More cruise refunds coming

Holland America, Carnival and Princess cruise lines announced recently they are canceling more sailings through spring, meaning more passengers will be eligible for refunds or future credits. The move comes as cruise lines grapple with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tough framework for reopening that was issued last year.

Holland America canceled all cruise departures through April 30, including sailings to destinations in Alaska, the Mediterranean, Canada and New England, a news release stated. Passengers who paid in full will receive a 125% credit; those with unpaid bookings will receive credit in the amount of double their deposit. Credits are good for 12 months from the date of issue.

Princess Cruises canceled cruises through May 14, including destinations in the Caribbean, California and early-season sailings in Alaska and Europe, according to a statement. Passengers may receive a refund or 125% future cruise credit (you have until May 1, 2022, to book and until December 2022 to sail).

Carnival had canceled all U.S. homeport sailings through March 31 and now has announced ship-by-ship cancellations. For example, cruises on the Carnival Miracle from San Diego and San Francisco have been canceled through Sept. 16. The cruise line said the cancellations include “many 10-day and longer itineraries not allowed under the CDC guidelines.” The line also offers future cruise credits equal to the cost of the cruise plus $300 to $600 onboard credits. Cruise ships in U.S. ports have been stilled for 10 months. The CDC issued its first no-sail order March 14 because of the spread of COVID-19 and has extended it several times.

On Oct. 30, the agency sketched out new rules for ships carrying at least 250 passengers in U.S. waters. To start, cruise ships would have testing, quarantine and isolation areas on the ship as well as a lab to test crew and passengers. Ship capacity would be limited, and mock voyages would be planned to test the ship’s ability to curb the risk of spreading the virus.

Legoland to mark anniversary

ORLANDO, Fla. — Legoland Florida is about to throw shade in a nice way. The theme park is installing tents over the entirety of its MiniLand USA, a popular area featuring tiny versions of American cities and landmarks.

Work began recently and is scheduled to be completed by summer, said Rex Jackson, general manager of the Winter Haven attraction.

This section of the park showcases little-brick representations of the White House, the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, the Las Vegas Strip and Florida landmarks, such as Daytona International Speedway and Kennedy Space Center.

The MiniLand covering is one way Legoland Florida is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Next up: “Brickbeard’s Watersports Stunt Show,” scheduled to debut Feb. 12. The show’s launch will coincide with a new event called PirateFest Weekends. Legoland also plans to give more visibility to its “master model builders,” the employees who create the Lego figures.

Legoland Florida opened on Oct. 15, 2011, on the grounds that previously belonged to Cypress Gardens, a longstanding Florida attraction. Since then, the park has added multiple rides, lands and on-site hotels.

Site offers new area to explore

ORLANDO, Fla. — Young astronauts and aspiring space explorers have a new forum to discover planets and delve into galaxies at Planet Play, the latest addition to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The play area is geared toward visitors ages 2-12.

“It’s at least 70% physical here ... You can climb, you can use digital interactivity, you can draw and do all sorts of things on your own while learning about the solar system,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of the complex.

While kids are the focus of Planet Play, one section is geared toward parents with a coffee, beer and wine bar set in a lounge with interactive tables. The new area is taking over a space that previously housed one of two IMAX theaters at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, guests will undergo temperature screenings upon arrival and visitors ages 2 and older will be required to wear masks. Hand sanitizer is spread throughout the play area, while physical distancing mandates and increased disinfecting procedures are in place.

From news services