Thursday, May 13, 2021

Countries open up, cruising resumes, travel comes back in Covid times


Planning a return to Malta, here during an expedition to some of its famous caves,
Christene "Cookie" Meyers and Bruce Keller rejoice on the resumption of European travel.

Cruisers will once again see the lights of Hong Kong's
beautiful Kowloon Harbor, as the CDC adjusts its guidelines.



Bruce Keller and
Christene Meyers
in Honolulu last week. 
NCL's Pride is
  returning its popular 
Hawaii itinerary. 


WE TOOK OUR FIRST flight, PC, "post Covid," our first PC boat trip and our first PC foray into a large city after crossing the Pacific to Hawaii two weeks ago. We're also cruising again, aboard a pair of Norwegian Cruise Line ships, as cruising makes a comeback.

WE'RE DINING in restaurants again, walking city streets, taking taxis, buses, sail boats and rental cars. We're shopping in stores and markets. All masked, distanced and glorious. It's as if we were tourists for the first time.

The famous gondolas of Venice await pandemic-weary
travelers, now that European travel bans are being lifted.

WE'RE TRAVELING again. After months of deprivation we packed passports, vaccination cards, sprays, masks and Covid negative test results.
WE'D LAST boarded a plane a remarkable 16 months ago, when we returned early from South America to nurse our ailing female Yorkie, Nora.  Her passing in January, 2020, after futile attempts to curb her kidney disease, seemed an omen for what was to come. It was, in many ways, one of the most troubling years of my life.  It was also a year of "inner exploration," of spending time with my favorite person, learning new ways to be happy. But enough already. So we took two weeks of aloha time.

Cookie and Keller after months
of travel deprivation are back
flying and cruising.
AS THE CRUISING INDUSTRY rebounds, there's more good news this week for international travelers. The European Union announced that it will accept those vaccinated with vaccines approved by EMA (the European Medicines Agency).  According to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, three vaccines have been approved for vaccinated travelers to Europe: Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Anxious European leaders believe travel will resume by this summer. June 15 seems to be the goal, just a month away.

The remarkable lion statues in Delos await as Greece is open
again to tourism. A dozen marble statues salute the god Apollo.

Already there are positive signs as people are vaccinated and travel regulations ease. These countries are now open to travelers outside their own country -- hooray: Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, Republic of Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Iceland, Israel, Mexico,  Montenegro, Nepal, Seychelles, Tahiti. Covid-negative tests are the rule for these countries, whose tourism-based economies have been nearly devastated by the pandemic. “We are working hard to propose a concrete solution, especially for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a recent interview on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Airlines are busy, increasing flights and offering bargains on use of frequent flier miles.
Cruising is coming back, too.
NORWEGIAN Cruise Line and others are seeking to clarify what comes next, after CDC's easing of masking and distancing requirements. It's still unclear how travelers will interact on ships with  
American Cruise Lines is selling out attractive,
safe "home based" voyages, here American Song
cruises the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.
vaccinated passengers and crew and those without. As cruise lines gear up to resume operations, most are insisting that passengers be fully vaccinated. Some will also insist on a negative Covid test as well. The CDC's Conditional Sailing Order, CSO, requires cruise lines to establish agreements at ports where they intend to operate, implement routine testing of crew. Plans are also being formulated by the various lines to require vaccination proof and testing of boarding passengers.
U.S. BASED American Cruise Lines, is selling out many of its summer and autumn cruises, with its "homegrown" advantage over lines that travel abroad. American's modern, small river and coastal boats are all U.S. built, registered and crewed, "and not subject to the issues other lines are," said Alexa Paolella, American's public
Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers enjoy lunch
al fresco in Portofino, as Italy's tourism opens up again.

relations manager. 
Another line, Viking River Cruises, will restart limited operations in June with three special sailings along the coast of England.
"We acknowledge that cruising will never be a zero-risk activity and that the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard cruise ships and across port communities," said Aimee
Treffiletti, head of the Maritime Unit for CDC's Global Mitigation Task Force for COVID-19. "We are committed to the resumption of cruise operations in the United States, following the requirements
Keller and Cookie above Cannes, France,
"B.C.," Before Covid. Plans are to return. 
of the CSO by summer, which aligns with the goals announced by many major cruise lines."
IN A NUTSHELL: It is likely that ships resuming sailing will demand passengers provide proof of vaccination. Crews will be fully vaccinated.
Most countries will ask for a vaccination card and may require a negative Covid test. 
Each country is dealing differently with foreign travel. The United Kingdom has divided countries of the world into three categories - green, amber and red. Status depends on the number of Covid-19 cases per country and the success of their vaccine rollout. Green countries have the fewest rules.
Beginning May 17, people in England and Scotland can take holidays abroad in "green" countries without having to quarantine when they return.
Wales and Northern Ireland have not yet announced plans to restart foreign holidays.
In the U.S., the CDC is expected to announce updated guidelines by this weekend. 


Christene Meyers, Bruce Keller and Nick take to a rental boat
 for a relaxing half-day journey in the Channel Islands.
UP NEXT:  As the world regroups, travel resumes, masking and distancing ease, and the pandemic seems to be taking a healthy turn toward control, we're pausing to reflect. We're taking this tranquil time to reflect, to smell the roses, enjoying the soothing balm of the Channel Islands waters. It's possible to rent a boat for a day or afternoon, to wander the inlets and canals of this undiscovered gem on the California coast.  Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live, and catch us each week for a fresh take on travel, nature, family and the arts. Please share the link:


  1. North Carolina Travel BuffsMay 13, 2021 at 7:04 PM

    Very encouraging. We're keeping up with the changes which are coming fast and furiously. Thanks for leading the way to better understanding. So much to digest.

  2. Baltimore Baltic FansMay 14, 2021 at 7:22 AM

    Yes, things are slowly but surely opening up again. We hope our fellow travelers are vaccinated, like we are

  3. St. Louis BluesmenMay 14, 2021 at 1:52 PM

    All so hopeful. And the putt-putt in the Channel Islands looks fun. We just booked a Mississippi cruise on American, thanks your last post.