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


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ZERO RISK???

 

 United States has 30K flu deaths per year and 500,000 flu hospitalizations per year.  Americans take the flu vaccine, maybe 50%, and it's maybe 50% effective?  

We don't even blink an eye at those numbers in the US for influenza. We find that perfectly "acceptable".  Covid vaccines superbly effective at keeping you out of the hospital and dead.  A ship with 100% vaccinated pax and crew. At this point, where in the world can you go in the US where you are guaranteed 100% of the people around you are jabbed. Nowhere.

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In answer to Terry's question re how to prove one's Certificate is real - so what if it is not? If you think it's important to be able to say you are vaccinated, then get vaccinated! It's all around you! If you are anti it, then be prepared to be ill!

 

The real issue is places one visits accepting us if we may bring the virus. So probably will only be able to cruise to areas where most people are also vaccinated - another plea for countries to pay for other poorer countries to receive the vaccine.

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Very good comments and follow-ups from kimanjo and worldtraveller99.  It seems that the more we learn, then there exists much more that is unknown and in question.  Still many, many uncertainties and unknowns.  Right?  

 

From the Times of Israel Saturday, they had this headline: “Israeli data shows South African variant able to ‘break through’ Pfizer vaccine" with this sub-headline: "Strain is more effective than original COVID and the British variant at bypassing the shot, Israeli scientists find, in first-of-its-kind, real-world study.” 

 

Here are some of this story highlights: “The South African variant of the coronavirus is notably more adept at 'breaking through”'the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine than other variants are, Israeli scientists have found, in a first-of-its-kind real-world study.  Israel has used the Pfizer vaccine almost exclusively to vaccinate millions of citizens, with a version by Moderna, based on similar innovative mRNA technology, used minimally. In their study, the prevalence of the South African strain among vaccinated individuals who were infected despite their inoculation was eight times higher than its prevalence in the unvaccinated infected population. Though the number of such infections among the vaccinated was relatively small, the findings indicated that this variant was far more successful in getting through vaccinated individuals’ defenses than other strains.”

 

Here is more from this story: "Prof. Ran Balicer, director of research at Clalit, said the study was 'very important.'  'It is the first in the world to be based on real-world data, showing that the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, compared to both the original virus and the British variant,' he said."

 

Not sure if these research results will hold up during other, larger tests.  Glad  or now that my vaccine was Moderna, not Pfizer.  

 

Full story at:

https://www.timesofisrael.com/real-world-israeli-data-shows-south-african-variant-better-at-bypassing-vaccine/

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Completed 2019 summer with Calgary, Jasper/Banff National Parks, Western Canada Rocky Mountaineer rail adventure, Vancouver, sailing up to Alaska on Silver Musse, post-cruise excursion to Denali, etc.  Many visuals and details from our first in these scenic areas!  Live/blog: 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2682584-live-terryohio-silver-muse-alaska-canadarockies-pix’s/

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Now a Chinese official is saying their Covid vaccines are not highly efficient.  https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/12/china/china-vaccine-efficacy-intl-hnk/index.html  I don’t see how less efficient they are compared to Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, and AstraZeneca which are the main vaccines available to most CC’ers.  If the Chinese vaccines are significantly less effective then what will that mean for countries like the Philippines that rely almost solely  on Chinese vaccines like Sinovac?   Impact on that portion of cruise ship crew from the Philippines and others?   This could be very bad news.   

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1 minute ago, Randyk47 said:

Now a Chinese official is saying their Covid vaccines are not highly efficient.  If the Chinese vaccines are significantly less effective then what will that mean for countries like the Philippines that rely almost solely  on Chinese vaccines like Sinovac?   Impact on that portion of cruise ship crew from the Philippines and others?   This could be very bad news.   

 

Excellent above sharing by Randy with this interesting news story from CNN.  And if the China government is now admitting this weakness with their vaccine, then my non-trusting, cynical mind will assume that it might be even worse than what they are willing to admit currently.  That government is not always known as the most open, transparent and trusted.  Right?

 

MONEY??:  Do you have thousands and thousands of dollars tied up with cruise line deposits and payments?  Are you concerned as to the security and safety of that money?  Read more below.    

 

From the Wall Street Journal's sister publication of Barron's this morning, they had this headline: “Cruise Line Stocks Are Riding a Wave. They Could Sink.” with these highlights: “Few industries have raised as much money during the pandemic as the cruise-line companies.  Facing a virtual shutdown and suffering heavy losses, the three dominant cruise-line operators have raised a total of about $40 billion through debt and equity sales.  Unlike the U.S. airline industry, cruise-line companies were pretty much on their own and received no financial help from the federal stimulus bills. The debt and equity sales have left the three companies with ample cash to ride out the downturn, but they have come at a price. They will cut into investor returns because of higher interest expenses and a sharp increase in shares outstanding. Carnival’s debt, for instance, is expected to rise to about $23 billion by the end of its current fiscal year in November, up from $11 billion at the end of 2019.  The bull case is that the cruise lines will benefit from a huge pent-up demand as more people are vaccinated and the economy opens up. Investors have been willing to shrug off the losses—this past week, Carnival reported a $2 billion loss for the first quarter—and are looking ahead to a full return to voyages.  'There’s definitely a reopening and momentum trade going on here,' says Patrick Scholes, an analyst at Truist Securities. 'The market is baking in a full return to sailing by sometime early next year, which is questionable, and that 2023 not only will be a normal year but one that is better than 2019, which is also questionable.' 

 

Full story at:

https://www.barrons.com/articles/cruise-line-stocks-are-riding-a-wave-heres-how-they-could-sink-51618005227?adobe_mc=MCMID%3D77237387865313961364373888093827872070|MCORGID%3DCB68E4BA55144CAA0A4C98A5%40AdobeOrg|TS%3D1618236585

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Barcelona/Med: June 2011, with stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Great visuals with key highlights, tips, etc. Live/blog now at 253,335 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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13 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

 

 'The market is banking in a full return to sailing by sometime early next year, which is questionable, and that 2023 not only will be a normal year but one that is better than 2019, which is also questionable.' 

 


Questionable?   That’s an understatement.   For starters despite the Florida lawsuit I don’t see CDC backing off its requirements any time soon.   I also don’t see Carnival’s threat to pull all of its fleet from the USA gaining much traction.  Sure the CDC has said it will, actually is, continually reviewing their stance but no changes yet.  Then we have Canada that has closed its ports and waters to cruise ships through February 2022.   I’ve seen nothing in the news or heard anything from my Canadian friends that makes me think Canada will relent any time soon.   I think a full return to cruising, whatever that will actually look like,  won’t happen until 2023 and the stars have to align to even make that happen.   

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Do agree with Randy above in saying: "I don’t see CDC backing off its requirements any time soon.   I also don’t see Carnival’s threat to pull all of its fleet from the USA gaining much traction."

 

Next: Not trying to be excessively negative and/or too alarming, but the below headline caught my immediate, priority attention today.  Too scary of a situation/challenge world-wide? 

 

 From CNBC Cable News this morning, they had this headline: “WHO says Covid pandemic is growing ‘exponentially’ at more than 4.4 million new cases a week” with these highlights: “The World Health Organization said Monday the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic is now 'growing exponentially' at more than 4.4 million new Covid-19 cases a week over the last two months.  Maria Van Kerkhove, the agency’s technical lead for Covid-19, said 'we’re in a critical point of the pandemic,' as some countries ease restrictions even as new cases per week are more than eight times higher than a year ago.  'This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic where we have proven control measures. It is the time right now where everyone has to take stock and have a reality check of what we need to be doing,' she said during a press briefing. 'Vaccines and vaccinations are coming online, but they aren’t here yet in every part of the world.'  Covid-19 cases climbed by 9% across the globe last week — the seventh-consecutive weekly increase — and deaths jumped 5%, she said, asking governments to support their citizens in implementing pandemic safety measures.  The virus is 'stronger, it’s faster' with the emergence of new variants that spread more easily and are more deadly than the original wild strain of the virus, Dr. Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s emergencies program, said March 31.”

 

As folks who have two potential cruises on our wish list involving South America and India/SE Asia, these rising Covid case loads in other parts of the world raise serious questions and doubts.   For Silversea with their great history for offering unique itineraries in exotic parts of the world, it makes their efforts to return to some form of "normal", even more challenging.  For us, just "floating on a boat" in the Caribbean is not good enough to entice to sail again in the near future.  Am I too negative . . . or just realistic?

 

Full story at:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/12/who-says-covid-pandemic-is-growing-exponentially-at-more-than-4point4-million-new-cases-a-week.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 241,735 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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Forecasting the return of normal Silversea cruising again is impossible because too many variants are outside the Management’s control.The reason we all love cruising is the variety of countries visited and however long you decide to cruise there is only one flight each way to endure or in our case none if we stick to UK round trip cruises which have many varied itineraries.Sadly the reasons we love cruising poses the major problems of a 15 day cruise in many cases visiting 10+ different countries mostly with differing regulations.Sadly for us all we are victims of our enjoyment of cruising and the main reason why it is impossible to forecast the return of normality for which we all desire.Can’t wait for the next Deck B’bcue with new friends and a nice bottle of Malbec.....dream on!

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2 hours ago, TLCOhio said:

Am I too negative . . . or just realistic?

I think to each his own.  We all come at this from wildly differing perspectives.

 

A dear friend in Singapore told us about their cruises to nowhere.  She had no interest in them as she knows what the real product is normally about and these cruises are nothing like the real thing, especially with all of their onboard restrictions and failure to visit a single port.

 

While we think the same as our Singaporean friend, i.e. we have no interest floating around the ocean without a stop, we know there are lots of folks who would love to do just that.  And, I’m thrilled for them to be able to do so.  
 

With that said, we are still actively preparing for our Southeast Asia voyage next February/March including a continuation of our vacation on land and at beaches.  Why?  We tend be optimistic, let alone diligent planners.  Everything I have booked can be cancelled as needed.  So, I’ve got the exact flights and seats that we want, ship and train cabins, as well as hotel rooms.  We’re ready.  But, if situations change, so be it.  

 

Does this make me too positive... or just realistic?  Regardless, I am prepared.

 

 

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1 hour ago, brimary said:

Forecasting the return of normal Silversea cruising again is impossible because too many variants are outside the Management’s control.The reason we all love cruising is the variety of countries visited and however long you decide to cruise there is only one flight each way to endure or in our case none if we stick to UK round trip cruises which have many varied itineraries.

 

Appreciate this great above follow-up from our wise UK friend noting the many, many variables and variants that are making these current conditions even more challenging to predict.  See more "breaking news" below.

 

As to a favorite ship dining delight and wine, see my desired, re-opening dream below.  Would like these seared scallops below served with a nicely-chilled New Zealand  Sauvignon Blanc from the wonderful Marlborough Region.  

 

From the Axios news site this morning, they had this headline: CDC director: Answer to Michigan COVID-19 surge is "to close things down"” with these highlights: “Michigan can't vaccinate its way out of a COVID-19 spike, Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing Monday, during which she called on the state 'to close things down.'  Why it matters: Michigan's average daily case count has jumped about seven times from a low point February, per the New York Times. It's a reality check for the nation, CNN writes.  What she's saying: 'When you have an acute situation, an extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan, the answer is not necessarily to give vaccines — in fact we know the vaccine will have a delayed response,' she said.  'The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer ... to flatten the curve, decrease contact with one another, to test to the extent we have available, to contact trace.'  ”

 

Being that Michigan is our next-door neighbor to the north, their spike up of Covid cases is of serious concern.  Not sure why Michigan is rising up so fast right now.  Any ideas or guesses?

 

Full story at:

https://www.axios.com/covid-michigan-cdc-director-vaccine-3a387859-a6d9-4e17-81d2-56ff6d747d89.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Sydney to NZ/Auckland Adventure, live/blog 2014 sampling/details with many exciting visuals and key highlights.  On page 23, post #571, see a complete index for all of the pictures, postings.  Now at 233,114 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

 

From our summer 2019 Silver Muse sailing to Alaska, here were the excellent seared sea scallops that we super enjoyed during this cruise.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see this visual larger/better!)

CMB_3754.thumb.jpeg.d2a780d979fe4fe5b92ae054e5c09687.jpeg

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4 hours ago, TLCOhio said:

Not sure why Michigan is rising up so fast right now.  Any ideas or guesses?

I have a sister that lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan (Kent County is just outside GR).  This is from one of the local TV stations there, WOOD-TV

 

"health officials say there are several factors contributing to this surge.  

“Right now, the numbers in Michigan seem to be about the worst in the country,” Adam London, administrative health officer with the Kent County Health Department, said. “There are probably a number of reasons for that — I think the higher prevalence of the COVID-19 variants here in Michigan is one of those reasons.” 

The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom, has spread quickly throughout the state..."

 

The virus is evolving or mutating or whatever you want to call it, and wreaking havoc with our cruising plans.

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I've seen speculation it's youth sports ( hockey in particular) Temperature Inversion on ice rinks, spreads like wildfire. Not sure what that is, but it's a thing.  Children, unvaccinated, passing it to a large population of vaccine restising adults in the state.  Pure guesses I've seen, but only the numbers will tell.  What age and gender is it tearing thru?  Is it white R men who are a large group of those who won't be vaccinated? Minorities? Not sure.  I see MI has administered 5.5 M doses.

 

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16 hours ago, brimary said:

Scallops and NZ Sauvignon Blanc........dream on for Silversea return to this fabulous normality.Thanks for the pictorial reminder Terry.

 

Appreciate these various comments and follow-ups regarding Michigan, my dreams/memories from past cruising dining/wine, etc.  .  

 

From the Washington Post as "breaking news" this morning, they had this headline: “FDA, CDC call for pause in use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six reported cases of rare blood clots” with these highlights: “Federal health officials on Tuesday called for a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, saying they are reviewing reports of six U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in people after receiving the vaccine.  All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination, according to a statement issued by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The CDC will hold a meeting Wednesday of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to review the cases and assess their potential significance, the statement said. The FDA will continue to investigate the cases.”

 

Full story at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/04/13/johnson-and-johnson-vaccine-blood-clots/

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Venice: Loving It & Why??!!  Is one of your future desires or past favorites? See these many visual samples for its great history and architecture.  This posting is now at 90,273 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1278226

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Our Florida Senators, Scott and Rubio, are now attempting to force starting cruising in the U.S. through a proposed new law with a cute acronym--the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements, or CRUISE Act. The bill would establish an inter-agency “working group” comprised the secretaries of Transportation, Homeland Security and Commerce along with industry representatives to develop a new set of CDC cruise ship recommendations by July 4th, the latest possible date that cruises could resume operations.

 

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/tourism-cruises/article250629204.html

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On 4/13/2021 at 12:06 AM, QueSeraSera said:

The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom, has spread quickly throughout the state..."

 

Whilst its true, the variant was discovered in the UK - mostly I suspect due to the advanced testing in the labs here. It became known as the Kent variant - which is the county that covers the SE from Dover up to London. It doesn't really matter at the end of the day, what its called - but I do rather suspect it came over from France in one of the thousands of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel. One boat recently intercepted allegedly had 35 occupants all with Covid19. Not added as political debate - but when you have been in lockdown in your home to control a virus from spreading, it does kind of make a mockery on the sacrifices made and ability to contain the spread.

 

Luckily (wrong choice of word there!), our figures have gone from the worst in Europe to the least pro-rata new infections and hospitalisations. That sacrifice and vaccine rollout has worked it seems - lets just hope people people keep it real going forward as its going to take more than just vaccines to fully think its under control.

 

Until that time, I really question whether sailings as we know them (ie anywhere in the world) will take place. Localish bubbles are likely to be the norm first I've always thought and that certainly appears to be happening, with Singapore, Israel / Greece and UK getting in on the act.

 

First important steps! 

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2 minutes ago, les37b said:

 

Whilst its true, the variant was discovered in the UK - mostly I suspect due to the advanced testing in the labs here. It became known as the Kent variant - which is the county that covers the SE from Dover up to London. It doesn't really matter at the end of the day, what its called - but I do rather suspect it came over from France in one of the thousands of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel. One boat recently intercepted allegedly had 35 occupants all with Covid19. Not added as political debate - but when you have been in lockdown in your home to control a virus from spreading, it does kind of make a mockery on the sacrifices made and ability to contain the spread.

 

Luckily (wrong choice of word there!), our figures have gone from the worst in Europe to the least pro-rata new infections and hospitalisations. That sacrifice and vaccine rollout has worked it seems - lets just hope people people keep it real going forward as its going to take more than just vaccines to fully think its under control.

 

Until that time, I really question whether sailings as we know them (ie anywhere in the world) will take place. Localish bubbles are likely to be the norm first I've always thought and that certainly appears to be happening, with Singapore, Israel / Greece and UK getting in on the act.

 

First important steps! 

If an illegal migrant brought it over from Europe, where did he catch it from in the first place? It would have to suggest that the new variant was circulating elsewhere before it was circulating in the south east of England - and I haven’t seen anything to confirm that this is the case.

 

The last I read was that the Kent variant came from one immunosuppressed person who had the virus in their body for a long time, allowing it to mutate.  Depending on which report you ready this person lived in either the Medway Towns or Canterbury. So appears to be a home grown Kentish variant (or variant of Kent, depending on which side of the Medway it started) 


 

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1 hour ago, Dermotsgirl said:

If an illegal migrant brought it over from Europe, where did he catch it from in the first place? It would have to suggest that the new variant was circulating elsewhere before it was circulating in the south east of England - and I haven’t seen anything to confirm that this is the case.


 

 

I have no idea and as stated, it doesn't really matter. In answer partially to your question, you probably recall the culling of Mink in Denmark after a fast spreading variant was presumed. Strangely we don't have a Danish variant mentioned and it just disappeared. This was the first variant recorded I can remember, but strangely never heard of again. This may be the origin or it could be from elsewhere. Can't say I've heard the theory you mention on where it came from before, but did look and had seen the theory.

 

There are so many variants and the Brazillian and South African variants are in the UK carried by travellers from those countries. So I guess that's the point. Those would have arrived legally and having no symptoms -  to the dilemma in Kent is a far higher risk IMHO.

 

But the real point being made is when making a concerted effort to contain and sacrifice so much, when you know this is going on, its a bit deflating and you question how and if ever it will be controlled.

 

 

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I am betting on annual boosters. The good news is that everyone is now so used to rolling out the vaccine that continuing with tweaked versions of this ad infinitum is probably going to work. And if you don't want to be vaccinated you can't travel. And other countries will have to go for the herd immunity version with more deaths - so it is only fair that we issue them with vaccines too.

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I've a feeling it will be every 6 months, though annual would be bearable. It then raises concerns about which vaccine, given the costs and issues arising (firstly with AZ and now J&J).... I had Pfizer..... I'd not want to mix for the "only booster available".

 

OTOH..... here am I referring to 3rd shot, when 99% of the world hasnt had shot 1 !

 

 

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9 hours ago, les37b said:

here am I referring to 3rd shot, when 99% of the world hasnt had shot 1

Yes, and this particular fact is starting to really bother me.  Somehow I just don't think the present situation is tenable (had to double check definition: able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection.}, particularly with the present holds on AZ and JnJ.    

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Nothing is perfect. If you look at the slides 4/5 of the way down this screen:

 

UK Covid: Van-Tam says AstraZeneca vaccine’s risk v benefit is finely balanced for younger people – as it happened | Politics | The Guardian

 

you will see that for everyone over 40 your chances of dying of COVID are at least 60 times higher if you refuse the AZ or other vaccine, than if you took it and half a person got the blood clots. (well you know what I mean)

 

I am giving to VaccinAid (from UNICEF) so that more of the world can receive the vaccine. Of course long term that is more expensive. Maybe there will be a vaccine tax on each flight or cruise to help fund the vaccine in the countries you are flying to?

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