BIG CRUISE UPDATE: Vaccines Required? Alaska No Go? March USA ? Good News? & More

will you need to have a vaccine to cruise will you rarely be able to cruise from march in the u.s will alaska cruises next year run this and much more coming up i'm gary bembridge and this is another of my cruise updates where i discuss the very latest cruise news and important developments that i think you need to know about and what it means for you and me and all of us as cruisers first of all as curved vaccines start to be rolled out around the world their role in cruising has been in the news in recent days whilst a very vocal number of cruisers have expressed really strong resistance to having to prove they've had a covet vaccine before cruising the lines themselves have confirmed that they are seeing them as key to rebuilding cruising and are actively looking at having these as a requirement before people can board their ships of course once vaccination rollout is much more widespread so i thought it was a good opportunity to update you on what the latest news and developments are in this area first of all roger frizzle he's the chief communications officer for carnival corporation group he called the vaccine a positive development for cruising but the ceo of the royal caribbean group so that includes royal caribbean celebrity azamara and silversea richard fain in the last few days issued a video and he said that vaccines were the key to unlocking and opening cruising he said and i'm going to quote exactly what he said in the video the arrival of highly efficacious vaccines is a game change previously we expected cruising to resume based on creating a virtual bubble of safety on the ship vaccines change all that and importantly you went on to say and again i'm going to quote him today we envisage that the key will be the vaccines rather than purely the protocols of course he's referring to all those protocols of testing distancing all that kind of stuff although he did not in that video talk about the requirement for guests to prove they were vaccinated calling it the key to cruising getting up and running and back to normal seems to suggest it could be however more evidence of that thinking came from frank del rio he's the ceo of the norwegian group so to remind you that includes norwegian cruise line oceania and region seven seas he said in a interview which he did with john lovell he's the president of the travel leaders group he said that norwegian are actively exploring requiring guests to prove they've had the vaccine to board he said and i'm going to quote here it will certainly be a requirement for the crew and he went on then to confirm that their lawyers were currently looking at if they could require passengers to have one before cruising with any of their lines now went on to say it is absolutely crucial in helping to build confidence in our customers and among ourselves that it's safe to cruise he then went on to point out that many travel providers including airlines are also exploring requiring proof that travelers have been vaccinated now so far qantas airlines is the only line airline so far that i've seen confirming that they will be requiring this but more may follow now based on all of this cruise critic in the past week then asked various lawyers in the united states including weinberg wheeler hodgkin's gun and dial to take a look at if lions would legally be able to require vaccinations now broadly speaking although it's expected that if the rule came in there may be legal challenges all agreed that the lines because their private commercial operations could have it as a condition to travel as they already have other conditions to tell about age pregnancy all that kind of stuff and they felt that any legal challenges would be unlikely to have that ruling overruled and they've looked at rules on different topics such as requiring people to wear masks religious objections and so on the way those have gone and they also point out that many countries and ports are expected to have a vaccine proof as a requirement for visitors to enter just as some countries already have requirements for vaccines like yellow fever typhoid cholera hepatitis a hepatitis b so cruise lines would also be obliged to insist on cover vaccines if ports they call and require them now the only thing that lawyers did say would be required is the alliance would have to allow passengers to cancel cruises and be refunded in full if they didn't accept the requirement now if you want to review what the legal arguments and views are there is a link in the notes of this episode to the article which goes into much more detail of course we also need to see what the cdc decides on the role of vaccinations in the us and europe and so on if any and particularly in the us in their framework for conditional sailing as that gets worked through and the road occurs now i'm sure there will be much more news on this topic over the coming months and much discussion and angst too and i will keep you posted in these updates many people have asked me about the 2021 alaska season and if it will run i have to declare an interest as i'm booked on princess cruises in may in alaska it's definitely not clear based on the news to date if the season will run in its entirety or even at all there are five developments that i think you need to know about first of all canada has to lift their ban on cruise ships in canadian waters the current ban runs to february the 28th now based on past extensions the decision on lifting or extending the ban is normally taken really close to the expiry date so we're unlikely to know until well into february on the lifting or extension of the ban the reason it's important is u.s law requires foreign flagships which all the main lines are that are leaving and return to u.s ports have to call on a foreign country within the itineraries unless canada lets ships call in there the alaska season cannot run because it's unlikely the u.s lawmakers will ever change that law or allow waiver secondly even if canada does lift the ban the canadian british columbia premier a man called john hogan this is where vancouver victoria and port prince rupert ports are they're essential for alaska cruises to run he made it clear in the last few weeks that his goal is to not allow travellers in until vaccines are in widespread distribution and visitors are vaccinated before visiting so timing of vaccination rollout could be a big factor in alaska cruises thirdly the norwegian group ceo frank del rio has said that the alaska season is still very up in the air especially those early sailings but on the optimistic side he said he believes that alaska will see cruise ships sometime in the summer while by autumn he thinks thanks to vaccines again it should be pretty much fully open the fourth issue is due to all of this some lines are already though starting to give up alaska for 2021 and cancelling cunard scrapped their plans with queen elizabeth for 2021 and windstar cruisers have just cancelled their entire 2021 alaska season other lions though have started replacing their existing alaska plans with seven night trips due to the cdc rules on cruise length seabourn has the most significant change so far ditching planned cruises and replacing them with 18 seven-night one-way sailings between vancouver in the south and juno in the north now this actually looks pretty ambitious as it makes juno an embarkation port which i don't think it has been used for previously at all so the answer to the question is alaska cruising going to happen in 2021 is it is uncertain and signs are strongly pointing to at best a late start in the season based on the news to date so if you do hope to go in 2021 focus on cruises towards the end of the season to increase certainty i for example am looking at doing a lift and shift on my may booking to the end of the season for that reason other than the changes already mentioned there has not been much more movement on cancellations although there are some signs that i'll talk about that some may be coming the two biggest moves in recent days have been first windstar moving resumption of cruising from march to may and as they did they ditched alaska as i've already mentioned but they also ditched any itinerary that had a u.s or mexican port in it and they replaced those with more sailings in french polynesia and caribbean departures out of the islands mostly secondly at the time of recording disney abruptly have removed all their march cruises off their website the big question that many are asking including me is following on from these signals is are any of those march u.s cruisers that pretty much every single line still have on sale going to happen probably not it seems let me talk about it a bit more in recent interviews some of the cruise line ceos have called march a long shot due to both the trends of the pandemic in the united states and the big challenges of meeting the cdc requirements in their framework for conditional sailing for example frank del rio who i seem to have quoted quite a few times in this episode said and i'm going to quote here we hope that the pandemic will ease and we can work out our differences with the cdc to start in mid to late march it's a long shot but i want to keep that possibility as long as i see a possibility as i reported last episode he said again that a much more solid bet is their ship selling in april in europe we said and i'll quote again i think there is a good chance that europe will be open to cruising in the april to may time frame however a more positive news towards cruising resuming carnival cruise line is returning a third ship into u.s waters to work on those cdc protocols carnival panorama will arrive in long beach california from panama on december the 22nd and norwegian cruise lines senior vice president of entertainment and cruise programming a guy called richard ambrose he's confirmed that they are going to start rehearsals in january at their central studios in tampa where they rehearse all the shows for all of the ships he also said it takes 90 days to work through all the staging the rehearsals and so on to be ready to start up these shows on the ships so that suggests that they do expect around april into may to have all the shows ready so that also ties in with a more likely april to may timeline now if you want to keep up to date with the latest on cancellations and even ships that are sailing you should visit the page on my website tipstotravers.com i constantly updated with which ocean and river cruise lines are sailing and the latest planned resumption dates often by ship and a link is in the notes of this episode i hope you found this update really helpful i have hundreds more episodes packed full of cruising updates cruising tips and advice so why not enjoy another one right now

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