Around 16,000 Australians flouted government advice and travelled overseas during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research.On 18 March, the Australian Federal Government changed its advice for all international travel, raising the risk to level 4.
Holland America Line’s Zaandam and Rotterdam have finally reached port after 12 days at sea. The two ships, which are carrying Zaandam’s original passengers split between them, have been sailing together since Rotterdam came to her sister ship’s aid on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. Zaandam had been sailing a South America cruise that began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7, and was originally scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. Attempts were made and denied to disembark guests in Chile on March 15 and at other ports on the way to Florida. Guests had not left the ship since March 14 and were subject to self-isolation in their staterooms since March 22. After lengthy negotiations and the intervention of President Trump, the two ships were cleared for arrival into Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There had been resistance to allow them to dock, because since March 22, 107 guests (90 on Zaandam/17 on Rotterdam) and 143 crew on Zaandam (0 on Rotterdam) had influenza-like symptoms. Orlando Ashford, the president of the cruise line, made a passionate plea for help, describing the situation as a ‘humanitarian crisis’. Rotterdam arrived in port with 808 guests and 583 crew; Zaandam with 442 guests and 603 crew. Across the two ships there were 229 British passengers.
The cruise ship on which four passengers died from Covid-19 and others became critically ill has finally been allowed to dock in Florida.President Trump overruled the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, who initially rejected permission for Zaandam to end her long voyage at her home port of Fort Lauderdale.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring travel to a standstill worldwide, many passengers are finding that their flights have been cancelled.Under normal circumstances, getting a refund would be a fairly straightforward task.
Turn confinement into the ultimate luxury staycation, says Emma Love, by giving your house a hotel makeover, complete with a party-starting cocktail bar and in-room spa One of the best things about checking into a hotel is that moment when you unlock the door and arrive in the sanctuary of your room. Now that most of us are confined in our homes, it’s the perfect opportunity to work on making them places we really want to be, and recreating that feeling of calm in our own spaces. “To be cosy and provoke an emotion, interior decoration should tell a story,” says Arnaud Zannier, whose hotels include Phum Baitang in Siem Reap (where the Jolie-Pitt clan stayed for months) and Ghent’s 1898 The Post. “Choose one or two remarkable pieces – whether that’s objets, candles or flowers, anything that brings personality to a room – and put the emphasis on those.” “I like to compose a few areas of focus – perhaps a painting, a table, a stack of books – but for me, bed linen is the key to making a bedroom look plush,” says Karen Roos, co-owner of The Newt in Somerset among other hotels, and former editor of Elle Decoration in South Africa.
Britain’s holiday industry began 2020 in great shape.The damage that Brexit will wreak on travellers and businesses had been postponed until the end of the year. Instead, everyone was talking of growth: more people venturing to more places, enjoying better value and safer journeys than ever before.
Although Australia is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic like the rest of the world, there is a sliver of good news for the land Down Under – the first rescued koalas are starting to be released into the wild.The marsupials were rescued from their bushfire-ravaged habitats last year, and have been in the care of zoos and animal hospitals ever since.
Airlines should have rigorous stipulations around lowering carbon emissions attached to any government bailout or financial support, says the former EU climate commissioner.As carriers struggle amid the worldwide grounding of flights due to the coronavirus pandemic, they are appealing to governments to give them cash injections and packages of measures to enable their continued survival.
National Express has announced that it’s suspending all coach services from 11.59pm Sunday 5 April until further notice.The firm will stop selling tickets for journeys after this date with immediate effect. This will apply to its own website as well as third part resellers.
British nationals stranded in Pakistan have criticised the UK government’s “appalling” behaviour after it failed to organise rescue flights to bring them home.A campaign has been launched demanding the Foreign Office (FCO) take urgent action, such as chartering subsidised flights.
The UAE flight ban, which left tens of thousands of travellers stranded when it was introduced at short notice, is to be eased – but at first only for passengers outbound from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.The biggest international hub on the planet, Dubai Airport, was closed to flights on Emirates and other airlines – as was Abu Dhabi, home to Etihad.
Three weeks since they last stepped on dry land, hundreds of passengers aboard the Zaandam may soon be allowed to leave the stricken cruise ship.President Trump has intervened to overturn the decision by Florida’s governor that the vessel could not dock at its home port, Fort Lauderdale.
Three months ago, British Airways and its staff were beginning what was expected to be their most successful-ever year.Today BA, in common with the rest of the airline industry, is on life-support as scheduled flying reaches a near-standstill.
Viking Cruises is to introduce Mississippi cruises from August 2022, with the longest itineraries connecting New Orleans with St Paul. Sailing on a custom-built vessel, the Viking Mississippi, the voyages will cross through seven US states. Ports of call will include Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Darrow, New Orleans and St Francisville); Mississippi (Natchez and Vicksburg); Tennessee (Memphis); Missouri (Hannibal, St Louis); Iowa (Burlington, Dubuque and Davenport); Wisconsin (La Crosse); and Minnesota (Red Wing, St Paul). Voyages for the inaugural 2022-2023 season are already on sale for Viking’s past guests and bookings will open to the general public on April 15. Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said: “At a time where many of us are at home, looking for inspiration to travel in the future, I am pleased to introduce a new, modern way to explore this great river. Our guests are curious travellers, and they continue to tell us that the Mississippi is the river they most want to sail with us. No other waterway has played such an important role in America’s history, commerce and culture.” This new river cruise destination for Viking follows on from the company’s announcement earlier this year that it was launching its first expedition ships, Viking Octantis in January 2022 and Viking Polaris in August 2022. In the last eight years, Viking has introduced more than 60 new river cruise ships and six ocean ships. Viking Mississippi will accommodate 386 guests in 193 staterooms, all outside facing. Currently under construction in Louisiana, the line claims the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the largest and most modern cruise ship in the region. Regular guests will recognise the clean Scandinavian design, reimagined for Mississippi river voyages.
US airlines are continuing to refuse to collect passenger data that would aid in tracing and contacting those who may have contracted coronavirus.The US government has been attempting to make carriers provide travellers’ information for 15 years, ever since health officials assessed the weak spots in their response to the Sars outbreak.
York’s only five-star hotel, The Grand, scored just one for food hygiene after a recent inspection.Inspectors cited a number of issues after visiting the property on 21 February.
As another Air France flight heads for Delhi to rescue French nationals from India, anger is growing about the slow pace of the British repatriation effort.While Air France has flown more than 200 rescue missions since the coronavirus crisis began, the UK has yet to reach double figures in government-sponsored repatriation flights.
Marriott International, the hotel group that owns global chains including Marriott, St Regis and The Ritz-Carlton, has suffered a major security breach – its second in three years.The company announced on 31 March that details of up to 5.2 million customers could have been accessed between mid-January and the end of February this year.
Nearly half of all major UK insurers have now stopped selling travel insurance as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect trips worldwide.Some 31 of the nation’s 75 leading insurers have pulled their travel insurance offerings, according to Which?.
Around 2,500 people have signed up to potentially join a class action lawsuit against an Austrian ski resort after contracting coronavirus following a holiday there.Ischgl in the Tyrol region is already under investigation after hundreds of cases were traced back to the resort.
The cruise ship Zaandam is continuing to sail towards Fort Lauderdale in Florida – though with no certainty that she will be able to dock there.Four passengers, including one British traveller, have died on the Holland America Line vessel, with two of the victims confirmed to have had coronavirus.
The shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry MP, has done valuable work on behalf of us all. So she deserves to be cut some slack in what are likely to be her final few days in the post.Yet her intervention in the debate about bringing Brits home from abroad looks perplexing, to put it politely.
Pilots working for Qantas have approved the airline’s proposals for operating nonstop flights between London and Sydney.The Australian carrier plans to use Airbus A350 jets to launch the world’s longest air link in the first half of 2023.
Five Canadian airlines are being sued for breach of contract after refusing to issue full refunds to travellers for cancelled flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.The class-action lawsuit has been taken out against Air Canada, WestJet, Swoop, Air Transat and Sunwing.
Is quarantine giving you cabin fever? There may be a temporary solution: become an armchair traveller.Destinations and attractions around the world are wising up to the fact that people would still like to “visit”, even if they can’t physically be there, and are making use of technology accordingly.