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


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Hi Terry, I read an article this morning from a cruiser who took Carnival's first cruise back......

I will see if I can find it.....anyway, that ship, even with lots of less people from capacity?  It is The VISTA and the article said they had 2700 guests😲

 

Here it is:

https://www.insider.com/first-vaccinated-cruise-carnival-vista-what-surprised-me-2021-7

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I don't typically follow the Crystal forum on CC, but I was over there reading about the first trip of their fabulous-looking (and ex-pen-sive!) new 200-passenger expedition ship, Endeavor. (It apparently had a good first cruise last week, albeit with the typical final construction still ongoing during the cruise.) But that's not what I'm here to write about. Also on the Crystal forum, I read about a situation with one of their Bahamas cruises that certainly will send a chill to anyone planning a cruise in the near future…

 

Six friends were to embark on a Crystal cruise this week from Nassau, Bahamas. One person tested positive at the port while awaiting embarkation. She had no symptoms. She and her husband stayed back while they had a follow-up PCR test, which also came back positive. So, of course, they couldn't board the cruise. That's devastating enough, but it got worse. She was sent to a hotel (Courtyard Marriott) and confined to her room -- with an armed security outside her door -- for 14 days. There is no interim testing to get out of "jail" early.  Worse still, they tried to get a medivac flight back to the US for them to be able to quarantine and recover at home, but they were initially turned down because the medivac and private plane companies told them they needed a negative Covid-19 test to transport her back to the US. So they were literally going to be trapped in the hotel room for two weeks, at their expense. The last I read, after a few days, they may have secured an air ambulance flight from Nassau to Fort Lauderdale, where they were going to rent a car to drive home to Texas. I can't imagine what all this has cost them, both in cash and emotionally.

 

But this is a reality of travel these days. Despite being vaccinated and taking reasonable cautions, anyone could encounter the virus and test positive.

 

The one lesson from this is the value of having a Covid test before leaving home. It's required for our upcoming trip to Bermuda, but isn't for many countries. But the value of taking a rapid test they day before leaving home is that if you unknowingly have Covid, as surprising and disappointing as that would be, you can turn around and go home to isolate and recover. That sure beats being trapped in a small hotel room in a foreign country for two weeks. 

 

The person who posted this noted that neither he nor their other friends -- nor anyone he talked to on the ship -- had gotten a preemptive Covid test before flying to the Bahamas. (They did find one man who tested positive at the port, missed the ship while a second PCR test was being processed, and then when the PCR test came back negative, flew -- at his own expense -- to meet the ship at it's next port of call.)  He was urging people to be aware of the risks they hadn't fully considered, and to get a pre-travel test to try to spare you the grief their friends went through.

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Thank you cruiseej. I wonder how long this testing will go on for? Another reason why we are not attempting to leave the UK until 2022. Do you also have to test before you get on inter-continental flights? If so, does anyone know which please?

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10 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

Thank you cruiseej. I wonder how long this testing will go on for? Another reason why we are not attempting to leave the UK until 2022. Do you also have to test before you get on inter-continental flights? If so, does anyone know which please?

 

How long? No one can answer that. Heck, testing requirement and protocols change weekly, if no more frequently.

 

In terms of airlines, I think it depends on the country you are flying to. For instance, for us to return to the US from another country, we need a Covid test. That's why Silversea is providing a free pre-departure Covid test to everyone aboard a day or two before departure. The rapid antigen test is sufficient for most countries, but should anyone be required to have a PCR test for their destination, it can be arranged for a fee. If you're traveling on your own after a cruise, you would have to make your own arrangements for a test before flying home. 

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Hi Terry, not sure if you happen to see this news........seems Celebrity had some recent guests that tested positive and now they are trying to test EVERYONE before the Edge sails today. 

 

I was reading the thread on the Celebrity forum.......all I have to say is how happy I am to sail on a small cruise ship😃

 

I feel really bad for all the folks on line at the Port Everglades Terminal........2,000 of them.......many didn't find out they were going to be tested before boarding until yesterday😲....from what was posted,

it really was a total mess.......they even had b2b guests who were told they needed to disembark (before getting back on) and those guests would not get off the ship and officers had to come and remove them........how crazy is that?

 

Folks had to wait on a line that actually went outside of the terminal in the Fl sun for more than 3/4 hours.........yikes!!!!!!!!!

 

I know we had to wait maybe 30 minutes in Athens to get our test results.......the wonderfulness of sailing on a small vessel👍

 

 

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On 7/31/2021 at 5:48 PM, Lois R said:

Hi Terry, not sure if you happen to see this news........seems Celebrity had some recent guests that tested positive and now they are trying to test EVERYONE before the Edge sails today.  I was reading the thread on the Celebrity forum.......all I have to say is how happy I am to sail on a small cruise ship

 

Appreciate this update from Lois in Florida and the other great comments and follow-ups.  YES!  It's much better to be on a smaller ship such as Silversea offers where things can be better managed, supervised and controlled.  This whole "SITUATION" continues to be very confusing and crazy.  Right?

 

From the New York Times this morning, they had this headline: Where a Vast Global Vaccination Program Went Wrong" with this sub-headline: "After months of struggle, the U.N.-backed Covax alliance will soon have many more doses, promising relief for vaccine shortages in poorer countries. But it faces a deepening crisis: difficulties getting shots into arms as the Delta variant spreads.”

 

Here are s highlights: “Deaths from Covid-19 were surging across Africa in June when 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived in Chad. The delivery seemed proof that the United Nations-backed program to immunize the world could get the most desirable vaccines to the least developed nations. Yet five weeks later, Chad’s health minister said, 94,000 doses remained unused.  Nearby in Benin, only 267 shots were being given each day, a pace so slow that 110,000 of the program’s AstraZeneca doses expired. Across Africa, confidential documents from July indicated, the program was monitoring at least nine countries where it said doses intended for the poor were at risk of spoiling this summer.  The vaccine pileup illustrates one of the most serious but largely unrecognized problems facing the immunization program as it tries to recover from months of missteps and disappointments.  Covax has struggled to acquire doses: It stands half a billion short of its goal. Poor countries are dangerously unprotected as the Delta variant runs rampant.  The longer the virus circulates, the more dangerous it can become, even for vaccinated people in wealthy countries.  Without billions more shots, experts warn, new variants could keep emerging, endangering all nations.  Short on funding, those countries have had a hard time buying fuel to transport doses to clinics, training people to administer shots or persuading people to get them.”

 

This is a long, highly-detailed, comprehensive story with many aspects for why and how this world-wide challenge has been falling short as to its original promises and health needs.  As folks who like us who seek to explore a wide range of unique travel locations that Silversea proudly offers, this reporting raises serious questions: How can cruise lines get back to their expected pattern of offering the unique and special ports that we love to explore?  Right or wrong questions for Silversea executives?   Reactions?

 

Full story at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/02/world/europe/covax-covid-vaccine-problems-africa.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

 

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 31,887 views.  Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.:

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

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Looks like a new group of countries has been added to the US CDC's "level 4" list, including my dis-embarkation and post-cruise trip country of Greece...which is also the port for the Moon these days.

 

"The following 16 destinations moved to the CDC's "Level 4: COVID-19 Very High" category on August 2: Andorra, Curaçao, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Libya, Malta, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin and US Virgin Islands."

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1 hour ago, MHF said:

Looks like a new group of countries has been added to the US CDC's "level 4" list, including my dis-embarkation and post-cruise trip country of Greece...which is also the port for the Moon these days.

The CDC’s move to Level 4 has absolutely no impact on Americans traveling to, or returning from, Greece at this point.  And, the requirements for returning to the U.S. remain the same as previously announced.

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10 hours ago, MHF said:

Looks like a new group of countries has been added to the US CDC's "level 4" list, including my dis-embarkation and post-cruise trip country of Greece...which is also the port for the Moon these days. The following 16 destinations moved to the CDC's "Level 4: COVID-19 Very High" category on August 2: Andorra, Curaçao, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Libya, Malta, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin and US Virgin Islands."

 

Appreciate this added and various responses/info.  Keep it coming!

 

From the Wall Street Journal last week, they had this PR release and headline: “Royal Caribbean Group to hold conference call on business update and second quarter financial results”with these highlights: “Royal Caribbean Group has scheduled a conference call for 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Wednesday, August 4, 2021, to provide a business update and discuss second quarter 2021 financial results. The call will be available on-line at the company's investor relations website, www.rclinvestor.com. To listen to the call by phone, please dial (833) 608-1479 in the US and Canada.  International phone calls should be made to (270) 240-0549. The conference call access code is 2368300. A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site for a month following the call.”

 

How will the RCL CEO answer the challenging questions that will be raised by the Wall Street analysts tomorrow?  Things are, sadly, ramping back up.  

 

Full story at:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/royal-caribbean-group-to-hold-conference-call-on-business-update-and-second-quarter-financial-results-01627505869?tesla=y

 

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 31,887 views.  Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.:

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

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From the AP/Associated Press and Arizona Republic this afternoon, they had this headline: Puerto Rico cautiously welcomes first cruise since COVID-19, Carnival's biggest ship yet” with these highlights: The Carnival Mardi Gras docked Tuesday in Puerto Rico — the first time a cruise ship has visited the U.S. territory since the pandemic began.  Some cautiously celebrated the arrival. It comes as Puerto Rico has reported an increase in COVID-19 cases blamed on the delta variant but also as it seeks to restart its crucial tourism sector, which depended largely on record numbers of cruise ship passengers in recent years.  Carlos Mercado, executive director of Puerto Rico’s Tourism Company, told The Associated Press that the government took several precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including allowing only those who are fully vaccinated to disembark.  He said the ship was traveling at 70% capacity, with some 4,500 people aboard, and that he estimates a total of 3,500 will disembark. Some 1.9 million cruise ship passengers visited Puerto Rico in 2019, a record for the island.

 

Loved San Juan and Puerto Rico from our first visit there in 2016.  Good luck with this re-start for cruise ship visits.  But, how long will this re-opening continue?

 

Full story at:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/cruises/2021/08/03/puerto-rico-first-cruise-since-covid-pandemic-new-carnival-mardi-gras-largest-ship/5467685001/

 

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 30,724 views.

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

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From the Wall Street Journal's  publication of Barron's early this morning, they had this headline: “Royal Caribbean Earnings Reveal Larger Than Expected Loss. Its Stock Is Dropping.” with these highlights: “Royal Caribbean stock is falling after the cruise-line operator reported earnings that showed a larger-than-predicted loss.   Royal Caribbean reported an adjusted second-quarter loss of $5.06 a share, missing forecasts for $4.35 a share, on sales of $50.9 million, well below expectations for $152.4 million. The company also said it expects to report a loss for the third quarter and the full year. Royal Caribbean also said it was operating 29 ships that were about 42% full.  Royal Caribbean stock was down 1.8% in premarket trading.  'We’re thrilled to be back on the water at accelerated speed in the U.S. and elsewhere,' Royal CEO Richard Fainsaid in the release. 'After 16 months of being at a virtual standstill and another painful financial result this quarter, the flywheel is clearly picking up momentum.' ”

 

More to come during the 10 am today RCL Conference Call with Wall Street firms. Will listen and report more later. 

 

Full story at:

https://www.barrons.com/articles/royal-caribbean-earnings-stock-51628079322?adobe_mc=MCMID%3D17457994311988872132337339525644541668|MCORGID%3DCB68E4BA55144CAA0A4C98A5%40AdobeOrg|TS%3D1628082743

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

From late 2018, see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East. Now at 19,965 views.  Connect at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/

 

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From the financial briefing this morning by the top Royal Caribbean officials, including CEO Richard Fain, my summary and take-away would be:, things are getting better, but, it is going to take longer.    

 

From my notes, here are some highlights: Much was asked about “economics” as relates to the higher costs due to the various Covid preparations required on the ships and needing to operate at lower passenger capacities.  Clearly, the cruise lines are losing money now with these re-start costs and lower revenues coming into their accounts.   BUT,  future optimism was a key future talking points as these executives look hopefully ahead.

 

As to being able for a ship to operate at a break-even point, they noted it takes about six months to get a ship up to a cash-flow positive.   A key point from their CFO is that certain of their ships require only a 35-50% occupancy to achieve a break-even point.  The newest ships have a lower break-even point and can operate more efficiently.    They were honest in noting that their bookings have slowed in the past two weeks due to the Delta variant ramp-up/worries.  As all of these events evolve, they noted cases of  “a blip and a bump” affecting bookings, marketing plans, etc.

 

On a question of steel prices going up affecting new ship construction costs, their CFO indicated that there is no impact as all of those are set-up and protected by long-term contracting.  It was clear that 2022 will still not be a normal year per CEO Fain’s various comments.  There was significant discussions about international travel versus customers looking more at national and closer-to-home cruising options.   There is more focus to later 2022 to when certain international cruises will gain more bookings.

 

There is still pent-up demand, but it was noted that this "will ramp up when the timing is right.”  They look to September when they will up marketing for future cruise bookings.  As to pricing, they noted that people are willing to “spend up”  as they move into the 4th quarter.  The future cruise booking curve has shortened and contracted due to various uncertainties.   Both short-term and long-term factors are at work with consumer as to booking timings.

 

As to their pricings for bar, excursions, spa, etc., they note that consumers are being smart. Yes, consumers will up spending significantly.  There is wealth and demand.  They are seeing it, but they do not want to be too aggressive in uping those price margins.

 

They expect to have 80% of their fleet back this fall and in the 4th quarter.  On  liquidity, they stated that they have a "strong position” and cited significant advance deposits coming in to their accounts.  They stated that 80% of their bookings are new, not just FCC conversions.

 

They noted "dynamic and changing factors”, including consumers looking more now at closer-to-home sailing products that are selling better, quicker.

 

In summary, CEO Fain is optimistic and noted how they are focused on being more efficient and re-establishing credibility that cruising is going well.  He pushed the strong consumer interest in their new ships that being placed into service.  Fain also cited their better use of technology as working in their future favor during the re-opening.

   

Sorry for being so long with such a variety of details.  Hope this background is of interest and help.  Questions?  Reactions?

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Summer 2019 Calgary, Jasper/Banff National Parks, Western Canada Rocky Mountaineer rail adventure, Vancouver, sailing up to Alaska on Silver Muse, 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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From CNBC cable news this afternoon, they had this headline: Royal Caribbean CEO on quarterly earnings and future outlookwith various questions and highlights as to the slower than originally-planned re-opening.  Listen to this segment to gain a fuller flavor for his outlook during the months ahead.  

 

Royal Caribbean, including Silversea, now has 42% of their overall fleet operational.  They expect to be at 100% by the Spring of 2022.  Fain admitted that these challenges have been "longer-lasting" than original expected and he is happy they were able to start U.S. operations in June.  He said they will have 62% of their fleet operating by the end of this month.  It was indicated they they now have $5 billion in liquidity and that they are replacing now much of their earlier debt with lower interest-rate cost borrowings.  

 

Interesting interview segment.  CEO Fain is never lacking in his positive spin and optimistic hopes/outlook, even when facing good, solid questions.  

 

Full video at:

 

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 253,700 views.

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

 

 

From CNBC, here is a visual from during this interview with Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain discussing the financial and operating details from today's quarterly report to the Wall Street financial analysts.:

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

1782287944_ScreenShot2021-08-04at4_14_06PM.thumb.png.301320854f3257333e321f4b0d122a98.png

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From former USA Today travel expert Gene Sloan and MSN News this morning, they had this headline: “When it comes to housekeeping, cruise ships blow hotels out of the water right now with these column highlights:  “Do you miss the good old days of travel when you didn’t have to make a special request just to get the most basic housekeeping service at a hotel?  Maybe it’s time you consider a cruise. As I’ve seen firsthand in recent weeks as I’ve sailed on some of the first cruise ships to restart operations in North America, the over-the-top service culture that has long been a hallmark of the cruise industry is alive and well, particularly when it comes to housekeeping standards. Even as a growing number of hotels and resorts cut back sharply on housekeeping services (some are no longer offering daily room cleaning at all; others only offer it every few days), cruise lines are starting back up with a commitment to continue to provide not just daily housekeeping service but twice-daily housekeeping service.”     

 

Here are more of his keen observations: "Not only have I received twice-a-day room cleaning service on all three cruise ships on which I’ve sailed in recent weeks (two operated by Royal Caribbean, one by Celebrity Cruises), I’ve also had a knock on the door within hours of boarding all three vessels from the persons assigned to clean my room just to introduce themselves.  These room attendants also all announced they were there should I have any special requests. This above-and-beyond service promise included offers to take my laundry out for cleaning if I needed it, and bring me buckets of ice, should the desire arise.   When’s the last time you experienced that sort of personal service from a room attendant at a hotel, even before the pandemic? The end of daily housekeeping service at many hotels over the past year and a half has been a well-documented trend, with hotel chains such as Hilton and Marriott saying they’ve done it to keep us safer during the coronavirus crisis.  As Hilton Hotels recently put it in a statement, the end to daily room cleaning at many of the company’s brands is 'for your comfort.'  The cynic in me notes that it saves hotel companies a lot of money as they cut down on cleaning staff — savings that, as far as I can tell, haven’t been passed on to me in the form of a reduction in hotel room rates or resort fees."

 

Good , interesting summary and sharp contrast for cruises versus hotels these days??!!

 

Full story at:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tips/when-it-comes-to-housekeeping-cruise-ships-blow-hotels-out-of-the-water-right-now/ar-AAMYaLO?ocid=BingNewsSearch

 

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 242,355 views.

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

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As nice, true and positive as was the Gene Sloan column, below is another perspective and angle that raises serious questions as to how long it will take to "beat" Covid and have it under effective control world-wide.  

 

From the Washington Post and Bloomberg News' experienced biosecurity senior editor this morning, they had this headline: “Why Delta Is Making Herd Immunity Harder to Reach” with these highlights: “Many countries are counting on vaccines to build sufficient immunity in their populations so that Covid-19 isn’t able to find enough people to infect, causing transmission to eventually stop. But even in countries with a high proportion of people inoculated with highly effective vaccines, it’s unclear whether it’s possible to reach the so-called herd immunity threshold anytime soon. Researchers warn that the virus is apt to be circulating among us for a long time.  Can Covid be eradicated? No. So far, only one human disease -- smallpox -- has been officially eradicated. That was thanks to a good vaccine plus the fact that humans are the only mammals naturally susceptible to smallpox.. By contrast, many species are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, including bats, minks, cats and gorillas. Some countries, such as New Zealand, have achieved zero new cases for lengthy periods using lockdowns, diligent case detection and isolation, and border closures. But keeping this up over the long run is challenging as the emergence of more-infectious variants leads to even stricter public health and social measures, while people hunger for a return to normal life."   

 

Here is more, including this question: "Will vaccines eliminate Covid-19?  There’s considerable uncertainty about that. One scientific paper calculated that if a vaccine could provide a lifelong, fail-safe shield against infection with SARS-CoV-2, it would need to reach 60% to 72% of people to establish herd immunity. But if a vaccine is only 80% effective at preventing any infection, 75% to 90% of people would need to be immunized -- a high bar. The Covid vaccines in use today have been shown to offer 50% to 97% protection against becoming sick, but it’s mostly unknown how well they prevent people from getting an infection without symptoms that could still be passed on. The rapidly spreading delta variant, which is about twice as infectious as the original strain, is weakening vaccine effectiveness too. Another question is the duration of protection. The shorter it turns out to be, the higher the rates of immunization required to establish herd immunity. How do variants of the virus factor in?  The more the coronavirus circulates, the more opportunity it has to mutate in ways that enhance its ability to evade the immunity people have gained. Over the past year, such variants have spread internationally, leading to new surges in cases and hospitalizations. Studies from the U.K. have shown delta, discovered in India in October, is more resistant to vaccines than the alpha variant that emerged in England in late 2020, particularly in people who have received just the first of two doses. Again, that means a higher proportion of people in the community will have to be immunized to reach herd immunity. Scientists say the vaccines should still work at stopping severe disease in the vast majority of cases, but some shots may be less effective at protecting against mild infections. Inoculations may need to be updated periodically to maintain their efficacy, and several countries plan to roll out additional or “booster” shots, though the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on them until at least the end of September to enable poorer countries to catch up in vaccination rates.

 

There are many more serious questions and background information raised in this column/summary.  I wish it were easier, more simple and quicker.  Clearly, it seems that it "ALL" will take longer and more patience as this Delta variant rises up.  Am I too pessimistic?  

 

Full story at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/why-delta-is-makingherd-immunity-harder-to-reach/2021/08/04/188be4a2-f59c-11eb-a636-18cac59a98dc_story.html?amp;amp

 

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 233,718 views.

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

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Hoping that I am not sharing too much.  BUT, there is lots happening, both good and not so positive, out there affecting the cruise lines being able to re-open and operate world-wide.  Would you like to be a cruise line executive right now?  When back to normal??!!

 

From the Associated Press/AP newswire this morning, they had this headline: “US plans to require COVID-19 shots for foreign travelers” with these highlights: The Biden administration is taking the first steps toward requiring nearly all foreign visitors to the U.S. to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, a White House official said Wednesday.  The requirement would come as part of the administration’s phased approach to easing travel restrictions for foreign citizens to the country. No timeline has yet been determined, as interagency working groups study how and when to safely move toward resuming normal travel. Eventually all foreign citizens entering the country, with some limited exceptions, are expected to need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the U.S.   The Biden administration has kept in place travel restrictions that have severely curtailed international trips to the U.S., citing the spread of the delta variant of the virus. Under the rules, non-U.S. residents who have been to China, the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India in the prior 14 days are prohibited from entering the U.S.

 

From the below-linked trade publication yesterday, they had this headline: “Royal Caribbean Sees Entire Fleet Sailing by Spring 2022 with these highlights: Royal Caribbean International, which operates the biggest cruise ships in the world including 'Symphony of the Seas', said on Tuesday its complete fleet of ships would resume sailing by spring 2022.  Its next group of returning ships would restart sailing in September.  Cruise operators are facing uncertainties caused by rising Delta variant cases globally.   Royal Caribbean International requires all crew members and guests who are of the eligible age for vaccination to be fully inoculated against the COVID-19 virus.

 

From the Wall Street Journal this morning, they had this headline: “Moderna Recommends Booster Shots to Protect Against New Variants with these highlights: Moderna Inc. said Thursday that its vaccine remains more than 90% effective for at least six months, but added that people who received it will likely need a third dose before the winter to keep strong protection against newer variants of the coronavirus.  The company, based in Cambridge, Mass., has been studying what form of booster shot could provide the best ongoing protection. In a Phase 2 study, a third shot of the original formulation, as well as shots with vaccine candidates with adjusted designs, all showed robust antibody responses against Covid-19 variants of concern.  Of the roughly 165 million Americans who are fully vaccinated, nearly 64 million have gotten Moderna’s two-dose vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 88 million have received the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, while around 13 million have gotten Johnson & Johnson’s shot.

 

BUT, the World Health Organization (WHO) opposes doing booster shots for this headlined reason: "to Tackle Shortfall in Developing World" with this sub-headline in the Wall Street Journal yesterday afternoon: "Recommendation highlights tension between governments’ national priorities and risks of new variants developing globally."  Confusing and challenging situation?

 

Full stories at:

https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-health-travel-coronavirus-pandemic-a312ebaf72844c5b75246fb10b0f2ba7

https://www.marinelink.com/news/royal-caribbean-sees-entire-fleet-sailing-489651

https://www.wsj.com/articles/moderna-says-vaccine-remains-effective-for-six-months-11628165429?mod=hp_lead_pos7

https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/who-calls-for-halt-to-covid-19-booster-shots-11628091445

 

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 91,294 views.

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

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From the Boston Globe and MSN News yesterday, they had this headline: “Royal Caribbean CEO on how his company is slowly, cautiously, returning to sea with these highlights: “Richard Fain, the chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, realizes that his company has a rough journey, on the scale of climbing Denali, to win back customers. As Fain puts it, 'Cruising was seen as the epicenter, the poster child, of what could go wrong' when COVID-19 hit. Of all tourism sectors, cruising took the biggest hit. When the CDC gave the cruise industry the green light, Celebrity Edge was the first ship to sail out of Florida. Since then, more challenges have emerged, such as the dominance of the Delta variant and breakthrough COVID cases in those who are already vaccinated. Despite strict testing protocols and cleanliness measures, four vaccinated adults and two unvaccinated minors tested positive for COVID-19 on Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas last month.” 

 

During this Q&A interview after Wednesday's meeting with Wall Street analysts, Fain discussed various issues.  Here are some key highlights from their reporting of Fain's comments:  "I was on the first cruise in the United States and it was 98.7 percent vaccinated. So there will be some unvaccinated, but it’s minor. There are those who don’t want to be vaccinated, and to that we say ‘OK, that’s your choice.’ But then, of course, they go through extra safety protocols. That includes additional testing.  While the vaccines are remarkably effective against the Delta variant, they’re not perfect. I find it interesting that the vaccines are more effective against the Delta variant than anybody expected them to be. Yes, there are breakthrough cases. I don’t know the exact numbers, but vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna appear to be 95 percent effective against the unmutated virus and maybe 85 or 90 percent against the mutated virus."

 

On the key question of "Are you hoping to run the ships at capacity levels soon?", Fain replied: "No, no, no. Remember the ships have been idle for 18 months. That’s not good for a ship and we’re bringing them back on slowly. For all practical purposes, all of these are like new ships. And so with a new ship, you start with lower capacity and you build up. I think it will take a long time before we get there. Right now we’re operating closer to the 30, 40, and 50 percent ranges. We’ll be gradually increasing those numbers as we get more comfortable."

 

In my view from listening to Fair on a number of programs during various reports, etc., he seems on top of the issues, responsive, reasonable, etc.  BUT, as ackowledlged Wednesday morning and in this summary, the re-opening will take time and patience.  Not happening quick or fast..  Agree or disagree?

 

Full story at:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/royal-caribbean-ceo-on-how-his-company-is-slowly-cautiously-returning-to-sea/ar-AAMYHAf?ocid=BingNewsSearch

 

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 68,712 views:

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

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On 8/6/2021 at 8:57 AM, tosteve1 said:

With the strong demand, I wonder how far out the cruise lines are limiting capacity. We have two cruises booked for 2022.

 

Appreciate these above great questions and this follow-up.  The cruise lines have lots of capacity with so many ships of large size, but how quickly can they book them and return-turn to a break-even point?  Key questions!!??  It will take time and "patience" for both the cruise company executives and passengers. Returning to "normal" is taking longer than had  been expected.    

 

From the  Washington Post travel section this weekend, they had this headline: “Should you cancel travel plans because of the coronavirus’s delta variant? Ask these questions.” with these highlights: “For a blissful few weeks this spring, a summer of semi-normal travel seemed not just possible, but almost certain. Flights were booked, hotel reservations were made and vacation time was requested as those with wanderlust or pent-up desire to see loved ones organized their long-awaited excursions.   But the hyper-transmissible delta variant has now forced some would-be travelers to cancel trips. As hospitalizations surge across much of the country — mostly among the unvaccinated — Americans are trying to adapt on the fly.  Asking yourself a few questions can help you decide.”

 

Here are some key questions and the writer's reactions/suggestions/information: "Is everyone in your group of travelers vaccinated? Is anyone immunocompromised?  If you haven’t gotten vaccinated against the coronavirus, you should strongly consider staying home, experts said. Travel is much safer if at least two weeks have passed since your last dose. But if you have a weakened immune system, you may want to reconsider.  How do you plan to travel?  To avoid contracting or transmitting the virus, the fewer fellow travelers you come into contact with, the better. For that reason, traveling by car is generally safer than taking a train, bus or airplane.  What’s the transmission rate at your destination?  The CDC maintains a map showing which regions of the United States have low, moderate, substantial and high rates of virus transmission at a given time. A separate guide tracks coronavirus prevalence in various countries and offers recommendations associated with each level of transmission. Travelers should avoid visiting areas with a “very high” degree of transmission, per the CDC’s guidelines.  What travel restrictions are in place where you’re going?   Although some destinations are loosening restrictions to encourage visitors, others are tightening them in response to the delta variant. On Aug. 3, Israel said it would require visitors from the United States and 17 other countries to quarantine upon arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. Grenada now requires full vaccination for entry. Australia’s most populous city, Sydney, has been locked down for weeks.  Will you spend most of your trip indoors or outdoors?  It has been clear for months that the coronavirus spreads more easily inside than outside, so where you’ll be spending most of your trip should be a consideration in whether to go through with it.   Can you get your money back if your travel plans change?  Your calculus for determining whether to go on a planned trip may depend in part on whether you can reschedule or cancel without losing money. Most travel insurance will reimburse you if you get the coronavirus before or during a trip but won’t help if you want to cancel out of nervousness about the delta surge.  How much risk and inconvenience are you willing to endure?   In this pandemic, there’s no such thing as a trip with zero chance of contracting the coronavirus. Whether it’s worth it to travel depends largely on your comfort level with risk. In a high-transmission area, Safdar said, it will be very hard to avoid the virus entirely."

 

Full story at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2021/08/04/delta-variant-cancel-travel/

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 51,630 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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From a newspaper in Hawaii this morning, they had this headline: “Return of cruise ships still up in the air” with these highlights: Exactly 33,400 trans-Pacific passengers arrived Thursday by air at Hawaii’s major airports, but the question of when the Aloha State will once again welcome cruise ship passengers at its ports remains unanswered.  'There are no formally scheduled bookings for any cruises, at any commercial harbor, at this time,' said Shelly Kunishige, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Transportation. 'Resumption of cruise activity continues to be conditional on operators meeting the conditions of the CDC order.'   Previous optimism by tourism officials about a possible return of cruise ships to Hawaii’s harbors later this year has been dashed, or at least dampened, by the Delta variant strain of the novel coronavirus that has resulted in a surge of new COVID-19 cases in the islands.  Kunishige said the islands are “not the focus of cruise activity at the moment,” and Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said it’s not certain when cruise ships will again dock at local ports.  'We’re anxious to get our cruise industry back and moving, and once the CDC has everything lined up and cruise lines are ready to roll, as a destination we’re ready to accept them,' Birch said.

 

Full story at:

https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2021/08/08/hawaii-news/return-of-cruise-ships-still-up-in-the-air/

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Kotor/Montenegro:  Exciting visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this scenic, historic location. Over 48,481 views.

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

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Breaking news from Florida…

 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings can require passengers show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, despite a Florida law barring companies from doing just that, a federal judge in Miami ruled Sunday.

 
It appears this preliminary injunction only applies to NCLH cruise lines, but others could certainly file a similar request with a high likelihood of success. This is also only a preliminary injunction so there is more legal wrangling to follow. The full decision can be found here, it’s 59 pages. Among the judge’s points is that vaccination status is not a constitutionally protected class and therefore government prevention of requiring proof of vaccination status is a government overreach. (I’m paraphrasing here.). 

Here is the full decision. 
 
i view this as a very positive step. Hopefully, other lines such as SS will benefit from this as well!
 
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On 8/9/2021 at 7:44 AM, CruiserFromMaine said:

Breaking news from Florida… Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings can require passengers show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, despite a Florida law barring companies from doing just that, a federal judge in Miami ruled Sunday.   i view this as a very positive step. Hopefully, other lines such as SS will benefit from this as well!

 

Appreciate sharing this above story from Florida and the follow-up comments.  

 

My question?  What does ALL of this mean, legally and medically?  This decision by one Federal District Judge is being appealed up to the higher, regional, multi-state Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta that previously upheld the Florida legislative efforts.  My overall sense is that with the rising number of cases and hospitalizations in Florida, Texas, Louisiana and other states that there is still a "long way to go" before we are done with this overall Covid challenge.  Too pessimistic?

 

From the Wall Street Journal over this past weekend, they had this headline for a video summary “Cruise Lines Navigate Choppy Waters as the Delta Variant makes waves"  with this sub-headline: "The cruise industry is treading delicately as it begins sailing again in the U.S. WSJ’s Dave Sebastian explains the complicated maneuvers the industry faces as it works to return to pre-pandemic levels.”

 

As noted earlier from last week's financial quarterly briefing and report by the Royal Caribbean CEO and other officials, there is clearly "pent-up demand".  But how much and for how long?  These RCL officials clearly indicated, directly and indirectly, that this re-opening will take longer than they and we had hoped and expected many months back.  How much of this recent uptick in Covid is the variant and how much of it is about the predicted fall re-bound in this health challenge that had been expected?  Lots of questions and uncertainty that causes many passengers to have doubts and reasons to hesitate?  

 

Full story at:

https://www.wsj.com/video/cruise-lines-navigate-choppy-waters-as-the-delta-variant-makes-waves/A0C9B519-82DA-4F76-B95A-1705E0AF2319.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Dubrovnik!  Nice visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this super scenic and historic location. Over 48,102 views.    

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

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Good morning Terry, just a heads up.......sailing out of Seattle next week and just received an email from SS saying they are no longer requiring testing before boarding the ship. 

This is the email:

Dear Esteemed Guest,
 
Your voyage aboard Silver Muse draws closer and we look forward to welcoming you on board. We are contacting you today with some important information regarding our health and safety protocols, following an update from the State of Alaska.
In accordance with the State’s latest health and safety recommendations, physical distancing and the wearing of masks will now be required in all indoor public areas aboard Silver Muse, during shore excursions, and when in terminals. While you will still enjoy the social aspect of your voyage, it is important to remain physically distanced from other guests who are not in your travelling party. The use of masks will not be required while seated in restaurants, at tables in bars, and in outdoor areas in which physical distancing can be maintained.
You will still be required to present your vaccination certificate or a printed copy during the check-in and embarkation process. However, you are no longer required to undergo a rapid antigen COVID-19 test during our pre-embarkation health screening. 
 
We will continue to update you in case of further amendments to our procedures and we thank you for your understanding.
 
 
Kindest regards,
 
The Silversea Team
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38 minutes ago, Lois R said:

Good morning Terry, just a heads up.......sailing out of Seattle next week and just received an email from SS saying they are no longer requiring testing before boarding the ship. 

 

Great info and background from Lois.  Excellent that you do not have to do that pre-cruise testing.  For those fully vaccinated, that test process and timing adds so very much to the worries and hassles.  We have had two different friends doing recent cruises where those requirements ramped up, UP much for uncertainty, doubts and questions.  

 

On the ship, the interior masking and distancing requirements would add questions in my mind as to how that affects the "CRUISE EXPERIENCE" and the ability to interact with fellow passengers and crew.  For us, we love those interactions with others while sailing. 

 

We look forward to Lois' wonderful reporting, sharing and details as you sail on the Silver Muse, explore Alaska, etc.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Athens & Greece: Many visuals, details from two visits in a city with great history, culture and architecture.  Now at 40,701 views.

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

 

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Terry, you probably read my Moon review.  Honestly, I guess I just got used to it and my cruise experience was still wonderful😃   We were asked to mask up while inside public spaces on that sailing too.  I know there are folks who won't sail while that policy is in place and of course that is their choice. To me, the pros of sailing again outweigh the cons. (I was still able to interact with others).

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