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Seabourn and the current issues surrounding the Corona Virus

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On ‎2‎/‎15‎/‎2020 at 8:42 AM, SLSD said:

I've been following a couple who are quarantined on the Princess Diamond on Facebook.  Their names are David Abel and Sally Abel.  David is doing several videos a day.  They have now been tested for the virus and are awaiting results.  It is a very tense situation for them and for all the others on the ship---especially the crew who have kept working and have been more exposed than the passengers to the virus.  I think this is the sort of situation the other cruise lines are trying to prevent.  There is talk now that even when these unfortunate people are allowed off the ship, there were will further quarantines.  They reported that planes are being sent for the Americans which will take them back to the United States.  Nothing of this sort has been done for those from the UK---and some are unhappy about that.  

 

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We are on the Sojourn currently, and I guess those making plans have a different view from those in the middle of it all. It’s been a week since we left Capetown, and so far, the only inspection was in Richards Bay on the way out of the country, where health inspectors came on board to review the passengers. 
  Up to now, the biggest problem that has faced us was a 24 hour internet outage, which caused everything g to go on the fritz, and the cancelation of Mombasa for safety issues. Doesn’t seem too many people got upset about an extra day in Zanzibar, the Seychelles and Male in its place. 
  While everyone is concerned about Singapore, it’s only because many are departing from there and if any changes are needed, lead time would be a nice thing. 
 Other than that, lessons from Japan and Holland America should be helpful in decision making, and hopefully the virus, or any virus stays away from any and all other ships. Passengers are being extra careful washing hands etc, but I’m still surprised that self service buffets are continuing, as life as normal is maybe reassuring, but maybe time for a change for the better.

regards from the Sojourn 

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47 minutes ago, rols said:

So there's a few things here.

Currently I'd say if anyone on any ship gets COVID-19 from anywhere everyone on that ship is going into some kind of quarantine. I hope the Japan experience has taught everyone there are good ways and bad ways of doing that. 

You can certainly push cruises out later in the year to avoid Asia, however as the weeks and months go by you cannot say whether the disease will fizzle out or will spread to Europe or other places so just avoiding Asia may not in the end help you. 

The way COVID-19 is dealt with will likely change over time. If there is a vaccine (>6 months), treatment or a better understanding of the spread and mortality rate of the disease wholescale quarantines (on ships and off) may stop. 

I think the concern that Singapore has numerically more cases than other countries in the region is a little overblown. The number of cases in each country outside China is so small as to be comparatively insignificant. It is likely that many cases have not been reported because they were so mild people didn't even know they had it and I think it's fair to say that out of the countries in the region Singapore has been the most aggressive in detection, isolation and reporting and (this is my opinion only) probably has a higher count of detection because of that. Either way the current detected infection rate in the asian populations which have been living with this for a month is at most 0.001% or 1 in 10,000. That is still a very low number. 

 

 Nobody can say what is going to happen next. All the cruise lines are even more paranoid than the passengers are about two things

1) someone getting on with the disease and turning the ship into the next Diamond Princess

2) stopping at a port which later becomes proscribed causing the ship not to be able to dock anywhere for weeks and probably having to refund the passengers. 

Given 1) and 2) if Seabourn thinks there's any risk they are going to keep cancelling cruises. It's cheaper to have the ship sit idle than crew it, fill it full of people and then have it turn into a plague ship or a floating pariah. However they aren't going to make that decision until pretty last minute based on the recent spread or not of the disease. This may mean the best choice people with upcoming cruises have is to wait until close to sailing to make a choice. If I had one booked right now, and I don't, I'd be waiting to see (possibly hopefully) if it got cancelled and if it didn't assume the paranoid cruise line is very confident about sailing it. 

 

 

Thank you for your thoughtful and well articulated reply. In addition to what you mentioned a key consideration for us is we bought travel insurance from Travel Guard. I called and spoke to them regarding the cancellation portion of the policy. If the cruise line cancels due to mechanical failure, weather issues such as hurricanes or tornadoes, civil unrest, or terrorist then we would be covered. If SB cancels the company will refund our cruise fare. However, if SB cancels due to the pandemic we do not get money lost on our air, pre or post hotels or excursions we booked because neither Travel Guard or SB covers it. We booked non-refundable business air, 5 nights of non-refundable hotel in Singapore, and private tours that were not booked through the cruise line. That being said my husband and I are seniors and would not fare well with any flu and have taken flu and pneumonia prevention shots.  So our option will likely be to stay home unless SB comes up with a vastly different itinerary. 

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2 minutes ago, ael123 said:

Thank you for your thoughtful and well articulated reply. In addition to what you mentioned a key consideration for us is we bought travel insurance from Travel Guard. I called and spoke to them regarding the cancellation portion of the policy. If the cruise line cancels due to mechanical failure, weather issues such as hurricanes or tornadoes, civil unrest, or terrorist then we would be covered. If SB cancels the company will refund our cruise fare. However, if SB cancels due to the pandemic we do not get money lost on our air, pre or post hotels or excursions we booked because neither Travel Guard or SB covers it. We booked non-refundable business air, 5 nights of non-refundable hotel in Singapore, and private tours that were not booked through the cruise line. That being said my husband and I are seniors and would not fare well with any flu and have taken flu and pneumonia prevention shots.  So our option will likely be to stay home unless SB comes up with a vastly different itinerary. 

 

You probably already know this but Non refundable means you don't get your $$ back but usually they can used (for a change fee) on another trip on that airline, possibly codeshare. Also see if your credit card has an insurance component, it might cover the change fee- in some cases it looks like seabourn would cover it. There also might be wiggle room with hotels- as in credit for a future stay or credit for a stay at another property if it's part of a chain. If you used something like hotels.com there maybe some flexibility within their system. Private tours if not explicitly non refundable may be willing to offer a partial refund, though I feel for small businesses affected by this mess.  Unrelated, also consider adding the new shingles vaccination regimen (shingrix)if you haven't already gotten that. 

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Thank you for the information. The new changes do not look that interesting to me. 😪

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31 minutes ago, jozi said:

 

You probably already know this but Non refundable means you don't get your $$ back but usually they can used (for a change fee) on another trip on that airline, possibly codeshare. Also see if your credit card has an insurance component, it might cover the change fee- in some cases it looks like seabourn would cover it. There also might be wiggle room with hotels- as in credit for a future stay or credit for a stay at another property if it's part of a chain. If you used something like hotels.com there maybe some flexibility within their system. Private tours if not explicitly non refundable may be willing to offer a partial refund, though I feel for small businesses affected by this mess.  Unrelated, also consider adding the new shingles vaccination regimen (shingrix)if you haven't already gotten that. 

Thank you for the information. Just got the shingrix. Ouch! Most painful shot ever! But definitely better than the shingles.

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Today's Singapore update, it's not as easy as usual to find the headlines as they are buried by today's budget.

 

5 people were released from hospital today, and 4 more were diagnosed. 3 of them were from the growing cluster related to one single church in Singapore. I don't know how that cluster got so bad but I think it's likely that every member of the congregation has been segregated for the past week and is constantly tested and it's also likely that most of those who have been shown to have the virus will have mild symptoms and, had they not been isolated and tested may never even have known. The other case was another contact of another cluster and I presume had been pre-isolated in the same way. 

 

Not over, not even close to over, but Singapore has been a few days without an isolated case showing either community spread or a new cluster. This could all end tomorrow but it is about the best story we've had here in quite a few weeks. 

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9 hours ago, rols said:

So there's a few things here.

Currently I'd say if anyone on any ship gets COVID-19 from anywhere everyone on that ship is going into some kind of quarantine. I hope the Japan experience has taught everyone there are good ways and bad ways of doing that. 

You can certainly push cruises out later in the year to avoid Asia, however as the weeks and months go by you cannot say whether the disease will fizzle out or will spread to Europe or other places so just avoiding Asia may not in the end help you. 

The way COVID-19 is dealt with will likely change over time. If there is a vaccine (>6 months), treatment or a better understanding of the spread and mortality rate of the disease wholescale quarantines (on ships and off) may stop. 

I think the concern that Singapore has numerically more cases than other countries in the region is a little overblown. The number of cases in each country outside China is so small as to be comparatively insignificant. It is likely that many cases have not been reported because they were so mild people didn't even know they had it and I think it's fair to say that out of the countries in the region Singapore has been the most aggressive in detection, isolation and reporting and (this is my opinion only) probably has a higher count of detection because of that. Either way the current detected infection rate in the asian populations which have been living with this for a month is at most 0.001% or 1 in 10,000. That is still a very low number. 

 

 Nobody can say what is going to happen next. All the cruise lines are even more paranoid than the passengers are about two things

1) someone getting on with the disease and turning the ship into the next Diamond Princess

2) stopping at a port which later becomes proscribed causing the ship not to be able to dock anywhere for weeks and probably having to refund the passengers. 

Given 1) and 2) if Seabourn thinks there's any risk they are going to keep cancelling cruises. It's cheaper to have the ship sit idle than crew it, fill it full of people and then have it turn into a plague ship or a floating pariah. However they aren't going to make that decision until pretty last minute based on the recent spread or not of the disease. This may mean the best choice people with upcoming cruises have is to wait until close to sailing to make a choice. If I had one booked right now, and I don't, I'd be waiting to see (possibly hopefully) if it got cancelled and if it didn't assume the paranoid cruise line is very confident about sailing it. 

 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, MsMermaid said:

Aren't they going to crew it whether it's cancelled or it sails?   

 

If the ship is sitting in dock it will have a skeleton crew. If it's sailing it will have a slightly larger skeleton crew but not that many people, a few 10s perhaps. The vast majority of the crew on a cruise liner are related to guest services, from waiters and bar staff, entertainment, cleaners, people doing laundry, the majority of the galley crew, spa crew, gym crew, most of the maintenance crew. If the ship has no passengers, the number of people employed on it drops to very, very few. Note this is bad for the people whose livelihoods depend on Seabourn, so you can hope it passes quickly and they can get back to work. 

 

Quick statistic. An oil tanker usually runs with 20-25 crew. That may give you an idea how many people it takes to crew a cruise ship with no passengers on board. It's not very many and crew is a large portion of the cost of running a cruise ship. 

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If most of the crew have left the ship, is there any guarantee (a) they will be able to fly home and (b) be allowed to fly back to Singapore and (c) be allowed back on the ship? Maybe the 14 March cruise might start from somewhere else, like a port in India. 

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9 hours ago, Fletcher said:

If most of the crew have left the ship, is there any guarantee (a) they will be able to fly home and (b) be allowed to fly back to Singapore and (c) be allowed back on the ship? Maybe the 14 March cruise might start from somewhere else, like a port in India. 

Well that depends where they are going. There's no prohibition currently on anyone having travelled in Singapore going anywhere in the world (apart from Sarawak) so (a) would be yes. (b) would also currently  be yes unless the crew flew home to mainland China in which case they wouldn't be allowed back, so I assume anyone from there wouldn't be sent home and (c) depends entirely on whether Seabourn starts the next cruise from Singapore or not, the majority of the crew will rejoin wherever the ship starts from so if they are letting guests board in Singapore they will let the crew board there too. 

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59 minutes ago, rols said:

There's no prohibition currently on anyone having travelled in Singapore going anywhere in the world (apart from Sarawak)

Actually, as of yesterday, Israel has banned all non-Israeli travelers who have been in Singapore in the last 14 days (in addition to Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Macau). Plus I believe Papua New Guinea and North Korea also have similar bans, but I've never met crew from these countries...

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Does anyone know how many people who are NOT Chinese or of Chinese descent have died from this virus ?

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52 minutes ago, AtTheJob said:

Actually, as of yesterday, Israel has banned all non-Israeli travelers who have been in Singapore in the last 14 days (in addition to Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Macau). Plus I believe Papua New Guinea and North Korea also have similar bans, but I've never met crew from these countries...

You're correct - I've been using Cathay's restriction guide (https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_SG/travel-information/travel-preparation/travel-advisories/notice-regarding-travel-restrictions.html) which has been pretty up-to-date thus far but indeed they haven't updated it for the latest edict from Israel. 

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7 minutes ago, SKP946 said:

Does anyone know how many people who are NOT Chinese or of Chinese descent have died from this virus ?

I haven't seen this number, but I don't think the virus will discriminate according to race.  The whole epidemic (not calling it a pandemic yet) is very concerning.  I think those in quarantine in the United States are feeling a bit like forgotten pariahs.  I hope this will not devastate the cruise industry.  I am just so very sad about this.  

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7 minutes ago, SKP946 said:

Does anyone know how many people who are NOT Chinese or of Chinese descent have died from this virus ?

The death in Japan was a Japanese lady and a few of the deaths in Wuhan were foreigners living there but currently the vast majority of the deaths are in Wuhan and surrounding regions and therefore are mostly Chinese. 

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3 hours ago, SKP946 said:

Does anyone know how many people who are NOT Chinese or of Chinese descent have died from this virus ?

If you go to this site - John Hopkins CSSE - it will show you the total deaths. By clicking on "Mainland China" it will show the statistics for Mainland China ... do the math and you'll have your answer. Keep in mind that reporting for many of the places is ... shall we say - "lacking in discipline".

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48 minutes ago, bigmjh said:

If you go to this site - John Hopkins CSSE - it will show you the total deaths. By clicking on "Mainland China" it will show the statistics for Mainland China ... do the math and you'll have your answer. Keep in mind that reporting for many of the places is ... shall we say - "lacking in discipline".

Except some of the deaths in mainland China were foreigners, and in fact all deaths outside mainland China have been Chinese apart from one. So you can't use the country where people died to infer whether they were Chinese or of Chinese descent which was the question asked (although I don't know why it was asked come to that). 

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15 minutes ago, rols said:

Except some of the deaths in mainland China were foreigners, and in fact all deaths outside mainland China have been Chinese apart from one. So you can't use the country where people died to infer whether they were Chinese or of Chinese descent which was the question asked (although I don't know why it was asked come to that). 

The reason I asked was that I was told that so far only Chinese had died and I was wondering if this was factual or not.

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3 hours ago, SKP946 said:

The reason I asked was that I was told that so far only Chinese had died and I was wondering if this was factual or not.

Not totally factual, very close, just a couple of non-Chinese cases but that represents that the overwhelming majority of deaths were in Wuhan and the surrounding regions and that those regions are to a very large majority inhabited by Chinese people. 

There is another point related which is worth mentioning and that's that the mortality rate outside Wuhan/Hubei appears to be dramatically lower than inside. I say 'appears' because the number of cases outside is so dwarfed by those at the centre it's hard to have a good statistic. I've seen two reasonable hypotheses for this. One, that medical facilities near the outbreak, especially after quarantine, have been stretched beyond breaking point and people who might otherwise recover do not get the chance. This bodes badly if the disease makes it into some of the poorer parts of the world. 

The other suggestion is that the virus is already mutating to become less deadly, as almost all 'flu viruses do. The most successful strains of a virus are those which make people mildly sick but able to continue their daily lives and don't kill them, those strains continue to spread. The ones which put you in hospital and kill you, tend to die with the host. 

At this point however the demographic of the dead reasonably represents the demographic of those who got sick, with a bias towards the original center of the disease. 

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If anyone wants to know why Singapore continues to be one of the safest places to travel to, despite ( or perhaps because of) the number of cases reported there:

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/singapores-response-to-coronavirus-outbreak-praised-by-experts-and-observers

 

just read three more cases reported today in Singapore, two from known clusters, one from someone with Dengue fever. 

 c. 80% of cases are 'mild symptoms'. One wonders how long the virus was out there before  Dr Li Wenliang started to raise concerns...

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Cunard has cancelled its Asia cruise on Queen Elizabeth due to start in March. It is moving to Australia.

 

Given that Cunard and Seabourn are owned by Carnival Cruise Line I would imagine Seabourn will follow suit. I think the risk to passengers starting a cruise from Singapore will be considered too great. It would seem illogical for one company to go ahead with Asia cruises and another company to cancel.

 

 

 

 

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Longton, QE has replaced circle Asia tours with circle Australia ones. Ovation's March 14 trip is a repositioning across the Indian Ocean to the Med for the summer, going to Australia won't help that. I think that's part of why they tried just sailing up to Phuket rather than taking off to Fremantle as QE did.

 

Try finding:

-a sure to remain safe turn around port in Asia

-that can be reached from the US through sure to remain safe Asian air hubs

-and is preferably closer than 5-10 day's empty repositioning away from Singapore

-and can allow that 5-10 days more sailing to get back to the intended route into the Indian Ocean

Lay person me can't find an answer to that one.

 

My guess is that Seabourn is hoping things will calm down in the next 3 weeks because otherwise the next port I can see is Mumbai. That would create very long air flights and if Asian hubs are to be avoided would mean Seabourn and their independent guests trying to find 400+ last minute seats across the Atlantic and on to India. If this somehow worked they could sail from Mumbai around March 14 and fill in the 22 days to Dubai by visiting India, Sri Lanka and all the little Indian Ocean Islands. Or they could almost double back to Myanmar. A big itinerary change and still messy to divert the boarding guests to Mumbai. The thought bogs down so quickly that I should quit trying to second guess the itinerary planners, just waiting is about the best I can see to do.

 

Bill

 

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