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A Cruise Expert Tells How To Safely Enjoy The Ultimate Getaway

  

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  The weather – consistently sunny. The excursions – plentiful. The food – a smorgasbord. The drinks – flowing. Cruises, no matter domestic or international, all seem to have a little bit of something for every kind of guest. Who would have guessed that a cruise ship would become sort of an adult daycare for a week or two? Honestly, they have cabins, pools, open bars around every corner, a giant and often 24/7 buffet, onboard entertainment shows, off-ship excursions in new and exciting locations, classes, gyms, and endless but breathtaking sights that change at every minute. 20 million people may take cruises every year and many enjoy safe and perfectly relaxing vacations (don’t focus too much on recent and very widely-televised disasters that don’t often occur). Still, as with any activity out of your normal routine, you should be aware and prepared for the unexpected.

     Jonathan Mark, owner, and writer of the popular cruise website – Cruise Fever – has provided several steps you can take before embarking on a cruise to stay safe but have an incredible time.

One – Research Your Ship

     Cruise ships with issues are unlikely to be in service, but not all can be foreseen. Things flat out break, wear down, and happen to be the result of completely unexpected circumstances. Plain and simple, things happen. However, don’t let that scare you. Mark mentions that “Every ship that sails too and from the U.S. is required to have at least two surprise inspections each year… Over the past year, 14 cruise ships earned perfect 100 health scores.”

 

Safety Drills

     Cruise Ships and crew are required by law to comply with a sailing mantra – SOLAS – Safety of Life at Sea. These rules dictate the “number of lifeboats, fire safety provisions, and functionality of communication equipment.” These precautions may help quell any mental tension you may have about sailing but be sure to take part and recall the mandatory tourist training. “Even though it’s the least ‘fun’ part of the cruise it’s important for both the passengers and crew.”

Don’t Drink Too Much

     For many of us, a little (or a lot) of alcohol can help take the stress off of life and even your vacation. Nonetheless, “Just because a drink package allows you to drink 15 alcoholic drinks per day does not mean you should [drink that many]…. While in port it’s important for passengers to be familiar with their surroundings and with any travel advisories that have been issued.”

Packed

     “There’s a saying when it comes to packing on a cruise: ‘Whatever you were planning, take half the clothes and double the money.’” “Also older ships have few power outlets so an adaptor that has extra USB plugs can be a lifesaver.”

Also – Don’t Pack

     Simple enough… “Any illegal substances should not be brought on a cruise. Just because something is legal in the state you live does not mean you can take it out of the country with you.”

Make Friends (For Safety!)

     “Most cruise ships will have a get-together for cruisers traveling solo… This is a great way to meet other passengers. If you are traveling by yourself in port, stay on the beaten path and in touristy areas. This is another area where common sense into play.” Don’t place yourself into undue harm because you wanted to go exploring on your own. In addition, unless you know the other passengers on a decent level, if someone asks you what you’re up to, mention that you’re “waiting for friends.” This way, they will be less compelled to play anything funny on you.

 

Street Smart

     Just like the real world, keep your wits on your sleeves. “The biggest way people put themselves in danger on a cruise is to not use common sense… Cruises are statistically the safest way to vacation. This causes people to put their guard down when they should, in fact, use the same precautions as if they are on a land-based vacation.” Don’t fall victim to yourself just because you’re on vacation. 


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Destinations

Where Can Americans Vacation Internationally Right Now?

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Following the surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., one of the top trending questions among Americans today is, “Where can Americans internationally travel to now?” At the moment, only a few countries and territories are open to travelers originating from the United States.

Fortunately, several places in Mexico and the Caribbean are opening their borders to U.S. tourists. As a result, new reports mention a surge in flight bookings to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Mexico

The border between Mexico and the United States remains closed to non-essential travel until at least the end of August. Nonetheless, U.S. tourists are allowed to fly to some of the country’s reopened locations including:

  • Cancun
  • Cozumel
  • Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos)
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Riviera Maya (includes Playa del Carmen and Tulum)
  • Riviera Nayarit (includes Punta Mita and Nuevo Vallarta)

For these places, masks and temperature checks are mandatory upon arrival at the airport. Tourists are also required to fill out a risk factor questionnaire both during arrival and departure. A COVID-19 test is not needed, however.

Caribbean and its Nearby Islands

Aruba

U.S. tourists entering Aruba are required to take a PCR test. Those coming from certain states with COVID-19 cases on the rise, a PCR test must be taken 72 hours before a flight and uploaded together with the filled out embarkation/disembarkation forms. A PCR test must be taken 72 hours before a flight and uploaded with the same embarkation/disembarkation forms for tourists originating from all other states. However, for this second group, an option to be tested at the airport is a given option, which requires a separate payment of $75.

Also, tourists must pay for the compulsory Aruba Visitors Insurance with premiums varying depending on age. Visitors between the ages of 15 to 75 must pay $15, allowing them to remain in Aruba for seven days. The said insurance policy can solely be purchased online and must be accomplished 72 hours before a flight.

Barbados

Besides mandatory face masks, health checks, and border interviews, visitors must take a PCR test 72 hours before a flight. The said test results must be submitted electronically, and a copy of the same test must be brought during embarkation.

Bermuda

COVID-19 testing is required. Travelers must have a negative testing result that should be taken no longer than seven days before the flight. Second testing is done upon arrival, and a quarantine period of typically 24 hours follows while waiting for the results. Besides that, tourists must accomplish a Bermuda Travel Authorization plus the payment of $75, covering COVID-19 tests done while staying in Bermuda. Testing is done after 4, 8, and 14 days. Masks are mandatory in public places as well.

Other Places

Aside from the areas mentioned earlier, Americans are also allowed to travel to several other locations. Note that specific requirements must be accomplished, as well, prior to ticket reservation.

  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Maarten
  • U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix)
  • Croatia
  • Malta
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi)

Summary

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases must be noted when planning a trip abroad. American need to check developing updates regularly to know the current regulations set in place by the different areas they plan to visit before buying a ticket and embarking on a trip abroad.

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Destinations

Which Countries Suffered the Biggest Losses in Tourism Revenue Due to COVID-19?

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The Official Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Official ESTA), the Visa Waiver processing agency, releases a report enumerating the countries that suffered the most massive losses due to the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Forrester, the Official ESTA Director of International Development, asserts, “As travel came to a standstill for many months, countries around the world that rely on tourism for their economy and jobs are now seeing significant drops in revenue and GDP.” She adds that when we take “…into account how travel and tourism contribute $8.9 trillion to the world’s GDP alone, it is devastating to see a total loss of $195 billion worldwide in the first four months of 2020 alone.”

Below are the top nations that took the most massive tourism revenue blows due to the said crisis.

United States

The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, amounting to 6,135,598 as of writing. The country tops the list with $30,709 million losses for tourism revenue alone during the first four months of the year. On March, 31 US states were placed on lockdown with the State Department issuing a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ restriction that prohibits international travel while urging residents traveling abroad to return immediately.

Spain

It reported a massive tourism revenue loss of $9,741 million in June due to the said pandemic. Almost as soon as COVID-19 transmission slowed down and foreign travelers were allowed to re-enter the country, the United Kingdom placed a quarantine restriction on British residents originating from Spain. This further deterred British citizens from traveling to Spain in the hopes of enjoying the summer.

France

Another country that suffered significant tourism losses is France. The country reported an $8,767 million tourism loss, making it the second European nation to suffer such great damage.

Thailand

The country was able to halt COVID-19 transmission, reporting no new cases during the last 87 days. Nonetheless, the government announced its intention to perpetuate its closed borders until 2021. During the first four months of 2020, the nation lost $7,822 million tourism earnings due to the crisis.

Germany

Germany closed its borders in March, resulting in a tourism revenue loss of $7,225 million. The country recently reopened its doors to tourists originating from the European Union, Iceland, Britain, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Norway.

Italy

The country became the center of the pandemic back in March. Because of this, fluid movement across the nation was halted during this year’s first four months, which resulted in a tourism income loss of $6,187 million.

United Kingdom

One of the few nations that did not immediately impose a travel ban against travelers coming from abroad, the country’s COVID-19 cases quickly escalated. Thus, numerous countries placed restrictions on people originating from the country and on those planning there. As a result, the UK reported a $5,816 million loss in tourism revenue.

Australia

Due to the massive wildfire that occurred during the start of 2020 and the rise of the on-going pandemic, the country’s tourism industry was heavily affected as well. The Land Down Under reported a loss of $5,674 million.

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Destinations

America Travel News: Can I Fly To The USA Right Now?

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On 16 March, the Trump Administration announced a travel ban to the US. This mandate affects travelers originating from a list of countries currently prohibited from entering the United States. Most Brits, who go on trips to the US, do so for holidays. But can they still travel to the US right now?

Brits Entering America

Unfortunately, Brits who were recently in the UK, Schengen region, Ireland, Brazil, Iran, or China during the last 14 days cannot enter the US. Exceptions to this ruling are the following:

  • US citizens and green card holders (permanent residents);
  • Brits who are married to a US citizen or a green card holder;
  • Close family members of US citizens and green card holders; and
  • Selected visa holiday holders.

If you are not among these groups listed above, you are currently not eligible to enter the United States.

Similarly, the United Kingdom added the US to its red list. This means that effective on 3 July, people who originate from the US are also not allowed to enter the UK during this time. There is no current reciprocal travel corridor agreement between both countries.

Because of the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States, it is equally unlikely that travel restrictions to the UK for Americans will be lifted soon.

Increasing COVID-19 Infection in the US

Related to this junction, the US recently eased lockdown protocols in various popular vacation spots, including Florida and New York. However, in several locations like Las Vegas and California, travel restrictions are being imposed to halt the growing number of infections further.

As of writing, the United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world. Its record has already reached 6,135,598, while the current international COVID-19 total is now 25,140,903—both alarming numbers that heavily impact worldwide public health and economic well-being.

When Will This Ban Be Lifted?

There is no definite date scheduled for the lifting of the said travel ban. The ban will continue to be in effect until authorities determine that traveling between the UK and the US is already safe.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of America’s leading public health officials, asserts that present travel restrictions might only be eased when a veritable vaccine is discovered and developed. During a Telegraph interview, Fauci mentions that the ban may take “months than weeks” before it gets lifted. He adds, “I don’t think there’s going to be an immediate pullback for those kinds of restrictions.”

“The US from a very early stage banned flights from the UK and Europe, so there isn’t a reciprocal relationship in place there in any case,” says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview.

Even US Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin supposes that the said travel ban might last until 2021—a presumption that may be further delayed given the current infection trends within the US.

Limited Flights

For those who are given the green light to enter the US, however, there are several flights between the UK and the US every day. Several airlines like American Airlines, United, and British Airways fly from London to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC, and New York daily.

For canceled flights, however, passengers are eligible for refunds or travel vouchers. You must contact your specific airline for details on how to do so.

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