Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Silverleaf Service now available on Rocky Mountaineer


New SilverLeaf Service is now available for Rocky Mountaineer Luxury Rail vacation packages. Guests now have the opportunity to experience a journey through the wild beauty of Western Canada and the majestic Canadian Rockies in a single level dome coach, boasting panoramic views, entertaining on-board commentary, and delicious hot meal service at their seat.

Traveling on Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West rail journey between Vancouver, British Columbia and Banff, Alberta, guests will journey through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world including the Canadian Rocky Mountains, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The partially-domed SilverLeaf coach boasts panoramic views through oversized windows and allows guests to move around the coach and interact with other passengers without missing any of the scenery passing by. Delicious hot meals for breakfast and lunch along with additional Onboard Attendants make this an experience to remember.

  • Enjoy panoramic views from the oversized windows of the single-level dome coach - 167% larger viewing area than RedLeaf service
  • Relax in reclining dome-level seats which can rotate to accommodate groups of four
  • Enjoy temperature-controlled comfort
  • Overnight in moderate hotel accommodation in Kamloops or Quesnel with luggage delivered direct to your hotel
  • Includes transfers to and from the train on your package tour

SilverLeaf is available as an upgrade from Rocky Mountaineer RedLeaf Service.

See for more information on Rocky Mountaineer Luxury Rail vacation packages.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tokyo-Sendai Shinkansen Resumes Operation


Monday, April 25th - 2011

Life is gradually returning to normal in Japan - bullet train services on the JR East Tohoku Shinkansen Line resumed between Tokyo and Sendai on Monday for the first time since the massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11. Operation resumes just in time for Golden Week, Japan’s traditional early May holiday.

The Tohoku shinkansen service to Fukushima was restored earlier, but the section connecting it to the city of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture was suspended until Monday.

According to JR East, the March 11 natural disasters mangled rail track, cracked elevated bridges and in general incurred damage at about 1,200 separate places along the full length of the Tohoku shinkansen track. About 85% of the trouble spots were repaired as of April 18, and the bullet train operator said it aims to restart service from Sendai to Ichinoseki on April 30.

Beginning April 29, the cutting-edge E5-type train “Hayabusa” will make two roundtrips a day, one between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori and the other between Tokyo and Sendai. Five thousand yen from each of the luxury “Gran Class” seat ticket sales will be donated to disaster victims.

The Japan Rail pass gives visitors to Japan an economical and convenient way to travel throughout Japan on JR rail, bus and ferry services. Please see http://www.nakastrav … for current rates and information.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Japan Airlines Fuel Surcharge Increase


JAL International Fare Fuel Surcharge from June to July 2011

Japan Airlines (JAL) has requested for approval from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to increase the current level of fuel surcharge on all international passenger tickets issued between June 1 and July 31, 2011.

In April this year, JAL began setting fuel surcharge levels bimonthly based on the 2-month average price, instead of quarterly based on 3-month average price, of Singapore kerosene-type jet fuel.

The price of Singapore kerosene-type jet fuel during the two month period of February and March 2011 averaged US$126.60 per barrel. With reference to the fuel surcharge benchmark list for the fiscal year of 2011 (see below), this corresponds to Zone G of fuel surcharges which range from 2,500 yen on a Japan - Korea ticket to 25,000 yen on a Japan - USA ticket per person per sector flown, on tickets purchased in Japan.

This level of surcharge will be applied to all international passenger tickets issued between June 1 and July 31, 2011.

Hawaii-Japan Current Fuel Surcharge: $127.00

Hawaii-Japan New Fuel Surcharge $185.00

Monday, April 18, 2011

True Travel Tales - 1

Our True Travel Tales come from clients who write in to share their experience of how Travel Guard’s travel insurance plans and travel assistance services came to the rescue during unexpected travel travail.

More information on travel insurance plans offered through Naka’s Travel Service, online quotes and enrollment is available at:

A Cozumel Christmas Cancellation

Paul  and  Nancy  L.  of  Commerce,  Michigan  had  their  big  winter  family  vacation  all  planned.  Their destination? Cozumel, Mexico where they had planned several scuba diving excursions and their children had planned to swim with the dolphins.

Then, it happened. The day they were supposed to depart, severe winter weather hit, and their flight was cancelled. Because of the severity of the storm, the best the airlines could offer was to re-route them on a flight that would depart 36 hours later which would mean the family would have to spend a night in Cincinnati, and a night in Atlanta at their expense, before leaving for Cozumel. 

“We would have arrived 3 days late for our 7 day vacation,” said Paul. “Obviously not worth going through with.”

As you might imagine, having their long-awaited tropical trip cancelled on the day of departure was devastating for the family. 

“The only thing that kept us from going off the deep end of despair was the knowledge that we had a travel insurance plan through Travel Guard,” said Paul. 

With a simple call to Travel Guard, Paul and Nancy were able to set things in motion to be completely reimbursed for the non-refundable parts of their winter trip. Within a short amount of time, the couple had the full reimbursement in their hands.

“The  claim  process  was  very  clear  and  uncomplicated,” exclaimed Paul. “We received a check for $5,125 which covered every  non-refundable  expense  we  had  incurred  and  each person I spoke with at Travel Guard was understanding and helpful. The service they provided has earned them a lifetime customer. We had never before purchased trip insurance. Now I can say we will never again plan a trip without trip insurance.”


This is only a brief description of the coverage(s) available. The Policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Insurance underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., with its principal place of business at 175 Water Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10038. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia. (NAIC#19445). Coverage may not be available in all states. Travel assistance services provided by Travel Guard.     1186_005   02/03/11



Friday, April 15, 2011

US State Department, Britain and Canda Lift Japan Travel Restrictions

jts-logo.jpg Travel Safety Updates: Japan is Open for Safe Travel
(from JNTO)

The first month after the most major earthquake in the northeastern Japan has been an important recovery time for Japan, despite that international media release floods of extensive coverage on post-catastrophe situation. Thanks to international relief supports and Japan’s resilience and hard-working effort enables the country to recover the infrastructure as well as commercial activities at a surprisingly fast pace. Following the British and Canadian governments’ ease on travel restrictions to Japan, on April 14, the US Department of State has reduced the travel alert to Japan only within the 50 miles radius of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which excludes major cities such as Tokyo and Yokohama, and Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports. You can view Today’s Japan through live cameras and YouTube videos. As international organizations release clearer figures and assessment, the current situation has reached a reasonable safety level for international travelers, with detailed data as of April 15.

Can We Visit Japan Today? – YES!

The majority of regions in Japan including popular leisure travel destinations, are outside the areas affected by tsunami, earthquake and radiation, and received no disruption to infrastructure. Everything in these areas continues to operate as usual. The greater Tokyo area has already retrieved the usual condition, and there are no more periodical blackouts. The other regions are unharmed, and safe and normal as before.

How is the Radiation Level? – NOT DANGEROUS!

Except for the proximate areas near the nuclear power plants, there is no dangerous level of radiation detected in Japan. Tokyo is not within radiation contamination concern area, located over 200km (124 miles) away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant facilities. The radiation level in Tokyo is similar to that of New York City. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other international organizations confirm that the radiation level in the atmosphere is within a reasonable safety level to human health. The accident in Fukushima is now categorized as level 7 with the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). However, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) estimates the amount of radiation released to the atmosphere is as a mere 10% of the Chernobyl accident. Since the INES category doesn’t have anything higher than level 7, both incidents fall into the same category in spite of the huge difference in the radiation levels and the size and structure of the accidents. See more details here. In addition, please see the daily updates on radiation level in major cities in Japan here.

Are Food and Water Safe? – YES!

There is no shortage of food or water, and products distributed to the public are all safe.

Is Public Transportation Working? – YES! J

apan’s sophisticated public transportation systems have been recovered to the regular service levels everywhere, except for the tsunami-affected regions.

Daily Updates

Since the 3.11 earthquake, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) continues to release updates on its website, including radiation conditions, transportation, events and other travel-related information. Daily updates are also available online at JNTO’s North American website.