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4 minutes ago, WannaCruise said:

Have they commented on the big question?  What if someone(s) tests positive?  Will the ship be quarantined at sea?  Or maybe it's different for the TUI ship, but overall, that will be a factor when Royal starts up again and how they handle it.

We have every reason to believe that TUI submitted protocols to address this situation for approval to public health bodies within Germany before Mein Schiff 2 sailed. Although it wasn't entirely disclosed in the TUI press release, that crew who tested + at the TUI pre-boarding screening were denied boarding and quarantined on another ship, suggests that this is the protocol that may be observed here in the US ...... IOW, there's another ship, not yet sailing with passengers, designated to receive and quarantine crew at the same port as the sailing vessel. At start-up there would appear to be plenty of vessels to do that. I could also see embarking passengers who test + via a similar embarkation protocol as TUI's being quarantined on the same ship as crew members and managed accordingly - 10 to 14d, negative tests before release from quarantine.   

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Finally, as promised, a recap of Schiffstester Matthias Morr's conclusion video: - Boarding times were enforced (usually TUI Cruises doesn't assign boarding times). Masks had to be worn in the te

Sorry, also meant to comment on this in the prior post. I disagree strongly that the AIDA Explorer Dream cruise is the more important one to watch, purely speaking as an American in a country that's e

Were the passengers compliant with this overall? Any pictures or description in his review of passengers who chose the face shield option, particularly as it was not provided and they'd have to bring

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2 hours ago, JeffB said:

Although it wasn't entirely disclosed in the TUI press release, that crew who tested + at the TUI pre-boarding screening were denied boarding and quarantined on another ship

Where do you get your information that TUI crew members tested positive? I think that you are confusing news articles (I've been wrong before, though).

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3 hours ago, twangster said:

What does Aida have to do with TUI?  Completely different ship and cruise line.  

This is also another important ship to watch... Explorer Dream out of Taiwan doing short island hops so actual port stops. If anything Asia has a way better control on cases than Europe so this should be equally as important to watch .

 

https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/23287-cruising-is-back-in-asia-as-explorer-dream-sailings-first-voyage-from-taiwan.html

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1 hour ago, Curt From Canada said:

Below is a link to the "canary in the cave".  I did not know about this being planned ... this could be big (good or bad).  Mein Schiff 2 set sail Friday night for a weekend cruise 1,200 on board a ship designed for 2,900.  Be still my beating heart ...

Mein Schiff 2 at Sea

 

Curt from Canada

Another one to watch is Explorer Dream Out of Taiwan which by far has a way better handle of cases even than the EU.

https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/23287-cruising-is-back-in-asia-as-explorer-dream-sailings-first-voyage-from-taiwan.html

 

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Where do you get your information that TUI crew members tested positive? I think that you are confusing news articles (I've been wrong before, though).

Let me clarify ....... the 10 crew members who tested + were not on TUI's Mein Schiff 2 but rather AIDAmar and AIDAblu (Another German Company affiliated with Carnival) with planned sailings out of Rostok Germany in August. In the case of AIDA's ship, they are assembling crews for the August sailing. The 10 crew who tested + were quarantined on another unnamed ship. The important point is that what we're probably seeing here is Carnival's (AIDA) and RCL's (Mein Schiff) COVID mitigation strategies. I'd expect if and when cruising resumes for RCL and it's brands from US ports, COVID mitigation measures aboard those ships will be similar if not identical to the two German brands.

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1 hour ago, crisgold52 said:

Another one to watch is Explorer Dream Out of Taiwan which by far has a way better handle of cases even than the EU.

https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/23287-cruising-is-back-in-asia-as-explorer-dream-sailings-first-voyage-from-taiwan.html

 

Looks like their protocols are similar to TUI. 
 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.prestigeonline.com/th/pursuits/motors/dream-cruises-health-safety-standards/amp/

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57 minutes ago, JeffB said:

Let me clarify ....... the 10 crew members who tested + were not on TUI's Mein Schiff 2 but rather AIDAmar and AIDAblu (Another German Company affiliated with Carnival) with planned sailings out of Rostok Germany in August. In the case of AIDA's ship, they are assembling crews for the August sailing. The 10 crew who tested + were quarantined on another unnamed ship. The important point is that what we're probably seeing here is Carnival's (AIDA) and RCL's (Mein Schiff) COVID mitigation strategies. I'd expect if and when cruising resumes for RCL and it's brands from US ports, COVID mitigation measures aboard those ships will be similar if not identical to the two German brands.

But doesn't this mean the protocol is working well. They were tested twice and isolated. This is good news.

As a matter of course in Belgium we can now get a test certificate 48 hours before travelling. I am optimistic about future cruising, didn't the CEO of RCI post that on the bigger ships they could still turn a profit with 30% capacity?

 

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Oh, I think this is definitely good news and an AIDA spokesperson said so in a quote. The thing is that here in the US we are trying to wage an unwinnable battle v. SARS-CoV-2 by mitigating the virus back to levels where lockdowns had R(t), or any other measures you might choose, to mid-April levels. I don't think that is going to happen with a return to nation wide lockdwons and, as I have said, there is no political appetite to do that. I also don't support that course of action as it will crater an already severely weakened US economy.  

The sensible alternative, IMO, is managing not trying to control the virus until a vaccine is introduced that does control it. Short term you keep CFR/IFR at politically acceptable levels with better medical management of hospitalized patients with C-19 and appropriate administration of emerging pharmaceuticals. Work to bring new case #s and positivity rates down with EO mandated local and targeted mitigation measures.

Here's the problem, though. The two German and the one Taiwanese cruise lines are setting precedent in the context of their country's COVID circumstance. Both Germany and Taiwan drove R(t) values to well below one (virus is receding) before ending lock downs. Here in the US, we are saddled with a poor federal response that produced a patch-work approach to every type  of responsible public health measure to reduce the spread of the virus. Then we compounded those failures by patch-work reopenings that had some regions doing that with the virus still spreading. As soon as mobility resumed, areas previously free of the virus saw it get seeded by travelers coming from areas where spread was still happening. Testing and tracking has also been poorly funded and executed and varies state by state.

The US and it's citizens have become a COVID pariah to countries that were better prepared and mounted more effective responses to SARS-CoV-2. I can't see how the CDC, given their current positions, both politically and on the basis of the science on this, are going to allow cruising to resume from US ports with the states, acting independently and with a lot of variance, "managing" instead of controlling the virus. The CDC has at it's disposal evidence that countries can control the spread of the virus and their transportation and PH ministers have rewarded the travel and leisure industries resident in those countries by allowing sectors like the cruise industry to resume operations.  I don't see that happening in the US until we get a vaccine that works, is distributed at scale and is proven to reduce case #s, growth rates and deaths. April 2021? That may even be a stretch.   

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A lot is riding on these early cruises.  If they can pull off a few without issue it will speak volumes to the world.  Inevitably there will be a case so we'll have to see how it plays out in the media.  Cruise ships didn't create CV-19 nor are they immune anymore than a land based movie theater, wedding, political convention, etc. yet a single case from an early cruise will garner attention that hundreds of cases from a rally or wedding wouldn't.  

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2 weeks ago I was optimistic about a return to cruising. Today, and after seeing the CDC's check list, and make no mistake, that's what it is, for the cruise industry wishing to operate from US ports, I am much less so. The demands for safety, assumptions of costs associated with obtaining near zero risk of infection, are unprecedented. I've never seen anything like it yet, they have the keys to the car and won't give them up until every demand they choose to make gets a check in the box. I think it is terribly unfair. That is because I believe that officials over-seeing the operation of cruise ships from US ports want the unobtainable  and that is zero risk of a single C-19 infection on a cruise ship. Meanwhile managing those risks, managing C-19 infections should they occur onboard are entirely obtainable.

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11 minutes ago, JeffB said:

2 weeks ago I was optimistic about a return to cruising. Today, and after seeing the CDC's check list, and make no mistake, that's what it is, for the cruise industry wishing to operate from US ports, I am much less so. The demands for safety, assumptions of costs associated with obtaining near zero risk of infection, are unprecedented. I've never seen anything like it yet, they have the keys to the car and won't give them up until every demand they choose to make gets a check in the box. I think it is terribly unfair. That is because I believe that officials over-seeing the operation of cruise ships from US ports want the unobtainable  and that is zero risk of a single C-19 infection on a cruise ship. Meanwhile managing those risks, managing C-19 infections should they occur onboard are entirely obtainable.

I started looking at the questions from Matt's blog but they were so overwhelming and gave up half way into it. To ask the general public such questions that the executives need to answer (glad Royal & NCL have teamed up with the panel) is crazy. I thought they were just curious what we (the public) thought.

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I think the CDC's call for public comment is almost entirely political. I believe there is friction between CDC officials and Cruise line execs with the execs rightfully accusing the CDC of being unrealistic in their demands for what amount to a zero risk of having a passenger or crew member embarked on a cruise ship contract C-19. Instead of managing risks - which the cruise lines can do and have done in the past - the CDC is demanding perfect control of it and unprecedented levels of cross-coordination with foreign ports that a more friendly CDC could facilitate. Manage, not control would be by-words that the CDC could adopt.   

Instead, the CDC takes their "crazy" set of questions (and I believe it's a check list of CDC demands) so the public will agree with them that cruising is dangerous to the public health unless the cruise lines obtain this unobtainable zero risk.  There is the capacity of the Executive to order the Department of Homeland Security - the agency that actually issued the no-sail-order on the advice of the CDC - to revoke it. That isn't likely to happen for purely political reasons. The public, not knowing what we know about how safe crising actually is, would howell.  

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8 minutes ago, JeffB said:

I think the CDC's call for public comment is almost entirely political. I believe there is friction between CDC officials and Cruise line execs with the execs rightfully accusing the CDC of being unrealistic in their demands for what amount to a zero risk of having a passenger or crew member embarked on a cruise ship contract C-19. Instead of managing risks - which the cruise lines can do and have done in the past - the CDC is demanding perfect control of it and unprecedented levels of cross-coordination with foreign ports that a more friendly CDC could facilitate. Manage, not control would be by-words that the CDC could adopt.   

Instead, the CDC takes their "crazy" set of questions (and I believe it's a check list of CDC demands) so the public will agree with them that cruising is dangerous to the public health unless the cruise lines obtain this unobtainable zero risk.  There is the capacity of the Executive to order the Department of Homeland Security - the agency that actually issued the no-sail-order on the advice of the CDC - to revoke it. That isn't likely to happen for purely political reasons. The public, not knowing what we know about how safe crising actually is, would howell.  

I agree with this. There is no way the average cruiser or person is willing to invest time or effort in coming up with a list of answers comparable to a college paper or similar and imagine having a ton of those. The way theyd filter this is only accepting via the steps in their portal which is somewhat hard to find or by regular mail so that already filters out the vast majority of people that would normally fire off emails or post on social media. In fact this method of acceptance of answers should completely streamline the process. The  there is also the issue of time and whether one would be willing to sit there and answer in essay format. We are not being paid to do so. I'm very less optimistic about a salvage of the holiday season at this point for a variety of reasons. But on the bright side we can watch Taiwan's Explorer Dream (which is an actual cruise with port calls rather than the TUI nowhere cruise in Germany) to see how the discipline works over there. I'm confident Taiwan and I guess Germany should be able t pull off these initial sailings successfully. Also once everything is said and done there comes the arduous task of deploying ships and recrewig ships company again which is no easy logistical task considering all the travel restrictions in place. And one would wonder if any of the big 3 would take Taiwans lead of a 21 day crew quarantine prior to serving the public. 

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Just to clarify again - crew tested positive was for AIDA ships, not TUI. These cruises to nowhere are now starting for 3 German cruise lines: TUI  Cruises (50% Royal Caribbean, 50% TUI), AIDA Cruises (belongs to Carnival) and Hapag Lloyd  Kreuzfahrten (German luxury cruise line, owned 100% by TUI). Safety measures should be quite similar on all 3 lines as they were negotiated by the German branch of CLIA.

Looking forward to a conclusion video by one of my favourite Youtubers - he's on Mein Schiff 2's first cruise. The video is scheduled for tomorrow, 8.30 pm (CEST). I'll report back anything interesting.

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For the Diamond Princess my understanding was that less than 10 people were positive when it docked and if they had let everyone disembark or invoked proper quarantine measures the infection rate would have been 90% lower. 

However the final stats for the Diamond princess were eye opening

 

26 February  705 positive cases which includes 392 asymptomatic cases So nearly 55% of the cases had no symptoms. 

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59 minutes ago, Morganno said:

For the Diamond Princess my understanding was that less than 10 people were positive when it docked and if they had let everyone disembark or invoked proper quarantine measures the infection rate would have been 90% lower. 

However the final stats for the Diamond princess were eye opening

 

26 February  705 positive cases which includes 392 asymptomatic cases So nearly 55% of the cases had no symptoms. 

Winner winner chicken dinner! The cruise catastrophe could have been avoided by disembarking ASAP. In hindsight it is now well known the weeks of quarantine in the ship did not yield positive results. It actually made the situation 100 times worse. 

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Finally, as promised, a recap of Schiffstester Matthias Morr's conclusion video:

- Boarding times were enforced (usually TUI Cruises doesn't assign boarding times). Masks had to be worn in the terminal and in the queue in front of the terminal. Health questionnaires & temperature check for check in. B2Bs are currently not allowed.

- Muster drill: when on board you went from your cabin to your muster station. Explanations were given in small groups.

- Ship sailed at around 40% capacity (= 1200 guests), max would've been 60% (=1400 guests), 800 crew. Possible difficulties in selling the cabins might've been short notice and comparably high pricing - there were no discounts and no interior or ocean view cabins, only balcony & suites.

- Crew was quarantined on ship 14 days prior to the first cruise. They were very happy to be back working. Crew have to wear masks or face shields while working in contact with passengers - irrespective of social distancing.

- Every passenger had to do a daily temperature check by infrared camera. Hand washing and use of disinfectant was enforced.

- Masks were only mandatory where you couldn't keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres (about 5 feet). Masks were provided in the cabin on arrival, people with medical exemptions had to use face shields (not provided).

- No seats at the bar - either service at a table or queuing with social distancing (TUI has waaaaay more waiters at bars compared to Royal, so not a problem). Buffet was available, but no self service. Also no full show ensemble, only solo performances. No party (sail away, pool party etc.). Sauna is currently closed but this might change soon. Whirlpools could only be used by members of the same travel group at a time.

- Audience: younger than TUI's normal average, apparently no first time cruisers, many regular customers of other cruise lines (mainly AIDA and MSC)

-  Staggered disembarkation times were enforced (usually no assigned times).

- Most important: no cases of COVID were reported!

 

"Fun" facts:

- A few German media companies contacted passengers to try and get pictures of passengers not obeying social distancing rules. That's the state of the German press for you... 

- Mein Schiff 2 met with Mein Schiff 4 and Mein Schiff 6 while at sea - a bit like the meeting of the 3 sisters (Oasis, Harmony and Allure). 

 

If you've got any questions, feel free to ask. I'll try to find an answer - might be easier for me as many sources are in German only and Google translate is a train wreck.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Neaxan said:

- Masks were only mandatory where you couldn't keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres (about 5 feet). Masks were provided in the cabin on arrival, people with medical exemptions had to use face shields (not provided).

Were the passengers compliant with this overall? Any pictures or description in his review of passengers who chose the face shield option, particularly as it was not provided and they'd have to bring their own?

With masks being the most-divisive element here on land today in the US, I'd be curious to know whether the option of a face shield might tilt some of those less-inclined to wear a mask to sail. Certainly a shield has pros a mask doesn't -- can wear it while enjoying a beverage; mouth and chin don't get sweaty (although I have no idea how hot it might feel behind the shield if in the sun out on the pool deck or the like); able to see a person's full face; etc.

But it also has its disadvantages, the big one being it doesn't really keep any droplets you're exhaling confined. I imagine you also can't smoke while wearing one, should you happen to be a smoker.

Speaking of... what was the smoking policy on board, either in the casino or outside deck area? Also would like to know would be how respectful the passengers were with the various social distancing rules -- maintaining the 1.5m distance, only members of the same sailing group in the whirlpool at one time, etc?

1 hour ago, Neaxan said:

"Fun" facts:

- A few German media companies contacted passengers to try and get pictures of passengers not obeying social distancing rules. That's the state of the German press for you... 

You can rest assured it will be the state of the US press as well when the first cruise from here finally comes back. Wouldn't even be surprised if some tabloid or other rag pays someone to deliberately violate the rules and take pics. 😒

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22 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Were the passengers compliant with this overall? Any pictures or description in his review of passengers who chose the face shield option, particularly as it was not provided and they'd have to bring their own?

With masks being the most-divisive element here on land today in the US, I'd be curious to know whether the option of a face shield might tilt some of those less-inclined to wear a mask to sail. Certainly a shield has pros a mask doesn't -- can wear it while enjoying a beverage; mouth and chin don't get sweaty (although I have no idea how hot it might feel behind the shield if in the sun out on the pool deck or the like); able to see a person's full face; etc.

But it also has its disadvantages, the big one being it doesn't really keep any droplets you're exhaling confined. I imagine you also can't smoke while wearing one, should you happen to be a smoker.

Speaking of... what was the smoking policy on board, either in the casino or outside deck area? Also would like to know would be how respectful the passengers were with the various social distancing rules -- maintaining the 1.5m distance, only members of the same sailing group in the whirlpool at one time, etc?

You can rest assured it will be the state of the US press as well when the first cruise from here finally comes back. Wouldn't even be surprised if some tabloid or other rag pays someone to deliberately violate the rules and take pics. 😒

I'd be more interested in the Explorer Dream out of Taiwan which has port stops more so than this German thing. The crew on the Explorer Dream has to quarantine for 21 days prior to starting service. Not sure what the requirements were for TUI. Also Asia overall has the discipline and its proven to control this, since its a cultural norm compared to other places where its not really the norm. I am sure the German sailing will be fine as well though - but Explorer Dream with its three port stops around the Islands is the one to watch seeing as they will be interacting with locals and docking. Also about smoking in Casinos... in Canada we do not allow smoking in any casinos. There are designated smoking areas outdoors.

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2 minutes ago, crisgold52 said:

The crew on the Explorer Dream has to quarantine for 21 days prior to starting service. Not sure what the requirements were for TUI.

Per @Neaxan's recap a few posts up (emphasis added)

1 hour ago, Neaxan said:

- Crew was quarantined on ship 14 days prior to the first cruise. They were very happy to be back working. Crew have to wear masks or face shields while working in contact with passengers - irrespective of social distancing.

 

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On 7/26/2020 at 6:07 AM, JeffB said:

We have every reason to believe that TUI submitted protocols to address this situation for approval to public health bodies within Germany before Mein Schiff 2 sailed. Although it wasn't entirely disclosed in the TUI press release, that crew who tested + at the TUI pre-boarding screening were denied boarding and quarantined on another ship, suggests that this is the protocol that may be observed here in the US ...... IOW, there's another ship, not yet sailing with passengers, designated to receive and quarantine crew at the same port as the sailing vessel. At start-up there would appear to be plenty of vessels to do that. I could also see embarking passengers who test + via a similar embarkation protocol as TUI's being quarantined on the same ship as crew members and managed accordingly - 10 to 14d, negative tests before release from quarantine.   

Jeff I am sure that TUI has it well under control, though the crew of the Explorer Dream in Taiwan also has had to undergo testing and quarantine for 21 days prior to joining the ships company. Odd how there's so much articles online about TUI but not the Genting Explorer Dream out of Taiwan or the fact that river cruises are again starting up in China. Whatever protocols there are I am sure they are very stringent. Also Explorer Dream part of the Genting group is a subsidiary of NCL.

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