Windstar Cruises Plans to Resume Cruising in September 2020

Small-ship cruise operator Windstar Cruises revealed plans to resume operations in September with the Wind Spirit in Tahiti, and gradually return other ships to service through July 2021.

“We have taken extraordinary measures to operate our yachts safely,” said Xanterra and Windstar CEO Andrew Todd. “While we look forward to welcoming guests aboard again, we believe this further suspension of operations is the responsible action to take. We have laid plans for a resumption of small-ship cruising beginning in September.”

The 148-guest Wind Spirit will be the first to resume sailing after suspending operations further due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Wind Spirit’s first cruise in Tahiti is scheduled to depart Sept. 3, 2020, and will operate previously scheduled itineraries.

The rest of the fleet is scheduled to return to service in phases as follows.

— The 342-guest Wind Surf will resume cruising Nov. 29, 2020, in the Caribbean on previously scheduled itineraries before heading to the Mediterranean in April 2021.

— The 148-passenger Wind Star will restart sailing Jan. 16, 2021, with Costa Rica and Panama Canal sailings and then head to the Mediterranean in April 2021.

— The 312-guest Star Breeze: Due to shipyard delays in Italy, where the ship and its sisters are being cut in half and lengthened, cruises in Asia, New Zealand and Australia were canceled. Star Breeze will resume sailing Oct. 27, 2020, in the Mediterranean before moving to the Caribbean in December 2020 to pick up sailings from Star Legend and Star Pride. Then Star Breeze will offer a few new Caribbean itineraries until June 2021 when it heads to Alaska. A new 10-day “Alaskan Splendors” sailing was added on June 3, 2021, after which it resumes its previously scheduled Alaska itineraries.

— The 312-guest Star Legend: Due to the shipyard delays, some sailings are canceled, and others will be picked up by the Star Breeze. Star Legend begins sailing March 1, 2021, in the Mediterranean and will pick up some sailings previously scheduled for Star Pride.

— The 312-guest Star Pride: Some sailings are canceled, and others will be picked up by Star Breeze. The Star Pride will begin sailing July 5, 2021, in Northern Europe.

Guests on canceled cruises will receive a future cruise credit (FCC) valued at 125 percent of all monies paid to Windstar. Guests who prefer a refund can request their FCC be converted to a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking once they receive their FCC. Guests will have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their FCC. Windstar Cruises will protect travel advisor commissions on the affected bookings following the normal policy for canceled bookings.

Windstar’s reservations team will send letters outlining details to guests with canceled cruises and to those with only a change in which Star-class ship they’ll be aboard.

Windstar’s Travel Assurance Booking Policy allows travelers to cancel their cruise up to 15 days before departure and receive a 100 percent FCC based on money paid on the booking to be used on all sailings through Dec. 31, 2021.

“During this temporary pause in operations, Windstar’s staff is reviewing and updating its health and safety practices including enhanced sanitation protocols, health screenings, additional medical staff on board, expanded dining times with outdoor dining, and crew training,” the company said.

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Florida Keys Reopening to Tourism Industry on June 1

Travelers looking to visit the ocean this summer received great news Sunday night as government officials in the Florida Keys announced they would reopen beaches on June 1.

After closing to visitors on March 22 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, guests will be welcomed back to the island chain when checkpoints on two roads leading from the South Florida mainland to the Keys are suspended on June 1.

Local officials also revealed arriving passenger screenings at Key West International and Florida Keys Marathon International airports will also be suspended. The decisions were made as the number of coronavirus cases in surrounding counties has been dramatically reduced.

“We appreciate and have supported local government and health officials’ decisions to minimize coronavirus infection rates in the Keys,” Monroe County Tourist Development Council chair Rita Irwin said in a statement. “That said, we are most gratified that we can ease into hosting visitors again. Tourism is the economic lifeblood of the Keys and almost half of our workforce is employed in visitor-related jobs.”

As for the hotel industry in the Florida Keys, occupancy will be limited to 50 percent of the standard numbers during the first phase of reopening. Officials will meet later in June regarding revisions to occupancy restrictions.

While the tourism industry is preparing to reopen, Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers said businesses would have to be ready for a “new normal,” such as increased cleaning protocols, social distancing guidelines and mandatory face coverings for all visitors and employees.

The safety initiatives were developed with input from the Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and the American Hotel and Lodging Association. County officials said they would enforce all health guidelines.

For theme park fans heading to Florida, Walt Disney World Resort recently released plans for a phased reopening of its Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex, to begin on May 20.

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Holiday World Theme Park to Reopen in June

Theme park fans desperate to feel an adrenaline rush again won’t have to wait much longer, as Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana, announced it would reopen to the public on June 17.

When the park opens its doors next month, guests will be required to purchase date-specific tickets online and have their pass in hand at the time of entry. The facility will only operate at 50 percent capacity during the first phase of reopening.

Holiday World Season Passholders will be able to access the park days ahead of the general public reopening. Officials also said the Splashin’ Safari water park would be the next to open no later than July 4.

“We want to make sure everyone who shows up gets to enter the park,” Holiday World President Matt Eckert said in a statement. “While we know some complexities are going to be necessary, we want to try to keep this process as simple as possible. If you have a Season Pass or a ticket with the date on it, you’re all set to come enjoy the parks. It’s that simple.”

Visitors to the park will be asked to use Holiday World’s new virtual queuing protocol, the inLine Reservation System. Guests reserve their place in line through their smartphones and are called to come to an attraction when their turn is approaching, minimizing wait times and keeping people separated.

The park will offer barcoded wristbands if a visitor doesn’t have or want to use their phone.

Other health and safety measures being implemented at Holiday World include a total of 90 Hand “Santatizer” Stations, increasing sanitation procedure frequency and adding sanitation processes for high-touch point areas, including attractions.

“It’s important that we open slowly and safely, so we want to make sure we have Holiday World operations finely tuned when we open Splashin’ Safari,” Eckert continued.

On Thursday, The Walt Disney Company announced it had reached an agreement with its employee union on a new set of health and safety guidelines to protect workers from coronavirus, the latest step in bringing back guests.

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Dubai hotel beaches to reopen today

It is also understood restaurant capacity will be increased

Dubai hotel beaches are set to reopen after weeks of closing down as part of government enforced measures to tackle coronavirus, sources familiar with the matter told Arabian Business. 

While hotel beaches can re-open, bars, sauna and steam facilities, nightclubs and spa facilities must remain closed, according to new guidelines for hotels distributed by Dubai’s government on May 12. 

It is also understood that authorities are considering an increase in restaurant capacity, which has been capped at 30% since the lifting of the 24-hour lockdown in April.

In its latest update to businesses on guidelines and protocols, Dubai Economy said the 30% will remain in place, along with social distancing rules that include placing tables 2 metres apart for all customers or set up separators/screens between tables. It added that take away is highly encouraged.

Age restrictions for malls will also remain in place, meaning no access for those aged under 12 or over 60.

During Ramadan, the operating hours for malls are set at 10 hours daily –  starting 12 pm and ending at 10 pm, but post Ramadan, there is a plan to extend that to 10 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 12 pm on weekends.

Negative cashflow

Restaurants in Dubai claimed last week that they’re losing more money by being open than by remaining closed, due to restrictions such as low capacity, as well as high rent from landlords and shopping malls.

In a letter signed by over 100 industry leaders including Marriott International, Tim Hortons, Sunset Hospitality and Solutions Leisure – and seen by Arabian Business – the restaurants claim to be facing severe negative cashflow.

Coronavirus faces continue to grow in the UAE, which today announced 783 new cases, bringing the total number to 19,661, which includes those receiving treatment, recovered cases and deaths.

Confirmed cases this week included four families who did not adhere to precautionary measures and social distancing.

Hotel beaches and restaurants in the UAE’s Northern Emirates like Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah have been open and operating with certain restrictions.

Arabian Business magazine: Read the latest edition online

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Etihad Airways to resume transit flights from Melbourne to London

Etihad said it will start weekly transit flights from London to Melbourne on May 21, also on once-a-week basis

Etihad said it will start weekly transit flights from London to Melbourne on May 21, also on once-a-week basis.

Etihad Airways will resume transit flights from Melbourne to London from this Friday, operating on a weekly basis.

The Abu Dhabi carrier said passengers travelling from Melbourne will remain on board the aircraft when it lands in UAE capital, with no international transit passengers allowed under current Covid-19 restrictions. 

Etihad said it will start weekly transit flights from London to Melbourne on May 21, also on once-a-week basis.

All Etihad London operations will arrive and depart from London Heathrow, Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal.

In keeping with current procedures for airline passengers in the UAE, face masks are recommended during the flight and onboard food and drinks service will in line with important Covid-19 guidelines. Passengers will also be “seated with as much space as possible between every guest”.

Booking is available through Etihad Airways’ website.

On Friday, Etihad announced plans to operate inbound passenger flights for UAE residents wishing to return to the country.

Etihad Airways to operate inbound passenger flights to Abu Dhabi from select cities

Inbound passengers must apply for Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship approval before booking flights

Arabian Business magazine: Read the latest edition online

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Greyhound to Require Passengers to Wear Face Coverings on Buses

Greyhound will require all customers to wear a face-covering on its buses nationwide starting May 13 in its latest precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus.

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Travelers without a face covering can ask their driver or a terminal employee and a disposable mask will be provided, Greyhound confirmed.

Under the new policy, children under the age of two and passengers who are medically unable to wear a mask will be exempt.

“Our safety-first commitment goes beyond transporting customers. We care about the health and well-being of all our passengers and employees which is evident in the safety precautions we have taken since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Greyhound Lines, Inc. CEO Dave Leach, in a statement. “As we continue to provide vital transportation nationwide, it is important that we continue to make temporary, yet necessary, changes to our policies in order to create a safe environment for all our customers and team members.”

In addition to requiring face coverings, Greyhound has already implemented enhanced cleaning procedures, including thorough sanitization of its buses after every trip and the introduction of ozonation, an advanced sanitation process proven to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.

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Hans Jenni to Step Down as President of General Hotels Management

WHY IT RATES: GHM developed and operated some of the world’s most stylish and individualists properties under Jenni’s leadership.—Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse Senior Writer.

Seasoned hotelier Hans Jenni, President of General Hotels Management (GHM) has announced his retirement from the company he founded and built together with hotel legend and Amanresorts creator, Adrian Zecha.

Since it was founded in 1992, GHM under Jenni’s leadership conceived and operated some of the world’s most stylish and individualistic hotels and resorts in the most exotic locations—always with a strong focus on contemporary Asian style coupled with the finest service standards.

The unique “a style to remember” that GHM grew famous for was forged by Jenni and Zecha together with some of the world’s most groundbreaking architects and designers, including Kerry Hill, Jean-Michel Gathy, Ed Tuttle, Reda Amalou and Jaya Ibrahim. GHM and Amanresorts grew alongside each other as sister companies, sharing a similar ethos and style, and together set new benchmarks and standards for the hospitality industry.

GHM’s properties over the years included The Datai, Langkawi, The Legian Bali, The Setai, Miami, The Lalu Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan, The Nam Hai in Vietnam, Al Bait in Sharjah and The Chedi brand which blossomed to multiple locations including Phuket, Bali, Chiang Mai, Muscat, Milan and Bandung, and more recently Andermatt in Jenni’s native Switzerland.

“It’s been an exciting and rewarding journey, and I have loved every minute of it. I had the pleasure to create and operate some of the finest properties in the world and work with some of the very best architects, designers and hoteliers of our time,” said Jenni. “I very much hope that GHM will continue to be remembered as one of the most innovative and influential hotel groups.”

Jenni will continue to be based in Asia and plans to divide his time between Singapore and Manila.

SOURCE: General Hotels Management press release.

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Will visitors flock to Hawaii when quarantine lifts? Hawaiian Airlines CEO is optimistic

Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram doesn’t know when Hawaii will be open to visitors again, but he sees signs vacationers are ready to return when government restrictions lift.

a man standing on a beach: In this April 21, 2020, photo, a surfer returns to Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.

The airline said its late summer and early fall flights are currently booked about a quarter full. That’s down from about 40% at this time in a normal year, but is an improvement over zero demand for flights after Hawaii instituted, and strictly enforced, a mandatory two-week quarantine for arriving passengers in late March to thwart the spread of coronavirus. The quarantine was recently extended through May 31.

When the quarantine lifts, Ingram said, people will be itching to travel again.

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“I think people are tired of being cooped up,” he said on the airline’s earnings conference call Tuesday. “To the extent that they’ve got the flexibility and the economic wherewithal to do it, they’re going to want to travel, and Hawaii is going to be an appealing place, like it always is.”

One thing in Hawaii’s favor besides its beaches, hiking and other tourist attractions, Ingram said: a low number of coronavirus cases.

Hawaii “is a place where the effects of this horrible disease haven’t ravaged it as much,” he said, adding, “By acting quickly and aggressively, we are as close to COVID free as any place in the country.”

Still, traveler safety measures will be important to luring vacationers back and reassuring locals that it is safe to reopen to tourism, Ingram said.

He said calls for coronavirus tests for arriving passengers aren’t realistic given shortages in tests and technology limitations, but he does expect some kind of health screening and said the industry is looking toward measures taken in Asia after the SARS outbreak in 2002.

The state is being careful not to reopen too quickly, Ingram said, because reopening and then again closing Hawaii to visitors would confuse travelers, and uncertainty about what to expect when they landed would hurt demand for trips to the state.

“When the quarantine is removed and we start having more economic activity, we’d like it to stay removed and … not have to toggle back and forth in restrictions,” he said.

Ingram said he expects restrictions on travel between the Hawaiian Islands, so-called neighbor islands including Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, will likely resume before long-haul travel from the mainland. The latter might even be phased in by geography, he said. The largest volume of flights to Hawaii is from the West Coast. 

Ingram said no one expects a summer full of Hawaii flights running 80% to 90% full, as is usually the case, but that there should be travel demand depending when the quarantine lifts.

“I do think there’s an opportunity for us to build (bookings) once we are able to open up again,” he said.

If the quarantine is extended, of course, those advance bookings the airline has will not materialize, resulting in more refunds or flight credits for passengers as trips to the bucket list destination are canceled or put off.

“It’s not our call to make, ultimately,” he said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Will visitors flock to Hawaii when quarantine lifts? Hawaiian Airlines CEO is optimistic

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Air Canada to start requiring temperature checks of passengers in latest coronavirus measure

As airlines start making face masks mandatory, one is going a step further, saying it is going to require temperature checks of passengers before they are allowed to fly.

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Air Canada said Monday that mandatory pre-flight temperature checks will be part of a new program that will also require passengers to submit to health questionnaires. On board, they will find hand sanitizer in its onboard amenity kit.

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“We have been a leader in progressively introducing new measures in response to COVID-19, such as introducing personal protective equipment for our employees and being the first North American carrier to require face coverings for customers,” said Calin Rovinescu, CEO of Montreal-based Air Canada, in a statement. “We are now the first airline in the Americas to administer pre-flight temperature checks systemwide.”

Air Canada’s CleanCare+ program, due to take effect May 15, is being introduced as airlines have seen plunging patronage due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As COVID-19 has spread, Travelers have been abiding by stay-at-home orders and companies have grounded employees out of fear they might contract the virus on their journeys.

Face coverings are quickly becoming standard attire for air travel. U.S. carriers such as American, United, Delta, Southwest, Alaska, Frontier and JetBlue have all said they would require them. JetBlue and Delta want them worn not only on planes, but from the time that passengers check in at the airport.  

International carriers besides Air Canada are taking steps, too. Singapore Airlines is providing passengers with masks at the airport gate on flights from Los Angeles to Singapore, said spokesman James Boyd.

But if more carriers besides Air Canada provide temperature scans, it could be an extra measure of reassurance. Air Canada said it will use a non-invasive infrared device to measure temperatures. 

Air Canada is also hinting at further measures.

“We intend to continue enhancing Air Canada CleanCare+ where we can with best practices from around the world, including increased use of screening tools, such as blood oxygen level testing, as they become available,” Rovinescu said.

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Enter to Win This Four-Night Stay in a Beach Villa at Glorious Noku Maldives

In celebration of Global Love Day on Friday, May 1, 2020, Preferred Hotels & Resorts and the luxurious Noku Maldives resort have partnered to give away a future four-night stay for two in an opulent Beach Villa, valued at over $5,000.

Noku Maldives is a member of Preferred’s Lifestyle Collection, located on a private island in the Indian Ocean amid abundant tropical foliage and a tranquil blue lagoon. It’s just the kind of exclusive, upscale escape everyone’s dreaming of right now, far from home and a world away. The resort offers 50 private villas, a tranquil wellness spa, pristine powdery beaches and world-class gastronomy.

To enter, travel lovers must:

—Follow both @preferredhotels and @nokumaldvies on Instagram, and ‘like’ or comment on the giveaway post.

—Share a photo of their first vacation together with their partner on Instagram using the hashtag #BelieveinTravel.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts, whose brand promise is ‘Believe in Travel’, hopes that this giveaway will help people remember to keep dreaming, keep believing and keep looking forward to traveling again once COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past.

The photo contest goes live on Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ Instagram page tomorrow, May 1, at 8:00 a.m. ET, and entries will remain open through 11:59 p.m. on May 7, 2020.

For more information, visit or

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