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  • Introducing The Disney Wish

    8/2/2022 1:47:19 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    All aboard! The Disney Wish has officially made its grand debut and is sailing the high seas!

    From bow to stern, guests will find more enchanting offerings than ever before on Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, including AquaMouse, the first Disney attraction at sea; family dining adventures themed to “Frozen” and Marvel; an immersive tour of the galaxy at Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge … plus two original Broadway-style stage productions, new deck parties, imaginative clubs for kids of all ages, an expanded collection of experiences exclusively for adults and, of course, spectacular fireworks at sea.

    Take a look at this exclusive video for a special glimpse at the all-new storytelling, one-of-a-kind entertainment and innovative “firsts” families will experience aboard our stunning new ship.

    Visit https://youtu.be/oMJIrnbdpvM

  • Your Canceled-Flight Emergency Kit
    Here’s what to pack before you head to the airport — literally and figuratively

    7/27/2022 2:16:05 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Photo by Ben Gareatt-Unsplash

    By Courtney Beesch
    July 21, 2022 at 2:39 p.m. EDT

    If you’re not prepared to face cancellations or delays on your next trip to the airport, you may not have heard the news: Summer travel is hell. Airlines continue to deal with staffing shortages, downsized routes and summer storms, which has upped the chances you may not get to your final destination on time — or at all.

    If nothing else, the trials of this unpredictable travel landscape have taught travelers to expect the unexpected. But if you aren’t prepared to be stuck in limbo, consider this your one-stop shop for everything you need before you head out for your next flight.

    Book and fly direct

    You should prepare for cancellations and delays before you even arrive at the airport. In fact, do it as soon as you’re booking a flight. Phil Dengler, co-founder of travel blog the Vacationer, says start by booking directly with the airline rather than a third party.

    “If your flight gets canceled, you’re going to want to talk to a customer service agent. Book directly with the airline so you have access to them in case something goes wrong,” Dengler says. And, if you can, while you’re booking your flight avoid flights with layovers. More stops only increases the likelihood of travel chaos, he says.

    Booking one of the first flights of the day is also key. Cancellations and delays have a domino effect, and flying early will decrease your chances of issues — and give you more flight options later in the day if you do run into problems.

    Use technology to your advantage

    Dengler and Heather Poole, a flight attendant for American Airlines, both gave the same advice: Download the airline’s app, and be ready to get on Twitter if your flight is canceled. The airline apps can alert you to gate changes and cancellations before the information has made it to the gate agent. And once a flight is canceled, direct messaging an airline’s Twitter account can be the quickest way to speak to someone as companies continue to deal with hours-long hold times on the phone.

    Airline apps can also help you avoid lines at the check-in counter by allowing you to download your boarding pass to your phone, pick your seat, upload documents and even now check your bag. Alaska Airlines announced this week that it will allow customers to register their checked luggage before they get to the airport and transfer their flight information to electronic bag tags through an app.

    Plus, if your flight is canceled, the airline’s app will probably be the fastest way to see what other flights the airline has available.

    Know your rights

    For a flight arriving or departing from the United States, you are entitled to a refund if your flight is canceled or significantly delayed and you choose not to take another option, under Department of Transportation rules. It also applies if you are involuntarily downgraded to a lower-tier service than what you paid for. There are no laws requiring U.S. airlines to provide hotels, meal vouchers or other services beyond the cost of the flight, but you should always ask your airline what it can do. These services usually need to be requested in person at the airport, not on the phone or online.

    You’re also entitled to compensation if you have been denied boarding because your flight was overbooked and you didn’t volunteer to give up your seat. Airlines are allowed to overbook flights, and there is no minimum they must offer when asking travelers if anyone is willing to take a later flight. Recently, passengers have reported that airlines have been offering thousands for people to volunteer to be bumped from flights.

    If you are involuntarily bumped, airlines should give you a form detailing your rights for compensation, which is often tied to when you get to your final destination. Keep in mind, most airlines require you to be checked in or at the gate by a certain time to be eligible for compensation beyond the cost of the flight.

    Rules for compensation differ around the world. For flights within Europe, regulation E.U. 261 lays out compensation rules and assistance for passengers if their flight is canceled or delayed, or if they’re not able to board.

    If your flight is arriving or departing from a European Union airport, you are entitled to up to 600 euros for long delays or cancellations. And if your flight is delayed for more than two hours, you are entitled to meals.

    There is a checklist of requirements for the cause of the delay that has to be met to claim compensation — passengers need to be checked in on time, the airline must be responsible for the delay and the flight must have taken off or landed in the E.U., to name a few. Airlines don’t need to provide compensation under “extraordinary circumstances,” which include bad weather and security risks, among other things.

    Bring costly essentials

    If you are going to be stuck at the airport, you’ll want to be to use all your devices. An external battery might set you back $30 or more, but it will be worth it knowing you won’t have to fight for outlet space or be tethered to a wall if you need to rebook on your phone or use it to entertain yourself.

    Also, airport food is expensive. Even if you’re unphased by the price, there is no guarantee options will be open as airports deal with the staffing shortages. “A peanut butter and jelly is going to taste 1,000 times better than anything you’re going to get on the plane,” Poole said. As a flight attendant, she often carries oatmeal, tuna, crackers and almonds.

    Lastly, having a book, magazine or other non-electronic form of entertainment can help occupy the time when you can’t use your phone.

    Be kind

    A canceled flight doesn’t make anyone happy. Fellow travelers are frustrated, and airlines have fewer people on staff right now to deal with heightened emotions. Poole, noting her 25 years of experience, said, “Just a smile will go so far. Like a please and a thank you. Now more than ever, you just want to do anything for the person that is nice."

    “It’s just so rare to have somebody who is calm and patient and kind,” she said. “If I could do anything for someone like that, I will go out of my way.”

  • Disney Cruise Line Isn’t Just For Kids!

    7/18/2022 4:59:37 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Aboard Disney Wish, guests will discover adult-friendly lounges across the ship with unique, Disney touches and delicious libations.

    Which one are you checking out first? Let us know the comments & check out our stories for more details on these incredible spaces!

    Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge

    The Rose

    The Bayou


    Keg & Compass

    Infused with more Disney storytelling than ever before, the enchanting ship is filled with one-of-a-kind entertainment and innovative firsts. These include the first Disney attraction at sea, family dining adventures themed to “Frozen” and Marvel, an immersive tour of the Star Wars galaxy, interactive virtual quests that unlock hidden magic around every corner, original Broadway-style stage productions, signature fireworks at sea, a real-life wonderland for kids, an expanded collection of experiences exclusively for adults, and more.

    The Disney Wish will sail its maiden voyage on July 14, followed by a season of three- and four-night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, from Port Canaveral, Florida.

  • Onboard the Disney Wish: A Fairytale-Inspired Castle Floating on the Seas

    7/11/2022 3:55:24 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Welcome Aboard everyone!

    The Disney Wish has finally made its grand debut. Stay tune as we give you an exclusive look at this innovative and imaginative ship.

    And what better place to start than in the Grand Hall, the enchanting centerpiece of the ship?

    This fairy-tale-inspired space is a tribute to the story of Cinderella and includes a beautiful bronze statue of the beloved princess, stained-glass embellishments in her signature colors and icons from the Disney film classic that guests can discover in unexpected places including the carpeting, metalwork and light fixtures.

    So, let’s talk about the literal star of the show — the chandelier! This glittering icon was designed with magical enchantment in mind and is actually a dazzling wishing star that comes to life in wondrous ways throughout the voyage … especially when guests step inside for the first time. Every child coming aboard will receive their own wishing wand, which they will use to make the “First Wish” of their vacation during a special boarding celebration.

    This re-imagined atrium will even evolve in a completely new way during every sailing, transforming from a classic fairytale gathering space into a thrilling theater through the magic of built-in special effects. The Grand Hall features the first-ever atrium stage on a Disney ship, and hosts dedicated shows and interactive entertainment that puts guests front and center as they play a special role in the magic.

    From the grand staircase and the starry, shimmering chandelier above … to the ornate stage, dedicated shows and interactive entertainment … this new venue is the perfect space for wishes to come true. Wish away!

    Be sure to stay tuned here the next few weeks as we continue to take you onboard!

  • Cirque Du Soleil’s New Show Mad Apple Comes to New York - New York Hotel & Casino

    6/30/2022 5:50:37 AM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Travelers looking to experience the adventure of Mad Apple for themselves can catch the show several times a week with tickets starting at just $49.

    Think you know the Big Apple? You’ve never seen it like this before. Introducing Cirque du Soleil’s exciting new Las Vegas production Mad Apple, a delicious cocktail of music, comedy, magic and mayhem that brings the magic of NYC to Sin City. Hosted by New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Mad Apple features a star-studded cast including Comedian Brad Williams, Freestyle Rapper Chris Turner and Vocalist Xharlie Black alongside 39 talented cast members.

    “Mad Apple will deliver a night of joy and entertainment with the thrilling backdrop of New York City,” said Simon Painter, Mad Apple concept co-creator and executive producer. “We’ve taken inspiration from the city’s rich musical history, legendary comedy scene and unrivaled nightlife, and combined it with the wow factor of Cirque du Soleil to create an experience that will feel like a giant party from start to finish.”

    Travelers can expect an eventful evening with pre-show magic and boozy libations at the stunning stage bar, a live band playing hits inspired by New York’s greatest musicians and composers, daring circus acts and electrifying entertainment designed to pay homage to NYC’s unique nightlife culture. Divided into six brash acts, this show is unlike anything Cirque du Soleil has ever done before.

    “We’re excited to share a completely reimagined experience from Cirque du Soleil with a show that fuses the spirit and creativity of the two ‘Cities that Never Sleep’,” said Eric Grilly, Cirque du Soleil president of resident and affiliate show divisions. “Cirque has long been known for celebrating the limits of human ability and Mad Apple will continue this revered tradition. To this, we’re adding acts and artists you wouldn’t expect to find on a Cirque du Soleil stage. The end result will be exactly what we’re known for — creative, astonishing and enjoyable live entertainment.”

    The staff at New York-New York is excited too with President & COO Mike Neubecker saying, “There couldn’t be a better fit for a resort inspired by New York City than Mad Apple. We are beyond thrilled to welcome this new evolution of Cirque du Soleil and know our guests will be in for the time of their lives.”

  • What is Juneteenth?

    6/14/2022 3:49:37 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    On June 17 of last year, President Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth, June 19, a federal holiday.

    The signing followed George Floyd’s May 2020 murder and an often-painful national focus on issues surrounding race in America. It was during this time that Juneteenth earned an unprecedented recent focus.

    Yet many Americans are unaware of the events the holiday commemorates and of its incalculable significance to Black Americans.

    Fortunately, there are many ways to learn more about Juneteenth and its central place in U.S. history through travel to sites from the East Coast and to Western states.

    What is Juneteenth?

    President Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Emancipation Proclamation declared that as of January 1, 1863 “all persons held as slaves” in Confederate states during the U.S. Civil War “are and henceforward shall be free.

    But the executive order went largely unenforced in Southern states. Geographically isolated from Union military forces, Texas became a refuge for slaveholders who circumvented the order and concealed the war’s end and the Emancipation Proclamation from 250,000 enslaved people.

    As war raged, Union troops did not enforce the Proclamation in many southern states until January of 1863. A full two years later, the last battle ended with General Edmund Kirby’s June 2, 1865 defeat in Galveston, Texas. Kirby’s surrender came eight weeks after Robert E. Lee’s at Appomattox, Va.

    The U.S. finally took action on June 19. Leading 2,000 troops, Gen. Gordon Granger read “General Order No. 3,” at several Galveston locations, including the “Negro Church on Broadway,” as Reedy Chapel-AME Church was then known.

    Reedy Chapel AMC Church, Galveston Texas

    Granger announced that all enslaved people were free and the Civil War had ended. African Americans rejoiced in the streets following the announcement.

    Granger’s troops later reprinted and circulated General Order No. 3 across Texas' Gulf Coast and across its eastern region, where 40 percent African Americans were located by the war’s end.

    “Jubilee Day” and Juneteenth
    A year after the announcement, Black Galveston residents organized Texas’ first official emancipation celebration, which they called “Jubilee Day.” The organizers also used the events to inform their fellow Black citizens of their voting rights and guidelines. By 1872, the holiday was known as “Emancipation Day” and “Juneteenth.”

    While it originated in Texas, sites tied to Juneteenth history range across the U.S., from the east coast to western states.

    Make Plans Now

    To join our 2023 Juneteenth Celebration as we Journey Along the Civil Rights Trail and Walk In The Footsteps Of Giants. Saturday, June 17, 2023 for 9 days/8 nights. Includes 14 meals, Accommodations, Expert Travel Director, and Professional Driver. With visits to Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

    Travel to the American South and immerse yourself in its music, art, food and stories, while meeting locals, exploring the sights and hearing moving first-hand stories from the Civil Rights Movement. Meet activists, visit museums, devour delicious cuisine and pay your respects on this vibrant cultural journey.

    For more information visit https://bit.ly/3O6Xkgs or call Tyus Tours & Travel at 866-547-5362.

  • “Tings” to Do in Jamaica to “Feel the Love”

    6/8/2022 12:11:24 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    As Jamaica readies itself to celebrate 60 years of independence, there’s no time like the present to pay homage to the nation that made it easy to “feel the love.” And best of all, there’s no shortage of ways to do so. The only thing about this island that runs longer than the miles of gorgeous Caribbean shoreline are ways to enjoy it. Here’s how you start.

    Channel Your Inner (or Outer!) Child

    There’s a lot to evoke wonder in Jamaica—enough to leave adults as wide-eyed as children. Between its natural beauty and adventure, it’s a wholesome family destination with a lot of opportunities for enrichment and personal growth.

    For instance, take the kids for an up close and personal experience in the wilds of the lush jungle via bobsled or sky lift. Or have them board a bamboo raft and slowly glide through the lush greenery lining the Martha Brae River, slowly enough to identify endemic birds flitting overhead. For something a bit more strenuous (because what parent can’t use the downtime a tuckered-out kid provides?), how about hiking 7,000 miles above sea level? You yourself can catch your second wind trying famous Blue Mountain coffee at its source while the young ones take a dip in the cooling rivers just off the trail.

    Eat Your Heart Out

    Jamaican cuisine is a treasure and a treat, far beyond its most famous dishes. Everyone has heard of Jamaican jerk seasoning, most commonly used on chicken here in the U.S., and there are chain restaurants devoted to Jamaican patties. Now think about how good that is and amplify that to get an idea of how delicious the real deals are.

    When you visit, go beyond these famous dishes and make sure to sample other authentic icons as well. Personally, I get excited about callaloo, a spinach-like leafy green. Get you some grater cake, which is more accurately a candy but named so for its use of shaved coconut meat, or end your meal with Portuguese-inspired gizzada, another coconut treat. These little tarts are filled with sweet and spiced coconut filling and also known as pinch-me-rounds. Pick up some Busta candy for an instant pick-me-up on your adventures. It’s named after the country’s former Prime Minister, Sir Alexander Bustamante.

    Wash it all down with coconut water, Jamaican rum, Red Stripe beer, or chocolate tea, which is made from balls of chocolate grated or dissolved into hot water.

    Take a Plunge … Or Just Watch

    Rick’s Café is one of the most famous stops on the island and one of Amstar DMC’s most often-requested excursions. Located in Negril, this is the spot to answer the question, “if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” And the answer might surprise you—the 35-foot cliff the area’s first public bar and restaurant is set on is actually known for being a perfect spot for doing exactly that. You’ll be only one among hundreds who have taken the plunge if you choose to chase the exhilaration of the waves by leaping into the waters below.

    But of course, that part’s not for everybody, and no judgment here! Get there an hour before sunset to watch the local pros close out the day with a refreshing leap into the Caribbean Sea while you immerse yourself in the dining, the drinking, and the incomparable sunset views of this venue instead. Live bands playing real reggae sink you even deeper into the uniquely irie vibes of your setting.

    Get Wet

    For the happy medium between cliff-diving and beach lounging, it’s a great idea to book a tour through any one (or all!) of Jamaica’s freshwater, aqueous attractions. The island is rife with them, from glorious, swimmable waterfalls on molded rock faces, including the 180-foot Dunn’s River Falls in the north and the natural pools leading up to Mayfield Falls in the west. As we’d already mentioned, taking a raft ride is a lot of fun; drift down the Rio Grand on the eastern side or opt for a little more excitement by embarking on the Black River Safari, where you can go ahead and smile at the crocodiles from the safety of your tour boat.

    Get Lost in Time

    Jamaica may be celebrating six decades of independence, but its history is far more deep-seated than that. The Rose Hall Great House is one of the most legendary attractions of the country, a relic of an era from a century before. Formerly a magnificent 6,600-acre plantation, it was turned into a “hellhouse of atrocities” by the White Witch Annie Palmer, mistress of Rose Hall Great House and alleged murderess of three husbands and countless slaves.

    If you’re not into ghost stories, not to worry. The light isn’t too far from the darkness here, as its immense geographical footprint means you’ll also find mountain villages, luxury villas, plenty of resort hotels, and well-maintained golf courses among the former sugar cane fields.

    For more recent history, and one that’s far more light-hearted, don’t miss the Bob Marley Museum. Set in the former home of this international legend, it’s an exclusive inside peek at his memories, mementos, and even riffs of his favorite flavors, served up at the One Love Café on site.

    Shop 'til You Drop

    With a name like the Hip Strip, how can there be any doubt that there are great goods for the getting right here in Montego Bay? Set on Gloucester Avenue, this is the hottest street in the island nation’s most touristic city. Shopping is set to a soundtrack of local music here, where you can easily pick up typical souvenirs like punny t-shirts, as well as more unique, crafted gifts, such as items made of local wood and seashells, or even fine jewelry. Your best duty-free shopping is also here, and a bustling trade keeps the experience hassle-free and fairly priced.

    To book your Jamaica vacation visit http://bit.ly/2FQXvO5 or call 866-547-5362.

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