CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

March 12, 2020

We know the unknown of COVID-19 is causing concern.  We want you to know that as your partner and advocate, we are doing everything we can to reduce the stress of the situation as it pertains to your business and personal travel. We receive daily updates from our vendors and partners. Our team is staying informed of changing schedules and updated cancellation/insurance policies as they are being released.

We advise that travelers take the following precautions – en route or at home:

  • Avoid handshaking! Use a fist bump, nod, namaste, etc.
  • Use your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc.
  • Lift gasoline dispensers or door handles with a paper towel or closed fist when possible. You can opt into using gloves as well.
  • Use disinfectant wipes when available: Example, at the stores including the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
  • Travel with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer for the times when it is not provided.
    • Be sure to get the tray table and arm rests on planes!
    • Be sure to get the steering wheel in your vehicles (and rental cars)
    • Use as appropriate when out shopping, getting gas, dining out, etc.
  • Wash your hands often and be sure to wash them with warm water for 20+ seconds. When you do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more.
  • Wash your clothing and sheets frequently. Especially if you find yourself coughing/sneezing into them.
  • Use common remedies like ColdFX, echinacea or similar, as directed when you begin to feel ANY cold-like symptoms beginning.
  • Avoid large gatherings, perhaps except ones where all can be considered to have observed these protocols.

The links below have additional details from our partners and are being updated frequently. The Uniglobe Carefree Travel Group team is receiving updates as well and monitoring the situation to best assist our clients:

Airlines

  • Air Canada (as of March 12)
    • Summary: Waiving change fees for all new bookings until March 31, 2020. Waiving change fees for travel booked before March 4, 2020 with an original travel date before April 30, 2020.
    • Air Canada News Page re COVID-19
  • Delta (as of March 12)
    • Summary: Waiving change fees for all flight/destinations ticketed on or before March 9, for travel through April 30 (to/from Europe through May 31), to any date before Dec 31.
    • Delta News page re COVID-19
  • WestJet (as of March 12)
    • Summary: All new flight bookings made between March 3, 2020 and March 31, 2020 will be allowed a one-time change fee waiver.  For flights booked before March 3, 2020 for travel in March or April 2020 there is a $0 one-time fee waiver for changes or cancellations.
    • WestJet News Page re COVID-19

Hotels

If we have assisted, you with your hotel booking.  Please let us know any hotel cancellation you may have and we will reach out to the hotels on your behalf.

Conferences

We will communicate with the conferences regarding any cancellations we receive.  Every conference is different, and we are happy to gather information and cancel conferences for our clients as well.

Cruise Lines 

  • Viking – Policy UpdateCancel for any reason and receive future cruise credit. Viking suspends all cruises through April 30.
  • Princess Cruise Line All voyages departing March 12 to May 10 have been paused. Guests have the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice.
  • Holland America – Book with Confidence policy(cancel for any reason and receive future cruise credit)
  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Today they decided to suspend all European itineraries until April 23rd. Existing bookings for this time period have the option to rebook for 2020 or 20201 cruises or receive a future cruise credit to be used during the next 24 months.  For bookings after April 23rd, guests can now cancel up to 14 days prior to their cruise and rebook on any 2020 or 2021 cruise without penalty or have the option to rebook with one of their TTC sister brands—from Trafalgar to Insight Vacations—for 2020 to 2021.

**If your cruise line is not listed, please reach out to your agent for specifics.

Travel Insurance

If you have any questions regarding your existing insurance policy or would like to add travel insurance to your booking please reach out to our agents for the most up-to-date information.

Industry Info

Many of our travel industry partners have made changes to their change and cancellation policies.   As this information changes regularly we encourage you to reach out to your Uniglobe Travel Agent for details applicable to the trip you have booked or are planning to book.

Health & Govt Info

Whatever your travel plans are, we encourage you to reach out to our team for answers to any of your questions at this time.

New Basebar 2020 (2)

New and New to Me at Disneyland – Jamie’s Final Disney Blog

When we started planning our trip to Disneyland, I thought I knew all there was to know about Disneyland.  This would be my fourth trip to the Park and our most recent trip was only a year and a half ago.  In the end, I surprised myself with the number of new rides, dining options and experiences that we participated in during our stay.  Here is a quick recap of my thoughts on each:

Rides:

  1. Matterhorn.  This is one of the original Disney rides and a timeless favorite for many.  It has been closed for refurbishment on all of my previous visits.  This roller coaster takes you high in the Matterhorn mountain with lots of twists and turns as you evade a Yeti.  It was fun and thrilling and my kids loved it….me not quite as much, mainly because it’s a bit “rough” and jarring – not always easy on the back and older bones 🙂
    2
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!  The Hollywood Tower of Terror was one of my favorite Disney rides.  The last time I was at Disney our youngest ones were too little to go on this ride so I stayed off while my husband and older daughter went on this one.  This time, we all went and I still LOVE this ride.  The premise is the same with all the drops (and the tricky part is you never know how many drops there will be!), but the ride is re-imagined with a Guardians of the Galaxy theme and is really well done.  It is terrifying in the best possible way and even the little guys couldn’t wait to go on it again and again.

  3. Indiana Jones.  We tried to go on this ride last time, but the lineups were always long and we never seemed to get around to getting a fastpass for it.  This time, I made a point of getting a fastpass so we could check it out.  It’s a really well done ride – especially if you have watched and enjoyed the Indian Jones movies.  It plays a lot on parts of the movies and takes you through a temple on a wild jeep ride.  It’s a bit rough, so again if you have back problems, it’s not the one for you.  Otherwise, go and enjoy!
  4. Grizzly River Rapids.  This ride is at California Adventure and takes you on a big tube (fitting 8 guests) down a river with rapids and waterfalls.  You will get wet (possibly soaked) but it’s a lot of fun on a hot day and a great way to cool off and have fun.  I really enjoyed the ride and we had a lot of laughs.
  5. Rise of the Resistance.  I talk more about this ride in my Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge  blog, but this ride was AMAZING and well worth all the hype.  Be sure to join a boarding zone right as soon as the park opens or you will be out of luck for getting on this ride.  The wait time from when your boarding zone is called is roughly 30 minutes.  This method of crowd control seems to be working well and gets people through the ride in a very efficient manner without having to wait for hours in line..
    Star Wars 3

 

Food:

  1. Mobile Food Orders: Last time we went with just my family of 5, we found it worked well to have one dining reservation each day and have a bit of a “plan”.  This time, we had 11 people and I ended up cancelling most of my dining reservations.  It was just a bit hard to get everyone in the same place at a specified time when everyone had different things they wanted to be doing.  Reservations can typically be cancelled without penalty up to 1 day beforehand.  Instead of the dining reservations and sit down meals, in this scenario we found it easier to use the “mobile order” part of the Disneyland app.  I had not used it before, but it worked amazingly well.  You could pop onto the app, order your lunch and when you were ready to pick it up, you hit one more button on the app and 5 minutes later your order was ready.  No waiting in line.  I love it!  We did this every day at least once.  My favorites:  Burgers from the Hungry Bear in Critter Country, Chicken Fingers from the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland and Chili Cheese Dogs from Award Wieners in Hollywood land (considerably better than the other hot dog places in California Adventure and very reasonably priced).
  2. Food & Wine Festival:  I have a separate blog on this event, but to recap, it is festival of food and drink vendors that are not normally at California Adventure who are showcasing a few of their specialties.  It is a very fun atmosphere, the Sip and Savour pass is reasonably priced and I would love to experience it again.  It was good with the kids along, it would be even better as an adult date night.
    8
  3. Breakfast with Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn:  This is a full buffet breakfast/brunch with Minnie and several of her friends.  The characters change a bit, but Minnie is a given.  It’s a bit expensive – $39 for Adults, $19 for kids, but it saves you a ton of time waiting in line to meet the characters.  The characters all come around to your tables and will sign autograph books and take pictures.  The food was also very good.  It was buffet style, with cooking stations.  Mickey waffles and French toast, an omelette stations, an egg and breakfast meat stations, all kinds of drinks and side dishes.  It was all you can eat and a few of us made the most of that!  We opted for the latest time – 10:40am and had that pass as our lunch that day.

    5

 

We had such an amazing time at Disneyland this year.  If you have questions about planning your own Disney vacation please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.  There are some amazing promotions currently available and they would love to help make the magic happen!

image

Jamie’s Experience at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

brochure

There were so many things I was excited to do and try on this trip to Disneyland, but of them all, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge topped the list.  When we were in Disneyland a year and a half ago, they were building it and we have been anticipating this new land ever since.  Boy, did it live up to our expectations!

When you walk into Galaxy’s Edge, it is truly like stepping into another world.  Disney has out-Disney’d itself.  All the sights, sounds, smells – even the Coca Cola bottles, make you think you are in a Star Wars movie.  Perhaps the best part is the Disney cast members and how they interact with the guests.  They stay very true to character and the Storm Troopers are often around and will stop and question guests. I am the first to admit I am not a big follower of Star Wars, beyond having seen the first few movies, but I was suitably impressed and my husband and kids even more so.

Cola

Of course, the big news in Galaxy’s Edge is the newly opened “Rise of the Resistance” ride.  It opened a few weeks ago and the lineups were expected to be so big for this ride that Disney implemented a “boarding zone” policy.  I wasn’t quite sure how this would work, but we were determined to check out this ride.  We heard from fellow guests that you had to be inside the Disney park and ready to press “join boarding zone” on the Disneyland App, the minute the park opened if you had any hope of getting on a boarding zone.  Disney starts letting guests in the gates half hour before the official park opening time.  We arrived early and were through the gates 15 minutes prior to park opening and right at 9:00am, we pressed the “join boarding zone” button and were rewarded with being in boarding zone 35 – a sure bet to get on the ride that day.  The most amazing part was hearing the roar that echoed throughout the entire park at 9am.  It was all of the Star Wars fans celebrating their luck or bemoaning their lack thereof.

Star Wars 10

It was clear from all the Star Wars t-shirts and gear that a large part of the Disney crowd last week were there for Star Wars.  Despite that, the park itself was not overly busy and it was easy to navigate through Galaxy’s Edge, interact with the characters and enjoy the sites at any given time.  The only things that seemed to have line ups were “Oga’s Cantina” (dining reservations recommended) and the “Rise of the Resistance” ride.

Star Wars 13

Our boarding zone 35 was called around 1030am.  Once our boarding zone was called, it was about a half hour wait in line to get on the ride.  The ride itself was amazing.  The part that makes it different from other Disney rides is the level of interaction with the Disney cast members.  You are escorted onto a space ship and told you are being recruited for the Resistance.  Then your space craft is captured and boarded by the First Order and you are escorted off to a room full of storm troopers and generals who march you down to a different area, yelling commands at a few chosen guests along the way.  From there you board the “ride” part and a vessel takes you through different areas as you evade the First Order and eventually area broken out by the Resistance.  It’s incredibly well done and very “real” feeling.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shortly after our ride, my 5 year old son was approached by two storm troopers and Kylo Ren.  He was quite clearly convinced that they were trying to get him to tell the resistance secrets and join the first order.  I’m quite sure he thought the entire thing was real (the ride and the interaction after).  It was a highlight of our time at Disney.  We look forward to spending more time in Galaxy’s Edge next time.


Interested in planning your own dream vacation to Disneyland?  Reach out to our team at 306-242-TRIP and our experienced agents would be happy to help get you on your way!

UniglobeCarefreeTravelGroup

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2020

I was very excited to see that the Disneyland Food & Wine Festival was going to be on during our trip to Disneyland this past week.  If there is anything I love as much as IMG_6571Disneyland, it’s food and wine!  I have been to Disneyland and Walt Disney World several times, but this was something that had never coincided with my previous trips.

The Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival takes place at Disney California Adventure Park and it runs from February 28 – April 21, 2020.  Despite the festival, crowds were pretty low last week when we were there.  The evenings were a bit busier, but there was never a long lineup for food and no one was getting out of hand.  It was a family friendly atmosphere and event.  Most vendors had 2-3 food items as well as a couple of drink offerings.  There were 17 food card vendors that are not normally part of the California Adventure food lineup.  You can purchase a “Sip and Savor Pass” for $56 USD.  This gives you 8 tabs that can be traded in for a food or non-alcoholic drink item at any of the vendors.  Most food items were around $8 USD, so this was a pretty good deal.  Our family of 5 purchased this one evening and used it to get our food for dinner that night – lots of fun trying different items.  We purchased our drinks separately, but all in all, it was then a similar price to getting dinner at one of the other Disney restaurants, but it was a new experience with lots of variety.

We tried Ranch Fried Chicken Wings at “Cluck a Doodle Moo” (my kids favorite!), Black Garlic Soy-braised Pork Belly Banh Mi and Carbonara Garlic Mac and Cheese with Bacon at “Garlic Kissed” (the Banh Mi was Mark’s favorite!), Mini Chicken Chimis with Chimichurri at “Off the Cob”, Pepperoni Pizza Egg Rolls at “California Craft Brews” and Asian style Beef Barbacoa Street Tacos at “LA Style” (my favorite!).  We also sampled a Pineapple Beer at Cluck a Doodle Moo and the “fun” flight of beer at California Craft Brews, which were interesting and fun to try.  The full sized beer were around $10 each and a flight of 4 beer samples (decent sizes) were around $15.

 

All in all, this event added an extra touch of fun, food and something different to our trip to Disneyland and we really enjoyed our afternoon/evening of tasting!

#RIUParty – Pool Parties : The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

After spending a week at the lovely RIU Santa Fe in sunny Los Cabos, Mexico I have had my share of experiences with the popular RIU Pool Parties. These themed parties happen four times per week at RIU’s Cabo resorts and in Punta Cana. You get the Neon Party, Jungle Party, White Party and Pink Party. Two are from 7pm – 11pm and the other two are from 2pm – 7pm.

The Jungle Party started out super quiet
But it got lively pretty quickly!

The good: these parties are FUN. We attended the Jungle party as a group and stayed much longer than anticipated. Dancing in the foam pool was a lot more fun than any other foam party I’ve ever been to for some reason. The theming was excellent. Plus this party features performances from Coco Bongo which are always fun to watch and a nice sample for anyone interested in going to Coco Bongo. I also popped into the white party with a few of our group members which featured music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. It was outstanding and genuinely a party I would like to attend again some day. I can really imagine vacationing at a RIU resort that features these parties with a group of my best friends and having the time of our lives. This would be a great option for a stag or stagette trip! It was wonderful to see people of all generations enjoying these pool parties too. Everyone deserves to let loose and have a little fun once in a while.

Coco Bongo performance on the stage

With the exception of the end of the week party that fell over Spring Break it didn’t feel too crowded either. There was room to dance however you like to dance in the foam pool, the swim up pool or off to the sides where you don’t even have to get wet.

Some of the 98Cool group living it up in the foam pool

The bad: for whatever reason, the number of people who became drunk beyond reason seemed really high. I don’t believe that the bartenders were necessarily over serving, I think this may have been an issue caused by RIU’s signature in-room liquor dispensers. These people were sloppy and made what could be a super fun party into a bit of a joke. The resort was ready for them with plenty of security guards in the party and wheel chairs just outside. Although these “party poopers” were an annoyance they were, for the most part, handled efficiently.

The wheelchairs ready and waiting…

The ugly: We arrived at the resort the evening of the Neon Party. At first observation it looked super fun and I’m sure that it was. However, our group was given rooms in buildings 7 and 8. Both are just steps from the party location. Since our flight had left Saskatoon early that morning most of us were looking forward to a good nights sleep. This wasn’t an option for many in our group as the party raged on and then the party-goers made their way to their rooms hooting and hollering in the halls for a few more hours. Not only could we hear the music, it was rattling our patio doors! This was not an ideal way to start our vacation and I strongly suggest requesting rooms far from the location of the party if you value your sleep or are travelling with children that you want to keep on a bedtime schedule. This may, unfortunately, mean choosing not to have an ocean view room at this hotel.

Another great thing about the pool parties is if they are something that you are not interested in, you’ll have the rest of the resort “to yourself” since so many people attend the pool parties.

98Cool’s Gregger and his wife Ang got fully into the Jungle theme
Just a few from our group hanging out on the side of the party, people watching and having a blast.

If you do go, my advice is to just jump in and have fun. You are sure to have an amazing time. But also bring some tips. The staff working the pool party are working extremely hard and certainly deserve a little extra thank you. (I saw one man bussing tables IN the pool fully clothed.)

I’ll be back RIU Pool Parties. I promise.


Interested in booking a trip to the RIU Santa Fe or the Dominican Republic to take advantage of this amazing all inclusive feature? Reach out to our team!

Sailing The British Isles with Ed Buchholz on Cunard’s Queen Victoria | All About Glasgow, Scotland

Hosted Cruise – Cunard Queen Victoria – 12 Nights
June 7 – 19, 2020
British Isles

Port of Call – Glasgow (Tours from Greenock), Scotland – June 14

Glasgow is a city of architectural grandeur, with a trademark flair for design. Start right in the heart of the city centre and stumble upon one elegant street after another, each lined with some of the UK’s best-preserved Victorian architecture. In such a compact city it’s easy to visit the neighbourhoods, each bursting with their own character and charm.

Hailed as one of the driving forces behind the city’s rejuvenation, Glasgow’s art scene is unfussy and open to all. Named as the UK’s Top Cultural and Creative City (European Commission 2019), Glasgow is home to one of Europe’s largest civic art collections, much of which is free to visit in the city’s museums and galleries. Art spills out beyond venue walls in the form of neighbourhood festivals and urban street art adorning the sides of buildings, which can be experienced as part of a mural trail.

When Time Out Magazine named Glasgow as one of their ‘top ten best destinations in the world for 2019’, they also named the city as ‘first for friendliness’. People really do make Glasgow. From taxi drivers to tour guides, whether chatting to creators at weekend markets or to locals in whisky bars – you’ll discover a distinctive personality that is rooted in earthy Scottishness and energized with a progressive urban outlook. Glasgow’s heritage is all around. It’s in museums and city tours, it’s in hidden gems and restaurants, and it’s in the people’s natural ability to tell their story with trademark wit and warmth.

Scotland’s stunning scenery seeps into Glasgow in rolling hills, expansive country parks, woodland walks and even Highland cattle. Take in the Victorian extravagance of the Park Circus tenements, the gothic brilliance of the Glasgow Necropolis or the leafy tree-lined Queen’s Park and you’ll find scenic viewpoints overlooking the city, showing just why Glasgow is known as the Dear Green Place in Gaelic. You’ll find some of the city’s top attractions and museums within beautiful parkland settings and just ten minutes from the buzzing city centre is the tranquil Forth and Clyde Canal.

Top Attractions:

Glasgow Cathedral:  Glasgow Cathedral has a rare timelessness. The dark, imposing interior conjures up medieval might and can send a shiver down the spine. It’s a shining example of Gothic architecture, and unlike nearly all of Scotland’s cathedrals, it survived the turmoil of the Reformation mobs almost intact. Most of the current building dates from the 15th century.

image001Entry is through a side door into the nave, hung with regimental colours. The wooden roof has been restored many times since its original construction, but some of the timber dates from the 14th century; note the impressive shields. Many of the cathedral’s stunning, narrow stained-glass windows are modern; to the left is Francis Spear’s 1958 work The Creation, which fills the west window.

The cathedral is divided by a late-15th-century stone choir screen, decorated with seven pairs of figures perhaps representing the seven deadly sins. The four stained-glass panels of the east window, depicting the Apostles (also by Francis Spear), are particularly evocative. At the northeastern corner is the entrance to the 15th-century upper chapter house, where the University of Glasgow was founded. It’s now used as a sacristy.

The most interesting part of the cath­edral, the lower church, is reached by a stairway. Its forest of pillars creates a powerful atmosphere around the tomb of St Mungo (who founded a monastic community here in the 6th century), the focus of a famous medieval pilgrimage that was believed to be as meritorious as a visit to Rome.

Glasgow Necropolis:  Behind Glasgow Cathedral, this sizeable 19th-century necropolis stretches picturesquely up and over a green hill. The elaborate Victorian tombs of the city’s wealthy industrialists, several of them designed by prominent architects of the day (including Alexander Thomson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh), make for an intriguing stroll and offer great views and a vague Gothic thrill.

image003

George Square:  George Square is the main city square in central Glasgow. It was laid out in 1781 and named after King George III. It is notable for several important statues and monuments such as those dedicated to Robert Burns, James Watt, William Gladstone, Queen Victoria, and Sir Walter Scott. You’ll also find the Glasgow City Chambers along the east side of the square. It is a common meeting place in the city.

image005

The Gallery of Modern Art:  The Gallery of Modern Art is located in the center of the city and is the most visited modern art gallery in Scotland. It has changing exhibitions of modern art from both local and international artists. The building itself has an interesting history, originally built in 1778 for wealthy tobacco merchant William Cunninghame. The art museum is free to visit.

In front of the art museum is one of Glasgow’s most iconic landmarks, the Equestrian Statue of the Duke of Wellington. The interesting thing about the statue is the long-running placement each evening of a traffic cone on the top of the Duke’s head or his horse’s head (or both!). This long-running prank shows you a little of the local humor and character of Glaswegians.

 

The Lighthouse:  As Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture, it serves as a visitor center, exhibition space, and events venue in central Glasgow. The building was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh—his first public commission—and formerly was the headquarters of The Glasgow Herald.

Mackintosh is probably the most famous Scottish architect and designer of the 20th century and is known for being influential as a creator of the Glasgow Style. There is a Mackintosh exhibition here, temporary art exhibitions and events, a gift shop, information center, and even a viewing gallery with a good view of the city.

image011

Tennent’s Brewery: Tennent’s is a popular Glasgow beer brand and its pale lager beer is known as “Scotland’s favourite pint”. If you are not familiar with it, you’ll probably start to notice all the red T’s in the restaurants and bars carrying its beer while in Scotland. Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow was founded in 1740 and today you can take a guided tour of the brewery to learn about Tennent’s history, brewing process, packing and distribution, and of course taste the beer.

It has a well-organized and informative tour that ends with a generous beer tasting. The museum and sample room is a fun place to look around before or after the tour, having lots of memorabilia on display such as the famous “Lager Lovelies” cans. Note that guests must be wearing closed flat shoes suitable for walking around a work environment, be able to climb stairs.

image012

Does this amazing sailing through the British Isles sound like your dream trip?  Reach out to the team at Uniglobe Carefree Travel Group in Saskatoon at 306-242-TRIP to reserve your cabin today!

98Cool Goes To Cabo – Part Two

Here we are on the plane; our week of fun in the sun has ended.

The whole group looking fancy for our farewell dinner

I can honestly say that the bonding, laughs, friendly competitions and fun had on this trip was so much more than I ever anticipated. Since everyone was from around Saskatoon it seemed that each person was somehow connected with the next. As we learned more about each other we found out that some members of the group happen to be excellent singers while others dance to the beat of their own drum. Games of cribbage and bingo were played by the pools. We all danced together on the catamaran and at the Jungle Party. Many meals were shared whether as just a few or in big groups. It was so heartwarming to be a part of these new bonds; knowing that an idea of putting together a group of strangers was a huge success.

Conversations around meeting up as a group back home are heating up. We’ll see if it ends up being a karaoke meet up at Crackers, a summer bbq, crashing my Destination Wedding or maybe we’ll just all have to wait until next winter’s group getaway. Whenever we all see each other again, I know I can’t wait!


Birthday Buddies

Interested in planning a group getaway of your own? Our team of experienced agents would love to help you find the perfect location, get you a competitive quote and make the arrangements as carefree as possible. Reach out to us!

https://www.uniglobecarefreetravel.com/meet-the-team