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Spring Cruises Look Unlikely to Sail

Virgin Voyages, a new cruise endeavor and part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, announced it would postpone the launch of its first ship, Scarlet Lady, from March to July.

Spring cruises to Europe are being canceled

Mid-March through April is the time of year many United States-based ships typically head across the Atlantic to begin the European cruising season. That season looks unlikely to go forward. The C.D.C. has classified Europe as an area with “Widespread Sustained Transmission” of Covid-19 and has given it a Level 3 Warning, asking citizens to avoid nonessential travel. That is the same warning level applied to China, South Korea and Iran. The State Department has restricted all but United States citizens and legal permanent residents from returning from Europe. And countries have instituted lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus.

Viking said it was temporarily suspending operations of river and ocean cruises, for embarkations taking place between March 12 and April 30. MSC Cruises has canceled trips departing from France and Italy through April 25.

Summer cruises to Alaska already curtailed

The Alaska cruising season, typically mid-May through the end of September will also take a hit. Marc Garneau, Canada’s Transport Minister announced (and tweeted) on March 13 that Canadian ports will not be open to cruise ships with 500 people or more until July. That includes Vancouver, an important Alaska cruise embarkation port, and Victoria, a popular cruise destination, in British Columbia. Cruise ships will not be allowed at all this year into Canadian Arctic ports, because health threats can be more severe in remote areas with less public health infrastructure.

Global cancellations

Princess Cruises announced a global suspension for its 18 ships for two months, so it will have no departures scheduled between March 12 and May 10. Celebrity cruises on March 15 said it has suspended global sailings until April 11. It had been scheduled to go to the Galápagos Islands, South Pacific, Caribbean and Europe.

Ports are turning away ships

Ports around the world, including some in the Caribbean, Asia, Southeast Asia and South America, have begun closing their ports to cruise ships.

Loosening cancellation policies to continue

Cruise lines have been notoriously strict with change and cancellation policies but are loosening up considerably in the face of the pandemic. Norwegian, MSC Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Seabourn are letting people delay their sailings, cancel within days of a trip or substitute another passenger for the one originally booked (usually a no-no).

The companies have been increasing their incentives to woo affected passengers onto later trips. Celebrity cruise lines, for example will provide a 100 percent refund or 125 percent credit on a future cruise. Princess guests who were scheduled to depart between March 12 and 25 can choose either a 100 percent credit toward a future cruise plus credit toward another future cruise worth 125 percent of their original sailing, or a full refund plus an additional full credit for a new cruise.

Policies vary by company and by scheduled sailing, and continue to change, so travelers should contact their travel agent or cruise company.

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Travel

Coronavirus Travel Restrictions, Across the Globe

United States

On March 11 the United States barred the entry of all foreign nationals who had visited China, Iran and a group of European countries during the previous 14 days.

The ban applies to countries in the Schengen Area, which are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Effective March 16, the ban will apply to foreign nationals departing from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

As of March 13, all American citizens and legal permanent residents who have been in high-risk areas and return to the United States are required to fly to one of the following 13 airports:

Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York

Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California

Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey

San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington

Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

Uruguay

On March 13, Uruguay announced that all passengers arriving from China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Iran, Spain, Italy, France and Germany must go into mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

Venezuela

On March 12, Venezuela announced it would suspend all flights from Colombia and European countries for at least a month.

Asia

China

Travelers in China who have recently visited South Korea, Japan and Italy — countries with “severe outbreaks” — and are headed toward Beijing or Shanghai, or provinces such as Guangdong and Sichuan, will be quarantined for two weeks in a Chinese facility.

Singapore As of March 15, “all new visitors with recent travel history to France, Germany, Italy and Spain within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into or transit through Singapore,” according to officials.

Singapore residents and pass-holders who have been to those countries in the past 14 days will be issued a “Stay-Home Notice,” which will require them to quarantine for two weeks.

South Korea

South Korea has restricted the entry of travelers with passports from China’s Hubei Province as well as anyone who has visited that region in the past 14 days. Additionally, Korean visas that were issued to travelers in Hubei are canceled.

Visa-free entry to Jeju Island for all foreigners, as well as visa-free entry for Chinese nationals and travelers who are headed to China, are both suspended.

Vietnam

As ofMarch 15, Vietnam will refuse visitors from Europe’s Schengen Area and Britain, according to officials.

New Zealand

New Zealand announced tight border control measures on March 14 that include requiring all incoming travelers, including its own citizens, to self-isolate for two weeks.

Israel

Since March 12, foreign travelers, including United States citizens, who arrived in Israel from any country have been “required to remain in home quarantine until 14 days have passed since the date of entry into Israel.”

The quarantine also applies to Israeli citizens and residents. Self-quarantine in a hotel or dormitory is not allowed.

Europe

Austria

Citizens from countries outside the European Union who have been in coronavirus hot spots, which the Austrian Foreign Ministry currently lists as France, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and parts of China in the past 14 days will have to present a medical certificate confirming a negative test result for the new coronavirus upon entry to the country. The Austrian government also announced that all passengers, regardless of citizenship, will also have to provide a certificate confirming a negative test result if they’re entering Austria from Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (from March 16).

The certificate, which must be dated within four days of arrival, needs to be signed by a licensed medical practitioner and be in English, German, Italian or French.

Croatia

Travelers arriving in Croatia from specific hard-hit areas, such as Italy, Iran and China’s Hubei province, must spend two weeks in government quarantine facilities at the expense of the traveler, according to officials.

The Croatian government also implemented health monitoring for passengers from several countries affected by the virus like Spain, the United States and Sweden. Travelers from these countries should self-isolate for two weeks, according to officials, “and report their condition to the nearest epidemiologist for further instructions.”

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, which declared a state of emergency, has banned passengers from “high risk countries” and prohibited Czech citizens from visiting these places.

As of March 14, bus, train and boat transport from the Czech Republic to Germany and Austria was also banned. Air travel was also partially restricted, according to officials.

Denmark

Denmark closed its borders to most foreign travelers for the next month as of March 14.

“All tourists, all travel, all vacations, and all foreigners who cannot demonstrate a credible reason to enter Denmark will be denied entrance at the Danish border,” Mette Frederiksen, the prime minister, said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

Italy

In Italy, where the virus has taken hold and already killed more than 1,000 people, government officials implemented strict orders placing the country on lockdown in an attempt to stop the spreading infection.

As of March 3, passengers with a temperature higher than 99.5 degrees were not allowed to board flights to the United States.

All travelers flying into Italy are subject to temperature screening in Italy’s major airports, and the country has suspended flights from China and Taiwan.

Norway

On March 12 the Norwegian Directorate of Health said that regardless of whether they have symptoms or not, anyone coming into Norway from outside Nordic countries should be quarantined at home for two weeks from their arrival. The measure is set to last through March 26.

On March 13, the municipality for Oslo, the nation’s capital, said on its website that “foreign travelers from countries outside the Nordics arriving at Oslo airport will have to return home.” Reuters reported.

Poland

As of March 15, Poland will ban foreigners from the country, suspend international air and rail services for citizens and border controls will be temporarily restored, the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland said on Twitter. All Polish citizens returning from abroad must voluntarily quarantine for two weeks, according to officials.

Russia

The Russian government banned entry of Chinese nationals, except for transit, on Feb. 20, and on Feb. 28 it banned the entry of all Iranian citizens. On March 1, Russia restricted travel by South Koreans, mandating they enter the country only via Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. As of March 13, the government banned Italian citizens from entry into Russia.

“Effective March 16, air travel between Russia and countries of the European Union, Norway, and Switzerland will be limited to flights between Moscow and capital cities,” according to officials.

On March 14, Russian officials announced plans to close the country’s land border with Poland and Norway to foreigners, according to Reuters.

Ukraine

Ukraine closed 70 percent of its land ports of entry on March 13 and international train service between Ukraine and Slovakia has also been suspended.

Officials are screening temperatures for all arriving passengers, and if someone is found to have a temperature of 100.4 or higher or is exhibiting flulike symptoms, then “they may be referred to a hospital in Kyiv for additional testing and possibly up to 14 days of quarantine.”

If you know of a travel restriction that should be on this list, please email us, including an official source, at [email protected].

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