Royal Caribbean Postpones Cruises After 8 Crew Test Positive For COVID

(image via Instagram)

Royal Caribbean has been forced to postpone the inaugural sailing of new ship Odyssey of the Seas after eight vaccinated crew members test positive.

From USA Today:

The Odyssey of the Seas’ initial sailings, which the cruise line had laid out as six- and eight-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from July 3 to July 31, are being canceled as a precaution, Royal Caribbean spokesperson Lyan Sierra-Caro told USA TODAY. The launch will be postponed until July 31, when the first sailing with paying passengers is now scheduled to depart. Four sailings were scrapped in total.

All 1,400 crew members on Odyssey were vaccinated on June 4, but the positive cases were found before the vaccines would be considered fully effective June 18. Of the eight crew members who tested positive, six are asymptomatic and two have mild symptoms.

American Airlines Suspends Alcohol Service Due To Unruly Behavior

An American Airlines plane on the tarmac
An American Airlines plane on the tarmac
(photo: Quintin Gellar/Pexels)

After a recent incident on a Southwest Airlines flight ended with a flight attendant losing two front teeth thanks to a drunk passenger, Southwest announced it would suspend serving alcohol during flights.

American Airlines has announced it will now follow suit.

From CNN:

“Flight attendants are on the front lines every day not only ensuring our customers’ safety, but are also calming fears, answering questions, and enforcing policies like federally-required face masks,” said Brady Byrnes, managing director of flight service at American, in a memo to flight attendants obtained by CNN.

“Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft,” the memo said. “Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews.”

American had suspended alcohol service in March 2020 to reduce interactions with passengers during the pandemic. Beverage services were resumed on May 1.

But now, American Airlines says serving alcohol will remain suspended for coach passengers through September 13. That’s when the Transportation Security Administration’s mask mandate for all planes is scheduled to expire.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, “Since Jan. 1, 2021, the FAA has received approximately 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, including about 1,900 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal facemask mandate.”

Seeing The Sights Of Sydney, Australia

A brief video celebrating the men of Australia

A brief video seeing the sights of Sydney, Australia

I was reminded of this travelogue video I shot 9 years ago seeing the sights during my first visit to Australia.

I start out trying my best to inform folks about the ins and outs of Sydney as I really enjoyed the scenery and ‘local flavor’ of the city.

But, things go a bit awry along the way 😉

You’ll see what I mean. Hit the play button below.

In addition to time spent in Sydney, Michael and I got to spend some time at Olivia Newton-John’s gorgeous Gaia Retreat & Spa near Australia’s Gold Coast.

Beach Club Fined After Guests Get Busy In See-Through Pool

Mantamar Beach Club, which is my favorite place to spend my days when visiting Puerto Vallarta, was fined after a video clip of two men getting busy in an elevated see-through pool went viral.

The adults-only resort, which is predominantly a gay destination but very straight-friendly, had to pay a fine of 22,179.60 pesos — the equivalent of just over a thousand US dollars, according to the Mazatlan Post. Local ordinances prohibit sexual activity in private places that are visible to the public.

I’ve been there many, many times and never seen out-and-out sex in the pool but there’s always a first. I’m of a mind that the beach club shouldn’t have been fined for guests poor behavior. The guests should have been the ones to suffer the consequences.

If you’ve seen headlines about this incident, don’t let it dissuade you from going. It’s the best beach club in PV – great food, great views, great service.

Spain Will End Tourist Quarantine July 1

Tourists in Sitges, Spain during summer 2019

Spain will end its current quarantining of international tourists at the end of June allowing the country to take advantage of some of the summer tourism season.

From the Washington Post:

The move comes after Italy and Greece — which vie for Mediterranean tourism — announced they will welcome foreign travelers starting June 1.

Spain is the second most visited country in the world, behind France. In 2019, some 83.7 million international tourists spent over $100.54 billion. Tourism accounts for nearly 13 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product and an estimated 12.7 percent of the country’s jobs.

Spain has moved to relax one of Europe’s strictest nationwide lockdowns, slowly easing measures by region. The daily dose of new infections has slowed to 0.1 percent, with 235,772 confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 28,752 deaths.

 

Social Distancing: Airline Will Keep Middle Seat Empty For $39

(image via Facebook/FrontierAir)

If you would like to ensure an empty middle seat when flying, Frontier Airlines will let you pay $39 to block off the seat.

From NBC News:

Customers will be able to select a “more room” option, beginning at $39, to ensure that the middle seat is reserved without a passenger, the airline announced Monday. Some airlines such as Delta and EasyJet have already started to block off the middle seat, where possible, to allow for social distancing.

Starting May 8, face coverings are also mandatory at the gate and boarding areas as well as on the plane, the airline said.

“While we believe the best measure to keep everyone healthy is to require face coverings, for those who want an empty seat next to them for extra peace of mind or simply additional comfort, we are now offering “More Room,” Frontier chief executive Barry Biffle said in a statement.

Frontier also announced all passengers will have to fill out a form declaring neither they nor any family members have had COVID-19 symptoms in the two weeks before traveling. Additionally, anyone with a fever will not be allowed to travel.

(h/t JoeMyGod)

2020 Provincetown Bear Week Canceled Thanks To Coronavirus

Even though the event is over three months away, Provincetown Bears have announced this year’s Bear Week in the Massachusetts getaway has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 threat.

Bear Week Provincetown is traditionally one of the busiest weeks in the Provincetown summer season. The event draws in gay bears and big boys from all over the world.

Originally scheduled for July 11, 2020 – July 19, 2020, the weeklong program of pool parties, dance parties, comedy shows, and leather events didn’t look feasible with the social distancing guidelines that have been announced for the foreseeable future.

(image via Provincetown Bears)

In a statement, the organizers say “Members of our board have watched the rampant developments of the coronavirus pandemic and we believe that it is not advisable for us to host the crowded parties this summer that are the hallmark of Bear Week.”

“Provincetown Bears cares deeply about the health and safety of our Bear community,” write the organizers. “We hope to see you again in Provincetown for Bear Week next year. Dates for Bear Week Provincetown 2021 are July 10 to 18, 2021.”

Those who had already registered for 2020 events will get a refund. Provincetown Bears mentions it may take a couple of weeks to process the refunds.

Additionally, some P-town hotels and guest houses have offered to roll deposits over to the 2021 events. While Provincetown Bears aren’t involved in those private businesses, they do encourage folks to allow funds to roll over in an effort to help the small businesses through this difficult year.

It’s important to note, however, that Provincetown will be open for business at some point this summer season once health officials give the go-ahead. The P-Town Bears want you to know “local business owners, entertainers, lodging keepers, and the managers, chefs, and staff at your favorite restaurants and bars look forward to offering all that Provincetown is famous for when they open for the season.”

Check out some pics from last year’s Bear Week in Provincetown via Instagram.

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#daddyAF #bearweek #bearweek2019

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Solid Good Tea was nuts! #ptown #bearweek

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Pride Journey: Palm Springs

Joey Amato in Palm Springs (photos: Joey Amato)

Guest post by LGBTQ travel journalist Joey Amato

Palm Springs is one of those destinations that you never get tired of. I’m not sure if it’s the landscape, or the abundance of over-the-top gayness that makes the city truly magical. On my most recent visit to the desert gay mecca, I attended Palm Springs Pride, an event headlined this year by TLC and Kristine W. This year was the largest pride celebration in the city’s history. I even had the opportunity to meet Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon.

First impressions are everything and I had forgotten how easy Palm Springs airport is to navigate. Within minutes after walking off the plane, you can be laying poolside at your hotel or shopping along the boutique and art gallery heavy Palm Canyon Drive.

I was visiting with my friend and fellow journalist Josh Rimer, who was named Mr. Gay Canada 2019. He and I met on a media trip in Phoenix/Tempe and have traveled to Columbus, Ohio together as well. Visiting a destination like Palm Springs is more fun if you travel with someone, unless you are an extreme extrovert, which neither Josh nor I are. Having traveled together in the past made this visit fun and enjoyable.

After checking in at Alcazar Palm Springs, we headed straight for the Opening Night Pride Party at Trina Turk, which was hosted by Brandon Liberati and Craig Ramsay. The party drew a who’s who of Palm Springs glitterati. Every year, Trina Turk donates a portion of proceeds from items sold during the event back to the pride organization.

Joey Amato with Mayor Robert Moon

Before heading out on the town, grab dinner a Trio, a staple in Palm Springs since 2009. In fact, the first time I visited the city almost a decade ago, I dined at Trio. Josh and I decided to share a few starters including the Coachella Valley Dates and Ahi Tuna Tower. We were both hesitant to order the dates as they are filled with blue cheese, which neither one of us are a big fan of, but they turned out to be delicious. The blue cheese complimented the sweetness of the dates which simply melt in your mouth. Trio also hosts one of the best parade-viewing parties in town, so if you come to pride in 2020, be sure to make a reservation.

Palm Springs nightlife is truly one of the best experiences in the country. There is a bar or club for every type of person, ensuring that whether you are LGBT or Q, you will fit in. Arenas Road has emerged as the epicenter of nightlife in the city with venues including Hunters, Chill Bar, Quadz, Stacy’s, The Eagle and BlackBook all within a 2-block radius. Other nightlife venues are scattered throughout the city and in neighboring Cathedral City.

After a night of partying, retire back to the Alcazar for a restful night’s sleep before heading out to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to get a bird’s eye view of the city. I’ll admit, I don’t like heights nor roller coasters, so the tram made me nervous. The ten-minute journey to the top, aboard a rotation car is quite the experience. There are 5 towers along the way and as the car passes each tower it swings back and forth, sometimes slightly, other times, enough to make you a bit queasy. A little side note, the temperature is at least 20 degrees cooler on top of the mountain, so dress accordingly. Josh and I wore our traditional tank top attire and were a bit chilly to say the least.

Located adjacent to Arenas Road is Johannes, a lovely restaurant owned by chef Johannes Bacher. The modern décor is accented by the establishments menu which includes an assortment of house specialty Schnitzel. Hailing from Austria, Johannes brought his favorite dish to Palm Springs and it quickly became a favorite among the locals. Of course, we had to try some, and I can tell you, it does live up to the hype. I don’t remember the last time I saw schnitzel of any kind on a menu, outside of a German restaurant, which I learned is a different type of preparation. Another one of my favorites at Johannes was the Grilled Marinated Peaches & Burrata. I’d give that a try if you are looking for a lighter option.

Music lovers should also take note that Palm Springs is the gateway to Coachella and Stagecoach Festival, two of the largest outdoor music festivals in the country. Stagecoach has grown into the premier country music festival in the United States since its inception in 2007. The three-day event will take place April 24-26 and feature headliners Eric Church, Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson.

Palm Springs is a destination that always lives up to my expectations. Whether you are looking to party until dawn, relax by one of the dozens of pools around town or go hiking in nearby Joshua Tree National Park, the destination really does offer something for everyone.

Enjoy the Journey!

Joey Amato is the publisher of Pride Journeys, a website dedicated to LGBTQ travel. Joey has spent over a decade in LGBTQ media and public relations and currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. He can be reached at joey@pridejourneys.com