Western River Expeditions Draws on 60 Years Experience to Devise Protocols to Keep Families Adventuring this Summer

Western River Expeditions is applying decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. Here are some of many steps this company is taking to counter COVID-19 fears so families can continue to experience outdoor adventures this summer. 

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Where in the world – and how – will families vacation this summer?
 
Given months of pandemic-driven lock-down orders, stay-at-home summer vacation won’t be high on many lists. What will be attractive will be vacations that embrace fresh air and the healing powers of nature that can work wonders on family spirits and recovery.
 
Western River Expeditions (https://www.westernriver.com/ for nearly 60 years has operated top-quality river rafting vacations for individuals, families and friends. This year they are also applying their decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. Here are some of many steps this company is taking to counter COVID-19 fears. 

  • Screening Employees: Every day before work, each employee must pass both a temperature and pulse oximeter screen, and then answer a detailed questionnaire.
  • Screening Guests at Check-in: Guests exhibiting temperatures of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to travel with Western River Expeditions at the time they planned; instead, they will receive an “Adventure Credit” which allows the guest and any members of the group who were currently living at the same physical address during any of the 7 days prior to the trip to use the full paid value of their trip as a credit for a future trip at a later date.
  • Screening while on Multi-Day Trips: All trip participants and guides will have a daily temperature and pulse oximeter checks and fill out a daily review of symptoms questionnaire. 

In addition, there are new protocols in place should someone experience COVID-19 symptoms during a trip. In such case, steps will be taken to protect other guests from exposure during the remainder of that trip. There also will be protocols for toilet facilities, hand washing stations and social distancing (when feasible) as well as reduced number of guests per raft.
 
The company will also implement specific guidelines that address everything from life-jacket use and sanitation, to meal prep and service, use of shuttle vans, number of people per shuttle vehicle, sanitation of rafts, dry bags, cots, sleeping bags and all associated equipment. For more details on Western River Expeditions’ specific protocols please see https://www.westernriver.com/covid-19
 
Western River Expeditions hopes to still operate late spring and summer 2020 trips, subject to the easing of government-mandated closures. Three suggested trips ideal for families are: 

  • Desolation Canyona five-day trip through breathtaking Desolation Canyon and Gray Canyon on the Green River in central Utah. Trips are scheduled to depart June 7 through Aug. 12 with a minimum age of five years old. For details see https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon
  • Southwest Samplera four-day adventure that includes an off-road Hummer Safari, Arches National Park tour and overnight rafting trip as well as a stay at Moab’s Marriott SpringHill Suites. Departures are scheduled May 26 through Aug. 26. If National Park closures affect the operation of the Arches National Park tour, guests will explore another stunning location in Moab. For details see  https://www.westernriver.com/moab-utah-vacation-sampler
  • Grand Canyon, the three-day option still has some limited space on certain dates from June 21st through September. Conveniently departing and returning to Las Vegas, NV, this 100-mile journey is suitable for families with kids as young as nine. For details see: https://www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-river-trip 

Other adventures from Western River Expeditions include:

Utah’s Cataract Canyon Classic 4 Day: Unless otherwise advised, we are currently planning to operate all scheduled departures for our 4-Day Cataract Canyon Expeditions June 2 through August 25. We are accepting reservations now for any of these dates. This spectacular 4-Day Colorado River trip runs 100 miles from Moab to Lake Powell through Canyonlands National Park. A flight returns guests to Moab over Canyonlands.

Cataract Canyon Express 2 Day: Unless otherwise advised, we are currently planning to operate all scheduled departures for our 2-Day Cataract Canyon Expeditions June 1 through August 25. We are accepting reservations now for any of these dates. This faster-paced 2-Day Colorado River trip runs 100 miles from Moab to Lake Powell through Canyonlands National Park. Large whitewater rapids are a big part of this adventure!

Upper Grand Canyon 6 or 7 Day: Trips starting June 14 and later are currently scheduled to operate. Select trips June through September have limited availability. If you are unable to find your desired date, please add your name to our 2020 Waitlist for Grand Canyon 6 & 7 Day Expeditions. The upper 188 miles of the Grand Canyon offer some of the largest whitewater rapids in North America and a plethora of side canyon attractions. 

Lower Grand Canyon 4 Day with Bar Ten Ranch: We plan to operate all 4 day departures from June 21st through September. Limited space is available on select departures in 2020. If you are unable to find your desired date, please add your name to our 2020 Waitlist for Grand Canyon 3-4 Day Expeditions. Adding one day and a night at the Bar Ten Ranch before dropping into the 3-day river expedition is a popular way to extend your Grand Canyon experience.

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the one of largest licensed outfitters in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, Western River Expedition was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past sixteen consecutive years (2004-2019).

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2020/2021 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
 

Follow Western River Expeditions:
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WesternRiverExpeditions
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/WesternRiver
On You Tube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/bestraftingvacations?
On Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/westernriver/

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Hotel Industry on Brink of Collapse Releases Roadmap to Recovery

Wentworth By the Sea, a grand historic resort on New Castle island, off Portsmouth, NH (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WASHINGTON D.C. – With new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing staggering job loss to the hospitality and leisure industry, the American Hotel & Lodging Association today released a “Roadmap to Recovery,” calling on Congress to prioritize relief for hotel workers and small businesses in the next stimulus package. The April Jobs Report showed the hospitality and leisure industry was the hardest hit, losing 7.7 million jobs—nearly as many jobs as the next four sectors combined. (Click here to read AHLA’s letter to Congress.)

AHLA is urging Congress to provide immediate assistance in these four areas:

  • Help hotels retain and rehire employees by extending the Paycheck Protection Program, offering employees direct tuition assistance or tax credits, and expanding the Employee Retention Credit

  • Protect employees and guests through tax credits for cleaning equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Keep hotel doors open by providing relief for hotel commercial mortgages and increasing the size and flexibility of PPP loans

  • Incentivize Americans to travel again when it’s safe with a new, temporary travel tax credit and restoring the entertainment business expense deduction

“The hospitality industry is in a fight for survival,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We are grateful to the leadership of both parties during one of the most difficult health and economic challenges we have faced. We are urging Congress to do even more to help the hotel industry so that our small business hotel operators can keep the lights on and retain and rehire employees.”

COVID-19 continues to devastate the hotel industry: 2020 is projected to be the worst year on record for hotel occupancy, and experts estimate it will be at least 2022 before hotels return to their 2019 occupancy and revenue levels. So far, the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry has been nine times worse than September 11. In a recent survey of AHLA members, more than 8 in 10 hotel employees said they have had to lay off or furlough workers. Only 37 percent have been able to rehire any staff through economic relief measures such as PPP.

With a presence in every congressional district in America, hotels are central to getting our economy back on track and supporting millions of jobs. Prior to the pandemic, hotels were proud to support one in 25 American jobs—8.3 million in total—and contribute $660 billion to U.S. GDP. A representative hotel with 100 occupied rooms per night supports nearly 250 jobs in the community and generates $18.4 million in guest spending at neighborhood shops and restaurants. Hotels also generate $186 billion in local, state, and federal taxes each year.

“While the hotel industry was one of the first affected by the pandemic, we have collectively stepped up to serve our communities during this public health crisis. We need Congress to continue to prioritize the industries and employees most affected by the crisis, so we can retain and rehire the people who power our industry, our communities and our economy,” concluded Rogers.

Click here to download the hotel industry’s Road Map to Recovery one-pager.

Click here to read AHLA’s letter to Congress.

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Broadway Fantasy Camp Moves ‘Broadway Banter’ into Stars’ Living Rooms for ‘Safe-at-Home’ Series

Santino Fontana and Lilli Cooper at Broadway Banter. Photo taken in February 2019 at Sardi’s in Times Square. Broadway Fantasy Camp has moved Broadway Banter into living rooms.

New York, NY – A star-studded lineup of Broadway performers will “Zoom” straight into the living rooms of fans across the world as part of Broadway Fantasy Camp’s new “Broadway Banter: Safe-At-Home” series, producer Lauren Class Schneider announced.
 
“After eight years of hosting Broadway Banter in a private room at Sardi’s, we’re glad to be hosting in our private Zoom Room!” Schneider said. “Broadway Banter is one of Broadway Fantasy Camp’s most popular experiences. Audience members are treated to an interview with the featured performer, followed by a Q&A session where fans get to engage directly with their favorite Broadway star.”

Broadway stars invite you to join them in their own homes. You get to hear their stories about their Broadway debut, onstage mishaps, and staying motivated while staying home.

Then, you’ll be able to ask your question “face to face” (so come prepared). At Broadway Fantasy Camp, you don’t have to struggle for your questions to be seen in the chat of a livestream. Broadway Banter sessions are about an hour and are limited to 50 guests.​
 
Tickets will be limited, and for every 25 tickets sold, Broadway Fantasy Camp will donate a ticket to a hospital worker.
 
“The Broadway community leads the way in being generous and sensitive to the human condition,” Schneider said. “Broadway Fantasy Camp is humbled to include hospital workers in our audience as they continue to serve on the frontlines across the country and around the world.”
 
The current lineup includes Laura Osnes (Bandstand, Cinderella) on Saturday, May 30; Telly Leung (Alladin, Allegiance) on Tuesday, June 2; Tony Award® winner Santino Fontana (Tootsie, CBS’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) on Wednesday, June 3; Jenna Leigh Green (Wicked, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) on Wednesday, June 3; Jenn Colella (Come From Away, If / Then) on Thursday, June 4; Lilli Cooper (Tootsie, SpongeBob SquarePants) on Friday, June 5; Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the Band’s Visit) on Saturday, June 6; Lesli Margherita (Matilda the Musical, Zorro the Musical) on Saturday, June 6; Karla Garcia (Hamilton, NBC’s SMASH) on Saturday, June 13; Corey Cott (Newsies, Bandstand) on Wednesday, July 1; and more to be announced.
 
“I’m looking forward to creating a community through Broadway Banter,” Tony® nominee Jenn Colella shared. “It’s not just a Q&A session… I want to hear my fans express in their own voices how they are feeling during this time and what they are doing to stay creative. I want us to create a dialogue together to lift one another up in this very strange time. The opportunity to ‘hang out’ with my fans and for them to get to know one another makes my heart soar.”
 
“Broadway performers are among the most resilient and inspiring group of people to lead the conversation. During these unsettling times, they’re natural motivators,” Schneider said. “Different than an in-person Broadway Banter, this series will provide an intimate getting-to-know-you experience for Broadway fans and stars alike – literally inviting each other into their homes. It’s also a wonderful for Broadway performers to have a safe and authentic way to connect with their own fans. Experiences like this are also great for birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, and especially for 2020 graduation parties.”
 
To see the full line-up of stars and to purchase tickets, visit: BroadwayFanCamp.com/tickets

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New ‘Carefree Bookings’ Program Offers Risk-Free Reservations in 1,000 Destinations

St Kitts Marriott Resort. More than 1,000 luxury hotels are participating in the Carefree Booking program, including Fairmont, Belmond, Crowne Plaza, Disney, Four Seasons, Hard Rock, Hyatt, InterContinental, Kimpton, Loews, Marriott, Meridien, Peninsula, Ritz Carlton, Rosewood, St Regis, and Westin Hotels and Resorts. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.

Miami, FL – Overseas Leisure Group, a luxury travel operator in 34 countries across the globe, announces its Carefree Bookings initiative, offering a risk-free method of booking across an attractive portfolio of more than 1,000 destinations and experiences around the world. The newly launched program has been designed to allow travelers plan their next trip despite the uncertainty of future restrictions enforced due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Carefree Bookings offers a convenient method of making a reservation with some of today’s leading destinations and experiences around the world, without the need for a deposit and with no cancellation fee if travel plans change. Furthermore, the cancellation policy is truly carefree, whereby if payment isn’t made 7 days prior to the arrival date (to guarantee the reservation) the booking is automatically cancelled with no penalty whatsoever. These no-strings-attached terms for the Carefree Bookings initiative apply to travel between June 1st and October 31st, 2020.

Among the initiatives developed to protect the consumer’s interest, more than 1,000 hotels, resorts and experiential providers have decided to participate in the Carefree Booking program, including: COMO Hotels and Resorts, 1 Hotel, Auberge, Belmond, Crowne Plaza, Disney, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hard Rock, Hyatt, InterContinental, Kimpton, Lowes, Marriott, Meridien, Peninsula, Ritz Carlton, Rosewood, St Regis, and Westin Hotels and Resorts.

In addition to the vast array of participating hotels and resorts, Carefree Bookings offers hundreds of exclusive experiences, such as surf lessons in Malibu with actor John Philbin (Point Break), and private helicopter rides with Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, among others. A full list of participating properties (with opening dates) and experiences can be found by visiting the Overseas Leisure Group website.

“After weeks of confinement, there is a growing need for freedom and new horizons,” says Felix Brambilla, CEO of Overseas Leisure Group. “We heard the same comments time after time: “I am ready to make plans but I cannot commit if there is a risk of getting penalized.” Working with our hotel partners, we came up with the Carefree Bookings concept. More than a thousand properties already accepted to amend their usual T&Cs. We are very proud to be launching this initiative at a much-needed time!”

The Carefree Bookings program is now available through travel agencies and advisors in the U.S., Europe and Brazil. Travel agents can make Carefree Bookings in real time on the OverseasXpress platform at ox.live.

“In these extraordinary times, we believe strong partnership is fundamental to our business acumen, therefore we are thrilled to partner with Overseas Travel new initiative “Carefree Booking,” says Michele Bondanelli, Global Sales Director – Luxury, Lifestyle & Leisure for Hyatt.  “A large number of Hyatt hotels are participating in the program across all brands and we look forward to welcoming their guests in the days, months and years ahead.”

“What a great way to address the current global situation and the effect it is having on travel,” says Kidist Grznar, Vice President of Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters.  “A ‘Carefree Experience’ is an amazing way to give people the opportunity to keep dreaming and move forward with their travel plans ‘worry free.’ I am excited that Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters is participating.”

Overseas Leisure Group is a growing global network dedicated to providing travel professionals with insider expertise for all luxury travel needs. The company is represented in 34 countries through 41 offices.

For further information on Carefree Bookings, visit the website.  For further information on Overseas Leisure Group, visit www.overseasleisuregroup.com

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Hotels Embrace Industry-Wide Cleaning Standards Through “Safe Stay” Initiative; Launch #TakeMeBack Campaign

Mohonk Mountain House, a historic grand hotel resort in New York State’s Catskills Mountains. The American Hotel & Lodging Association has introduced Safe Stay, an industry-wide, enhanced standard of health and safety protocols designed to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) introduced Safe Stay, an industry-wide, enhanced standard of health and safety protocols designed to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens. Safe Stay represents the top priority for the industry, the health and safety of guests and employees.

The standards of Safe Stay were developed under the guidance of an Advisory Council, comprised of industry leaders representing all segments of the hotel industry, and in conjunction with public health experts to advance best practices for protecting against the coronavirus. This initiative represents a new level of focus and transparency for an industry already built on cleanliness. Hotels have always met rigorous standards for cleaning and safety and these enhanced guidelines are rooted in recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Safe Stay was developed specifically to ensure enhanced safety for hotels guests and employees. While hotels have always employed demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “The industry’s enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols will continue to evolve to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19.”

The “Safe Stay” guidelines are intended to be iterative, and will be revised as needed based on the recommendations of public health authorities, in compliance with any federal, state and local laws. They include guidance on the following:

  • Employee & guest health
  • Employee responsibilities
  • Cleaning products and protocols
  • Physical distancing

“The hotel industry maintains stringent standards for cleaning and safety, and the Safe Stay initiative helps to strengthen best practices to provide the healthy environments that travelers expect at hotels throughout the country,” said Ecolab. “Development of the Safe Stay initiative included guidance from Ecolab, a global leader in cleaning and disinfecting solutions and services that collaborates with the U.S. EPA, FDA, CDC, WHO and other organizations to help establish and promote best practice guidance, training and solutions.” For more than 90 years, Ecolab has partnered with the hotel industry to provide cleaner, safer and healthier environments for employees and guests.

“While the hotel industry was one of the first affected by the pandemic, we have collectively stepped up to serve their communities during this public health crisis.  Thousands of hotels across the country, more than half of those small businesses, are working tirelessly during this uncertain time to support their employees, healthcare workers and first responders. When the time is right, hotels will be ready to safely and eagerly welcome back America’s traveling public,” concluded Rogers.

The Safe Stay Advisory Council enhanced guidelines can be found at www.ahla.com/SafeStay

#TakeMeBack Campaign

AHLA has just launched the #TakeMeBack campaign to encourage travelers to remember their favorite hotel visits and travel experiences. 

There are three ways you can share your own favorite travel memory: 

  • Send a Virtual Postcard
    • Download one of AHLA’s pre-made postcards.
    • Share your postcard on social media using the #TakeMeBack hashtag, and challenge friends and colleagues to do the same by tagging them in the post.
  • Share a Vacation Photo
    • Share an old vacation photo, using the hashtag #TakeMeBack.
    • Tag the hotel property that you visited during that vacation, tag a friend or family member(s) that you traveled with, post your photo and challenge three friends or colleagues to participate.
  • Take AHLA’s Instagram Challenge
    • Follow AHLA on Instagram (@AmericanHotelAssociation) and participate in our #TakeMeBack “This or That Challenge” and tell us why you love to travel.
    • Screenshot the template “This or That” card off of AHLA’s Instagram story or visitAHLA.com/TakeMeBack to download the image.
    • Upload the image to your Instagram story and circle your preferences.
    • Tag three friends and the @AmericanHotelAssociation. 

Follow AHLA on social media (InstagramTwitterFacebookLinkedIn) and visit AHLA.com/TakeMeBack for the latest campaign details. Learn more about the campaign by clicking here

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New Virtual Tour of the Arctic Bath and Hot Air Ballooning over the Arctic – Free

The new Virtually Visiting Arctic holiday travels to the region of Northern Sweden around Lulea where guests will join a tour of the Arctic Bath, the new floating hotel and spa; experience the remote wilderness of the Aurora Safari Camp; and go for a spectacular hot air balloon ride over the Arctic tundra.

Virtual travel experts Virtually Visiting have created their second four-day virtual holiday showcasing two of the Arctic’s most anticipated experiences from the comfort of your own home. It begins April 30 and it’s free!

The new virtual holiday travels to the region of Northern Sweden around Lulea where guests will join atour of the Arctic Bath, the new floating hotel and spa; experience the remote wilderness of the Aurora Safari Camp; and go for a spectacular hot air balloon ride over the Arctic tundra.

Designed by Virtually Visiting, the experience will be released over four days from Thursday, April 30 through Sunday May 3. It can be experienced on Virtual Reality goggles or via computer, tablet or phone. (If you can’t “travel” on those dates, the experiences will stay live on the site for you to watch at your convenience.)

New experiences will be released each morning lasting from 5 to 20 minutes each. Each experience has been filmed to allow guests to get a true feeling of the adventures with expert guides throughout.

“This is the second full virtual holiday we have released with the aim of putting you, as the guest, right in the action. You’ll experience the tours as if you were actually there,” says Jonny Cooper, founder of Virtually Visiting. “This new tour is a really exciting opportunity to visit the Arctic Bath, one of the most anticipated and distinctive spa and wellness experiences, launched this winter, and soar above the Arctic wilderness on a hot air balloon ride. Both are new experiences this year, with two very different views of the Arctic.”

This tour will begin on Thursday April 30 with guests virtually arriving into the coastal city of Luleå and the capital of Norrbotten County. Just 70km north of Luleå is the Aurora Safari Camp, the first stop for the tour. Here guests will join Fredrik Broman on a tour of the camp including a traditional Sami Lavu (teepee) where they will learn about the camp and the nature that surrounds it, and soak up the warmth sitting around the fire and chatting.

On day two, Friday May 1, a triple treat awaits. Guests first join guide Fredrik Broman on a nature walk to the Arctic Circle learning about the complex balance of animals and plants as they thrive in the varied Arctic conditions. The afternoon offers a different perspective of the Arctic, soaring above on an Arctic Hot Air Balloon flight, newly introduced this year. Get ready to sit back, and relax as you take off from a frozen lake and rise above Europe’s last true wilderness.  To end the day, guests arrive at Arctic Retreat, a traditional Arctic luxury log cabin deep in the Lapland wilderness, where your host will take you on a tour before leaving you to enjoy the countryside from an outdoor Jacuzzi.

The highlight of the four-day holiday is revealed on Saturday May 2 when you’ll join local guide Peter Engström on a tour of the long-anticipated Arctic Bath. Opened to guests in December, this floating hotel and spa is the world’s first Arctic floating spa, delivering wellness, mindfulness and cleansing treatments through spa partners Kerstin Florian. The Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa, designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, freezes into the ice of the Lule River in the winter and floats on top of the water in the summer. The tour will cover the accommodations and main spa building while informing about the local connection to history, culture and nature.

As the trip nears its conclusion, there is time for one last experience on Sunday May 3. As you head back towards Lulea the trip will stop off for a nature encounter like no other, meeting the moose. Guests join local guide and founder of Cape Wild, Thomas Dahlquist, to meet “Zigge” and “Zebbe,” learning about these lovable creatures and feeding them. As heavy as 1400 pounds each, the moose at Cape Wild are gentle giants who love to be petted and fed snacks.The trip concludes after a short trip back to Lulea.

Virtually Visiting founder, Jonny Cooper, adds, “We really want to give people a true-to-life experience of these amazing activities and experiences led by some of the best and most knowledgeable guides in the region. We hope this will transport visitors to the region – so set the mood, turn off your heat, grab a wool hat and join us for our next virtual adventure.”

To join the free four-day Virtual adventure from April 30-May 3, visit https://virtuallyvisiting.com/360-journeys/.

But, don’t worry, the tour will stay online if you can’t visit on those dates exactly, or if you need to time-shift to meet your schedule.

For more information on these and other virtual travel experiences, visit www.virtuallyvisiting.com or email info@virtuallyvisiting.com.

Virtually Visiting was set up by a group of travel and technology experts who believe in the power of travel and the good that it can bring to the world. Understanding that the planet is an ever-changing place and that travel is not always accessible, Virtually Visiting has combined advances in technology with their passion for travel. The result is real tours and experiences available online to everyone, everywhere. www.virtuallyvisiting.cominfo@virtuallyvisiting.com

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AdventureSmith Makes It Easy to Explore Remote Northernmost Reaches of North America By Land and By Sea

AdventureSmith Explorations, a leader in small ship cruises and wilderness expeditions, makes it easy to explore the northernmost reaches of North America by land and by sea, promising opportunities for epic wildlife encounters, unforgettable landscapes and fascinating cultural and historical learning experiences.

TRUCKEE, CA – AdventureSmith Explorations, a leader in small ship cruises and wilderness expeditions, makes it easy to explore the northernmost reaches of North America by land and by sea, promising opportunities for epic wildlife encounters, unforgettable landscapes and fascinating cultural and historical learning experiences via trips in CanadaAlaska and their greater Arctic regions.
 
“North America offers 9.54 million square miles of diversity, and its northernmost territories showcase some of the most remote and pristine landscapes on Earth,” said Todd Smith, founder of AdventureSmith Explorations. “We pride ourselves in introducing our passengers to regions along the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Our fleet of small ships and wilderness lodges access hard-to-reach and often remote regions where guests can step back millennia into a natural world.”

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to be lifted, travel to such remote places on small-ships scrupulously sanitized, will be an option.

“This crisis will end someday. When is anyone’s guess. But life will go on and people will seek travel again. Destinations that offer seclusion, distance from urban areas, few people and abundant nature will be more in demand than ever.  This is exactly what this is all about.  Planting seeds for the future which we all hope is still a reality for summer and fall travel,” the company says.

“AdventureSmith is closely monitoring the unique situations and status reports from all of their travel destinations, suppliers and partners – on a daily basis. They only will recommend travel when they, health organizations and experts deem it safe to do so.  In the meantime they are being as understanding and flexible as possible with trip deposits, final payments, cancellations and postponements.  Their goal is to give the consumer peace of mind that their travel investment won’t be lost for any related COVID-19 reason.”

These are AdventureSmith Explorations’ top picks of North America by Land and Sea scheduled for the upcoming 2020 and 2021 seasons. Each itinerary allows guests to embark and disembark in North America.
 
By Land 
 
Classic Polar Bear Adventure spends six to seven days based in historic Churchill, Canada, near the world’s greatest concentration of polar bears. While the bears await the freeze of Hudson Bay and the start of seal hunting season, up to 16 guests on each departure are safely and comfortably positioned to observe these creatures from inside a Polar Rover, the world’s premier tundra vehicle (built for 35 passengers). This adventure begins with a charter flight from Winnipeg, the gateway airport, to Churchill. Departures are several times weekly throughout October and November 2020.

Camp Denali & North Face Lodge Adventure offers the flexibility of spending from six to 10 days exploring one of the world’s greatest wilderness regions. Denali National Park is six million acres inhabited by grizzly bears, moose, caribou and wolves. Naturalist guides lead day hikes with time left over for paddling, picking blueberries and biking. Guests have the option to stay at two different remote lodges on this exciting land tour from early June through mid-September 2020.

Arctic Watch epitomizes “getting away from it all” over 10 days in the Canadian Arctic 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Activities emanate from the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge and a world-class beluga whale observation site on Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada. Guests participate in Arctic safaris with possibilities of spotting polar bears; they may also fish, paddleboard, fat bike, ride ATVs searching for musk ox and ring seals, and they can kayak with opportunities to see beluga (white) whales. Five itineraries are planned in July/August 2020 and four in July/August 2021.
 
By Sea
 
Many inquiries that come into the AdventureSmith office are from potential clients who have never experienced a small ship cruise. To answer questions on why small ship cruising may be the best option for certain travelers, the staff prepared a Small Ship vs Big Ship blog.  Some of these points found in the blog are clearly highlighted when looking through the following itineraries AdventureSmith showcases that embark from some of the highest-latitude North American shores.
 
The Northwest Passage follows the fabled sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Adventures are for nine to 17 days. Accommodation is aboard the 200-passenger, purpose-built polar ship, Ultramarine, debuting this season. In 2021 the program will include a weather-dependent, small-group, 10- to 15-minute helicopter flightseeing excursion, as well as a helicopter transfer to a landing site. (The rate includes roundtrip charter flights between Toronto and Resolute Bay in Nunavut, Canada.)
 
Sea Wolf Glacier Bay Adventure is for only 12 guests who appreciate that the Sea Wolf small ship is locally owned and staffed by local pros, the best resource when it comes to insider experiences. Guests transfer from Juneau to Gustavus, Alaska, for embarkation. New bookings on departures for May 16, May 30, June 13 or July 4, 2020, come with a per person savings of $300. There are frequent departures from May through August 2020.
 
Alaska’s Glaciers & Whales is an eight-day immersion through the Inside Passage aboard the 84-guest Safari Endeavour expedition ship, complete with a hot tub, premium spirits, wine and beer. This is a well-rounded cruise with a strong focus on glaciers and icescapes, with ample dollops of culture and wildlife. Departures are from May through August 2020.
 
Across the Bering Sea transports guests from Nome or Seward, Alaska, over 13 or 22 days into or near the Arctic Circle. The 102-guest National Geographic Orion offers luxurious onboard amenities that welcome passengers home after they explore on the 13-day program a remote Siberian coastline and venture past the Arctic Circle. Farther on the Wrangel Island Reserve (a federally protected nature sanctuary administered by Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment) is home to the highest density of ancestral polar bear dens, the world’s largest population of Pacific walrus and a variety of plant life. A 22-day alternative cultural- and wildlife-focused itinerary sails through Alaska’s Katmai coast then along the coast of Russia through Kamchatka. Six departures are scheduled from June through August 2020 and five from June through August 2021.
 
For details on all of AdventureSmith Explorations’ small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and for 2020-2021 reservations, call 866-575-2875 toll-free or visit the company website.
 
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Truckee, CA, near the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith first joined the ranks of Condé Nast Traveler‘s prestigious world’s Top Travel Specialists list as the leading expert on small ship expeditions, a distinction that he still enjoys to this day.

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Poseidon Expeditions Renews Charter for 114-Passenger Sea Spirit

Poseidon Expeditions is extending the charter of the 114-passenger expedition ship Sea Spirit.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Poseidon Expeditions announced that it has signed an agreement with ship owner SunStone Ships, Inc. to extend the charter of the 114-passenger expedition ship Sea Spirit for two years. This will keep the ship flying the Poseidon Expeditions banner until May 2024.

Nikolay Saveliev, founder and president of Poseidon Expeditions (https://poseidonexpeditions.com/), a specialist in active adventure cruises in Arctic and Antarctic regions, said that the Sea Spirit has received great acceptance in the marketplace and that the company is delighted to be able to continue offering the ship to its travel partners and polar travelers around the globe.

“With the Sea Spirit, we have a smaller-capacity, premium vessel that’s perceived as very desirable compared with most of the newly announced polar-class ships in the range of 200-500 passengers. Those wanting to go to Antarctica or to the Arctic understand the advantages that a smaller vessel can provide – better access to remote areas and landing sites; more ‘face time’ with the expedition team; and a camaraderie among guests and staff that is more difficult to achieve aboard larger ships,” he added.

“This ship has delivered a consistently high level of service and performance in the polar regions from the ship’s officers, catering and hospitality team. Sunstone has done a great job keeping the passenger areas renovated and the technical features consistently updated, such as the new, state-of-the art Rolls Royce Zero Speed Stabilizers installed in 2019. Combined with our exceptional expedition staff, which curates experiences for our guests that are engaging, educational and fun, it’s no wonder the Sea Spirit achieves a 4.9 ranking out of a possible 5.0 from TrustPilot,  the well-established third-party review site,” he added.

The founder of Poseidon said plans were still moving forward with a new build, configured for fewer than 150 passengers, but that an official announcement with details was still forthcoming.

Like a migrating bird, the Sea Spirit spends her year between the two polar regions, in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean from late October through mid-March and then in the sub-Arctic and Arctic regions of the British Isles, Svalbard, Franz Josef Land and Greenland from mid-May through September.

For inquires and questions, contact the company’s North American sales and reservation office at SalesUSA@poseidonexpeditions.com or by telephone at 347-801-2610.

With offices in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Cyprus and China, Poseidon Expeditions is a leading provider of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. The company is committed to safe and environmentally responsible polar travel. It is a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).
 
NOTE: For up-to-the-minute information on the status of cruises and booking policies during the COVID-19 crisis, see: https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/coronavirus-info/

Follow Poseidon Expeditions on Social Media:
Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/poseidonexpeditions
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YouTube:       https://www.youtube.com/user/pxpeditions
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Website         http://poseidonexpeditions.com/

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Poseidon Expeditions Thwarts Cabin Fever With Polar Ice – Via Video

Poseidon Expeditions offers up an online travel menu of virtual expedition cruises in the mystical worlds of ice — Antarctica in winter, and in summer, the wild Arctic and even the geographic North Pole. Experiences include, among others, kayaking among the icebergs, safe encounters with whales and polar bears and a helicopter flight over the Top of the World.

PROVIDENCE, RI– Right now snuggling up in an armchair with travel videos is the best antidote to what the Germans call Fernweh or yearning for places far away. As the world is still in travel lock-down mode, most of us long for the day we can freely explore the world once again.
 
Today most of us can’t travel much farther than our corner grocery store. But there is relief to this cabin fever. Poseidon Expeditions offers up an online travel menu of virtual expedition cruises in the mystical worlds of ice — Antarctica in winter, and in summer, the wild Arctic and even the geographic North Pole. Experiences include, among others, kayaking among the icebergs, safe encounters with whales and polar bears and a helicopter flight over the Top of the World.
 
“If you have the travel bug fever, we recommend treating symptoms with polar ice – via our extraordinary videos,” said Steve Wellmeier of Poseidon Expeditions.
 
Poseidon has also introduced a “Relaxed” reservation policy for new bookings for the 2021 Arctic and 2021-22 Antarctic seasons aboard the 114-passenger Sea Spirit. For these new bookings in 2021-22 the deposit is reduced from 20% to 10%, and travelers have two months before the deposit is due. For Poseidon travelers booked on 2020 Arctic programs, please find coronavirus-related updates at: https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/coronavirus-info/
 
Here’s a selection of Poseidon Expeditions’ destination videos:
 
East Greenland
https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/video/arctic/east-greenland-in-1-minute/  (1:13)
 
Franz Josef Land
https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/video/arctic/franz-josef-land-in-1-minute/  (1:36)
 
North Pole
https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/video/north-pole/on-top-of-the-world-north-pole-cruise/  (18:34)
 
North Pole by Helicopter
https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/video/north-pole/north-pole-ruise-helicopter-footage/  (2:42)
 
Svalbard: Where Does the Ideal Adventure Lead
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjC8-Gn3mE0  (1:00)
 
Antarctica 
https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/video/antarctica/antarctic-cruise-highlights/  (1:33)
 
Kayaking Antarctica
https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/video/antarctica/kayaking-in-antarcica/  (2:06)
 
Ship videos
 
mv Sea Spirit
https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/video/arctic/m-v-sea-spirit-video-tour/  (4:55)
 
Nuclear-powered Icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory
https://poseidonexpeditions.com/video-360/  (7:02)
360º virtual reality video experience
 
Interview with the Captain of 50 Years of Victory, Nuclear-powered Icebreaker
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRDolpy54nQ&t=2s  (6:02)
 
Additional Videos can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/user/pxpeditions
 
For inquiries and reservations, or to request a catalog, contact the company’s North American sales and reservation office at SalesUSA@poseidonexpeditions.com or by telephone at 347-801-2610.
 
With offices in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Cyprus and China, Poseidon Expeditions is a leading provider of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. The company is committed to safe and environmentally responsible polar travel. It is a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).

Follow Poseidon Expeditions on Social Media:
Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/poseidonexpeditions
Twitter:           https://twitter.com/poseidonexp
YouTube:       https://www.youtube.com/user/pxpeditions
Instagram:     https://www.instagram.com/poseidonexpeditions/
Website         http://poseidonexpeditions.com/

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Newport Mansions Open their Doors Virtually During Closure

The famous Gold Room at Alva Vanderbilt’s Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island, epitomizes the Gilded Age. While the Preservation Society of Newport mansions are closed, you can visit virtually. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEWPORT, R.I. – The Preservation Society of Newport County is offering new virtual tours of its historic houses and recent exhibitions as a free activity for people to enjoy while the house museums are closed.

Visitors to the Preservation Society’s website, NewportMansions.org, now can take self-guided 3-D tours through The Elms, Marble House, Isaac Bell House and Hunter House. They can also virtually experience two previous exhibitions at Rosecliff: “John James Audubon: Obsession Untamed” and “Tiffany Glass: Painting With Color and Light.”

Here is the link: www.newportmansions.org/exhibitions/virtual-exhibition-tours

“We have had a phenomenal reaction to this,” Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe said. “Everybody has been through a Newport  Mansion, but it gives you the opportunity, on a room-by-room basis, to zoom in on an object you might not have noticed.”

Preservation Society Research Fellow Sébastien Dutton is working to complete more of these virtual tours, and they will be posted as they are finished. This work is being supervised by Leslie Jones, Director of Museum Affairs and Chief Curator.

“This technology allows us to digitize the interiors of all our historic properties, in an effort not only to bring these spaces and their content to the public, but also as a matter of our core preservation principles,” Jones said. “It allows for us to not only visually account for the interiors and their aesthetics and the placement of objects, but it also allows us to have accurate measurements of every floor space, every ceiling height, down to the millimeter.”

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development. For more information, visit NewportMansions.org.

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