Cruising and Vaccination. Or, “no jab, no cruise”.

This could be titled:- What will allow 5000 people to get off a cruise ship for a day in a foreign country?

The future is unknown. Any pondering can quite rightly be accused of being fake news and there has been no shortage of that in cruise reporting. The facts and quite loosely these are

  1. The world is known to have a problem.
  2. In most countries, there is a rush to roll out a mass vaccination program.
  3. Many countries have closed or added conditional access at their borders. Some including the UK are insisting on an isolation period on arrival (at the traveler’s own cost).
  4. Most countries have laws protecting workers. Most insist the employer takes all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their workers.
  5. Most countries have laws expecting travel companies to protect their guest’s safety, and that would mean following national and international guidelines.

Add into the mix, many of us regularly receive unsolicited phone calls from ambulance-chasing solicitors asking us about our accident at work or recent car crash. In short, the slightest chance that there might be a class action against a large body, employer, cruise agent or other, means all major operators must be discussing liability, law, safety, and marketing on most working days. The questions under discussion may include whether they can insist on vaccinations legally, for their staff or for guests. Beyond that, they may have to consider if accepting un-vaccinated guests and having an outbreak will fill the hospital units mean having to turn away guests with non-virus problems. Will it mean being turned away from ports and have all guests miss ports.

To say it is complex is in itself a simplicity that has us fully understanding the stance SAGA made. No jab no cruise. The others remain quiet, and the rest is just chatter filling news pages.

Fake cruise news is at a peak, with outrageous claims like the world outbreak having caused over 30 ships to be sold. We have seen these force sale ships listed but know they were to be sold in the normal plans for this year. When you see ships from cruise operators like Fred Olsen on that list, place your facemask on and turn away from the bull. Fred Olsen sold older ships, to replace them with larger classic ships which could better serve the future direction of their company. It was an increase. Many operators have sold smaller ships because they are purchasing bigger or maybe just newer ships.

We have all heard experts say the vaccine may not be 100%, and not be a magic wand, but history tells us that many modern problems from smallpox to polio and measles have been almost eradicated with a vaccination program in place.

At Doris Visits we have 43 cruise chat sites as well as the YouTube port guide channel and the novel series on fictional cruise crime. The debates on the chat sites have rather shocked all of the moderators, that some fail to see a form of conditional travel could be the future… just like your traveling pets have to have a vaccine record book and livestock has to have licenses.

We have from the outset said to all; should you decide to have the jab, you might perhaps consider getting the best record you can get of that jab. Legally you can have these records in the UK. We have said, get everything you can. The card that some places seem to issue with your name and NHS number, the date and batch… plus get your vaccine book filled in and stamped, get a doctor’s print out of all your vaccines.

So what has been said so far?

SAGA has been clear; when they restart, and the current plan is for June, they will only allow guests who have had both jabs and have proof. That is how we read it, check on their web site here and see how you read it. We are sure these will not be alone in demanding vaccinations to access services.     SAGA ON VACCINE

REGENT SEVEN SEAS, OCEANA etc.   Frank J. Del Rio is the president and chief executive officer of S&P 500 company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH), which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Del Rio has used chosen words while waiting for experts and lawyers he relies on, but has said on a Zoom call to the press that he expects cruising to restart in 2021 and possibly even to Alaska. He has also admitted that….

“There is talk beginning to emerge from different corners of the travel industry, the airlines as well, of requiring some kind of immunity passport demonstrating that you’ve had the virus or been vaccinated so that you are good to go.”

However, he is not alone in looking into how this will be legally enforceable. He does appear to think it can be legally required of the multi-cultural crew that has to serve you, who travel in from tens of countries and some changing over weekly, monthly and others on long contracts but with visiting families during their work contracts.

“It will certainly be a requirement for the crew, but it’s too early to tell whether we have the legal standing to mandate that you take a vaccine to come onboard — lawyers are looking at it as we speak. We have to build confidence in our customers and among ourselves that it’s safe to cruise.”

But, will the Asian workforce be filled with scams and forgeries of such paperwork, how will its authenticity be checked, and what will be the sentence to such a crime. That too must be being discussed along with the logistics as to where do such offenders get sent? Will they be offloaded to a secure prison at each port until deported at their own cost on security planes? You have to smile at guests who think they can outwit those outwitters or that these secure units might not apply to them.

As for Carnival, the parent company of P&O and Cunard, it appears we await a decision. As stated in various press outlets, Donald Arnold The Carnival Corp. CEO is alleged to have said it will be a while before such a decision is made.

When it is, it will be big news but our prediction is the three major cruise operators will announce together and probably with an industry body. Until then it is all fake news to fill pages. So, what you are seeing are predictions. Something else we predict …. is that they are now discussing how to deal with forgeries if people try to cruise with false documents. The storyteller’s imagination fills with those trying to travel against contracted terms being thrown off at foreign ports, but the ports not wanting them. What then? That their embassies having to house them is seconded hotels, at the holidaymakers own pocket, then repatriate them in a special airplane at their own cost. Are we already hearing murmurings of this isolation and other cost being made against the traveler? Just watch the news. Traveling illegally could be hugely expensive and it is unlikely any insurance company would cover such a breach. The press will fill with stories of personal financial downfalls – have we gone too far?

We predicted no jab no cruise at the outbreak last year and wove it into book 5 of the cruise crime novels. We were on the Aurora in new Orleans as the outbreak widened at the start of 2020 (February). I was finishing the fourth novel Cruise Ship Art Theft which took place in part, in New Orleans. I had started writing the next, a murder novel, and the fifth in the cruise crime series. I quickly spoke with some friends who assured me that whilst it had not even been squeaked about, what we were in was a pandemic and it wouldbe huge. I remember sitting on the Southbank on my return explaining exactly how it would spread and why, that was at the end of March. I changed the whole novel to be a  story on the first cruise down after lockdown. I dreamt of the measures in place. It was published nearly six months ago and is now uncannily being played out from the vaccine requirement to what happens to the buffet … and then there are murders.

In short, whilst all but SAGA hold back on a vaccine proclamation there appears to be an across-the-board admission that the industry is deep in discussion with lawyers and others. However, within those leaks, it appears within statements are the suggestions that the crew will have to have to be vaccinated. These workers from every corner of the globe, prepare the food and clean the ship. At every port, some are changed; some weekly (entertainers and theatrical), some monthly, and some on nine-month contracts (who are allowed to have, and do have, their families visit and some with guest status). (The backbone of our book Laundry Wars where a cruise ship is used for human trafficking).
No surprise, that forged vaccine documents is now a topic we see appearing in those circles. Not only must the industry be discussing that, but the knock-on effect of how to deal with that. Will the Asian and other workforce be subjected to scams and forgeries of such vaccine paperwork? If just one cruise passenger has thought it, then rest assured they are way behind the curve. So, how will such authenticity be checked, and what will be the sentence to such a crime? That too must be being discussed along with the logistics as to where do such offenders get sent? You can’t announce a law without a sentence and how it might be served. So, will they be offloaded to a secure ‘prison’ at each port until deported at their own cost on security planes? Will offending guests be incarcerated with the offending crew within that port secure area? (outside the country) Will this all be at the offender’s cost? You have to smile at the crew and guests who think they can outwit those outwitters. We storytellers and novelists often let our imaginations rage way in front of reality. That is how the drama we create comes about, and Doris Visits has always been lead by such creators, not travel agents. Your movie and TV drama is our history and is what makes us different. Drama is there not just to entertain but to provoke thought.
You may have seen the author on a ship giving an after-dinner speech or a lecture, his page is here. Stuart St Paul – click here  

Essentials – cruise travel labels and our cruise crime novels – oh, and the seasickness bands.

The Port guides here on Doris Visits are a great way to remember your cruise and share with your friends. Cruise crime novels are a whole new experience. You may not have been to the ports in the novels, you certainly won’t have been to the parts of the ship they use. All the cruise crime novels will make you feel like you are in the adventure and on the ship.

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