This Week in Travel News
Active travelers have a need to know! Every week, there are things that can and do impact the art and act of travelling. Things you need to know about. We’ll report the highlights here, so you can focus on what you do best: Travelling! In case you missed it, here’s what happened This Week in Travel News!
Visa – May be needed everywhere you go.
Americans have been able to travel across most of Europe without a visa but, if the European Parliament has their way, that freedom may be curtailed.
At issue is an American policy that excludes Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland and Romania, and the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, from the U.S. visa waiver program. The remaining 23 EU countries have visa-free access to travel in the U.S., and that’s a problem. EU rules require that citizens of all member nations be treated equally. The former Communist countries have been calling on the EU to push for full reciprocity, and have set a May deadline.
It’s unlikely that firm action will be taken, though. A similar deadline passed in 2016 with no action, in large part because of the economic costs associated with imposing visa restrictions. The Commission continues to pursue a diplomatic solution, and hopes the U.S. will join Canada, which will remove its visa requirements for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in December.
As unlikely as it is, the possibility of needing a visa to visit Europe this summer is as real as the unlikely Brexit and Trump votes. The matter is on the agenda for a June ministerial meeting between the U.S. and EU. You can find information on Schengen Visas here.
JetBlue Doubles Down on Points
We reported last week on a bevy of double points offers. Now that includes a chance to double up on Mosaic-qualifying points this spring. JetBlue has launched a called Spring Forward, offering double base flight points on all flights in March and April. Base flight points are those earned on the base fare of a purchased JetBlue flight.
TrueBlue members must register in advance. To qualify, flights must be booked by 23 March, and completed by 30 April. Existing reservations and JetBlue Vacations packages are excluded. If all of this sounds foreign to you, TrueBlue is the name of JetBlue’s frequent flyer loyalty program, and Mosaic is the upper echelon, for flyers who earn 15,000 base flight points, or have 12,000 base flights and fly 30 segments in the calendar year. You’ll find details and a sign-up link on this JetBlue page.
American River Cruises
The number one luxury destination outside of North America is a European river cruise. With famed cruise lines like Uniworld, Avalon, Viking, and others, it’s easy to understand the attraction. Given the success of river cruising, North America is aiming to capture some market share with a bevy of new ships and cruises.
American Cruise Lines, best known for its paddlewheel riverboats plying the Mississippi and other major waterways, has announced plans for five new riverboats and two ocean-going vessels. The first of riverboats is already under construction and will start sailing U.S. rivers in 2018 with room for 200 passengers. The first of the cruise ships, the American Constellation, will embark on a Chesapeake Bay itinerary in May, transitioning to New England and the Maine coastline later this summer.
The new French America Line begins sailing the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland, and Red Rivers this month. The flagship Louisiane will sail on five to fourteen day itineraries through January. Viking River Cruises has also revealed plans to begin sailing American waterways this year, but has not announced a launch date.
Cuba on Sail on Sale
We mentioned recently that travel to Cuba is not exactly meeting expectations. Airlines have been cutting prices and capacity, and now one of the first cruise lines to call on the island nation has put it on sale.
Carnival Corporation’s Fathom has announced significant savings on deluxe staterooms for week-long Cuban cruises from March through May. The lower prices are a savings of 28%:
- Premium balcony staterooms are on sale at $2999 with $150 shipboard credit.
- Oceanview staterooms are $2499 with $75 shipboard credit.
- Inside cabins start at $1799.
The sales prices must be booked by 31 March for sailings through 28 May. You can see Fathom’s itineraries on their Cuba page.
The Weekly Win
With summer on the horizon, and festival season comes with it. One of the newest takes place on Fyre Cay in Exuma, and you can win your way there. We’ve got details on entering the Fyre Festival travel sweepstakes from Wine Awesomeness in the Weekly Win.
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