Fatima Cruise Q & A

Q. Has Portugal officially ended pandemic travel restrictions and resumed welcoming tourist travel from the USA?

A. As of May 18, 2021, the Portuguese government had not yet made such a formal announcement, but it is expected any day now.

Q. Will proof of vaccination be required when travel resumes to Portugal?

A. It is highly unlikely that proof of vaccination will be required for entry.  Portugal will likely follow the protocol adopted by other European nations such as France, Greece and Italy — US passengers will most likely have to get a COVID test within 72 hours of departure and show a negative result.

Q. I'd like to go, but if I purchase a ticket for this pilgrimage, how can I protect my investment in the event of some COVID-related disruption?

A. Though we are very confident at this time that the pilgrimage will proceed according to plan and prove to be an amazing journey, we strongly recommend Cancel For Any Reason Insurance which would refund 90% of your trip cost should you be unable to travel for any reason whatsoever.  This insurance can be purchased through Select International Tours at the time your register and deposit for the trip or within 14 days of deposit.  If you are beyond that window, Group Deluxe Insurance is your best option.

Q. Will we be required to have a COVID vaccine to go on this trip?

A.  Not currently.  At the moment, neither Spain, Portugal nor the USA have announced any plans to require travelers to be vaccinated.  However, the USA currently does require those returning from foreign countries to take a COVID test withing 72 hours of entering the USA and demonstrate a negative result.  Our travel company will arrange for all to take such a test and get results before departure at a very small cost to our pilgrims.

Q. What is the weather like in Spain and Portugal in Mid-October?

A.  In mid-October, temperatures average 70 degrees during the day and low sixties at night.  There is usually sun two thirds of the days with a few cloudy days, some with rain.  October is perhaps the most desirable month for visiting Spain and Portugal.

Q. What will our guides be like on this Tour of Portugal and Spain?

A.  A tour of holy and historical places is only as good as your guide.   Many local guides leave much to be desired in terms of their knowledge, their ability to comment on the spiritual significance of a particular site for Christians, and their command of English.  Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio has twin academic specialties make him an extraordinary guide to Spain and Portugal—he is an expert in theology and church history who is also fluent in Spanish.  Furthermore, his commentary, however informative, is always understandable and spiritually uplifting.  He will be assisted by local guides as well.   Their English is very good and clear.  Our travel company has worked hard to identify Catholic guides of the highest caliber — of the thousands of local guides available for tours, yours will be the cream of the crop.

Q. Will this be a tour or a spiritual pilgrimage?

A.  Both.  We will have wonderful times of prayer, liturgy & music daily, with Mass in one of the holy places that we visit each day!   The sacraments of penance and the anointing of the sick will also be available for those who desire them.  Each person who wishes will have the opportunity to serve as a lector in one of our special masses.  If you are a properly authorized extraordinary minister of the eucharist, there may be an opportunity to serve in that capacity as well.  But the information and insight you will get into the places we visit as well as the saints who made them famous will be extraordinary.

Q. Who is arranging all the practicalities of the tour?

A.  Select International Tours is our US Tour company and are available Monday – Friday to assist you.  They are a Catholic company that tithes with a special concern to support the Christian community in the Holy Land.  We have a dedicated tour manager for our pilgrimages – Jane Allison jane@select-intl.com 800-842-4842.

Q. Is much walking required?

A. Generally much less than on other tours that I’ve organized, such as to the Vatican, for example.  Most of the time, our bus gets quite close to the sites we are visiting.   People with canes and needing some assistance have done fine on this tour but we regret that those requiring wheelchairs cannot be accommodated.  If you are in doubt whether your particular state of health is adequate to enjoy the pilgrimage, please call Jane at Select International Tours.

Q. Will daily Mass and Confessions be available on this pilgrimage?

A. Yes! Our group will have Mass daily in some of the most special and moving places in the Holy Land.  Since we will have a priest traveling with us, confession and the Sacrament of the Sick will also be available for our pilgrims.

Q. Can you recommend resources we can use before the trip to become more familiar with the apparitions of Fatima and the saints associated with sites we visit, like Sts. Anthony of Padua and John of the Cross?

A.  Yes.  As the trip approaches, I will post recommendations on this page.  Stay tuned!

Q. Are there any famous Cathedrals that we will be seeing on this trip?

Truly, the Notre Dame fire was a tragedy.  But France is full of magnificent Gothic Churches with amazing stained glass windows.  We actually plan to see a cathedral even more renowned than Notre Dame for its stained glass – that of Chartres, a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages similar to Satntiago de Compostela in Spain.  We will also see the gothic Cathedral of Rouen, a city with a special association with St. Joan of Arc, and a unique specimen of Gothic architecture and stained glass in Paris, Sainte Chapelle, the private chapel of St. King Louis IX and the royal family.  If you can spare an hour, I’d highly recommend that you watch this animated video on the construction of a Gothic French Cathedral written by David MacCauley.  

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