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Cause for cautious optimism?


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After reading a few paragraphs I skipped to the Recommendations table on pages 9 to 15. The one that sticks out to me and would absolutely stop me from getting on a cruise is the absence of testing at embarkation and when back from port stops.

 

My jaded view is that this is because it is so expensive (perhaps prohibitively so) that the cruise lines want to pass the financial onus of proving they have tested negative on to the passengers. The "between 5 days and 24 hrs" period results in an uncomfortable window of opportunity for contracting the virus that is well beyond my risk tolerance. I'D RATHER PAY THE CRUISE LINE FOR MY TESTS to ensure the virus is prevented from getting on board the ship (as MSC is currently doing). If I have the money to cruise on a luxury line I have the money to pay for coronavirus tests. Just my opinion but I'm incensed :classic_angry:

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The Panel Report says that cruise ships should double up the testing of passengers - you need a negative swab before you leave home and a secondary rapid test before you board.  The panel's thought is that there will be fewer passengers that need to be turned away if they get tested before they leave home.  This makes sense, but would also need to include tests for those that arrive in the embarkation port prior to the actual embarkation day, and not just a direct transfer from your home to the ship.

 

They are also suggesting no ports other than private islands/controlled spaces.  And, of course, they are saying that your entire cruise will be masked up except when you're eating or drinking.  

 

So you can't go anywhere you want to go and your time onboard will be highly controlled, masked and distanced, other than when on your own balcony.  We've been doing this at home since March.  It's not clear to me what the attraction of getting on a ship will be for the time being, under these suggested protocols.

 

Rob

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5 hours ago, claudiaYVR said:

After reading a few paragraphs I skipped to the Recommendations table on pages 9 to 15. The one that sticks out to me and would absolutely stop me from getting on a cruise is the absence of testing at embarkation and when back from port stops.

 

My jaded view is that this is because it is so expensive (perhaps prohibitively so) that the cruise lines want to pass the financial onus of proving they have tested negative on to the passengers. The "between 5 days and 24 hrs" period results in an uncomfortable window of opportunity for contracting the virus that is well beyond my risk tolerance. I'D RATHER PAY THE CRUISE LINE FOR MY TESTS to ensure the virus is prevented from getting on board the ship (as MSC is currently doing). If I have the money to cruise on a luxury line I have the money to pay for coronavirus tests. Just my opinion but I'm incensed :classic_angry:

 

I agree that a test at embarkation would be a good idea.  They allude to this as something desired if the technology is sufficiently developed.  I for one am very reluctant to book any vacation that requires me to have a negative COVID test on my own before arrival.  Most of these requirements say 3 days before, and saying 5 days is only a small improvement.  Still, it leaves my expensive vacation totally at the mercy of the lab, which so far has a horrible record of getting COVID results back that quickly.  The lab capacity and timeliness will have to improve significantly before I am willing to do this.  Will travel insurance cover me if I am denied boarding because the lab did not get the results back to me in time?  I doubt it.

 

As for testing on reboarding after excursions, I don't see much point in framing it that way.  If you pick up the virus on an excursion, you will not test positive yet when you reboard.  And passengers not going on that excursion are at risk also, because once the virus gets on board that will not protect them.  I do agree with the concept of some sort of ongoing screening for both passengers and crew, beyond just testing at embarkation.  I think it should be on some sort of regular basis for everyone on board, whether they have been on an excursion or not.  For example, testing everyone every 2 or 3 days would be very reassuring.  Maybe as the incidence of COVID goes down, that interval could be lengthened.

 

So far I have not heard anything about what happens financially when a passenger is denied boarding.  To promote honesty in health reporting, I think the cruise lines should reimburse the cruise fare, even if it is only an FCC.  As mentioned with paying for testing, this could also be pushed onto the passengers by requiring everyone to purchase a specific policy to cover this one risk.  I saw something about a cruise line that is doing this on a voluntary basis (I think it was MSC), and it was relatively inexpensive compared to a full travel insurance policy.  Having only read part of the Healthy Sail Panel document, I might not have seen it yet if this issue is addressed there.  In the meantime, it would be a good idea to check with your travel insurance company to see if they cover this risk.

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3 hours ago, ryndam said:

The Panel Report says that cruise ships should double up the testing of passengers - you need a negative swab before you leave home and a secondary rapid test before you board.  The panel's thought is that there will be fewer passengers that need to be turned away if they get tested before they leave home.  This makes sense, but would also need to include tests for those that arrive in the embarkation port prior to the actual embarkation day, and not just a direct transfer from your home to the ship.

 

They are also suggesting no ports other than private islands/controlled spaces.  And, of course, they are saying that your entire cruise will be masked up except when you're eating or drinking.  

 

So you can't go anywhere you want to go and your time onboard will be highly controlled, masked and distanced, other than when on your own balcony.  We've been doing this at home since March.  It's not clear to me what the attraction of getting on a ship will be for the time being, under these suggested protocols.

 

Rob

I cannot believe that passengers would be interested in this protocol for several reasons, false positives probably being the most problematic.  The delay between taking a swab test and getting results is all over the map.  Getting a swab test sometime prior to leaving home, then one as you board makes little to no sense.  In our case, we have a three hour drive from our home to the port.  If the passenger is responsible for paying the cruise fare - swab positive before leaving home or as you board, who would want to chance a false positive.

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6 minutes ago, SusieQft said:

 

"As for testing on reboarding after excursions, I don't see much point in framing it that way.  If you pick up the virus on an excursion, you will not test positive yet when you reboard.  And passengers not going on that excursion are at risk also, because once the virus gets on board that will not protect them.  I do agree with the concept of some sort of ongoing screening for both passengers and crew, beyond just testing at embarkation.  I think it should be on some sort of regular basis for everyone on board, whether they have been on an excursion or not.  For example, testing everyone every 2 or 3 days would be very reassuring.  Maybe as the incidence of COVID goes down, that interval could be lengthened."

 

You are right about this, it makes a lot more sense.

 

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https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/23531-clia-adopts-health-protocols-including-100-testing-for-passengers-and-crew.html

 

CLIA Adopts Health Protocols Including 100% Testing for Passengers and Crew

 
September 21, 2020

 

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced today the adoption of mandatory core elements of health protocols to be implemented as part of a phased-in, controlled resumption of operations.

A critical next step, now that initial sailing has begun effectively with strict protocols in Europe, is the resumption of operations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, CLIA stated.

CLIA’s announcement coincided with Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also releasing the recommendations of their Healthy Sail Panel to the Centers for Disease Control, which at press time, still has its No Sail order in effect until Sept. 30.

Highlights of the CLIA’s core elements include:

Testing:100% testing of passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to embarkation.

Mask-Wearing: Mandatory wearing of masks by all passengers and crew onboard and during excursions whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Social Distancing: Physical distancing in terminals, onboard ships, on private islands and during shore excursions.

Ventilation: Air management and ventilation strategies to increase fresh air onboard and, where feasible, using enhanced filters and other technologies to mitigate risk.

Medical Capability: Risk based response plans tailored for each ship to manage medical needs, dedicated cabin capacity allocated for isolation and other operational measures, and advance arrangements with private providers for shoreside quarantine, medical facilities, and transportation.

Shore Excursions: Only permitted shore excursions according to the cruise operators’ prescribed protocols, with strict adherence required of all passengers and denial of re-boarding for any passengers that do not comply.

Commenting on the recommendations, CLIA Chairman Adam Goldstein said that all passengers and crew would be tested prior to boarding. Brian Salerno, senior vice president of maritime policy at CLIA, added that all crew would undergone three levels of testing before being allowed to work onboard. He added the elements are to be considered as “building blocks” intended to be adjusted or changed as conditions change.

Goldstein said that he envisions a phased, sequential startup of operations and pointed to the successful resumption of service in Europe.

Cruise line executives participated in a call today, including Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, who said it will also take time to train crew and that may include sailing for a few days at sea without passengers, working up where there can be passengers onboard. He said it could take up to 30 days to get a ship back into service with crew.

For the brands that have already restarted in Europe, Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, and Pierfranceso Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said there were rigorous protocols in place, not only for the ships, but also for the destinations.

Goldstein would not commit to the type of testing to be implemented, because while the cruise lines are committed to testing, he said, technology is evolving so fast so that there may be new tests available when the ships resume service.

Vago noted that MSC has already dropped old testing technologies in favor of new ones, and said he believes quick testing, done in minutes, will be part of the solution going forward.

Meanwhile, Goldstein added that the industry is working with destinations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America.

According to CLIA, implementation of these elements onboard every oceangoing ship subject to the CDC’s No Sail Order will be mandatory and requires written verification of adoption by each company’s CEO. These elements do not preclude additional measures that may be adopted by individual lines. Measures will be continuously evaluated and adjusted against the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the availability of new prevention and mitigation measures.

CLIA said that their protocols are based on its work with the cruise lines and teams of scientists and medical experts, including the recommendations from the Healthy Sail panel established by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, also released today, as well as MSC’s Blue Ribbon group and Carnival Corporation’s collection of outside independent experts. Other considerations included the effective protocols developed for the successful sailings in Europe by MSC Cruises, Costa, TUI Cruises, Ponant, SeaDream, and others.

CLIA also said that these core elements will be continuously evaluated and adjusted against the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the availability of new prevention, therapeutics, and mitigation measures.

The core elements will be submitted by CLIA on behalf of its members in response to the CDC’s Request for Information (RFI) related to the safe resumption of cruise operations.

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FOR CAUTIOUS OPTIMISTS:  A situation has developed on a European cruise, and it is becoming a test case for management of testing protocols---

 

The followings article appeared in Boston's 25News on Sept 28:

 

ATHENS, Greece —- Greek authorities say 12 crew members of a Maltese-flagged cruise ship on a Greek island tour with more than 1,500 people on board have tested positive to the coronavirus and have been isolated on board.

The Mein Schiff 6, operated by German TUI Cruises, began its trip in Heraklion on the southern Greek island of Crete on Sunday night with 922 passengers and 666 crew members on board. It had been due to sail to Piraeus, the country’s main port near the Greek capital Athens, and later to the western island of Corfu.

Greece’s Shipping Ministry says that sample tests for the coronavirus were carried out on 150 of the crew members and 12 of them were found to be positive. The passengers had undergone coronavirus tests before boarding and were not part of the sample testing.

Those who tested positive for COVID-19 have been isolated on board, and the cruise ship was headed to Piraeus. It was not immediately clear when it would arrive.

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9 minutes ago, Jim9310 said:

FOR CAUTIOUS OPTIMISTS:  A situation has developed on a European cruise, and it is becoming a test case for management of testing protocols---

 

The followings article appeared in Boston's 25News on Sept 28:

 

ATHENS, Greece —- Greek authorities say 12 crew members of a Maltese-flagged cruise ship on a Greek island tour with more than 1,500 people on board have tested positive to the coronavirus and have been isolated on board.

The Mein Schiff 6, operated by German TUI Cruises, began its trip in Heraklion on the southern Greek island of Crete on Sunday night with 922 passengers and 666 crew members on board. It had been due to sail to Piraeus, the country’s main port near the Greek capital Athens, and later to the western island of Corfu.

Greece’s Shipping Ministry says that sample tests for the coronavirus were carried out on 150 of the crew members and 12 of them were found to be positive. The passengers had undergone coronavirus tests before boarding and were not part of the sample testing.

Those who tested positive for COVID-19 have been isolated on board, and the cruise ship was headed to Piraeus. It was not immediately clear when it would arrive.

Those who tested positive were retested. No one has retested positive. There is a first hand report from Miaminice, a passenger on the ship. According to her report they are continuing their cruise to Athens. This is on the Celebrity Cruise Critic page.

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10 minutes ago, Life Buoy said:

Those who tested positive were retested. No one has retested positive. There is a first hand report from Miaminice, a passenger on the ship. According to her report they are continuing their cruise to Athens. This is on the Celebrity Cruise Critic page.

Per Miaminice #98 on Ce;ebrity's CC page, this situation remains unclear. There is an unresolved discrepancy between the ship's test results and and results from a Greek lab,

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1 minute ago, Jim9310 said:

Per Miaminice #98 on Ce;ebrity's CC page, this situation remains unclear. There is an unresolved discrepancy between the ship's test results and and results from a Greek lab,

We'll just need to wait to get the story. I hope that Miaminice has a safe and healthy cruise and that it turns out that there was a problem with the Greek lab.

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Shows how little assurance we have that even the best precautions are reliable.

After reading some recent articles, seems like surviving Covid 19 is often a worse nightmare than contracting it.

Awful side effects go on and on.

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Unfortunately COVID is going to stay for a long time. The question is if we can really avoid to get sick. It is very difficult to avoid it unless we do little outside our homes. In sommer was easier, hiking, going to outside restaurants, etc. mow that winter comes to the northern hemisphere the situation will become more difficult.

More than 33 million people have got Coronavirus. One million people have died. Not every body who recovered remains with terrible side effects.

Ivi

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4 hours ago, Life Buoy said:

Miaminice reported that the retests proved negative.

Yes, the german papers inform that none of the 12 crew members testet positive again. They assume the first tests were wrong.

 

Nevertheless, this case shows us how fragile it is the new start of cruising. 
Ivi

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5 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Good article. They are right to point out that cruise lines are very susceptible to negative headlines in this times. The slight suspicion of COVID-19 on board a ship makes news immediately and deters others from cruising. 
 

Bad times for the cruise industry indeed. But the efforts of the cruise lines seem to be working. 
Ivi

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I expect that those mass lines may make very good use of their "private" islands once they can begin again - not having to deal with a lot of things.  Maybe Crystal should buy a bunch of islands - Puerto Rico,  UK, New Zealand and cruise between them😊

 

Obviously I"m kidding but needed some humor for my day. 

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On 9/30/2020 at 12:40 AM, travelberlin said:

Good article. They are right to point out that cruise lines are very susceptible to negative headlines in this times. The slight suspicion of COVID-19 on board a ship makes news immediately and deters others from cruising. 
 

Bad times for the cruise industry indeed. But the efforts of the cruise lines seem to be working. 
Ivi

Obviously, this article was written by someone without any relevant scientific background, but the statement made in the title is not exactly true.  Both the rapid saliva antigen test as well as the swab PCR test have both false negative and false positive rates, though the rapid saliva antigen test has higher false negative and false positive rates.  What the writer failed to explain is that the swab-PCR test is currently considered the gold standard with both higher specificity and sensitivity.  Repeating a low sensitivity, low specificity test over and over again is essentially useless.  I’m not saying that the saliva test is useless, it is a great way to estimate population incidence and for population-based decision making.

 

I’m a bit surprised that CruiseCritic is not asking somebody more qualified to do the reporting in regard to this topic.

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3 hours ago, ctjon said:

I expect that those mass lines may make very good use of their "private" islands once they can begin again - not having to deal with a lot of things.  Maybe Crystal should buy a bunch of islands - Puerto Rico,  UK, New Zealand and cruise between them😊

 

Obviously I"m kidding but needed some humor for my day. 

Don't forget Greenland 😉

Edited by claudiaYVR
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Do any of you REALLY believe cruising is going to resume any time soon?

Cases are spiking everywhere -- and are predicted to continue to do so.

Vaccine makers are predicting Spring 2021 is the earliest date for a vaccine and we are still not sure if those vaccines will be effective or how many doses will be required

Health care workers will be the first to receive a vaccine (as they should)

Teachers next (makes sense)

Where do you think those of us who want to cruise are in that hierarchy?

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