Posts Tagged With: top headline
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Wouldn’t it be nice to just wear your ID on your wrist as you go through the airport? Apple’s been working on it, and it’s live now in four states.
Apple users in Arizona have been carrying their driver’s licenses and state IDs in their Apple Wallets for a year now, passing through TSA checkpoints at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with just a flick of their wrists. Since then, Maryland, Colorado and Georgia have come aboard—and the tech giant is working to add the other 46 to the list.
Each state has its own verification process, but the goal is to have a digital ID stored on your iPhone. Users just click on the ‘+’ sign in the Apple Wallet’s top right corner and follow the instructions. The system works on an iPhone 8 or newer.
TSA also is testing Delta Air Lines Biometric Facial Identification and GET Mobile Drivers Licenses, its website says (https://www.tsa.gov/digital-id). The technology is available at 25 airports including Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.
While users do not have to produce their physical driver’s licenses, the TSA still requires that travelers carry them.
Underscoring its reach into the US market, MSC Group this week offered up details about the naming ceremony of MSC Euribia in Copenhagen, as well as the Owners Suite on Explora I, the first ship in its new Explora Journeys luxury division.
Sporting “the most energy-efficient cruise ship design ever,” MSC Euribia, is powered by LNG and features state-of-the-art environmental technologies including advanced onboard wastewater treatment systems, waste management handling, energy efficiency measures, and innovative underwater radiated noise management systems to reduce the potential impact on the marine environment.
As always at MSC namings, Sophia Loren will serve as godmother. Euribia then will sail 7-night itineraries in Northern Europe, from Kiel, Germany, and Copenhagen, Denmark to the Norwegian Fjords.
New elements on the ship include the new Le Grill “French bistro meets steakhouse” restaurant; a reinvented Carousel Lounge designed to offer more panoramic ocean views; and a brand-new kids area and program of activities dedicated to educating children and teenagers on environmental subjects in the MSC Foundation Lab.
For guests looking for a more luxurious experience, MSC Group’s new Explora Journeys brand unveiled details of the 3,000-square-foot Owner’s Residence on its first ship, Explora I.
Guests there can lounge on a private outdoor terrace that extends over the full width of the ship, sip champagne in their own infinity whirlpool, or dine in private at a table for eight. They will also have unlimited priority reservations for all culinary venues and a complimentary treatment at Ocean Wellness – The Spa.
The suite includes private butler service, a Technogym Bench and Case Kit, a private bar replenished according to their preferences, unlimited priority reservations for all culinary venues, a double vanity bathroom made of Calacatta marble and other “incredible details that create an elegant, yet effortlessly relaxed European sense of luxury,” said Explora Journeys Head of Product Jason Gelineau.
The Residence is available for parties of three adults or two adults and one child under 18 years old.
The United States will finally lift the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for inbound international air travelers on Friday, May 12th, that has been in place since October 2021.
“Considering the progress that we have made, and based on the latest guidance from our public health experts, I have determined that we no longer need the international air travel restrictions,” President Joe Biden said in a proclamation announcing the change. “As we continue to monitor the evolving state of COVID-19 and the emergence of virus variants, we have the tools to detect and respond to the potential emergence of a variant of high consequence.”
Biden also announced an end to vaccine requirements for federal employees and contractors, and for foreign nationals at land borders. The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, said it will no longer require vaccinations for non-U.S. travelers entering at ferry terminals.
Industry groups including the U.S. Travel Association applauded the change. “Today’s action to lift the vaccine requirement eases a significant entry barrier for many global travelers, moving our industry and country forward,” said president and CEO Geoff Freeman.
The CDC does still recommend that U.S. travelers be up to date on their COVID vaccinations before leaving the country, however.
After 15 years of cruising in Japan, MSC Cruises on May 1 opened sales for its first-ever winter season in the Land of the Rising Sun, beginning this year.
The new program will start in November 2023, sailing on MSC Bellissima, and include 6-, 9-, and 11-night sailings from Yokohama. Then from January to March 2024, MSC Bellissima will add 4- and 5- night itineraries within Japan and to Keelung, Taiwan (China), visiting Okinawa, Ishigaki, and Miyako island, sailing out of a homeport in Naha/Okinawa.
MSC Bellissima is the second ship in the MSC Meraviglia class and one of the largest in the MSC fleet, holding 4,500 guests. It features 12 dining venues and more than 20 bars and lounges, including a steak house, the French specialty restaurant L’Atelier Bistrot and Chocolate & Café, home of unique and elegant chocolate desserts.
Carnival Cruise Line has begun testing a new charge for some guests eating at its popular ChiBang specialty restaurant on Mardi Gras.
All guests still can eat at the venue for free at lunchtime or once for dinner. Though they now will incur an $8 per person surcharge if they return to eat dinner in the restaurant a second time.
There is also a ChiBang restaurant on the second Excel-class ship, Carnival Celebration, and there will be one on Carnival Jubilee as well. For now, the fee is only being charged on Mardi Gras, however.
Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald, on his Facebook page, called the move a pilot project designed “to give everyone an opportunity to dine in this unique venue” on a ship that holds about 6,000 passengers.
The popular ChiBang offers both a Chinese and a Mexican menu, neither of which are available elsewhere on the ship, as well as specialty desserts.
Don’t expect another Perfect Day at CocoCay or Labadee when Royal Caribbean opens its Bahamas beach club in early 2025. Those are destinations in their own right. (Indeed, CocoCay is the number one destination for Royal Caribbean guests).
Instead, the 17-acre Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island promises a new kind of experience—all-inclusive, fee-based, and upscale. Instead of ziplines and hot air balloons, the Club will focus on serenity, food and beverage, and great service.
In an interview at RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com today, senior vice president and chief product innovation officer Jay Schneider noted there will be a fee for access to the Club, whose focus points will be a beautiful beach and heated pools.
The price, as yet undetermined, will include a water taxi ride to the island; food, beverage and alcohol; beach chairs and umbrellas; and non-motorized activities, including swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.
When planning Royal Beach Club, the cruise company targeted Nassau as a port it often used, but it did not rate high satisfaction scores with guests. But “Nassau is a great place to go,” he said, and “we wanted to add a Royal level service to that destination.”
By 2027, the cruise line expects to bring 2.5 million visitors to Nassau. The plan is to build “multiple beach clubs around the world,” Schneider said.
Meanwhile, Vicki Freed, senior vice president of trade support and sales, told TRO that “the excitement to vacation with Royal Caribbean is at an all-time high and we’re thrilled to move forward with Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island. Royal Beach Club will be the ultimate beach day getaway that will forever change what is possible in a vacation destination.”
At the Seatrade Global conference in March, Russell Benford, Royal Caribbean Group’s VP of government relations, talked about the Bahamas project. “The port of Nassau is transcendent,” he said, with 40,000 visitors daily. The new project is a partnership that will be 49% owned by Bahamians, in keeping with the company’s goal of “bringing economic empowerment to the people who live in the communities we visit.”
For the second time this year, MSC has taken delivery of a new ship—this time its new flagship, MSC Seascape.
The second in the Seaside class, Seascape “aims to connect guests with the sea,” offering “a wealth of outdoor spaces allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful scenery of The Caribbean, where she will spend her inaugural season,” said MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato. The ship features more than 42,000 feet of outdoor space and an expansive waterfront promenade.
The ceremony, held in Italy, will be followed by a gala in New York, to which many travel advisors have been invited, as Seascape kicks off its inaugural season on December 7.
Following the cruise industry trend toward more upscale accommodations, the ship has the largest Yacht Club in the MSC fleet. It also will have many cutting-edge environmental technologies, including an underwater noise management system to help protect marine mammals.
Seascape is the fourth ship in the Seaside class, and MSC’s 21st ship. Her newest feature is the ROBOTRON, a roller coaster at sea.
Guests also will experience six new shows and 98 hours of exclusive onboard entertainment and 7,500 square feet of dedicated kids’ space. There are 2,270 cabins, 11 dining venues and 6 swimming pools, including an aft infinity pool with ocean views.
MSC Seascape will sail two seven-night itineraries from Miami:
- Eastern Caribbean: Calling at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and Nassau in The Bahamas, San Juan in Puerto Rico, and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic
- Western Caribbean: Calling at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, Cozumel in Mexico, George Town in the Cayman Islands and Ocho Rios in Jamaica.
To find out more about MSC Seascape visit here.