News & Views of the Week

Greetings and welcome to FALL!!!!!!

The summer was just full of problems in travel and the airlines did not help at all.

Poor planning on their part has left us with an air system that quite frankly is a bit unnerving.

Attitudes in general are not good and the pointing of fingers of blame are ridiculous.

With time it all should be better and of course training people in the industry takes time.

It is a real responsibility to take on to fly people anywhere so the airlines do need to be careful and of course safety is at the top of the list.

As for the cruise lines with COVID restriction mostly a thing of the past expectations are high for a return to normalcy soon barring any unfortunate outbreaks of a sizeable form.

NEWS and VIEWS will provide upates as they warrant so stay tuned and please have a great and safe and happy fall as we now move into the darkness and coolness of winter for many of us.

 

NEWS AND VIEWS continues now of course.

 

Taking a voyage back in time as HAL celebrates 150 years

By Rebecca Tobin 

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Nov 19, 2022

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A presentation to mark HAL's 150th anniversary was held aboard the Rotterdam in New York on Oct. 26, From left, Stephen Lean, director of the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island (partially hidden), Rotterdam Capt. Werner Timmers, ship's bosun Andy Budiman and HAL president Gus Antorcha.

A presentation to mark HAL's 150th anniversary was held aboard the Rotterdam in New York on Oct. 26, From left, Stephen Lean, director of the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island (partially hidden), Rotterdam Capt. Werner Timmers, ship's bosun Andy Budiman and HAL president Gus Antorcha. Photo Credit: TW photo by Rebecca Tobin

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NEW YORK -- Transatlantic steamers once crisscrossed the ocean in a constant motion, bringing wealthy travelers and hopeful immigrants to America. But in today's industry, only a handful of those old passenger shipping lines remain.

One of the notable descendants is Holland America Line, which this year is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Founded in the Netherlands in 1873 as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company, it carried nearly 2 million passengers from Europe to the U.S. during its time as a transportation company.

Today, of course, it carries cruisers in comparative luxury all around the globe. But it has hearkened back to its founding with two anniversary cruises that trace the route of its original voyage on the steamship Rotterdam -- even using the current Rotterdam, the seventh HAL ship to bear that name. The first anniversary cruise left the Netherlands Oct. 15 and arrived in New York Oct. 26 to fanfare. The second anniversary cruise will take place April 4. 

Must-see spaces on the Rotterdam

Photo Credit: TW photo by Rebecca Tobin

Must-see spaces on the Rotterdam

Rebecca Tobin writes: "In my brief tour around the Rotterdam, I picked out a few familiar sights that I appreciated as well as -- literally -- some new notes."

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Once the ship arrived on Manhattan's West Side, executives, media and VIPs gathered in the ship's World Stage theater for a performance by a Lincoln Center Stage ensemble, which played classical music selections set to images of transatlantic passages of yesteryear and cruises of today. Manhattan borough president Mark Levine officially proclaimed it to be Holland America Line Appreciation Day. 

In ringing in the anniversary, HAL president Gus Antorcha hailed a partnership with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation: An exhibit launching next year at Ellis Island will detail the line's historical record and role in bringing immigrants to the U.S.

The foundation will also produce onboard video content featuring a conversation between Stephen Lean, director of the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island, and cruise historian Bill Miller.

"Our history is deeply woven within the fabric of America's story," Antorcha said in a statement. "It's only fitting that as we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we partner with the entity responsible for restoring and preserving Ellis Island."

 

A collection of historical artifacts from Holland America Line in the Crow's Nest lounge aboard the Rotterdam.

A collection of historical artifacts from Holland America Line in the Crow's Nest lounge aboard the Rotterdam. Photo Credit: TW photo by Rebecca Tobin

History lesson

The experience of a modern cruise and a historical liner is so different that most cruisers don't think twice -- or even once -- about the original Rotterdam, which plied the seas between the Netherlands and New York 150 years ago. 

One image of the ship shows a two-masted steam- and sail-powered vessel. It was 1,694 gross tons, 268 feet long and carried about 300 passengers (by comparison, the current Rotterdam is nearly 100,000 gross tons and 1,000 feet long, carries 2,668 passengers at double occupancy and is propelled by Azipod units).

According to Holland America, nearly one in 10 immigrants who traveled steerage class to the U.S. did so aboard a Holland America ship. 

It also touted its modern sensibilities: HAL says it was the first to do away with "steerage" as a class name -- it was renamed Emigrants Class -- and said that unlike its competition served three square meals a day. Passage included access to doctors, English lessons and classes on American civics in order to prep passengers for their arrival and inspection in New York. HAL said that 99% of the immigrants on its ships were cleared for entry through Ellis Island, which it called a "tremendous feat at the time."

I found a small slice of Holland America Line's history in the Rotterdam's Crow's Nest lounge, where pictures, posters, maps, silverware, ship models and other treasures were on display through the anniversary voyage. One showed small models of all the Rotterdam ships; fans of the line might be familiar with the Rotterdam V, which was built in the 1930s and retired from HAL in 1997 (it's now a floating hotel in Rotterdam); the Rotterdam VI, currently sailing for Fred Olsen; and the current namesake.

 

The Rolling Stone Rock Room on the Holland America Line Rotterdam.

The Rolling Stone Rock Room on the Holland America Line Rotterdam. Photo Credit: TW photo by Rebecca Tobin

Of course, today's Rotterdam is a far cry from the old steamships in many ways. HAL's ships proudly provided passengers in Emigrants Class with three meals, but the Rotterdam's Lido Market is open to all throughout the day, serving global cuisine, salads, sandwiches, an array of desserts and alcohol for purchase, to say nothing of its main dining room and multiple specialty restaurants.

And once the 150th anniversary celebrations had concluded in the theater, guests spilled out into the ship's Music Walk, where a band in the Rolling Stone Rock Room was jamming out an energetic version of "Born to Be Wild". 

 

The Outlook for River Cruising in 2023

Nov 14, 2022

River Cruise  

 

The Outlook for River Cruising in 2023

Viking Aton will debut on the Nile next year.
Credit: 2022 Viking

Over the course of 2022, the river cruise industry put pandemic pauses squarely in the rearview mirror, announcing, christening and officially inaugurating an impressive number of new vessels.

The outlook remains positive as the year draws to a close, with European Christmas markets — one of the industry’s most popular itinerary offerings — reopening in greater numbers and river levels rising to support cruise travel without further interruption. And, in 2023, the industry is set to ride the wave of momentum with a variety of exciting new developments.

New River Cruise Ships

The pace at which new riverboats are coming online both in Europe and other global destinations is slowing a bit for 2023 (before picking up again in 2024 and 2025), but that’s not to say there will be a lack of new vessels.

In Egypt, for example, Viking will introduce Viking Aton — a sister ship to Viking Osiris — next year along the Nile River, sailing its Pharaohs & Pyramids itinerary.

For those clients looking to stay closer to home, on the other hand, American Cruise Lines (ACL) is set to introduce its American Serenade in early 2023 on the Mississippi River; the ship will be part of the line’s Studio Dado-designed modern series. Two more ships — American Eagle and American Glory — will also arrive for the domestic line as the first two of 12 planned coastal catamarans capable of traversing both rivers and lakes for unique waterway combinations.

 

ACL’s two coastal catamarans will sail both rivers and lakes.

ACL’s two coastal catamarans will sail both rivers and lakes.
Credit: 2022 American Cruise Lines

Fresh Itineraries for 2023

Among ACL’s unique combined sailings for 2023 is its eight-day San Francisco Bay voyage, which extends to the Napa River and the San Joaquin River. The brand’s 15-day National Parks & Legendary Rivers route, meanwhile, will include a bonus land portion, navigating five states, three parks and two rivers.

American Queen Voyages (AQV) is also unveiling new U.S. options for 2023, including its Kentucky Derby Cruise, complete with available VIP tickets to the popular equestrian event. The line will additionally offer an extensive new 23-day trip from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh (AQV’s longest itinerary ever), sailing a total of 1,772 miles and hitting 22 ports onboard American Countess. 

In Europe, AmaWaterways is taking the elongated trip concept even further by debuting a trio of 45- or 46-night Seven River Journeys across 14 countries, with a choice of more than 130 complimentary excursions. The trip takes place onboard multiple vessels in the fleet, all with seamless transfers and extra included laundry service and gratuities.

Meanwhile, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is gearing up for a pair of new Mystery Cruises in 2023, where guests only know the points of embarkation and disembarkation and the overall trip duration, with surprise tours and events along the way. Uniworld will also reach further ashore with new cruise and rail circuits showcasing train travel on the Maharajas’ Express in India.

 

Uniworld passengers can ride the Maharajas Express train in India.

Uniworld passengers can ride the Maharajas Express train in India.
Credit: 2022 Jennifer Knott

For Tauck, expansion comes by way of its Douro program, where it recently expanded to the family market, as well as on the Seine, where it will redeploy its Esprit riverboat in 2023 to meet increased demand on less-frequented waterways. 

“For 2023, one of the things we’re continuing to see is the ongoing maturation of the river cruise market,” said Julia O’Brien, vice president of marketing for Tauck. “As more and more river cruisers have already experienced the ‘classic’ rivers — namely, the Danube and the Rhine — we’ve been expanding and adding new experiences on other rivers.” 

For 2023, one of the things we’re continuing to see is the ongoing maturation of the river cruise market.

Highlighting the Rhone, Riviera River Cruises will offer a new 10-night sailing roundtrip from Lyon, France. Traditional points of interest will encompass Burgundy wine country, Avignon and Pont du Gard, as well as Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone, a unique spot where the river approaches the Mediterranean Sea.

And, to not completely forget the Rhine (and Moselle), Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours will offer a new eight-day journey to Germany, France, Switzerland and Luxembourg in 2023, touting a private classical concert at the UNESCO-listed Liebfrauenkirche church in Trier, Germany.

Rounding out the options on classic rivers will be Avalon Waterways’ new Active & Discovery cruises on the lower Danube, as well as on the Seine and Moselle rivers — effectively placing its signature mix of exploratory and energetic excursions on all the waterways it sails.

River Cruising's Evolving Market Positioning

Offering more inclusions than their ocean counterparts, river cruise lines automatically transcend the mainstream standard market to fit into premium, upscale and luxury categories. But there may be a shift happening in how the product is categorized.

Positioning such brands as upscale and above is an increasingly subjective affair, especially as market boundaries begin to blur. This is exactly why many lines now actively avoid employing the overused term “luxury.”

“Luxury is no longer defined by amenities alone,” said Pam Hoffee, president of Avalon. “Instead, it is defined by choice and possibilities. [It’s about] travelers feeling empowered to do what they want, when they want and with the ease they want — with everything taken care of for them.” 

 

Avalon is expanding its Active & Discovery options.

Avalon is expanding its Active & Discovery options.
Credit: 2022 Avalon Waterways

Similarly, calling a well-priced river cruise line a “value” brand is not nuanced enough.

Emerald Cruises is often confused as a ‘value cruise,’ which is not accurate,” explained Ann Chamberlin, vice president of U.S. sales for Scenic and Emerald. “Emerald river products are solid in the premium sector and are edging into the upper-premium market with nicely included options.”

In describing Riviera’s positioning, Marilyn Conroy, the line’s executive vice president of sales and marketing in North America, says: “We’re at the top of the premium category with less-than-premium pricing. Luxury often feels misused and vague, or overlaps with upscale. While we don’t say Riviera is luxury, we do say we’re luxurious.”

 

What's New in the Cayman Islands: The Direct Flight From LAX and More

Nov 17, 2022

Airlines  Caribbean  Government & Politics  Luxury Travel  

 

caymanislandslaxflight

Close encounters with friendly stingrays are a standout activity option in the Cayman Islands, which recently launched a weekly direct flight to and from LAX.
Credit: 2022 Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

In early November, Cayman Airways launched nonstop service between Grand Cayman and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), hoping to attract more West Coast U.S. travelers to the Cayman Islands. 

The small Caribbean country’s national carrier is operating the once-weekly flight with new 737-8 Boeing aircraft, which feature 18 business class seats and 142 economy seats, according to tourism officials, who noted that the approximately 5.5-hour flights depart Grand Cayman on Saturdays and return from LAX on Sundays.  

The island nation — which welcomed 2.3 million total visitors in 2019 — seeks to capitalize on the new nonstop air service and to help educate travel sellers who aren’t as familiar with the destination. The country’s tourism arm also recently relaunched its Cayman Islands Specialist Programme, which offers travel advisors an overhauled collection of online and virtual training and sales tools.   

 

Kenneth Bryan, the Minister of Tourism for the Cayman Islands, said he expects 2023 tourism business for the destination to outpace 2019.

Kenneth Bryan, the Minister of Tourism for the Cayman Islands, said he expects 2023 tourism business for the destination to outpace 2019.
Credit: 2022 Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

We caught up with Kenneth Bryan, minister of tourism for the Cayman Islands, at Sixty Beverly Hills while he was in town promoting the new Cayman Airways flight. Clearly excited about the nonstop’s potential to grow tourism business, Bryan also spoke about why West Coast travelers should consider a Cayman Islands vacation, as well as how business to the Caribbean destination is shaping up for the rest of this year and 2023.        

Why did you decide to launch a nonstop flight between the Cayman Islands and LAX? 

We have a growing market in the West Coast, particularly in California. Our data shows that 4.2% of the people who visited the Cayman Islands are from this zone, and we want to increase that because they merge quite well with the product we offer.

We are already booked for the next three months with solid figures of close to 70% of the plane already reserved.

Some of the hurdles we found were the direct flights. People want to come to the Caribbean from the West Coast, but it's just so far. And you have to take either one or two stops, which adds hours and hours on your travel (and inconvenience). Particularly post-COVID-19, people don't want to go through all that. They want convenience. Since we have the luxury of our own national airline, we made a decision to say that we can increase these numbers because it works well with our model from a tourism perspective — and that's where the dream started. 

The numbers have been showing positive returns so far: We are already booked for the next three months with solid figures of close to 70% of the plane already reserved. 

Are there any plans to increase the frequency of the flight? 

We are going to monitor the numbers, particularly in the first quarter. Our high season runs from November to April; those six months are where we see our best numbers. So in January, I'll sit down and say, “OK, what are we looking like?” because I really want to increase to two times per week, since there is an element of justification from a financial perspective. 

People want to come down, but they may not want to spend a whole seven days, so maybe we can add another flight on Tuesday or Wednesday.

People want to come down, but they may not want to spend a whole seven days, so maybe we can add another flight on Tuesday or Wednesday. But we have to make sure the first leg works before we add in a second one — but we believe we're going to get there, particularly with the pent-up demand post-COVID-19. 

Why should West Coast travel advisors, who may not know the Cayman Islands well, seriously consider suggesting the destination to their clients? 

We have some of the best attractions known to man. We have the one-and-only natural Stingray City attraction, which is an area within a special harbor in the Cayman Islands where stingrays come to meet people every single day. They're friendly, and you can kiss them. 

Our world-famous Seven Mile Beach is home to some of the most crystal-clear waters you've ever seen. There aren’t many other Caribbean islands that have that long of a beach. We also offer the best diving in the Caribbean. With more than 365 dive sites, we have enough to go every single day of the year. And we are known to be the No. 1 destination for cuisine in the Caribbean — the culinary capital of the Caribbean. We have some of the most renowned chefs in the Caymans. 

West Coast folks might say "I can get all that in Mexico or Hawaii.” How would you respond?

Mexico can never offer what Cayman offers, and neither can Cayman offer what Mexico offers. The difference is that we know that we’re special — and when you come, you are treated like a special visitor. 

We have 80,000 people; that's how small our country is. 

Mexico has millions and millions. I think what Mexico and Hawaii offer is kind of like a Disney World approach: You're thrown in a queue, and you're forgotten. We don't do all-inclusives in the Cayman Islands; we find that to be a conveyor belt kind of approach.

When you come to us, it's like you come into a boutique hotel, where we know your name.

When you come to us, it's like you come into a boutique hotel, where we know your name. We want to know what your kids' favorite things are. We want to make you a part of our family — you just happen to live in California and come back every year to see us.

We want to build a return path for return visitors. We have the highest percentage in the whole of the Caribbean of return, about 46%. Think about when you were a kid; you never forget your first love — that's what we're trying to build in the Cayman Islands.

How has business been in 2022, and what are you expecting for 2023? 

A key factor to consider is that we have only been fully open since August. We were one of the last to come out of the pandemic by way of restrictions, whether it was testing or COVID-19 vaccinations. We were behind the game, so to speak, and most travelers don't want those headaches. We recognized that, but we were trying to balance the safety of our people and guests. 

 

caymanislandslaxflightnonstop

Cayman Airways launched nonstop flights between the Cayman Islands and Los Angeles starting on Nov. 5.
Credit: 2022 Cayman Airways

Our numbers were not great in August when we fully opened, but I’m happy to say that things have picked right back up. We hit 90% of the 2019 numbers this October, which is a great feat, and we believe we are going to hit 2019 numbers for November and December this year. Based on bookings, the industry is telling us that things look good for 2023. My plan for next year is to be at least 5% higher than in 2019. 

Our product is going to feel quite like a brand-new situation. Everybody's done a little something. For example. The Ritz-Carlton did a $3 million redesign; you feel like you're at a totally different hotel when you go there. And throughout the pandemic, many places refreshed their products, gave them upgrades, enhanced their design and refreshed their rooms.  

 

Norwegian Prima's design in a class of its own

By Andrea Zelinski 

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Nov 19, 2022

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The Penrose Atrium, one of the spaces designed by Studio Dado on the Norwegian Prima.

The Penrose Atrium, one of the spaces designed by Studio Dado on the Norwegian Prima. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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Pointy stars hang ever so slightly from the ceiling in the Penrose Atrium, forming a constellation shining down on the central hub of the new Norwegian Prima. It is here that sleepy passengers order coffee, consult with the crew about excursions or pull up a seat at one of two bars, one with bourbon hues and an extensive menu of whiskeys, to sip before a show at the theater.

 

The Whiskey Bar, on the upper level of the Penrose Atrium, features dozens of whiskeys ranging from $13 to $495 a glass.

The Whiskey Bar, on the upper level of the Penrose Atrium, features dozens of whiskeys ranging from $13 to $495 a glass. Photo Credit: TW photo by Andrea Zelinski

The atrium is one the many places where the use of space, color and design on the Prima is an upgrade from previous Norwegian Cruise Line vessels. In an intentional push to elevate the brand toward a premium product, the line's first entry in the six-ship Prima class resembles a larger-scale version of the casual elegance one might expect from its sister lines, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

That shouldn't be a surprise. The same firm used to design the Prima, Studio Dado, based in Coral Gables, Fla., has created spaces for all three Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings brands, all while under the influence of CEO Frank Del Rio.

As the mastermind behind the Prima's ambience, Del Rio wanted to fight the notion that cruise ships should feel big and loud like Las Vegas, he said at the CruiseWorld conference in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 4. Instead, he wanted the ship to feel like a high-end boutique hotel.

Exclusive Haven space gets elevated aboard the Norwegian Prima

Photo Credit: TW photo by Andrea Zelinski

Exclusive Haven space gets elevated aboard the Norwegian Prima

One of the biggest differences between the Norwegian Prima and its predecessors in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet is in the Haven.

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The restaurants, rooms and gathering spaces are sleek, modern and arranged to make guests forget they are on vacation with more than 3,000 other passengers. The design does this by creating many smaller spaces on the ship through walkways that draw people in or out of a central meeting place. This was inspired by the paths in Venice that draw people to St. Mark's Square, said Yohandel Ruiz, founding partner of Studio Dado, during the ship's inaugural sailing from Iceland.

"The city unfolds from the plaza," he said, and conversely, "all these paths lead back to the atrium."

The ship uses a palette of colors that Ruiz said have "aged well with history" and bring a level of sophistication to the ship. For instance, in the atrium, from where Ruiz was speaking, oversize couches subtly mirror the natural color of sand while the chairs contrast with a dark sea-blue.

 

The entrance to the Galaxy Pavilion, a futuristic game center.

The entrance to the Galaxy Pavilion, a futuristic game center. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Studio Dado designed the atrium, a half-dozen specialty restaurants, a pair of bars, the Observation Lounge, the staterooms and the new Galaxy Pavilion futuristic game center. 

Ruiz said he wanted the tone of the Prima to blend innovation and immersion. For example, in Le Bistro, Norwegian's staple specialty French restaurant, tables surround chandeliers that are at eye level to ensure there is no bad seat. The spaces are meant to capture attention, which can be shared online. "We live in a world of Instagrammable moments," Ruiz said.

The ship is full of unique selfie locations, such as the elevators with a wall of tiny lights that look like they continue infinitely or a square, full-length mirror in the walk-up to the ship's 10-deck-long drop slide

 

The see-through walkway on the Norwegian Prima is one of the ship's many Instagrammable spots.

The see-through walkway on the Norwegian Prima is one of the ship's many Instagrammable spots. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

The top place for selfies is at the Prima Speedway, the line's racetrack that on this ship extends three decks, said Todd Hamilton, the line's senior vice president of sales, who tracks which spaces have gotten the most social media attention. Another popular spot is standing on a see-through walkway eight decks above the ocean churning wildly below.

"When you're going 20 knots, it's actually pretty crazy because the waves are beating against the ship," he said.

 

Expect Cruise Ships To Be Crowded Again Next Year

CRUISE LINE & CRUISE SHIP  ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL  LAURIE BARATTI  NOVEMBER 18, 2022

 

Cruise, ships, passengers, lines, security, docks, boarding, embarkation, crowds

Cruise passengers in line for dockside security check before boarding their ship. (photo via iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus/joesboy)

With the COVID-19 pandemic seeming to have come to an unofficial end this year, cruising has come back in a big way. And, while that’s inarguably a welcome development among cruise enthusiasts, the drawback that’s approaching will be the end of less-crowded sailing experiences.

The cruise industry was arguably the hardest-hit segment of the travel sector amid the pandemic and seemed to attract the highest concentration of bad press whenever a COVID-related issue did arise aboard a cruise vessel.

All cruise sailings worldwide were halted altogether during the first phase of the global crisis. Later, they were allowed to operate only under stringent restrictions and precautionary protocols imposed by public health authorities, part of which meant sailing at severely reduced capacities.

In pre-pandemic years, most major cruise lines recorded occupancy levels of 100 percent or higher, according to The Points Guy (TPG), but 2021 saw ships operating at low-level occupancies of under 50 or, sometimes, even 30 percent. While cruise lines felt only the financial losses, cruise-goers enjoyed unusually uncongested sailings.

With the lifting of masking requirements and travel restrictions (and given the problems still plaguing the aviation sector), travelers have begun comfortably cruising again, which means fuller ships. For some cruise lines, in some regions, guest occupancy has already returned to normal levels.

Reports on current occupancies and forecasts have been offered by executives of multiple major cruise companies in recent days, said TPG. Several big-name brands have said that their fleets should be sailing at full occupancy by early or mid-2023.

 

A line of docked cruise ships

A line of docked cruise ships. (photo by Codie Liermann)

Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO Frank Del Rio reportedly told Wall Street analysts that he expects occupancies across the company’s fleet of 29 ships increase steadily over the next six months to reach levels of 100 percent or higher by summer of 2023. That would be a substantial improvement over the average 82 percent occupancy its ships saw during the three-month period that ended October 31— a figure which was itself up from the 65 percent average recorded during the three months previous. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ brands include Norwegian Cruise LineRegent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises.

During a third-quarter earnings conference call, Del Rio said, "We expect load factors to continue improving sequentially to the mid-to-high 80 percent range in the [current quarter]...and the steady occupancy ramp-up is expected to continue until we reach historical 100 percent-plus levels beginning in the second quarter of 2023."

Only days prior, Royal Caribbean Group’s chief financial officer Naftali Holtz told Wall Street analysts that the Group anticipates its cruise brands’ occupancies will return to historical levels by spring of 2023. Royal Caribbean Group’s subsidiaries consist of Royal Caribbean InternationalCelebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises. The company also owns a partial stake in European lines TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Royal Caribbean Group’s fleet finished 2022’s third quarter with 96 percent occupancy overall, up from the 82 percent occupancy seen in the second quarter, but still down from the pre-pandemic normal levels of over 100 percent.

Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest global cruise company, is also predicting it will see 100 percent occupancies across its fleet by summer of next year. Across its nine cruise brands, Carnival Corp. reported 84 percent occupancy during the summer months of July through September, a significant improvement over the 69 percent occupancy average recorded during the three months previous.

 

NewsdeskNov 14, 2022 11:42am

Royal Caribbean InternationalAllure of the SeasPort of GalvestonCruise Information

 

Royal Caribbean International Galveston Grand Opening

(Royal Caribbean International)

Royal Caribbean International's new $125 million cruise terminal in GalvestonTexas, recently opened its doors and welcomed the state's largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas. The cruise line held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Port of Galveston to mark the facility's opening and the Texas debut of its revolutionary Oasis Class.

Royal Caribbean executives, government and port officials and partners celebrated the milestone achievement. The dignitaries included U.S. representative Randy Weber, Federal Commissioner Louis Sola, Mayor Craig Brown, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley and Port Director Rodger Rees. The city of Galveston also marked the day with a proclamation, recognizing the cruise line's commitment to the city and the successful partnership started more than 20 years ago when Royal Caribbean first set sail from Galveston. With the introduction of the Oasis Class, it's estimated the new terminal will welcome as many as 630,000 vacationers each year.

Royal Caribbean's Galveston facility has a sustainable design and is poised to become the first LEED Zero Energy facility in the world, generating 100 percent of the energy it needs through onsite solar panels. 

Welcoming vacationers in the terminal as they make their way to Allure is a new, dynamic art sculpture named the "Galveston Beach Trio" by Texas-based artists Brad Oldham and Christy Coltrin of Brad Oldham Sculpture. The cruise line selected the husband-and-wife team for their one-of-a-kind concept that's inspired by Galveston's rich musical heritage, which includes the likes of Galveston-native and Grammy Award-winning, bass-baritone singer and songwriter Barry White.

Allure set sail from the new homeport on its first cruise on Sunday, November 13. The Oasis Class ship has in store a lineup of thrills, restaurants, nightlife, entertainment and more across seven signature neighborhoods, including the open-air Central Park with thousands of real plants and the Boardwalk neighborhood filled with ways to play and the one-of-a-kind AquaTheater entertainment venue that comes alive with high divers, acrobats, aerialists and more. From a nine-story-high zip line and two FlowRider surf simulators to rock climbing, ice skating, and original productions that span four stages—air, ice, water and theater—there's adventure from end to end.

When it comes to refueling in between the action, the 30-plus restaurants, bars and lounges on board serve up a range of flavors like family-style Italian classics at Giovanni's Table, American steakhouse favorites at Chops Grille and fresh sushi and sizzling hibachi at Izumi. New concepts and dishes are coming to Allure as well, including Wipeout Cafe featuring El Loco Fresh. Fitting for the ship's new home in Texas, the venue will serve up El Loco Fresh's popular, grab-and-go Mexican delights like made-to-order quesadillas, tacos, nachos and more. Plus, joining the staples guests know and love at Giovanni's Table will be menu items such as crispy calamari, eggplant parmigiana and caprese salad.

Vacationers can enjoy all that Allure has to offer on the new seven-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston and visit sun-soaked destinations, such as Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and RoatanHonduras, for the winter 2022-2023 season.

 

Which Cruise Lines Require COVID-19 Vaccinations?

Nov 17, 2022

Coronavirus  Cruise  River Cruise  

 

Which Cruise Lines Require COVID-19 Vaccinations?

Several cruise lines have already said that COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory to sail.
Credit: 2021 vladimirhodac/stock.adobe.com

This page was last updated on Nov. 17, 2022.

COVID-19 policies for ocean and river cruise lines differ; bookmark this page to keep track of the following companies’ vaccination policies — it will be updated regularly as regulations change. 

AmaWaterways

-  AmaWaterways requires guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their river cruise.

Travel entry requirements apply to accompanied minors. 

- The criteria for being “fully vaccinated” may vary from country to country; guests are responsible for ensuring they meet the entry requirements of each port country.

American Cruise Lines and Pearl Seas Cruises

American Cruise Lines guests are required to complete a pre-embarkation health declaration certifying their COVID-19 vaccination status. To be considered fully vaccinated, guests must have received the full regimen of required doses for their vaccine, and provide proof of vaccination. Vaccination requirements may vary depending on the state and region of travel. 

- Unvaccinated guests may be subject to additional testing and quarantine requirements.

- Corporate cousin Pearl Seas Cruises requires guests to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and complete a pre-embarkation health declaration certifying their vaccination status. 

- Currently, Pearl Mist is the only passenger-carrying vessel designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “Vaccination Standard of Excellence.”

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American Queen Voyages

American Queen Voyages (formerly American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines) were first to indicate that they would be requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for guests.

- COVID-19 vaccinations are required for both guests and crew.

- Guests must provide vaccination documentation prior to boarding.

- Face coverings are optional for guests and crew onboard, but masks are required for symptomatic guests and crew waiting for COVID-19 test results.

Atlas Ocean Voyages

Atlas Ocean Voyages requires guests and crew to be fully vaccinated

- Fully vaccinated passengers must also provide a negative PCR test up to 72 hours prior to embarking or a negative antigen test up to 48 hours before boarding. Crew will also perform an additional COVID-19 antigen test on guests at embarkation. Antigen tests will also be conducted for all guests starting on day three of the voyage and at the end of the voyage ahead of disembarkation.

- Staff and crew must be fully vaccinated, must wear face masks onboard and must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of embarkation.

- Ships are operating at 75% capacity or less.

- According to the line, “the cruise brand continues to monitor the ever-changing international travel requirements and will adjust its health and safety protocols as appropriate."

Aurora Expeditions

- Aurora Expeditions updated its Health & Safety Program to include mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for guests and crew prior to sailing.

 - Booster shots will be required if more than five months have passed after the primary COVID-19 vaccination (and two months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccination).

- Vaccines must be World Health Organization (WHO)-approved and administered at least four weeks prior to sailing date.

Avalon Waterways

- As of March 1, 2023, Avalon Waterways will not require its guests to be vaccinated. Until then, though, passengers must still be fully inoculated against COVID-19. 

Azamara

- As of Dec. 1, 2022, guests traveling with Azamara no longer need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Caribbean and Europe unless locally required.

- Crew members are fully vaccinated, boosted and frequently tested.

- As of July 25, the line no longer requires pre-cruise testing unless required by the destination.

Carnival Cruise Line

- Guests no longer have to be vaccinated nor tested to join Carnival Cruise Line sailings under 16 days in length. 

- Only on cruises of 16 nights or more are adult guests required to be vaccinated, with passengers 5 and older required to present a negative test taken within three days of sailing.

Celebrity Cruises

- Guests no longer need to be vaccinated nor tested on Celebrity Cruises for most sailings. Currently, pre-cruise testing is only required in select destinations as listed on Celebrity's health and safety page.

- Face masks are optional.

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Cruises' guests do not need to be vaccinated or show any COVID-19 recovery certificates. Testing is still required within 48 hours (if antigen) or 72 hours (if PCR) of boarding.

- For sailings on or after March 2, 2023, pre-cruise testing will no longer be necessary to board.

- Masks are no longer required onboard. 

Cunard Line

- Guests 16 years and older must be fully vaccinated and boosted (if the most recent shot was given more than 270 days prior) to sail with Cunard Line.

- Children above the age of 5 must be fully vaccinated; boosters are not required.

- As of Sept. 6, 2022, pre-cruise self-testing is now only “highly recommended” and no longer “mandatory,” except where destinations dictate otherwise (such as Canada and Australia).

-  Masks are recommended but not required onboard, except in the theater, cinema and medical center, where they remain mandatory. 

Disney Cruise Line

- As of Sept. 23, 2022, Disney Cruise Line's vaccinated guests will no longer need to take any pre-cruise test, and those who are not vaccinated will not need to take a second pier-side test. 

Hapag-Lloyd

- Cruisers must fill out a health questionnaire prior to cruising with Hapag-Lloyd.

- Guests must also provide proof of full vaccination (boosters included) for all cruises, and show that the basic immunization against COVID-19 was at least three months prior to embarkation.

- The line requires clients to present negative COVID-19 tests and follow country-specific regulations.

Holland America Line

- Guests no longer have to be vaccinated nor tested on most Holland America Line voyages, except for those in destinations where regulations differ. 

- Only on Enhanced Protocol voyages will passengers be alerted to different protocols according to ports visited.

- Mask-wearing became optional as of March 1, 2022. There may be certain venues and events where face coverings are required.

Lindblad Expeditions

- As of Sept. 1, 2022, Lindblad Expeditions passengers over four years old are required to be vaccinated prior to sailing, and boosters are recommended but no longer mandated, except for on extended voyages. And face coverings are not required onboard now.

- As of Oct. 1, 2022, guests also do not need to test before the cruise nor at embarkation, except for destinations that say otherwise.

MSC Cruises

- As of Sept. 1, 2022 guests sailing with MSC Cruises no longer need to be vaccinated, and those passengers who are inoculated don’t need to take a pre-cruise test. However, unvaccinated guests must present negative test results taken within three days of boarding. Passengers under the age of two are exempt from all testing.

- Wearing masks and social distancing onboard ships that depart from U.S. ports is optional for fully vaccinated guests. For unvaccinated children, it is recommended but not required.

- Mask-wearing is optional in MSC terminals unless required by local regulations, which guests must follow at public ports of call.

- Before booking a cruise, guests must confirm they are allowed to embark, according to their country of residence.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' brands welcomed unvaccinated visitors beginning Sept. 3, 2022.

- As of Oct. 4, 2022, specifically for Norwegian Cruise Line, all testing, masking and vaccination requirements are rescinded, except where required by any visited destination.

Princess Cruises

- Guests no longer have to be vaccinated nor tested on most Princess Cruises sailings, save for destinations where regulations differ and on select “enhanced guidelines voyages." 

- Face masks are recommended, but not required, in the majority of venues, though they may be required in select venues or situations.
 

Ponant

Ponant’s sailing requirements mandate that all passengers ages 16 and over must be fully vaccinated prior to sailing, and must show proof of a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of boarding. A booster is recommended at least seven days prior to departure.

- Guests will also be asked to do a health check and screening before boarding.

- Facial coverings are recommended for all guests when outside their staterooms, but are no longer required. Social distancing will be enforced when possible. There may be mask requirements for shore excursions.

Paul Gauguin Cruises

- On Paul Gauguin Cruises sailings departing from Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Noumea and Auckland to French Polynesia, COVID-19 tests for vaccinated travelers are no longer required, although tests are still required for all travelers with a stopover or transit in the U.S.

- Boosters are required for all guests over 18 years old if their last dose is 9 months old or more.

Riviera River Cruises

- All passengers sailing with Riviera River Cruises are required to be fully vaccinated before embarkation (i.e., two doses, with the second dose a minimum of seven days prior to travel). Guests will confirm accordingly via a pre-travel questionnaire.

- A negative COVID-19 test may be required before sailing. More details will be provided by the cruise line before departure.

Royal Caribbean International

- Guests no longer need to be vaccinated nor tested to board Royal Caribbean International on most sailings. Currently, pre-cruise testing is only required on U.S. and Caribbean voyages visiting Colombia, as well as those from Australia and crossing the Atlantic.

- Facial coverings onboard are optional.

- More information on Royal Caribbean’s COVID-19 protocols can be found on Healthy Sail Center.

Seabourn Cruise Line

- Guests sailing with Seabourn Cruise Line no longer have to be vaccinated nor tested on “Standard Protocol” voyages. 

- Only on certain itineraries in select regions will enhanced protocols and testing be required.

- Facial coverings onboard are optional.

Sea Cloud Cruises

- Proof of full vaccination, including a booster shot, is mandatory for all Sea Cloud Cruises sailings.

- Prior to boarding, guests sailing on any of Sea Cloud’s three ships must take a COVID-19 test (provided by the cruise line), and they must provide a completed health questionnaire on the day of embarkation.

- Masks and social distancing are recommended.

- Before embarkation, after every shore leave and daily onboard, contactless body temperatures will be taken.

SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream Yacht Club no longer requires guests to be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 before or during the cruise. However, specific local requirements may differ depending on the destinations visited. 

- All crew are fully vaccinated and boosted, and guests are encouraged to be inoculated as well. 

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises

- Sister brands Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises require full vaccination for guests, at least 14 days prior to departure. Full vaccination may include any booster dose(s) when a country requires it.

- Emerald river cruise guests must meet the entry requirements of each country in which they embark, but the line does not require additional PCR or RAT tests for boarding Europe Star-Ships. Emerald ocean cruise guests may be required to take an antigen test at embarkation (at no additional cost). Scenic guests embarking on Europe Space-Ships will not need to take additional PCR or RAT tests.

- All guests are required to comply with any government requirements to enter countries on their itinerary at the time of travel.

- Face masks may be required in public areas onboard certain ship types when physical distancing is not possible.

Silversea Cruises

-  As of Sept. 5, 2022,  Silversea Cruises no longer requires guests to be vaccinated so long as the destination allows. Also, provided local regulations permit, vaccinated passengers no longer need to receive a pre-cruise test.

- Only unvaccinated guests need to take a test (antigen or PCR) within 72 hours of embarkation.

- All guests will undergo daily touchless temperature checks, as well as a pre-embarkation health screening that includes an enhanced health questionnaire.

- Masks are mandatory inside the casino, the theater and shore excursion buses, and during muster drills.

- Social distancing among passengers is not required.

Star Clippers

- As of the winter 2022 Caribbean and Central America season, Star Clippers no longer requires COVID-19 vaccinations for passengers.

- Only non-vaccinated guests will be required to present a negative test (an antigen test taken within 48 hours or a PCR test taken within 72 hours) to board.

Tauck

- Guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated to travel with Tauck. If more than 270 days have passed since a passenger’s initial vaccination series, they must have a booster shot, but no booster is required if they can show proof of having recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days of travel.

- For those under 12, vaccination is recommended but not required; these minors must present a negative PCR test within three days of departure.

- All guests must follow health and safety protocols, such as wearing a mask, when necessitated by local health guidance or Tauck supplier partners. 

UnCruise Adventures

- All UnCruise Adventures guests must be fully vaccinated, including at least one booster shot.

- COVID-19 testing prior to departure is requested but not required.

- Face masks are required on vessels and onshore when physical distancing cannot be achieved (more than 6 feet from a non-cabin mate for more than 15 minutes in a 24-hour period).

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

- For 2022, all passengers traveling with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises must be fully vaccinated, with the final dose administered no less than two weeks prior to embarkation. Booster doses may be required at onshore venues, depending on destinations visited. For 2023, Uniworld will no longer require guests to be vaccinated.

- Children who are vaccine-ineligible must provide a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 72 hours of embarkation.

- Any testing required before embarkation is the responsibility of the guest. If a country requires tests mid-cruise, Uniworld will facilitate testing onboard and cover the expenses. Tests required onboard for re-entry to a guest’s home country will be at the expense of the guest, but Uniworld will help facilitate them.

- Masks are encouraged in onboard public areas and in motorcoaches when social distancing is not possible.

Viking

- Per its COVID-19 policies and procedures for international voyages, Viking requires all river, ocean and expedition guests to have received the required doses of COVID-19 vaccinations at least 14 days prior to the date of embarkation, including booster shots for those who are eligible. 

- Select sailings require a negative pre-embarkation PCR test result. Passengers are otherwise encouraged to take a PCR test before sailing, though not required (unless a destination requires it).

- Throughout a cruise, guests may be asked to periodically take PCR tests and temperature checks.

- Guests are asked to follow existing public health measures such as hand hygiene, mask-wearing and social distancing. Currently, masks are optional onboard, but may be required at certain times on the ship, based on conditions at the time of travel.

Virgin Voyages

- Adults-only Virgin Voyages has eliminated all vaccine and testing requirements.

- Mask-wearing is optional onboard. Masks may be required during embarkation and disembarkation in certain destinations and while on shuttle bus services.
 

Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises requires guests to provide proof of an initial completed vaccine course, finished at least 14 days prior to the guest's embarkation date. Boosters are recommended but not required. For Europe and Tahiti sailings, a passenger’s last COVID-19 vaccination shot is now required (usually within the last 270 days). Guests must ensure they meet vaccine and booster requirements for all countries they will be visiting.

- There are no exceptions to the vaccination policy.

- As of Sept. 6, 2022, guests no longer need to provide pre-cruise test results in most countries, unless required by the destination.

- In most circumstances, guests are not required to wear masks onboard Windstar’s yachts in most of Europe, Greece, the Caribbean, the U.S. and Canada. French Polynesia requires guests to wear masks.

What does it mean for a cruise to be “highly vaccinated?”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its threshold for considering individual cruise ships as “Highly Vaccinated” (fully vaccinated without boosters) or “Vaccination Standard of Excellence” (fully vaccinated and up to date with boosters) to 90% of passengers meeting the requirement, down from 95% previously. The 10% window for unvaccinated guests is generally reserved for those who are ineligible to receive inoculations, such as children under 5 years of age.

An updated list of the status for ships operating in U.S. waters can be found on the CDC's website.

 

 

Bermuda to End Travel Authorization Requirements

By NewsdeskNov 11, 2022 12:14pm

BermudaFederal Travel RegulationsDestination InformationCoronavirus

 

Bermuda

(Photo by yujie chen/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

The Bermuda government has announced the elimination of the travel authorization (TA) process some three weeks earlier than originally scheduled. The move will streamline the overall travel experience for visitors.

The requirement for an approved TA, the associated $40 fee, and proof of vaccination or medical insurance will no longer be a condition of travel from November 14, 2022. In its place, the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) will reinstate the Bermuda Arrival Card, a digital form for visitors only, which was in place prior to the onset of the pandemic. The form captures visitor data, generating critical tourism statistics for the country and provides visitors, who opt-in, with relevant, timely communications to enhance their stay. The Bermuda Arrival Card is a simple online form that can be completed in mere minutes, prior to travel to the island.

Previously, the Bermuda Government announced that the legislation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, including the use of the TA, would come to an end on November 30, 2022.

Tracy Berkeley, interim chief executive officer at BTA said, “Bermuda’s tourism industry fully supports the decision to eliminate the travel authorization and bring the island’s public health emergency orders to an end. We are especially appreciative of our partners in the Ministry of Health for the collaborative approach to solving our shared challenges. This is exciting news that will help to restore a frictionless travel experience for our visitors.”

Stephen Todd, chief executive officer at the Bermuda Hotel Association, said, “Bermuda’s hoteliers are thrilled with the decision to end the travel authorization three weeks early. This move comes at a crucial time before the U.S. Thanksgiving travel period. This is a time when we anticipate welcoming visitors looking to take advantage of the current Fall into Winter promotions. It should also support demand in time for the return of three additional direct flights from MiamiJFK and Toronto.”

Currently, visitors to Bermuda no longer require pre-travel or on-island COVID testing. The online visitor arrivals process can be completed in three steps:

  1. Go to www.BermudaArrivalCard.com
  2. Complete the form accurately and completely with visitor details
  3. Download the form and present it to immigration officials for inspection

There is no approval process, no fee, and once the required fields have been completed the form is available as a downloadable link or by email. All non-residents who travel to Bermuda as of November 14 must complete the Bermuda Arrival Card even if they have previously completed a travel authorization form. Hard copy ‘Pink Forms’ will be available for non-resident travelers who have not completed the digital Bermuda Arrival Card. There is no need to accept a ‘Pink Form’ if you have completed the digital form.

 

JetBlue will fly to Paris next summer

By Jerry Limone 

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Nov 16, 2022

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The Mint Studio suite on JetBlue's transatlantic service.

The Mint Studio suite on JetBlue's transatlantic service. Photo Credit: JetBlue

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JetBlue's second transatlantic destination will be Paris. 

The airline will launch service between New York JFK and Paris Charles DeGaulle next summer, and will follow with service between Boston and Paris.

JetBlue did not announce a start date for the Paris flights.

In August 2021, JetBlue made its debut in the transatlantic market, launching service to London Heathrow and London Gatwick. The carrier currently operates five daily flights to London.

As on the London routes, JetBlue will fly the Airbus A321LR to Paris. The planes feature 24 suites in JetBlue's Mint business class, including the JetBlue Studio suites at the front of the premium cabin.

Among the 114 economy seats are 24 extra-legroom seats. 

 

Room rates are through the roof in Las Vegas. What's behind the surge?

By Paul Szydelko 

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Nov 15, 2022

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Las Vegas had its highest average daily room rate ($187.18) in September.

Las Vegas had its highest average daily room rate ($187.18) in September. Photo Credit: Brian Jones / Las Vegas News Bureau

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Paul Szydelko

Paul Szydelko

Las Vegas visitors paid the highest average daily room rate (ADR) in the city's history in September, a trend that will likely continue as the Strip enjoys heavy post-lockdown demand.

September had the highest ADR on record at $187.18, according to statistics from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The previous highest monthly rate was $176.97 in April this year, when the city hosted the NFL Draft. The third- and fourth-highest months were May 2022 ($175.76) and October 2021 ($173.68), respectively.

"Las Vegas has enjoyed a very positive trajectory for ADR for much of the year, and September was a continuation of that trend, supported by a gradually improving convention segment and particularly, several sporting and special events," said Kevin Bagger, vice president of the LVCVA Research Center.

Those events included the Life Is Beautiful music and arts festival, the iHeartRadio festival, the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin boxing match on Sept. 17 and the Las Vegas Raiders NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 18. The traditionally busy Labor Day weekend also played a part.

"We're still enjoying some of the boosts from the pandemic," said Amanda Belarmino, assistant professor at the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "Travel, in general, has recovered well within the last year. We're enjoying some of the pent-up demand from people that had vacations they postponed or just weren't able to take vacations during that time."

September and October traditionally have been very busy months for conventions and business travel before the pandemic, she said. "This indicates a return to that. It also indicates that we're not necessarily attracting the value customer during that time."

Barring other macroeconomic impacts like a recession, Belarmino said she expects the room rates will continue to increase. "Inflation is hitting everyone, and the casinos had to rehire a lot of people, and they had to pay more money to hire people. Hiring is costly; training is costly; their supplies cost more."

There are still values to be had, though, and savvy travelers can still find a time of week, a month or a property with a room rate with which they comfortable, she said.

"One of the things that makes Las Vegas such an attractive location is that there is a lot of seasonality," Belarmino said. "People are able to travel during times that are slower where they can get a good deal on a hotel room at any property. We also have a variety of different properties in terms of the amenities they offer and their price points that allow the value-conscious guests to still be able to have an affordable and exciting vacation to Las Vegas."

F1 room rates

Looking ahead to the new year, rates for the weekend of Nov. 16 to 18, 2023, figure to be supercharged as the city will host its first Formula 1 auto race. The initial list prices for rooms on that weekend are unprecedented.

According to a survey conducted Nov. 4 by KLAS-TV 8NewsNow, rooms at the Bellagio are going for $1,733 a night for F1 weekend -- and that doesn't even include taxes and resort fees. That's a 226% increase from the same time this year. Rooms at Bally's (transitioning to become Horseshoe) are listed at $799, a 399% increase from 2022, the station reported in a chart that it plans to update throughout the year. Resorts World is showing a 445% increase, from $220 this year to $1,199 next year.

The lowest price available for a Thursday-through-Sunday stay is $752 per night at the Linq Hotel + Experience, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The eye-opening initial room rates don't necessarily surprise Belarmino, who said the hotels are just seeing what the typical international market for F1 will bear one year out. Holding back rooms for casino players and high-end clientele, properties are perhaps signaling to anyone not interested in F1 to come another time, she said.

"They don't necessarily need to sell as many rooms; they may discount as time goes on," Belarmino said. "If they don't see the demand, of course, they're going to take those room rates down. Revenue managers don't make up those room rates based on nothing. They definitely have some numbers and some history to indicate to them that that was the right thing to do."

With a lot more data from previous Super Bowl cities to consider, Las Vegas hotels will likely not have as steep a spike for room rates as Formula 1 when that mega-event comes to town for the first time in early 2024, Belarmino said.

"It's a very unusual kind of demand for Super Bowl. You'll have people that just want to come here to the Super Bowl, and those people will book early," she said. After that initial pricing and hold-backs for casino clientele, it will likely slow down, she said.  "You'll have people that want to wait until they see what teams are going to be playing. So then there's going to be some more last-minute bookings at the end. … They will start out high, but I do not think they're going to be priced as high as Formula 1."

 

Fremont Street will be rocking in the new year in Vegas

By Paul Szydelko 

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Nov 13, 2022

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The NYE Time of Your Life Festival will feature musical acts on three stages

The NYE Time of Your Life Festival will feature musical acts on three stages Photo Credit: Fremont Street Experience

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Fremont Street in Las Vegas will celebrate the New Year with a splashy music party, the NYE Time of Your Life Festival.

Bush, Sugar Ray, the Wailers featuring Julian Marley, the Sugarhill Gang, All-4-One, Tag Team and DJ Skribble will be among the live performers on the street's three permanent stages.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman will host the event, which will feature pyrotechnics and digital fireworks on Viva Vision, the overhead canopy.  Gates open at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Partygoers are encouraged to wear their most outlandish outfits.

"Fremont Street Experience is the ultimate street party featuring more live entertainment every day of the year than anywhere else in the country," said Andrew Simon, president and CEO of Fremont Street Experience. "We always offer the best value for New Year's Eve entertainment, and this year for only $50, we will have the most star-studded lineup in our history, featuring bands of all different genres of music spanning multiple decades for the NYE Time of Your Life Festival."

Presale tickets, starting at $50 plus tax and fees, can be purchased online. Guests must be at least 21 years old. The Fly Into the New Year Package, which includes admission to the party and a ride on the 1,750-foot SlotZilla zipline or zoomline, will be on sale soon.

 

Pilot Shortage Causing Flight Service Decline at US Airports

AIRLINES & AIRPORTS  DONALD WOOD  NOVEMBER 14, 2022

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Pilots before take off, cockpit, airplane

Pilots before takeoff at sunset. (photo via MatusDuda / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

A new study found that over 75 percent of airports in the United States have experienced diminished or lost air service due to the severe pilot shortage.

According to the Regional Airline Association (RAA), 76 percent of U.S. airports have been impacted by the pilot shortage, with more than 500 regional aircraft parked and an “associated air service retraction at 324 communities.”

RAA CEO Faye Malarkey Black said, “14 airports have lost all scheduled commercial air service – a number that is still rising.” In total, U.S. domestic air operations declined by 18.4 percent from October 2019 to October 2022.

“We are on the precipice of a wholesale collapse of small community air service,” Black said. “It has already begun, with 60 U.S. airports losing more than half their air service since 2019. Every policymaker in the Administration and Congress must set aside politics and address this crisis today.”

Data also showed that 324 commercial airports in the U.S. lost flight frequency between 2019 and 2022, with 25 large-hub airports and 23 medium-hub airports experiencing a 16 percent decline in traffic.

The RAA also found that 14 airports have lost all commercial air service since October 2019.

Domestic flights last month were down 18.4 percent from October 2019, while the total seat count for U.S. domestic operations was down just 5.3 percent.

A study released earlier this month by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that passenger traffic in September rose 57 percent compared to September 2021, bringing global traffic to 73.8 percent of September 2019 levels.

 

Domestic air traffic is down 18% from 2019, with small airports hit the hardest

By Robert Silk 

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Nov 13, 2022

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An American Eagle regional jet.

An American Eagle regional jet. Photo Credit: Envoy Air

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More than three-quarters of commercial U.S. airports have fewer flights now than three years ago, according to an analysis of OAG data by the Regional Airline Association (RAA). 

On a percentage basis, small airports have been hit harder than large airports. 

The RAA analysis, which compared October 2022 operations to operations in October 2019, found a decline in U.S. domestic air operations of 18.4%, according to Cirium schedule data. 

RAA found that 324 U.S. commercial airports lost flight frequency between 2019 and 2022. Those airports comprise 76% of commercial airports. 

Declines have happened at airports big and small due to high fuel costs, delays in aircraft deliveries and an ongoing pilot shortage

The RAA said that 25 large-hub airports, which are defined by the FAA as airports that receive at least 1% of departing U.S. commercial airport passengers, have experienced a 16% decline in traffic. Twenty-three medium-hub airports, which receive between 0.25% and 1% of U.S. passengers, also saw a 16% decline.

Service losses have been steepest, however, at the smallest airports. 

According to the RAA, 51 small-hub airports, defined as those that receive between 0.05% and 0.25% of U.S. passengers, have had a 19% reduction in traffic. 

Among airports that receive from 10,000 departing passengers annually to 0.05% of U.S. passengers, 171 have lost flights. The average decline at those airports is 35%. 

Among the smallest commercial airports, which receive between 2,500 and 10,000 passengers per year, 54 have lost flights. The average decline at those airports is 44%. 

Fourteen airports, the RAA notes, have lost all commercial air service since October 2019. 

Though domestic flights last month were down 18.4% from October 2019, the total seat count for U.S. domestic operations was down just 5.3%. The disparity is primarily a result of decisions by major carriers to use fewer regional aircraft, especially 50-seat planes, and favor larger and more economically favorable aircraft types. 

The RAA says that approximately 500 U.S. regional jets were parked as of mid-year.

The Big 3 carriers were already reducing their use of 50-seat planes before the pandemic. But an acute pilot shortage that emerged as the pandemic ebbed has spurred those carriers to accelerate their pull-back from small-market flying. 

"We are on the precipice of a wholesale collapse of small community air service," RAA CEO Faye Malarkey Black said. "It has already begun, with 60 U.S. airports losing more than half their air service since 2019."

Black called upon policymakers to address the issue.