As part of their ongoing Paradise Protection Protocols initiative, St. Lucia’s Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa and the adjacent couples-only Serenity at Coconut Bay have reintroduced their offer of free travel insurance included with stays of five or more nights.

The insurance program covers medical and quarantine expenses as well as travel protection and is free for arriving guests and bookings of five nights or more through Oct. 31 for travel through June 30.

Guest staying fewer than five nights have the option to purchase the insurance within 24 hours of arrival at the resorts, for $39 per person.

Medical coverage of up to $100,000 includes assistance and expenses for Covid-19 diagnosis and illnesses as well as pre-existing conditions, along with quarantine expenses and medical evacuation. The policy’s travel protection covers trip interruption coverage of up
to $2,000 per person and trip delay and lost baggage compensation.

As part of the same initiative, the resorts reported that staff
vaccination rates at both properties have topped 80% and their Return
Home Antigen Testing program continues to administer free Covid-19 tests
on site for guests prior to departure. 

All-inclusive rates at Serenity at Coconut Bay start at $874 per couple, per night for travel through Sept. 30, a savings of up to 60%. Rates include private airport transfers, taxes and tips.

Coconut Bay rates start at $308 per room, per night, double. 

One major change at many hotel brands since the pandemic started has been the removal or downsizing of breakfast. This change has not gone over well with much of the traveling public, who reported their dissatisfaction with the reduced variety and quality of breakfast, if it was offered at all, in the 2021 J.D. Power North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, released Wednesday. 

“It is clear that guests expect breakfast service to resume, especially in limited-service hotels that usually provide complimentary hot breakfast,” said J.D. Power hospitality practice lead Andrea Stokes in a statement. During the course of the study dates—May 2020 to June 2021—36 percent of hotels eliminated buffet-style serving, according to J.D. Power, and breakfast satisfaction dropped in all hotel segments, except for economy, where it wasn’t always on offer even pre-pandemic.

Other features that travelers surveyed by J.D. Power want include smart TVs, which increased by 9 percentage points from 2020; a balcony and views, up 6 percentage points; and healthy living/wellness amenities, up 5 percentage points. 

“We’ve been measuring these amenities for several years now, and that is how we are able to see that jump,” Stokes told BTN. “I definitely agree it was most likely due to the pandemic. Smart TVs have really moved into the ‘need to have’ category, simply because we all subscribe to more and more entertainment services at home, and it’s clear that travelers want to access these services while away. With balconies, we were all cooped up during the pandemic, and when people started booking hotels again, they wanted a different view or to spend time outside, so that is a real revenue opportunity for hotels that do have balconies to upsell.”

[Report continues below chart.]

2021 J.D. Power Hotel Survey

Overall hotel guest satisfaction across the study was 830 on a 1,000-point scale, which was unchanged from last year and 10 points higher than in 2019. The strong performance was driven in large part by the overall hotel staff experience, which increased slightly in 2021, according to the company. Flexible cancellation policies also kept hotel guests satisfied, though those policies have since become more restricted. Last year, cleanliness topped the list of satisfaction drivers, and it remained a key factor, Stokes said.

Brand Rankings

The survey ranks hotel brands based on a 1,000-point scale in the six major segments: luxury, upper upscale, upscale, upper midscale, midscale and economy. Drury Hotels led the upper midscale segment for the 16th consecutive year. The midscale Tru by Hilton and the economy SureStay by Best Western both repeated their top ranking for a second year in a row. Both the latter brands were newcomers in the rankings last year.

Other top-ranked brands include The Ritz-Carlton for luxury, Hard Rock Hotels for upper upscale, and AC Hotels for upscale—all of which moved up from second in their respective segments in 2020. This year also marked the first time AC Hotels had won its category, Stokes said.

New to the survey this year was the inclusion of health and

Carnival Cruise line will require passengers who are not vaccinated and sailing from Florida to get travel insurance. Carnival Cruise says they have been sailing with 95% of guests and crew vaccinated since the Fourth of July Weekend. The cruise line says unvaccinated guests will need to have travel insurance for sailings departing on July 31. This will not currently be required for children under the age of 12, as they are ineligible for vaccines. Guests who are unvaccinated must provide proof of a valid travel insurance policy when they check in that has a minimum of $10,000 per person in medical coverage and $30,000 for emergency medical evacuation and without COVID-19 exclusions. Carnival will require the policy to name the unvaccinated guest as policy holder or beneficiary. Unvaccinated passengers who don’t have travel insurance will not be let on the ship and will not get a refund. Royal Caribbean previously announced a similar requirement.

Carnival Cruise line will require passengers who are not vaccinated and sailing from Florida to get travel insurance.

Carnival Cruise says they have been sailing with 95% of guests and crew vaccinated since the Fourth of July Weekend.

The cruise line says unvaccinated guests will need to have travel insurance for sailings departing on July 31. This will not currently be required for children under the age of 12, as they are ineligible for vaccines.

Guests who are unvaccinated must provide proof of a valid travel insurance policy when they check in that has a minimum of $10,000 per person in medical coverage and $30,000 for emergency medical evacuation and without COVID-19 exclusions.

Carnival will require the policy to name the unvaccinated guest as policy holder or beneficiary.

Unvaccinated passengers who don’t have travel insurance will not be let on the ship and will not get a refund.

Royal Caribbean previously announced a similar requirement.

TAMPA, Fla. — Unvaccinated passengers wanting to set sail with Carnival Cruise Line will be required to purchase a travel insurance policy of at least $10,000, the company said on its website.

The change, which goes into effect July 31, affects Florida-based ships. Guests who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine will be required to purchase a policy with a minimum of $10,000 in medical expense coverage and $30,000 coverage for emergency medical evacuation without COVID-19 exclusions in order to cruise.

Carnival also charges $150 per unvaccinated person to cover the cost of a COVID-19 test.

“Guests without the required proof of insurance will not be permitted to sail and no refund will be provided,” Carnival says on its site.

CBS News reports the additional cost to cruise would run a customer about $100 to $200, citing a 2020 LendingTree analysis.

“Consistent with the practices of other lines who are also restarting their operations, and in the best interests of our guests who are unvaccinated, this is important coverage to have should they encounter a medical situation during their cruise,” Carnival said in a statement provided to USA Today.

Royal Caribbean announced similar requirements in June for its Florida-based ships with policies of $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage and $50,000 for medical evacuation. 

The travel insurance requirement does not apply to passengers under the age of 12 who are not eligible to receive a vaccine in the U.S.

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BEIJING ) — Rescue workers were digging through the remains of a collapsed hotel in eastern China looking for any survivors of a disaster that has killed at least eight people and left nine missing, authorities said Tuesday.

The workers in the city of Suzhou searched through the night, using rescue dogs, cranes, ladders and metal cutters, after the building collapsed Monday afternoon, the city government said in social media posts.

Photos and video showed orange-suited rescuers with helmets working through the ruins of the building, which had been reduced to girders and rubble.

The cause of the collapse is under investigation.

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Boats are used to ferry tourists on canals in the historic city of Suzhou. Suzhou which has a history of over 2,500 years is the historical center of China's silk industry and its famed classical Chinese gardens are UNESCO World Heritage listed. This photo was taken on April 10, 2013.

At least 23 people were trapped when then hotel collapsed in the popular tourist destination. Six people were rescued and eight people were confirmed dead, leaving nine people unaccounted for.

Authorities said 18 of those trapped were identified through check-in records, apparently hotel guests. The identities of the other five were unclear.

The 54-room Siji Kaiyuan Hotel opened in 2018, according to Ctrip, a Chinese online booking app.

More than 600 people, including earthquake rescue teams, and 120 vehicles were mobilized for the operation, the city government said.

Suzhou, a city in Jiangsu province near Shanghai, is known for its historic canals and traditional Chinese gardens, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Trees are reflected in the pond of a traditional garden in the tourist destination of Suzhou on August 16, 2010. Famous for its beautiful stone bridges over canals, pagodas and traditional gardens, the Chinese city located near the Yangtze river and the Taihu lake is an extremely popular tourist destination.

(Adds details on Freedom of the Seas) 

June 29 (Reuters) – Royal Caribbean International said on Tuesday it would require unvaccinated guests over 12 years of age traveling from Florida to show proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 related medical expenses, quarantine and evacuation. 

The new policy comes after two unvaccinated teenagers tested positive on its Adventure of the Seas ship last week and two others were infected on Celebrity Millennium earlier this month. Celebrity had said it would bear expenses for the two cases. 

Sailings on its new ship, Odyssey Of The Seas, was also postponed after crew members had tested positive. 

In Florida, the government bars companies from requiring to show proof of vaccines, making it difficult for cruise operators which, as per U.S. health regulators’ orders, need to show a majority of its passengers and crew are vaccinated before setting sail. 

The insurance policy must have a minimum of $25,000 per person for medical expenses and $50,000 per person in travel expenses, Royal Caribbean said. 

Proof of travel insurance is a condition of boarding and must be shown at check in, the company said. The changes apply to trips from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. 

The cruise operator’s parent Royal Caribbean Group restarted sailing from U.S. ports and has a slew of trips planned after more than a year of anchoring ships. 

On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas received a green signal from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the cruise line’s first ship to resume sailing from the United States. 

Any unvaccinated guests, mainly children, will be subject to additional testing and specific health protocols, the cruise line’s chief executive officer, Michael Bayley, wrote on social media. 

The ship, which completed a simulated voyage earlier this month, will set sail on July 2 to the Bahamas with a fully vaccinated crew. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel) 

  • Unvaccinated guests looking to cruise from Florida with Royal Caribbean must have travel insurance.
  • Two unvaccinated teenagers recently tested positive for COVID-19 aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.
  • Cruises in Florida can’t mandate proof of the vaccine due to the state’s ban on vaccine passports. 

Cruising in Florida with Royal Caribbean just got even more expensive for unvaccinated travelers: all unvaccinated passengers 12-years-old or older must show proof of travel insurance beginning August 1, the cruise line announced on its website.

The insurance policy must have a minimum of $25,000 in medical expense coverage and $50,000 for “quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive COVID-19 test result” per person. This mandate will be enforced beginning August 1 through the end of the year, but guests who booked their cruises between March 19 and June 28 will be exempt from this new policy. 

This new policy comes a week after two unvaccinated teenagers tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the Adventure of the Seas ship. The cruise was sailing “fully vaccinated”: all of the ship’s crew and 92% of passengers were fully vaccinated. The remaining 8% were guests under 16 years old, which is the age limit for the cruise line’s vaccine mandate. 

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean’s sister brand, Celebrity Cruises, also reported two COVID-19 cases aboard the Celebrity Millennium. All crew and at least 95% of guests aboard the ship were vaccinated, and the cruise line said it would cover the expenses for the two positive cases, Nivedita Balu reported for Reuters.

Cruise lines looking to operate in Florida are barred from mandating proof of vaccination due to the state’s ban on vaccine passports. To address this, besides paying for travel insurance, unvaccinated Royal Caribbean guests will also be subject to additional fees in order to cover the COVID-19 tests that vaccinated passengers won’t need to undergo. These payments range from $136 to $178 depending on the duration of the trip.

There could be on-board restrictions as well. For example, unvaccinated guests sailing on the Freedom of the Seas from Miami in July won’t be allowed to access select areas of the ship, including some of the dining options, bars, and the casino.

Royal Caribbean International said Tuesday that it will require all guests over the age of 16 traveling from U.S. ports, except those in Florida, to be fully vaccinated.

Travelers aboard ships leaving from Florida ports are strongly recommended to be fully vaccinated but not required to be. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order preventing businesses from asking customers whether they have been vaccinated for Covid-19 or not, preventing the cruise industry from mandating proof of vaccination.

However, the company said Tuesday that passengers leaving from Florida ports from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31 who are not vaccinated will be required to have travel insurance. The policies must cover all unvaccinated guests over the age of 12 with at least $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage and $50,000 per person for quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive Covid-19 test result. The guests will also be required to pay for Covid-19 testing.

On Aug. 1, the vaccination requirement takes effect for travelers over age 12.

The company said any travelers who aren’t yet eligible for vaccines will have to show a negative Covid test result and follow certain health protocols.

Six simulation cruises were approved Tuesday to sail later this summer by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those voyages, which test safety protocols before passengers are allowed on board, will leave from ports in Florida, New Jersey, Texas and Washington in July and August.

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas received a conditional sailing certificate from the CDC, which allows it to start sailing Friday. The ship completed its simulation cruise on June 20 from Port Miami.

The cruise industry is among the last to return to pre-pandemic operations. The CDC allowed cruises to return this year with strict health protocols and requirements in place to prevent outbreaks on board the ships after there were several outbreaks aboard ships last year.

Royal Caribbean said its guest surveys signal that 90% of all its guests will be fully vaccinated.

The company’s new vaccine policy comes days after two unvaccinated guests under the age of 16 tested positive for Covid-19 on the cruise operator’s Adventure of the Seas ship.

Weeks earlier, two guests aboard Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Millennium cruise tested positive and the company’s Odyssey of the Seas was delayed from sailing after eight members of its crew tested positive.

Cruise line stocks have been rising after suffering a huge hit during the pandemic. Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises are up more than 11% this year, putting its market cap at just over $21 billion.

Royal Caribbean International’s cruise ship ‘Allure of the Seas’ enters its new home port in Fort Lauderdale as seen from nearby Hollywood, Florida, November 11, 2010. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

June 29 (Reuters) – Royal Caribbean International said on Tuesday it would require unvaccinated guests over 12 years of age traveling from Florida to show proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 related medical expenses, quarantine and evacuation.

The new policy comes after two unvaccinated teenagers tested positive on its Adventure of the Seas ship and two others were infected on its Celebrity Millennium earlier this month, for which the cruise line took care of expenses.

One of its trips, aboard the brand ship Odyssey of the Seas, was postponed after crew members tested positive.

In Florida, the government bans companies from requiring to show proof of vaccines, making it difficult for cruise operators which need to show a majority of its passengers and crew are vaccinated before setting sail, according to the U.S. health regulator’s orders.

The insurance policy must have a minimum of $25,000 per person for medical expenses and $50,000 per person in travel expenses, Royal Caribbean said.

Proof of travel insurance is a condition of boarding and must be shown at check in, the company said. The changes apply to sailings from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31.

The cruise operator’s parent Royal Caribbean Group (RCL.N) restarted sailing from U.S. ports and has a slew of trips planned after more than a year of anchoring ships.

Royal Caribbean will resume sailing in July from Miami to the Bahamas.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Another policy change has been announced by Royal Caribbean for unvaccinated cruisers, this time requiring travel insurance on Florida sailings.

Unvaccinated passengers booked on cruises sailing from Florida homeports between August 1 through December 31, 2021 will be required to get medical expense and evacuation insurance that covers a positive case.

This policy applies to sailings from August 1 through December 31, 2021, and all bookings — except bookings made between March 19, 2021 and June 28, 2021.

The cruise line has begun sending emails to guests with the specific policy requirements:

For cruises departing from Florida homeports from August 1 through December 31, 2021, as a condition of boarding, each unvaccinated guest 12 and older must provide proof of a valid insurance policy that has a minimum of (a) $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage and (b) $50,000 per person for quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive COVID-19 test result.

The insurance policy must name the unvaccinated guest as the policy holder or beneficiary, and may be purchased from a travel insurance company of the guest’s choosing or through the Royal Caribbean Travel Protection Program, which includes the requisite coverage.

This new insurance requirement is yet another policy change aimed to address unvaccinated cruisers sailing from Florida homeports, where cruise lines cannot mandate vaccines for its passengers due to Florida laws.

Florida signed a law that prohibits businesses, schools, and government agencies from requiring people to show documentation certifying Covid-19 vaccinations or post-infection recovery before gaining entry.

Other states have no such laws, or have provisions that allow for the law to be bypassed if required by the federal government.

In addition to requiring travel insurance, unvaccinated guests 12 and older are also required to pay for third-party Covid-19 tests, which will cost $136 USD per guest on sailings of 6 nights or less, and $178 USD per guest on sailings of 7 nights or more. 

For guests age 2 to 11, we will cover the cost of any required testing.

Royal Caribbean strongly recommends its passengers get fully vaccinated before their cruise, if they are eligible.

The first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to sail from Florida will be Freedom of the Seas on July 2, although more ships will begin sailing from the state later this summer.

By the end of August, five Royal Caribbean cruise ships will be sailing from Florida.

Thus far, Royal Caribbean has only released full protocols for Freedom of the Seas sailings from Miami, where unvaccinated passengers will have to wear masks at all times while indoors, unless actively eating or drinking.

Vaccinated passengers on Freedom of the Seas will be issued wristbands that show they are vaccinated and allow them access to vaccinated-only venues and events.

Passengers who are unvaccinated will have a hole punched in their SeaPass cards.

All passengers will have to show their SeaPass cards to access lounges, shows and dining venues on the ship.