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Holland America Sending COVID-19 Test Kits to Ship Unable to Dock



Holland America Line is sending another cruise ship with supplies and COVID-19 test kits to meet the Zaandam, which has been turned away from several countries due to coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>coronavirus fears. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

As all ports along Zaandam’s route are closed to cruise ships, the Rotterdam will rendezvous with Zaandam to provide extra supplies, staff, COVID-19 test kits and other support as needed. Carrying 611 crew and no guests, Rotterdam departed Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on March 22.

The current schedule is for the two ships to meet by the evening of March 26 off the coast of Panama, Holland America said in a blog post on March 24.

The company plans to head to Fort Lauderdale for arrival on March 30, although that plan is still being finalized while other options also are being studied. Port Everglades said it was monitoring the situation. “Any decision by Broward County on whether to allow the ship to enter Port Everglades will be determined as more information is available in consultation” with federal and local health authorities. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

On March 22, the Zaandam asked all passengers to remain in their staterooms as 13 guests and 29 crew members reported to the ship’s medical center with influenza-like symptoms. (The Miami Herald reported the number had risen to 77 by March 24.) It was unknown if they were suffering from COVID-19 since the ship had no test kits. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board.

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Zaandam was sailing a South America voyage that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21.

However, due to global health concerns, Holland America suspended its global cruise operations for 30 days on March 13. Despite previous confirmations that guests could disembark in Punta Arenas for flights, the ship was not permitted to do so.

Zaandam then sailed to Valparaiso, Chile, where it remained at anchor March 20-21 while taking on provisions and fuel, including regular medications for those that needed them. Zaandam departed Valparaiso on March 21 and is currently sailing north.

Internet and guest stateroom telephone services remain complimentary, Holland America also is offering guests and crew complimentary telephone counseling from its care partner, Empathia.

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European Waterways Barge Cruises Are Ideal for Family Vacations



European Waterways offers the perfect solution to socially distant family travel in Europe.

As the coronavirus pandemic begins to wane and countries begin to reopen their borders to international travelers, families are expected to look to travel to reconnect with one another, and European Waterways is ready for the surge, offering the ideal opportunity for families to explore on private, chartered river barges.

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Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways, says that he is already observing increasing interest.

This isn’t surprising seeing as how these vessels offer ideal accommodations for families, with room for anywhere between six and 20 passengers. Guests can cruise Europe’s canals and smaller waterways as well as the less-populated countryside.

“Cruising with European Waterways has always been about taking ‘the path less traveled,’ so much of our outdoor activities already take our guests away from crowded tourist attractions to the more exclusive, less populated settings,” said Banks. “Until travel returns to normal, we are further committed to providing a safe and healthy onboard environment for our guests, with pre-cruise checks for all on-board and the implementation of more stringent cleaning procedures, among other policies.”

Social distancing will likely be the norm for a while in Europe and around the world, and these barges offer the chance to enjoy scenery while still remaining safe.

For the most part, meals are served on board by the master chef and cruises feature exclusive private tours of castles, aristocratic estates and vineyards, plus other excursions, tailored to avoid the crowds.

L’Art de Vivre is the ideal barge for a family vacation. The eight-passenger vessel once carried supplies during World War One. Now, the boat has been completely modernized and cruises the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, France.

Family-friendly excursions include a visit to the Caves of Arcy-sur-Cure, which features some of the oldest cave paintings in the world, a medieval castle under construction using traditional methods at the Chateau Guedelon; the age of the dinosaurs in Cardo Land; and the fun and wildly eclectic artwork on display at the Fabuloserie Art and Sculpture Museum.

Family charters can also incorporate activities such as tennis, ice-skating and mini-golf as well as kayaking, quad biking and horseback riding.

European Waterways’ Family Charters are available throughout France, the U.K., Ireland, Scotland and Italy.

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