Headlines of Interest to International Travelers Updated Every Few Days
Two good reference web sites are now available for up-to-date travel information on COVID-19 requirements by country and for CDC travel recommendations.
The first is the Internatinal Air Transport Association – IATA offers an up-to-date COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map HERE.
Additional information from the The American CDC – For international travelers the American CDC now provides a list of countries and the COVID-19 threat level for each HERE.
UPDATE APRIL 7
Norwegian Cruise Line has sent a letter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that it is their intention to begin sailing from U.S. ports on July 4th under strict health and safety protocols that include mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19 for all crew and passengers. They will deploy the SailSAFE Health and Safety protocols developed by globally recognized experts from the Healthy Sail Panel assembled jointly by NCL and Royal Caribbean.
NCL declares in the letter that it will not be reliant on shoreside facilities to handle or mitigate any potential COVID-19 outbreaks onboard its ships stating; “We will not require federal, state or local governments to incur time and/or resources in providing medical assistance to our brands’ guests as we have invested tens of millions of dollars in enhanced onboard health and safety protocols, including, but not limited to, enhanced hospital grade air filtration systems, cutting-edge contact tracing technology and significantly upgraded ICU and quarantine medical facilities,” notes the letter. “Our vessels are well equipped to handle the one-off case of infection that could occur, and our procedures are well detailed and resourced to treat, address and otherwise handle any isolated case onboard.”
In an additional action Carnival Corporation indicated that if the CDC doesn’t soon take reasonable actin to allow cruising to restart from U.S. ports the company will be forced to move their sailings to ports outside the United States. If other cruise companies take similar actions it will cost America tens of thousands of jobs and several hundreds of millions of dollars in annual business.
April 2nd 2021
Italy Bans Cruise Ships From Venice’s City Center – An article from Reuters explained that the motion was passed on March 31, 2021, and called for the construction of a ship terminal outside the lagoon near the famed Saint Mark’s Square for all passenger ships over 40,000 tons.The Italian government has taken measures to protect Venice’s historic city center from potential damage cruise ships could cause.
US Working on COVID-19 Vaccination Credential System – United States President Joe Biden and his administration are working with private industries to develop a COVID-19 vaccination credential system. According to The Washington Post, the travel industry has been calling on the federal government to develop credentials—dubbed vaccine passports, health certificates or travel passes—that would streamline the process across the country, instead of allowing for regional variations.
United Airlines plans hiring hundreds of pilots next month – United Airlines on Thursday told staff it will soon begin hiring hundreds of pilots — a process the airline was forced to halt when the coronavirus pandemic devastated travel demand last year, according to an internal email reviewed by CNBC.
March 26th, 2021
Is your ID Department of Homeland Security compliant? – On October 1st 2021 in order to fly domestically in the United States it will be necessary to have a REAL compliant identification card. Since most people use a drivers license as their usual identification. Check you license to see if it contains a gold circle with a star inside it? If it doesn’t you will need to update your license before you can board a plane. Click HERE to access the government site that can connect you with your states DMV to find out what you need to do.
The U.S. CDC’s continued pressure on the cruise industry has most companies not sure when they will be allowed to sail from U.S. ports. Many are now exploring Caribbean ports as new alternative home ports for cruises this Summer. American travel organizations are becoming concerned that the actions of the CDC are intentionally trying to damage certain sectors of the travel industry.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity announce they will begin Caribbean cruises in June. Celebrity Cruises will home port the Millennium out of Sint Maarten with the first week long cruise sailing June 5th. Royal Caribbean will start sailings on June 12th from Nassau Bahamas.
Disney Cruise Line extended its operations pause through May. The line canceled sailings on the Disney Dream until June 5, the Disney Wonder through July 8, the Disney Fantasy until June 3, and, citing the likelihood that international borders will remain closed “for an extended period of time,” canceled Europe sailings on the Disney Magic through Aug. 10. The line also canceled many scheduled sailings that are longer than seven days to comply with CDC rules.
Crystal To Base Luxury Cruise Ship In Bahamas – In a move to open up cruising in North America, Crystal Cruises announced it would home port its luxury oceangoing ship, Crystal Serenity in the Bahamas. It will offer new weeklong itineraries departing from, and visiting only ports in the Bahamas.
The US Virgin Islands Is Open – The U.S. Virgin Islands has reopened to travel with enhanced health and safety protocols in place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to being one of the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean, the USVI—consisting of the main islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas—is among the most accessible to Americans, who won’t need a passport to visit or a negative COVID-19 test result to return home to the mainland U.S.
Singapore Airlines to trial IATA Travel Pass
Singapore Airlines will become the first airline in the world to pilot the Travel Pass mobile application from the International Air Transport Association next week.
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas will be extending its cruise to nowhere schedule for an additional three months in Singapore between March 22 and June 21, and residents can now book two-, three- and four-night Ocean Getaways aboard the groundbreaking ship.
MSC is also making plans for Caribbean cruises to be departing from Cozumel Mexico in the next couple of months but there are complications.
Covid-19 wiped out 74% of international tourist arrivals in 2020 – UN World Travel Organization reports due to the global pandemic, that the World Tourism Barometer by UNWTO, 2020 had 1 billion fewer international arrivals than the previous year, wiping out 75% of international travel.
Israel tourism begins reopening as country emerges from lockdown – With around 4.3 million people having received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, Israel is currently preparing to reopen its economy.
Royal Caribbean sells Azamara in $201m private equity deal – The cruise line said the all cash deal with Sycamore Partners would allow it to focus on core operations after almost a year out of the water following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Royal Caribbean To Operate Homeport in Barbados for First Time – The Grandeur of the Seas will operate three seven- and 14-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from Bridgetown. The program includes three new ports of call for the line to Tobago, Trinidad and St. Vincent.
Disney World Eliminating Free Magical Express Airport Transport in 2022 and Other WDW News – New and existing bookings in 2021 will have the option to reserve transportation via Magical Express up until Dec. 31.
JetBlue Joins American, Alaska in Changing Rules for Emotional Support Animals – As of January 11, 2021, emotional support animals will no longer be recognized as service animals.
Florida Considering Bill to Reverse Key West Cruise Ship Ban – The Florida Senate is considering for a bill that would ban local communities from trying to regulate cruise ports, a move that would reverse recent restrictions on cruise ships advanced in Key West.
Top Mexican Tourism Destinations Working on Plan To Restart Sector – Updated COVID-19 Protocols to help bring tourists back.
Canada’s Travel Industry ‘In Tailspin’ After Government Announces New COVID Test Rules – Canada isn’t alone, dozens of countries enter third phase lockdowns.