Hi everyone... the world is coming back, and travel is coming back... pretty much everyone either is operating, or has fairly firm plans on when to start operating again... YAY!!!!
I was going to post a bunch of stuff listing all the new sailings, and the changes, etc... but they are changing far too fast for any single post to keep up with. So the best advice, as always use a professional who knows his stuff, and keeps up with the changes. It's getting very complicated out there... but We Can Guide You Through It!
The great news we have all been waiting for... Cruise is back (and so is many other types of travel)
Of course its a bit more complicated than that, but it is a great start. Cruises have been sailing for a while from various international ports, and more are coming, and closer to home (North America). Just announces are cruises from the Bahamas, St Marteen, Bermuda, and soon to be more.
Why the change in homeports?
The US still has restrictions on cruises in US waters. There has been an industry call to end those restrictions July 1st, but time will tell if that happens. So building on the existing success throughout the world, the cruise lines have decided to move some of their ships outside of US waters.
Is it safe?
Of the cruises that have been running, over 350,000 people have sailed without significant issue. Royal Caribbean Group has said that they have carried 100,000 people with only 10 discovered positive cases. None of those cases ruined the cruise for others. They were identified, isolated, and well taken care of. The rest of the passengers continued on as normal. PLUS, this was before vaccines. It will only get better with vaccines.
Do I need a vaccine?
Well, right now many cruises have the vaccine requirement. It has been suggested that at some point it will no longer be needed. However, the newest batch of cruises announced have required them for all adult passengers, and all crew. Vaccines are a complicated issue for some people, and we can discuss your options. There are some exceptions to the requirement, but they are case by case. We can help you navigate that process.
What about masks, distancing, etc.?
The covid situation is rapidly changing, in most cases improving. Rules are adapting, and changing to the new conditions. It is hard to specifically predict the requirements for cruises that sail 2+ months from now. (Several cruise lines have not released specific plans because of the rapid pace of change). Keep in mind that the CDC has issued updated guidance regarding a loosening of restrictions if you are among others who are also vaccinated... so masks, and massive social distancing seems unlikely, though in some cases it may still be necessary. It's simply too early to say for sure.
What about tours, river cruises, etc?
There are a lot of variables. In many cases operators are getting ready to go, and will be ready as soon as they have permission. The local and national rules are dictating much of the timing. Once we are allowed back into Europe, tours and river cruises will resume rapidly. Disneyland is opening at the end of April, and most of the US based travel products are or soon will be running.
With all the changes, and the updates nearly daily... it has never been more important to have a travel professional support you... and since we don't charge any fees, it will never cost you more than booking yourself, or directly though the vendor. (Often times it cost less to use us! But it will never cost more!)
Vance World Travel is built on the idea that rapid replies, easy communications, is a critical piece of customer service. Far to often do I hear from people (most of which become clients) that THEIR travel agent hasn't gotten back to them. We are better than that.
There are several primary time we communicate with clients.. and we want to make it clear what our goals are...
Initial Contact... this generally comes from the contact form on this website. We strive to get back to you in 30 minutes or less. This can be an email, or a phone call, whatever you have preferred, and whatever your request seems to dictate. In general most people are contacted in 30 minutes or less after we receive the request. You are on the internet searching, and we want to respect your time... so under 30 minutes is our goal. (phone messages are also returned within 30 minutes)
Research … this can be almost anything depending on your needs. Sometimes it is just quotes on what you already requested, sometimes it's a deeper process. These things can take time, and vary widely based on the depth of the research that needs to be done... but we are as quick as possible... this are hard to predict, but we will give you some idea of when we will get back to you, and we usually beat those expectations.
Service Contacts … these are after a booking, and we work on them as close to when they come in as possible. Depending on the need the response will range from, we drop everything for them, or we add them to the list of things to handle the next time we speak with that particular vendor. Either way you will get an acknowledgment that we have your request (by email usually) and you will get a result when your request has been handled.
We never forget that often we are working on trips that may have limited space, or trying to beat a price increase, or catch a promotion before it ends. Time can be of the essence... and when it is, we will work hard, so that you don't have to.
Fine print... these are service standards, not guarantees. We will do all we can to live up to them, and in the vast majority of the cases we do. We may be working with a vendor, or a client that slows down our initial contact with you, but you will be the very next thing we do. Of course, this applies to business hours (9a-10p weekdays, 10-6 Saturday, and 12-5p Sundays). Travel, brief out of office, and other factors could effect the speed, but we are very, very good at getting the replies within 30 minutes.
There are many reasons why we travel (when we are allowed to!). No one person has only 1 reason, there are usually several reasons, and the combine to make your UNIQUE reason you travel. If you are lucky you will travel with another person (or many people) who's reasons align with yours.... but that is for another Blog post... this post is about one of the reasons I like to travel.
For me, one reason, is that I like to connect to the history of the place. To visualize and connect from the large historical event, to the event in the eyes of one or few individuals. We often lose the soul of an event in terms of the individuals while we try to get our heads around the big picture. Take this photo for example …
Artistically, there are definitely quality questions with the photo (though it isn't terrible). I can say that, as I took the photo. It is from a wall that holds up a neighborhood in Budapest called Castle Hill. The main Hungarian government buildings are in this area, just behind where I took the photo.
The interesting part for me is that random rubble that makes up the lower 90% of the wall. It looks ugly, but in reality it is history. Those chucks of cement, and brick, and stone are the debris created by WWII. Budapest was just hammered by bombing, and a long siege. In the process, the vast majority of the buildings were significantly damaged, or destroyed. The city was literally drowning in its own rubble, and needed to do something with it. Something economical, something close... so they flattened out an area of Castle Hill, and filled it with the old buildings. Those blocks of stone and brick are the pieces of houses, stores, restaurants, and more. It isn't a finely crafter artistic statement on the war... it's pieces of homes. It is the actual old city pre-war. I find that interesting. Imagine the photos you have seen of destroyed cities, and piles of bricks, and people looking beaten down and demoralized, sweeping up massive amounts of rubble. Those hands, are the ones who built this wall. Those are the ones who dug out from the horror, and made something from it. They suffered unthinkable destruction... and they touched those very bricks. No signs, no monuments... just the back story of an ordinary wall.
That is understanding at a level that you don't get from a book, only from being there. … and there are more stories like it, but that is enough for this post.
I post regularly on Instagram … follow me there for more photos, and short stories. I will be posting more here as well periodically.
No one ever said the road was going to be easy, but looking at what we can see, it does look like we are heading towards a return to travel. The Covid world, for travel and many other things, has been terrible. The number, trends, and expert indicators seem to be all pointing towards the end being relatively near. Travel will return at the same rate as overall confidence. Bookings are up now... proving that some people agree with my view of the future. Here are a few thoughts...
Should I book now or wait....
Whenever you are ready... definitely never going to pressure anyone... and booking now requires the added attention to the escape plan.
This blog is about travel. Small thoughts, large thoughts, reviews, information, and more.
If it is travel related, it may end up here!
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