CURRENT NEWS 8/20/21

AUGUST 20, 2021

AUGUST 11, 2021

AUGUST 3, 2021

JULY 27, 2021

JULY 19, 2021

JULY 15, 2021

20 Aug. 2021 U.S. Closes Boarder For Non-Esential Travel With Canada and Mexico – The United States government announced it has extended its ban on nonessential travel along the borders with Canada and Mexico as part of an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus (Apparently the ban does not apply to illegal crossings from Mexico). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Friday the ban has been extended through to at least September 21 as a result of the rising number of Delta-variant COVID-19 cases.

18 Aug. 2021 Carnival Vista Reports Covid Cases – The Belize Tourism Board says 27 people aboard a Carnival cruise tested positive for COVID-19 just before the ship made a stop in Belize City. The positive cases it reported Wednesday were among 26 crew members and one passenger on the Carnival Vista, which is carrying over 1,400 crew and nearly 3,000 passengers. All 27 were vaccinated, have mild or no symptoms, and are in isolation. The ship set sail on Saturday in Galveston, Texas.

Carnival Mardi Gras Has Covid Cases On Innaugal Cruise – Three passengers tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of the recent inaugural seven-night sailing from Port Canaveral of Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship, the Mardi Gras. Carnival discovered the cases when doing required COVID-19 tests near the end of its cruise. Two of the passengers were children who did not have the COVID-19 vaccine, and the third was a vaccinated parent of one of the children.

In a statement, Carnival said that, “as a standard practice, and consistent with CDC’s conditional sailing order, all unvaccinated guests who sail on voyages five days or longer are tested 24 hours before debarkation. Such is the case on Mardi Gras, given her seven-day itineraries. Guests who test positive are advised, must stay in isolation until arrival in the home port, and then either must complete their isolation locally or drive home. Close contacts are also identified, tested and isolated.”

Cruise Lines Begin Removing Venice From Itineraries – With Venice banning large cruise ships from its port earlier this month, several cruise lines have started informing passengers of the subsequent changes to their Italian itineraries. The effort to block cruise ships has been an issue in Venice for years until UNESCO threatened to add the historic area to its list of endangered heritage cities unless the ships were banned

International Tourism To North America Not Expected To Recovery Til 2025 – Destinations across North America from the United States, Mexico and Canada have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 have been felt hard according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.Their report, Tourism Destination Market Insight: North America (2021), found that total international arrivals to the region declined 67 per cent year-over-year in 2020 and inbound expenditures by 74 per cent. North America’s forecast recovery follows the general global travel consensus that domestic tourism will recover first (2022), but international arrivals will not recover probably until 2024.

11 Aug. 2021Update on the Delta Variant – In mid May the British Health Service reported a quickly developing trend indicating that the Delta variant of Covid-19 from India was establishing itself in the British Isles. By the end of May the average 2,000 Covid cases per day had exploded to 20,000 cases a day. By the beginning of August two things were clear. First the death rate from the Covid virus had not increased at all with the increased new cases and the number of new cases per day had dropped back to under 2,000 cases per day. Delta variant of Covid-19 had burned itself out in England.

In the United States the first significant case numbers of the Delta variant of Covid-19 were recognized around June 1st and by June 20th represented 83% of all tested COVID-19 cases.

Delays At Canadian Border Reported – As fully vaccinated American travelers were once again permitted to enter Canada, reports from the border indicate the rush of tourists caused bottlenecks and long delays. Reuters.com reported, government data from the Fort Frances, Ontario, and International Falls, Minnesota, crossing showed travelers experiencing wait times of up to seven hours, while other locations in Ontario and New Brunswick had wait times of three hours.

The Canadian government initially closed its borders to international visitors in March 2020 to combat the coronavirus outbreak, but the country finally reopened to fully vaccinated Americans on August 9. All fully vaccinated international travelers will be allowed to enter Canada in early September.

Rise In Covid Cases Threaten Americans Travel To Europe – The EU had lifted restrictions on the U.S. in June, adding it to a list of countries from where non-essential travel into the bloc is allowed, after America’s epidemiological situation met the bloc’s criteria.

As a result, travel to Europe surged to the point European aviation is nearly at 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels. But now rising cases in the U.S. are above the EU travel level. There has not been an announcement of a change yet.


European nations and England fight over travel restrictions. England has added Spain and France to the increased alert level causing France to retaliate by adding England to their travel alert warnings.

England’s Alert Ratings

Covid & Cruising August 2021

With the Delta variant COVID-19 cases blowing up around the world, vaccinated passengers are wondering it affect my cruise plans?

More likely it depends on where you’re cruising and the ports and destinations policies.

So far while there have been outbreaks of Covid-19 cases in a number of destinations from Sitka, Alaska to Mykonos, Greece, they have not had a serious impacted on cruise ship visits. There have been some Asian ports and islands in the Caribbean to continue to keep their ports closed but openings are still proceeding.

Current cruisers still need to be prepared for skipped ports and itinerary changes, as well as changing on board policies, such as masking as situations change.

Despite the rise, some travel agents have not seen a drop in bookings; Cruise Planners said that cruise bookings were up 27 percent week over week, with prices increasing on some itineraries. Slightly more than 30 percent of new cruise purchases had a 2021 departure date, Cruise Planners told us.

The Alaska cruise season started on July 19th with Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas making its first port call in Sitka. The town of 8,600 was a leader in the U.S. in vaccination rates, and COVID-19 cases were minimal. Nearly 70 percent of its residents are fully vaccinated and almost 75 percent have received at least one shot, according to the city’s website. Just last week Sitka experienced its largest spike of the pandemic, with 235 active cases and a third of the new cases are among vaccinated people, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The city’s alert level is at red, with indoor capacity in restaurants reduced to 50 percent and face masks again encouraged. But Serenade of the Seas made its first stop as planned. While the vaccination rate on the ship’s current sailing is 97 percent, higher than the town and Royal Caribbean has not indicated any change of itinerary, cruise lines do have the option of skipping a port where COVID-19 numbers are high.

What does the rising number of Delta variant COVID-19 cases suggest for the future of cruising? In mid May the British Health Service reported a quickly developing trend indicating that the Delta variant of Covid-19 from India was establishing itself in the British Isles. By the end of May the average 2,000 Covid cases per day had exploded to 20,000 cases a day. By the beginning of August two things were clear. First the death rate from the Covid virus had not increased at all with the increased new cases and the number of new cases per day had now dropped back to under 2,000 cases per day. The Delta variant of Covid-19 had burned itself out in England. And now most restrictions are being lifted and cruise ships are again being allowed to sail from English ports.

In the United States the first significant case numbers of the Delta variant of Covid-19 were recognized around June 1st and by June 20th they represented 83% of all tested COVID-19 cases. If the United States and other countries follow the pattern seen in the British Isles the pandemic should be back to controllable levels by mid to late August without significant new deaths.

The numbers would now seem to indicate that the future of cruising sees clear sailing in the near future.

Canada Opens To U.S. Tourists – Effective August 9: Fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents of the United States, who currently reside in the United States, will be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary travel.

Delta Airlines is more than doubling the number of daily flights between the U.S. and Canada starting in September, with a 150% increase in available seats. Customers will enjoy nonstop, easy access from multiple U.S. hubs to Canada’s largest business and leisure markets, including more flights to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, as well as restarted service to Winnipeg.

Biden Administration Reverses On International Travel – U.S. to keep international travel restrictions in place as coronavirus surges – In a reversal from what President Joe Biden voiced earlier this month when he said his administration was “in the process” of considering how soon the U.S. could lift the ban on European travel bound for the U.S. after the issue was raised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to the White House.

UK Airline Industry Calls for Reopening to Vaccinated US Travelers At the same time the CDC and U.S. Administration call for Americans not to visit the UK. Airlines in the United Kingdom and officials from London’s Heathrow Airport are advocating for the reopening of non-essential travel for vaccinated tourists from the United States.

Cruise Line MSC’s Seashore delivered in Italy – The cruise division of MSC Group has officially taken delivery of its new flagship the MSC Seashore. The vessel is the largest cruise ship yet built in Italy.

Frontier Airlines Launching Antigua and Barbuda Flights – Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines will launch a new service to the Caribbean nation of Antigua on December 4, with weekly service between Antigua’s V.C. Bird International Airport from Orlando International Airport.

Finland reopens to travelers from the UK – Finnish border restrictions have now eased, allowing travelers from the UK who have been fully vaccinated to enter with no additional quarantine or testing requirements.

SPECIAL CRUISING UPDATE

CDC Gets Temporary Stay In Florida v. CDC

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily blocked a judge’s ruling that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pandemic regulations for cruise ship operation were too onerous and arbitrary. The lawsuit, filed by Florida at the direction of Gov. DeSantis, claims that the CDC’s multiple-step process to allow cruising from Florida was overly burdensome, harming both a multibillion-dollar industry that provides some 159,000 jobs, as well as substantial income to Florida businesses and millions of dollars of revenue for the state. The June decision by U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday required the CDC to provide clearer justification for its policies before July 17th when the CDC regulation would become recommendations instead of legal requirements. Instead of filing the more detailed requirement justifications to the District court, the CDC sought a stay of the order while they appealed the decision. The decision was two to one by the three-judge appeals panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was filed minutes before a District judge’s ruling was set to take effect. This keeps the CDC regulations regarding Florida-based cruise ships in effect while the CDC appeals the June decision by U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday.

CRUISING IN THE NEWS

Covid Test Cancels Cruise To Nowhere Nearly 3,000 passengers and crew are disembarking a Dream Cruises Cruise To Nowhere in Singapore on Wednesday after being confined in their cabins when one passenger tested positive for Covid-19.

Norwegian Cruise Line Has Filed a Preliminary Injunction in Florida asking to invalidate the state’s law prohibiting businesses from requiring documentation of vaccination status. The cruise line filed the motion in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida asking the court to grant NCLH a preliminary injunction enabling its ships to resume sailing safely with its stringent health and safety protocols.

A Federal Judge In Florida has Again Blocked a Request from the CDC Florida District Judge Steven Merryday refused another CDC filing and said in the court filing on July 8th that his decision was “not about what health precautions against COVID-19 are necessary or helpful” but “about the use and misuse of governmental power.” He maintained his ruling against COVID-19 restrictions on Florida cruise ships The CDC had appealed an earlier ruling by Merryday in June that would turn strict CDC rules about cruise liners into nonbinding guidelines for Florida ships starting July 18th 2021.

Venice Bans Large Cruise Ships Government officials in Italy announced Tuesday that it had banned cruise ships from a key Venice lagoon as part of a larger effort to protect the area’s ecosystem and heritage, starting on August 1.

Seabourn Ovation to sail from Miami this winter
Seabourn has opened for sale a series of new itineraries for Seabourn Ovation operated out of Miami between November and April next year.

MSC Virtuosa to be christened in Dubai later this year
MSC Cruises has confirmed the naming ceremony for its newest flagship, MSC Virtuosa, will take place in Dubai on November 27th. The event will be hosted at Mina Rashid.

Cunard unveils plans for full return in 2021
A set of itineraries called The Overseas Escapes will range from two to 40-night sailings, visiting more than 49 destinations on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

MSC Cruises plans for new Port Miami terminal
The facility will be made up of a multi-level central body to serve as many as three latest generation ships at the same time, with up to 36,000 travellers transiting every day.

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