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.
While it is still EXTREMELY safe to travel to Hawaii, at least five cruise lines have altered itineraries in recent weeks as a result of the ongoing Kilauea volcano eruption on the Big Island.
Norwegian, Crystal Cruises, Oceania, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.
Kilauea volcano erupted on Thursday, May 3, spewing lava hundreds of feet into the air. Since then, more than 20 fissures have opened in nearby communities leaking even more molten lava. The U.S. Geological Survey said, as of May 31: "Vigorous eruption of lava continues from the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) fissure system in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens." It added that volcanic gas emissions remain high, and trade wind conditions are bringing vog (volcanic smog) to the south and west sides of the island.
The main danger for the ships is the "storm surge" that is a result of several small/off shore earthquakes associated with the eruption.
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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.
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.
Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted, killing at least 25 people and leaving residents covered in ash as they fled from billowing plumes.The volcanic eruption Sunday spewed a river of red hot lava and belched thick clouds of smoke nearly six miles into the air, according to the CONRED, the government agency for disaster reduction. Ashen remnants covered neighborhoods.
In addition to the fatalities, 20 others were injured, CONRED said.
Survivors described the horror and destruction when the volcano erupted."Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried," Consuelo Hernandez said in a video released by CONRED. "We saw the lava was pouring through the corn fields and we ran toward a hill."
Hernandez told officials from the disaster agency that some of her relatives were buried. Images from the scene showed a firefighter weeping.
Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales declared three days of national mourning.
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.
Reconsider travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel:
On roads after dark outside of Caracas due to crime.
To certain neighborhoods within Caracas due to crime.
Within 50 miles of the Colombian border due to crime.
Violent crime, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, is common.
Political rallies and demonstrations occur, often with little notice. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, and rubber bullets against participants and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism.
There are shortages of food, electricity, water, medicine, and medical supplies throughout much of Venezuela. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 ‘Avoid Nonessential Travel’ notice on May 15, 2018 due to inadequate healthcare and the breakdown of the medical infrastructure in Venezuela.
Security forces have arbitrarily detained U.S. citizens for long periods. The U.S. Embassy may not be notified of the detention of a U.S. citizen, and consular access to detainees may be denied or severely delayed.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Venezuela:
Do not travel between cities after dark.
Avoid travel between Simón Bolívar International Airport and Caracas at night.
Do not take unregulated taxis from Simón Bolívar International Airport and avoid ATMs in this area.
Bring a sufficient supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
Review the Crime and Safety Report for Venezuela.