Cruise Line on Water

Two Passengers Test Positive For Covid On First Major Sea Cruise Hosting Americans 

Two guests aboard the first major sea cruise to host American passengers since the Covid-19 pandemic first began have tested positive for Covid-19 in what the cruise line is calling a required end-of-cruise testing. 

The two guests shared a stateroom on the seven-day Celebrity Millennium cruise from St. Maarten. The two are reportedly asymptomatic, in isolation, and being closely monitored by an on board medical team, the cruise line said in a news release this week. 

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“We are conducting contact tracing, expediting testing for all close contacts and closely monitoring the situation.” 

“The ship set sail Ssturday with fully vaccinated crew and guests and following comprehensive protocols that align with our destination partners and exceed CDC guidelines to protect the health and safety of our guests,” the release said.

It’s not completely shocking that two individuals still tested positive for Covid despite the fact that the cruise was strictly for vaccinated individual, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study this week that claimed “breakthrough coronavirus cases,” or cases that appear in vaccinated individuals, aren’t uncommon, and as expected the cases that did appear were completely mild. 

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Fully vaccinated individuals are more than 90% protected against infection while partially vaccinated people are 81% less likely to become infected than those who are completely unvaccinated. 

According to an ongoing study of essential workers who got Pfizer/BioNTech’s or Moderna’s vaccine, “those who got breakthrough infections after one or two doses had 40% less virus in their bodies and were 58% less likely to have fever. They spent two fewer days in bed than unvaccinated Covid-19 patients.”

The release claimed that every individual on the cruise was required to show proof of vaccination as well as a negative Covid-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of the cruise’s initial departure. 500 passengers were on board. 

“This situation demonstrates that our rigorous health and safety protocols work to protect our crew, guests and the communities we visit,” the news release said.

The Royal Caribbean Group, the parent company of Celebrity Cruise Lines, focused more on the fact that returning to Barbados “for the first time in over a year is truly special. Every measured step was taken to ensure that we protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the residents of this treasured destination and we are thankful,” its post said.

Royal Carribean Cruise Ship

Over 100,000 Volunteers Signed Up For Royal Caribbean’s ‘Test Cruises’ 

More than 100,000 people have signed up to be a part of Royal Caribbean’s test sailings. The Cruising company put out a call for volunteers to take part in these sailings just a few days ago before they received a flood of interested cruisers willing to go on the trips. 

The cruise line will be running a slew of simulated trial sailings as a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) requirements for cruise ships to begin “phased resumption”of sailing before they can actually begin business as usual again. Eager cruisers were asked to fill out a form online to show their interest in taking part in these sailings, and were prompted to join the “Volunteers of the Seas”  Facebook group. 

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Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO wrote a Facebook statement recently after they received such a high volume of volunteers willing to take part in these trials. 

“And just like that…100,000 people have volunteered. We can’t wait to start this next phase with you all!” 

The simulated sailings will look exactly like any other cruise and will even allow for some private island on-shore activity, however, passengers will need to be prepared for Covid-19 quarantine drills as well as standard muster drills as well. All volunteers must be at least 18-years-old and need to show a medical certificate prior to boarding. 

When ocean cruising does make its return to the US, like all modes of travel, it will come with a long list of protocols and procedures put in place for all passenger and staff safety. This will include all parties being tested before embarking on the journey. 

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It’s still unclear as to when Royal Caribbean will be embarking on these test journeys, however, the Cruise Lines International Association – which represents major cruise lines including Royal Caribbean – recently stated that it would be extending its suspension of all cruise operations in the US through December 31st. Some lines have even volunteered to extend that suspension into 2021 as well. 

SeaDream Yacht Club is a cruise line in the US that did attempt to resume normal sailings to the Caribbean in the beginning of this month, however, the trip was cut short due to an outbreak of Covid-19 occurred in the middle of the cruise. The ship was forced to turn around to Barbados with seven guests and two crewmembers quarantining while those who tested negative were able to fly home. The company has cancelled all cruises for the rest of the year. 

“Multiple negative PCR tests were required before the guests boarded, but this was not sufficient to prevent Covid-19 onboard. SeaDream successfully operated more than 20 sailings during the pandemic without any cases and… further improvements were made to protocols before the Barbados season. The company will now spend time to evaluate and see if it is possible to operate and have a high degree of certainty of not getting Covid,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Regardless of when the Royal Caribbean embarks on these simulated cruises, it’s imperative that we all continue to just stay home and follow all health and safety procedures put in front of us as we continue to fight this pandemic.

Passenger Vessel

Expedition Cruising Predicted To Reach All Time High

Demand for expedition cruises is set to reach an all time high, as reports reveal that 28 new expedition ships will be launched by the end of 2022.

Gone are the days where cruises consistent of retired, older passengers looking for opportunities to socialize with others and enjoy their later years. Cruising has now become the preferred travel experience by passengers of all ages, including solo travellers, families and those looking for extreme explorations.

Despite many associating cruising with the summertime, winter cruises continue to be extremely popular, with certain destinations lending themselves well to the temperatures at this time of year.

Tapping into the growing demand for winter destinations, expedition cruise company Exclusive Expeditions recently released a list of the best winter expedition cruise destinations. Here are their top three:

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Indian Ocean:

The Indian Ocean is surrounded by Asia to the North, Africa to the West, and Australia to the East, and is home to the idyllic settings of tropical paradise islands, animals and adventure that many travelers dream of, boasting sunshine all year round and still obtaining desirable temperatures compared to the winter months in the UK. The beautiful islands of the Seychelles will offer temperatures from between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius in the month of December and combined with golden sands and warm crystal waters make for the perfect escape from the grey skies back home. The island of Mauritius has always been a favorite of many travelers, with the opportunity to explore the archipelago of 16 islands, and offering the chance to experience some of the world’s most beautiful wildlife and plants first hand at the Black River Gorges National Park. Also just off the coasts of Africa, the island of Madagascar boasts 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites to visit, national parks, picturesque landscapes for hiking, endless wildlife and forests. You can also take time to relax on their white sandy beaches and venture to the capital of Antananarivo offering shopping and dining aplenty.

The warmer temperatures of the Indian Ocean are home to several species of sharks, dolphins and porpoises and will be great for spotting from the decks of your cabin. Moving further across the ocean, the luxury islands of the Maldives are never set to disappoint. Sri Lanka also has a lot to offer with beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls as well as glorious beaches providing the perfect waves for all levels of surfing. With 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, Sri Lanka is rich in history and culture.

African plains:

If you are looking to escape the cold and dull setting of winter, Africa will not disappoint. The South West of Africa on the banks of the Indian Ocean are set to bring warm temperatures all year round and an array of settings to explore the African cultures and animals. The Serengeti, also home to the Serengeti National Park where you will find an abundance of some of the most magnificent animal’s people dream to see in real life including Lions, elephants, rhinos and giraffes. Kruger National Park features various Game Reserve, safari and lodges and camping facilities to fulfill your safari experience. Cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg will bring an abundance of culture and entertainment.

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The Arctic Circle/Polar regions:

Whilst many wish to jet off to find some winter sun, for many people adventure can be found in the snowy terrains. With the scale of the arctic circle incomprehensible for some, combining 8 different sovereign states there will be a full itinerary for keen explorers. Follow in the footsteps in the route of many famous travelers through the northwest passage through Canada’s archipelago and locations such as North Cape, the northernmost point in Europe is always a tourist point.

Arctic cruises provide the ability to showcase the brilliance of the arctic circle. Photographic opportunities aplenty, the mountainous and icy blue waters are the perfect environment to wrap up and spot native wildlife including whales, polar bears and walrus. And of course why not designate a stop to the North Pole making sure to visit Lapland over Christmas.

Set to embark on an expedition lit by 24-hour sunshine, known as the midnight sun and the polar nights of the winter with the sun not rising, this time of year is a true sensation. The Northern Lights more commonly known as the Aurora Borealis can be spotted through August to April due to the nights having darkness in them, in the northern polar latitudes of Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Siberia. A cruise of the Arctic Circle enables a taster of all the countries and archipelagos making up this region, seeing their beauty from the water.