Categories
Cruises

Over a Dozen Cruises Still Stranded at Sea

Since March 13, all cruise operations from U.S. ports have been suspended in a decision made responding to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, this left nearly 20 ships stranded at sea struggling to find a safe port.

In a statement to CNN, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) confirmed that about 5.4 percent of its fleet was still at sea.

Several of the stranded ships are currently carrying passengers. Zaandam of Holland America Line was denied by several ports after confirming that 73 guests and 116 crew members were experiencing influenza-like symptoms.

Healthy guests were transferred to the Rotterdam, and both ships are currently making their way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where they are expected to dock on March 30. Holland America Line has confirmed four deaths aboard Zaandam.

A majority of the ships are experiencing less panicked voyages than Zaandam, however, as many of them have had no reported cases of coronavirus.

These include Arcadia of P&O Cruises UK, Coral Princess and Pacific Princess of Princess Cruises, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 of Cunard, MSC Magnifica of MSC Cruises, Celebrity Eclipse of Celebrity Cruises and Columbus and Vasco de Gama of Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

The ships are all currently en route to different ports that have permitted them to dock.

Some ships that are still at sea were at least able to evacuate their passengers before setting sail once again. These include Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa of Costa Cruises, Azura of P&O Cruise UK and Hanseatic Nature and Europa of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Several crew members aboard Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa have tested positive for coronavirus.

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Categories
Transport

Hundreds of Thousands Still Flying as Air Travel Slows

Despite facing new challenges including flight cancellations due to government restrictions and pressure to stay home to slow the spread amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to board flights throughout the U.S.

However, the dropoff has been dramatic compared to previous years and passenger numbers continue to decline rapidly with each passing day.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported 239,234 travelers nationwide on Wednesday, March 25, 40,000 fewer than Tuesday, March 24. For perspective, TSA reported 2,273,811 total travelers on March 25 of last year.

As airlines scramble to reduce capacity, park planes, cut staff and adjust their schedules, TSA figures show that demand continues to trend downward. The number of airborne travelers has decreased every day since March 15, when 1,519,442 Americans boarded planes. The steady decline has been dramatic also, with totals dropping by hundreds of thousands and now tens of thousands each day.

From March 13—the day President Trump declared a national emergency over COVID-19—to March 23, the number of air travelers is down 63 percent compared to the same period in 2019. TSA reported more than 2 million travelers every day between March 4-25, 2019 but only three times during the same period this year, the last time coming on March 8.

With fewer and fewer passengers boarding flights, airlines have been making changes to their policies and services, eliminating middle seats and reducing food and beverage service to increase the distance between people and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Airlines did receive good news this week in the form of a $50 billion bailout as part of a $2 trillion stimulus package agreed to by the U.S. Senate to aid the domestic economy.

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Categories
Travel

Some National Parks Are Still Open — What to Know Before Heading Out


During the time of coronavirus, the terms social distancing and isolation have become a norm, but that doesn’t mean you need to hole up in your home for the duration. The outdoors are still yours for the taking — with some precaution of course — as getting some fresh air may be the key to a happy quarantine.

a tree in a forest: Yosemite National Park

If you’re thinking about heading to a nearby national park, there are a few things you should know.

Many of the country’s national parks remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak, although most have cut services, canceled programs and closed visitor centers with park shuttles, restaurants and ranger-guided programs also on hold. A good rule of thumb is that most services that require employee-visitor close interaction have been suspended. Many parks have also temporarily closed their camping sites. Check your park’s status before visiting.

While Washington state national parks are still open, with the request that visitors follow their newly implemented guidelines, while parks and monuments like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island in New York have closed.

California closed all camping grounds at its state parks, although trails and beaches remain open, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The National Park Service (NPS) has suspended entry fees at all open parks, until further notice.

“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks.” Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a statement.

The measure also reduces the amount of NPS employees who are exposed to potential health risks.

The NPS recommends that all visitors to parks across the country practice good hand-washing behavior, cover their mouth when sneezing or coughing and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. Be sure to continue practicing social distancing (stay about six feet away from other people) to reduce your chances of falling ill. And, most importantly, stay home if you are feeling sick.

Click here for the most recent updates on coronavirus from Travel + Leisure.


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