How Cruise Ships Are Setting Sail Amid Covid | Where To

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    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered a rare glimmer of hope for the cruise industry this week, with the agency saying in a statement to Bloomberg that the latest aspect of its phased return to U.S. cruising “aligns with the desire for resumption of passenger operations in the United States expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers, hopefully by mid-summer.”

    The comment came only after hard criticism from the cruise industry followed an announcement on April 2 that the agency was releasing technical guidance to inform port agreements and deal with Covid-19 outbreaks. With no indication regarding when cruise lines might finally receive the green light to sail—or even when they could begin to conduct simulated sailings, or “test cruises,” to assess new health protocols—it barely advanced the industry’s stalled position.

    The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) called the instructions “disappointing” and “largely unworkable,” noting that before the pandemic the cruise industry supported almost 450,000 American jobs and contributed some $56 billion annually.

    In several ways, the CDC’s updates may be too little, too late. Many cruise lines, fed up with waiting, are ditching the U.S. entirely—at least for their busy summer seasons—and moving that lucrative industry offshore to ports around the Caribbean. Since Crystal Cruises introduced the tactic on March 11, similar announcements have been pouring in from nearly every major line: Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, and even Viking. All plan to restart business in the region this summer.

    As a result, it’s Caribbean nations, not the CDC, setting the tone for a safe return to cruising.

    Some, such as Bermuda, are limiting the number of cruise passengers; on that island, only 3,000 visitors can disembark weekly. Others, including Anguilla—which has earned recognition for having a remarkably small number of Covid cases during the pandemic’s duration—are requiring that all shore excursions be limited to specific parts of the island and be run only by approved, Covid-compliant vendors.

    One requirement has been consistent across the board: vaccines for all adult guests and crew.

    Still, the restarts will come with known and unknown risks. In Antigua and Barbuda, as well as other islands, the resumption of tourism and the return of higher numbers of nationals have sent Covid-19 cases soaring. Poor access to vaccines in some countries means that locals are exposed to greater risk than the traveling public. While the prospect of transmission among the vaccinated set has proven to present a low risk, the CDC continues to recommend against large group settings, a probable reason why it has yet to approve cruising from U.S. shores.

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    In This Story: Antigua

    Antigua and Barbuda is an island sovereign state in the West Indies in the Americas, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major islands, Antigua and Barbuda (separated by 39 miles), and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden, Prickly Pear, York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda).

    The permanent population numbers about 95,900 (2018 est.), with 97% being resident on Antigua. The capital and largest port and city is St. John’s on Antigua, with Codrington being the largest town on Barbuda. Lying near each other, Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17°N of the equator.

    Following self-governance in its internal affairs, independence was granted from United Kingdom on 1 November 1981.

    Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Commonwealth and Elizabeth II is the country’s queen and head of state.

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    Barbuda is a small island located in the eastern Caribbean forming part of the sovereign Commonwealth nation of Antigua and Barbuda. It is located north of the Antigua Island and is part of the Leeward Islands of the West Indies. Antigua and Barbuda gained full independence on 1 November 1981 as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations. The island is a popular tourist destination because of its moderate climate and coastline.

    Historically, most of Barbuda’s 1,634 residents have lived in the town of Codrington. However, in September 2017, Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 95% of the island’s buildings and infrastructure and, as a result, all the island’s inhabitants were evacuated to Antigua, leaving Barbuda empty for the first time in modern history.

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    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
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  • In This Story: United States

    The United States is a country also known as the United States of America, USA, US or just America. There are fifty states in the union, which is a federal republic ruled by a representative democracy. Nearly ten million square kilometres are inhabited by over 300 million people. The majority of Americans speak English.

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