Location: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Event: Due to an ongoing security threat, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is revising its travel restrictions to Playa del Carmen for U.S. government personnel. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from travel to Centro, Calica, Gonzalo Guerrero, Quintas del Carmen, and Villas del Carmen neighborhoods of Playa del Carmen. These neighborhoods are bordered by Avenida Benito Juarez, 50 Avenida Sur (Highway 307), and Calle 34 Norte. U.S. citizens should avoid those neighborhoods until further notice. U.S. government personnel are authorized to travel to resort areas in Riviera Maya including those near Playa del Carmen that are outside the restricted neighborhoods of this Alert.
Absent additional changes in the security situation, the U.S. Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen will reopen for normal operations on Monday, March 12.
The circumstances surrounding the security threat affecting the above neighborhoods is separate from the threat against ferries operating between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. U.S. government personnel are still prohibited from using ferry services between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel until further notice. U.S. citizens should not use ferry services operating between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.
Actions to Take:
U.S. citizens should avoid those neighborhoods in Playa del Carmen listed above until further notice.
U.S. citizens should not use ferry services operating between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.
Be aware of your surroundings and exercise increased caution.
Purchase travel insurance that specifically covers you in Mexico and includes medical evacuation insurance.
New Passport Applications or Passport Renewals: The State Department is expecting an increase in passport applications for renewals through 2018. Submit your passport application well ahead of your planned travel dates in order to avoid possible delays!
In 2007, there was an unprecedented surge in passport applications, issuing over 18 million passports as a result of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Nearly ten years later, those passports are beginning to expire, and we have been experiencing increased demand for passport renewals. The increased demand is expected to continue through 2018.
Earman Travel wants to keep our clients up-to-date in what is happening in the world of travel. Below you will find helpful info on travel issues relating to weather, labor disputes, and other incidents that may impact our client's travel plans.
TRAVEL WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES:
Please be sure to visit the Department of State Website (www.travel.state.gov) for the most current travel advisories and warnings.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN ANNOUNCES MASSIVE OVERHAUL OF COCO CAY
NEW YORK — Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, is about to get a massive makeover that will include the addition of one of the largest water parks in the Caribbean or Bahamas.
The $200 million overhaul of the 125-acre beach hideaway — to be renamed Perfect Day at CocoCay — also will bring the largest freshwater pool in the region, a helium balloon ride that takes cruisers 450 feet into the air and several other over-the-top features.
"We've been working on it for about three years," Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley told USA TODAY on Wednesday, describing a project on a scale never before seen for a cruise ship private island. "It's really about bringing the kind of innovation and creativity that we've brought the past few years to our ships and creating the kind of experience ashore that we think (will) deliver the perfect day."
Speaking with USA TODAY in advance of announcing the makeover Wednesday evening at a New York event, Bayley said the overhaul of CocoCay will include the installation of a pier that will be able to accommodate even the biggest of Royal Caribbean's 24 ships. Vessels visiting the island now must anchor off shore and ferry passengers to land, making it off limits to Royal Caribbean's biggest vessels.
"It's a big change," Bayley noted. "It's going to allow our Oasis Class ships to visit."
Measuring more than 225,000 tons a piece with room for more than 6,000 passengers, Royal Caribbean's three Oasis Class ships are more than 30% bigger than the world's next biggest cruise vessels. They are so big they only can visit a limited number of ports in the Caribbean and Bahamas.
New York's LaGuardia Airport:
As you may or may not know. New York's LaGuardia airport (LGA) has begun a four-year, $4-billion-dollar redevelopment program to completely reshape the airport. Being one of the main hubs of New York City and surrounding suburbs, closing it would not have been logical, as the existing terminal B services almost 15 million travelers annually. As LaGuardia has little public transportation, traveling to the airport has already become a trying experience for many. Last week, there were several days where it was taking two to four hours to reach the terminals, causing some travelers to ditch rental cars and walk several miles to the airport. Many carriers have been advising travelers to give themselves four hours to travel from Manhattan to the airport. Even Uber was refusing rides to or from the airport. Also, because many travelers are arriving late for their flights, time-balanced security checkpoints are backing up, causing more angst for travelers. If you have travelers flying into or out of New York's LaGuardia, have them visit http://laguardiaairport.com/traveladvisories/ to stay on top of any last-minute changes to roads, parking, pick up and drop off areas and cell phone lots. From there, you can also sign up to receive emailed alerts. If you, or someone you know, travel to LGA often, I suggest you sign up for these alerts. To add to this situation, New York Port Authority has begun construction on the main roadway into New York's JFK Airport as well. For JFK, they are suggesting people drop off at a JFK AirTrain station versus attempting to drive into the airport. Remember, Newark (EWR) is a viable alternative.
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