Friday Briefing: Hurricane Nicole Passes Bermuda, Norwegian’s Big New Alaska Ship

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It’s almost the weekend! As the week comes to a close, Hurricane Nicole, a big new Alaska-bound cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Line and a report of a payment card security incident at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa and Hotel Terra are the travel industry headlines to follow today. 

Hurricane Nicole Passes Bermuda

Hurricane Nicole has passed Bermuda after making a direct hit on the island as a Category 3 storm Thursday, reports. All impacts from the storm have now ended, except for dangerous surf and rip currents, and the storm is weakening and accelerating northeastward, away from land. 

According to a statement on the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s Facebook page, the Causeway, which connects L.F. Wade International Airport to the main island, reopened last night at 10 p.m. ADT, and the airport reopens today at noon ADT. 

Several airlines have issued cancellation and change waivers as a result of the storm.

Delta is allowing travelers who wish to cancel their trip to/from/through Bermuda as a result of a flight cancellation or significant delay to receive a refund for the unused portion of their ticket, or to make a one-time change to their ticket without fee. Travel must have been booked for October 13 - 14, and the ticket must be reissued on or before October 18 for rebooked travel to begin no later than October 18. 

American Airlines is also allowing customers to change their trip with no fee if they bought their ticket to/through/from Bermuda by October 11 for travel October 12 - 14 and are able to travel October 14-18. Customers cannot change their origin or destination city and must rebook in the same class or pay the difference. 

Finally, JetBlue has announced it is waiving change and cancellation fees and fare differences for customers traveling October 13 and 14 to or from Bermuda. Customers may rebook their flights through October 18 prior to the departure of their originally scheduled flight. 

Cruise Critic reports that several cruise lines were forced to reroute due to the hurricane. Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas skipped the St. Thomas and St. Maarten calls on its October 9 sailing, instead calling at San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Labadee, Haiti, the line’s private island destination. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Breakaway’s October 9 sailing from New York was delayed, causing the ship to skip Bermuda and instead visit Port Canaveral and Nassau. The line granted each cabin a $200 onboard spending credit. 

norwegian bliss

Meet Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian’s Big New Alaska Ship

Speaking of Norwegian Cruise Line, that company just announced some big news for Alaska cruises: A new cruise ship, dubbed the Norwegian Bliss, designed especially for sailing in the region. 

Set to debut in spring 2018, the new ship will be the third in Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus class, with amenities designed for sailing in the region. It will be built to accommodate 4,000 guests, with more details on accommodations, dining and onboard amenities to be released in the coming months. 

Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, will construct Norwegian Bliss, which will debut with a transatlantic cruise, Panama Canal transit through the new locks and sail north along the West Coast before home-porting in Seattle for the summer 2018 cruising season. There it will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66, calling at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has entered into a 15-year agreement with the Port of Seattle to collectively invest $30 million to upgrade the Pier 66 facilities. Plans call for expanding the guest check-in space by 300 percent to more than 150,000 square feet and adding a new VIP lounge with expansive views of Elliott Bay and two new elevated passenger boarding bridges.

The ship will be available for reservations starting January 2017. 

Payment Card Security Incident at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa and Hotel Terra 

In ski travel news, Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa and Hotel Terra have notified guests of potential suspicious activity on the payment card system for the two hotels on September 6. A computer security firm engaged by operator Noble House Hotels & Resorts confirmed that the payment card system for Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa and Hotel Terra may have been compromised between September 5 and September 6, where the information potentially compromised involved data found in the magnetic stripe on payment cards, including payment card number, payment card expiration date, CVV number, and, in some instances, the payment cardholder's name. Noble House said it has no evidence that any cards used at Teton Mountain Lodge or Hotel Terra after September 6 were affected. 

Noble House recommends that guests who used a payment card at the two hotels during those dates remain vigilant to the possibility of fraud by reviewing their account statements for any unauthorized activity. If they see any unauthorized charges, guests should contact the bank that issued the card as soon as possible. Credit card companies typically guarantee that cardholders will not be responsible for fraudulent charges. Additionally, if guests incurred costs that their financial institution declined to reimburse related to fraudulent charges on a payment card used at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa or Hotel Terra, Noble House will reimburse guests for any such reasonable, documented costs that their financial institution declined to pay.

Those with questions may call (866) 877-7528, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time.

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