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Travel

A Celebrity Cruise Sets Sail, the First Post-Pandemic

One by one, the passengers pulled down their masks and rejoiced as they cleared security and health screening to board the first cruise ship sailing out of North America since the pandemic was declared in March of last year.One woman threw her bag on the floor and started shimmying to the Caribbean calypso beat playing in the welcome hall. Another triumphantly bumped fists with a crew member before giving him a hug, while an older man stood still and gazed at the elated guests, his eyes welling up as he processed the reality of being back on a cruise, one of over 400 he has taken in his lifetime.“We’re back, we’re home,” one passenger yelled as she entered the vessel. “Welcome back ma’am,” a crew member responded with a gleaming smile. “We’ve missed you.”For many of the 600 or so passen...

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Travel

Confused? Overwhelmed? You May Have Travel Whiplash.

The experience of traveling from Point A to Point B is overwhelming and jarring, especially if, like me, you spent the past year cocooning at home. Now, because of my work, I’ve taken eight flights over the last two months, and in each instance the airports have been packed, planes full and people have resorted back to old habits of pushing and shoving with little regard for Covid etiquette.Added to the usual disorientation of international travel is the new dimension of adjusting to your destination’s point in the Covid timeline, as the pandemic plays out at different rates. Total lockdown at your departure point might shift to a more easygoing freedom when you deplane. Then the whole thing happens in reverse. Traveling back and forth in Covid time causes a sense of whiplash as you jol...

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Travel

To Test Covid Protocols, Cruise Lines Turn to Volunteer Guinea Pigs

Since March of last year, cruise ships carrying more than 250 people have been prohibited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from sailing in U.S. waters. To start again, they need to follow a complex process that, in some cases, involves simulated cruises designed to test Covid-19 protocols. Hundreds of thousands of frustrated and restless cruise fans have lined up to be guinea pigs. Jennifer Juenke is one of them.“Ever since the C.D.C. shut down the cruise industry, we have been living through a complete nightmare,” said Ms. Juenke, one of more than 250,000 people who signed up for a test sailing with Royal Caribbean, a major cruise company. “It has been too long, and we are just raring to go.”On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean became the first cruise line to receive approval...

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Travel

U.S. Cruises Step Closer to Restarting as Alaska Bill Passes

Cruises from United States ports came one step closer to restarting this summer when the House approved a measure on Thursday that will temporarily allow large cruise ships to sail to Alaska and bypass a legal requirement to stop at Canadian ports, which have banned cruise ships until 2022 because of the pandemic.Most major cruise lines had canceled their summer Alaska voyages because most of the ships are foreign-owned and under maritime law they are required to visit at least one foreign port when traveling between states. Cruises between Washington and Alaska typically stop in Canada. Canada’s ban had effectively killed the Alaskan summer cruise season, which provides many of the state’s tourism dollars.The scenic port town of Skagway, set along a popular cruise route in southeast Al...

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Travel

‘It’s Not Quite Like Riding a Bike’: Pilots Get Ready to Fly Again

“The speed surprised me for one or two seconds, and my heart raced,” Mr. Gaad said. “The buildup of speed, the buildup of altitude, the speed that you need to control during landing and other phases, it’s entirely different from what you’re used to, but then after oneor two flights you get used to it.”Another new reality for pilots flying during the pandemic: preparing to operate planes that have been parked for extended periods of time. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, or EASA, responsible for civil aviation safety in the European Union, has issued guidelines for identifying hazards like worn out aircraft parking brakes or wildlife nesting in the aircraft engine.“Airlines must factor in that pilots may need longer than normal to perform the necessary preflight checks on an ai...

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Travel

C.D.C. Eases Rules for Cruise Ships in U.S. Waters

Cruise ships that have been docked for more than a year could restart sailing in United States waters by mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a letter sent to the cruise industry late on Wednesday.After several meetings with cruise lines, the C.D.C. clarified several requirements in its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, which outlined the steps that cruise companies had to follow to resume operations in U.S. waters. The agency said it will let the companies skip test voyages if they attest that 98 percent of the crew and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated.Previously, the agency required cruise lines to give 30 days notice before starting a test cruise and to apply for a conditional sailing certificate 60 days before a planned regular voyage....

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Travel

Battle of the Seas: Cruise Lines vs. the C.D.C.

In the United States, flights are filling up, hotels are getting booked, vacation rentals are selling out and car rental companies are facing a shortage because of spiking demand.But one sector remains stalled: the cruise industry.Cruise ships sailing out of United States ports have been docked for more than a year following a series of outbreaks of the coronavirus onboard vessels at the start of the pandemic. Now, cruise companies can restart operations only by following rules laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October.Earlier this month, the C.D.C. published a set of technical guidelines to help cruise companies prepare their ships to start sailing again in line with those rules, which were set out in the agency’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. B...

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Travel

What to Know About the C.D.C. Guidelines on Vaccinated Travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance for fully vaccinated Americans on Friday, saying that traveling both domestically and internationally was low risk.The long-awaited recommendations were issued by federal health officials after a series of studies found that vaccines administered in the United States were robustly effective in preventing infections in real-life conditions.Still, the C.D.C. is not recommending travel at this time because of the rising number of cases of the coronavirus, both at home and abroad.One is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots.If you decide to travel, you might still have so...

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Travel

Can U.S. Travelers Go To Europe? Here’s What to Know

With the number of people in the United States vaccinated against the coronavirus climbing, Americans are starting to explore their prospects for international travel this summer, a season when Europe is traditionally a big draw.Most of Europe has been off-limits to most U.S. citizens for over a year, and the continent is currently grappling with a third wave of coronavirus infections and a surge in new, more contagious variants, making it unclear when its borders will reopen. But some European countries have started to welcome vaccinated travelers, including American tourists, and others are making preparations to ease restrictions in time for the summer season.Vaccine and health certificates that would help speed travel are under development, which could make it easier for tourism to ...

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