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What You Need To Know About Traveling TODAY

By: J5Travel

· Travel,Cruises,Luxury

Oh my. This is my 300th weekly note and I may have a tipple tonight in celebration of nearly 6 years worth of musings and information on the big wide wonderful world of travel. Thank you all for being on this journey with both myself and J5Travel.

There has been so much travel news in just the last few weeks, that I thought I'd attempt to provide some sort of update though it won't be as comprehensive as I'd like.

Some sidebars first - Kendall, our amazing client care manager and Hawaii specialist is about to head to O'ahu for a full week and will be reporting back on several luxury properties and the state of travel to Hawaii. Next week's post will be all Kendall's.

Secondly, there are still a few spots left on our complimentary virtual event with one of our favorite luxury tour suppliers, Big Five.  On June 16th at 6pm EST you will have the chance to join the President of Big Five, Ashish Sanghrajka, as he guides us on a journey through Ecuador and Galapagos. Big Five do the Galapagos a little differently to many as they don't feature ships or boats as much, preferring to focus on the full land possibilities.

Click the button below to register.

Thirdly, stay tuned for a LIVE and in person event coming soon that we will only be sharing with our clients and ezine subscribers. If you are not yet a subscriber click HERE to enter your information and be one of the first to know the news!

Top 5 Travel News Updates

1. Cruising

There's been a veritable torrent of news on cruises as finally official relaunch dates are being set on both new and old itineraries. Trying to keep up with it all is difficult enough  for us, so I can't imagine how a non-industry person can know what's occurring. Here are a few of the headlines, but honestly, this could have been 30 items long.

Please let us know if you have any cruise questions.Norwegian will resume cruise operations from the United States from August 7th and they are likely to offer week-long voyages from Seattle to Alaska.

Viking Cruises will expand its presence in the Mediterranean this summer, adding a third ship to sail roundtrip voyages from the Maltese capital city of Valletta - a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site. This adds to previously announced Greek Island summer cruises by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara, Regent Seven Seas and Seabourn.

Uniworld has confirmed its first sailing dates for this year and will resume cruising on June 20th, debuting its most recently transformed Super Ship S.S. La Venezia (photos above and below) in Italy. They join many other river cruise lines such as AmaWaterways, Emerald, Scenic and Avalon in confirming that the Rhine, Danube, Seine, Douro and Moselle rivers will all have cruises sailing by the Fall of 2021.

2. Countries

While the UK disappointed a couple of weeks back by designating USA as an amber country and therefore still subject to quarantine, the general trend is very positive as more countries open up to travel. Vaccination against Covid is usually a pre-requisite with these new rules, but there are of course exceptions, and also policy for children is still evolving. Here's a few more headlines.

Please let us know if you have any country related questions.

Spain - opening June 7th to vaccinated travelers from USA

Greece - now open to vaccinated travelers

Sweden - now open with a negative test required for entry

Croatia - now open with either a negative test or vaccination

Iceland - now open to vaccinated travelers

Israel - will lift ALL Covid restrictions next week

Asia is still pretty tightly closed but Thailand will open Phuket (photo below) to tourism on July 1st with plans for most of the rest of the country to follow in October. Bali (Indonesia) is also due to open July 1st.

Other countries either now open or with imminent plans to open to US travelers include:

Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, French Polynesia, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Turks & Caicos, Uganda, and United Arab Emirates.

3. Hotels

With surprising boldness considering the last 15 months, luxury hotel chains maintained their spending plans regarding new properties so here's the news of just 2 of many spectacular new properties set to open in 2021.

Four Seasons Resort Caye Chapel, Belize (above)

A 280-acre private island neighboring the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Belize’s largest marine sanctuary. 100 rooms and suites and 35 residences, with resort facilities including an 18-hole golf course and a conservation institute founded by the explorer Fabien Cousteau.

Six Senses Resort Papagayo, Costa Rica (below)

This hotel is spread on a unique site that stretches from a panoramic-view hill to a forested beachfront. There will be 41 pool villas designed in the hallmark Six Senses style embracing ultra-luxury and sustainability, along with the ultimate in spa and wellness programs.

4. Masks (below)

As restrictions are being lifted domestically state by state, international travel is still going to necessitate taking a few masks with you for the forseeable future. Here's a few headlines:

Hawaii - the outdoor mask mandate was officially lifted yesterday, and this is good news for the thousands of US citizens heading to the Pacific islands this summer.

Airports and airlines the world over are not close to dropping the mask requirement yet, so don't forget to take them with you! Countries vary in their wording on mask rules, with the most common difference being recommended or mandated.

Make sure to ask us about the country you are interested in visiting.


Boom Supersonic has a demo plane (above) ready to go and wants to bring back the age of supersonic travel with New York to London taking 3 hours. They've publicly stated that 3 or 4 iterations down the road on their design, they aim to fly anywhere for $100. I will file this one under pigs might fly/I'll believe it when I see it.

Amadeus reported that Worldwide hotel occupancy reached 46% in April, up from the low point of just 13% cent during the same month last year. The data also shows the booking lead time is lengthening and this is definitely a trend we are experiencing here at J5Travel.

Our top advice right now, and I am really serious about this:

Plan for 2022 and even beyond NOW.

I love travel and I love travel planning just as much. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts.

We provide a bespoke service, imagining and creating itineraries for independent minded families and groups.

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