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Luxury Yacht Vacation for Black Travelers Goes Awry

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More than a dozen travelers have filed formal complaints with North Carolina State Attorney General Josh Stein’s office following a luxury yacht vacation in the British Virgin Islands gone wrong this past June.

In a story reminiscent of 2017’s ill-fated Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, 58-year-old Reggie Cummings, founder of Black Travel Movement—dubbed the “largest and fastest growing online black travel community”—promised customers the “vacation of a lifetime” during “Black Yacht Week” in the Caribbean.

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However, the reviews have been mostly negative.

Approximately 250 people paid thousands of dollars for the cruise, which was advertised as a VIP experience featuring professional service and gourmet meals, among other perks. Instead, travelers complained of poor conditions, rude staff and mediocre meals.

“We actually had a leak on our boat,” customer Karen Everett told ABC11. “Some of the boats had mechanical issues. One of the boats, the air conditioning went out, so they were stuck with no AC, without lighting. Some people had no food. Some people had hot dogs or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

Everett was one of many who paid $3,350 per person for a “super-premium crewed yacht.”

“We were supposed to be treated royally with full VIP treatment,” she added. “The yacht was supposed to be a year old. Most of that did not happen.”

“I knew something wasn’t right back in July 2018 when paying for the trip,” Jewel Pearson told Good Morning America. “There were problems with the website and when I called, emailed or posted on the Facebook group about straightening out the account, the comment got deleted or Reggie wouldn’t remember our previous correspondence.”

Cummings has blamed Maryland-based Dream Yacht Charters for the debacle. The company filed a federal lawsuit against him for allegedly failing to pay the $550,000 bill to rent the yachts but he’s countersuing, claiming that he’s holding onto the money to refund unhappy customers.

The Attorney General’s office will be looking into whether Black Travel Movement violated statutes prohibiting unfair and deceptive commercial practices.

Cummings told ABC11 that “the ($550,000) is sitting in an escrow account waiting for this issue to be resolved through mediation, or through the courts, or through whatever the process is,” adding that litigation should be resolved within the next one to three months.

“This should be a lesson learned of travelers that just rely on using social media for ‘multiple likes’ or thousands of ‘followers.’ Just because a seller of travel has great presentation and thousands of followers on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t mean they have the knowledge to facilitate a great trip,” Nadia Sparkle, owner and manager of Travel with Sparkle, told TravelPulse. “Do your research to make sure you are booking with a person who is qualified with proper credentials”

“I think travelers should do their diligence researching the travel advisor they are thinking about working with. Look for affiliations with travel associations such as ASTA, CLIA, IATA, etc,” she added. “Travelers should seek references from other travelers that traveled with the business or agent in the past. Look at reviews and service feedbacks from other travelers that used the agent/agency.”

A recent McAfee study found that one in five Americans have been scammed or nearly scammed when booking summer travel. In July, a Louisiana woman received a 15-year sentence with six years suspended after she admitted to scamming nearly 100 travelers out over $80,000.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source |

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Americans Are Facing Never-Before-Seen Interstate Travel Restrictions

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Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf recently indicated that the White House had no plans to stop the flow of domestic travel within the United States in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, but that hasn’t stopped regional governments from creating their own injunctions in an effort to insulate their populations from the epidemic.

This weekend, on March 29, President Trump announced that nationwide social-distancing guidelines will remain in effect through at least April 30.

Now, facing at least another month of COVID-19’s accelerating spread across the country, an increasing number of states are implementing their own measures to restrict the movement of domestic travelers.

Of course, some affected areas have already issued stay-at-home orders for residents, effectively locking down their communities with the exception of essential services. As every level of government struggles to slow the virus’ rate of transmission, the weight of these restrictions now constitutes nearly unprecedented limitations being placed upon U.S. citizens’ freedom of movement.

Fox News suggested that, while governors cannot legally prevent U.S. residents from crossing state lines, mandatory two-week quarantines should certainly serve to discourage folks from planning a visit.

And, as the Rhode Island National Guard and police recently did on behalf of the state health department, officers might even go door-to-door ensuring that self-isolation orders are being followed.

Rhode Island was among the first states to actively begin monitoring out-of-state arrivals and enforcing self-isolation restrictions.

Initially, a March 26 executive order issued by Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo singled out folks arriving from New York—which, both statewide and in its urban center of New York City, is battling the greatest volume of COVID-19 cases that’s concentrated anywhere in the U.S.

Two days later, the order was expanded to include persons coming from all other areas of the U.S., proclaiming that, “Any person coming to Rhode Island from another state for a non-work-related purpose must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days.” The restriction explicitly exempts public health, public safety or healthcare workers arriving to aid the sick.

CNN compiled a list of states that have placed restrictions on interstate travelers, some of which have also issued stay-at-home orders to residents. Travelers who are planning to visit any of the following should visit the state’s official website to research the parameters of their travel restrictions:

—Alaska

—Delaware

—Florida

—Hawaii

—Kansas

—Kentucky

—Maryland

—Massachusetts

—North Dakota

—Oklahoma

—Rhode Island

—South Carolina

—Texas

—Vermont

—West Virginia

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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