With the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic showing no signs of abating just yet, travel across the globe remains at all but a halt. But even in such gloomy times, destinations and suppliers from across the world are making every possible effort to keep the spirits high. Here’s a look at a few feel-good stories that aim to keep the travel world cheerful even in these trying times.
Celestyal Cruises Serving Community
Reaching out to the local community, Greece-based Celestyal Cruises is donating food and health supplies and showing its gratitude to the healthcare workers by offering them free future cruises.
The cruise company based at the port of Piraeus, Athens, says that it has provided five-plus tons of non-perishable food, as well as first aid kits and personal hygiene products to an estimated 7,500 residents in need in the Municipalities of the Metropolitan Region of Piraeus, as well as the Piraeus Nursing Home.
Joining forces with the ministry of health, Celestyal Cruises also showed its support for the National Health System by contributing 12,000 surgical masks and 1,100 liters of liquid disinfectants to be distributed to health centers dedicated to COVID-19 patients.
Also, in appreciation of the selfless acts of the healthcare workers combating the pandemic from the front lines, the company is offering 50 three-day cruises, for two people, to first responders. The cruises to the Greek islands will take place during 2020 and 2021 and include stateroom accommodation, standard beverages, entertainment, gratuities and two excursions to Ancient Ephesus, Kusadasi and Palace of Knossos, Crete. In addition, Celestyal Cruises will soon launch a global special discount policy for frontline healthcare workers.
Las Vegas Goes Red
Showcasing the unwavering spirit of travel even during the difficult times posed by the global pandemic, Las Vegas was lit in red May 5 as multiple resorts, iconic landmarks and attractions demonstrated the destination’s strength and honored hospitality workers during National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW).
NTTW, an initiative of the U.S. Travel Association, is an annual celebration that recognizes the contributions of the U.S. travel industry.
The entities that participated in Tuesday’s Red Takeover included the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign; Fremont Street Experience; Paris Las Vegas; Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations; SAHARA Las Vegas; The STRAT Hotel, Casino & Skypod; TI Treasure Island Las Vegas; The Venetian and The Palazzo; Fashion Show Las Vegas; High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ; Keep Memory Alive Event Center; The Neon Museum; Las Vegas Motor Speedway; The Mob Museum and the McCarran International Airport.
Crystal River Cruises’ New Program Rewards Advisors
Crystal River Cruises marked National Travel Advisor Day by rewarding travel advisors with a new program that benefits them and their clients. The new Advance Purchase Savings program offers guests a non-refundable fare of $3,699 per person—representing a savings of up to 50 percent—for the best available suite at the time of booking. The program applies to over 60 seven-night Crystal River voyages from March through December 2021—10 itineraries in all—along the Danube and Rhine rivers, as well as the waterways of Holland and Belgium. In addition to incredible savings, guests also have the flexibility to change their embarkation date to another applicable sailing with no penalty, should they choose to do so before December 31, 2020. Travel advisors will receive a $250 gift card for each booking and full commission payout once payment is received within seven days of booking.
Applicable sailings for the new Best Available program include select “Romantic Rhine,” “Legendary Rhine,” “Delightful Danube,” “Danube Serenade,” “Tulips & Windmills,” “Christmas Time on the Rhine” and “Delightful Danube Christmas” itineraries. Advance Purchase Savings bookings are open on a first-come, first-served basis and are capacity-controlled.
Windstar Appreciates Advisors Now More than Ever
In honor of the National Travel and Tourism Week and National Travel Advisor Day, Windstar Cruises made two announcements last week, which included a major change to its travel advisor commission policy, as well as the return of a favorite promotion for travel advisors.
Windstar’s Travel Assurance Booking Policy already allows travelers to cancel their cruise up to 15 days prior to departure and receive a 100 percent future cruise credit to be used on all sailings through December 31, 2021. Starting immediately, however, Windstar is changing its policy to pay advisor commissions on all future cruise credits, recognizing that far more cruises have been canceled than in the past.
In addition to the commission change, Windstar announced the return of the most popular promotion for travel advisors—the “Sell 3, Sail Free” program, which will begin on May 18. Travel advisors must sell three staterooms, and once fully deposited, the advisor (and a guest) sail for free on a cruise departing by April 30, 2021. Travel advisors will be confirmed 60 days out based on availability and will pay only taxes, fees, and port expenses, plus gratuities.
Panama’s New Ad Campaign
“As the world prepares for the new normal, this is our Natural Normal,” says Panama’s new ad campaign, Discovered by Nature, launched for the stay-at-home duration. The ad puts the focus on the country’s history, undiscovered beauty and remote locations that travelers can discover once it is safe to travel again. In addition, the country is also showcasing unique content on its Instagram page, @visitpanama, highlighting its biodiversity and culture.
Panama’s special content will be shared on Instagram at 1 p.m. EST every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, beginning with Morgan Freeman’s narration of the trailer of the “Panama Canal, A Land Divided, A World United,” produced by Gordon Bijelonic.
May’s content will be centered on culture and diversity, celebrating Panama’s African Heritage Month and the International Museum Month. And on Saturdays, the focus will be on Panamanian flavors.