CURRENT NEWS 4/14/21

Headlines of Interest to International Travelers Updated Every Few Days

Curated articles from around the web covering recent news on travel restrictions, security, air travel, cruising along with travel industry headlines.

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 14

UPDATE APRIL 9th

Recent News

Florida Files Lawsuit Against CDC April 8 – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced today that Florida has filed a lawsuit against the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end the halt on cruise industry operations.

Cruise ships were prevented from leaving ports with passengers by a no-sail order issued by the CDC more than a year ago. That order was replaced with the agency’s “conditional sail order” published in October that requires cruise lines to abide by CDC-instituted phases for a return to cruising but hasn’t allowed them to resume sailing yet.

Senators Introduce Legislation To Override the CDC -Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Dan Sullivan of Alaska introduced legislation Tuesday aiming to override the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s restrictions on cruising in U.S. waters,and allow ships to sail byJuly after the industry has been shut down longer than a year.

“Unlike the airlines, rail and other modes of transportation – and all other sectors of the hospitality industry for that matter – the cruise lines have been denied clear direction from the CDC on how to resume operations,” Sullivan said in an announcement.

Carnival President Christine Duffy Addresses CDC and Sailings – In a lengthy interview with the hosts of a Florida-based morning show, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy addressed a wide range of issues relating to the resumption of sailings out of U.S. ports.

Duffy appeared on the This Week in South Florida broadcast to reiterate the importance of cruising being allowed to resume from ports such as those in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Port Canaveral and Jacksonville. When asked if she believed the Centers for Disease Control was dragging its feet, the exec stopped just short of saying that was the case.

“Right now,” she said, “the conditional sail order does not reflect vaccines, and there’s also a great deal of information [on how we proceed] that has not yet been communicated to the cruise lines from what will be required for test cruises [to] what kind of testing may be required. So we really just don’t have the details or transparency or engagement with the CDC that we need to begin sailing by this summer, which is such an important season for the cruise industry and or vacationers.”

She also repeated what has become something of a battle cry among those fighting to have the ban on sailing lifted: “The cruise industry, as far as we know, is the only industry that has not been able to operate for more than a year”.

April 9th – We just received this in an email from Celebrity Cruise Lines which states the case clearly.

Yesterday we extended the global suspension for most of our ships around the world through June. Unfortunately, this includes our United States (U.S.) homeports: Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, Cape Liberty (New Jersey), and other vital ports across the country. Right now, we are unable to sail from the U.S. due to the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order. Cruising remains the only sector of the economy that is prohibited by the U.S. Government from operating at this time.

Together with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), we are petitioning U.S. policymakers and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to remove the Conditional Sail Order and allow cruising to resume along with other travel and hospitality industries. Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has taken place in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific—with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing. Additional markets are scheduled to return in the spring and summer. It’s clear that as public health conditions have improved, our industry’s enhanced public health measures are working.

The cruise industry is a vital part of the travel and tourism economy. To date, over 300,000 jobs have been lost in the U.S. due to the suspension of cruises. The majority of those impacted are independent business owners or individuals employed by small- to medium-sized businesses. With the cruise industry supporting nearly 450,000 American jobs and contributing to over $55.5 billion annually, restarting cruises as part of the broader travel industry will provide a much-needed boost to our country’s economy.

TAKE ACTION:
TELL CONGRESS TO HELP RESTART CRUISING

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.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: