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Travel

Covid 19 coronavirus : Lufthansa flight makes low pass over Auckland as it takes Germans home

The German airline Lufthansa bid a fond farewell to New Zealand today with a low pass over Auckland as its A380 left Aotearoa to take German citizens back home.

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Aucklanders were treated to the rare sight of the massive plane travelling low over the central city and Waitemata Harbour just before 10am today, with many heading outside to capture the rare event on photo and video.

They are on their way home, nice touch with the fly over Auckland.. pic.twitter.com/ssdyFpLdUT

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Travel

Travel agents breaking the law by refusing to refund holidaymakers, says Which?

Travel agents that are refusing to refund customers for cancelled holidays are breaking the law, according to a Which? investigation.

Holidaymakers have been in touch with the consumer champion to report that some travel firms are insisting they accept a rebooking or future travel voucher, rather than returning their money, after trips were derailed by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Package Travel Regulations mean those who have booked package trips including accommodation and travel are entitled to a full refund within two weeks of a cancellation by their agent or tour operator.

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But several companies have been flouting these rules, claim customers.

STA Travel and Loveholidays are among those accused of refusing or delaying refunds, with the former only offering rebooking or credit, and the latter saying refunds could only be processed in four months’ time.

Both firms told Which? they were basing their terms on Abta guidance.

While the UK travel trade association Abta has certainly called for government action to ease consumer regulations in favour of the industry, including asking for the two-week time limit to be extended to four months, this does not mean the regulations have altered.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, there have been no changes to consumer protection or companies’ legal requirement to offer refunds to customers in full for trips that are no longer going ahead.

Kane Pirie, founder and managing director of Vivid Travel and a former Abta board member, told The Independent that it was a “disgrace” that firms were denying holidaymakers refunds.

“A lot of travel companies are really short of cash,” he said. “I get that. But a lot of customers are really short of cash as well. And they want their money back.

“It’s a disgrace that parts of the industry are thinking now is the time to tell customers, ‘No, I know you’ve got a legal entitlement to this money but I’m not going to give it to you’.”

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, called travel agents’ refusal to pay people back “unacceptable”, adding that customers may “desperately need the money themselves due to financial pressures caused by coronavirus.”

STA Travel told Which?: “Abta is highlighting that customers may be offered a Refund Credit Note instead of an immediate cash refund, which can be used to book another holiday at a later date and, in the meantime, it is protected by Abta / ATOL.”

Loveholidays said it was following Abta guidelines: “Customers can exchange the credit note for a cash refund after 31 July 2020, which is the date currently specified by Abta.”

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Travel

India converts trains into hospitals in response to coronavirus pandemic

India’s railway network has announced it will convert trains into hospitals to house coronavirus patients after all passenger services were suspended at the end of March.

Indian Railways has said it plans to convert as many as 20,000 train carriages into isolation wards, complete with curtained-off beds, a nurses’ station, doctor’s cabin and space for medical supplies and equipment.

Each carriage can accommodate 16 patients.

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The first 5,000 isolation wards are due to be rolled out in two weeks, according to Rajesh Dutt Bajpai, executive director of information and publicity at the Railway Board.

“Preparing to Combat Coronavirus: In a novel initiative, Railways has converted train coaches into isolation wards for COVID-19 patients,” tweeted Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of railways and commerce and industry.

“Now, Railways will offer clean, sanitised and hygienic surroundings for the patients to comfortably recover.”

Once converted, the train carriages will travel to places in need of extra beds across Indian Railways’ network of 7,349 stations and 67,368km of track.

India was already struggling with low medical capacity before the pandemic hit, with just 0.5 beds per 1,000 residents on average.

These are also unevenly distributed, with cities much more likely to have increased capacity and equipment compared to rural areas.

By comparison, in 2017, the UK had an average of 2.54 hospital beds per 1,000 people, a number that’s half what it was 30 years ago, according to the King’s Fund. Japan has the highest number of beds, boasting just over 13 per 1,000 people.

“We have seen what China has gone through,” virologist and CEO of the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, Shahid Jameel, told CNN.

“It is imperative to increase this density, by whatever means in the shorter term, and more systematically in the longer term, once this outbreak is over.”

The new train wards will not service as fully functioning hospitals, but will used to treat Covid-19 patients who are not critically ill.

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Travel

Covid 19 coronavirus: Airbnb pays $415 million to hosts to cover cancellations

Airbnb has announced it will pay USD$250 million (NZ$415 million) to hosts around the world to help cover the cost of Covid-19 cancellations.

It has also extended its Extenuating Circumstances cancellation policy for guests to include reservations that begin anytime on or before May 31, if booked before March 14. Previously, it only applied to reservations up until April 14.

The home-sharing website has over seven million accommodations and 40,000 experiences, powered by local hosts.

Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky made the announcement today, along with details of a $16.5m dollar Superhost Relief Fund.

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Travel

Covid 19 coronavirus: the final flights before lockdown

A man is coughing in the seat behind me on the plane. It’s the type of cough which is hard to distinguish – it could be sickness, or the result of a lifelong smoking habit. Either way, it’s not muffled enough to be confident he’s wearing a mask, or coughing into his elbow, writes Juliette Sivertsen.

It was a snap decision to leave Auckland and fly to my hometown before the lockdown, and one that plagued me with anxiety. Was this an essential trip? Was it socially irresponsible for me to get on a plane? Would the airport and plane be filled with potential carriers of COVID-19? Who am I putting at risk in my quest to dash home before lockdown?

After receiving affirmation from family, friends and my editors, all understanding of my personal circumstances, I booked the flight. The cost of my Air New Zealand ticket jumped $100 within an hour of the lockdown announcement.

I prepared for chaos at the airport. News reports the previous day suggested a manic airport experience led by people panic-flying to their final destination. I expected it to be like flying on the Friday before Christmas, but without the promises of mince pies and brandy on my arrival. I was comforted by the promise of at least wine at my destination.

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Travel

Impact of Coronavirus on Travel Industry Job Losses Worsens




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    Determined to still travel, then a forced change
    Maria Cousins, who's from New Zealand, was set to start some big travel plans despite the coronavirus outbreak, but a development beyond her control halted her plans.

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Travel

Travel in the time of coronavirus

Time was my enemy, and the legions of officials and hangers-on at the Egyptian border post knew it. To move the dial further in their favour, they also knew I had no prospect of turning back.

I was halfway through what should have been a simple 90-minute journey from Tabuk in northwest Saudi Arabia to Cairo. But the day before departure, the government in Riyadh banned all flights to and from Egypt. 

As alarm about coronavirus has surged across the world, barriers have gone up as never before over the past two weeks. The World Health Organisation regards travel bans as ineffective at best, counter-productive at worst.

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In this coronavirus cold war, though, politicians appear to think that closing frontiers gives an impression of being in control. And it also creates the odd business opportunity.

My brief trans-Israel adventure ended at the Menachem Begin frontier post beside the Gulf of Aqaba. As the Israelis processed my departure, they warned their border was functioning as a valve: the new coronavirus policy meant foreign travellers could check out but not return.

As a parting gesture, the Israelis took £30 as departure tax – a mere hors d’oeuvre to the feast of enrichment that was about to begin on the Egyptian side of the border.

By now it was 3pm. The welcoming party knew that solo travellers crossing the frontier were likely heading at least as far as Dahab, about 100 miles down the coast, if not Sharm el Sheikh (60 miles further) or even Cairo. And night falls early in the far east of Egypt. “Tip?”

The first man I encountered was wearing a mask. His task was to take my temperature. His tone of voice was less a question, more an instruction: indicating that my subsequent progress depended on money changing hands. I negotiated him down from 20 shekels (£4) to five.

Next step: the Egyptian visa fee, because I was going beyond the Sinai peninsula to Cairo.

Egypt has a straightforward visa-on-arrival system. At each border there is a bank. You pay US$25 (£22) and get a visa sticker, which a frontier official sticks in your passport and cancels.

Top: Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Bottom: Charles Bridge, Prague

Grand Mosque, Mecca

2/20 Grand Mosque, Mecca

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

3/20 Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Nabi Younes market, Mosul

4/20 Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

5/20 Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

Charles Bridge, Prague

6/20 Charles Bridge, Prague

Taj Mahal hotel, India

7/20 Taj Mahal hotel, India

Dubai Mall, UAE

8/20 Dubai Mall, UAE

Beirut March, Lebanon

9/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Gateway of India, Mumbai

10/20 Gateway of India, Mumbai

Cairo University, Egypt

11/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Amman Citadel, Jordan

12/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

13/20 Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Beirut March, Lebanon

14/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Cairo, Egypt

15/20 Cairo, Egypt

Cairo University, Egypt

16/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Victoria Memorial, India

17/20 Victoria Memorial, India

Amman Citadel, Jordan

18/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Amman Citadel, Jordan

19/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Sidon, Lebanon

20/20 Sidon, Lebanon

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Top: Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Bottom: Charles Bridge, Prague

Grand Mosque, Mecca

2/20 Grand Mosque, Mecca

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

3/20 Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Nabi Younes market, Mosul

4/20 Nabi Younes market, Mosul

Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

5/20 Basra Grand Mosque, Iraq

Charles Bridge, Prague

6/20 Charles Bridge, Prague

Taj Mahal hotel, India

7/20 Taj Mahal hotel, India

Dubai Mall, UAE

8/20 Dubai Mall, UAE

Beirut March, Lebanon

9/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Gateway of India, Mumbai

10/20 Gateway of India, Mumbai

Cairo University, Egypt

11/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Amman Citadel, Jordan

12/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

13/20 Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Beirut March, Lebanon

14/20 Beirut March, Lebanon

Cairo, Egypt

15/20 Cairo, Egypt

Cairo University, Egypt

16/20 Cairo University, Egypt

Victoria Memorial, India

17/20 Victoria Memorial, India

Amman Citadel, Jordan

18/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Amman Citadel, Jordan

19/20 Amman Citadel, Jordan

Sidon, Lebanon

20/20 Sidon, Lebanon

At Taba, though, an extra formality is interposed. A “travel agent” with a clipboard demanded I pay $35 (£30) for “visa service” before I could buy the visa sticker. Oh no I don’t, I protested. Oh yes you do, he and the passport guys chorused as they exchanged knowing grins. And no, I wasn’t getting a receipt.

I did get a receipt for the next fee: for the elaborate “border service” I had enjoyed, that would be 400 Egyptian pounds (£22). And one final morsel: five local pounds for “safety services and maintenance of devices”.

Egypt welcomes you with open arms, but only if your arms are full of money, I concluded. But things improved when I spied a dive operator from Dahab dropping off a client. He and I agreed a price of $30 (£26) for a ride down the coast.

But the border police ordered him to leave without me, then ordered me not to walk off along the road in case I could set up another ride. The only way out, they insisted, was to pay their taxi-driving friend three times as much. Not so much a welcome guest, more a walking ATM.

No country should be judged by the arrival experience, especially when it involves a succession of men as unrepresentative as they are unpleasant.

But petty officials and politicians extracting a short-term advantage from this terrible crisis should be aware that their behaviour is not cost-free. When the barriers finally come down, we travellers will remember how we were treated when they went up.

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Destinations

Coronavirus: These passengers can still enter the UAE even after travel ban

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    Duba: UAE has exempted a few categories of passengers from the travel ban as they are still allowed to enter the country.

    According to a notice issued by Dubai Airports and obtained by Gulf News, there is a list of people that will be allowed entry into the UAE. They include: UAE nationals, diplomatic passport holder, GCC nationals and airline crew. Transit passengers allowed only at the airport and cannot leave the airport.

    The UAE has barred passengers, including the UAE residency permit holder from entering the country for a period of two weeks starting March 19 as part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.

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    Coronavirus Travel Update: What to Know About Current Travel Restrictions


    The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus currently exceeds 165,000 confirmed cases across more than 100 countries. The virus originated in central China in late 2019, and its spread has crippled the travel and event industries. A ban on most travel from continental Europe (including the United Kingdom and Ireland) begins March 13, 2020, at midnight, but does not apply to American citizens or permanent legal residents.

    a airplane that is sitting on a chair: Should I Travel? Coronavirus travel restrictions flight cancellations

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has continuously updated its travel advisories for flights, cruises and international travel. It has also created recommendations to fight the spread of coronavirus in local communities. (U.S. News is keeping an updated list of the confirmed cases across the United States.) The cancellation or postponement of high-profile events, such as South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and Ultra Music Festival in Miami, has upended many travel plans.

    The CDC breaks its warning levels into three categories:

    • Warning Level 3: Avoid all nonessential travel.
    • Alert Level 2: Talk to a healthcare provider and consider postponing travel.
    • Watch Level 1: Exercise increased caution during travel.

    The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel (Warning Level 3) to the following destinations: China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. The CDC also advises against cruise travel, which puts people from around the world in close contact with one another. 

    Avoiding Coronavirus While Traveling

    To reduce the spread of coronavirus while traveling, the CDC recommends travelers take the following precautions:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Practice routine handwashing: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. (If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol.)
    • If traveling on a cruise, stay in your cabin when you are sick and let the onboard medical center know immediately if you develop a fever (100.4°F or higher), begin to feel feverish, or have other symptoms (such as cough, runny nose, shortness of breath or sore throat).

    What Areas are Most Affected By the Coronavirus Outbreak

    The coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China, and reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market in the area. Person-to-person spread is possible and accounts for the quick proliferation of the virus. Subsequently, many of the initial regions most affected by the coronavirus outbreak are near mainland China. The outbreak has spread to Europe and North America as well, with Italy, Iran and South Korea reporting the most confirmed cases. The CDC is reporting many instances in the United States, with multiple confirmed cases on both coasts, as well as numerous cases in the country’s interior.

    Asia: The CDC currently lists China and South Korea as Warning Level 3 and recommends that travelers avoid nonessential travel. It also lists Japan under Alert Level 2, meaning that travelers should undertake special precautions, especially high-risk travelers including, older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Hong Kong is listed as a Watch Level 1, so travelers visiting there should practice usual precautions.

    Europe: Trump announced a 30-day suspension of most travel from Europe (including the United Kingdom and Ireland). The suspension began March 13, 2020, at midnight. It will apply to most foreign nationals who have been in Europe in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the U.S., but will not apply to permanent U.S. residents or immediate family members of U.S. citizens. The CDC currently lists all of Europe under Warning Level 3 and recommends that travelers avoid nonessential travel. Italy and Spain are under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    North America: Nowhere in North America is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.

    Central America and the Caribbean: Nowhere in Central America and the Caribbean is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. Additionally, many countries throughout Central America and the Caribbean have implemented travel bans.

    South America: Nowhere in South America is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. Additionally, many countries throughout South America have implemented travel bans.

    Australia and the South Pacific: Nowhere in Australia is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. Travelers arriving in Australia are subject to a 14-day period of self-isolation.

    Africa: Nowhere in Africa is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.

    For updated information on the number of confirmed coronavirus cases by country, check the COVID-19 Interactive Map created by Johns Hopkins University.

    Coronavirus and Air Travel

    The CDC says that the risk of infection on an airplane is low due to how air circulates and is filtered. Many airlines have also adopted more thorough cleaning measures between flights, and several airlines have canceled flights to and from outbreak areas like mainland China. Additionally, Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from continental Europe. The ban began March 13, 2020, at midnight and does not apply to American citizens or permanent legal residents and their families. American, United and Delta airlines have capped fares between the U.S. and Europe to help impacted travelers.

    High-risk travelers may want to rethink their plans. To accommodate, many airlines are waiving change and cancellation fees. Keep in mind that travelers still have to make up the difference in rates for rebooked flights, and many of these policies have strict deadlines for when travel must be rescheduled.

    Below are the most recent cancellation policies for the top U.S. airlines:

    American Airlines Coronavirus Update: Any ticket purchased on or before March 1, 2020, for all travel scheduled through April 30, 2020, will not be subject to change fees. Additionally, tickets purchased on or before March 15, 2020, for scheduled travel through multiple European airports will not be subject to change fees through May 31, 2020. New tickets must be reissued on or before December 31, 2020, or 12 months from the original ticket date (whichever is earlier).

    Alaska Airlines Coronavirus Update: Fares purchased between Feb. 27 and March 31, 2020, as well as flights booked through April 30, 2020, can cancel their trip for credit or change their flights for no cancellation or change fees. Rebooked travel must begin by Feb. 28, 2021.

    Allegiant Air Coronavirus Update: Travelers can make a one-time change to their travel plans without change or cancellation fees by contacting customer service via phone, email or social media.

    Delta Air Lines Coronavirus Update: Tickets for travel during March and April 2020, as well as tickets purchased in March 2020, can be changed one time to an alternate itinerary. Additionally, all flights through May 31, 2020, to Shanghai and Beijing, China; Seoul, South Korea; and Europe and the United Kingdom can be changed one time to an alternate itinerary. Unused value can be transferred to the purchase of a new ticket, but rebooked travel must begin by Feb. 28, 2021.

    Frontier Airlines Coronavirus Update: Bookings made between March 10 and March 31, 2020, as well as travel through April 30, 2020, can be changed without fees. The new flights must be completed by Nov. 9, 2020, and must be booked within 90 days of the initial cancellation.

    Hawaiian Airlines Coronavirus Update: Tickets purchased between March 1 and March 31, 2020, and flights booked prior to March 9, 2020, for travel between March 1 and April 30, 2020, receive a waiver for a one-time change per ticket without fees.

    JetBlue Airways Coronavirus Update: Bookings made from Feb. 27 to March 5, 2020, for travel through June 1, 2020, and bookings made between March 6 and March 31, 2020, for travel by Sept. 8, 2020, can be refunded for a credit that’s valid for one year.

    Southwest Airlines Coronavirus Update: Funds used to pay for a flight can be applied to future flights as long as a reservation is canceled at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. The funds are valid for up to one year from the original purchase date.

    Spirit Airlines Coronavirus Update: Travelers who must alter their travel plans due to coronavirus can make a one-time free modification or receive a reservation credit for the full value of their purchase. The credit must be used within six months to book any flight currently available.

    United Airlines Coronavirus Update: Tickets issued between March 3 and March 31, 2020, as well as flights scheduled through April 30, 2020, can have the value of the ticket applied to a new ticket without a fee for up to one year from the original ticket issue date.

    Numerous airlines have also canceled or altered their itineraries to avoid travel to China.

    Note: The above waivers and flexible travel options only apply if you booked directly with the airline. If you booked with a third-party site, such as Expedia or Booking.com, you’ll need to get in touch with the third-party service to ask about a refund or flight credit.

    Coronavirus and Hotels

    Most hotel chains are waiving rebooking and cancellation fees for guests traveling to, through or from China and Italy. They are also updating their rewards programs to accommodate members in impacted areas.

    Marriott Hotels Coronavirus Update: Cancellation fees will be waived for existing reservations for stays before April 30, 2020, as well as new reservations made between March 13 and April 30, 2020, for any future date. Cancellations must be made at least 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.

    IHG Hotels & Resorts Coronavirus Update: Cancellation fees will be waived for existing and new booking at all IHG hotels globally for stays between March 9 and April 30, 2020.

    Hyatt Hotels Coronavirus Update: All reservations made before March 13 that are for arrivals between March 14 and April 30, 2020, as well as all reservations made between March 13 and April 30, 2020, for any future arrival date can be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. Additionally, World of Hyatt members who made nonrefundable reservations at any hotel on or before March 8 for travel through June 2020 can cancel their reservation and opt to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt bonus points.

    Hilton Hotels Coronavirus Update: All reservations scheduled before April 30, 2020, and new bookings made before April 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.

    Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Coronavirus Update: All existing direct bookings can be changed to the same number of nights for a future stay if the request is received at least two days prior to arrival. Guests traveling to or from China, South Korea or Italy will have their cancellation or change penalties waived for stays through March 31, 2020.

    Choice Hotels: For stays until March 31, 2020, guests traveling from China, South Korea Japan and Italy to the United States or Canada receive penalty-free cancellations, as well as guests traveling to China, Japan and Italy. For reservations within the United States or Canada made on or before March 10 for travel through April 30, 2020, guests can cancel their travel in exchange for Choice Privileges points (amount of points varies by the value of the reservation).

    Coronavirus and Vacation Rentals

    Airbnb Coronavirus Update: Reservations made on or before March 14, 2020, for stays and Airbnb Experiences between March 14 and April 14, 2020, may be canceled for a full refund. Airbnb will refund all service fees for covered cancellations. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual for reservations made after March 14, 2020, and for stays with check-in dates after April 14, 2020.

    HomeAway Coronavirus Update: Cancellation policies are at the discretion of each rental owner, but HomeAway encourages owners to issue full refunds. HomeAway will refund the Travelers Service Fees for canceled stays.

    Coronavirus and Cruises

    The Cruise Lines International Association has announced that cruise lines will be voluntarily and temporarily suspending cruise ship operations from U.S. ports of call for 30 days as public health officials and the U.S. government continue to address COVID-19.

    The U.S. Department of State warned that Americans, especially those with underlying conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. This is due to the increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment, according to the CDC.

    The following cruise lines have announced modifications to their cancellation and refund policies:

    Azamara Coronavirus Update: All cruises scheduled to sail before April 11, 2020 have been canceled. Travelers who booked these cruises can choose between a 125% credit. Guests booked on a cruise through July 31, 2020, can cancel up to 48 hours before departure and receive future cruise credit. The credits must be used by Dec. 31, 2021.

    Carnival Cruise Line Coronavirus Update: Travelers booked on sailings leaving between March 9 and 31, 2020, can rebook for a future date up to three days before sailing. Guests booked on cruises that depart between April 1 and May 31, 2020, can move their bookings to a future date by March 31, 2020. Guests booked on cruises that depart between May and September 2020 may move their bookings to a future date as long as they cancel at least 30 days in advance. Travelers who keep their itineraries will receive an onboard credit up to $3200, depending on the cruise length.

    Celebrity Cruises Coronavirus Update: Cruises set to embark before April 11, 2020, have been canceled.Cruisers can cancel trips up to 48 hours before sailing and receive a credit for a future cruise. This applies to any itineraries that depart through July 31, 2020.

    Crystal Cruises Coronavirus Update: Cruises set to embark before April 11, 2020, have been canceled. Guests who are currently booked on a cruise, and anyone who books a new cruise through 2020, are able to cancel up to seven days before sailing for a full credit for a future cruise through the end of 2022.

    Disney Cruise Line Coronavirus Update: All cruises from March 14 to April 12, 2020, are canceled. Guests impacted by the cancellations are offered a full cruise credit or refund.

    Norwegian Cruise Line Coronavirus Update: Cruises with embarkation dates from March 13 to April 11, 2020, have been canceled. Guests with embarkation dates between March 13 and March 17, 2020 will receive a credit for 150% of their original rate, while those with embarkation dates between March 18 and April 11, 2020 will receive a credit for 125% of their original rate. Guests can also opt to receive a full refund instead. Any new or existing bookings departing before Sept. 30, 2020, can be canceled up to 48 hours prior to sailing for a 100% credit on a future cruise. The credit can be used for any cruise on or before Dec. 31, 2022.

    Princess Cruises Coronavirus Update: All cruises are canceled until May 11, 2020. Travelers who booked a now-canceled cruise can choose between a refund and a credit worth more than the value of their initial cruise fare. The credit can be used on all voyages departing before May 1, 2022.

    Regent Seven Seas Coronavirus Update: All cruises set to depart before April 11, 2020, have been canceled. Guests have the option of a credit for 125% of their original cost or a full refund. Cruisers booked on a trip through Sept. 30, 2020, can cancel up to 48 hours before departure and receive a 100% credit toward a future cruise.

    Royal Caribbean Coronavirus Update: All cruises set to depart before April 11, 2020, have been canceled. Guests have the option of a credit for 125% of their original cost or a full refund. Travelers can cancel up to 48 hours before they sail and get credit toward a future cruise. This applies for cruises through July 31, 2020, and the cruise credit is valid through Dec. 31, 2021.

    Viking Coronavirus Update: All cruises between March 12 and April 30, 2020, will be canceled. Guests whose cruises fell between these dates have the option of a full refund or a travel voucher for 125% of their original cruise rate. All reservations made before April 30, 2020, for future cruises can be canceled up to 24 hours before scheduled departure for a full refund.

    Numerous cruise lines have also canceled or altered their itineraries to avoid travel and shore excursions to China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau and Italy.

    Coronavirus Travel Insurance

    Travel insurance related to delays and cancellations of trips due to the coronavirus outbreak is complicated. Typically, travel insurance will not cover problems related to the coronavirus outbreak because it has been dubbed a “known event.” It received that designation on Jan. 22, 2020. Additionally, many travel insurance policies often exclude coverage for issues that come up as a result of pandemics or epidemics.

    However, if you’ve purchased “cancel for any reason” coverage you may be in luck. This type of add-on insurance typically guarantees that a traveler will receive at least 50% to 75% of their insured nonrefundable and prepaid trip costs and deposits should the vacation be canceled for any reason not already covered. Keep in mind, this type of insurance must be purchased within a set number of days from the first payment (usually 21 days or less). So, if you booked a trip in January for travel in May, you are unable to go back and add that type of coverage to your trip. The trip must also be canceled at least two days prior to departure to take advantage of the cancel for any reason coverage.

    In some cases, your credit card may provide travel insurance and cover trip cancellations. Read more about if your credit card travel insurance covers the coronavirus here.

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    Travel

    Full list of countries where FCO is advising against travel amidst coronavirus

    The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on millions of holidaymakers' travel plans in recent months.

    The FCO has been forced to amend its travel advice as countries impose new restrictions for visitors, as well as trying to contain the spread of the virus.

    It has prompted the FCO to advise against all but essential travel to over 35 countries including China, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, Poland, the USA and South Africa.

    The change in advice isn't always for the entire country; in some cases it's for specific regions or due to border closures.

    As the pandemic continues, there have been thousands of flight cancellations (you can see the full list of affected airlines here ), cruise lines cancelling sailings , and uncertainty about whether to go ahead with travel plans.

    To shed some light, we have guides on coronavirus travel advice including what to do if your holiday destination is affected, as well as what insurance covers in the case of an outbreak.


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    In the meantime, you can see the full list of countries where the FCO advises against all but essential travel amidst coronavirus outbreaks.

    If the FCO does advise against travel to a destination where you had a holiday booked, your travel firm should get in touch to discuss your options – this may include rebooking your trip for a later date.

    ABTA explains: "Tour operators can offer alternative holidays if they are able to. If these mean a significant change to the original arrangements, for example spending the whole or part of the holiday in a different country, you aren’t obliged to accept the alternative and will be entitled to a full refund of the package price."

    Full list of countries where FCO advises against all but essential travel

    The below list is correct at the time of writing but subject to change. If you have travel plans you should check the latest FCO advice – you can search for your destination here .

    Source: Read Full Article