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.”
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.”
“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.
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.
Tourist Experiences Bad Luck, Returns Pompeii Artifacts
A Canadian woman returned Pompeii artifacts, 15 years after they were stolen from the Pompeii site.
Prof. Massimo Ossana, the Archeological Park of Pompeii’s temporary director released a statement last Tuesday confirming the return of five stolen artifacts that were sent back via a travel agency. The said agency, then, contacted the Carabinieri police regarding the matter.
The artifacts, which were accompanied by a letter, were brought back to the archeological park. However, they cannot be returned to their specific, original spots within Pompeii’s old ruins. “Obviously they cannot be relocated because their precise origin is not known,” Osanna shared.
According to The Guardian and CNN, the Canadian tourist’s missive narrated her experiences of bad luck right after she took the Pompeii artifacts back in 2005. She mentioned that she went through financial and health problems because of them. “We are good people and I don’t want to pass this curse on to my family,” the woman explained.
In relation to the incident, Ossana mentioned that stolen artifacts get frequently sent back to the archeological park that features the ruins of an ancient Roman city that got destroyed by the violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Many of these items are returned due to the same reason—that the artifacts are accompanied by a curse, bestowing ill luck to those who take them from their resting place.
“For several years, the Archaeological Park of Pompeii has been receiving letters from visitors who, on the occasion of their visit, had taken small objects (we are talking about mosaic tiles, small shards, stones, pieces of plaster, lapilli), of little value, but part of unique archaeological heritage, and that they decided after years to return, claiming to have derived only bad luck from that act,” the Archeological Park of Pompeii’s statement said.
Consequently, the statement also mentioned that the supposed curse that accompanies the artifacts found at the park serves as an effective deterrent for anyone who wishes to take or steal other Pompeii items in the future. “But we hope that an international civil awareness towards cultural heritage in general will increase, regardless of the fear of a bad luck that could affect those who make such gestures,” Osanna continued.
Stealing items from famous archaeological sites and tourist destinations is a rampant activity. However, visitors to these heritage areas must be aware of the necessity to preserve these artifacts because they serve as actual, historical objects that provide current and future generations with the means to understand how our ancestors lived in the past. Preserved artifacts are living testaments to the people who came before us, offering us a glimpse into their lives—how they lived, how they interacted with one another, and how they died.
Knowing what happened in the past—how people survived in the past—provides us with the necessary knowledge to improve our present lives and the lives of future generations. Hence, it is essential for everyone to preserve these archaeological and historical sites—and understand the significance of their continued presence in our modern existence.
Thailand Plans to Welcome Back International Tourists by October
Hope is knocking on the door of travelers who are anxious to spend their Christmas holidays in Thailand. However, provided that they are willing to spend a few weeks in a kingdom with limited areas.
During a public forum held in August 2020, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism, said that the country is planning to allow foreign tourists to enter the country under the program, Safe and Sealed. He claims that he has already asked the prime minister to approve the expected date of opening on October 1. Ratchakitprakarn says that he has already requested Phuket as a model and has gotten approval from the Center for Economic Situation Administration. Upon launching the program, tourists will be able to enter Thailand’s largest island, Phuket. However, travelers will need to stay in quarantine in a selected resort for not more than 14 days upon arriving.
According to Phipat, the famous Patong Beach is an excellent example wherein three to four resorts are set up there. Keeping the tourists in the area would allow them to spend time on a beach, given that they would stay in their designated areas. Travelers are also required to get tested for COVID-19 at the beginning and the end of their allotted quarantine period. However, the minister says that tourists who want to travel outside of Phuket would have to undergo a third COVID-19 test and have an extension of seven days under quarantine. Besides that, hotel staff who work in the designated areas aren’t allowed to leave the premises without taking a COVID-19 test and going into quarantine.
Governor Yuthasak Supasorn of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has told CNN that the government has approved the travel plan. The next phase would be holding a public hearing to obtain the residents’ approval.
The Step for the Future
Like most countries who have always relied on tourism, Thailand has been hit pretty hard by the pandemic. Aside from having all international commercial flights being banned, the residents on returning flights would have to be put into quarantine for 14 days. Gratefully, Thailand hasn’t had a locally transmitted COVID-19 case for more than three months now, which gives travelers a sense of relief as they go on trips for the weekends. Managing director Bill Barnet of the Asia-focused consulting firm C9 Hotelwork claims that welcoming international travelers is the right step.
According to Barnet, COVID-19 is different compared to other events like 9/11 and the restart of traveling. He claims that the Safe and Sealed program may not be a silver bullet, but a step forward against “the deer in headlights position.”
He diminishes any form of criticism that says the project may be too restrictive. Barnet claims that Phuket has proven its appeal as a destination for people looking to escape the winter season. Barnet notes that Russians, Britons, Germans, and Scandinavians have always returned to Phuket yearly and stay long-term guests. He claims that the moment the temperature drops in Europe, the people will quickly mark Phuket as one of their destinations.
Japanese Airlines and their Procedures with COVID-19
Before COVID-19, global conversations about hygiene were already in the mix. If there were one thing that travelers wouldn’t want to touch in an airplane, it would be the bathroom door. Thus, the Japanese Airline ANA went out to test a new hands-free bathroom door wherein passengers could open them with their forearm or their elbows. One challenge that the airlines are facing is the lack of space. Regular lavatory doors have small or flat handles and open inward to lessen the aisle blockage. Despite being hygienic, ANA’s prototype also consumed a mass amount of space. At first, the Japanese Airline proposed that the passengers could open the doors with their feet. However, this idea was stopped because of multiple safety issues.
Nevertheless, the door comes with a spring attached handle, which allows you to press the handle instead of pulling it. Conceptualized by JAMCO, a Japanese company that is known for its products in the aviation industry. They are famous for their excellent inputs for galleys, airplane seats, and bathrooms.
The door was created to make the airplanes more hygienic. A study in 2018 found that the bathroom door handle is the third dirtiest area on an aircraft after the seat pocket and the headrest.
It was then tested in ANA’s lounge at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in between June and May. It was found that the door can be opened from the outside by only using a forearm or an elbow. Inside the bathroom, passengers can lock the door by sliding a large button with their elbow.
Travelers currently flying onboard an ANA aircraft are advised to follow their strict protocol of wearing a facemask and other essential face coverings to prevent the virus’s spread. Aside from that, ANA also has a unique self-service to cater to travelers checking their bags. Most of the ANA’s crew members are also tasked to wear both masks and face shields to reduce the virus’s risk of spreading.
Prevention is better than cure
Haneda Airport, Japan Airlines, also known as JAL, has been testing new check-in screens that don’t need to be touched. Travelers can access the screens by holding a finger about three centimeters above them. JAL has also encouraged passengers to check-in online before arriving at the airport.
According to ANA’s president and CEO, Yuji Hirako, in one of his statements during the announcement of the Airline’s new ANA Care Promise cleanliness program. He mentioned that when one begins to travel by air again, the airlines offer the same comfort and enjoyment before the novel coronavirus.
The Airline claims to have hygiene measures such as onboard air filters in which the same quality are from hospital operating rooms. The Airline is also prepared with regular disinfection of every surface on the plane and lavatory doors.
The company claims that it will first ask passengers’ opinions about the door before deciding what to do and how to use it soon.
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