After more than two years, the CDC has dropped its Travel Health Notice for cruising.
The move comes soon after the CDC moved cruising to Level 2 from Level 3 on its risk scale. Since cruising resumed, lines have followed protocols put in place by special advisory panels they convened to minimize passengers’ risk of contracting COVID. The “decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to altogether remove the Travel Health Notice for cruising recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land, for the first time since March 2020,” Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement.
The CDC will maintain a color-coded database on individual ships that operate in U.S. waters. Only one ship has opted out of the program, while 108 have opted in. All but three have a status designation of “highly vaccinated,” as most cruise lines require passengers to be fully vaccinated to sail.
With destinations all over the world removing restrictions, cruise lines are gearing up to run their full fleets for an in-demand year. Alaska is set to see a full cruise season for the first time since 2019. With Canadian ports welcoming ships once more, autumn foliage cruises will be in full swing. Other popular cruise destinations such as Australia and New Zealand have recently announced reopening plans. Lines are unveiling 2023-24 world cruise itineraries and selling out in mere days.
if you haven’t started planning, you’d be wise to contact your travel advisor now. As always, your advisor will keep you up to date on requirements for your cruise line or tour operator and the destinations you’re visiting.
As more destinations open, we’re thrilled to make your travel dreams come true. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead to ensure the best possible experience.
After a lost summer season in 2020, the wild frontiers of Alaska were able to salvage a partial season last year, with great success. This year at least figures to offer a full summer of adventure — although you don’t have to limit your Alaska explorations to the warmer months. Alaska’s autumn colors are just as spectacular as any you’ll see in the Lower 48, and the longer nights increase your chances of spotting Northern Lights. Cruising is the most common way people get around, and the Inside Passage does indeed showcase the state’s spectacular landscapes
and wildlife, but it’s not the only way. Boutique lodges can be a fabulous way to explore Alaska’s interior and less-trafficked waterways.
Believe it or not, you’re not too late for the summer season. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering a two-category suite upgrade plus $1,000 shipboard credit and 50% reduced deposits on select voyages. The special also includes select 2023 departures and goes through June 30 of this year, so if you do miss or your summer schedule is already full, there’s plenty of opportunity to explore Alaska’s vast wilderness.
Shore excursions take you into the heart of the wild, with nature hikes and 4×4 safaris, ocean rafting and kayaking and on the search for wildlife, from otters to raptors to bears. There’s also a boatload of history, from Russian America to the Gold Rush to explore. From the ship, you’ll be amazed by the sheer size and majesty of Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay, and if you’re lucky enough you can spot whales doing bubble-net feeding and a pod of orcas cruising by.
Base yourself on land, and you can spend several days among some of the best concentrations of brown bears in the world or stay at an adventure lodge and fill your days with fishing, glacier trekking and helicopter excursions, with daily cooking classes and naturalist-guided hikes closer to home. A scenic train ride from Anchorage (nearly 8 hours) or Talkeetna (a little over 4 hours) brings you to Denali National Park. There, canoeing, fishing and hiking abound, and you can journey by bus about 95 miles into the park to watch moose, bears and wolves, or by small plane to the north face of Denali, whose peak tops 20,000 feet. Alaska’s one of the 50 states, sure, but it’s a world away from ordinary life.
Where to stay
Set on the edge of the wilderness, rustic luxury can be found at Stillpoint Lodge located on the water edge on a private peninsula in Halibut Cove, easily accessed from Homer by boat or directly by floatplane or helicopter. Surrounded by Alaska’s only state wilderness park, this secluded, eco-friendly outpost welcomes guests to enjoy a selection of one, and two-bedroom comfortably refined rustic cabins decorated with rich bedding and luxury amenities. Enjoy a day of adventure like bear viewing or kayaking the glacier lake, sample the lodge’s 500-bottle wine cellar, and relax in the cedar hot tub with the soothing sounds of a nearby waterfall.
Tutka Bay Lodge
Tutka Bay Lodge is at the entrance to a nine-mile fjord at the southern end of Kachemak Bay, near Homer, Alaska. Watch whales and sea otters as eagles soar overhead. In the main lodge, guests gather for award-winning cuisine. Try hiking through a magical old-growth forest or sea kayaking, before settling into a cooking class in the evening. The lodge offers guided deep-sea fishing or bear viewing on the Katmai Coast and evening wildlife tours on the bay. Six cozy cabins offer sweeping views and rustic seaside luxury. Tutka Bay Lodge offers complimentary massage, yoga, cooking classes, as well as wine and cheese tastings in its peaceful cove.
Situated on the western edge of the Alaska Range, Winterlake Lodge immerses you into wild, rugged mountains and glaciers. Nestled on 15 acres along mile 198 of the historic Iditarod Trail, the lodge overlooks peaceful Finger Lake – where guests arrive by floatplane in the summer and ski-plane in the winter. Fly-fish or raft remote rivers, travel by helicopter to dramatic active glaciers for summer dogsledding, or hike historic trails with opportunities to potentially view Mount Denali, North America’s tallest peak. All guests receive complimentary massage, yoga, cooking classes, and wine & cheese tastings.
Fairmont Pacific Rim
On the waterfront in the heart of Vancouver, Fairmont Pacific Rim offers expansive views of the North Shore Mountains, Stanley Park, and Coal Harbour. Each of the 367 guest rooms is exceptional but stay on the Fairmont Gold floor for its exclusive lounge, butler service, and
evening canapés. Delight in the offerings of Willow Stream Spa, discover Vancouver on concierge-crafted itineraries, or settle into a cabana around the rooftop pool. For dining, enjoy one of three distinct destinations: Giovane cafe + eatery + market; The Lobby Lounge and Raw Bar, featuring live nightly music; or Botanist, Vancouver’s hottest new restaurant.