Two theme parks one airport so far close as Florida braces for

first_imgTwo theme parks, one airport (so far) close as Florida braces for Matthew CAPE CANAVERAL — A deadly Hurricane Matthew steamed toward Florida with winds of 200 km/h as hundreds of thousands of people boarded up their homes, grabbed their belongings and fled inland to escape the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade.In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said the state, its skies already darkening from early outer rain bands of the life-threatening storm, could be facing its “biggest evacuation ever.”The Category 3 hurricane barrelled over the Bahamas and was expected to scrape nearly the entire length of Florida’s Atlantic coast beginning Thursday evening. From there, it was expected to push its way just off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina before veering off to sea.About two million people from Florida across Georgia to South Carolina were warned to head inland. Matthew killed at least 16 people in the Caribbean as it sliced through Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas.“This is a dangerous storm,” Scott warned. “The storm has already killed people. We should expect the same impact in Florida.”More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterMajor theme parks in Orlando, central Florida, remained open but were monitoring events even as Walt Disney World cancelled Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a special ticket event scheduled for Thursday night. Universal Orlando is also monitoring the situation. Both LEGOLAND Florida and SeaWorld Orlando are planning to close early today and remain closed on Friday.Officials at Florida’s major airports said Thursday that they are monitoring conditions as Matthew bears down on the state and warned of delays or cancellations. On its website, Fort Lauderdale International Airport announced plans to close at 10:30 a.m. Officials advised travellers to check with individual airlines about flight plans.The storm is forecast to near the Florida coast starting Thursday night, potentially as a Category 4 storm with 209 km/h winds. Any slight deviation could mean landfall or it heading farther out to sea. Either way, forecasters say it will come close enough to wreak havoc along the lower part of the East Coast, dumping up to 15 inches of rain in some spots. Storm surge of 5 feet to 8 feet was expected along the coast from central Florida into Georgia.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaThe National Hurricane Center in Miami said tropical storm conditions with rain and wind are first expected in the state later Thursday morning.Meanwhile six U.S. cruise ports have closed ahead of Matthew’s anticipated hit. According to CruiseCritic, Port Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, the port of Jacksonville, the Port of Palm Beach and the port of Charleston have all closed until further notice.On Wednesday two special Sunwing rescue flights landed in Toronto and Montreal, flying back from Freeport, Grand Bahama and Nassau Island, Islands of the Bahamas, where they collected hundreds of Canadians anxious to return home and avoid the hurricane. Sunwing also relocated numerous passengers in their resort destinations in Cuba that also involved re-routing several flight services to bring customers home earlier. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Florida Thursday, October 6, 2016 center_img Travelweek Group Share Posted bylast_img read more

Oceania Cruises OLife makes for an allaround delectable experience at sea

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> ONBOARD OCEANIA MARINA — Reporting from the lovely environs of Oceania Marina is pure pleasure. Whether your clients are seasoned cruisers or first-timers to the cruising world, and whether they gravitate to super luxury or easy comfort, you can confidently assure them that Oceania presents a lifestyle at sea that is so inviting, so gracious at every level, that being a passenger aboard an Oceania vessel feels much like being a valued member of a private, upscale country club where – one might say – membership reaps rewards.Oceania cruising is a lifestyle. The cruise line has cleverly branded the lifestyle OLife and, along with it, made the Oceania culinary experience an integral and signature hallmark of that brand.Simply put, here’s what this means for your clients: No matter their level of accommodation – from oceanview to Owner’s Suite – they can expect gourmet fare throughout all Oceania ships, plus the privilege of dining in any specialty restaurant without paying a premium dining fee, though reservations are required.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTThree days into my ‘Tropical Tempos’ itinerary aboard the Marina, as an unabashed lover of fine food I am astonished by the superb quality and presentation of meals, and the fact that almost all dishes are prepared à la minute, and occasionally, tableside. (More about the Italian, French and pan-Asian restaurants in an upcoming article in Travelweek.)Having already honed a diverse roster of tours in international ports of call, and having already established the first hands-on cooking school at sea, Oceania has enhanced the touring possibilities by researching and creating culinary discovery experiences that allow passengers to have authentic, intimate experiences with locals of the destination.For example, when the Marina calls at Roatan this morning, I’ll be joining a farm-to-table tour with a local farmer, learning how hydroponic technology has increased produce for the area, helping to gather lettuces and greens, and participating in a cooking program at a local restaurant.So far this Marina cruise has been an all-around delectable experience. I look forward to sharing tasty Oceania details, as well as tidbits of the OLife experience, in my upcoming article for Travelweek. Toby Saltzman Posted by Wednesday, February 22, 2017 center_img Share Tags: Oceania Cruises Oceania Cruises’ OLife makes for an all-around delectable experience at sealast_img read more

660 flights cancelled at Berlin airports as strikes continue

first_img BERLIN — Ground staff at Berlin’s two airports went on strike Monday for the second time in four days, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.The ver.di union called on staff at the Tegel and Schoenefeld airports to walk out from 4 a.m. (0300 GMT) Monday until 5 a.m. (0400 GMT) Tuesday, then extended the strike by another 24 hours until early Wednesday.The strike follows an all-day walkout on Friday. Airport authorities said 465 departures from Tegel, the busier airport, and 195 from Schoenefeld were cancelled on Monday – most of the flights planned for the day.Ver.di argued that another walkout was necessary because employers hadn’t reacted to the previous strike and made a new offer in their wage dispute.Those affected by the strike included Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller, who had to set off on a planned trip to Moscow from Dresden, more than 160 kilometres away. 660 flights cancelled at Berlin airports as strikes continue Tags: Travel Alert Monday, March 13, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Source: The Associated Presslast_img read more

Air Canada WestJet Sunwing Transat have Cuba Florida updates postIrma

first_img TORONTO — Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge have resumed all scheduled service to the Caribbean including Havana, however other destinations in Cuba remain cancelled with plans to resume services to Holguin and Varadero in the coming days, says Air Canada, subject to the safety and security of airports and infrastructure.Meanwhile Air Canada says preparations are underway to resume flights to Florida airports on Sept. 13. The airline says further updates will be provided as airports re-open and ground and airport services prepare to resume operations.“We are working closely with our airport and ground service partners and are committed to getting our customers on their way as soon as possible by adding capacity, including operating extra flights and larger aircraft, once it is safe to do so.”Air Canada adds that, “when operations begin to resume, we will provide updates on revised schedules including additional capacity as it becomes available.”Since Sept. 5 Air Canada has operated a total of 30 additional flights, as well as larger aircraft with more seats, to bring over 7,000 customers home early from the affected areas including Antigua, Cuba, Turks and Caicos, Haiti, D.R. and Florida.Sunwing services into Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will operate as normal starting Sept. 15. All cruise itineraries will also operate as previously scheduled, notes the tour operator.Fort Lauderdale’s airport re-opened this morning at 4 a.m. EDT, however many flights are still cancelled as airlines slowly resume operations into the city.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upThe Miami International Airport said in a tweet that it will resume operations on a limited basis today.VISIT FLORIDA says it remains in contact with all destination marketing partners and emergency contacts. A ‘Weather Alert’ notification on the homepage banner at includes a link to Current Travel Safety Information for the state, post-Irma.In Cuba, reports are just now starting to filter out from the island. In the Ottawa Citizen, a CARE Canada aid worker based in Havana during Hurricane Irma says it will be months or even years before the island recovers. “The coastal communities were devastated by the winds. Houses have lost their roofs. Trees are down. The electricity is off, just about everywhere. There are some communities that even today are under feet of water,” says Richard Paterson.According to the Ottawa Citizen report, Cuba’s state television is advising severe damage to hotels on the northern keys near Ciego de Avila and Camaguey provinces.Havana is in recovery mode, with crews cleaning away thousands of fallen trees and electricity restored to a handful of neighbourhoods.Cuban President Raul Castro acknowledged destruction in the northern keys, home to dozens of all-inclusive resorts. The Jardines del Rey airport serving the northern keys was destroyed, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported, tweeting photos of a shattered terminal hall littered with debris.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin Cruises“The storm hit some of our principal tourist destinations but the damage will be repaired before the high season,” starting in November, said Castro.Varadero airport remains closed but is expected to reopen briefly today for rescue flights including Sunwing flights. Sunwing says it plans to send flights to bring home its remaining passengers. Sunwing’s flights to Manzanillo will operate as normal today.All of Sunwing’s southbound flights to Varadero and Holguin have been cancelled up to including Sept. 14. Flights to Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria and Camaguey will be suspended until Oct. 31.As previously noted Sunwing has also advised that all Sunwing flights from Toronto to St. Maarten are cancelled until Oct. 26, and from Montreal to St. Maarten are cancelled until Nov. 9.WestJet’s most recent rescue flight was to St. Maarten, bringing home a planeload of passengers yesterday. WestJet outlines its Hurricane Irma updates at its blog ( has updated the scope of its hurricane policy, now applicable for flights scheduled for Florida (Fort Lauderdale) and Cuba (Varadero, Cayo Coco, Santa Clara, Holguin) until Sept.16.For the latest update from CTO on all the Caribbean islands, with the exception of Cuba where reports are still very preliminary, see yesterday’s report, ‘What’s open, closed & damaged in the Caribbean’. Tuesday, September 12, 2017 Travelweek Group Posted by Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Transat have Cuba, Florida updates post-Irmacenter_img Share Tags: Air Canada, Caribbean, Florida, Sunwing, Transat, Travel Alert, WestJet << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Crystal Debussy is christened in official ceremony

first_imgTags: Crystal Cruises Posted by Crystal Debussy is christened in official ceremony Tuesday, May 29, 2018 Sharecenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> AMSTERDAM – Crystal River Cruises officially welcomed its newest ship during a christening ceremony in Amsterdam earlier this week.The 106-passenger Crystal Debussy was introduced with plenty of fanfare during its three-day stay in Amsterdam while on the 10-day ‘Splendors of the Rhine’ voyage, allowing guests onboard to participate in the festivities, including a live performance by Godmother Rachel York of Broadway fame.Rachel York (Godmother)Walter Littlejohn, Crystal River Cruises’ vice president and managing director, presided over the ceremony as emcee, saying, “It is fitting that our crew and guests, as well as representatives from our parent company and the city and port of Amsterdam are all part of this milestone for Crystal Debussy and the Crystal River fleet. They each embody elements of the Crystal family and our vision to create the most memorable luxury travel experiences in the world.”Tom Wolber (President & CEO, Crystal Cruises), Walter Littlejohn (Vice President and Managing Director, Crystal River Cruises, Captain Ferenc (Captain, Crystal Debussy) and Rachel York (Godmother)Throughout 2018 and 2019, Crystal Debussy will sail routes of seven and 10 days between Amsterdam and Basel along the Rhine and Moselle rivers, visiting Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. Onboard, guests will find Crystal’s acclaimed butler service in every room category, king-sized beds, Panoramic Balcony-Windows, walk-in closets, dual vanity bathrooms in most categories, farm-to-table cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries, namesake Bistro cafes and the Palm Court for entertainment, presentations and sweeping views. Travelweek Group last_img read more

Hugo Chávezs party sweeps Venezuelan state elections

first_imgNo related posts. CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, despite an intensifying battle with cancer, has tightened his grip on the country’s political machine with his party crushing the opposition and winning most governorships in state races on Sunday.Chávez’s top rival, Henrique Capriles, survived his own tough test, winning re-election as Miranda state governor. But Chávez’s party gained in four other states, said electoral officials in this OPEC nation with the world’s top oil reserves.Capriles admitted the losses were a “tough moment” for Venezuela’s opposition.“Our [opposition candidates] have lost some ground. But they are no less leaders than they were yesterday,” he said.In the country’s 23 states, the socialist ruling party won 20 of the top state posts while the opposition held onto three, including Miranda, the electoral council said. The opposition had held seven state governorships before the vote.Turnout was just under 54 percent nationwide, the top electoral body said. That is fairly low, according to analyst Luis Vicente León, who said the timing very close to Christmas likely had an impact, especially for the opposition, whose voters tend to be from the middle and upper classes.The elections were overshadowed by the health of Chávez, who was improving and already “giving instructions” from his bed in Havana where he is recovering from cancer surgery, a Venezuelan Cabinet member said earlier.Chávez, 58, is due to be sworn in for a third presidential term on Jan. 10, but the country is now on tenterhooks to see if the outspoken, formerly tireless leader will remain their president, become incapacitated, or worse.He has named Foreign Minister and Vice President Nicolás Maduro as both his temporary replacement and hand-picked successor.Maduro on Sunday declared the vote “a resounding defeat” for the opposition, in a telephone interview on state television. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

What went wrong before and after shooting of US backpacker in Costa

first_imgPrivate Hospitals in San JoseCIMA Hospital Telephone: 2208-1000Location: Southwestern suburb of Escazú, near Mall Multiplaza off Highway 27 (“la pista nueva”)Clínica Bíblica HospitalTelephone: 2522-1000Location: Calle Central, Avenida 14Clínica La CatólicaTelephone: 2242-6700Location: Pillar Jiménez, Guadalupe (a suburb northeast of San José)Hospital MetropolitanoTelephone: 2521-6565Location: 300 meters south of Hospital San Juan de Dios, Calle 14, Avenida 8Travel health insurance or international health insurance can be obtained through some existing health insurance providers, private companies specializing in this type of additional insurance, or through some credit card companies. Medical evacuation insurance and coverage for extreme sports or situations may not be part of a standard plan, so it’s important to read all the documentation, ask questions, and ensure you feel comfortable with your coverage and its limits. Facebook Comments Public Hospitals in San JoséHospital San Juan de DiosTelephone: 2547-8000Location: Paseo Colon, Calle 14, next to the Children’s HospitalHospital Calderón GuardiaTelephone: 2212-1000Location: Calle 15 and 17, Avenida 9-11Hospital MéxicoTelephone: 2242-6700Location: Barrio La Uruca in front of the Autopista to the AirportHospital Nacional De Ninos (Children’s Hospital)Telephone: 2523-3600Location: Paseo Colon, Calle 14, next to Hospital San Juan de Dios On Tuesday morning, a month-long Costa Rican travel nightmareended with the death of 31-year-old U.S. backpacker Steve Flesch. After being robbed and shot in the head by alleged gang members in a dangerous neighborhood in the southern San José suburb of Desamparados, Flesch spent six days unidentified in the hospital, and a month in a coma, fighting for his life. Shaken by the story, members of the travel and expat communities have begun discussing what went wrong for Flesch, and how his situation might have been different.The Tico Times examines some of the central questions surrounding the events that led to Flesch’s death:What is the Torremolinos neighborhood of Desamparados, where Flesh was assaulted and shot? How would a tourist wind up there?Torremolinos is a crime-ridden area in the southern suburbs of San José. How Flesch ended up there is a total mystery. “This is an isolated case,” said Jorge Chávez, the lead investigator on Flesch’s case for the Judicial Investigation Police. Contrary to a rumor published by a local English-language blog, Chávez says he’s never heard of any tourist being lured there by the promise of drugs or sex. “We never find tourists there,” he said. “They would have no reason to go.”Flesch’s mom believes her son may have simply gotten lost, or taken the wrong bus to get to the dentist.When Steve Flesch arrived at San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José, unconscious and robbed of his passport, what did the hospital do to try to identify him?According to San Juan de Dios spokeswoman Andrea de la Cruz, when an unidentified critically injured person arrives at the hospital, the first step is to attempt to save the person’s life. Once the patient is in a stable condition, hospital staff will make calls in an attempt to determine the individual’s identity. If the nationality of the patient is unclear, the hospital contacts the embassies with the highest number of tourists who come to Costa Rica. De la Cruz said this is what was done for Flesch, but she could not say when the hospital first called the embassy.Why wasn’t he identified?U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Evelyn Ardón said that San Juan de Dios Hospital never placed a call to the embassy. “The hospital did not identify Mr. Flesch as a U.S. citizen and, therefore, did not inform the embassy of his presence,” she said. Ardón added that consular officers contacted the hospital to inquire about Flesch, but they were not informed that an unidentified 6-foot-3 foreigner – likely a North American – had been there, unconscious, for days.So who dropped the ball? And whom should you call if a U.S. citizen you know disappears in Costa Rica?It’s unclear who is to blame for the delay in identifying Flesch, and there were a few factors in play. “We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” Ardón said. “When a U.S. citizen is reported missing abroad, our consular officers work with local police and authorities, including medical authorities, to locate the person.”Although his family was searching for Flesch starting on April 4, the embassy said it did not hear about it until April 7. “Our consular officers immediately began the process of searching for Mr. Flesch after he was reported missing,” Ardón said. Although consular officers made inquiries at local hospitals, the embassy “regrettably” did not locate Mr. Flesch, she said. Instead, it was Flesch’s friends who discovered him at San Juan de Dios.When Flesch’s parents decided they wanted to airlift him back to the U.S., they were hit up for tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. How can travelers be sure they are covered for this? They can’t. While many international insurance plans cover emergency medical transportation between facilities, that doesn’t necessarily include international medical flights. For a patient to be airlifted back to the U.S., underwriters must deem it necessary. “That’s not likely here, because Costa Rica has good medical facilities,” said Zane Beaty of HCC Medical Services, an international health insurance provider.Flesch’s parents also wanted to transfer him to a private hospital, but the cost would have been high, as he had no health insurance. Will travel health insurance pay for a transport from a public to a private facility? Four international health insurance providers contacted by The Tico Times reported that their coverage extends to all public and private hospitals in Costa Rica, as well as transportation between the hospitals (if deemed necessary). The companies also pay outstanding medical bills to expedite the release or transfer of a patient. If Flesch had been insured, though, there are no guarantees that his insurance company would have deemed it medically necessary for him to be transferred to a private hospital.What about risky adventures? Are they covered by travel insurance? Maybe. Some companies do not cover certain areas of the world or certain activities. Others will cover this kind of travel, but at extra cost. “Bottom line: if you put yourself at risk or you place yourself in the crossfire, then you are unlikely to be covered,” according to travel insurance provider World Nomads.What happens to Flesch’s body? Flesch’s body was in the morgue for the time it took to perform an autopsy, part of evidence-gathering in the ongoing criminal cases against three minors and two adults who have been charged with his homicide, according to police. The body was released as of Tuesday, although authorities could not say where it had gone. Don and Sharon Flesch are making arrangements to bring their son’s body back to the U.S.—In an international emergency, getting prompt, accurate information is crucial. But language barriers and confusion often occur. Following are important contacts to keep on hand when traveling to Costa Rica:United States Embassy in Costa RicaWebsite: http://costarica.usembassy.govTelephone: 2519-2000; From the U.S.: 011-506-2519-2000Location:  In front of Centro Comercial del Oeste Pavas, San JoséAddress: Calle 98 Vía 104, Pavas, San José, Costa Ricacenter_img No related posts.last_img read more