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


TLCOhio
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The “New Normal” seems to be that Covid is here to stay for at least the foreseeable future.  My friends and acquaintances are mixed in terms of their reactions and how they deal with the continuing threat.   Runs the gamut from a few still living in virtually total isolation for fear of catching Covid to the few with an almost nonchalant “Covid? What Covid?” attitude and behavior.   Mrs K and I take what I think is a fairly typical approach to Covid.   We have all our boosters, we mostly avoid extremely crowded venues, we do a lot of shopping via the Internet, we still keep our distance in stores,  and we eat out occasionally though not as much as before the pandemic and favor restaurants with outdoor dining.   We hesitated for well over year, actually almost two years, about returning to cruising.  In fact, our booked cruise in January 2023 will be our first since January 2020, just one week short of three years to the date.   
 

The future of Covid and how collectively will the world handle it?  Beats me.  The optimist in me thinks, at least hopes, that the virus will mutate to nothing more than a benign virus like the literally thousands and thousands of others.  The pessimist in me allows that Covid in some form or variant will be here forever.  There might be times when it is relatively benign and others where is it more virulent and possibly deadly.   Really hard to see how this translates into official response and individual behavior.  Locally we are experiencing around 1,000 new Covid cases a day and local health officials categorize the local situation as serious and worsening.  That said life seems pretty much like pre-pandemic.  No mask mandates, no limits on bar or restaurant capacities, no cancellation of public events, no retail closings or limitations, etc., etc., like the early months of the pandemic in 2020.   The “New Nomal”?  🤔 

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1 hour ago, Randyk47 said:

The “New Normal” seems to be that Covid is here to stay for at least the foreseeable future.

 

The "New Normal" has arrived; I agree.

 

1 hour ago, Randyk47 said:

Mrs K and I take what I think is a fairly typical approach to Covid.   We have all our boosters, we mostly avoid extremely crowded venues, we do a lot of shopping via the Internet, we still keep our distance in stores,  and we eat out occasionally though not as much as before the pandemic

 

This pretty well describes my situation.  Except, I am not willing yet to travel.  Covid is part of the reason, but, the chaos that is involved in flying and the varying restrictions in places:  no.  I am not going to do suffer those experiences.  I could easily "jump through hoops" in my earlier years.  As a senior citizen, I no longer have the "desire" to do so.  

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14 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

The "New Normal" has arrived; I agree.

 

 

This pretty well describes my situation.  Except, I am not willing yet to travel.  Covid is part of the reason, but, the chaos that is involved in flying and the varying restrictions in places:  no.  I am not going to do suffer those experiences.  I could easily "jump through hoops" in my earlier years.  As a senior citizen, I no longer have the "desire" to do so.  

That pretty well sums it up for me as well.  And just to add a little more to the chaos and hoops to jump through LHR wants to limit the passengers at the airport.  Here’s a link from the Wall Street Journal this morning.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/londons-heathrow-airport-limits-passengers-amid-staff-shortages-surging-demand-11657622503?st=atnq3v9fs3yy04i&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink

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On 7/12/2022 at 7:05 AM, crusinbanjo said:

That pretty well sums it up for me as well.  And just to add a little more to the chaos and hoops to jump through LHR wants to limit the passengers at the airport.  Here’s a link from the Wall Street Journal this morning.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/londons-heathrow-airport-limits-passengers-amid-staff-shortages-surging-demand-11657622503?st=atnq3v9fs3yy04i&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink

 

Yes, appreciate this sharing about the "mess" at London Heathrow.  Had heard a reference yesterday to this story about the airport challenges there.  It seems to be making a bad situation with their major airport getting even worse.  Not fun to be traveling in and around Europe (or the USA, etc.) this summer.   Right or wrong?

 

From the Wall Street Journal Monday afternoon, they had this headline: Cruises Are the Cheapest Way to Travel This Summer"  with this sub- headline: "With prices high for airfare, hotel rooms and gas, leisure travelers are finding bargains out at sea. 

 

Here are some of their story highlights: As the cost of hotels, airfares and nearly every other part of the travel experience surges, one industry is cutting: cruises.  There are nearly 2,000 cruises that cost under $100 a day for an interior stateroom through the end of the year.  Meanwhile, the average daily rate for a hotel room was up nearly 20% compared with 2019 levels. Airfares rose almost 13% between April and May alone.

 

Is this good news for those seeking to cruise?  Yes, sounds great to find more cruise bargains.  BUT, as cruise lines seek to restore profits, pay off billions of dollars in loans, pump up their stock prices, deal with rising fuel-food-labor costs, etc., how will ALL of this work out?  Will this cruise price-cutting cause the cruise company stock price to remain depressed and make it harder for them to raise new cash?  When and how?

 

Full WSJ story at:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cheap-travel-cruises-sales-bargains-11657485614

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio   

 

Amazon River-Caribbean 2015 adventure live/blog starting in Barbados. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.).  Now at 70,109 views:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

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From MSN News and a financial news source this morning, they had this headline: Cruises could be this summer's cheapest travel option with itineraries going for as low as $29 a day with these highlights:There are currently 45 cruises sailing for $50 a day or less through 2022. Vacationing this summer has already shaped up to be 'hellish' and expensive. Airlines have canceled thousands of flights. But amid these skyrocketing prices, chaotic travel stories, and inflation, there's one glimmer of hope for budget travelers still looking for a relaxing getaway this year: cruises, many of which are sailing for under $100 a day.

 

Sound good?  Maybe.  But who wants to sail in the Caribbean later this summer or in the early fall?  Getting to Europe and/or other distant international locations is a major "roll of the dice" with the current air travel messes.  Right?  

 

But for the next six to twelve months, how do the cruise lines restore their financial stability (profits?) and normality when they are cutting prices in a period of rising fuel, food, debt and staffing inflationary costs?

 

Full story at:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/cruises-could-be-this-summers-cheapest-travel-option-with-itineraries-going-for-as-low-as-2429-a-day/ar-AAZDSJ2

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 52,960 views. Featuring Cape Town, South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

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30 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

From MSN News and a financial news source this morning, they had this headline: Cruises could be this summer's cheapest travel option with itineraries going for as low as $29 a day with these highlights:There are currently 45 cruises sailing for $50 a day or less through 2022. Vacationing this summer has already shaped up to be 'hellish' and expensive. Airlines have canceled thousands of flights. But amid these skyrocketing prices, chaotic travel stories, and inflation, there's one glimmer of hope for budget travelers still looking for a relaxing getaway this year: cruises, many of which are sailing for under $100 a day.

 

Sound good?  Maybe.  But who wants to sail in the Caribbean later this summer or in the early fall?  Getting to Europe and/or other distant international locations is a major "roll of the dice" with the current air travel messes.  Right?  

 

But for the next six to twelve months, how do the cruise lines restore their financial stability (profits?) and normality when they are cutting prices in a period of rising fuel, food, debt and staffing inflationary costs?

 

Full story at:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/cruises-could-be-this-summers-cheapest-travel-option-with-itineraries-going-for-as-low-as-2429-a-day/ar-AAZDSJ2

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 52,960 views. Featuring Cape Town, South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337


The cruise lines offering for as low as $100 a day fares for a couple are typically the large mass market lines with large to mega ships and their corresponding 3,000 to 6,000 passenger capacities.  Now not all cabins go for that but they can probably fill the interior and some of the exterior  non-verandah cabins at that rate.  Not exactly “bait and switch” but I assume the lines are hoping people will be at least tempted to cruise and will opt for better cabins once they look into the heavily discounted fares.  Also have to keep in mind that the mass market business model is based more on “butts in beds” and then charge them for pretty much everything else outside of basic dining and buffet venues.   I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard or read something along the lines of “got the cabin for $XXX for a week but ran up a $2,000 bar, spa, and tour bill”.   That is the mass market big ship “bread and butter” revenue source.   

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23 hours ago, Randyk47 said:

The cruise lines offering for as low as $100 a day fares for a couple are typically the large mass market lines with large to mega ships and their corresponding 3,000 to 6,000 passenger capacities.  I’ve heard or read something along the lines of “got the cabin for $XXX for a week but ran up a $2,000 bar, spa, and tour bill”.   That is the mass market big ship “bread and butter” revenue source.   

 

Appreciate this follow-up by Randy about the plan/tactics used by some of the large, mass-market cruise lines.  Not our "thing"!!  Yes, some get a cheap cruise, but run up a huge bar bill because the staff is so nice in asking if they want a drink while lounging at the pool.  What a "trap"!!  

 

From the Chicago Tribune this morning, they had this headline: After pandemic shutdown, the cruise ship industry is booming on the Great Lakes with these highlights: “Viking Cruises announcement. building an entirely new ship — one designed specifically for the Great Lakes. Even though this is Viking’s first year on the Great Lakes, commercial cruising has been slowly expanding in the lakes the past decade. 2022 may be setting records, with nine cruise ships setting sail this season, four of them new ships making their inaugural trips through the locks and into the lakes.

 

Not sure sailing Great Lakes on a cruise ship is our highest priority.  BUT, it is interesting that this option is available and growing in market popularity.  Maybe a good sign for the seeking-to-recover cruise industry?   The Great Lakes are close enough for us that we have visited many of the top areas by car.  But for others?  Reactions?

 

Full story at:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/environment/ct-great-lakes-cruise-ships-20220717-filkpwejzja3bn6kt3t3vweabq-story.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Kotor/Montenegro:  Exciting visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this scenic, historic location. Over 49,414 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439193

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25 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

 

Appreciate this follow-up by Randy about the plan/tactics used by some of the large, mass-market cruise lines.  Not our "thing"!!  Yes, some get a cheap cruise, but run up a huge bar bill because the staff is so nice in asking if they want a drink while lounging at the pool.  What a "trap"!!  

 

From the Chicago Tribune this morning, they had this headline: After pandemic shutdown, the cruise ship industry is booming on the Great Lakes with these highlights: “Viking Cruises announcement. building an entirely new ship — one designed specifically for the Great Lakes. Even though this is Viking’s first year on the Great Lakes, commercial cruising has been slowly expanding in the lakes the past decade. 2022 may be setting records, with nine cruise ships setting sail this season, four of them new ships making their inaugural trips through the locks and into the lakes.

 

Not sure sailing Great Lakes on a cruise ship is our highest priority.  BUT, it is interesting that this option is available and growing in market popularity.  Maybe a good sign for the seeking-to-recover cruise industry?   The Great Lakes are close enough for us that we have visited many of the top areas by car.  But for others?  Reactions?

 

Full story at:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/environment/ct-great-lakes-cruise-ships-20220717-filkpwejzja3bn6kt3t3vweabq-story.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Kotor/Montenegro:  Exciting visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this scenic, historic location. Over 49,414 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439193

I think it is growing for a number of reasons: first, the IT and ports look interesting, (Mrs Banjo and I have been looking at these since 2020).  They are close to home and does not require long international travel, or even airlines for many embarking points. Even getting to Canada can be a car ride, or other non air transportation. The stumbling blocks in place for almost all ocean cruises mostly don’t exist, or are greatly reduced for Great Lakes cruises.  

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37 minutes ago, crusinbanjo said:

I think it is growing for a number of reasons: first, the IT and ports look interesting,   They are close to home and does not require long international travel, or even airlines for many embarking points. Even getting to Canada can be a car ride.  

 

YES, great follow-up from Mr. Banjo about the Great Lakes advantage in being so close and maybe avoiding those challenged airline flights.  

 

From MSN News and The Points Guy website this morning, they had this headline: You can save big on a cruise right now with ‘kids sail free’ deals with these highlights: “Cruises are one sweet spot in the current travel economy. There are multiple cruise lines with free offers for kids to come on board several times a year. This may be the first time Princess has ever offered a Kids Sail Free cruise booking opportunity. These free sailings for kids can also be paired with discounts of up to 25% on adult fares.”

 

Know that Silversea cruisers are not big fans for having lots of kinds on their cruises.  But, this article reflects that the major cruise lines are cutting their prices to fill up the ships.  AND many money from more travelers on board spending on drinks, spa, tours, etc.  
 

Full story at:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tips/you-can-save-big-on-a-cruise-right-now-with-kids-sail-free-deals/ar-AAZFLXf

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Dubrovnik!  Nice visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this super scenic and historic location. Over 48,895 views.    

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

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Great Lakes cruises and American river cruises have interesting itineraries and are cruises that I have repeatedly considered.  But, oh, my!  The pricing!  On a per day basis for this solo, I could sail on Silversea, Seabourn, a Grill Suite on a Queen, let alone a HAL Neptune Suite or MSC YC Suite for the same amount or less than the pricing that I have seen for these North American cruises.  Not enough competition for these cruises is one issue that keeps them so expensive.  Cruising on Lake Erie or the Ohio River is mentally not like cruising on the Pacific Ocean, etc. for me. 

 

Some might ask:  "wouldn't the uniqueness of the experience and the ports be worth it"?  My answer would be no.  If one wants the sailing experience on the Great Lakes, try the S. S. Badger on Lake Michigan.  While it is designed to be a ferry experience across the Lake, it can become a round trip cruise experience at a very significant fraction of the cost of the options.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Terry,

Not just airlines and Heathrow having issues.

Yesterday I went to my local Starbucks only to find that all of the seating area had been closed.

I asked the server what was wrong and why I couldn't sit down.

He said they only had two staff on for the whole day and that meant they could not clear and clean tables.

Nobody can get staff in the hospitality industry here at present.

 

Edited by Mr Luxury
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3 hours ago, Mr Luxury said:

Terry,

Not just airlines and Heathrow having issues.

Yesterday I went to my local Starbucks only to find that all of the seating area had been closed.

I asked the server what was wrong and why I couldn't sit down.

He said they only had two staff on for the whole day and that meant they could not clear and clean tables.

Nobody can get staff in the hospitality industry here at present.

 

No different in the US. Many establishments still have greatly reduced menus and operating hours for the same reason. The most commonly seen sign here is "Now Hiring."

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Mr Luxury said:

Where do you think all of the service staff have gone after covid.

They were there before covid

 

They have gotten much higher paying jobs in other businesses.  

 

What I don't understand are why some of the young people (i.e. college students) are not fulfilling some of these jobs.  OK, maybe they don't pay a great deal of money/hour, but they pay money.  When I was a college students, I was working for $1/hr or even less if it was a commission type job, if I could get the job.  And, I was thankful for whatever I earned.  Is my lack of understanding due to a generational difference?  

 

Or, is there too much affluence that some college students enjoy?  

Edited by rkacruiser
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On 7/17/2022 at 9:52 AM, TLCOhio said:

Not sure sailing Great Lakes on a cruise ship is our highest priority.  BUT, it is interesting that this option is available and growing in market popularity.  Maybe a good sign for the seeking-to-recover cruise industry?

We are taking the Viking Great Lakes cruise in August. I will try to answer your questions when we are on board. The ship (The Octantis) sounds wonderful. The itinerary may be a bit blah. But it is near home and a luxury cruise. We will see.

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This statement from Dr. Ashish Jha seems to imply that another booster shot is in order if you had your fourth shot last year. We were ahead of the curve with our second booster in September 2021. Seeing my MD tomorrow to confirm I am eligible for a fifth shot now.

image.thumb.png.74600ba430cb1ee37196fa46e32af36f.png

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Here’s some late-breaking news from the US CDC. This is a big “sea change” for cruising. 
 

First, from the CDC’s website:

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/cruise-travel-during-covid19.html

 

And this. 

 

https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/environmental-health/and-just-cdcs-covid-19-program-cruise-ships-has-ended

And just like that: CDC's COVID-19 program for cruise ships has ended

 

Color-coded system is retired

New guidance for cruise ships to mitigate and manage COVID-19 transmission will be available in the coming days, the CDC said Monday. But the agency's color-coded status for cruise ships is going away, and that web page is being retired. 
 

CDC explained this color-coded system depended upon each cruise line having the same COVID-19 screening testing standards, which may now vary among lines. 

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16 hours ago, CJANDH said:

This statement from Dr. Ashish Jha seems to imply that another booster shot is in order if you had your fourth shot last year. We were ahead of the curve with our second booster in September 2021. Seeing my MD tomorrow to confirm I am eligible for a fifth shot now.

image.thumb.png.74600ba430cb1ee37196fa46e32af36f.png

Hi, I had my 2nd booster last month. So that was June. Will wait till the end of the year to see about the next one.

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23 hours ago, CJANDH said:

This statement from Dr. Ashish Jha seems to imply that another booster shot is in order if you had your fourth shot last year. We were ahead of the curve with our second booster in September 2021. Seeing my MD tomorrow to confirm I am eligible for a fifth shot now.

image.thumb.png.74600ba430cb1ee37196fa46e32af36f.png

 

I had my 4th shot as soon as I could earlier this year and am awaiting directions as to what do to next.  I expect shot #5 of some kind of "new and improved" vaccine to be recommended.  If so, I'm ready!  

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59 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I had my 4th shot as soon as I could earlier this year and am awaiting directions as to what do to next.  I expect shot #5 of some kind of "new and improved" vaccine to be recommended.  If so, I'm ready!  

Had my 2nd booster in April, caught Covid in early July.  Moderate case but still a lingering cough.  Perhaps all the vaccines helped me not be hospitalized but no proof.

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15 hours ago, MHF said:

Had my 2nd booster in April, caught Covid in early July.  Moderate case but still a lingering cough.  Perhaps all the vaccines helped me not be hospitalized but no proof.

 

It's been some time since we had our second booster shot.  What comes next?  When and how?  What Rx vaccine mix and protections as the virus evolves?  Lots of questions and uncertainty as the numbers ramp up for those now having Covid!!  The good news is that many fewer are dying and/or being hospitalized in the ICU, etc.   

 

From CBS News this morning, they had this headline: CDC stops monitoring COVID-19 cases on cruise ships with these highlights:The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discontinued a program that tracked cases of COVID-19 aboard cruise ships in the U.S.  The decision to wind down the coronavirus tracking program for cruises was made in part because the agency believes the industry is capable of managing the risks on its own. Individual cruise lines may now set their own policies related to COVID-19, such as travel requirements for passengers and staff, as well as what protocols are implemented aboard ships.

 

Each cruise lines setting their own rules and requirements.  Is that progress and good?  Or, will there still be confusing and changing standards/operating practices on the various ships?

 

Full story at:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-cruise-ships-covid-19-tracking-program-ends/

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Athens & Greece: Many visuals, details from two visits in a city with great history, culture and architecture.  Now at 45,486 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1101008

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From friends traveling recently, the incidents and concerns are growing about your luggage making it to your destination.  Another worry as and if you are heading to a cruise adventure?

 

From the Wall Street Journal this morning, they had this headline: More Airlines Are Losing Luggage. AirTags and Tile Trackers Can Help. with these highlights:A summer of flight delays, packed airports and cancellations is giving way to another growing problem: missing luggage. Hoping to keep lost bags from ruining their trip, many people are turning to discreet, lightweight Bluetooth trackers from companies such as Apple and Tile.  The technology is designed to help owners locate keys, handbags and other easy-to-misplace belongings—including luggage. When your stuff isn’t where it should be, you can fire up an app to show you its last known location.

 

Anyone tried this new technology?  Had experiences?

 

Full story at:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-airlines-are-losing-luggage-airtags-and-tile-trackers-can-help-11658230361?mod=wsjhp_columnists_pos1

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Live/blog, June 2017 from Portugal to France along scenic Atlantic Coast on the Silver Spirit.  Now at 32,443 views.  Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

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From this respected web news site this morning, they had this headline: CDC ends COVID reporting on cruise ships. Is this good for public health?" with this sub-headline: "Plus, the WHO warns of rising COVID hospitalizations, BA.2.75 is on the way, monkeypox may be declared a ‘global health emergency,’ and more.

 

Here are a couple of this opinion column highlights:It is hard to make sense of why the CDC would pull back from a detailed monitoring program just as COVID-19 cases are again rising worldwide. (The World Health Organization says cases in Europe have tripled in the last six weeks, and hospitalizations have doubled.)  When the site took down the monitoring page, 93 of the 95 ships reporting to the CDC system had enough COVID-19 cases among passengers and crew to be 'under observation' by the CDC.  Cruise lines will report COVID-19 data to the CDC, but the CDC won’t pass that information along to you.

 

Full story at:

https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2022/the-cdc-ends-covid-reporting-on-cruise-ships-is-this-good-for-public-health/

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Panama Canal? Early 2017, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco adventure through Panama Canal.  Our first stops in Colombia, Central America and Mexico, plus added time in the great Golden Gate City. Now at 31,419 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2465580

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3 hours ago, TLCOhio said:

From CBS News this morning, they had this headline: CDC stops monitoring COVID-19 cases on cruise ships with these highlights:

 

That's the same story I posted on Monday. 

 

Glad it's finally getting some attention from CBS, etc. 

 

How many people based cruise/not cruise decisions on the CDC information? And no ships have been "Red" for quite some time, indicating that cruise ships are handling Covid well. After the cruising re-start, I've seen stories about Covid that are no worse, and usually better, than norovirus outbreaks. The CDC has taken a hard stance on cruising, so it's hard to imagine they are suddenly going "soft" on the industry. 

 

2 hours ago, TLCOhio said:

It is hard to make sense of why the CDC would pull back from a detailed monitoring program

 

It's because the cruise industry has been taken off probation and has shown it can handle the cases. (I know, Terry, you're just quoting another source here.) The program was about the cruise lines' ability to respond to Covid, not about the prevalence of Covid "in the wild."

 

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