Each announcement of a border reopening or removal of quarantine requirements comes with a feeling of euphoria about international travel resuming and the world once again being open to us. Last week was a very good week in that regard.
Italy announced that American leisure travelers can enter without quarantine if they travel on special COVID-tested flights. Italy is perennially one of the most popular destinations for Americans, with more than 3 million visiting in 2019. And what’s not to love? There’s the great cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice. There’s the beautiful regions of the lake country, Tuscany, and Puglia. There are breathtaking coastal areas such as Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast. There are the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, Capri, and so many others. Pizza, pasta, seafood, all our favorites. And the wine!
The special flights are on Delta, flying to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, Milan’s Malpensa, Naples’ Capodichino, and Venice’s Marco Polo out of select U.S. cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (JFK and Newark Liberty), Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Be aware that not every nonstop between these cities is one of the COVID-tested flights, so check with your travel advisor.
The good news kept coming when Spain announced that starting June 7 fully vaccinated (14 days after final dose) travelers are welcome with proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated minors who belong to the same family unit as the vaccinated adults traveling to Spain will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test performed at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Children under 6 will not be required to show a negative COVID test. Upon arrival, travelers will no longer be asked to quarantine.
While dates haven’t been announced yet, Italy, Spain and the other members of the European Union have agreed to allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter the 27-nation bloc without quarantine or testing requirements. Indications are it could be as soon as June, so your summer European holiday might happen after all. A digital vaccination certificate system is in the works and should be ready by the end of June. Some river cruises are getting set to resume in July for vaccinated passengers. With so much pent-up demand, space will be at a premium, so contact your travel advisor to start planning.
Closer to home, Congress passed a bill that will allow foreign-flagged ships to cruise between Washington State and Alaska without a stop in Canada. This could allow bigger and more ships to have an Alaska cruise season this summer. The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act temporarily suspends the 135-year-old Passenger Vessel Services Act that requires foreign-flagged ships sailing between U.S. ports to stop in a foreign country. Canada has banned cruises from the U.S. through February. Cruises must still meet CDC guidelines to resume, but some lines are reopening sales for August and September and there’s real hope for an abbreviated Alaska cruise season.
We love delivering good news, so we’ll keep you posted as more comes in.