Hi, everyone! We hope this finds you well. Our world is changing very rapidly, so here’s some of what we are watching.
Canada has extended current quarantine and testing requirements thru June 21st and travel advisories remain in place. All levels of government seem to be talking about easing restrictions responsibly, so the first steps may be around the corner. Flights from India and Pakistan are also restricted thru June 21.
In general, things are evolving quickly and there is optimism that Canadians may be able to travel internationally this fall. If that is the case, there may be opportunities for tours, Mediterranean cruises, Alaska cruises as well as Caribbean and Mexico. Many of these itineraries are published and ready to book, and our feeling is that later fall may be a good bet. Our American clients are already packed, it seems, and they are very actively planning and booking. Travel suppliers tend to have very flexible terms but this too could change, so when it is your time to book, ask your Advisor about the details, as well as insurance, which – let’s face it – is almost a requirement.
Alaska cruises are about to restart in July, after the passing of the Alaska Tourism Rescue Act; allowing for a temporary bypass of the Passenger Vessel Services Act, now allowing cruises to sail to Alaska without stopping in a Canadian port. These sailings will be round-trip Seattle and will operate with new safety protocols in place. Princess will operate the Majestic Princess, Holland America Line will operate the Nieuw Amsterdam, Royal Caribbean will operate the Ovation of the Seas, to name a few. We are still left wondering why technical stops in Canadian ports were not allowed…
River cruising is set to resume with Viking, Ama Waterways, and Uniworld all announcing that they are opening in July. This will be a gradual re-opening, but the beginning is here. Avalon’s website indicates that they have suspended cruising until August 31st for Canadian guests…but this too may change.
In general, it appears the cruise lines and tour companies are requiring guests to be fully vaccinated when they travel. There may be testing protocols also in place, which may vary from company to company and by destination(s). The CDC seems to be considering new guidelines as vaccinations roll out and new case numbers look promising. Stay tuned for more info, as right now what you could expect to experience is a bit unclear.
When you do hop on a cruise or tour again, you will likely need to sign a variety of more stringent forms and waivers, and we are starting to see that it will be required that you do your online check-in. Our days of being able to assist with this task may be over.
As we watch all of this…it feels likely that Canada will open up again soon, at least to some extent. If you are looking for adventure or relaxation closer to home, please call us…there are so many incredible places to visit right here at home, and like your (hopefully favorite 😊) travel agency, our hotels, restaurants and attractions are going to need all the financial help they can get. One idea, amongst many…we have our eyes on Rocky Mountaineer, as the trains gear up for their return at the beginning of July…we highly recommend this experience at least once in your lifetime! Our local suppliers, like international ones, tend to have flexible terms, so booking now may be a good option, with cancelation possible if necessary.
As I sign off, I’m feeling hopeful. More hopeful than I have in a very long time. I hope that you do too, and wish you well as we look forward to traveling again.
Shelley, Dave and the CruisePlus Team