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TRAVEL ADVENTURES   .   .   .

SWITZERLAND OPENS

Switzerland to end COVID-19 restrictions next week

Swiss government announced that most of COVID-19 restrictions  will end next week and the events of up to 1,000 people will be allowed.

“As of Monday, June 22, the measures put in place to tackle the coronavirus will for the most part be lifted. Only the ban on large-scale events will remain in place until the end of August,” the government of Switzerland said in a statement.

More than 31,000 people have tested positive for the virus and 1,680 have died in Switzerland since the first case was reported in late February.

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MANDARIN ORIENTAL LAKE COMING


Courtesy Photo

The latest addition to the Mandarin Oriental family makes its way to Blevio, on Lake Como, in the former spaces of the CastaDiva Resort & Spa. The historic property immersed in a botanic park flaunts 77 rooms and suites across nine villas from the 19th century. The grounds also include four restaurants, a bar, spa, indoor pool, and outdoor pool jutting over the lake.

Opening: spring 2019

www.mandarinoriental.com

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VIKING ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL SAILINGS FOR
NEW MISSISSIPPI RIVER CRUISES


Strong Demand Leads to Early Release of 2023 Departure Dates

 

               Viking® (www.viking.com) today announced that new 2023 sailings of its Mississippi River cruises are now on sale. The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul. Viking’s first river cruises in the U.S. had been highly anticipated when they were officially announced in April 2020, and several sailings have already sold out. This strong demand has led Viking to open additional 2023 sailing dates sooner than originally expected. Also, the company today released several new renderings of Viking Mississippi, which can be accessed in the Viking Media Center.  

               "We are very pleased at the initial response and support we have received from guests and community partners along the Mississippi River,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "Like me, many travelers are planning ahead for when we will once again be exploring the world in comfort – to exotic destinations as well as those closer to home. We look forward to welcoming guests as we bring modern river cruising to the Mississippi River in 2022.”

               Viking’s arrival to the Mississippi will represent a major commitment to tourism and economic development in many communities along the river, with the new cruises expected to bring more than 5,800 guests to the region in 2022 and 17,600+ during the first full sailing season in 2023. Currently scheduled ports of call on Viking’s new Mississippi River cruises comprise seven U.S. states: Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St. Francisville); Mississippi (Natchez and Vicksburg); Tennessee (Memphis); Missouri (Hannibal, St. Louis); Iowa (Burlington, Dubuque and Davenport); Wisconsin (La Crosse); and Minnesota (Red Wing, St. Paul).

2022-2023 Viking Mississippi Voyages

·        America’s Great River (15 days; New Orleans to St. Paul)—Experience nearly the entire length of the Mississippi River on this incredible journey from the Gulf of Mexico to the northernmost reaches of the U.S. Relax and enjoy the variety of scenery, foliage and wildlife on this leisurely voyage. Enjoy Southern charm and beautifully preserved homes in Natchez; retrace the steps of Civil Rights leaders in Memphis; ascend the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; and visit “The Norwegian Valley” in La Crosse. Multiple sailing dates now available in June, September and October 2023. Pricing starts at $10,999 per person, with discounted airfare from $199 per person.

·        America’s Heartland (8 days; St. Louis to St. Paul)—From pristine farms nestled in rolling terrain to steep bluff rising from tributaries dotted with wooded islands, the Upper Mississippi offers a rich tapestry of beauty upon every turn of the river. This journey introduces you to the unforgettable experience of the locks and dams that control the flow of the heartland rivers. Hear stories of settlers migrating west; learn about Lewis & Clark, Mark Twain, John Deere and the Amish and Norwegian migrations; experience the regional music like polka and Norwegian folk; and taste regional cuisine showcasing local beer, produce and Wisconsin cheese. Multiple sailing dates in August and September 2022; additional sailing dates now available in July, August and September 2023. Pricing starts at $4,599 per person, with discounted airfare from $199 per person.

·        Heart of the Delta (8 days; New Orleans to Memphis)—This journey on the Lower Mississippi is infused with American history, culture and heritage. Tour the area where the migrating French and Acadians settled; immerse yourself in the culture and lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement; discover the music of the South—jazz, blues and gospel; and experience the life and food culture of the south, from Cajun and Creole to the famed “dry” Memphis BBQ. Multiple sailing dates in October and November 2022; additional sailing dates now available in May and June 2023. Inaugural pricing starts at $4,199 per person, with discounted airfare from $199 per person.

·        Southern Celebration (8 days; New Orleans–Vicksburg–New Orleans)—On this exploration of the Lower Mississippi, visit the historic homes of Louisiana and Mississippi; learn about Civil War history, touring sites like Vicksburg National Military Park; and discover the excitement and unique flavors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Multiple sailing dates in November and December 2022; additional sailing dates now available in January 2023. Inaugural pricing starts at $3,699 per person, with discounted airfare from $199 per person.

Viking Mississippi

               Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the new state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships and will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that are familiar to guests but that have been reimagined for Mississippi River voyages. Purpose-built for the Mississippi and currently under construction in Louisiana, the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the most modern cruise ship in the region. Highlights of the new ship include:

·        All Outside Staterooms: Guests can choose from an unparalleled seven spacious stateroom categories that range from 268 sq. ft to 1,024 sq. ft: Veranda, French Balcony, Deluxe Veranda, Penthouse Veranda, Penthouse Jr. Suite, Terrace Suite and Explorer Suite. All staterooms feature a private veranda or French balcony, king-size bed with luxury linens, large flat-screen interactive TV, mini-bar, large glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor and 24-hour room service.

·        Viking Suites: Viking Mississippi will have some of the largest true suites on the river, with every suite featuring two rooms and a full-size veranda off the spacious sitting room. Guests in Penthouse Jr. Suites (400 sq. ft.) and Terrace Suites (425 sq. ft.) receive early stateroom access; expanded double-sink bathroom; mini-bar with alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, water and snacks replenished daily; welcome champagne; and laundry, pressing and shoe shine services. Guests in the expansive Explorer Suites (657 sq. ft. to 1,024 sq. ft) also receive a wraparound veranda and complimentary Silver Spirits Beverage Package. 

·        Explorers’ Lounge & The Bow: Familiar to Viking’s ocean guests as one of the most popular onboard public spaces, Viking Mississippi will also feature an Explorers’ Lounge near the bow of the ship. The sun-filled, two-story Explorers’ Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to The Bow, a unique outdoor seating area at the front of the ship where guests can relax and enjoy ever-changing riverside views.

·        River Café: From American classics to Mamsen’s® Norwegian specialties, this indoor/outdoor dining venue on the top deck will offer alternative restaurant dining in a casual al fresco setting.  

·        Aquavit Terrace: A public space beloved by many of Viking’s ocean and river guests, Viking Mississippi will also feature a revolutionary Aquavit Terrace on the top deck, providing a casual dining space ideal for an American barbecue experience. Combined with the River Café, the Aquavit Terrace will provide the most al fresco dining options on the Mississippi.

·        Sun Terrace with Infinity Plunge Pool: Similar to Viking’s ocean ships, Viking Mississippi will have a glass-backed pool experience at the aft, allowing guests to take a dip while fully surrounded by their destination.

·        The Living Room: Clean Scandinavian design paired with American influences, the Living Room on Deck 1 is designed for socializing, relaxing and entertainment. Nearby, the quiet corner of The Library, is a perfect place to discover a new book.

·        The Restaurant: This main dining venue on Deck 1 will serve daily-changing menus featuring delicious regional cuisine and always available classics prepared with fresh, local ingredients.

·        Full 360-Degree Promenade Deck: Guests can stroll the entire ship outside on Deck 1, stretching their legs while viewing scenic landscape and regional wildlife.

·        Enrichment On Board and On Shore: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking creating “the thinking person’s cruise.” A focus on cultural enrichment on board Viking Mississippi means that guests will enjoy Destination Performances that represent the most iconic music of the region—as well as Guest Lecturers that shed light on the region’s art, architecture, history, culture, natural world and more. And only The Viking Way® of exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Privileged Access®, Local Life and Working World experiences, opening doors to places otherwise difficult to visit. On Viking’s Mississippi River itineraries, guests may choose to take a guided kayaking trip in the Louisiana bayou; visit a working farm in Quad Cities; or immerse themselves in Cajun culture during a Privileged Access excursion to the Rural Life Museum of Louisiana State University.

·        Sustainable Features: Solar panels, LED lighting, floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize natural light and an energy-efficient hybrid propulsion system will make Viking Mississippi the most environmentally friendly passenger ship on the Mississippi River.

·        Viking Inclusive Value: Every Mississippi River cruise fare includes everything guests need, with no surprises or hidden fees. Cruise fares include one complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including beer and wine with lunch and dinner service, lectures, alternative dining at no extra charge, self-service launderettes, 24-hour room service and free Wi-Fi.

               Today’s announcement is the most recent milestone as Viking continues to expand its destination-focused travel offerings. The company’s seventh ocean ship, Viking Venus, will join the fleet in early 2021; an eighth ship will arrive in 2022 as planned. Also in 2022, Viking will introduce its new expedition cruises, with the first 378-guest purpose-built expedition ship, Viking Octantis, launching in January 2022 for voyages to Antarctica and then North America’s Great Lakes. A second expedition vessel, Viking Polaris, will debut in August 2022, sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic.

 


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MSC Cruises Announces New Homeport For Two Ships

Fort Lauderdale-based MSC Cruises has announced that Port Canaveral will be the new homeport for two of their ships this upcoming winter. MSC Seaside will begin sailing from Port Canaveral beginning in November and MSC Divina at the end of March 2021. This will be the first time MSC Cruises has used Port Canaveral as a home port for cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean. 

Cruising from Port Canaveral

In a press release announcing the decision, MSC Cruises cited the popularity of nearby Orlando and the attractiveness of an extended stay at one of the many theme parks before or after a cruise. 

“Port Canaveral has always been an extremely popular port with cruisers. It is easily accessible, offers innovative and modern terminals and provides convenient access to many attractions in the surrounding area. We are thrilled at MSC Cruises to bring two of our modern and glamourous cruise ships, MSC Seaside and MSC Divina, to such a high-demand port for the first time, with sailings year-round to the sunny Caribbean and The Bahamas,” said Rubén Rodriguez, President of MSC Cruises USA. “As we look toward the upcoming year, we are eager to bring our guests back to sea when the time is right, with health and safety as a top priority, following guidance from national and international health authorities. We are also excited to expand our presence in North America with new and enriching cruise experiences.”

Guests can choose between three-, four- and seven-night cruises departing on Sundays and Thursdays to the Bahamas and Caribbean. The itineraries include a stop at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the private island resort in the Bahamas developed in the past year by the cruise line. MSC Cruises transformed Ocean Cay into a one-of-a-kind destination within a living coral reef marine reserve for guests to enjoy. 

About Port Canaveral 

The second-busiest cruise port in the world behind Port Miami, Port Canaveral sees well over 4 million cruise passengers each year. 

“We’re very pleased to welcome MSC Cruises to Port Canaveral and excited to be the homeport for the beautiful MSC Seaside and MSC Divina,” said Port CEO Capt. John Murray. “This exciting new partnership is an endorsement of our commitment to excellence and the investments we’ve made in our cruise operations. We’re looking forward to working together with our new cruise partner providing the best possible experience for their guests.”

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BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE!

FLEXIBLE TERMS FOR 2021, 2022:
BOOK NOW, DECIDE LATER
For a limited time, book any 2021 or 2022 journey on the Golden Eagle, Danube Express, or Deccan Odyssey and get a full refund if you decide to cancel before Dec. 31, 2020.
OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO
Always dreamed of seeing the vastness of Siberia on the Trans-Siberian Express?
How about venturing to ancient Samarkand on the Silk Road?
Or perhaps alluring Southern India is top of mind, with its polyglot, polytheist culture.
All of these epic journeys -- and more -- are available to book worry-free. For a complete list, visit our website:
Space is limited. Call or e-mail us today to reserve your cabin!
TO BOOK:
US & Canada: 1-800-478-4881
Everywhere else: 1-502-897-1725
ALASKA AIRLINES STARTS FLYING EMBRAER 175
laska Airlines will start flying the Embraer 175 jet aircraft in the state of Alaska starting in October 2020. The E175, operated by regional partner Horizon Air, will serve select markets in Alaska.

“Alaskans who have flown the E175 jet in the Lower 48 have frequently asked when they might see the plane in the state, and we’re thrilled the time has come,” said Marilyn Romano, regional vice president. “This jet gives us the flexibility to increase daily frequency between Anchorage and Fairbanks up to seven times a day, and to provide year-round service to King Salmon and Dillingham. In time, the new mix of aircraft will unlock other markets in the state for future service.”

The E175 aircraft compliments the current Boeing 737 mainline flying in, to and from the state of Alaska and is perfect for many communities where larger jets are not the best option.

With no middle seats, the regional jet is configured with 12 seats in first class, 12 in premium class and 52 in the main cabin. Onboard amenities include Wi-Fi access, and Alaska Beyond Entertainment, which includes free movies and TV shows direct to customer devices and power outlets in first class.

“This has been an especially challenging time for Alaskans with the pandemic and reduction of air service hitting residents hard,” said Romano. “We’ve served the unique needs of the Great Land for 88 years and introducing a new aircraft to our in-state fleet supports additional flying and keeps Alaskans connected within the state and beyond.”

Alaska Airlines recently added Boeing 737 service to Cold Bay, and started service one month early to King Salmon and Dillingham. Alaska Air Cargo also began serving Unalakleet earlier this month with our 737-700 freighters.

Tickets to Anchorage, Fairbanks and all destinations Alaska serves are available now. King Salmon and Dillingham flights after August 17 will be available for purchase by June 26.
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Air Canada announces election of Directors
Air Canada announced that all of the nominees listed in the management proxy circular dated May 4, 2020 were elected as directors of Air Canada at its Annual Meeting of Shareholders which was held in a virtual only format on Thursday, June 25, 2020.

All of the nominees have already been serving as directors of Air Canada, except for Amee Chande. The Corporation is pleased to welcome Ms. Chande to the Air Canada Board of Directors.  Ms. Chande is a corporate director as well as a senior advisor to leading companies in the mobility sector. Most recently, Ms. Chande was Chief Commercial Officer for Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project and from 2015 to 2018, she was a Managing Director at Alibaba Group where she was the first senior executive hired to lead globalization. Ms. Chande has also held various senior management positions at global retailers. She began her career as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company.


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