbus A321neo

By Robert Silk 


Dec 04, 2023


United has firm orders for 130 A321neos, with 30 expected for delivery by the end of next year.

United has firm orders for 130 A321neos, with 30 expected for delivery by the end of next year. Photo Credit: United Airlines


United Airlines has put its first Airbus A321neo into service. 

The inaugural flight took place last Thursday, traveling from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport to Chicago O'Hare. The plane for now will fly between O'Hare and Phoenix and between O'Hare and Fort Lauderdale.

United has firm orders for 130 A321neos, with 30 expected for delivery by the end of next year.

The airline is configuring the planes with 20 first class seats, 57 Economy Plus seats and 123 economy seats. 

According to, first class offers 37 inches of space between rows, otherwise known as pitch in the airline industry. Seat widths are 20 inches and the recline is five inches.

Economy Plus seats have 33.5 inches of pitch, a width of 17.5 inches and three inches of recline. Economy seats have the same 17.5-inch width, 30 inches of pitch and two inches of recline.  

In economy, those pitch figures align with the layout of the American Airlines A321neo, but are one inch less spacious than Delta's offering. 

Among the plane's customer-friendly features are overhead bins that United says are the largest available and big enough to fit every customer's roll-aboard bag. The aircraft has seatback entertainment systems as well as USB-A and USB-C charging stations at each seat. 

The aircraft also has United's new domestic first class seats, which offer an 11-by-19-inch dividing shield between neighbors and a wireless charging station on every armrest.


Alaska Airlines to Acquire Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 Billion

By Matt TurnerDec 4, 2023 10:47am

Alaska AirlinesHawaiian AirlinesAir TravelAirline Information

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines
(Photo by Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines)

Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are set to combine after the former announced it will acquire the latter for approximately $1.9 billion, inclusive of $900 million of Hawaiian Airlines net debt. “The combined company will unlock more destinations for consumers and expand choice of critical air service options and access throughout the Pacific region, Continental United States and globally,” the lines said in a joint statement.

The carriers will remain separate brands under a single operating platform. It will also “make air travel accessible to a wide range of consumers across a range of cabin classes, including greater choice between Alaska Airlines' high-value, low-fare options and Hawaiian Airlines' international and long-haul product on par with network carriers.”


Travelers will have direct access to a total of 138 destinations, including non-stop service to 29 international destinations in the Americas, AsiaAustralia and the South Pacific, plus combined access to over 1,200 destinations through the carriers’ oneworld Alliance. For travelers to and from Hawaii, the combination will triple the number of destinations throughout North America that can be reached nonstop or via one stop from the islands. In addition, Honolulu will become an Alaska Airlines hub, enabling greater international connectivity for West Coast travelers throughout the Asia-Pacific region with one-stop service through Hawaii.

The airlines also promised increased union-represented jobs, investment in local communities, perpetuation of culture and sustainable initiatives as part of the combination.  The deal is expected to close in 12 to 18 months. The combined organization will be based in Seattle under the leadership of Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci.


These Ocean Cruise Lines Are Opening Up Sales Through 2025 and 2026

An increasing number of ocean lines are releasing information about 2026 cruise inventory.
Credit: 2023 Maridav/

During its latest update, Virgin Voyages unveiled itineraries through 2025. Now, cruise companies are looking even further out — into 2026 — which means there’s that much more inventory for travel advisors to start selling right now.

With so much happening over the next three years, we’ve compiled a snapshot of the latest route news from a large selection of lines.



For 2026, upscale line Azamara is adding to an ever-growing list of available world cruises: The 2026 World Cruise will include 55 late nights and overnights, 60 Extended Destination Days and three exclusive events, plus 10 AzAmazing events.

Additionally, in 2025, the brand will offer 73 total itineraries including a return to Canada. And also in 2024 and 2025, Azamara is planning 11 “Grand Voyages” ranging in length from 35 to 70 nights.

Carnival Cruise Line


For 2025, Carnival Cruise Line is featuring its deployment of Carnival Legend from Galveston, Texas, offering four- to 10-day Western Caribbean voyages. The line’s newest Carnival Jubilee is also already on sale through April 2026, as are Carnival Breeze and Carnival Dream.

Carnival’s new Celebration Key destination in the Caribbean is open for booking from July 2025 onward, as well.

And for clients on the West Coast, the line just announced that Carnival Panorama will embark on new six- and eight-day itineraries from Long Beach, Calif., to Mexico from May 2025 through April 2026.

Costa Cruises

Costa Cruises is planning ahead to 2025 with three of its ships — Costa Smeralda, Costa Toscana and Costa Pacifica — scheduled for the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. The routes are on the calendar from April though November, heading to Italy, France and Spain, as well as Greece, Turkey and even into Norway, England, Scotland, Iceland and Greenland. Special “Costa Voyages” on several more Costa ships will visit Lisbon and Morocco, and also Israel and Egypt, the Canary Islands and Azores.


Freshly relaunched Crystal is looking ahead to 2025: Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony deployments will venture to some 144 new destinations, including the Faroe Islands; Haifa, Israel; and Shanghai, China. Serenity will further feature the likes of Iceland, Scandinavia and North and South America, while Symphony will showcase Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


With its upcoming Queen Anne anticipated in 2024, Cunard is looking beyond to 2025 for the vessel’s bookings, along with Queen Mary 2 (QM2) and Queen Victoria. Altogether, there will be more than 180 new voyages available, with Queen Anne departing from Southampton, England, to the Mediterranean and Norway. QM2 will navigate traditional transatlantic voyages, while Queen Victoria will showcase the Mediterranean, including Greece. 

Holland America Line

In 2025, Holland America Line (HAL) will feature the return of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, as a homeport, with itineraries that visit northern Europe and the Baltic onboard the Rotterdam and Nieuw Statendam ships. HAL will also head to the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, New England and more.

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises is now selling its 2024-2025 winter season with more than 150 routes. MSC Divina, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seascape, MSC Seashore, MSC Seaside and MSC Virtuosa will deploy in the Caribbean, while MSC Euribia will sail from Dubai to destinations around the Arabian Sea, and MSC World Europa will explore the Mediterranean. 

Oceania Cruises

Upscale line Oceania Cruises recently announced its summer 2025 series of some 100 itineraries, nearly 50 of which will be its signature extended Grand Voyages. Highlight destinations will include French Polynesia and Hawaii, and the upcoming Allura vessel will first head to the Mediterranean. And in summer 2025, the line’s Riviera will debut in Alaska.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

In 2025, Paul Gauguin Cruises will offer the 2025 Boutique Crossing Collection, a series of 14-, 16- and 20-night voyages to Oceania, Indonesia, and Melanesia onboard the 330-guest Paul Gauguin. Maiden ports of call will include Alotau, Papua New Guinea, and Parai Beach and Surabaya in Indonesia. 

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises will go long and far in 2024-2025: Sapphire Princess will sail in Antarctica and join Majestic Princess in South America. Plus, the line will return for a season in Alaska onboard Caribbean Princess — the ship’s first time in the destination — and visit Japan onboard Diamond Princess. 

Royal Caribbean International

Citing consumer demand, Royal Caribbean International is opening up sales of its new Icon of the Seas early for 2025-2026. Weeklong sailings out of Miami will alternate between Western and Eastern Caribbean circuits and include stops at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn Cruise Line is opening up its luxury voyage sales into 2025 with a collection of Mediterranean, Northern European and Canary Islands routes onboard Seabourn Ovation, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Sojourn. Between March and November 2025, guests can partake in more than 60 sailings to ports ranging from St. Tropez, France, to Casablanca, Morocco. 

SeaDream Yacht Club

On the schedule for SeaDream Yacht Club are seven- to 11-day itineraries in the Caribbean, open through 2026. Clients can visit off-the-beaten-path destinations such as Beef Island in the British Virgin Isles or Sandy Ground, Anguilla, as well as voyage to locales like Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe.


Scheduling its summer 2025 season with a staggering 206 sailings onboard its 12 luxury ships, high-end line Silversea will make 24 maiden calls in 409 destinations in 60 countries. The brand will also feature 66 overnight stays and 421 late departures on the summer 2025 collection, and six ships will cover the Mediterranean.

Windstar Cruises

With voyages open through winter 2026, Windstar Cruises will offer a full season in the Canary Islands, its first cruise tours in the Middle East, a pair of new cruise tours in Tahiti and an all-encompassing 55-day Caribbean voyage onboard Wind Surf. 


American Airlines to install high-speed WiFi on regional jets

By Donna M. Airoldi, Business Travel News 


Dec 01, 2023


There are about 500 planes that fly for American Eagle, AA's regional airline brand.

There are about 500 planes that fly for American Eagle, AA's regional airline brand. Photo Credit: Envoy Air


American Airlines plans to make high-speed WiFi available on nearly 500 two-class regional aircraft. 

American is working to extend its relationship with service provider Intelsat and plans to begin installing the upgraded service on regional jets in 2024. The carrier anticipates it will take about two years to complete the project.

The planes that fly regional routes for American are operated by regional partners, some of which are owned by American (Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines and PSA Airlines). Air Wisconsin, SkyWest Airlines and Republic Airways also fly American regional routes.

American currently has more than 900 mainline aircraft with satellite connections.