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When Will We Cruise Again?

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Cruising is in the news again with the recent no-sail order extension by the Centers for Disease Control. Travel and tourism has been hit hard during this global pandemic, but no form of travel has been devastated quite like cruising. I’m not going to discuss whether I think the no-sail order is good or bad. What choice did anyone responsible for public health have at the time the initial decision to pause passenger sailing was made? Experts call this a “novel coronavirus” for a reason, it’s new. We still don’t have a complete understanding of what it is and how it works, but one thing is for certain, it spreads easily. Close quarters with lots of people seem to help it move around. If you’ve been on a cruise before, you can see the challenge here.

Is it Possible to Sail Safely at This Time?

The short answer is, maybe. Personally, I do not see a return to “normal” mass market cruising in the absence of a vaccine. But there are finally some examples that point to the possibility that a limited and well planned re-start of some cruises can be accomplished safely. MSC Cruises appears to have found a path forward. The fundamentals of MSC’s plans are:

Universal health screening of guests prior to embarkation that comprises three comprehensive steps: a temperature check, a health questionnaire and a COVID-19 swab test. Depending on the screening results and according to the guest’s medical or travel history, a secondary health screening or testing will take place. Any guest who tests positive, displays symptoms or a temperature will be denied boarding. Following guidelines from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, guests traveling from countries categorized as high risk will be required to take a molecular RT-PCR test, to be done within 72 hours prior to joining the ship. All crew members will be tested for COVID-19 prior to embarkation as well as regularly during their contract.

Elevated sanitation and cleaning measures supported by the introduction of new cleaning methods and the use of hospital-grade disinfectant products.

Social distancing will be enabled through the reduction of the overall capacity of guests on board, allowing for more space for guests, approx. 10 m² (about 108 sq. ft.) per person based on 70% overall capacity. Venue capacity will be reduced, activities will be modified to allow for smaller groups and guests should pre-book services and activities to manage guest numbers. When social distancing is not possible, guests will be asked to wear a face mask, for instance in the elevators. The face masks will be provided daily to guests in their staterooms and will be available around the ship.

Enhanced medical facilities and services with highly qualified staff trained, the necessary equipment to test, evaluate and treat suspected COVID-19 patients and the availability of free treatment at the onboard Medical Center for any guest with symptoms. Dedicated isolation staterooms will be available to enable isolation of any suspected cases and close contacts.

Ongoing health monitoring will be conducted throughout the cruise. Guests and crew will have their temperature checked daily either when they return from ashore or at dedicated stations around the ship to monitor the health status of every guest and crew member. During this initial phase of operations, as a further enhanced measure of protection and to avoid risks to the health of guests and their fellow cruisers, guests will only go ashore as part of an organized MSC Cruises’ excursion. This means that MSC Cruises can protect their health while ashore with excursions that will be delivered with the same high standards of health and safety on board. MSC Cruises will ensure that transfers are properly sanitized and that there is adequate space. Tour guides and drivers will also undergo health screening and will wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

A contingency response plan will be activated if a suspected case is identified, in close cooperation with the national health authorities. The suspected case and close contacts will follow isolation measures and may be disembarked according to local and national regulations. 

Obviously, if you can successfully board a ship with no infections, and keep guests from being exposed during their trip, you can cruise without spreading Covid. Whoa! Why didn’t anyone else think of that?!

© 2019 – Marshall Jackson

My Thoughts on Going Forward with Cruising in the USA

Testing is key. A vaccine and herd immunity are key to resumption of most cruises. However, I think there is a way forward on a limited basis in the meantime. Frequent, rapid result testing will be the key to resumption of some cruises, and frankly, a restoration of all travel (more on that in a future post). Want people to feel comfortable traveling? Give them reasonable assurance that they aren’t being exposed to the virus. How do you do that? Testing, and not the kind that you have to wait a week for results.

Focus on the private islands as you re-start. Limiting guest and staff contact with potential exposure is paramount. The absolute best way to do this? Focusing on “private island” destinations. The majority of staff at these islands travel with the ship that’s visiting. There are some “local” staff, but the numbers are small enough that cruise lines can easily manage their testing protocols. Furthermore, guests enjoy these experiences.

Have a backup plan. No matter how much testing you perform, and how great you are at managing things, somehow, some way, somebody is going to test positive for the virus after you’ve left port. Hands down, I think the biggest driver of “fear” of getting on a cruise for most people will be the idea of being left out at sea with no way home. It is imperative that cruise lines have iron clad processes in place to isolate and care for positive cases on board, evacuate sick guests, and safely disembark healthy guests upon returning to port.

We Will Cruise Again

My last cruise was in February. I celebrated my 50th birthday with friends, and my wife and I remained on the ship for two additional cruises following the “birthday cruise.” I’m so glad we did. That trip also coincided with my last commercial airline flight (February 17th). As you know, things started “hitting the fan” shortly thereafter. While I have my doubts that I sail again in 2020, I’m watching things closely. I think it’s most likely to be 2021 before cruises set sail again, but if cruise lines and the governing authorities can work out a plan like MSC in Europe, I think it’s possible that at least a few cruises could set sail late this year.

By: MJ on Travel
Title: When Will We Cruise Again?
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/when-will-we-cruise-again/
Published Date: Sat, 03 Oct 2020 13:30:33 +0000

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https://vistagaze.com/cruise/the-things-you-should-and-shouldnt-do-at-the-scene-of-an-accident-abroad-2/

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Gift Ideas to Buy for Hiking Fans on Black Friday

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Days spent on hiking is beneficial to every individual involved. It boosts up metabolism, burns out calories, releases oxytocin, and strengthens the muscles while keeping our bodily functions alert sharpening our senses. Hiking is a delightful way to explore places with our loved ones, friends, and relatives, so if you know a hiker inside your closest circle, giving them quality presents that can be used for hiking can enhance their experiences.

Black Friday Outdoor Equipment Deals

Hiking and wilderness exploration can be an excellent dynamic activity open to everyone. For some of us, a common detriment that we encounter is the amount of gear and equipment to prepare and bring for each of our adventures. These things should ensure our safety and convenience while being able to function proportionate to our needs.

Every seasoned backpacker or trekking enthusiast may indulge in quality tools and equipment that can assist them with their undertakings. If you know a passionate hiker you can read this review of the north face jester backpack in case you are wondering what to give them as a gift this coming holiday. Remember that the gear you want to present to them is manufactured with rugged materials built to withstand the strains and difficulties of natural terrain and different atmospheric conditions.

Black Friday is one of our most awaited shopping days of the year since it gives us the opportunity to land affordable deals with items of interest. Several companies have already launched many discounts and sales three weeks early before the actual event happens. More enterprises and products are expected to follow this trend until the ultimate showcase of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If you want to purchase gifts in the form of outdoor gear and equipment, some of them are already accessible for early acquisition. But it is recommended to wait for Black Friday to avail them at their most discounted price. Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a shopping experience you do not want to miss when choosing and buying the best equipment for your next hiking activity.

Top Black Friday Gifts for the Hiking Enthusiast

Every outdoor specialist or hiking enthusiast knows the value that every tool on their arsenal can bring them while on the trail. They know that the quality of each item is proportionate to the function with their primary purpose. Modern-day equipment is built with robust materials that perform in conjunction with each personal need during any hiking adventure.

Hiking Jacket

Any person that wants to go on a hike should be prepared with every possibility. Rain, snow, hail, sleet, are probabilities that come naturally with adverse atmospheric conditions. Having a reliable hiking jacket layered with quality waterproof and tear-resistant fabrics keeps you dry while regulating your sweat output and body temperature.

Hydration Flask

Modern fluid flasks come in various forms such as the camel bak that lets you sip water or the rugged hydro flask manufactured with industrial metals. One of the difficulties caused by strenuous activities such as mountain climbing, jogging, hiking, or PT is the onset of dehydration. Outdoor items such as flasks and hydrating-equipment are designed to accompany every adventurer while providing them enough fluids during their journey.

Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes are built with nylon, advanced composites, and durable yet lightweight fabrics. These shoes are designed to be waterproof while having a slip-resistant base that helps you grasp even the slimiest surfaces. They are also incorporated with enough padding and fits well with the contours of your feet that aids in preventing physical damages and discomfort while hiking or navigating rough terrain.

Campground Tents

In case your hiking ends up in a two or more day ordeal, having a convenient camping tent may provide you immediate shelter and a forward outpost. Camping tents are now capable of fitting in 8 people all at once built with reliable and flexible all-weather fabrics supported by modular poles for quick builds. These tents can be easily folded and stored in a carrying bag for travel convenience.

Conclusion

Hiking is an enjoyable activity that everyone can benefit from. It is great for exploring natural areas of the earth while providing enough exercise to burn out calories and excess fat stored while sitting in the office. If you know an outdoor enthusiast, then Black Friday can be a great opportunity to gather items valuable to their next adventure.

The post Gift Ideas to Buy for Hiking Fans on Black Friday appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Shahbaz Ahmed
Title: Gift Ideas to Buy for Hiking Fans on Black Friday
Sourced From: feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheTravelExperta/~3/iLTbl2wK9RE/gift-ideas-to-buy-for-hiking-fans-on-black-friday.html
Published Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2020 13:44:00 +0000

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Surprise Alaska 50% bonus promotion, buy miles at 1.83 cents per mile

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A surprise Alaska 50% bonus promotion is underway right now, where members can purchase miles with up to 50% bonus. The current promotion of up to 50% bonus is applicable on minimum purchase of 30K miles, on transactions completed by December 23, 2020.

ALASKA MILEAGE PLAN – UP TO 50% BONUS MILES

Link to Promotion

 

This promotion is tiered with 40% bonus on purchase of up to 29k miles. Minimum purchase of 30K miles is required for the 50% bonus. The bonus tiers look like this;

  • Buy 3,000 – 29,000 miles, get a 40% bonus
  • Buy 30,000 – 100,000 miles, get a 50% bonus

With a 50% bonus, this promotion yields 1.83 cents per mile – a decent value. Note that Alaska MileagePlan has has 60% bonus promotions in the past, which yield 1.72 cents per mile. The current promotion can be maximized by purchasing 100K miles, for a total of 150,000 Alaska miles;

Recall that Alaska airlines will not be joining OneWorld alliance until March 31, 2021, which means a window to leverage the sweet spots in the program. In its current state, Alaska miles are one of the most valuable airlines currency in the market and come with great airline partners and routing sweet spots (including stopover on on-way awards) – couple of examples;

  • Cathay Pacific from North America to Asia (Cathay Pacific Business Class on 777-300ER review 2018), o/w for 30K/35K/50K/70K across all cabins
  • Fiji Airways (no first class) and Qantas from North America to Australia, o/w for 55k in Business or 70K in First Class
  • American Airlines from North America to Europe, o/w for 22.5K/57.5K across Econ and Business

If you plan on purchasing miles, I recommend using them in a short turnaround, because there is a good chance we see some devaluations as the generous Alaska MileagePlan joins OneWorld.

Additional Terms and Conditions of the promotion

  • Transactions must be completed between 6:00 AM PST November 13, 2020 and 11:59 PM PST December 23, 2020 to be eligible for bonus miles.

  • Miles are purchased from Points.com Inc. for a cost of $27.50 per 1,000 miles, plus GST/HST for Canadian residents. QST will be charged to Quebec residents.

  • Miles are non-refundable and do not count toward MVP and MVP/Gold status.

  • You may purchase and gift Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles in increments of 1,000 miles up to 60,000 miles, and in increments of 5,000 miles up to a maximum of 100,000 miles per transaction.

  • MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan member (Elite Member) accounts have no annual limit on the number of miles which may be purchased or gifted through Points.com. If you are not an Elite Member, your account may only be credited up to a maximum total of 150,000 miles acquired through Points.com in a calendar year, whether purchased by you or gifted to you.

  • Offer is subject to change and all terms and conditions of the Mileage Plan Program apply.

 

By: Points Miles and Bling
Title: Surprise Alaska 50% bonus promotion, buy miles at 1.83 cents per mile
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/surprise-alaska-50-bonus-promotion-buy-miles-at-1-83-cents-per-mile/
Published Date: Tue, 17 Nov 2020 18:05:04 +0000

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Sponsored: The Modern Sapien: Book One: The American – Sci-Fi, Apocalyptic, Satire Book Review

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Sponsored – this review is sponsored by writer of The Modern Sapien, John Michael Thomas.

 

PREMISE

For the most part, I’ve been stuck inside since March, due to COVID-19. I’ve had to cancel plenty of travel plans, and have been cooped up in my place due to my pre-existing condition making COVID a higher threat for people like me. While I have been daydreaming and planning future trips – late in 2021, hopefully – I’ve been trying to improve my knowledge base and read more. The author reached out and asked if I’d do a review, and I said I’d be happy to read and review. I purchased The Modern Sapien on Amazon for $2.99 for Kindle, and there is also a paperback and Kindle Unlimited subscription option.

Per the author, The Modern Sapien “…takes place in future phoenix, and is a satirical take on the way we live. It’s sci fi cyberpunk.” Sounds good to me, I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, alternative history, and the like from authors like Robert Conroy or Harry Turtledove, so this should be a fun review. I’m writing this as I read through it, which is something I have not done before.

Cover art from Amazon

 

Initial Thoughts

I’m not even 10% into the book, and it lives up to what he said – satirical take on the way we live. Set ~80 years in the future, the EU has launched their neucular arsenal against what’s left of the United States, based in Phoenix, and people are not only not afraid, they welcome the destruction. Lots of discussion about warring hash-tags and selfies and the misery olympics, between presumably better-off people of Phoenix ‘almost’ dying and having conniptions, and the “poverty-stricken Malawi” saying welcome-to-my-everyday-life in Africa. Definitely a very reputation-oriented culture in this book, which reminded me of the episode “Majority Rule” by FOX’s Orville by Seth McFarlane, where citizens rate each other and appearance is everything.
The book’s structure of data entries from various character’s point of view is a bit jarring, not entirely setting the stage for readers to grasp. Who is this person, why is this person the perspective that is important – is not entirely clear. Similar to the World War Z book where it’s told from different person’s perspectives, perhaps later in the book they’ll tie together somehow.
Modern Sapien paints a fantastical, disparate picture of the world 80 years in the future, due to the devastation from something called the “Seattle Hack” led by evil villain Jeff Bezos, and how companies became conglomerates and their own city-states to survive. There’s a online universe called the Nexus, which is similar to the Oasis from Ready Player One or the Matrix virtual reality, but with the real-life costs of the movie Surrogates, where the humans still need nutrients to survive. It is strongly anti-consumerism, I think, highlighting the reverence and honor paid to the Red Solo cup for example, as a goal to be achieved – everyone wants an authentically created one, rather than a “fabricated” product.
A quarter of the way in, the book starts to explain the setting. I’m a bit confused why it’s brought up here, when it should have been at the beginning, but I just shrug and move on.
I learned a lot more about encryption than I cared or needed to know, but interesting nonetheless, at a very basic level.

Relatable

While it is sci-fi and futuristic, it is relatable, such as when the Japanese kid at his graduation party (called adulting party) gets mobbed by far off relatives he barely knows, or is forced by his parents to make small talk and say hello to people he just could not care about. I certainly understand that feeling, as growing up I was told to go say hi to this person or talk to that person, and I just hated feeling like a talking, dancing monkey.

There’s a very good Handmaid’s Tale vibe of sacrificing freedoms for security with protection military and drones. Give up your guns, and everyone is safe (thanks to the drones)

Very distinct sci-fi vibe, maybe steampunk I could see as well.

 

Themes

As I’m progressing through the book I’m getting a very weird Brave New World vibe where everything, everyone has its place. The satire continues, as the author mocks vegetarians, war hawks, gun nuts, the younger generation, social media obsession, consumerism, religion, and many other topics. Very interesting, making me develop a mental ??? as I’m reading through it.

 

CONCLUSION

I did notice and do some double-takes over various typos in the book, which I assume an editor would have caught, which can change the wording or meaning of the sentences. That’s not ideal, but a good first effort. I would certainly read more about other books in the series once they are released, and for a reasonable $3 for 200+ pages, I’m pretty pleased with this purchase, sponsored or not. It boots you off to this parallel world where things are different, yet vaguely the same. I was not expecting some of the NSFW language or scenes I found in the book, so I wouldn’t prescribe it for young adults, but to each their own.

You can purchase a copy or learn more about the book on Amazon here.

 

 

Sponsored – this review is sponsored by writer of The Modern Sapien, John Michael Thomas.

Featured Image is from Pixabay. Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which, should you click through and/or make a purchase, grant me a commission. Also, I only post in the best interest of my readers. Lastly, thank you for supporting my blog and my travels. 

What do you think of my writing? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments, or reach me directly at TheHotelion@gmail.com! Like my posts? See more here, on TravelUpdate! Follow me on Facebook (The Hotelion) or on Twitter and Instagram: @TheHotelion

By: The Hotelion
Title: Sponsored: The Modern Sapien: Book One: The American – Sci-Fi, Apocalyptic, Satire Book Review
Sourced From: travelupdate.com/the-modern-sapien-american-sci-fi-apocalyptic-book-review/
Published Date: Tue, 17 Nov 2020 01:41:35 +0000

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