Cruise Ships Aren't Covid Jails Anymore—But They Are Being Refused By Some Ports

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/27/2021, 2:45 PM

When Covid-19 was first going global, its early appearance on cruise ships caught scientists and epidemiologists flat-footed. In the spring of 2020, we still weren't precisely sure how the disease spread, and governments had not yet established protocols for dealing with infected visitors. What followed was a public relations meltdown for the cruise industry, as passengers and crew alike were tra...

Sharp Price Increase for U.S. Passports Announced

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 12/21/2021, 7:00 PM

Looks like inflation is also hitting government fees. This week, the U.S. State Department announced that the cost of a passport will go up by 13%. Beginning December 27, a new passport book that previously cost $145 for adults over the age of 16 will jump $20 in price to $165. The cost is also increasing for children under 16, going from $115 to $135.Passport renewal rates rise from $110 to $130...

Disney's New Star Wars Hotel Slammed As "a Galactic Failure"

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/13/2021, 2:00 PM

For years, Americans have watched the price of a Disney vacation climb upward, and yet the parks remained packed. When it came to Disney charging luxury rates, it seemed the sky was the limit. Now we know the limit was actually outer space. Disney's upcoming Star Wars–themed Galactic Starcruiser hotel, for which two-night stays for a family of four start at $6,000, is facing backlash of the First...

New York City Clamps Down on Illegal Airbnb Rentals

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 12/09/2021, 5:00 PM

The New York City Council approved a bill today requiring hosts using Airbnb and similar online platforms to register with the city before renting out their homes for less than 30 days. The measure, which is modeled after regulations in other communities such as Boston and Santa Monica, California, is being put in place to give some teeth to an already existing law in New York that bars most renta...

The Glitchy Genie+/ Lightning Lane System Arrives at Disneyland

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/08/2021, 4:45 PM

In October, Florida's Walt Disney World rolled out its paid version of the formerly free FastPass system, now called Lightning Lane. The Disney company had delayed expanding the new fee system to California's Disneyland resort—but as of Wednesday, December 8, the Genie is out of the bottle. Genie+ and Lightning Lane have arrived in California. Vacationers at Disneyland's two theme parks will now ...

U.S. Extends Mask Mandate on Planes and Shortens Testing Window for Border Arrivals

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/02/2021, 2:00 PM

Passengers will need to continue masking up on U.S. planes, trains, and buses through at least March 18, 2022, the White House announced today. The country's mask mandate for public transportation, which also applies to airports, railway stations, and bus terminals, was set to expire in January, but Pres. Joe Biden extended the requirement as part of a larger plan to fight the ongoing Covid-19 pa...

On Cruises, the Hated Muster Drill Is Dying Out. We Love What's Replacing It

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/01/2021, 11:00 AM

The most hated fixture of cruising—the mandatory in-person safety presentation before departure—is becoming a nuisance of the past. Everyone who has cruised in the United States knows the drill, which is required by law: Just when you've excitedly boarded the ship, settled into your cabin, and found the ideal cocktail bar for a pre-vacation toast, the service windows slam shut and all on board, cr...

"In Danger of Capsizing": Rough Seas Continue for Historic Queen Mary Ship

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/24/2021, 6:00 AM

Things continue to look bad for the Queen Mary, the historic British ocean liner turned Southern California tourist attraction turned floating hotel turned rotting hulk. The ship, which has been moored in Long Beach's Queensway Bay since the Cunard Line put the vessel out of service in 1967, closed to the public in May 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The closure followed a long period of negl...

Cirque du Soleil's New "Drawn to Life" Is the Best Show at Walt Disney World

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 11/22/2021, 9:00 AM

At the end of 2017, French-Canadian entertainment juggernaut Cirque du Soleil closed La Nouba, the family-friendly acrobatics spectacular that played on Walt Disney World resort property for nearly two decades. When the lights went out, Cirque promised that a replacement show was in the works. That was nearly four years ago. Cirque's custom-made arena on the West Side of Disney Springs fell eerily...

For Better or Worse, Booze Will Soon Flow Again on All Major U.S. Airlines

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/17/2021, 1:00 PM

United Airlines has resumed selling hard liquor in the economy cabin on flights of at least 301 miles. Like many other carriers, United went dry during the early weeks of the pandemic in order to minimize contact between flight attendants and passengers and to avoid giving drinkers a reason to lower their masks while on board. But the airline now says contactless payment technology and the feedb...

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