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News on the Westerdam

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2 minutes ago, perditax said:

 

But bizarrely, CCL, RC and NCL stock prices are all up today ...

 

(I'm not being snarky. I do sincerely find it bizarre. Makes me think we (cruisers) are way more focused on this than the general public are.)


 

Yup very bizarre.  As a ship enthusiast for the past 30+ years and an avid follower of the cruise industry, I sincerely hope they come through this unscathed.  I know they are doing everything they can and I think we will see more announcements forthcoming.  I also know how strong perceptions can be, even if they veer off from the actual truth of a situation.  That can be a dangerous thing.  

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The Westerdam was highlighted on the main Dutch evening news.  The Dutch government is trying all diplomatic routes to get permission for the ship to dock in Thailand.  The ship is still heading towards Thailand.  The Dutch Public Health Authorities are in contact with the ships medical team.

I will keep you posted if anything new breaks from the Dutch side of things.

 

 

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36 minutes ago, eroller said:

 

But bizarrely, CCL, RC and NCL stock prices are all up today ...

 

Two of the three are closing in on their next ex-dividend date -- CCL (Feb 22), RCL (March 3) -- and that often drives up equity prices as buyers purchase in time to qualify for the next dividend payment.

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3 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Just a quick update, not specifically HAL but the situation in general.  I am on the Crystal Serenity and we (along with 4 other ships) have just been denied entry to Tonga.  At least 3 of the ships are westbound with the last significant stop being in Papeete.  It is apparent that panic is spreading.  I wonder if Westie's best option might be to quarantine everybody and sail for Hawaii.  If they can disembark the Americans perhaps they can move those in inside cabins to better rooms for the remainder of her quarantine until the 14 days is out, and then perhaps somebody will let them dock. 

While I think the chance of coronavirus on Westie is virtually zero, at this point it seems to be a question of absolute proof to the authorities that it is actually zero.

 

Roy

 

Wow! Tonga - is the world going mad?  And you haven't yet been anywhere near the Far East...

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This whole situation is horrible, for all involved. Passengers, crew, HAL, everyone.
I am concerned where this will lead in the coming months,  especially with Spring Break cruises coming up. What about Europe? What will happen if it takes off in the Caribbean or Europe? Will countries just refuse all cruise ships indefinitely?
We have a 14 day TA coming up in April on the NS. I don't want to get quarantined. Not sure what to do. I am afraid it could happen.

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Q&A: How coronavirus is impacting cruises and passengers
The new coronavirus is wreaking havoc on Asia's cruises
By DEE-ANN DURBIN and DAVID KOENIG
AP Business Writers

February 11, 2020, 3:24 PM

 

The new coronavirus is wreaking havoc on cruises in Asia, where some passengers are stranded aboard ships and others can't leave China.

 

Japan's health ministry has confirmed 135 cases of the virus aboard Carnival Corp.'s Diamond Princess, which is docked in Yokohama, Japan. The ship's 3,700 passengers and crew are expected to remain under quarantine until at least Feb. 19.

 

Meanwhile, Holland America's Westerdam — which says it has no confirmed cases of the virus — is floating in the Gulf of Thailand with nowhere to dock. The ship's 2,257 passengers and crew had expected to disembark in Thailand on Thursday, but on Tuesday Thai authorities announced that the ship wasn't welcome. Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines have also refused to let the ship dock because it made a stop in Hong Kong less than two weeks ago. 

 

Here are some questions and answers about the virus's impact on the cruise industry and passengers:

 

HOW MANY CRUISE SHIPS ARE IN ASIA RIGHT NOW?
The Cruise Lines International Association — which represents around 90% of global cruise capacity — says around 10 of its 272 member ships are currently in Asia. Only the Diamond Princess has confirmed cases of coronavirus, the association said. Six of the 10 ships have cancelled their itineraries for the time being, including Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas and MSC's Splendida.

 

HAVE ANY SHIPS BEEN ALLOWED TO LET PASSENGERS OFF?
Yes. On Sunday, Dream Cruises said passengers on its World Dream were cleared to disembark in Hong Kong after screenings found no positive tests for the virus. The ship had arrived in Hong Kong four days earlier. In Italy, more than 6,600 passengers and crew were allowed to disembark from Carnival's Costa Smeralda on Jan. 31 after a Chinese passenger was found to have the flu and not the virus.

 

ARE CRUISE SHIPS BANNING SOME PASSENGERS FROM BOARDING?
Yes. Policies vary, but in general, cruise companies won't allow passengers or crew to board if they have visited, traveled from or passed through airports in China, Hong Kong and Macau within a certain time period — usually 14 days or 30 days. They also aren't allowing people to board if they have been in close contact with someone with the virus. Royal Caribbean was banning all passengers with passports from China, Hong Kong and Macau, but the company lifted that ban Monday. Norwegian Cruise Lines is still banning passengers who hold those passports.

 

IS A QUARANTINE THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE A VIRAL OUTBREAK ON A CRUISE?
According to Tara Smith, a professor who researches infectious diseases at Kent State University's College of Public Health, a hospital — not a ship — is the best place to keep people quarantined. The Diamond Princess may have already had environmental contamination when the quarantine began, which puts passengers and crew at risk of further transmission. “I think this was done without a lot of thought to consequences of ongoing transmission within the ship and the mental health of the passengers,” Smith said.

 

WHAT OTHER PRECAUTIONS ARE CRUISE LINES TAKING?
Cruise lines are scanning the temperatures of passengers and crew and having them complete questionnaires before they board any ship. MSC says it's conducting elevated deep-cleaning on its ships; Royal Caribbean also says it has stepped up cleaning of its ships and air filtration systems.

 

CAN PASSENGERS CATCH THE VIRUS THROUGH THE VENTILATION SYSTEMS?
Japanese health ministry official Masami Sakoi said the cabins on the Diamond Princess have separate air conditioning systems, so guests aren't sharing the same air. “We do not consider the air conditioning system as the cause of spreading infections," he said.

 

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR PASSENGERS ABOARD THESE SHIPS?
Christina Kerby, a communications director with a health care company in San Francisco, struck an upbeat tone in her Twitter posts aboard the Westerdam. She says the ship is holding spin classes, magic shows and towel folding demonstrations. But she expressed regret when Philippine crew members couldn't disembark in Manila and see their families, as they'd hoped. The situation is more grim aboard the Diamond Princess, where those under quarantine watched as officials in hazmat suits carried their fellow passengers away. Passenger David Abel has described the ship as a “floating prison.”

 

WHEN WILL CRUISE OPERATIONS RETURN TO NORMAL?
That's unclear. Royal Caribbean has cancelled eight China sailings through March 4. Princess Cruises has cancelled 12 cruises through March 20. Holland America said it's weighing port restrictions in Asia before deciding on a cruise scheduled to leave Yokohama on Feb. 29. Norwegian Cruise Lines has canceled scheduled Asian cruises on the Norwegian Spirit through Dec. 7. In some cases, cruises are being rerouted. Norwegian said a 24-day cruise leaving South Africa on March 22 that was supposed to end in Singapore will now last 27 days and end in Greece, for example.

 

HOW MUCH WILL THIS IMPACT CRUISE COMPANIES?
Asia is not yet a major destination for cruises. This year, around 10% of cruise ships worldwide were scheduled to be deployed to Asia, according to Cruise Lines International Association. That's down slightly from 2017, and compares to 32% deployed to the Caribbean and 28% to Europe and the Mediterranean. 
The virus may not have much impact on cruise bookings outside of Asia, says UBS analyst Robin Farley. Past experience shows that concerns about viruses usually remain regional, she said.
Cruise companies could be hurt by lower passenger volumes coming out of Asia, however. The association said its members expected 4.2 million passengers from Asia this year, or 12.5% of all passengers. That would be up from 3.4 million in 2016. 
But even if 2020 passenger volumes from Asia are lower than expected, they can recover quickly. In 2015, a viral outbreak in Korea hurt demand for cruises from China. But by 2016, Korea was once again a top destination for Chinese travelers, Farley said.
 

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10 minutes ago, TriumphGuy said:

We have a 14 day TA coming up in April on the NS. I don't want to get quarantined. Not sure what to do. I am afraid it could happen.

 

 

April is a long time off. Just relax. You can make a final decision before embarkation day.

 

 

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6 hours ago, arabrab said:

If they want the $$$$ benefits of flagging the ship in the Netherlands, incorporating Carnival Corporation in Panama, and incorporating Carnival plc in England and Wales, then those are the countries they should be looking to for help with their problem. 

You do realize that there are American citizens on board the ship.  I am guessing you are an American citizen, if so if you were on-board you would be expecting the US to be of help.  Much like if something happened on a land trip in a foreign country and something happens to you and want help from the local US Embassy.

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17 hours ago, teamflames said:

How could they know if they have one or not? They don’t have any testing facilities onboard. Many of the nations are banning all cruise ships in the region. I don’t know why Thailand is suddenly refusing HAL but I can only assume it is due to starting in Hong Kong?

 

They do have testing facilities onboard.  I have twice been tested for certain strains of the flu onboard HAL ships.  Whether they have complete capability to test or the coronavirus, however, is another matter.

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26 minutes ago, Tampa Girl said:

 

They do have testing facilities onboard.  I have twice been tested for certain strains of the flu onboard HAL ships.  Whether they have complete capability to test or the coronavirus, however, is another matter.

Likely not. The CDC test began shipping Feb 5. So the chances of it being on board the Westerdam are zero.

 

From CDC, date of issue, Feb 6: "A laboratory test kit to detect 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) began shipping yesterday to select qualified U.S. and international laboratories. Distribution of the tests will help improve the global capacity to detect and respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

 

The test kit, called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panel (CDC 2019-nCoV Real Time RT-PCR), is designed for use with an existing RT-PCR testing instrument that is commonly used to test for seasonal influenza.

The CDC 2019 novel coronavirus test is intended for use with upper and lower respiratory specimens collected from people who meet CDC criteria for 2019-nCoV testing. The test uses a technology that can provide results in four hours from initial sample."

 

Although the CDC is not the only national disease centre developing tests, the notion that Westerdam's medical staff have received sophisticated COVID-19 test kits from anyone while sailing aimlessly about East Asian seas seems unlikely.

Edited by voyageur9
wording in final para

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27 minutes ago, Tampa Girl said:

 

They do have testing facilities onboard.  I have twice been tested for certain strains of the flu onboard HAL ships.  Whether they have complete capability to test or the coronavirus, however, is another matter.

Considering that the labs approved to run the test for Coronavirus was very limited when the ship left, it is doubtful that they can actually test for COVID-19.  They can test for other illnesses such as flu to try and account for any illness, but Corona doubtful

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5 minutes ago, voyageur9 said:

Likely not. The CDC test began shipping Feb 5. So the chances of it being on board the Westerdam are zero.

 

From CDC, date of issue, Feb 6: "A laboratory test kit to detect 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) began shipping yesterday to select qualified U.S. and international laboratories. Distribution of the tests will help improve the global capacity to detect and respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

 

The test kit, called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panel (CDC 2019-nCoV Real Time RT-PCR), is designed for use with an existing RT-PCR testing instrument that is commonly used to test for seasonal influenza.

The CDC 2019 novel coronavirus test is intended for use with upper and lower respiratory specimens collected from people who meet CDC criteria for 2019-nCoV testing. The test uses a technology that can provide results in four hours from initial sample."

 

Although the CDC is not the only leading group developing tests, the notion that Westerdam's medics have received test kits from anyone while sailing aimlessly seems unlikely.

 

It may be unlikely, but if passengers can be airlifted from ship to shore or ship to ship, there remains the possibility that the Westerdam does have the test kit.  

 

The other consideration is that any symptoms which have surfaced to date among Westerdam passengers have been definitively determined to be attributed to other conditions.  This would support the Westerdam's report of no cases onboard, at least to date.  It has been 11 days since the ship left Hong Kong.  How log is the incubation period for this virus?  Time alone may confirm that no one aboard the ship is infected.

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31 minutes ago, gatour said:

You do realize that there are American citizens on board the ship.  I am guessing you are an American citizen, if so if you were on-board you would be expecting the US to be of help.  Much like if something happened on a land trip in a foreign country and something happens to you and want help from the local US Embassy.

I am.  The folks onboard the Westerdam are in no danger. They are seriously inconvenienced. Not every inconvenience is the US's responsibility to solve. (In contrast, the Americans who were stuck in Wuhan were in danger. It was appropriate that the US help to evacuate them.). 

 

There is nothing wrong with letting the flag country (Netherlands) or the country where Carnival chose to be incorporated work to solve this particular issue. 

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9 minutes ago, Tampa Girl said:

 

It may be unlikely, but if passengers can be airlifted from ship to shore or ship to ship, there remains the possibility that the Westerdam does have the test kit.  

 

The other consideration is that any symptoms which have surfaced to date among Westerdam passengers have been definitively determined to be attributed to other conditions.  This would support the Westerdam's report of no cases onboard, at least to date.  It has been 11 days since the ship left Hong Kong.  How log is the incubation period for this virus?  Time alone may confirm that no one aboard the ship is infected.

 

14 Days.

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I wonder if the government in Thailand will let people with direct flights out the country, be transferred directly from the ship to the air port. 

 

They could put on busses and take them directly to the airport when they prove that they have the flights booked out of the country. The ship could stay in port releasing passengers shortly before their flights. 

 

This may be something they are considering. There would be then no risk to the Thai people, or at least no more than normal flights in and out of the country. 

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7 minutes ago, dreamers25 said:

I wonder if the government in Thailand will let people with direct flights out the country, be transferred directly from the ship to the air port. 

 

They could put on busses and take them directly to the airport when they prove that they have the flights booked out of the country. The ship could stay in port releasing passengers shortly before their flights. 

 

This may be something they are considering. There would be then no risk to the Thai people, or at least no more than normal flights in and out of the country. 

Seriously.  What about the other people on board the aircraft?

 

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1 minute ago, Stratheden said:

Seriously.  What about the other people on board the aircraft?

 

But we re being told that no one is contaminated. They would have to provide travel history before leaving the boat. 

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This is what I  heard yesterday.  I ship will dock in Laen Chong Thailand  on March 13th.  The passengers will disembark but the Crew will stay on Board.  The ship will stay there Until March 28th. It will be only crew on the ship and the March 13th cruise will be cancelled.

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I guess if I was on the Westerdam I would be happy not to disembark in an area where I am at risk of contracting the virus.

Edited by *Miss G*

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Incubation Period is now being updated to "up to 24 days".........another curve despite the appearance of things being okay on the Westie.............

Edited by thyme2go
wording

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1 hour ago, TriumphGuy said:

We have a 14 day TA coming up in April on the NS. I don't want to get quarantined. Not sure what to do. I am afraid it could happen.

 

I understand and share your concern.  So far, I think we are ok for our April cruise but who knows what will evolve in the next while?  Hopefully people listen to WHO and it will be contained and die out.  Time will tell.

 

1 hour ago, HappyInVan said:

 

 

April is a long time off. Just relax. You can make a final decision before embarkation day.

 

 

 

April is NOT a long ways off.  Triumph Guy is going around the same time as we are and it’s nearly just two months.  

 

With how things are developing it is worrisome.  Transatlantics are the first cruises to Europe so there is no past experience to go by.  So far, there are no coronavirus cases in the countries we are visiting but what if ships do become pariahs? 

We can only wait and watch and see how things go.  Definitely one should wait but I can understand Triumph Guy’s apprehension.



 

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At least they will be able to refuel and resupply. Who knows where they will end up at this point.

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