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Barbados This Winter


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Thought I'd start a new thread for those going or thinking of going. The website now reflects SD1 doing BGI-BGI and we're booked for the 12/27 and into New Year's. Spent an hour with AA getting flights changed from St. Thomas etc. And with the new "straight from airport to ship" mandate from government it's a tricky affair. Yesterday I learned BVI opening December 1st which is encouraging but the winter itineraries are staying south. Hoping no more changes as we're set. And of course looking forward! 

Edited by laurelguy
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Sounds great!  I would love some SD time but, as you say, the straight to ship mandate can make it near impossible for some.  That makes it critical for all connections, baggage transfers, etc. to happen as scheduled.  Even pre covid that was always a risk that many of us avoided by traveling the day before.  One thing SD might consider would be to spend the first night onboard in Barbados and not leave till the following afternoon.  That would take a lot of airline pressure off and there are lots of things to do on Barbados.  What's one less island?  After all Barbados is an island too.  I used to say I would love to get on SD in Miami and just steam in circles for a week.  🍸🍸😎

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Jim, your comment about having things to do in Barbados raises the question as to how the government is assured you are in transit.  You might consider yourself in transit at an international airport, but if you want to leave the airport you have to go through immigration.  I'm thinking the only way SeaDream can satisfy the government that its passengers are boarding the yacht that day is to provide transportation from the airport to the ship, and then not allow anyone to get off once checked in.  They could do the same upon debarkation.  Since most passengers will be arriving on a few planes, it would be fairly simple and a nice perk.

 

Travelers should also consider flying to BGI from Charlotte.  American has a non-stop that arrives at 3:10pm.

 

And I think, at this point, I'd be content with SD spending a summer in Lake Michigan.  Of course, since it isn't an American vessel, it would have to make a stop in Ontario each week.  But sailing through the historic Soo Locks to Sault Ste. Marie would be interesting.  At the end of the summer, it would be a wonderful foliage sailing through the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Winter on Lake Michigan - not so much.

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We are hoping to be on the November 14th voyage - direct flights booked from Charlotte. Our only concern is the departure, as we need to disembark by 10 AM and our flight is not until 455 PM. This would not be a good way to end a trip. It will be our first SD - we are excited to experience it!

I agree with the above regarding transport to and  from airport. I am concerned that when we arrive how are they going to understand that we are considered to be ' in transit'. 

Anyone else booking the November 14th voyage?

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We understand what Barbados and Sea Dream wants us to do. Our problem is they  want us to have covid test 24-72 hours before we board the boat.

Problem is we have to leave at least 48 hours before ship time,  so that means we have to get test before we leave our home town and get results which we find takes 1-2 days , so it leaves no time for us to do test , fly to Barbados, , we have to stay over night on Friday in Charlotte , so we can get AM flight to get to, boarding . Flight doesn't arrive until 3 pm on Saturday

Anybody can give us clue on getting test and get to boat and still have test results valid so we can board Sea Dream

THANK YOU

 

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59 minutes ago, cabosal said:

We understand what Barbados and Sea Dream wants us to do. Our problem is they  want us to have covid test 24-72 hours before we board the boat.

Problem is we have to leave at least 48 hours before ship time,  so that means we have to get test before we leave our home town and get results which we find takes 1-2 days , so it leaves no time for us to do test , fly to Barbados, , we have to stay over night on Friday in Charlotte , so we can get AM flight to get to, boarding . Flight doesn't arrive until 3 pm on Saturday

Anybody can give us clue on getting test and get to boat and still have test results valid so we can board Sea Dream

THANK YOU

 

While you still have a risk if you unexpectedly test positive, results are 24 hour turnaround now in most places, and you get an email link that takes you to the result. Assuming you test negative, you should have your result before or while in Charlotte, can print it out at your hotel in the unlikely event showing it on your mobile phone is not satisfactory, and should be good. Am not sure where you live, but here in Atlanta there are probably a dozen places where you can make an appointment and get a free test.  My advice if practical would be to make an appointment at two different testing locations the day before you leave so that reduces the risk of not getting the results on time. There are no 100% certainties in the current world, but I think we have to take some risks to give us the opportunity for some sanity so kudos to you for doing this.

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This is now getting a wee bit confusing again, so any help would be appreciated.  Specifically, this goes to whether or not one can stay at a hotel on Barbados prior to or after an SD voyage.  The earlier info posted here and elsewhere stated per SD one could NOT do so, requiring flight arrival on day of embarkation and the return flight departing on day of disembarkation.  This makes it much harder to schedule a voyage.

 

HOWEVER, please read the information posted on the visitbarbados,.org website.  New rules take effect on October 1, 2020, as summarized on that site with excellent color slides.  It seems to say that even for those of us coming from high risk countries such as the USA, if one has a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival, from an accredited testing lab that meets certain criteria, then you must stay at an approved hotel until retested (this is the part SD is avoiding with the “transit” status for SD).

 

The catch is staying at an approved hotel applies to longer term stays on Barbados as one is subject to being retested 4-5 days later.  If the retest is negative, then you can leave the approved hotel and visit the island. This applies to stays at one of the approved hotels on the web site’s list, including the Hilton near the port where many of us have stayed pre or post SD voyages in the past.  

 

The point is if one can stay at an approved hotel for 4-5 days pending a retest, why couldn’t one stay at an approved hotel only a night or two prior to an SD voyage since leaving the island within the retest window, and/or stay a night or two after a voyage with a negative test result in hand, including a negative test from SD during the voyage prior to the return?

 

Please review for yourself and see what you think or share the latest info.

Edited by JES4845
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Thank you for this. We've been keeping tabs on all this as we have confirmed our 12/27 trip. Did not know new rules for 10/1 but will review. To be safe we finally booked flights with a stop/overnight in Miami ..on both ends. Hoping more info will be forthcoming from SD re: transport to/from ship etc. The trick for us is to get a test on 12/24 with results to us by 12/26 ....stay tuned!

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3 minutes ago, laurelguy said:

Thank you for this. We've been keeping tabs on all this as we have confirmed our 12/27 trip. Did not know new rules for 10/1 but will review. To be safe we finally booked flights with a stop/overnight in Miami ..on both ends. Hoping more info will be forthcoming from SD re: transport to/from ship etc. The trick for us is to get a test on 12/24 with results to us by 12/26 ....stay tuned!

If you wish to be optimistic, let's say they won't be requiring tests by then....🍸  Last minute bookings can be some of the best.

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  • 1 month later...

We are booked on a mid-January sailing. We felt that arriving on a flight due to land at 4pm the day of saling (direct flight from London) would be too stressful so are staying in a hotel for five nights beforehand. It is my understanding that the second test can be done 4-5 days after the first test (not 4-5 days after you arrive in Barbados) so we should only have 2 days confined to our hotel before beign free to travel around Barbados. Some hotels allow quarantined guests to use special restaurant areas and pool so you aren't confined to your room.

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14 hours ago, DaveA said:

We are booked on a mid-January sailing. We felt that arriving on a flight due to land at 4pm the day of saling (direct flight from London) would be too stressful so are staying in a hotel for five nights beforehand. It is my understanding that the second test can be done 4-5 days after the first test (not 4-5 days after you arrive in Barbados) so we should only have 2 days confined to our hotel before beign free to travel around Barbados. Some hotels allow quarantined guests to use special restaurant areas and pool so you aren't confined to your room.

Dave,

 

We are considering the same plan for Barbados.  There are new rules, that went into effect today.  It muddied the waters a bit. It still includes 4-5 days after 1st test but is also says 7 day quarantine ... I am not sure what the purpose of the 7 day quarantine is.  It does not explicitly say that is an option if you do not want the second test. We are 99% sure we are going in December.  Probably the 12th (possibly the 19th).  I will post back my experience once we go.  We are "Make sure it works people" not "hope it works people".

 

Mike

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I don't seen any change to the quarantine rules. The seven days is just a requirement to monitor your temperature daily from after your 2nd negative test until 7 days or when you leave, whichever is the sooner.

 

What has changed, and will be a problem, is that St Vincent & the Grenadines, where Seadream 1 is scheduled to spend most of her time, has moved from Low Risk to Medium Risk. This means that all passengers will need a further PCR test within 72 hours of arriving back in Barbados at the end of the cruise.

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Thanks to all who have posted recently.  Very helpful and informative.

 

We all wish SD the best - for her crew, owner and our ability to join in the future.  

 

The “Residence at Sea” four-week stay discount is a smart marketing move.  We’ve thought about all the Barbados options (traveling from USA) but it all just seems to be in too much flux and frankly risky on several levels.  It is still not clear to us whether one us to arrive by air day of voyage departure or not.  Ditto on the back end.  All the testing is both comforting but also costly and not fun to go through given the PCR test.  It is also disconcerting that so many things remain unsettled when we had been under the impression this had all been worked out with the government on Barbados.

 

We’ve heard second hand that the new UK lockdown could adversely impact those of you coming from there.  True?  Some news articles said travel for foreign holidays is banned.  Had also heard through the grapevine that most of the early voyages were guests from the UK, which made sense given nonstop flights from London to Barbados.

 

Please continue to post so that those of you actually trying to take a voyage in the near term can share and the rest of us can learn from you.  Perhaps we will get more comfortable as actual Barbados voyages occur and any glitches get ironed out.  Safety and good health to all.

 

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22 hours ago, JES4845 said:

We’ve heard second hand that the new UK lockdown could adversely impact those of you coming from there.  True?  Some news articles said travel for foreign holidays is banned.  Had also heard through the grapevine that most of the early voyages were guests from the UK, which made sense given nonstop flights from London to Barbados.

 

Yes, in England (though not some other parts of the UK) we are not currently allowed to travel abroad. This restriction is due to last from today until 3 December.

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On 11/4/2020 at 8:32 AM, DaveA said:

I don't seen any change to the quarantine rules. The seven days is just a requirement to monitor your temperature daily from after your 2nd negative test until 7 days or when you leave, whichever is the sooner.

 

What has changed, and will be a problem, is that St Vincent & the Grenadines, where Seadream 1 is scheduled to spend most of her time, has moved from Low Risk to Medium Risk. This means that all passengers will need a further PCR test within 72 hours of arriving back in Barbados at the end of the cruise.

Hi, 

I think it is time that we do a webinar again to provide some updates. A few things have changed since last time, but it should not be substantial. I don't recall what we said on the last webinar, but a while back it was decided that we are doing PCR testing both on embarkation and disembarkation. The reason for doing the PCR test also on disembarkation was that some guests are staying in Barbados and others have reached out to us and asked if this was possible as it was required upon their return home. And the Barbados government also wants the PCR test as it makes them feel safer. So instead of only testing some guests or to try to convince the Barbados government (they are great to work with BTW) that we should not test disembarking guests, we decided to do it for everyone. I am not saying that things won't change, we do live in a world that is very fluid, but we are very confident that we will be able to provide an excellent SeaDream experience for everyone. 

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On 11/4/2020 at 10:04 AM, JES4845 said:

It is also disconcerting that so many things remain unsettled when we had been under the impression this had all been worked out with the government on Barbados.

 

We’ve heard second hand that the new UK lockdown could adversely impact those of you coming from there.  True?  Some news articles said travel for foreign holidays is banned.  Had also heard through the grapevine that most of the early voyages were guests from the UK, which made sense given nonstop flights from London to Barbados.

 

Please continue to post so that those of you actually trying to take a voyage in the near term can share and the rest of us can learn from you.  Perhaps we will get more comfortable as actual Barbados voyages occur and any glitches get ironed out.  Safety and good health to all.

 

I hope there are not soo many things that are unsettled. We have a close and strong relationship with the Barbados government and they are very supportive. We had an issue yesterday (a misunderstanding) and the Barbados government turned around the same day and did things for us that were nothing short of outstanding. 

 

There are travel restrictions in the UK these days and some may end up not travelling. We had a LOT of guests from the UK on the crossing, but for the rest of the season the percentage UK guests is more "normal". Here you can see the crossing and the first few voyages:

 

image.png.f18e7a7287f27e6f56c2d33d9d4d30a7.png

 

We will see what the numbers are when we are actually sailing, but just to let you know that it is not like we only have UK guests onboard. And regardless of various travel restrictions, we are not going to cancel voyages - unless the entire world goes into a lockdown and no one is allowed to travel of course. It would make no sense to sail if there are no guests allowed to travel. But at the end of the day, what is most important for us these days is to operate. Not only for our guests, but also for our crew - and those of us working shoreside as well. And it is very important for the places we visit too. They are so reliant upon income from tourism and they have mostly been without this revenue source for a long time. And we are trying a radical approach, not only in our company but also in the cruise industry, of being super transparent about what we do and what is going on. It takes a lot of time and energy, but I hope it is worth it at the end of the day. 

 

I encourage you all to share from your (good and bad) experiences and of course to take a look at our friends Ben and Dave on YouTube:

 

 

Or if you want our own, slightly more "home made", but very fun videos with Anna you can find them all here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/Seadream/playlists

 

(Click on the "Club Director Anna" playlist - and feel free to subscribe to our channel - we grew from 700 to over 1000 subscribers in the past few weeks!). 

 

Stay tuned for another webinar, perhaps next week, if this is something you want us to do. 

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Andreas, thanks for the update and the transparency which are very much appreciated.  Having just returned to the US from the crossing, I am happy to report that it was a wonderful experience.  Same outstanding SD crew, service, food and passengers as always.  Very much looking forward to returning for 2 weeks late next month.

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2 hours ago, travel4adventure said:

It appears now they are requiring masks on board - does anyone know what changed and why is this now a requirement? 

As I understand it, an article describing the boarding process and initial impressions of the November 7 voyage was posted by a travel blogger.  It contained a photo of crew members on board not wearing masks.  That resulted in a bit of an uproar on social media which in turn led to new protocols requiring passengers and crew to wear masks when moving around the yacht and when not able to social distance.  Masks not required of passengers when eating, drinking or swimming.

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On 11/7/2020 at 3:02 PM, ctbjr1309 said:

Andreas, thanks for the update and the transparency which are very much appreciated.  Having just returned to the US from the crossing, I am happy to report that it was a wonderful experience.  Same outstanding SD crew, service, food and passengers as always.  Very much looking forward to returning for 2 weeks late next month.

 

Just seconding the motion on Andreas’s postings which in part responded to questions I had raised.  The communication and transparency are outstanding.  We all wish for SeaDream to succeed.  It is isn’t easy being transparent in anything - our lives or our businesses - because life has ups/downs and glitches, especially these days with the pandemic.  But the openness and willingness to fix things as they arise are commendable - not just the right thing to do, but better for business now and in future.

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