Category Archives: Travel & Leisure

Hurtigruten Expeditions continues expansion: Introduces exclusive Galapagos expedition cruises

Hurtigruten Expeditions enters into a long-term strategic partnership with Metropolitan Touring; Fully upgrades and refurbishes ship

Hurtigruten Expeditions, the world leader in exploration travel, is expanding its global offering to one of the most iconic destinations on the planet: The Galapagos Islands.

Famous for its unique nature and wildlife, the isolated archipelago some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador has mesmerized travelers and scientists for centuries. From January 2022, Hurtigruten Expeditions will expand its breadth of destinations to include the Galapagos Islands offering modern-day explorers in-depth adventures described as ‘beyond imagination’.

“We are extremely excited to expand our South America offering to one of the most spectacular destinations on the planet. We have seen a clear trend of travelers seeking out truly unique and meaningful travel experiences, with a sharp increase in demand for the type of small ships / big experiences we offer. The pandemic has dramatically pushed this development forward. There is huge pent-up demand for traveling right now, and we are responding with this breathtaking new destination,” said Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

To offer guests one-of-a-kind experiences, Hurtigruten Expeditions has entered into a long-term strategic partnership with Ecuador-based Metropolitan Touring, the most experienced and renowned  travel company in the Galapagos.

Guests will explore the Galapagos in style and comfort onboard the MS Santa Cruz II.

Guests will explore the Galapagos in style and comfort onboard the fully upgraded 90-guest MS Santa Cruz II, adding to Hurtigruten Expeditions’ growing fleet of small purpose-built expedition cruise ships.

“This partnership brings together two companies that combine the best of two worlds: Hurtigruten Expeditions as a global player with an excellent reputation in expedition cruises, and our long history and deep knowledge of the Galapagos Islands. We are really excited to welcome the first Hurtigruten Expeditions’ guests on board,” said Metropolitan Touring CEO Paulina Burbano de Lara.

Metropolitan Touring has offered intimate and unique encounters with the islands’ wildlife since they pioneered expedition cruises in Galapagos almost 70 years ago. Hurtigruten Expeditions pioneered expedition cruises in 1896 and has since grown to the world’s largest expedition cruise line.

“This is a significant milestone in our 125-year history of exploring. The Galapagos is one of the world’s ultimate expedition cruise destinations. It is a perfect match between two companies with a proud history, strong heritage, and passion for the well-being of our oceans and our planet,” said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta Lassesen. 

Beyond imagination 
Starting from January 5, 2022, Hurtigruten Expeditions will offer nine-day adventures, visiting some of the most spectacular and iconic sites of the archipelago onboard MS Santa Cruz II, as well as two nights in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito before the six-night cruise. The package also includes a full-day visit to the Cotopaxi National Park, home to the Cotopaxi volcano, the highest active volcano in South America. It is also possible to add a four-day pre-program to Machu Picchu in neighboring Peru before embarking on the Galapagos adventure. To book, please visit Hurtigruten.com, call 866.662.0371 or contact your preferred travel agent.

As part of the partnership, the MS Santa Cruz II – including all suites and cabins, explorer lounge, dining room, bar, and other public areas – will be fully upgraded. A Hurtigruten Expeditions hallmark, a Science Area, will also be added, where guests and the onboard expedition team will create an even deeper understanding of the wonders they explore.

“Our unmatched experience in the Galapagos has enabled us to design and perfect the ideal way to explore the archipelago. Our itineraries are based on the concept of seeing as many of the ‘Big 15’ species as possible, with exclusive island and site visits. There really is no better way to see the islands,” said de Lara.

With both companies sharing common values in investing in sustainability, all Hurtigruten Expeditions cruises to Galapagos are carbon neutral. Hurtigruten Expeditions guests will contribute directly to the protection of biodiverse forests in northwestern Ecuador, named a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2018.

“The Galapagos has long been regarded as one of the world’s greatest natural sanctuaries. It’s wild, isolated, diverse, and safe. As in all destinations, we will be working closely with local communities to ensure we play a positive role in long-term sustainability,” said Lassesen.

Cruise highlights include exploring the Giant Tortoise breeding center, getting close to sea lions and land iguanas, bird watching, kayaking, and snorkeling, as well as daily lectures to better understand the islands, their history, and animal population both above and below the sea. Overall, the Galapagos is home to more than 9,000 species of wildlife, many of which are native only to the remote archipelago.

Secret Atlas Launches Private, Sustainable Small Ship Luxury Expeditions To Greenland and Iceland

 Secret Atlas, the home of small ship voyages to remote areas of the Arctic, announces the addition of two new luxury expeditions to Iceland and Greenland for Summer and Fall 2021. Renowned for private luxury charters, group adventure expeditions, and photography tours of no more than twelve passengers aboard a fully-crewed vessel, Secret Atlas offers a highly personalized and transformative travel experience. The new restriction-free chartered expeditions to the majestic wilderness of Iceland and Greenland fully embody the mission of Secret Atlas: to revive the lost spirit of exploration.

photo courtesy of Secret Atlas

Secret Atlas was created by two passionate explorers and conservationists intent on making Arctic travel more personal and more sustainable. Allowing for deep exploration of areas that are otherwise inaccessible, Secret Atlas brings travelers closer to nature with a lower impact on wildlife and natural habitats.

“We live in a fast-paced world, and we are forgetting how to live in close contact with nature and the elements … we are forgetting how to be adventurous,” remarks Secret Atlas co-founder Michele D’Agostino. “With Secret Atlas, we aim to share our love of the great beauty of the polar region with our intent for more mindful travel to provide a much richer travel experience.”

See Slideshow below

ABOUT THE NEW EXPEDITIONS

Secret Atlas expeditions to Iceland and Greenland offer safe, restriction-free travel for those in search of a transformative travel experience. Embark on a privately chartered small ship voyage to explore the majesty of Iceland or Greenland. Step aboard the MV Balto, a luxury expedition vessel crewed by a team of experts with decades of experience safely navigating Arctic waters. The vessel features spacious cabins with mahogany-paneled interiors, en-suite bathrooms, sauna, full bar, library, and dining room with meals prepared on-board by a private chef.

EAST GREENLAND: The Forbidden Coast Private Expedition

Experience a truly authentic wilderness expedition to the seldom visited coast of East Greenland on a safe, luxury expedition yacht. Cross the Denmark Strait to reach the virtually uninhabited east coast of Greenland, exploring Scoresby Sound, the longest fjord system on earth. Sailing on Zodiac landing crafts to explore and hike ashore, visit remote Greenland settlements and witness the mystical scenery featuring cathedral-sized icebergs led by an expedition leader who will take you on a real expedition.

ICELAND EXPLORER: The Land of Fire and Ice Bespoke Private Expedition

Experience Iceland’s untamed wilderness from the safety of your own private luxury expedition yacht for up to 12 guests. Explore Iceland’s remote scenic West Fjords, sailing on Zodiac landing crafts to hike ashore in the stunning natural wilderness of Hornstrandir nature reserve. Visit remote fishing villages, submerge in therapeutic volcanic hot springs, and visit Fagradalsfjall, Iceland’s newest active volcano.

For bookings and further  information, please contact hello@secretatlastravel.com and visit www.secretatlastravel.com


ABOUT SECRET ATLAS

Secret Atlas is the home of small ship voyages that explore the world’s most remote locations in the Arctic, including Svalbard, Greenland, and Antarctica. Created by veteran explorers devoted to sustainability and slow travel, the bespoke small group adventures of Secret Atlas provide voyagers a truly experiential view of nature, while minimizing the impact on wildlife and the environment. Secret Atlas specializes in highly customizable expedition micro-cruises, photo tours, and luxury voyages aboard a fully staffed private vessel that can accommodate up to twelve guests. For those in search of the adventure of a lifetime, Secret Atlas delivers a transformational travel experience that revives the lost spirit of exploration.

For bookings and further  information, please contact hello@secretatlastravel.com and visit www.secretatlastravel.com

Encore At Wynn Las Vegas Introduces Dog-Friendly Resort Program

Luxury Resort Now Offers Five-Star Service For Four-Legged Guests Featuring Exclusive Array Of Puppy Pampering Amenities

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas is extending its renowned level of luxury service to canine clientele with the launch of a new dog-friendly resort program. BeginningJune 3rd, guests of Encore can enjoy their stay in any room or suite with up to two furry friends, and indulge in exclusive amenities that meet the needs of this new breed of resort VIPs – Very Important Puppies.

Pampering begins at check-in with a complimentary doggy bag of welcome gifts that includes a fetching Wynn-logoed neckerchief, fun toy for playtime, and an all-natural dog treat. To keep puppy busy and feel more at home during times the owner may be occupied, guests can work with Encore’s Concierge team to arrange a schedule of dog walking or sitting services.

Bone Appetite, the new room service doggy dining menu, elevates canine cuisine to an artform. In addition to a selection of snacks and dessert, guests can choose from several meat, fish, and vegetable dishes to satisfy discerning puppy palettes. Highlights include the Best In Show, with lamb, steamed potatoes, and squash; Healthy Bites, with seared salmon, green beans, and brown rice; and the Puppy Patty, with Black Angus beef, broccoli, and farro.

Guests are encouraged to tag social media posts of their dogs at the resort with #WagForWynn for a chance to be featured on Wynn Las Vegas’ social media accounts.

Every day can feel like a vacation at home with a new collection of doggy clothing and accessories available for purchase exclusively at the resort. The fun and functional Wynn-branded line features essential items like leashes, collars, blankets, and bowls; to the more extravagant like hoodies, a pet tee pee, and champagne bottle chew toy. At the center of the collection is a perfectly puppy-sized Wynn Resorts signature robe. A guest favorite for its silky soft fabric and ultra-plush comfort, the doggy version is an exact replica of its human-sized counterpart, and is sure to become a collector’s item.

For more information including nightly fees based on room type, fees for additional amenities, weight restrictions and other policies, and frequently asked questions, please visit Wynnlasvegas.com Pet Policy

Please take a moment to browse the video and tiled gallery below.

The Morgan Resort & Spa, St. Maarten’s Newest Luxury Boutique Hotel

Stay steps away from St. Maarten’s famous Maho Beach, Sunset Beach Bar and St. Maarten Princess Juliana Airport


The island of St. Maarten is world renowned for its beautiful beaches, festive nightlife and epicurean experiences galore. With last week’s grand opening of The Morgan Resort & Spa, travelers now have another great reason to visit the destination, just in time for summer.

The newest five-star luxury boutique hotel in St. Maarten, The Morgan Resort & Spa is minutes away from famous Maho Beach, Sunset Beach Bar and the most photographed airport in the world, the Princess Juliana Airport, where guests can watch large and small aircraft glide into the runway at heights so low they can practically touch them.  Guests will also appreciate the close proximity of The Morgan Resort & Spa to Maho Village, with exhilarating watersports, recreational activities, casino gaming, upscale shopping, dining and entertainment. 

“We are thrilled to introduce St. Maarten’s newest luxury boutique hotel and welcome guests as they enjoy a summer vacation like no other,” said Stewart Weiner, COO of The Morgan Resort & Spa. “Watching the property come together over the past few years, I find myself more excited every day for the amazing experiences our guests will enjoy, whether they are visiting for business or pleasure.”

The 124 ultra-contemporary guestrooms and suites feature private exterior entrances and balconies or terraces, and are furnished with chic, modern furniture and nautically inspired accents and artwork. Guests will enjoy bright, airy rooms with pillow top bedding, luxury spa-style bathrooms with glass walk-in showers, intuitive technology including 55-inch flat-screen televisions, iHome docking stations and free Wi-Fi, and top-of-the-line amenities.

Other amenities guests will enjoy at The Morgan Resort & Spa include:

  • The intimate Salt Restaurant + Bar, helmed by executive chef David Seeman and consultant chef, Afro Caribbean cuisine expert and renowned “Top Chef” competitor Ron Duprat. Guests will be treated to the finest French Caribbean cuisine in the world for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with bold flavors, healthy dishes and seafood fresh from the Caribbean waters. Expertly crafted cocktails and an impressive selection of rum flights complement the dining experience.
  • beach-style infinity-edge pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea, featuring a waterfall, slide, grotto cave, underwater music system and the Bar M Pool Bar, a swim-up bar with a blackjack table. Private poolside cabanas are conveniently located nearby.
  • Rooftop Observation Deck offering 360-degree unobstructed views of the jets landing at Princess Juliana Airport for unparalleled plane-spotting opportunities.
  •  Four distinctive indoor and outdoor wedding and event venues including an outdoor banquet tent with a gazebo on the Great Lawn, poolside at The Patio, and the Rooftop Observation Deck.
  • A 24-hour state-of-the-art HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) fitness center.
  • A full-service salon and spa featuring a hair and nail salon, wet and dry sauna and treatment rooms for massages and other services (scheduled to open Fall 2021).
  • A variety of on-site activities and special events for guests of all ages, including water aerobics, morning yoga, volleyball, bocce, badminton, croquet, cooking classes, happy hour specials, wine and rum tastings, Sunday brunch, Caribbean BBQ nights, live bands and DJs, and more.

The Morgan Resort & Spa was designed by award-winning interior architectural design firm DiLeonardo. Simple, clean and modern materials and textures blend seamlessly into the island’s breathtaking scenery, with natural wood tones and sleek interiors featuring cool blues and whites. The lobby’s light, airy space features comfortable and casual flexible seating and large ceiling fans that contribute to a never-ending flow of air and warm ocean breezes.

The beach-style infinity-edge pool was designed by local architectural firm DAM Caribbean.

“It has been a challenging year for the tourism industry with the Covid-19 pandemic impacting all hotels worldwide,” said Ray Sidhom, Chairman, The Morgan Resort & Spa. “We are confident that travelers will return to St. Maarten and are thrilled to offer them a premium five-star accommodation and experience.”

Covid-19 safety protocols and procedures are enforced throughout The Morgan Resort & Spa, with high operational standards developed according to the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization and local guidelines. To ensure the continued health, safety and security of guests, team members and partners, the resort has implemented the “SAFESEAL – Clean Standard Seal Certification Program” devised by expert medical and occupational safety professionals and endorsed by the St. Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor and the Ministry of Tourism. More health and safety details can be found here at The Morgan Resort Covid 19 Health and Saftey.

Nightly rates start at $199 plus taxes and fees. For more information or to make a reservation, visit themorganresort.com or call 1-833-9-MORGAN.

The Trifecta is Back! Disneyland Resort Welcomes Guests Back to this Happy Place, Reopening Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Take Note: Until further clarification from the state, only California residents are allowed to visit the Disneyland Resort theme parks, in groups no larger than three households. There are additional restrictions, please read all updates before heading to the park.

Are you ready? Long considered a beacon of happiness around the world, Walt’s Disney’s original Disneyland Park reopened to the public, along with Disney California Adventure Park, on Friday, April 30, 2021. Guests entered the theme parks filled with joy and excitement as they discovered the magic is here once again, as enchanting and timeless as ever. On this historic day, cast members welcomed guests back to the parks to explore favorite attractions, wave hello to beloved Disney characters, don a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and savor iconic Disney treats.

– Bob Chapek, The Walt Disney Company CEO, marks the historic day with a pre-opening address to cast members

– Magic is here at Disneyland Resort as guests enjoy character sightings, beloved and thrilling attractions, dining, shopping and hotel stays

– New theme park admission system requires confirmed reservations in advance, plus valid tickets for the same park on the same date

Enhanced health and safety measures are in place, including limited capacity

The Wotter family of Lake Elsinore, California, captures a special moment in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle as Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, reopens on Friday, April 30, 2021. Disneyland Resort welcomes guests back to this Happiest Place on Earth, reopening Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. (Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort)

Just prior to the gates of Disneyland opening for the first time in more than a year, Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company Bob Chapek participated in the daily ceremony to raise the American flag and shared brief remarks of inspiration for the cast members who were preparing for the momentous day.

Guests returned Friday for the magic of Disney storytelling and the immersive theme park experiences only Disney can deliver. Once again, guests are stepping back into the realm of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, embarking on a swashbuckling voyage on Pirates of the Caribbean and launching into an “Incredible” adventure on the Incredicoaster.  They’re setting sail with children from around the globe on “it’s a small world,” taking photos alongside Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, and zipping along Route 66 on Radiator Springs Racers.

Guests will experience new magic on some classic attractions, as well. The newly reimagined Snow White’s Enchanted Wish opens to guests for the very first time; the Haunted Mansion has been enhanced with some eerie surprises, and King Arthur’s Carrousel has been fancifully refurbished.

The Hotels of the Disneyland Resort are welcoming guests back to the magic with a phased reopening. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa reopened on April 29, 2021, with limited capacity. Disney Vacation Club Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa plan to reopen May 2. Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel will reopen at a later date.

Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited to comply with state requirements and promote physical distancing, the Disneyland Resort is managing attendance through a new theme park reservation system that requires all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. To enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date are required for guests ages 3 and older. A Disney account is required to make theme park reservations. Theme park reservations are limited and subject to availability. Until further clarification from the state, only California residents are allowed to visit the Disneyland Resort theme parks, in groups no larger than three households.

The health and well-being of guests and cast members is a top priority. With enhanced health and safety measures, operational changes are in place at the theme parks and hotel based on guidance from health authorities and learnings from Disney parks around the world to promote physical distancing, enhanced cleanliness and reduced contact.  These measures  include appropriate face coverings required for all guests ages 2 and older, temperature screenings prior to park entry, capacity measures and cashless transactions. Cast members throughout the Resort are dedicated to assist with questions, and guests may check Disneyland.com/update for the current health and safety measures.

Classic attractions and fun-filled favorites

Classic and favorite attractions will begin to open at both parks – from epic experiences like the new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to family-friendly experiences like Peter Pan’s Flight and Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind.

At Disneyland, the fun awaits on colorful, spinning cups at Mad Tea Party and on thrilling escapades at Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. At Disney California Adventure, guests will be immersed in the stories and adventures of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!, Toy Story Midway Mania!, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and more.

In Fantasyland, a timeless tale comes alive in news ways on Snow White’s Enchanted Wish. Dazzling new scenes include a dancing figure of Snow White joining the dwarfs in their cottage as the scent of a baking pie wafts through the air. Vibrant new shadow projections show the dwarfs as they march off to the mine happily singing “Heigh Ho,” and the new lighting, glittering jewels and shimmering effects make the mine sparkle. Guests then travel through the Queen’s den to see a new library of spell books, glowing potions and bubbling flasks, toward the famous magic mirror. In the end, Snow White and her Prince ride joyfully into a golden sunset to live happily ever after.

On the “must-do” list for many guests will be a journey to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the largest and most technologically advanced single-themed land expansion ever in a Disney park. Guests are transported to a galaxy far, far away at the Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu, where they can take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The newest attraction in the land, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opened in January 2020. It takes guests aboard a full-size transport shuttle before they are captured by a Star Destroyer, finding themselves in the middle of a climactic battle between the dark side of the First Order and the light side of the Resistance.

Avengers Campus, a completely new land where guests can live their Super Hero dreams, will open June 4, 2021, at Disney California Adventure.

Characters are part of the magic

Bob Chapek, Walt Disney Company CEO, addresses Cast Members at a ceremony celebrating the reopening of Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, on Friday, April 30, 2021. Mr. Chapek stands in the same location in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. as Walt Disney himself when Disneyland was dedicated on July 17, 1955. (Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort)

From surprise appearances along Main Street, U.S.A., and Pixar Pier to playful interactions, characters from dozens of favorite Disney stories entertain and delight guests across both parks. Beloved characters will pop up in new ways and sometimes in unexpected places as they remain mindful of physical distancing.

At Disneyland, guests may see Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse waving from the train station, or Disney Princesses such as Mulan appear at the Royal Theatre to wave and pose at a distance for guests taking selfies. At Disney California Adventure, Pixar pals may wave from the bandshell at Pixar Pier, and guests can share a laugh while taking photos with Mater and Lightning McQueen along Route 66 in Cars Land.

Certain experiences that draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date.

Themed dining and world-famous food and drinks

Tasty, tantalizing and ready for social media, Disneyland Resort snacks and dishes are a food-lover’s fairytale wishes come true. Park favorites such as the DOLE Whip®, corn dogs and churros are fun treats offered alongside memorable dining experiences that include lobster nachos and novel drinks at Lamplight Lounge, brisket mac & cheese at River Belle Terrace and Mediterranean-California fare at Carthay Circle Lounge – Alfresco Dining. The parks offer a multitude of food and drink options, from uniquely themed candy apples and specials like Walt’s Chili to the always popular Plaza Inn fried chicken.

At several locations around the resort, mobile ordering* on the official Disneyland app now is the primary way to order food and drinks. Dining reservations are recommended for table-service restaurants. Other convenient features also include the ability to view menus with QR codes, join a mobile check-in walk up list for dining or mobile check-in for dining reservations, all through the Disneyland app.

Check in to the magic at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

After playing in the theme parks, guests may relax with an overnight stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, where they are surrounded by stunning Craftsman-style architecture reminiscent of the turn of the 20th century. Guests are treated to genuine hospitality and quality service, just steps from the Downtown Disney District and Disneyland Resort theme parks. The enchanting Disney magic includes well-appointed accommodations, sparkling pools and a chance to request a wake-up call with greetings from some favorite Disney characters.

Guests with valid theme park admission who are planning a stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel will need to also book theme park reservations in advance, as a hotel stay does not guarantee a park reservation. Hotel capacity will be limited. Guests may book hotel stays for Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, or a nearby Disneyland Resort Good Neighbor Hotel, by visiting Disneyland.com or contacting a travel professional.

Digital technology helps guests make the most of their visits

To make the most of a visit to the Disneyland Resort, guests will have digital tools right at their fingertips with the Disneyland mobile app. Guests are strongly encouraged to download the latest version of the Disneyland app before they arrive, and plan ahead with mobile ordering* for food and beverage purchases from select locations. For Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the virtual queue is only accessible via the Disneyland mobile app, and you can only experience the attraction by joining the virtual queue, which is limited and subject to availability. Guests also can use the app to check park hours, make dining reservations, and view maps and other important resort updates. Mobile wait list (subject to availability) and mobile check-in options are available for table-service dining at select locations. Disneyland Resort also recommends cashless transactions such as electronic payment to reduce contact.

Check Disneyland.com for the latest updates

For everything they need to know about their visits, guests are encouraged to check Disneyland.com regularly for updated information, including ticket and reservation information, and which experiences are currently available or will be offered.** Guests also are also encouraged to follow the Disney Parks Blog for the latest details.

Along with must-do experiences throughout the theme parks, guests will find unique shopping and dining experiences throughout the Downtown Disney District. The World of Disney store offers the latest Disney merchandise.

The reopening of Disneyland Resort is a phased approach and subject to change, to align with guidance released from time to time by health authorities and appropriate government agencies. This guidance is fluid and applicable at any given time as community situations change. With that guidance, many factors will determine the timing of when offerings may be available, and the status of indoor and outdoor experiences.

* Message, data and roaming rates may apply. Availability subject to handset limitations and features may vary by handset or service provider. Coverage and app stores not available everywhere. If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first.

** Upon reopening, certain parks, hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences and other offerings will be modified or unavailable, will have limited capacity and will be subject to limited availability or even closure, and park admission and offerings are not guaranteed.

DOLE WHIP is a trademark of Dole Food Company, Inc. Used with permission.

SOURCE Disneyland Resort
Photo 1 | Photo 2

Beyond Expectations: Celebrity Cruises’ Newest Ship, Celebrity Beyond, Defies Imagination, Wonder And Luxury

– Globally renowned designers Kelly Hoppen CBE, Nate Berkus and Jouin Manku collaborate with top architect Tom Wright to redefine the new luxury travel experience

– World-Famous Chef Daniel Boulud launches first restaurant at sea

– goop CEO and Founder Gwyneth Paltrow to serve as Well-Being Advisor

MIAMI, April 29, 2021  — Today, Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo unveiled the company’s third ship in the company’s industry-transforming “new luxury” Edge Series® — Celebrity BeyondSM. Designed to give guests endless opportunities to disconnect from the world — while simultaneously reconnecting with the world that surrounds them — Celebrity Beyond goes further than imagined possible for a cruise ship, creating a new world of wonder and luxury. For a complete look at the Celebrity Beyond, watch the video below.

One of the most anticipated venues on Celebrity Beyond the Nate Berkus-designed Sunset Bar is nearly twice as large as previous iterations. The Moroccan-inspired escape, with conversation niches and covered enclaves, is reminiscent of a modern-day Casablanca and sure to be one of the hottest spots at sea. Guests enter through a pergola-covered entrance and Sunset Bar’s cascading terraces combine to provide the perfect place to soak in spectacular views and create unforgettable memories. (PRNewsfoto/Celebrity Cruises)

Inspired by a vision to take the cruise industry into the next era of luxury, Lutoff-Perlo assembled a dream team of modern lifestyle icons to bring to life extraordinary experiences that allow guests to connect with each other, the sea, and their journey. Celebrity Beyond showcases the design talents of multi-award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE; celebrated American designer Nate Berkus; and lauded Paris-based design firm Jouin Manku; the innovation of British architect Tom Wright; and the culinary gifts of Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud. The ship will also feature experiences and products from goop CEO and founder Gwyneth Paltrow, the brand’s new Well-Being Advisor. 

Redefining luxury again, Celebrity Beyond builds on the features and design of its award-winning predecessors Celebrity Edge (2018) and Celebrity Apex (2020) by creating innovative spaces that set the brand apart from others in the industry. Every element of Celebrity Beyond‘s look and feel has been carefully curated with re-imagined spaces and more luxurious versions of the brand’s most popular signature spaces, including:

  • The Retreat®, an exclusive resort-within-a-resort area for suite guests, highlighted by a new two-story sundeck;
  • Transformed accommodations from modern two-story villas with private plunge pools to staterooms with infinite verandas, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living;
  • An expanded Rooftop Garden and stunning Resort Deck featuring unique cantilevered float pools;
  • A multi-level, multi-terraced Sunset Bar redefining the ship’s aft;
  • A first-ever Daniel Boulud fine-dining restaurant at sea;
  • A boldly redesigned Grand Plaza spanning three decks, creating an airy and open indoor space;
  • And, the return of the Magic Carpet®, an engineering feat soaring cantilevered above the sea, offering guests uninterrupted vistas while sipping cocktails or having dinner.

“Celebrity Cruises has always been an innovator at sea, and now we have challenged the status quo with a vessel that goes beyond expectations, beyond imagination,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “Celebrity Beyond shatters any and every preconceived notion of the cruising experience. This exquisite ship offers a journey at the intersection of elegance and approachability filled with what’s important to our guests today: forward-thinking design, culinary excellence, unparalleled well-being and incomparable service.”

“With Celebrity Beyond, we saw an opportunity to take the extraordinary features of Celebrity Edge – like the focus on the connection with the ocean and the grand spaces – and really amplify them,” said Richard Fain, Chairman of Royal Caribbean Group, parent company of Celebrity Cruises. “We focused on providing more openness, height and spaciousness throughout the ship’s most popular spaces. The end result is a next generation ship that embodies the intersection of architecture and design.”

On the new Celebrity Beyond, The Retreat is an exclusive resort space for suite guests designed by Kelly Hoppen CBE. The new two-level Retreat Sundeck offers secluded cabanas, chic seating, water features, the Retreat Bar and more all to help guests make the most of the ocean air. (PRNewsfoto/Celebrity Cruises)

The Retreat: A Resort In and of Itself

One of the most sought-after interior designers in the world, Kelly Hoppen CBE, has reimagined aspects of the design for The Retreat, the unrivaled and exclusive resort space for suite guests, including all new suites, and brought her globally renowned style to outdoor venues such as the Rooftop Garden and the main pool area on the Resort Deck.

The new, two-story Retreat Sundeck will offer more unadulterated outdoor bliss and ways to rejuvenate in the fresh ocean air with secluded cabanas, chic new seating areas, additional water features and the exclusive Retreat Bar. The warm and inviting Retreat Lounge is a newly stylish space to unwind; while Hoppen’s new take on the adjacent private restaurant Luminae, now at the front of the ship, becomes a space where every corner provides a new experience with each visit, in keeping with the daily changing menu.  

An array of contemporary suite accommodations featuring fresh color palettes and design details by Hoppen await guests of The Retreat, including the redesigned two-story Edge Villas with outdoor plunge pools, and Celebrity’s famous Iconic Suites, the largest in the fleet, offering better views than the captain’s quarters.

Connecting Two Worlds

Nowhere is more rejuvenating than the open sea, and Celebrity Beyond ensures guests are able to take full advantage of both the luxurious design of the ship while soaking in the world around them.

Perhaps best known for designing the world-famous Burj Al Arab Hotel, lead architect Tom Wright of WKK has expanded the exterior spaces on Celebrity Beyond, transforming them into serene outward-facing sanctuaries leveraging endless ocean vistas and breath-taking panoramas of the extraordinary places the ship will visit. His design both lengthens the ship by 20 meters and raises the ship to 17 decks tall, allowing for the reimagination of The Retreat, the Resort Deck, and the Rooftop Garden – outdoor spaces increasingly important to today’s traveler.

“Le Voyage will be a culinary journey like no other and will reflect the flavors of the destinations the ship will visit. The menu will be grounded in the DNA of my French roots, but, at the same time, it’s going to be very adventurous. My goal is to create a wonderfully comfortable environment where the food is center stage. I want this to be the most special restaurant at sea.”

— Daniel Boulud, chef

The main open deck, 40 percent larger than on previous Edge Series ships, features an enormous living Rooftop Garden designed by Hoppen and includes increased seating offering new private nooks and more spaces for movie watching, enjoying live music and outdoor dining at the expanded Rooftop Grill. A highlight of this area is Wright’s incorporation of two spectacular floating pools cantilevered six and a half feet over the side of the ship, taking guests beyond the water’s edge.

On the Resort Deck, guests will enjoy a stunning asymmetrical space with a 25-yard lap pool surrounded by a terraced pool deck and new sunken seating areas designed by Hoppen.

Wright also designed the signature Edge Series Magic Carpet, a tennis-court sized cantilevered platform that scales the side of the ship and transforms from open-air lounge or restaurant hovering above the ocean along higher decks to a tender platform for going ashore on lower decks.  Featured on Celebrity Beyond, it debuted on Celebrity Edge in 2018 and is still considered one of the most unique design innovations ever for a cruise ship.

Celebrity Cruises’ Edge Series Design Ambassador Nate Berkus stepped into the role of designer himself, to imagine one of the most anticipated venues on Celebrity Beyond – the Sunset Bar. Inside this space that is nearly twice as large as previous iterationsBerkus has created a chic, Moroccan-inspired escape that is reminiscent of a modern-day Casablanca.

Guests will enter through a pergola-covered entrance to enjoy one of the hottest spots at sea. With more conversation niches and covered enclaves to allow guests to connect in a more intimate way, the Sunset Bar’s cascading terraces will combine to provide the perfect place to soak in spectacular views and create unforgettable memories.

Luxury in Every Detail

The core of Celebrity Beyond’s vision of luxury is the Grand Plaza, a transformational place at the center of the ship designed by Jouin Manku — the team responsible for designing the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower — and offering a different experience with every visit. Inspired by the piazzas of Italy that serve as life centers of towns where architecture and social connection become one, the Grand Plaza spans three decks at the heart of the ship, boldly declaring it is the place to see and be seen. 

Larger than Grand Plazas on its sister Edge Series ships, the Celebrity Beyond Grand Plaza has an airier atmosphere with more room for intimate seating. The added space allowed designers to move the Martini Bar into the center of the venue as a full, circular bar.

Hanging proudly above the new Martini Bar, the Grand Plaza’s iconic chandelier boasts a new, organic shape with hundreds of individual LED lights that cast an inviting glow at all hours—taking center stage with talented bartenders at night during their exciting and theatrical Flash Flair Fusion performance.

Connected to the Grand Plaza is the top table of culinary excellence at sea, the new, intimate 50-seat restaurant by world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud. Aptly named Le Voyage, travel is the inspiration for the globally inspired flavors within, designed to transport guests to the very places that inspire the Michelin-rated chef. Complementing the menu, world-class sommeliers will pair the perfect wine with every dish from Celebrity Cruises’ “most awarded” wine collection at sea.

Complementing Chef Boulud’s world-class menu is the restaurant’s ambiance, which is also the result of Jouin Manku‘s creative talents. Intimate seating cocoons are surrounded by luminous portals highlighting the themes of journey and travel, while graphically lit “glass flutes” provide layers of light and texture to create an enchanting experience.

Providing a sense of occasion and flow, the Le Voyage experience begins with a dedicated entrance and concludes with a customized sweet prepared in Daniel’s own farewell boutique as guests are wished ‘au revoir.’

Designed by world-class designer Kelly Hoppen CBE and architect Tom Wright, the Rooftop Garden invites guests day or night to relax or play. Whether it’s lounging under one of the shaded seating areas, dancing the night away, or gazing up at the stars as the ship glides over the sea below, the Rooftop Garden offers something for everyone to escape reality. (PRNewsfoto/Celebrity Cruises)

Rethinking Wellness at Sea

Luxury didn’t stop at the architectural design and culinary experience, but extended into how Celebrity Cruises thought of wellness on Celebrity Beyond. New to the ship are AquaClass SkySuites, an immersive living experience that helps guests find their center. From floor-to-ceiling ocean views, private verandas, luxurious bedding and other wellness amenities, Celebrity Beyond has thought of everything to nourish its guests’ mind, body, and spirit on vacation.

Celebrity Beyond also sets sail with a new partnership with actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, serving as the line’s new Well-being Advisor. All Aqua Class guests across the entire Celebrity Cruises fleet (excluding Galapagos sailings) will be treated to onboard wellness offerings, including fitness kits from Paltrow’s modern lifestyle brand goop, aimed at enhancing self-care and collective well-being. Paltrow and her team at goop will also curate onboard wellness programming and participate in the line’s new Women in Wellness initiative.

Welcome Beyond

Celebrity Beyond will depart on her maiden voyage on April 27, 2022 from Southampton, England, on a 10-night Western Europe cruise visiting Bordeaux, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Seville, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain. She will then offer a variety of Mediterranean journeys including nine-night Italian Riviera and France itineraries and 10-night Greek Isles itineraries through early October, when she then heads to the Caribbean. Voyages are on sale as of April 28, 2021 at 3p.m. ET. For more information on all of Celebrity Beyond’s inaugural 2022-2023 sailings, visit Celebrity Cruises Beyond.

Like her industry-changing sister ships, Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex, the former of which was named one of TIME Magazine’s “World’s Greatest Places” following her 2018 debut season, Celebrity Beyond will connect guests to the breath-taking world around them like never before. Celebrity Cruises’ onboard and onshore experiences stand it apart as a new luxury travel brand without comparison. For more information on all Celebrity Cruises’ offerings and to book the vacation of a lifetime, visit www.celebritycruises.com.

Designer Quotes

“There is something about being at sea and looking for the destination that is coming up that is really quite special and is the reason I sail. The design of the ship is what provides that window to the world – the vantage point. More space on Beyond created a bigger ‘window’ and enabled us to add elements that I had always dreamed of for Celebrity’s Edge Series like the float pools hanging off the ship. It all adds to the perspective that will be unmatched in the travel experience it offers.”  — Tom Wright, lead architect, WKK

“All of these spaces are so integral to the ship and people’s experience. For me, the design project became all about this idea that every day someone’s going to feel different and want to do something different but always want the ultimate holiday. So, there’s music, drinks and places to come together but also cocoons and places of solitude. The beauty of this ship is that there is so much opportunity to be who you want to be.” — Kelly Hoppen CBE, designer

“When a good designer thinks about how something should look, they’re thinking about how people should feel. I took inspiration from some of my favorite places in the world – the best parts of Mexico, the best parts of Greece, the best parts of Uruguay with the best parts of California. I wanted this space to represent aspiration. I wanted it to represent relaxation, in an upmarket way.” — Nate Berkus, designer

“Le Voyage will be a culinary journey like no other and will reflect the flavors of the destinations the ship will visit. The menu will be grounded in the DNA of my French roots, but, at the same time, it’s going to be very adventurous. My goal is to create a wonderfully comfortable environment where the food is center stage. I want this to be the most special restaurant at sea.” — Daniel Boulud, chef

“Guests really gravitated to this area [the Grand Plaza] on Celebrity Edge, making it the most popular gathering spot on the ship. So, we expanded the area and then took a lot of inspiration from modern opera halls for the design – opening it up, giving it a loftier, airier atmosphere. The added space not only lends itself to more guest interaction but also allows for more intimate seating areas for guests to escape to.” — Sanjit Manku, co-founder, Jouin Manku

“At goop, our curiosity leads us to explore different approaches to well-being and sends us around the world, reporting on the best places to eat, drink, engage, and unwind. Near the nexus of these interests, we came across Celebrity’s mission to disrupt the traditional notion of being well-traveled. As Celebrity’s new well-being advisor, I’ll be working with my team at goop to bring onboard some of our favorite practices and tools for deepening well-being and joy.” — Gwyneth Paltrow, CEO and founder of goop

For additional information, download and print the Celebrity Beyond Fact Sheet

SOURCE Celebrity Cruises

Now is the Moment to Take an Inspired Trip to Monterey County, California

Monterey County CVB invites travelers to experience not-to-miss moments this spring and summer as restrictions lessen and Highway 1 reopens

MONTEREY, Calif., April 26, 2021 — As COVID-19 restrictions lessen across the United States and in the state of California, Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) invites travelers to step away from their everyday to reconnect and recharge in Monterey County, California. Those who travel to Monterey County in the coming months will find unparalleled outdoor adventures for every skillset, a growing food and wine scene, immersive cultural experiences, renowned scenic drives, and the opportunity to explore the fascinating marine life that call the Monterey Bay home.

“There is no better time for travelers to rekindle their sense of adventure in Monterey County”

-Rob O’Keefe

“With Highway 1’s reopening, there is no better time for travelers to rekindle their sense of adventure in Monterey County,” said Rob O’Keefe, president and CEO at Monterey County CVB. “Our unrivaled hospitality community has worked hard over the past year to put the highest health and safety protocols in place, and we are elated that now is the time to welcome visitors back to our breathtaking destination.”

The destination’s ‘Now is the Moment’ campaign delivers exclusive offers, new itineraries made up of must-experience moments and fresh ways to take advantage of the boundless wide-open spaces and iconic experiences along California’s central coast. The Monterey County CVB has curated a list of reasons ‘Now is the Moment’ to plan a soul-satisfying trip to Monterey County:

NEW/LIMITED-TIME EXPERIENCES

  • Book the new Bikes, Bites & Bevs Tour, offered by Carmel Food Tours and Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop, that includes an e-bike ride to picturesque Point Lobos State Park followed by a walking food tour in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
  • Seize the moment from 15,000 feet over the Monterey Bay with Skydive Monterey Bay‘s new Silver Package. The package celebrates Skydive Monterey Bay’s 25th anniversary and offers adventure seekers the chance to experience “California’s Highest Tandem Jump.” After jump completion, receive a framed first jump certificate, a gear store gift and mini gear bag. The special package offers visitors more than 35 percent off normal rates. Book now for $229 per person with an advance reservation.
  • Stave Wine Cellar at Pebble Beach Resort’s The Inn at Spanish Bay will offer an ‘Exclusive Moments’ tasting experience during the month of May, partnering with the best producers in California to create three unique wines exclusive to the resort.
  • The Sardine Factory, located within Monterey’s historic Cannery Row, is offering a new ‘Monterey Moment’ cocktail May through June. Made with limoncello, lemon juice, orange juice, blue curacao and topped with champagne, the refreshing drink has hints of blue to convey the Monterey Bay and comes complete with a personalized jingle from the award-winning restaurant’s resident entertainer, David Conley.
  • The new we. Art installations in Sand City have recently transformed the coastal town into one of the most accessible outdoor public art galleries on the peninsula. Take a self-guided walking tour around the West End to see the new public art, completed by local and national artists.

RECENTLY REOPENED/SET TO REOPEN

Now is the moment to take an inspired trip to Monterey County, California.
  • Big Sur’s beloved Pine Ridge Trail recently reopened after being closed for five years. Located in the Ventana Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest, the 19.5-mile trail leads hikers from Big Sur Station to Sykes Camp with a cover of redwoods, pine and oak along the way.
  • The famed Monterey Bay Aquarium will reopen to the public on Saturday, May 15, ending a 13-month closure. Dedicated to marine research and conservation, the Aquarium features 35,000 creatures representing over 550 sea life and marine species. Be one of the first to revisit the Aquarium by reserving a general admission ticket. Advance tickets are now required, and reservations will become available online at 9 a.m. PT on May 5.
  • The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas will reopen on Thursday, May 6. The center is dedicated to legendary author John Steinbeck who was born and raised in Monterey County’s agricultural hub. Steinbeck drew on his experience growing up in the region for novels such as “Cannery Row” and its sequel “Sweet Thursday.”
  • WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca announced its 2021 line-up of events kicking off with the GEICO Motorcycle MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest at Monterey from July 9-11. Tickets are on sale now with anticipation that spectators will be able to attend all events at the world-famous race track.

SEASONAL SECRETS

  • Spring is one of the best times to visit Pinnacles National Park where adventurers can enjoy mild temperatures and a variety of wildflowers. Hoping to spot a magnificent California condor? Set out for a hike on the strenuous 8.4-mile High Peaks-Balconies Loop or opt for the Bench Trail’s spotting scopes in the early morning or early evening.
  • Kayak Connection’s Starlight Bioluminescence Tour in Moss Landing starts before sunset for easy viewing of resident marine life frolicking and feeding at dusk. Once the sun goes down, visitors enjoy the glow while paddling through the bioluminescent waters.
  • May is the prime month to spot Pacific Grove’s majestic purple phenomenon, dubbed the “Purple Carpet.” View thousands of magenta ice plants take over the coastline along Ocean View Boulevard by foot, bike, car or boat.
  • A renowned whale-watching destination, Monterey County offers visitors the opportunity to see the great gray whale migration and the return of the humpback whales to the Monterey Bay this spring. The spring season also brings greater sightings of killer whales to the area as well. Book a whale watching tour from Monterey or Moss Landing.
  • There is no better place to kick off the start of Rosé season than sunny Carmel Valley. Located in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, Carmel Valley wineries offer an abundance of varieties with several specializing in Grenache Rose. Must-tries include the sparkling Rosé at Folktale Winery and Vineyards.

LATEST LODGING OFFERS

  • Monterey Tides is offering guests up to 30 percent off stays now through May 27, 2021 with its Spring Savings by The Sea promotion. The beach becomes guests’ backyard during a stay at the centrally located boutique property. Head to nearby Monterey State Beach, Del Monte Beach or Sand City Beach to grab a moment in the sun.
  • Book a stay at Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Horizon Inn & Ocean View Lodge and enjoy the properties Mindful by the Beach program hosted in partnership with Monterey Bay Meditation Studio. Free to guests every Monday in April, the program includes a guided 45-minute Mindfulness Session at Carmel Beach followed by light refreshments and wine around a bonfire.
  • Now through June 30, 2021, the Hofsas House Hotel is offering a “sweet” deal to guests. Stay for at least two nights and receive a box of locally made Lula’s Chocolates and a Hofsas House tote bag. Indicate “Sweet Internet Special” when reserving online or calling to make a reservation.
  • Nestled between Monterey Bay and the Marina Dunes Preserve, the ultra-romantic Sanctuary Beach Resort in Marina is offering a Love, Stay & Namaste package including overnight accommodations, a private beach yoga session, chilled sparkling wine and breakfast delivered to the property’s private beachfront cottages.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton in Seaside is offering a Stay & Play package complete with 36 holes of golf at Bayonet and Black Horse. Overlooking the Monterey Bay, the course was built in the 1950s by General Bob McClure and has since been the host site of two PGA Professional Championships.

Visitors are encouraged to travel responsibly in Monterey County by following all current health and safety guidelines and respecting the area’s iconic landscapes by staying on trails and leaving no trace behind. For more information on eventshotel special offers, promotions, and to learn more ways to grab your moment now, visit SeeMonterey.com/NOW.

SOURCE Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Regent Seven Seas Cruises® Announces Return to Sailing with Seven Seas Splendor’s® Inaugural Season

Originally Planned European Sailings Anticipated to Go Ahead with First Voyage Around the UK Multi-Layered SailSAFE™ Health & Safety Program Implemented to Guide Restart

MIAMI, April 28, 2021  — Regent Seven Seas Cruises® today announced its return to sailing with Seven Seas Splendor cruising from the UK beginning September 2021. The voyage will mark the cruise line’s return to service, as well as Seven Seas Splendor’s inaugural season, with the ship having only completed two cruises with guests after being christened in February 2020. With a phased return to sailing for the rest of the fleet, luxury travelers will soon be able to once again enjoy the unrivaled Regent experience with the peace of mind that comes with the multi-layered SailSAFE™ health and safety program.

“Come September we will have the double celebration of our return to the seas as we also recommence the inaugural season of the ship that perfects luxury, Seven Seas Splendor,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “With immaculate design, luxurious suites, exquisite cuisine, dynamic entertainment and outstanding personalized service, Seven Seas Splendor was one of the most highly-anticipated ships to launch in the history of cruising, and my promise to our loyal and eager guests is that without a doubt she will be worth the wait.”

Seven Seas Splendor will be Regent’s first ship to return to the ocean

The cruise line intends to preserve originally planned itineraries, as much as the global health environment at the time allows, presenting guests with the exceptional cruise and destination experience which they have come to expect from Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The first cruise in her inaugural season has Seven Seas Splendor scheduled to set sail September 11, 2021 for an 11-night voyage, round-trip from Southampton, England visiting Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. After her initial voyage, the ship will transition to explore the beautiful Mediterranean before crossing the Atlantic to sail in the Caribbean. While many of her sailings are already sold out, there are still opportunities to cruise later in Seven Seas Splendor’s European season, and in the Caribbean early 2022.

To ensure a smooth and safe resumption of operations, the remainder of the Regent fleet’s return to sailing will be announced at future dates, with voyage suspensions now extended through September 30, 2021 for Seven Seas Explorer®Seven Seas Mariner®Seven Seas Navigator®, and Seven Seas Voyager®. In conjunction with today’s announcement, Seven Seas Splendor’s voyages are suspended up until her September 11, 2021 voyage from Southampton.

Multi-Layered SailSAFE Health & Safety Program

During its voluntary suspension of sailings, Regent Seven Seas Cruises built upon its existing comprehensive health and safety protocols by establishing the SailSAFE health and safety program, a robust and science-backed strategy that creates multiple layers of protection against COVID-19. The Program was developed with guidance from a team of public health and scientific experts including the SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council.

“The well-being of our guests, crew and communities we visit has always been of paramount importance, and our SailSAFE health and safety program ensures it continues to be without diminishing the guest experience,” continued Montague. “Offering unrivaled space at sea, our ships perfectly balance safety with comfort and freedom through spacious suites, multiple gourmet dining options and expansive social areas.”

By visiting RSSC.com/HealthSafetyProtocols, guests and Travel Partners can see an overview of current requirements to sail – such as all guests and crew being fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure and having universal testing – all which the cruise line believes will provide a uniquely safe and healthy vacation experience. The cruise line has confirmed that these and other requirements will be in place until a time when the protocols can be confidently adjusted, and that Regent will constantly monitor the global health environment to protect the safety and security of guests, crew and communities visited. Specific requirements to sail will be communicated directly to guests closer to the time of sailing.

For more information please visit RSSC.com, call 1-844-4REGENT (1-844-873-2381) or contact a professional travel advisor.

SOURCE Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Harry Potter New York To Open Its Doors For A Magical Shopping Experience On June 3, 2021

Beginning June 3, Harry Potter fans will be able to visit the official Harry Potter flagship store in the heart of New York City next to the iconic Flatiron building at 935 Broadway

NEW YORK, April 20, 2021  — Harry Potter New York will set a new standard for themed retail, combining breath-taking design, exquisite craftsmanship, hand-crafted props, exciting interactive elements and exclusive products – inviting fans to experience the Wizarding World in a brand-new way. Spanning three floors and over 21,000 sq. ft., the store will house the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products under one roof.

Harry Potter New York features 15 different themed areas, each one carefully and uniquely presented to bring the magic of the Wizarding World to life.

(PRNewsfoto/Warner Bros. Studio Tour London)

Opening with a virtual queueing system in place, when customers visit the store, they will scan a QR code to join the virtual queue and return when notified. Upon physically entering the store, customers will pass under a huge model of Fawkes the Phoenix gazing down from the ceiling. Fawkes was created especially for Harry Potter New York by a team of specialist propmakers over a number of months, the impressive model weighs over 220lbs and is just one of many painstakingly detailed, handmade props, each one created to surprise and delight customers as they explore.

Stepping inside Harry Potter New York, witches, wizards and Muggles will encounter a number of exciting experiences. Fans are invited to strike their best pose at one of many photo opportunities, including posing inside a London phone box for a photo as if transporting themselves into the Ministry of Magic, or even seeing themselves as if they were inside Hagrid’s boots! For those who have always dreamed of bringing their favorite Harry Potter character to life, the interactive wand table lets them pick up a wand and put it to the test.

Harry Potter New York will incorporate digital technologies throughout the store including integration with the Harry Potter Fan Club app. Users will find a number of Enchanted Keys throughout the store that unlock exclusive behind-the-scenes facts, figures, and videos that bring the store to life.

Also available for fans will be two exciting and immersive multiplayer virtual reality experiences. The full sensory VR adventures are location based, allowing real-time interactive exploration of the Wizarding World as never before. “Chaos at Hogwarts” lets hopeful witches and wizards step into a magical journey to Hogwarts Castle and become part of the adventure where magical creatures and secrets await. Fans will need their wands at the ready as “Wizards Take Flight” prepares guests to fly on brooms with the thrills of a magical wand battle against Death Eaters over the skies of London and around the enchanting grounds of Hogwarts Castle. The “Chaos At Hogwarts” and “Wizards Take Flight” virtual reality experiences are scheduled to open in-store this summer with more details to be revealed soon.

Looking for a gift? What to get the fan who has everything? The Personalization Area offers a huge amount of inspiration and unique products. Fans can bring their fandom to life and choose from a host of personalisation options, including engraving a wand, embossing a journal or embroidering a House robe with their name.

Aspiring witches and wizards will be able to browse for Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans in an area inspired by the whimsical surroundings of Honeydukes. Once they have taken a look at the goodies on offer, they can stop under the Dirigible Plum tree, a special area where they can find their favorite magical creature soft toy.

(PRNewsfoto/Warner Bros. Studio Tour London)

Usually found guarding the entrance to Dumbledore’s office, every aspiring Hogwarts student will recognize the majestic Griffin rotating in the store’s grand main atrium. From here, fans will be invited into the Wand Shop to browse over 50 wands inspired by characters, locations and props from the Wizarding World, including the Golden Snitch wand, exclusive to Harry Potter New York.

“The level of artistic detail and quality of the design inspired by the movies means Harry Potter New York will bring a completely new shopping experience to the city,’ said Sarah Roots, EVP Warner Bros. Worldwide Tours and Retail. ‘With over 1,000 Wizarding World props on display (including some authentic items which featured in the movies), the incredible theming, along with experiences such as photo opportunities and the fantastic range of products, there will be something special for every fan.”

In addition, the store will be home to America’s only House of MinaLima. Within the walls of Harry Potter New York, MinaLima, the graphic design duo on all Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies, will create a gallery and store showcasing the graphic art of the Wizarding World. Fans will discover prints of the Daily Prophet covers, Harry’s Hogwarts acceptance letter and the Quibbler, all hand designed by MinaLima in a space modeled after their iconic London shop.

Alongside the main collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products, fans will be able to choose from a range of brand collaborations including Spirit Jerseys, Loungefly handbags and many other fan-favorite ranges including Pottery Barn Teen.

Keen to check out what’s available before the store opens its doors? While this magical store is having the finishing touches added at 935 Broadway, a hand-selected range of products are available to purchase from the Harry Potter Shop at www.harrypottershop.com.

More exciting details will be revealed between now and the official opening. Store imagery can be found here. Fans can keep up to date by following Harry Potter New York’s social channels or signing up to our newsletter. 

Follow the magic at on Facebook Twitter and Instagram and follow #HarryPotterNY


COVID-19 – The store will follow all CDC guidelines, opening at a reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing can be maintained throughout. All customers will be required to wear a face covering when visiting the store.

Anticipating a huge surge in post-vaccination travel, Expedia announces new direction in brand positioning

SEATTLE, April 19, 2021– Building on its 25 years as one of the world’s leading full-service travel companies, today, Expedia Brand announces a new direction as the world prepares for the return of travel demand. Launching a new global positioning grounded in the understanding that who you travel with matters, today marks the beginning of Expedia’s journey in becoming the ultimate travel companion, helping travelers every step of the way.

Expedia’s renewed commitment to travelers comes on the heels of what has arguably been one of the toughest years for the travel industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of conducting deep customer research to understand and address critical traveler pain points, the new positioning marks a pivotal moment for the brand as it looks to overhaul its business to better cater to travelers who value maximizing their time and want to get the most out of their overall travel experience. From an updated look and feel to enhanced product offerings, Expedia is looking to double down on efforts to deliver on travelers’ evolving wants and needs in a post-pandemic world.

“For the past 25 years, we’ve been focused on volume and transactions as our way of growing our business. What we’ve found however, over the past year, is that our customers want more from a travel company. They want a trusted partner who is there with them every step of the way, supporting them to ensure they get the most out of their trips,” said Shiv Singh, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Expedia Brand.

“Like many travel brands, COVID-19 has forced us all to look inwards and reflect on who we are as a brand and what that means to our consumers. It became clear to us that in order for our travelers to have an amazing trip, it matters who they travel with, and we need to understand the important role we play in being that partner,” said Singh. “As travelers adjust to the new norms post-COVID, we must adjust as well, and this is just the first chapter in a multi-year journey to really deliver against our mission of being a brand that is there for travelers from start to finish.”

FRESH LOOK AND EXPERIENCE
At the heart of the rebrand is a refresh of Expedia’s platform experience across its award-winning mobile app and more than 70 websites. The new home screens reflect a clear and simple layout, with product features that will empower travelers to build a complete trip that suits their needs and interests, bringing together multiple trip elements seamlessly. Along with the ability to purchase flights, lodging, cars, activities and more on a single platform, Expedia introduces a series of updates aligned to its brand vision of being the ultimate travel companion:

1.  Everything in one place:

  • A new itinerary experience now allows travelers to see all the details of their trip in one place, be it on the mobile app or web, saving time and making future travel planning convenient for those who recognize the value in booking all of their travel elements on a single platform.
  • Available now on the Expedia mobile app, travelers have the ability to pick up where they left off with a ‘keep planning’ feature that plays back recent searches as well as recent bookings to help travelers build a complete trip.
  • Expedia will soon be launching a new package offering that will provide ‘pre-bundled products’ (flights + accommodation + activities) with upfront total pricing, reducing the stress of sifting through thousands of options while still allowing for easy customization such as adding or removing travel components.

2.  Support from start to finish:

  • Today marks the beginning of a new journey for the evolution of the insurance offering at Expedia, which will evolve over the coming months with a vision to unlock an industry-leading customer experience. Over the course of the year, Expedia will simplify the insurance experience including translating the policy wording into easy-to-digest content, improving the process of submitting claims through clear steps on documents required as well as the status and next steps once a claim is submitted. It also means enhancing coverage, adding broader functionality and delivering value in real-time by monitoring the events of a user’s trip journey for claim eligibility.
  • Expedia will also continue to invest in its virtual agent platform. Through the ‘one-click cancel’ function, travelers can cancel their entire trip or ask the virtual agent questions about their itinerary, including viewing the health and hygiene information for a particular hotel for fast resolution and no wait times.
  • To help travelers discover and experience more of the destination, travelers can now see the popular activities near their accommodation on the accommodation details page. The activities will be available post-booking and in-trip to help travelers easily identify ways to continue maximizing their trip.

3.  Getting the most out of every trip:

  • Today Expedia announces that its Expedia Rewards program will be simplified by merging with the existing account setup process, allowing 25 million travelers who were not already enrolled in Expedia’s loyalty program to start earning points on travel experiences the next time they log in. Expedia will be introducing additional benefits to the Expedia Rewards loyalty program over the course of the year making it easier for travelers to understand how they can earn and use points while providing a richer program offering.
  • In an effort to help travelers find the right flight and fare type to deliver the best travel experience that suits their needs, Expedia recently embarked on a new flight shopping experience to provide travelers with a clear view of their flight options so they can make informed choices. Whether it’s knowing if a carry-on bag is allowed or seat selection is available, these small details are incredibly important to travelers and a clear opportunity for Expedia to help customers find the best flight experience.
  • Expedia recently launched the ability to shop by lodging amenities – a first for the travel industry. Previously, many of the features included in each room rate were bundled such as parking or a complimentary breakfast, making it difficult for travelers to compare and fully understand what they were getting in their booking. Travelers can now shop with confidence as Expedia explicitly calls out the difference in pricing for amenities to take the guesswork out of what’s included in a displayed rate.

REIMAGINING TRAVEL
Alongside platform enhancements, Expedia will be unveiling its new global creative across multiple touchpoints supported by the brand’s largest marketing spend in more than five years. Using a singular creative platform and a new tagline “It matters who you travel with” travelers will see the idea of Expedia as the ultimate travel companion come through in unique ways across various channels, creating a cohesive message that will resonate as people start traveling again.

A new approach for 2021, the U.S. film creative will feature American actor, writer, director and producer, Rashida Jones, and the U.K. and European spots will feature English actor Naomie Harris. Both will serve as perfect representations of Expedia’s new brand attributes – intuitive, travel-savvy and positive.

Using relatable and empowering individuals such as Jones and Harris, the global creative puts companionship at the core of its narrative. Through the creative’s brilliant scripting and song-writing, Jones and Harris will engage with travelers to deliver inspiration and support in an upbeat and uplifting way. The result is an anthem spot that highlights the importance of being an empowering travel companion for all.

“Our new brand positioning acts as a promise to the traveler who wants to be engaged by possibilities, but now more than ever needs to feel supported throughout their journey. We know that people want to get back to travel, we want them to feel confident in the travel experience they can have with Expedia.” concludes Singh. 

View the new creative here, and follow Expedia on InstagramFacebookTwitter and YouTube for campaign updates and behind-the-scenes videos from its latest creative.

SOURCE Expedia.com

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