Most Major Cruise Lines Accepting Mixed Vaccines: Good News For Canadians

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As the world goes back to normal and cruise ships return to the oceans, we’re finally beginning to understand the vaccine requirements from cruise ships. 

Canadian travelers were worried about mixed vaccines and how that would affect their ability to travel going forward. Many Canadians received mixed vaccine doses, and some countries aren’t accepting mixed vaccine doses yet. 

The CDC’s position on mixed vaccines was unclear until recent weeks. The CDC now recognizes some mixed vaccine doses as fully vaccinated. 

But thankfully, most cruise ships accept mixed vaccines, and we have the complete list of entry requirements here.

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean Cruises currently accepts guests with mixed vaccine doses as fully vaccinated.

However, Royal Caribbean Cruises states, “We understand some guests may have been vaccinated with doses from two different vaccine manufacturers.

“Whether these are accepted depends on where you are sailing from and the mix of manufacturers. In addition, mixed vaccines may not be accepted at all ports of call.”

Royal Caribbean Cruises are following the CDC’s guidelines.

Cruises departing from ports inside the U.S.

  • Mixed mRNA Vaccines – For sailings departing the U.S, the CDC recognizes a mixed series of mRNA vaccines as fully vaccines. For example, 1 shot of Pfizer with 1 shot of Moderna. However, the doses must be administered 28 days apart. Royal Caribbean cruises will consider guests fully vaccinated 14 days after the final dose. 
  • Mixed mRNA with AstraZeneca Vaccine – Royal Caribbean cruises will not consider guests fully vaccinated if their two shots consist of only 1 mRNA dose with 1 AstraZeneca dose. Royal Caribbean states they’re going to “continue to encourage the CDC and other U.S. government officials to re-evaluate this policy.”

Cruises departing from ports outside of the U.S. 

Royal Caribbean cruises will accept mixed doses of Pfizer and Moderna, or AstraZeneca with Moderna or Pfizer if they’re departing from outside of the United States.

The doses must be separated by at least 4 weeks and not more than 12 weeks for combinations of AstraZeneca with Pfizer or Moderna. 

Royal Caribbean accepts straight doses of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization and the U.S. FDA. The company considers guests fully vaccinated 14 days after the final dose of vaccines. 

For example, Royal Caribbean accepts 1 shot of Johnson & Johnson, 2 shots of Pfizer, 2 of Moderna, and 2 of AstraZeneca. 

Carnival Cruises 

Carnival Cruises, which own Princess, Seabourn, Holland, and Costa, currently accept guests with mixed vaccine doses as fully vaccinated.

However, Carnival Cruises currently accepts mixing mRNA vaccines only, such as Pfizer and Moderna. However, Carnival Cruises doesn’t accept guests as fully vaccinated with any other vaccine combination.

They state, “Canadian or other international guests who received a combination of AstraZeneca and Pfizer are considered unvaccinated by the CDC.”

Guests considered unvaccinated by Carnival Cruises will need to follow the applicable vaccination exemption requirements.

These include a 72-hour negative PCR test at check-in, an additional antigen test at embarkation, and another test within 24 hours of debarkation on all cruises exceeding 4 days in length. 

Norwegian Cruise Lines 

Norweigan Cruise Lines currently accepts guests with mixed vaccine doses as fully vaccinated.

However, the cruise accepts a mixed protocol of AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Moderna combinations with a minimum interval of 28 days.

The cruise accepts straight doses of all vaccines approved by the FDA, EMA, and the World Health Organization. 

They also state guests who’ve received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine before another COVID-19 vaccine are still considered fully vaccinated by the company two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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Closure of U.S. land border may hamper Canadians’ winter travel plans once again, experts say

By Brooklyn Neustaeter, Writer

Click here for updates on this story

    TORONTO, Ontario (CTV Network) — With the United States’ land border still closed to non-essential travel, experts say some Canadian snowbirds may be staying home for a second consecutive winter.

Oct. 21 is the deadline for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to declare whether it plans to ease these travel restrictions at the Canada-U.S. land border, or extend the prohibition for another 30 days.

No one knows for sure why the U.S. has kept the land border closed while Canadians can still fly into the country by air, but Toronto travel insurance broker Martin Firestone says he is telling his clients to have faith that it will reopen come October.

“There’s going to be thousands and thousands of snowbirds that will for a second year in a row not find their way down south if it doesn’t because it’s going to curtail the season once again,” Firestone told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.

As more Americans and Canadians get vaccinated, the Canadian Snowbirds Association (CSA) says it is hopeful the vast majority of snowbirds will be able to travel south this winter.

Evan Rachkovsky, a spokesperson for the CSA, told in an email that Canadian snowbirds are itching to return to the U.S., but the current ban is hampering their plans once again.

“As over 70 per cent of Canadian snowbirds travel to the United States in their Canadian vehicles, the ongoing closure of the U.S. land border continues to cause frustration amongst these travellers,” Rachkovsky said Wednesday.

He added that snowbirds who live in their RVs year round are particularly impacted since most Canadian campgrounds and RV sites are closed during the winter months.

“The CSA is calling on the Biden Administration to lift the current restrictions at the land border as the Canadian government did for fully vaccinated American travellers earlier this year,” Rachkovsky said.

The Canadian government eased travel restriction for U.S. citizens and permanent residents fully immunized against COVID-19 on Aug. 9.

The Biden administration announced in September that most adult foreign nationals will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to travel to the United States by early November. However, there were no details provided on how this new policy would specifically impact travel at the land border.

Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas previously said during a National Press Club event in Washington that the U.S. had hoped to ease land travel restrictions sooner, but the Delta variant delayed those plans.

If the land border remains closed come Oct. 21, Firestone said Canadian snowbirds do have some options, “all of which are expensive.”

Firestone says older travellers typically want a vehicle at their disposal or an RV while in the U.S., and prefer to avoid the hassle of air travel, particularly since Canada’s decision to allow fully-vaccinated visitors has dramatically slowed the customs clearance process.

“Why two people from the same family packing up their car and heading south across the border is not considered safer than going into an airport terminal with a thousand other people… is beyond any understanding,” Firestone said.

However, Firestone said the cost of shipping a vehicle or an RV separately while paying for plane tickets is too expensive for most snowbirds. In addition, a shortage of available rental cars across North America has put a further premium on being able to take one’s own car.

He says those who can’t afford these options will likely remain in Canada for the winter season.

“Yes there are choices, but I don’t think any [snowbirds] will take advantage of them if they need to have to do that,” Firestone said.

A group of U.S. Senate Democrats, including Michigan senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand of New York and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, wrote a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden in September asking him to finally lift the travel ban.

“We believe that fully vaccinated Canadians should be allowed to safely travel into the United States via land ports of entry,” reads the letter, which was also signed by New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

“We urge you to lift these restrictions before October, provide a plan for reopening land ports of entry and appoint an interagency lead on U.S.-Canadian border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senators said in the letter.

Firestone says the U.S. may be looking to open its northern and southern borders at the same time, however, the ongoing immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border may be making the White House wary about easing travel restrictions altogether.

“I suspect that [America] wants an open border between their north and southern countries with respect to opening it simultaneously,” he said.

With files from The Canadian Press

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

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U.S. vaccination requirement for air passengers worries Canadians with mixed vaccines

Canadian travellers have been able to fly freely to the United States since the start of the pandemic, but new U.S. travel rules announced Monday have some Canadians with two different COVID-19 vaccine doses worried they may soon be barred from entry. 

Starting in early November, the U.S. will require foreign air passengers entering the country to be fully vaccinated. The problem is, the U.S. has yet to approve mixing COVID-19 vaccines.

“I’m really worried about this U.S. policy,” said Cathy Hiuser of Ancaster, Ont., who has one dose of COVIDSHIELD (a brand of AstraZeneca) and one dose of Pfizer. She has booked a trip to Maui, departing Nov. 7.

“I don’t even know if I’ll be able to go across the border,” she said. “It’s a problem.”

At the same time as the U.S. introduces its vaccine requirement, the country will lift its travel ban on air passengers entering from a list of dozens of red-flagged countries.

“We’ll be putting in place strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from passengers flying internationally into the United States,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday. 

Millions of Canadians received mixed COVID-19 vaccine doses after Canada updated its vaccine guidelines in June. (Chris Glover/CBC)

CBC News asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) if the millions of Canadians with mixed vaccines will still be allowed to fly to the country when the vaccine requirement kicks in. The CDC said it’s in the “regulatory process” phase in determining which vaccines will be accepted. 

The agency also laid out its current policy: it considers people fully vaccinated when they have all recommended doses of the same COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca.

“At present CDC does not recognize mixed vaccines,” said spokesperson Kristen Nordlund.

But there are exceptions to the rule. The CDC says on its website that mixed doses of the two mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, are acceptable in “exceptional situations,” such as when the vaccine used for the first dose was no longer available.

However, a combination of AstraZeneca and an mRNA vaccine won’t meet the bar, a position adopted by cruise ships departing from U.S. ports.

“Guests whose two-shot regimen consists of 1 mRNA dose (Pfizer or Moderna) with 1 AstraZeneca dose will not be considered vaccinated,” states Royal Caribbean cruise line on its website. “We continue to encourage the CDC and other U.S. government officials to re-evaluate this policy.”

‘I started to cry’

Canada is one of several countries — including Germany, Italy, France and Thailand — that has doled out mixed vaccines to a number of its citizens. But there is no international consensus on the practice. 

The CDC said the U.S. is conducting trials on the safety and effectiveness of mixed vaccines, and that the agency may update its vaccine recommendations once it has new data. 

But that’s of little comfort to Canadians with mixed doses who’ve already made travel plans to the U.S., such as snowbirds and those who’ve booked winter vacations. 

In May, Norma Chrobak of Orillia, Ont., booked a special family trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands to celebrate her partner’s 75th birthday. The trip consists of a week-long chartered boat cruise in February — at a cost of $26,000. 

Norma Chrobak of Orillia, Ont., with her partner, Bob Kemp. Chrobak is worried she may have to cancel a special trip to the U.S. Virgin Island she booked to celebrate Kemp’s 75th birthday. (submitted by Norma Chrobak)

The problem is, five out of the 10 family members set to go on the trip — including Chrobak and her partner — have a mix of AstraZeneca and Moderna. 

“My heart just almost exploded in my chest,” said Chrobak when she learned about the coming U.S. vaccine requirement for travellers. “I started to cry.”

She has already paid a $12,500 deposit and, even though she purchased travel insurance, Chrobak is unsure at this point if she can get a full refund if she must cancel the trip. 

The cruise was supposed to be a surprise birthday gift for Chrobak’s partner. But she’s speaking publicly about it in the hopes the Canadian government will pressure the U.S. to accept mixed vaccines. 

“Somebody’s got to take this bull by the horns,” she said. “There’s got to be something that can be done.”

WATCH | Travellers with mixed vaccines say they can’t board some cruises: 

Travellers with mixed vaccines say they can’t board some cruises

Many Canadians who have received mixed doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are facing travel issues in countries that don’t recognize them as being fully vaccinated. Travel bloggers Karen and Brian Hosier share how the ‘frustrating’ rules are affecting their travel plans and business. 6:34

Canada updated its vaccination guidelines in June to recommend mixing COVID-19 vaccine doses based on emerging research that found it was both safe and effective.

On Thursday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Canada is in talks with the U.S. about its coming vaccine requirement for foreign air passengers. 

“We have had quite a series of discussions with U.S. counterparts,” she said during a news conference. “We’ve basically been providing some technical support to help them make a decision on the mixed dose, particularly AstraZeneca followed by an mRNA vaccine.”

The waiting game

Lawyer Henry Chang, who specializes in Canadian and U.S. immigration law, said he’s optimistic the U.S. will soon change its position on mixed vaccines.

“My gut feeling is that they’re going to have to resolve it. If not right when the vaccine requirements come in, soon after, because there are going to be too many people complaining about this,” said Chang, who is with the law firm Dentons in Toronto. 

If the U.S. doesn’t budge on mixed vaccines come November, some Canadians will still have options. Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are each offering third vaccine doses to people in their province who require it for travel.

But that doesn’t help potential travellers such as Chrobak in Ontario, who must wait to find out the fate of her trip.

“Pretty much just feeling devastated, feeling like I have no control,” she said.

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Canadians appear eager to take off for sun destinations despite ongoing COVID-19 challenges

Michel Dubois has packed his bags, even though his planned trip to Cuba is still more than two months away.

That’s because the retired TV cameraman and editor from Saint-Jérome, Que., is eager for a break from the monotony of pandemic life.

“After a year and a half of sitting in front of my TV and computer, it’s time to move on,” said Dubois, 70, who plans to do some scuba diving and enjoy the sun.

Trips like the one Dubois has booked are giving airlines and tour operators something to look forward to as well — seemingly better business prospects after months of severely hampered operations due to pandemic-related border closures and travel restrictions.

Some key travel players are reporting increased demand for bookings to sun destinations, despite the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic that has yet to end inside or outside Canada’s borders.

Better days ahead?

The onset of the pandemic prompted governments — including Canada’s — to urge people to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus and its variants.

It’s a stance Ottawa still holds, even though the government recently loosened restrictions for incoming travellers who are vaccinated.

Tourists relax on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, last month. (Marco Ugarte/The Associated Press)

“We continue to advise against non-essential travel outside of Canada,” Global Affairs Canada said in an email on Friday, noting that this applies to all countries around the globe.

The department also pointed to practical concerns for those who choose to go abroad.

“Additional travel restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can suspend or reduce flights without notice. Travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult to return home.”

WATCH | Incoming travellers and Canada’s 4th COVID-19 wave:

Canada walks fine line as border reopens during fourth wave

As Canada prepares to allow non-essential travel from nearly anywhere in the world, the country walks a fine line between needing to reopen and fears over the fourth wave of COVID-19. 2:00

Indeed, COVID-19 travel restrictions vary from country to country, with vaccine passports gaining traction with some governments. Prior to the current federal election campaign, Ottawa had announced plans to develop such documentation for international travel.

Then and now

Ambarish Chandra, an associate professor of economics at the University of Toronto, says that while the government actively discouraged travel last winter, that didn’t deter all people from going abroad — such as snowbirds who went to Florida.

With the progress on vaccination that has been made, Chandra said he believes Ottawa’s stance on leisure travel may have to shift.

“I don’t think it would be reasonable for the government to go a second winter season saying: ‘Don’t travel,'” Chandra said in an interview.

A mask-wearing pilot at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in March 2020, the same month the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Many border closures and travel restrictions were soon put into effect in countries around the world. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Jörg Fritz, an associate professor in the microbiology and immunology department at Montreal’s McGill University, says that as travel picks up, Canada will have to keep a close eye on what strains of the virus are circulating here and around the globe.

“We simply need to face that this virus will not go away that quickly,” he said.

“The danger that new variants arise that might escape vaccine-induced immunity is still there and will be there for quite a while.”

It’s also key for Canada to continue increasing its vaccination rate and to ensure that children are protected as soon as that is possible, Fritz said.

A desire to get away

Air Canada says the upcoming fall and winter looks promising for travel to sun destinations.

“When looking to the sun market, we are very optimistic about our recovery,” airline spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told CBC News in a recent email, adding that “we are currently observing demand growth that is above 2019 levels.”

Sunwing Travel Group says it’s seeing ‘encouraging demand’ for sun-destination bookings compared with last fall. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Meanwhile, Sunwing Travel Group reports seeing “encouraging demand” compared with last fall, which spokesperson Melanie Anne Filipp says shows Canadians are growing more confident about travelling again.

“The rise in vaccinations across the country and easing border measures have without a doubt contributed to Canadians’ increasing interest in travel to sun destinations,” said Filipp, who noted that business remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Montreal-based Air Transat is currently flying passengers to a mix of domestic and international locations. Some of its sun destinations include Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico.

“We confirm that demand is doing well, and we clearly feel that the urge to travel is back,” Air Transat spokesperson Debbie Cabana said via email.

“However, because of the uncertainty that still exists when traveling abroad, bookings are being made more last minute than before the pandemic.”

Being able to back out

A last-minute travel buy was not the story for Dubois, the retired TV cameraman, who booked his own trip back in January.

But he also bought a ticket that will allow him to cancel his plans up to 24 hours before departure, with a full refund.

Tourists take a break at a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, in August 2019. Seven months later, the global pandemic was declared, bringing an end to most leisure travel throughout the world. (Fernando Medina/Reuters)

On prior trips, he hadn’t tended to pencil in the possibility of needing to cancel — but that was before COVID-19.

“Before now, no,” said Dubois, who worked for both CBC and Radio-Canada during his career. “Now, definitely.”

The University of Toronto’s Chandra says the more flexible arrangements being offered by airlines reflects the fact that some customers won’t be willing to book expensive tickets if there’s a chance they will lose their money.

Rolling out the welcome mat

Dubois is heading to Cuba at the end of November, and by that time, travel restrictions will have been eased.

The Cuban Tourism Ministry recently announced that as of Nov. 15, Canadians with proof of vaccination won’t have to take a test before heading to the country. They’ll also be able to travel across the island.

Vacationers take to the water at a Club Med resort in the Dominican Republic before the pandemic. With the progress on vaccination that has been made, one expert says he believes Ottawa’s restrictive stance on leisure travel may have to shift. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Sunwing’s Filipp said that “numerous sun destinations are already open for travel,” and like Cuba, other destinations are expected to ease restrictions of their own as vaccination rates rise and COVID-19 cases decline.

Chandra says he’s doubtful that differing rules between sun destinations will have much of an effect on travel patterns.

That’s because a lot of sun seekers — and snowbirds in particular — are likely to “stick to their choices” when it comes to their desired winter getaways. “They’re not going to go other places,” he said.

They’re also unlikely to go to other regions because they head south to take advantage of the better weather, he said.

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Where Canadians can travel abroad during COVID-19

By Brooke Taylor, Writer

Click here for updates on this story

    TORONTO, Ontario (CTV Network) — While Canada continues to advise against all non-essential travel outside the country, there are plenty of countries accepting Canadian travellers with limited COVID-19 restrictions.

Most countries have COVID-19 restrictions in place for foreign travellers, Mexico and Colombia are two exceptions to this. Both of those countries require a travel form to be filled out prior to arrival but have no other COVID-19 restrictions in place for Canadian travellers.

Canada is currently restricting all travel to 16 countries. Nations on that list include Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Myanmar and Somalia; more details can be found here.

EUROPE European Union member nations began accepting Canadian travellers in July. Travellers headed to most European countries will require a negative PCR test and proof of vaccination to avoid mandatory quarantine. Non-vaccinated travellers will need a negative PCR test and to quarantine for 10 to 14 days depending on the country being visited. France, the U.K., Sweden, Germany, and Austria require negative tests but are not asking Canadians to quarantine upon arrival regardless of vaccination status.

Many European countries welcoming Canadian travellers are accepting those who had mixed-and-matched vaccines as long as the vaccines were approved for use by the EU health authority or the World Health Organization (WHO). What’s considered fully vaccinated can depend on the country, so it is always best to check government websites for most up-to-date information, but currently most EU countries are accepting mixing of AstraZeneca and mRNA doses, as well as a mixing of mRNA doses.

UNITED STATES Currently, the United States doesn’t have any vaccine requirements for travel. The land border is currently closed to non-essential travel from Canadians, but they are able to fly into the country. Canadians travelling to the U.S. from abroad must be aware of additional restrictions in place. Canadians will not be allowed to travel to the U.S. if they have travelled to India, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, or most European countries in the 14 days prior.

The land border restrictions for Canadians travelling to the U.S. are in place until Sept. 21 and may be extended. American travellers have been able to use the land border to enter Canada since Aug. 9 with proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival.

LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES Most Latin and Caribbean countries are also accepting Canadians, but travel requirements vary. Some countries will need a completed negative COVID-19 test before arrival while others will do testing upon arrival. Other countries require vaccination, and some offer COVID-19 certified accommodations to control spread.

Turks and Caicos Islands requires full vaccination and a negative test for travel to the country. They accept mix-and-match doses between mRNA and adenovector vaccines, and between mRNA doses.

Canadians travelling to Jamaica will need to provide a negative test. Travellers will need to fill out an online application within seven days prior to travel and wait for approval before entering the country.

Similarly, Saint Lucia doesn’t require vaccination for entry, but travellers must have a negative PCR test at least five days prior to visiting the country. Saint Lucia has set up special accommodations to help keep COVID-19 from spreading on the island by keeping tourists in one area during their quarantine period. For those who are fully vaccinated, they can come and go from these accommodations as they please; for partially or non-vaccinated travellers, there are restrictions of where they can travel and which excursions they can participate in at certified resorts.

Bermuda will require a negative test, and unvaccinated travellers will need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

On Aug. 10, Martinique entered a lockdown and is currently not accepting tourists.

It is important to check your destination’s restrictions before setting off as they are regularly updated.

CRUISES As with other destinations, it is important to keep track of changing requirements on cruise ships. Currently, there are no cruises operating out of Canada, but Canadians can hop on board in other countries.

What is considered fully vaccinated can vary significantly by port and country, so it is important to be aware of vaccination policies while travelling.

Celebrity Cruises departing from most ports in Greece accept mixed mRNA doses, but those leaving from Athens accept mixed doses of AstraZenca and an mRNA vaccine.

Norwegian Cruise Line requires passengers to be fully vaccinated with a single brand of vaccine.

All cruises departing U.S. ports require that passengers be vaccinated by the CDC’s definition, which does not include mixing and matching AstraZeneca and an mRNA dose.

WHO CAN TRAVEL TO CANADA Canada has currently suspended flights from India and Morocco. Otherwise, travellers entering the country must provide a negative molecular test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival, and provide proof of vaccination authorized for use in Canada to avoid a 14 day stay in quarantine.

Travellers are required to use the ArriveCAN app to upload their proof of vaccination.

There is no guarantee that travellers to Canada will be accepted at the border.

TRAVEL INSURANCE Travel insurance is always beneficial in the event travellers need medical assistance abroad, and insurance companies are now providing COVID-19 specific travel insurance.

Manulife has a pandemic travel plan and WestJet is offering complimentary COVID-19 travel insurance to travellers using their services.

Since Canada is currently advising against all non-essential travel abroad, it is best to check insurance policies to see if they will cover any COVID-19 related issues that may happen while travelling. Some insurance companies, such as TD Insurance, have coverage exemptions in place where Canadians have been advised to avoid travel.

Travel insurance coverage can also be dependent on the vaccination status of the traveller, one of Manulife’s travel insurance plans does not cover any COVID-19 related expenses for unvaccinated travellers.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

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Americans can now drive to Canada — but Canadians can’t do the reverse

The rest of the world, though, might be wishing that travel could return to the way it was before the pandemic took hold.

Until it does, here’s what you need to know about tourism industry news, international reopenings and more.

1. Broadway is back

The cast of "Hadestown" celebrated their first post-shutdown performance on September 2.

The cast of “Hadestown” celebrated their first post-shutdown performance on September 2.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

New York City has continued its road to reopening, but the big news was tempered when Hurricane Ida hit, flooding subways, streets and homes across the city.

The Great White Way is back in business, but things may not look the same as they did before: Audience members at Broadway shows like “Hadestown” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” must provide proof of full vaccination and wear masks for the duration of the performance.

Many shows are opting to condense or shorten their run times to avoid having intermissions as well.

Another sign that the city is waking up? The iconic red-and-white TKTS line, where theatergoers can stand in Times Square to score last-minute Broadway and off-Broadway tickets, will reopen on September 14 at 3 p.m.

2. … and that goes for the waterways, too

Manhattan’s cruise ship terminal, which is on the Hudson River, will reopen in late September.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises are reportedly vying to have the honor of being the first line to return to the New York City terminal.

3. Universal has landed in China

Universal Studios Beijing Resort doesn’t open until September 20, but anticipation is already through the roof. A CNN source reports that some preview passes for the first Chinese Universal park were being scalped for hundreds of dollars.

Some of Universal’s most popular attractions, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Minion Land and Transformers Metrobase are here, and there’s also a Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness that’s exclusive to the Beijing park. In addition to rides, there’s a Mr. Ping’s Noodle House that looks just like the one from the movies.

While China’s borders are almost entirely closed to travelers, within the country tourism is mostly open.

4. CDC advises against going to Saint Lucia and Switzerland

Oman shares land borders with Saudi Arabia. Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Oman shares land borders with Saudi Arabia. Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Haitham Al-Shukairi/AFP/Getty Images

In its latest round of travel advisories, the CDC has updated its Covid risk lists once again. Seven new destinations, including Saint Lucia, Puerto Rico and Switzerland, were added to the level four “very high risk” category.

While the designation is not a ban, the CDC advises that anyone traveling to a level four spot be fully vaccinated first.

And speaking of Oman…

5. Oman is now welcoming travelers

The Gulf nation has reopened its land, air and sea borders to vaccinated travelers as of September 1. Visitors must be at least 14 days past their second dose of an approved vaccine (or the sole dose, if they got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and be from a country that allows Omani visas on arrival.

Travelers must register for the Tarassud+ app ahead of their trip.

Visitors who arrive with a negative Covid-19 test in hand (within the past 72 hours for short-haul flights and 96 hours for long-hauls) will not have to quarantine on arrival.

6. Singapore charts its new way forward

The light show has returned to Singapore's famous Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove.

The light show has returned to Singapore’s famous Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove.

Cavan Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Singapore passed the milestone of vaccinating 80% of its population this week. The country has announced that it will pursue a strategy to live with Covid, instead of trying to aim for zero cases. That begins with the opening of quarantine-free travel lanes with Germany and Brunei and will likely include similar agreements with other countries in the months to come.

That’s great news for Singapore’s tourism industry, which has been battered by the border closure. Restaurant owners have been some of the hardest hit as local lockdowns also meant locals couldn’t dine in, either.

Amid the tourism panic, Michelin released its annual guide to the Lion City’s restaurants on September 1. One shocker was the news that Hawker Chan — a longtime favorite food stall whose $2.50 chicken and noodles with soy sauce dish was widely known as the least expensive Michelin meal in the world — lost its star ranking for the first time since the Singapore guides debuted in 2016.

7. Canada greets US tourists coming by car

American Rebecca Soffer and her family attend a Toronto Blue Jays game.

American Rebecca Soffer and her family attend a Toronto Blue Jays game.

Courtesy Rebecca Soffer

As of August 9, Canada has allowed its southern neighbors to come to the Great White North by land (instead of only via air).

For Massachusetts resident Rebecca Soffer, who has two young unvaccinated children, that made a family vacation to Canada something she felt comfortable doing during the pandemic.

Their family of four crossed the US-Canada border at Buffalo, New York’s Peace Bridge and then visited Toronto and Niagara Falls before returning home, an experience she documented for CNN Travel.

Still, amid the optimistic news one major question remains — why can’t Canadians drive to the US?

Although the country’s respective leaders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden, spoke on August 2 about “close collaboration in the management of the Canada-US land border,” the US has yet to decide when it will open up to its northern neighbor.

8. Europe cools on US tourists

Prospects of European escapes for Americans have begun to fade with the summer. This week the EU dropped the United States from its list of safe countries and advised its member states to restrict nonessential from from the US due to a surge in Covid cases.

So far the nonbinding directive has yet to be adopted by most of Europe’s major travel destinations, but Sweden and the Netherlands have both announced new limits on arrivals.

9. Will a replica 18th century ship be the new cool way to travel?

If slow travel is poised to make a post-pandemic comeback, then what’s more leisurely than a seven-month sail around the globe?

The Götheborg II, a 1:1 replica of an 18th century trading ship, is now in Stockholm’s harbor.

Over seven months, the ship will call at ports around the world, including Lisbon, Alexandria, and Muscat (yep, there’s Oman again) before completing its journey in Shanghai.

10. Qantas announces the return of international flights

Although Australia’s borders remain closed to nearly all international travelers, its national carrier is feeling cautiously optimistic.

“With Australia on track to meet the 80% (vaccine) trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told CNN affiliate 9 News.

CNN’s Marnie Hunter, Maureen O’Hare, Barry Neild, Kristen Rogers and Rebecca Soffer contributed reporting.

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Government working with other countries to recognize Canadians with 2 mixed doses as fully vaccinated

Canadians who have received two different doses of COVID-19 vaccines may face difficulties travelling to countries where vaccine mixing has not been approved by health officials.

In June, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization issued guidance permitting AstraZeneca-Oxford, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots to be used interchangeably in certain situations.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked if the government has received assurances that Canadians will be allowed to travel if they have shots from two different vaccines, even if other countries haven’t approved mixing doses.

“We’re going to work with the international community to make sure that people who are fully vaccinated in ways that Canadians recognize as safe and effective are also recognized around the world,” he said.

In a news conference Thursday, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc was asked to specify what the federal government was doing to ensure mixing doses would be recognized by other countries.

“We work with allies … in sharing data, working with them on the best immunization strategies, so we understand the concern that Canadians have around international travel,” he said.

LeBlanc pointed to the federal government’s efforts to create an internationally recognized proof of vaccination certificate — or vaccine passport — but didn’t say how it would work for Canadians with two different doses, although he said more details would be made available “over the coming weeks and months.”

Canadians already facing confusion

But some travellers vaccinated using that advice have started to face difficulties when considering travel to countries where mixing doses is not recognized. 

Laura Sharpe of Surrey, B.C., has one shot of Pfizer and one of Moderna. She booked a trip to Barbados with her husband for the end of August.

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Vaccinated travellers in Barbados are required to stay at a hotel upon arriving for up to 24 hours until they get their negative PCR test results back. Unvaccinated visitors, however, must stay in their hotel rooms until they receive their test results on day five.

But the government of Barbados did not consider someone who has two shots of different vaccines fully vaccinated until recently.

WATCH | What we know about mixing vaccines:

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch explains comments from the World Health Organization about COVID-19 vaccines taken out of context and what health experts know about mixing vaccines. 2:25

Barbados’s original policy of not recognizing mixed doses led Sharpe to believe she would have to cancel her trip. She said she even contacted the government’s Tourism Ministry to try to clarify if she would be forced to quarantine and was initially told she would.

“I had done all my homework and it didn’t help,” she said.

Sharpe said she wishes the government had been a bit more proactive than reactive after issuing advice on mixing doses, and is worried about other countries that won’t recognize mixed dosing.

“This could go on for months or even years before this is sorted out,” she said.

The Canadian government’s official recommendation remains not to travel for non-essential purposes.

Sharpe said she understands that advice but still felt she could have made an educated decision to go and felt she was protected by the vaccine and that the country she went to was safe.

Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.

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Canadians’ travel to U.S. ready to bounce back

A passenger gets assistance from an Air Canada employee at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport last November. South Florida businesses expect to get a major lift from the return of Canadian visitors as Canada gradually starts to ease COVID-19-related travel restrictions. (Susan Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

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Dreaming of travelling? Five easy ways Atlantic Canadians can bring the world into their homes virtually while waiting out COVID | Local-Lifestyles | Lifestyles

Tara Bolt misses travelling.

Before COVID-19, the St. John’s, NL woman travelled the world multiple times a year for leisure with her husband and her then-two-year-old.

“It’s been really hard to not be able to travel or even plan a trip,” she says.

Now, she’s making herself content by looking back at her photographs from past trips, while dreaming about a time she can travel again. So even though she can’t book anything right now, Bolt has been researching their next adventure and finding ways to bring the world to her own home.

Like the thousands of others who dream of travelling, many are finding creative ways to virtually travel and learn about other cultures from the safety of their own homes.

For Bolt, this involves watching travel shows. Her favourites include “Travel with Purpose” on Amazon Prime and “Somebody Feed Phil,” a funny food travel show on Netflix. These shows, she says, are enough to give her a taste of a different place, even they can’t physically be there.

Going to Paris isn't in the cards right now due to COVID, but Larissa Newell, branch manager of Maritime Travel Charlottetown, P.E.I. has the next best thing with this photoshoot in her back yard. Newell is hoping to help keep people hopeful that travel will return soon through the series of photos. - SaltWire Network
Going to Paris isn’t in the cards right now due to COVID, but Larissa Newell, branch manager of Maritime Travel Charlottetown, P.E.I. has the next best thing with this photoshoot in her back yard. Newell is hoping to help keep people hopeful that travel will return soon through the series of photos. – SaltWire Network

World at your fingertips

Leah Jessalyn Stultz, also from St. John’s, is getting her travel fix a slightly different way. She and her children have been using Google Earth to street-view new places. Sometimes, she says, they look for something specific, like the pyramids, and other times, they are just looking to see what the houses or the landscape looks like in far-off locales. So far, their favourite countries they’ve visited virtually include Egypt, New Zealand, and Antarctica.

Through her St. John’s Girl Guide/Sparks unit, Karleena Squires has had the girls following journals of a girl who travels around the world learning about Guiding in different countries. Each week, they play games from each country, make crafts of various landmarks, and learn some words in new languages.

So far, the Sparks have enjoyed going on a lion hunt in Kenya, surfing in New Zealand, and listened to music from different countries.

How do you hit the waves from halfway around the world? It’s all about imagination, says Squires. The girls laid on their bellies, ‘paddled’ out to a wave, and followed all the actions as if they were learning to surf while she played some classic surfing music.

Central PEI Community Navigator Peggy Miles is pictured with Nicole Yeba, who taught viewers how to make Congolese food through the Cooking with Culture classes the P.E.I. Community Navigators organization is currently holding. Miles said the idea behind the series is twofold: It provides a taste of travel when we're all grounded due to COVID while also allowing Islanders to connect with newcomers. - Contributed
Central PEI Community Navigator Peggy Miles is pictured with Nicole Yeba, who taught viewers how to make Congolese food through the Cooking with Culture classes the P.E.I. Community Navigators organization is currently holding. Miles said the idea behind the series is twofold: It provides a taste of travel when we’re all grounded due to COVID while also allowing Islanders to connect with newcomers. – Contributed

All about the food

For John van Gurp, who lives in the west end of Halifax, N.S., it’s all about the food.

He’s been eating his way through the various small, locally-owned international restaurants in the Quinpool Road neighbourhood. From sushi at Wasabi House to Seven Peppers‘ Syrian halal, Song’s Korean to Heartwood and Wild Leek for vegetarian and vegan food, he’s trying it all. This week, it’s spicy chana masala and vegetable biryani from Naan ‘n Curry.

“You can travel the world’s cuisines within walking distance in this great town. We love it,” he says.

That’s exactly what the P.E.I. Community Navigators team is doing through their Cooking with Culture initiative. The group’s mandate is to support new residents and work with community members to build welcoming communities in rural Prince Edward Island and to deliver educational programs to the community on the value of newcomers. So, they have created a virtual, global cooking series.

In the past, Scott Smith, the Western P.E.I. Community Navigator, had hosted a weekly class called 10 countries in 10 nights, which showcased the culture of new residents to the area through photo presentations and food sharing.

The group knew this concept was already of interest to residents, explains Peggy Myles, the coordinator for Central P.E.I. So, when COVID-19 hit, Myles said they decided to take the courses online and offer a weekly series of cooking classes featuring cultural dishes as a way for long-time Islanders to connect with newcomers.

Classes are hosted at community venues with a kitchen, halls, museums, and performance theatres, or even in the chefs’ homes, following COVID-19 protocols, says Myles.

Over 100 people from across PEI registered to attend classes, tuning in to cook alongside at home or to watch how to make featured foods such as Congolese, Filipino, Pakistani and Japanese. Ingredient lists are sent out ahead of time to those who pre-register and want to try cooking along.

Upcoming classes include Brazilian, German, Indian cooking, alongside some long-time Islanders, including a Mi’kmaq presenter, a sixth-generation dairy farmer, and possibly some Acadian or seafood cuisine, says Myles.

“The sessions are interactive, and it’s been really wonderful to see the participants asking questions – both about the food being cooked, as well as about the culture of that evening’s presenter,” says Myles.

Myles adds that these sessions have also helped to educate all Islanders on the food resources that are available from tip to tip.

“It’s an opportunity to share information about Asian grocery stores, local vegetable producers, and even what’s at the regular grocery store that participants may not have noticed before,” she says.

Nicole Yeba shows off her finished Congolese dish after she taught online viewers how to make it from home. - Contributed
Nicole Yeba shows off her finished Congolese dish after she taught online viewers how to make it from home. – Contributed

Fun photos

Larissa Newell, who is the branch manager of Maritime Travel Charlottetown, P.E.I., is encouraging everyone to keep dreaming and planning because travel will return when it is safe to do so.

“We are hopeful with the news of vaccines on their way that we will soon be able to travel within Canada, maybe even later this year,” she says. “We are also remaining optimistic for sun destinations next winter.”

To help people travel the world from the safety of their homes and to get inspired for their next trips, Maritime Travel has been offering a series of free virtual experiences. These experiences give everyone the chance to learn about new destinations, experiences, and overlooked hidden gems around the world.

Tomoko Craig demonstrates how to make Japanese food through the Cooking with Culture classes held by the P.E.I. Community Navigators program. - Contributed
Tomoko Craig demonstrates how to make Japanese food through the Cooking with Culture classes held by the P.E.I. Community Navigators program. – Contributed

Coming up, Newell says they will virtually take part in European River Cruising, because a lot of people are really interested, and it is a unique way to experience these countries. Anyone interested in hopping on board, Newell says to follow their Facebook page or contact them to be added to the mailing list.

“You never know what you might discover,” says Newell. “There may be a destination you never considered before and learn it has to go on your bucket list.”

In the meantime, Newell is bringing the world closer to home through a fun photography series. For the next six weeks, Newell is posting travel-inspired photographs to keep people dreaming about travel. So far, these have included Paris, an African safari hot air balloon ride, and beach shots, all shot in her snowy backyard.

“Although there is nothing like experiencing a destination in person, we are truly lucky to live in a technological age and can visit destinations virtually,” says Newell.

For now, virtual travel is a lot safer and cheaper, so take these opportunities to explore the world.


Cooking with Culture classes with the P.E.I. Community Navigators are free and people can email Info.[email protected] to check the availability for signing up. Classes take place every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. AST time, and they prefer for people to tune in live. An ingredient list and a few basic instructions are sent to each participant before class so that they can prepare.

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Thousands of Canadians still travelling to Hawaii, despite pandemic

In the wake of several Canadian elected officials being caught travelling over the holidays – despite federal health guidelines stating non-essential travel should be avoided – it turns out the Canadian public has also been travelling.

Travel data uploaded by the state of Hawaii shows Canadian travellers have been visiting the islands in droves, by both direct and connecting flights.

The portal allows results to be filtered by airline, flight number, destination, date range, arrival airport, whether a traveller is a visitor or resident and if the traveler is in quarantine.

According to the data, more than 4,000 Canadians visited Hawaii between Dec. 1, 2020 to Jan. 7, 2021.

Of the 4,253 travellers listed, the majority (2,564) came from Calgary International Airport (YYC), 1,667 arrived via Vancouver International (YVR), 12 from Edmonton International (YEG) and 10 from Pearson International Airport in Toronto (YYZ).

Most travellers used WestJet and Air Canada to arrive at the main destinations of Maui and Honolulu, which saw 3,053 and 1,300 Canadian travellers in that date range, respectively.

A banner on the COVID-19 portal for Hawaii reminds passengers they must have a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure to avoid a 10-day quarantine upon arrival.

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