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Dec. 22 update: Genting resumes from Penang and seeks harmonized regional standards, Caribbean warns on Omicron

The first family to embark Star Pisces at Penang
Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-recovery cruise news. This is being updated throughout the day.

Genting resumes in Malaysia

Star Pisces sailed today from Penang, Malaysia, following a long hiatus due to the pandemic. 

This is the first cruise operating under Malaysia's new safety and preventive measures, which include a full vaccination requirement for crew and passengers, a series of health screenings and a 50% passenger capacity limit.

Star Pisces will be operating one-night 'Straits of Malacca' and two-night 'Langkawi Escape' cruises.

'We are taking the necessary steps to educate consumers on how cruising has evolved to operate in a new norm with layers of safety measures and the application of new safety equipment, making it one of the safest ways to travel and enjoy a vacation,' said Cynthia Lee, VP sales, Genting Cruise Lines. The Dec. 26 and Dec. 28 two-nighters are almost sold out based on the permitted capacity.

Seeking harmonized regional cruise standards

Genting Cruise Lines reiterated it's in active discussion with authorities from different countries, including Malaysia, to develop harmonized cruising standards for the region. This, the company said, would make new opportunities to open international cruising in a controlled, safe manner across the participating countries such as creating Vaccinated Travel Lanes for cruise passengers.

Also, it will enable Genting to bring more travelers to Malaysia from its cruise ships homeporting at neighbouring countries with additional calls to such destinations as Phuket (Thailand) and Medan (Indonesia) in the near future.

Caribbean Task Force cautions on Omicron

The Caribbean Tourism COVID-19 Task Force commended the 'overwhelming majority' of Caribbean visitors and residents for their role in contributing to the region’s successful efforts to date to contain the spread of COVID-19 but cautioned that the coming weeks will be critical, given the highly contagious variants spiking around the world.

'COVID-19 and the newest variant, Omicron, can easily spread at large indoor gatherings and wherever people come in close contact when they are not protected. Face coverings, physical distancing, frequent hand washing and avoiding large gatherings, particularly with unprotected individuals, should guide behaviors during the festive season,' according to the Task Force.

It added that while those who are fully vaccinated have far greater protection against severe illness and death, everyone can still catch and transmit the virus and 'should diligently adhere to health safety measures.'

The Caribbean Tourism COVID-19 Task Force member organizations include the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

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