Health Information for Travellers

Business as usual? Our future plans

A letter to our friends and customers…

You may be wondering what the future holds for travel.
Australians are not completely free to travel, neither internationally nor domestically. 

Many express their lack of confidence in travel by air and sea and the timeline for relaxing travel restrictions is unknown. 

As recent events with second-wave infections in Victoria has shown, recovery can be ephemeral.We would like you to know that it will be Business As Usual for Travel Choice/Mosman Cruise Centre for the foreseeable future.
Biba, Carol and I are committed to providing you with continuing service despite the present difficulties.

But currently our business is at a crossroads.
We have had no income for the past 4-5 months and there is little or none in sight for the coming 12 months. Our full order book for 2020 has now been emptied as bookings are moved to 2021 and even later!

In this situation we must cut every possible cost to keep our business alive.

This means meeting unavoidable costs as we preserve our AFTA membership and ATAS accreditation, IATA registration, connectivity to international and domestic booking channels and maintain our booking record system and insurances, our internet and phone and website.

However we may have to let go our premises because rent is an expense we can eliminate – and that saving is a key part of our being able to continue while we have no income.

We are looking at moving out in early August.
This is an early warning to lessen the shock and to ensure that you will know the business has not closed even if the shop is unoccupied. 

We will let you know with another email when we have made our final decision.

If you have paid a deposit or have a fully paid booking with us you can rest assured that your credits are held with the travel operator(s) concerned.
We are not holding your funds, we keep complete records of your bookings including all payments and credits on file.

We welcome your comments and suggestions at this unusual time so please contact us, we will always be glad to hear from you and we look forward to assisting you again soon with your future travel plans.

Thank you 

Martin, Biba, Carol
travel@travelchoice.com.au
9968 1600
0418 484 603

Stranded ships, stranded people – the humanitarian solution

3 cruise ships in a row in the Bahamas

The coronavirus has taken over our lives alarmingly rapidly. It has taken over our media and facts and myths are being given equal weight. 

Around 9,000 hapless passengers are stranded in about a dozen cruise ships around the world. At time of writing 19 cruise ships are ‘stranded’ off the Australian coast. Some ships were on round the world voyages and had been at sea long before coronavirus struck. Health policies and border restrictions are changing daily and meanwhile these passengers and the thousands of crew who serve them are being demonised. Ships are still being denied entry to ports around the world and cruise companies are working round the clock to find a solution. Two of the ships that are carrying Australians among their passengers are Holland America vessels the Rotterdam and the Zaandam – both vessels tried to disembark passengers and crew and were being excluded from ports around the Americas for weeks until today (April 3) when they have been allowed to disembark in Florida.

A statement from the President of Carnival says “[Ruby Princess] followed to the letter all of the formal health clearance processes that were active at the time – meaning that all travellers arriving from an overseas port were treated in exactly the same way whether they arrived by air or sea”.  (Cruise Weekly April 2)

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia is calling for repatriation of crew – and this appears to have been heard.

These travellers could have been any one of us who love to travel and to cruise – these are the unlucky ones, caught up in an unprecedented disaster. It is easy to pass a problem on to others, to deny responsibility, to blame someone else. There’s been a lot of buck passing between the Federal government and the Department of Home Affairs – notably some unhelpful comments on air by Peter Dutton – the state governments, the health authorities and border security. It is to be hoped that it is not much longer before the situation is resolved humanely.

Cruising contributes around $5billion to the national economy each year and 20,000+ people work in the industry. Will Australia turn away the ships when this over? 

Corona Virus: what you need to know

Mouth Guard with city street in background

The media is full of news, information and misinformation about this virus which is currently at the forefront of most people’s thoughts.
For the latest on what the smart traveller website is advising click on this link.  This will lead to you to travel updates and travel advice on destinations and also to the Cruise Line Information Association health policy which all CLIA ocean member cruise lines are required to follow. 
To find out about the virus you can check the Australian Department of Health’s Corona Virus (COVID-19) Factsheet
There is a health information hotline you can call and a health direct hotline. 
Health Direct will also provide you with important information. 

Hand washing and cruising

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald reminded me of an email I received last week about how important it is to wash our hands. These days you will find disinfectant ‘bubbles’ on cruise ships so that it is easy to disinfect your hands – and that’s great but it is still important to wash hands.
The newspaper today reported on hospitals where there were poor hand washing rates – something that seems so basic, why do people have to be reminded.
Last week I received a news item about Norovirus which it described as ‘the bane of the cruise industry’, though it also occurs after plane trips… and probably train trips as well! In fact anywhere people congregate.

Norovirus (formerly Norwalk agent) is an RNA virus (taxonomic family Caliciviridae).
It is the most infectious microbe known. (It takes as few as 18 virus particles to infect a person via food, water or dirty hands.) Many outbreaks are traced to food that has been handled by one person who is infected.
Typically, symptoms begin with sudden vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea and watery diarrhoea, although for a lucky few, symptoms can be mild or non-existent. Symptoms usually last 24-72 hours.
Dehydration is the most common complication, especially among the young and elderly, and most people recover without medication and with no long-term complications. 

Regular hand washing is the best way to avoid this happening…watch this video from the WHO – it made me more aware of how I wash my hands, I am sure it will you too!!