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SS Future Re-Open Plan: Timing, Testing Needs??!!


TLCOhio
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Has anyone heard anything about the USA dropping its covid test requirement to fly home? This seems to be the biggest stumbling block for many travelers, as a positive test after disembarkation, leads to a prolonged quarantine in a foreign land and issues getting certification of recovery if you still test positive after quarantining. Many countries have dropped the requirement. When will the USA follow?

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21 hours ago, CJANDH said:

Has anyone heard anything about the USA dropping its covid test requirement to fly home? This seems to be the biggest stumbling block for many travelers, as a positive test after disembarkation, leads to a prolonged quarantine in a foreign land and issues getting certification of recovery if you still test positive after quarantining. Many countries have dropped the requirement. When will the USA follow?

 

Agree above with our South Carolina friend as to the uncertain challenges when   testing after finishing a cruise.  That would be a concern for us and part of the reasons for us to get anything booked for the future.  

 

Also share the viewpoint from our SW Ohio neighbor that both the current and previous Presidential administrations share blame for much of the confusion and "politics" connected with the "MIXED MESSAGES" surrounding this whole Covid situation.  

 

From the London/UK Telegraph this morning, they had this headline: Hong Kong faces fierce resistance to vaccine mandates as hesistant citizens steadfastly refuse jabs" with this sub-headline: "Even after the city's deadly surge, some of its most vulnerable citizens remain skeptical about vaccine benefits”.

 

Here are some of their story highlights: In recent weeks Covid-19 has torn across Hong Kong, overwhelming the health system and morgues – with images of the dead lying next to the six in hospital wards causing outrage. The wave is now subsiding, but at its peak the city’s weekly death rate hit 263 per million people; at the height of the UK’s January 2021 wave, this figure reached 128.   Experts have attributed the record coronavirus death rate in Hong Kong to the low vaccine uptake among its elderly, a cohort which accounts for most of the 8,200 deaths in the fifth wave.  Mainland China – where 52 million people over the age of 60 have not been fully vaccinated as of last month – is now at risk of following the same path, as the more transmissible omicron variant tests the limits of its zero-Covid policy.

 

Here is more: "Speaking last month, Chinese health officials described Hong Kong’s tragedy as 'a profound lesson' and highlighted the need to vaccinate the most vulnerable. 'We must not regret when it is too late,' said Wang Hesheng, deputy director of the National Health Commission.  But that appears a tricky task. Unlike the US and the UK, where hesitancy is more prevalent in younger demographics, the elderly and immunosuppressed – the groups most at risk and usually prioritised in vaccination drives – have shunned vaccines in Hong Kong and China."

 

It is challenging to get back to normal cruise sailing in Asia if Hong Kong and China still facing these types of difficult cases. Interesting demographic difference between US/UK versus in China.  Reactions?

 

Full story at:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/hong-kong-faces-fierce-resistance-vaccine-mandates-hesistant/

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

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I think the world will open up at different times for each country. Who could have seen that the whole of Shanghai would have been put under house arrest if only one person tests +ve in your building? So countries which do away with PCRs and also locator forms (eg UK) should get more tourists. Hope so? 
 

Also for us (looking at French elections forthcoming) political leadership in each country may become a no-no too. Hope it isn't just back to Cornwall again!

 

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28 minutes ago, worldtraveller99 said:

I think the world will open up at different times for each country. Who could have seen that the whole of Shanghai would have been put under house arrest if only one person tests +ve in your building? Also for us (looking at French elections forthcoming) political leadership in each country may become a no-no too. Hope it isn't just back to Cornwall again!

 

Great comments and follow-ups about the China situation and how Covid is affecting other countries.  YES, am watching the French elections with interest.  Per a major NY Times story this morning, inflation is affecting and significantly concerning voters in France, etc.  

 

From CNBC cable news video link below and the London/UK Daily Mail this morning, there was this headline: 'There is a Covid surge under way: Former FDA chief says cases are rising across America but the country will NOT see a spike in hospitalizations: Daily infections fell 8% and deaths are down 13% over the past week.

 

Here are some of the story highlights:Americans might be in the midst of another Covid surge, with pandemic-related restrictions lifted around the country and the highly infectious 'stealth' variant rapidly spreading. Increases in cases are unlikely to translate into hospitalizations or deaths, some experts believe, and the country should be able to weather this storm with ease.  Dr Scott Gottlieb, former director of the Food and Drug Administration and current board member at Pfizer, told CNBC's Squawk Box on Friday that despite daily case figures remaining relatively low, there are likely many cases going undetected.  Whether because of the prevalence of at-home testing, the high amount of asymptomatic cases or general ambivalence to Covid in the population, it is likely that a majority of active cases are not being recorded in official figures.  Due to the highly transmissible, yet mild, nature of the Omicron variant, health officials in the U.S. have pivoted from valuing case figures as the primary indicator of the current state of the pandemic to hospitalizations.  As long as hospitals are not overwhelmed, officials are fine with some circulation of the virus that would be near impossible to prevent anyways. 'Its quite possible that… we’ll endure this surge. I don’t think its gonna last much longer, we’re well into this right now,' he said.  'As the weather warms this will start to abate. It could be that we endure this surge without seeing hospitalizations go up measurably at all.' 

 

Full video and story at:

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2022/04/08/there-is-a-covid-surge-underway-in-the-us-says-dr-scott-gottlieb.html

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-10699933/There-Covid-surge-way-no-question-former-FDA-chief-says.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio   

 

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45 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

 

Great comments and follow-ups about the China situation and how Covid is affecting other countries.  YES, am watching the French elections with interest.  Per a major NY Times story this morning, inflation is affecting and significantly concerning voters in France, etc.  

 

From CNBC cable news video link below and the London/UK Daily Mail this morning, there was this headline: 'There is a Covid surge under way: Former FDA chief says cases are rising across America but the country will NOT see a spike in hospitalizations: Daily infections fell 8% and deaths are down 13% over the past week.

 

 

There is a big spike in China right now of the Omicron.  Not sure if it  is a new variant, or the old one that has already passed US and EU. Shanghai is pretty well closed down, as are other parts of China.  Hoping it is not something new  and serious that will spread over the planet.... AGAIN.

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On 4/7/2022 at 6:24 PM, CJANDH said:

Has anyone heard anything about the USA dropping its covid test requirement to fly home? This seems to be the biggest stumbling block for many travelers, as a positive test after disembarkation, leads to a prolonged quarantine in a foreign land and issues getting certification of recovery if you still test positive after quarantining. Many countries have dropped the requirement. When will the USA follow?

 

We always keep our questionable requirements going strong long past the expiration date.

 

Flying home from Paris tomorrow. Just did the covid testing in our room a few hours ago. Used the Binax tests with a video proctor. Quick but yes, an annoyance. 

 

Easy to do, once I figured out how to hack Android so I could download the stupid Navica app...apparently I was supposed to do that before leaving the US! There's always a workaround. I am proud that I didn't have to call my little brother the IT guru for this one though! 

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5 hours ago, TLCOhio said:

As long as hospitals are not overwhelmed, officials are fine with some circulation of the virus that would be near impossible to prevent anyways.

 

An indication to me that we have started down the path of "learning to deal with this virus".  

 

6 hours ago, TLCOhio said:

It is challenging to get back to normal cruise sailing in Asia if Hong Kong and China still facing these types of difficult cases. Interesting demographic difference between US/UK versus in China.  Reactions?

 

Why the older citizens of Hong Kong are so reluctant to be vaccinated is puzzling.  Are they ready to "give up"?  They have seen their community change so much from UK influence to the "Two Chinas" to the more dominance of mainland China and the protests that this change has caused:  has it caused a "what's the use" attitude for these good people?  

 

I am not acquainted with any of the 2023 World Cruise itineraries.  Most include visits to China as well as Australia and New Zealand.  If these countries become no longer available for port calls, will a true circumnavigation even be possible?  

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Not COVID related, but similar scenario.

 

With the Ukraine situation and isolation to Russia, removing Baltic and Black sea itineraries is a relatively simple one in terms of not going to St Petersburg etc.

 

However, I do wonder what will be planned for trans Pacific cruises and far east Russia. Avoidance of the port is simple enough, but sailing Russian waters from Japan to Alaska?  We know the Russians shoot commercial aircraft down..... Don't want to be mistaken for a warship!

 

I wonder what's planned for single stop Russian Cruises and Russian waters which I suspect can't be avoided.

 

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9 hours ago, les37b said:

However, I do wonder what will be planned for trans Pacific cruises and far east Russia. Avoidance of the port is simple enough, but sailing Russian waters from Japan to Alaska?

 

It's simple enough to be far enough off the coast to be in international waters.

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4 hours ago, cruiseej said:

 

It's simple enough to be far enough off the coast to be in international waters.

Because we all know how Russia respects internationally recognised territorial limits.... 

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On 4/8/2022 at 4:34 PM, jpalbny said:

We always keep our questionable requirements going strong long past the expiration date.   Flying home from Paris tomorrow. Just did the covid testing in our room a few hours ago. Used the Binax tests with a video proctor. Quick but yes, an annoyance. Easy to do, once I figured out how to hack Android so I could download the stupid Navica app...apparently I was supposed to do that before leaving the US! There's always a workaround. I am proud that I didn't have to call my little brother the IT guru for this one though! 

 

Safe travels home for Chris and J.P.  Appreciate your medical expertise as to the requirements tend to keep going . . . on and on . . . beyond the appropriate "use by" expiration date.  

 

Agree with Tothesunset about "Because we all know how Russia respects internationally recognized territorial limits...."  I would add China to that list for nations that are very "creative" as to how they claim and try to exploit way beyond their accepted and established international boundaries.  Right?

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

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50 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

I would add China to that list for nations that are very "creative" as to how they claim and try to exploit way beyond their accepted and established international boundaries.

 

Well, China has publicly claimed waters that most other countries state are international waters. I don't believe Russia has asserted such claims off their east coast. Even so, it would be pretty easy to chart a course from Alaska to Japan which would remain hundreds of miles off the coast of Russia.

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15 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

Losing a cruise ship would be curtains for that line! 

 

No, I don't think that would be so.  When the Lusitania was lost because of an act of war that did not cause the demise of Cunard.  What it did help to promote was the entrance of the United States into WW I which didn't turn out too well for the country whose submarine launched those torpedoes into the Lusitania.  

 

Depending on such a ship's flag, if that ship is flagged in a NATO country, that attack could be considered an attack on a NATO country.  The result would be.......?  

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Most air routes traverse over eastern Russia also, especially going to Japan and S  Korea and China.  I assume a diversion can be made but not sure how much or would it add extra flight time?

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8 hours ago, cruiseej said:

 

Well, China has publicly claimed waters that most other countries state are international waters. I don't believe Russia has asserted such claims off their east coast. Even so, it would be pretty easy to chart a course from Alaska to Japan which would remain hundreds of miles off the coast of Russia.

 

Whilst that's true of China, they are not are war and haven't shot down commercial aircraft. Fingers crossed Putin's rule will be history by then and Russia assisting with the rebuilding of a democratic whole Ukraine. We can hope!

 

You are probably correct with the course possibilities, though Japan has reopened wounds regarding the Kuril Islands annexed by Russia  after WW2, so maybe not so simple!

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8 hours ago, les37b said:

Whilst that's true of China, they are not are war and haven't shot down commercial aircraft. Fingers crossed Putin's rule will be history by then and Russia assisting with the rebuilding of a democratic whole Ukraine. We can hope!   You are probably correct with the course possibilities, though Japan has reopened wounds regarding the Kuril Islands annexed by Russia  after WW2, so maybe not so simple!

 

Appreciate these great comments and follow-ups. On China, there are other issues and question that can be raised as to how they have operated, agreements/rules followed, etc.  BUT, we do not want to get too political here.  Excellent question for airlines and whether they will need to adjust their flight patterns as these issues/questions evolve, etc.  

 

 From a trade publication earlier this past week, they had this headline: Royal Caribbean to Add 20,000 Berths in the Next Four Years" with this sub-headline: "Royal Caribbean currently has four mega cruise ships on order or under construction.

 

Here are some of their story highlights:Royal Caribbean has always been known to be a company that doesn’t wait around creating more and bigger experiences for its guests. It certainly shows that with launching four of the largest cruise ships in the world in the next four years.   The cruise line plans to add more than 20,000 lower berth beds in the next four years, a massive amount, and those beds will be on only four ships.   The sixth Oasis-class vessel, slated for delivery in 2024, and three Icon-Class vessels, the newest class of ships for Royal Caribbean, are scheduled for delivery in 2023, 2025, and 2026.

 

Here is more about Utopia of the Seas, their next level Oasis-class ships: "She might be part of the Oasis-class of ships, but she is much more than that in reality. According to various reports, the first ship in class to be powered by LNG will also be the biggest cruise ship in the world by some margin. One source says she could be up to 250,000 gross tons due to the addition of the LNG equipment.  There will be more differences to do with the construction issues that come with building LNG tanks into a vessel designed for using oil.  The transformation from oil to gas also means that Utopia will have a slightly different silhouette; the mast is placed more towards the middle of the ship, making space for the gas exhaust column. Powered by LNG to provide propulsion and fuel cell technology to provide electrical power to the vessel, she will be one of the cleanest cruise ships at sea."

 

Is bigger better and what does this mean for Silversea?  At around a billion dollars plus each for these large new ships, does Royal Caribbean have the needed capital to maintain the expected ship-board quality, staffing, food, wine, etc., for all of their customer and cruise lines?  

 

LNG has some interesting pro/con factors to consider, right?  Cleaner is very good, but those designs will mean less staff, spacing, etc.  

 

Full story at:

https://www.cruisehive.com/royal-caribbean-to-add-20000-berths-in-the-next-four-years/69450

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

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On 4/9/2022 at 6:34 PM, bohaiboy said:

Most air routes traverse over eastern Russia also, especially going to Japan and S  Korea and China.  I assume a diversion can be made but not sure how much or would it add extra flight time?

 

Not so — not this time. All airlines have changed their routes to avoid flying over Russian airspace. (Here's one article about it.)

 

8 hours ago, TLCOhio said:

LNG has some interesting pro/con factors to consider, right?  Cleaner is very good, but those designs will mean less staff, spacing, etc.

 

Why would LNG result in less staff and less space?

 

LNG is obviously cleaner, but not every port on the world can bunker LNG fuel, so cruise itineraries on LNG-powered ships may face some limitations in the early going. It will be interesting to see where Silversea can't go with Silver Nova when it debuts next year.

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49 minutes ago, cruiseej said:

 

Not so — not this time. All airlines have changed their routes to avoid flying over Russian airspace. (Here's one article about it.)

 

 

Why would LNG result in less staff and less space?

 

LNG is obviously cleaner, but not every port on the world can bunker LNG fuel, so cruise itineraries on LNG-powered ships may face some limitations in the early going. It will be interesting to see where Silversea can't go with Silver Nova when it debuts next year.


I believe LNG requires larger tanks than bunker oil.   Obviously they have to find the space somewhere.  Fewer quests or fewer staff….. hard choice.

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10 hours ago, Randyk47 said:


I believe LNG requires larger tanks than bunker oil.   Obviously they have to find the space somewhere.  Fewer quests or fewer staff….. hard choice.

Not only larger tanks, but heavy refrigeration.  LNG needs to stay at -160f to remain as a liquid.  The tanks are very bulky and need to be heavily insulated.  Also, unlike bunker oil,  LNG is potentially explosive it must be handled with extreme care.   Lots of pros and cons to consider indeed.

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1 hour ago, crusinbanjo said:

Not only larger tanks, but heavy refrigeration.  LNG needs to stay at -160f to remain as a liquid.  The tanks are very bulky and need to be heavily insulated.  Also, unlike bunker oil,  LNG is potentially explosive it must be handled with extreme care.   Lots of pros and cons to consider indeed.

 

Very good additional background from Mr. Banjo, plus added comments/questions from our SW Ohio neighbor and our friend in the Philadelphia suburbs.  The original article mentioned about the added storage needs with LNG and how that would limit the amount of available space for staff, etc.  

 

Had forgotten those unique refrigeration needs.  Yes, that adds to the design/construction/operating challenges.  And for the shorter-term purposes, not every port in the world now has the large-scale LNG "gas-up stations" built and available, right?

 

It is an interesting idea that sounds very good, but there are always those practical realities in dealing with the laws of physics and economics to make it all work smoothly in the "Real World".  Great sharing as folks look to figure out the future of cruising.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio 

 

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From a trade publication this morning, they had this headline: Crew crisis hits P&O Cruises as company is forced to cancel sailings" with this sub-headline: "Carnival Corp subsidiary says it is unable to secure enough seafarers to operate all of its ships

 

Here are some of their reporting highlights:UK-based P&O Cruises has had to scrub seven cruises scheduled for one of its ships after being forced to redeploy its crew to meet manpower shortages on other vessels.  The Carnival Corp subsidiary said over the weekend that it was delaying the return to service of the recently reactivated 84,300-gt cruise ship Arcadia (built 2006) until 5 July due to 'crew availability issues'.   'The impact of Covid upon airlines and general disruption has necessitated the cancellations as we need to move crew from Arcadia to other ships in the fleet,' the company said.  P&O Cruises did not disclose the types of seafarers it is struggling to bring on board — cruise ship crews are divided into deck, technical and hotel departments — but it highlights a problem for the revival of the cruise sector following a two-year shut down that left most its employees unemployed.  A senior executive at a Manila-based manning agency that supplies crew to the cruise industry said the sudden big demand cruise crews as ships are being reactivated for the summer season has created a tight labour market.   Speaking on the condition of anonyminity as she was not authorised to talk to the media, the manning agency representative said that many of the seaferers who had been laid off when the cruise sector shut down have 'moved on with their lives'.

 

If this is happening with P&O and Carnival, wouldn't it likely cause impacts with Royal Caribbean and Silversea?

 

Full story at:

https://www.tradewindsnews.com/cruise-and-ferry/crew-crisis-hits-p-o-cruises-as-company-is-forced-to-cancel-sailings/2-1-1200489

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio   

 

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From the New York Times this morning, they had this headline: An uptick in U.S. virus cases is concerning but not surprising, Fauci says. with these highlights:The uptick in new U.S. coronavirus cases in recent days is concerning, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday. But he suggested that the rise was not yet cause for alarm and that officials were monitoring it 'very, very carefully.'  Across the country, there are more than 30,700 new virus cases being reported each day, on average, a 2 percent increase from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. But some regions and cities, including New York City and Washington, D.C., are experiencing sharper increases, though their average number of new cases remains far below peaks during the recent winter surge. In New York City, cases have increased nearly 50 percent over the past two weeks.  Several lawmakers and Biden administration officials in Washington have recently tested positive, too.  This rise is not surprising, given the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant known as BA.2 and the easing of many public health measures, such as mask mandates, across the country, Dr. Fauci said on ABC’s 'This Week.' 

 

Here is more from this NYT reporting: "Dr. Fauci said he was hopeful that the nation would not see a large surge in hospitalizations or deaths, which lag behind new cases and are still declining nationwide.  'If we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors,' he said.  Dr. Fauci stressed that the seriousness of coronavirus infections should not be discounted and could still result in significant illness and long Covid, even if they don’t lead to hospitalization. But, he said, people need to make their own decisions about the risks they’re willing to take.  'This is not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated,' he said. 'And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions.' "

 

Are we moving towards "learning to live with it" or going to go back to required masking?

 

Full story at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/10/health/fauci-ba2-omicron-covid.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

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3 hours ago, TLCOhio said:

Are we moving towards "learning to live with it" or going to go back to required masking?

 

Positive test case counts seems to now be a very unreliable measurement statistic. With the prevalence of home test kits, including the millions supplies by the US government, many people are not longer going to testing facilities which report  test stats for aggregation. Any many people, weary of the past two years of Covid, will avoid testing unless they feel seriously ill or are required for work or travel. 

 

I think things are evolving towards hospitalizations being the most significant metric. After all, the goal all along has been to avoid serious illness requiring hospitalization, and over-taxing hospitals and care providers. Tracking cases of asymptomatic people or people with mild cold-like symptoms may help researchers monitor the ebbs and flows of the virus, but for individuals and governments, such cases are pretty unimportant now. 

 

We're still testing for the presence of the virus, when I would have thought testing would have evolved towards testing antibody levels. We're about to get our second booster shots, not knowing if we really need them now or not, because there's no widespread testing around how strong a body's immunity is.

 

Are we really "learning to live with it"? To me, that language mostly means "go about life ignoring the ongoing presence of Covid, unless it knocks you down." It's understandable after the frustrations of the past two years, but often flies in the face of the evolution of the virus. Remember last summer and fall, when Covid was on the wane and we were "just learning to live with it"? Until Omicron popped up and we were back in scramble mode.

 

I live near the city of Philadelphia, which has established specific metrics (average new cases per day, hospitalizations, case increase over prior week) for imposing various degrees of Covid mitigation measures — and as cases have been on the rise, may be the first large US city to re-impose a mandatory indoor masking mandate. And I expect people will push back with non-compliance and anger, because everyone is tired of masks, irrespective of whether cases are surging again. So no, I don't think we've "learned to live with it", but many people have just decided to resume relatively normal life whether Covid is or isn't prevalent, because they have been vaccinated, have had Covid, and/or don't see large numbers of people dying around them. 

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