Disney Announces 2020 – Return to Greece & Dubrovnik & New Ports of Call

It is official, after a five-year hiatus  Disney Cruise Line will be returning to Greece the summer of 2020.  Disney will be heading back to Greece with three new Mediterranean voyages, departing out of Rome.  Guests will have the opportunity to choose a 9-night or 12-night adventure aboard the Disney Magic, where guests can marvel at the beautiful landscapes and archeological wonders of destinations like Piraeus, the gateway to Athens; Katakolon, near ancient Olympia; and the islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Crete.  These amazing itineraries also include other incredible destinations in the Mediterranean region such as Messina (Sicily), where guests can visit landmarks such as Mount Etna, the highest most active volcano in Europe, or Piazza del Duomo, the city’s historic center.  The “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik, Croatia is also an option on the 9-night sailing.

There are also additional new ports of call in Europe include Gdynia, Poland; Nordfjordeid, Norway; Plymouth, England; and Zeebrugge, Belgium. This new collection of destinations is part of the Disney Magic’s grand tour of Europe in the summer of 2020, which begins with sailings through the Mediterranean and Greek Isles before heading to northern Europe in late summer for cruises to the Baltic, the British Isles and Norwegian fjords.

Alaskan Adventures
In 2020, the Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer season, opening up a world of breathtaking natural vistas, magnificent glaciers and awe-inspiring wildlife. These seven-night itineraries depart from Vancouver, Canada, with visits to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and Dawes Glacier.

Tropical Travel to the Caribbean and Bahamas
In addition to seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, Florida, the Disney Fantasy will embark on a variety of itineraries to the Caribbean and Bahamas throughout the summer of 2020. These include five- and nine-night Caribbean sailings, along with three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises, two of which feature two stops at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

The Disney Dream will provide even more opportunities for guests to visit Castaway Cay in the summer of 2020 with three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises, including a series of cruises with two calls on the private island paradise.

Guided Experiences with Adventures by Disney
In summer 2020, Disney Cruise Line guests can enrich their cruise vacation with a variety of add-on packages from Adventures by Disney. Highlights include brand-new ways to experience the Caribbean, a return to Alaska and popular packages in northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

When To Book Summer 2020 Itineraries
Platinum, Gold or Silver Castaway Club members, can take advantage of the opportunity to book summer 2020 itineraries before they go on sale to the general public on March 7, 2019. Book either online or by phone during the designated booking window.

  • March 4, 2019: Platinum Members
  • March 5, 2019: Platinum and Gold Members
  • March 6, 2019: Platinum, Gold and Silver Members
  • March 7, 2019: all Guests

How to Book

 

How Air Travel Will Change in 2019

 

 

by:  Kristen Leigh Painter (Conde Nest Traveler)

For the past five years, it’s been boom times in U.S. air travel as passengers benefited from highly profitable airlines in the form of low airfares and a rapid expansion of new flights. In 2018 alone, many U.S. consumers faced an onslaught of discounted fares—$99, $59, and even $19 one-way—and the industry celebrated a bounty of “firsts,” like the first nonstop flight from Chicago to Africa on Ethiopian Airlines, and Kansas City’s first non-stop flight to Europe on Icelandair. With 2019 just weeks away, the new year looks to be full of its own surprises, bringing new elements like biometrics and more (!) bag fees to the travel experience. International trade policies and fuel prices are wild cards that could throw a wrench in it all though—possibly driving up prices and driving down the number of flights.

Biometrics Will Be Here, There, and Everywhere

Travelers can expect to see greater use of human biometric data—like facial recognition and other physical characteristics—to board airplanes, pass through customs, and drop bags in 2019. Delta Air Lines led the movement, opening the first biometric terminal in Atlanta this year, but others, including JetBlue and Lufthansa, have piloted biometric boarding processes in Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Delta is also testing facial recognition technology to self-check bags at Minneapolis-St. Paul. Orlando International Airport plans to use facial scanning on all inbound and outbound international flights by the beginning of the year (U.S. citizens can opt-out, though that’s not widely advertised). Clear, a biometric technology company, is now in more than 25 U.S. airports and has partnered with Hertz to speed up car rental pickup and with Delta for quick entry to its airport lounges with a thumbprint ID. But with the growing prevalence of biometric data, privacy concerns will continue to bubble, too. (Read more about that here.)

Cathay Pacific unveiled “The Deck,” a massive new lounge, at Hong Kong International Airport, in March 2018.  Courtesy Cathay Pacific

Tailor-Made Everything Is The Thing

Travelers will have more options than ever before—including basic economy, standard economy, premium economy, business class, or first class—to customize their flight experience in 2019. Premium customers will see the rosier side of customized travel. Carriers are investing heavily in upgrading airport lounges at hubs across their networks and adding more luxurious, front-of-plane cabins, like United’s Polaris, American’s Flagship First, JetBlue’s Mint, and Delta’s One suites. “Airlines are curating and tailoring their pricing and experiences based on loyalty and frequent flying,” says Katie Raddatz, a senior director with Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which manages business travel for companies. “The days when people pay different costs for the same experiences are going away.”

But with more delineation, certain things we’ve come to expect as included in our fare just won’t be. (And it’ll likely cost more.) Spirit Airlines, for one, has pioneered “dynamic pricing” for its bag fees, which—in simplest terms—means customers will pay more for their luggage during more desirable times of day (like Monday mornings or Friday afternoons), seasons (winter when travelers tend to pack bulkier items), or for longer trips. There’s even no longer a luggage price matrix to reference on Spirit’s website because there are too many variables on an individual’s flight itinerary that must be calculated.

Who will follow? “I think more airlines will try it this year because, quite bluntly, there’s a lot of money in it,” says Bob Mann, a Port Washington, New York-based airline consultant. Though legacy airlines used to turn up their noses at the ultra-low-cost carriers like Spirit and Allegiant for nickel-and-diming customers with fees, those same carriers are now adopting and adapting many of these methods, from the rise of basic economy to higher bag fees, and calling it “customization.” These incremental changes will increase in 2019 as airlines leverage data to promote special offers, upgrades, and add-ons to customers based on their flying history.

http://video.cntraveler.com/watch/the-best-airport-in-the-world

Airfares May Get More Expensive (Sorry)

Fuel is a major expense for airlines, and ultimately affects the cost consumers pay to reach their destination. As airlines in recent years benefited from low fuel prices, which bottomed out in early 2016, they were able to price tickets more competitively. That all looked to be changing this summer as crude oil rose to its highest level since 2014, and experts began to brace consumers for rising airfares next year. But then the cost of oil dropped again this fall, creating volatility and leaving airfare forecasts in flux, says Raddatz. Moral of the story? Stay tuned.

The Ultra-Long Haul Flight May See Some Struggles

This fall, much fanfare was made about Singapore Airlines’ relaunch of the world’s longest nonstop flight—18.5 hours between Singapore and Newark. And competition is heating up: The advent of more fuel-efficient planes has led several airlines to start new ultra-long-haul flights, defined as more than 8,000 miles one way. In the past few years, United launched its 17.5-hour Houston to Sydney flight, Qantas Airways started flying 17 hours from Perth to London, and Cathay Pacific Airways began a 17-hour nonstop from Hong Kong to Washington, D.C. In 2019, United will fly nonstop from San Francisco to Delhi and Singapore Airlines will fly nonstop from its home country to Seattle. “There was a thirst for it and there was a lot of great marketing and promotion behind it,” says Raddatz of Carlson Wagonlit. She calculates there are currently 19 in service around the globe, which is three times as many as a decade ago.

But an airplane on a 15- or 16-hour flight uses nearly 40 percent of all its onboard fuel just to carry the weight of the fuel it takes to go that far, Mann says. Both Raddatz and Mann agree that for these flights to make financial sense, an airline needs to be carrying predominantly premium-class passengers to pay the heftier fees to cover the fuel costs. Singapore Airlines has configured its long-haul aircraft with just premium economy and business class seats—something Qantas is now taking into consideration for its ultra-long-haul aircraft of the future. If fuel prices rise too steeply next year, we will probably be saying “sayonara” to some of these super-long-haul flights.

Learning a New Language: Check out these language apps that make learning not only easier but fun.

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language or brush up on your french and english from high school?  As long as you’re ready to commit, there are a number of language apps that make learning a language accessible but also fun.

Here are a few apps that you should check out….

 

ROSETTA STONE

This popular language learning software is now available on your mobile device.  Lessons can be  accessed from both your desktop and smartphone.  Rosetta Stone offers 24 different languages (Spanish (Latin America & Spanish), English (US & UK), French, Japanese, Italian, German, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic,Korean, Dutch, Tagalog, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Farsi, Polish, Swedish and more.   Rosetta Stone trains you to associate words with imagery focusing on communicating in a real-world context, emphasizing pronunciation and speaking. A  3 day trial is available.  Rosetta Stone online ranges in price from just under $11 a month to just under $17 a month.  Rosetta Stone offers native speaking tutors and is available on iOS and Google Play.

To find out more information on Rosetta Stone, click here https://bit.ly/2ttCReq

DUOLINGO

Duolingo is a free language learning platform that is available on your desktop and mobile device.  Duolingo offers a language proficiency assessment exam to ensure you begin your course at your level. Duolingo offers 85 different language courses in 24 languages (Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian,Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Norwegian, Polish, Hebrew, Esperanto, Vietnamese, Swahili and more.  The Duolingo platform has been created to feel like a game where you can track your progress, earn rewards and stay motivated to learn.  Duolingo does offer a free version of their platform which removes ads on your mobile and offers a few extra features. Duolingo Plus costs $9.99/month.

Check out Duolingo here, https://www.duolingo.com

BABBEL

Founded in 2007, Babbel was the world’s first language learning app.  Babble is a platform that  works on your real-life conversation skills.  Lessons are crafted by language experts, and voiced by native speakers.  Babbel offers 14 different languages including Portuguese, Turkish, Norwegian,  and all the popular languages such as French, Spanish, Italian and more. Speech recognition tools test your pronunciation, ensuring you sound just like a native. This app allows you to learn at your own pace with 10-15 minute lessons that you can fit into a busy schedule.  Babbel offers multiple different plans, starting at $7.50/month.  Babbel does offer a free trial as well.

For more information on Babbel, check out https://www.babbel.com

MEMRISE

Memrise offers to unlock your learning superpowers with their language app.  Memrise offers 20 different languages (French, German, Korean, Russian, Slovenian, Icelandic, Chinese and more).  Memrise makes learning fun and easy though brain science, fun and community engagement.  This app is entertainment mixed with real-life, relevant content to assist in your learning.  Memrise offers both a free plan and an updated pro plan which is $5.00/month.  Approximately 30 million users are already using Memrise to enhance their travel experiences.

Additional information on the Memrise app can be found at https://www.memrise.com

HELLOTALK 

If you are looking to learn a language from a native speaker, HelloTalk is an app where millions of members reach each other their native tongue, through text, voice recordings, video calls and so much more.  With HelloTalk you get to learn a new language, explore other cultures and make friends around the world.  HelloTalk allows you to practice in 100+ languages with built-in aids for translation, pronunciation, and transliteration.  HelloTalk has a free version but you can upgrade to a VIP membership that allows you to learn up to three languages at once.  Pricing ranges from $2.49/month, $22.99/year and $74.99/lifetime.

For more information on HelloTalk, click this link https://www.hellotalk.com

BUSUU 

With unlimited exchanges with foreign students you the ability to learn up to 12 different languages with 90 million other learners.  Busuu offers a free option or a premium membership that unlocks features such as grammar lessons, offline mode & vocabulary trainer.  Busuu also offers a McGraw Hill education certificate after passing a knowledge test.  Busuu is developed using Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and covers the first four stages of the CEFR.  This means you can learn to speak a language from the basics of introducing yourself, up to discussing important issues or narrate or write a story.  Premium memberships range from $8.33/month for three months to $5.41/month for twenty-four months.

Check out Busuu here, https://www.busuu.com

Learning a new language can be fun and there are many applications that you can utilize.  The above suggestions are just a few of the most popular.  Each individual learns in their own way, so be sure to check out all the ones that offer a free trial or free option to see which one will work for you.  Get started today learning a new language and let’s plan an adventure for you to use your new language skills.