Cruising

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Will omicron delay Australia's return to cruising?

<p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p>Last fortnight, after a meeting with cruise lines and NSW government officials looked set to result in permission to sail as early as next February for local waters.</p> <p>Now, with the sudden concerns over Omicron and the world’s response could mean health officials will delay all announcements about cruising in NSW. It had been expected that an early announcement on the Biosecurity Act ban on foreign flagged vessels, which expires on December 17, would allow homeported fleets like those of Princess, P&amp;O and Carnival could be back. There is widespread support from NSW and Federal Government and the move may still eventuate.</p> <p>NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has revealed there is a confirmed two cases and a “possible” third of the new strain in NSW. As a result, NSW, the ACT and Victoria are now requiring all overseas arrivals to get tested and isolate for 72 hours and South Australia is now requiring all international arrivals to do a full two weeks of quarantine. At a Federal level, Australia has closed its borders and suspended flights to nine Southern African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.</p> <p>Countries across the world including the US, European Union, Brazil, Canada and more have placed restrictions on those entering from Southern African countries, while these are unlikely to affect Australian travellers, they more so serve as reminders to how quickly you can get shut out. Some countries have taken even more drastic actions, with Israel completely shutting down borders to all non-citizens and Morocco suspending all incoming flights for the next fortnight. Many travel insurance policies at the moment are not covering for border closures, highlighting an importance to be aware of what your insurance covers.</p> <p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he is planning on calling a meeting of state and territory leaders to discuss the nation’s response to the Omicron variant and has said he is not yet willing to make decisions about whether quarantine could be reinstated before Christmas.</p> <p>Mr Morrison said: “We have had many new variants, we have had many variants of concern.” “This is another variant of concern and it is one that the initial information is suggesting some [increased] transmissibility but even that, as yet, is not fully proven. So it is important we just calmly and carefully consider this information.” “National Cabinet will come together over the next couple of days and a key purpose of that is to ensure we are all working off the same information.”</p>

Cruising

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Cruises unlikely to return by Christmas

<p><em>Image: Getty </em></p> <p>Cruise bosses have rebuffed the idea Australians could be back on board cruise lines by Christmas, after the health Minister Greg Hunt suggested he might lift the ban on the vessels within the week.</p> <p>While industry bosses said they welcomed Mr Hunt’s announcement he was “reviewing” the ban which is in place until December 18<sup>th</sup>, claiming more notice is needed to prepare for guests. He suggests Easter is a more likely time frame.</p> <p>All cruise lines – Royal Caribbean, Princess, Cunard, Carnival and P&amp;O – have already cancelled sailings for the rest of the year and even far into 2022 as March. The Cruise Lines International Association calling the ongoing lack of a plan “absurd”.</p> <p>Mr Hunt said he was working with states and territories on a plan, and NSW authorities confirmed they have met with cruise bosses.</p> <p>“I expect to be able to make a decision on cruise ships in the coming weeks once we’ve got the medical information, but it will require at least one state or territory to partner on that,” Mr Hunt says.</p> <p>“But we would like to see cruising back on before Christmas.”</p> <p>Cruise Lines International Association managing director Joel Katz said it’s not as simple as the Federal Government just lifting the ban, as cruise lines need several months to prepare and bring ships back from other parts of the world.</p> <p>However, he is hopeful cruise lines could return before the end of Australian summer. Throughout the pandemic, cruise bosses have criticised the government’s lack of a plan to kickstart the $5 billion industry, which also supports 18,000 Aussie jobs.</p> <p>Travel agents, food suppliers, maritime firms and on-shore tour and tourism firms also suffer a knock-on effect, losing revenue. </p> <p><span>Cruising has resumed in other parts of the world and now Australian citizens and permanent residents can leave the country and return if they live in NSW and Victoria, it's possible to take a cruise overseas</span></p>

Cruising

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Cruise industry left out as international boarders reopen

<p><em>Image: Getty </em></p> <p>International boarders have come down, with the travel ban and the exemption requirement to go overseas finally ditched on November 1<sup>st</sup>.  </p> <p>Aussies desperate to go on holidays are already selling out flights to Europe, America and Asia.</p> <p>Despite flights being back on track, cruise companies are still unable to restart their Australian tours.</p> <p>However, there will be nothing stopping Aussies flying to places Miami, Florida and Nadi, Fiji, and enjoying a cruise overseas before flying home – making the Australian cruise ruling more farcical.</p> <p>The cruise industry was brought to a standstill early last year when the coronavirus pandemic hit Australia, with one of Australia’s first Covid outbreaks came from a cruise ship, when the <em>Ruby Princess</em> docked in Sydney last March.</p> <p>More than 900 infections and at least 28 deaths were eventually linked to the outbreak.</p> <p>The outbreak triggered a biosecurity ban on all foreign flagged vessels, with the cruise ban in place until December 17<sup>th</sup>.</p> <p>Despite hints from NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, who has acknowledged the irony of Aussies being able to cruise overseas but not at home, the industry will still take months to restart.</p> <p>Speaking to news.com.au, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) managing director Australasia Joel Katz blasted the “ridiculous” and “disappointing” double standard.</p> <p>“We need the federal and state governments to come to the party,” Mr Katz said.</p> <p>“Just in the last couple of days, we’ve had a number of travel agents reach out to us with comments from a number of avid cruise passengers, asking us what the rules are about cruising overseas.</p> <p>“They’re planning to fly overseas to cruise because they can’t cruise at home and that’s really disappointing for the thousands of Aussies who rely on the cruise industry locally for their livelihoods.”</p> <p>Mr Katz said the cruise industry had been asking the Government “for a long time” to forge a way forward together.</p> <p>Despite some promising words from senior federal ministers and a number of premiers, Mr Katz said it was “time to convert words into action”.</p> <p>The Australian cruise industry has submitted robust Covid protocols that have already been tried and tested on more than three million passengers overseas, since cruising restarted in Europe and the US.</p> <p>Despite that, Mr Katz said the industry was still waiting on formal responses in Australia from the Government and health authorities.</p> <p>Even if those formal responses and approvals came tomorrow, the cruise industry is not one that can get things up and running quickly.</p> <p>“There are long lead times to get ships up and running. It’s very difficult for cruise companies to know when to push the start button with no certainty,” Mr Katz said.</p> <p>“The crew needs to be recruited and vaccinated, then they have to be flown out to wherever the ship is, go through a quarantine process, get trained on whatever new protocols are needed.</p> <p>“And, most of the ships are in the northern hemisphere, so they need to make their way down. All that needs to happen before they can even start the process of taking customers again.”</p> <p>Mr Katz predicted a restart of Australia’s cruise industry in January (in 10-12 weeks’ time), a prediction he quickly revised when P&amp;O announced it had been forced to again push its first cruises to February.</p> <p>P&amp;O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said the voluntary pause had been extended due to the lack of a clear pathway towards restarting the industry.</p> <p>“We are naturally disappointed for our guests and our many suppliers to have to extend the pause in operations by a further month,” Mr Myrmell said this morning.</p> <p>“With society rapidly reopening including social gatherings and travel just weeks away, there is a vital need for a pathway for the staged resumption of domestic cruising.</p> <p>“Our guests have made it clear they want to cruise again, and we look forward to welcoming them on board as soon as possible supported by comprehensive protocols based on the world’s best public health practice and standards.”</p>

Cruising

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Domestic and international cruises to restart this summer

<p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">NSW Premier Dominic Perottet is keen to kick-start the cruising industry for the first time in 18 months. With the beginning of the pandemic seeing the cruising industry brought to an immediate halt, this announcement is long overdue, with the federal government saying “there is no reason” why they can’t resume this summer. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Perottet announced he is “in discussion right now with the federal government” according to 9News, indicating moves could be made after months of industry campaigning. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I know they are passionate about it and the Prime Minister has spoken to former Premier Gladys Berejiklian about getting cruising back on track,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are open to doing that and working with the federal government to bring back cruising. I know the Prime Minister is extremely passionate about doing that as well.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to a federal government spokesperson, “Once 80% vaccination has been reached there is no reason why domestic and international cruising cannot begin this summer in a similar way to the opening up of international aviation.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It is very encouraging to hear governments are discussing plans for cruising and we look forward to having further engagement,'' says Joel Katz, managing director of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As reported earlier this month, cruise fans will most likely be able to board a ship with an overseas destination before they can set sail in Australia again. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The CLIA has labelled this situation “absurd”. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is believed that 18,000 Australian jobs supported by the $5 billion industry remain under threat. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A clear path for the return of cruising is yet to be established by the Australian government,” Royal Caribbean cruise lines announced recently on Facebook. </span></p>

Cruising

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What life is like onboard the cruise ship with no destination

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hong Kong has tried several times to resurrect international travel after the devastation on the tourism industry, but to no avail. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pandemic has seen international travel, especially cruises, come to a grinding halt in the country for over 18 months. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Hong Kong, once Asia’s biggest international hub, continues to pursue their zero-COVID policy, many opportunities for travel bubbles with neighbouring countries fell through. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To help locals experience a taste of travel again, Dream Cruises have come up with a fitting alternative vacation option. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Passengers can now book their rooms on the Genting Dream ship, which floats around the country in a big loop before returning to the port. </span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844295/cruise-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/28b020cbbe2945e5a4eccefb8a8bc2b8" /></p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Journeys last either two or three nights, with room ranging from $295AUD to $4,160AUD for the experience. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>The Genting Dream can normally hold more than 3,000 people, but ticket sales have been capped at half capacity to ensure social distancing measures are able to be adhered to. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>To board the vessel, all passengers must be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, as well as undergoing strict pre-boarding checks and health declarations. </span></p> <p dir="ltr"><span>Passengers on board are encouraged to book access to the pool on deck, and while the hot tubs were closed, sun loungers and sofas by the deck bars were freely available. </span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844296/cruise-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/6b78c4da0ca647e0be77f8625e68ce6c" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Genting Dream’s medical centre. Image credit: Getty</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are also a range of activities to take part in, including a basketball court, a mini-golf course, a play area with activities for children and an arcade for teenagers, lethally fast water slides twisting down to the main deck, and a hair-raising ropes course with a zip wire jutting out over the open sea.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ship also boasts a dedicated medical centre, fitted with an isolation room in case of any unprecedented COVID-19 emergencies. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The unique cruising experience gives travellers a chance to relax in a brief bubble of normality while overlooking the South China Sea, as a suitable substitute to overseas travelling. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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5 reasons travel is good for you

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Aside from being an enjoyable experience and a chance to make unforgettable memories, travelling has some positive benefits for both your physical and mental health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though we might not be able to travel now, looking forward to a time when we </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">can</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> travel again can help improve our mental health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This virus can stop our travel plans, but it cannot stop our travel dreams,” says travel expert Rick Steves in conversation with </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York Times</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are five ways travelling can improve our physical and mental health.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843892/cruise5.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ef6b87ffcd90415b9595495d967e9c07" /></p> <p><strong>1. Travel relieves stress</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With daily life full of stressful moments, booking in some travel can be a perfect antidote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The stress of work and daily demands can distract us from what we find to be actually meaningful and interesting,” says Dr Tamara McClintock Greenberg, a clinical psychologist.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Taking a break to travel can help us put stressors on the backburner, which can lower our cortisol levels and leave us feeling more calm and content.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It also helps us reflect on our personal goals and interests,” Dr Greenberg says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And the style of travel we choose can also help ease travel-related stresses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For example, hopping on a cruise opens up the number of destinations to visit without the dreaded unpacking and repacking of luggage between destinations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Plus, cruises such as the Cunard often offer <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cunard.com/en-au/activity-types" target="_blank">a suite of activities</a> to partake in – from relaxing <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cunard.com/en-au/activity-types/dining" target="_blank">afternoon teas</a> to exciting West End production <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cunard.com/en-au/activity-types/evening/theatrical-productions" target="_blank">shows</a> and thought-provoking talks with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cunard.com/en-au/the-cunard-experience/guestspeakers" target="_blank">guest speakers</a>.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843889/cruise2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c2b821dc6b134731b4a39d19b29c4cc0" /></p> <p><strong>2. You’ll feel recharged and reduce the risk of burning out</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As well as feeling more calm and content, taking some time off to travel can </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1997-05398-006" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">reduce feelings of burnout</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and help us feel better prepared to handle work and life’s other responsibilities when we return.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1470595812452633" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2013 study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of 485 adults in the US found a link between travel and enhanced attention, energy, and focus, while a </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614546556" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2014 study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> found that the anticipation of a planned trip makes a person much happier than buying material goods.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Compared to possessions, experiences make for better story material,” says Amit Kumar, one of the co-authors of the 2014 study.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843891/cruise4.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e678b2deeaa04b8fb0f95f385f933a56" /></p> <p><strong>3. You’ll sleep better</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Continuing the theme of relaxation and reducing stress, travel can also improve sleep. A </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://watermark.silverchair.com/50-3-167.pdf?token=AQECAHi208BE49Ooan9kkhW_Ercy7Dm3ZL_9Cf3qfKAc485ysgAAAsowggLGBgkqhkiG9w0BBwagggK3MIICswIBADCCAqwGCSqGSIb3DQEHATAeBglghkgBZQMEAS4wEQQMtu2zahk9rdgLDvBaAgEQgIICffO3UXTUUbnY_S1P8Ttr7b61v7tf1fqvDCCn2GgebL9hsbPjfxMuJO9T_2PtQXUhDIue4gR_60X04Mg1FZsqtPlDNyD83ClcLX_VIRD3z1m-FLhlcFnpt3QZCKk0i8OiA5Z3Fky3IbJnDjr0RObrrzs3h3NEyH1VFAcIND52pAqb_H9x7c5DItjKRtQo381J3cw2EWBLW5a_Ul1juvn75BCF7H23oM_tl39jp4PIY0Rwg8dE8pzh05kmI4RcjprHEI4KNr_36-SRgL7aaiIglM5WeEpCAzXLJR_XHp02G0LySYbswy7jhBBAXzp0tbWc3mIaaSNWSdlxIUym_gh_wMw5E1dhNSSw9So9S9Nv02rcfmHbGV9_DvEvdk19NW4O_AfHxr6Bd-iydlflvNxauZE1I71ql_JcoPYExvUgvaPm_XuJOwhXnf21PsGPlZUcJTsZ3oxC-zPxMG58PtgY5dP9XHS88OyxQ2ABhzgrpiNoKW4ev38eaDYipQSpiDn1t2lGNl3xHs7hpQlxmZBxnln5uFNJyDdDi9bcCP5wcwyyfzxwv0tCBtdloncx8fpqn9AY0WhN0goVhW0EPSlAwmu4tNxuCPk0u-UPTpwrr4Zg_H2LKiY1NNM0t_IHUtgesPkIrEzsuw1-W-LZ3Vl7rzsCbzdevjvjq4sjh_5h26hypQlCiz6ol2qQwdkPDg9aCtPX6myKmy7UDJVPJZ-yEn8LmfTNk9T_Y8o5PJ18L9NBELR4F8jyoXvN3aPUJ9jTX4SjeYb2cNbywosJkeQqmgZLNRs9xvvSvf2ndtKs84uspBIJJho3jGv93qunZmEC0wYM_Z-26iuKsJ0Sd5g" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">2000 study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which surveyed 300 people before and after they took a vacation, found that the quality of sleep had improved following the holiday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This may be because travel can see us focus less on issues in our daily lives – from work to family – and allow us to relax more.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843893/cruise6.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/cf2d8197b8f14ddf8d4e49ad4247d07c" /></p> <p><strong>4. Experience fewer health complaints</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As well as improving mood, travel can also positively affect physical health complaints, such as headaches and disturbed sleep.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 2000 study found that participants who found their travel restorative also reported fewer physical complaints than before their trip, lasting up to five weeks after the holiday had ended.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843890/cruise3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b793f5469f9843f0a72f8c50e89704e6" /></p> <p><strong>5. It could make you more open-minded</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though already being open to new experiences can influence whether we travel and what we choose to do, travel can also affect us in similar ways.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For example, long-term travel - such as a gap year or cruise - can increase our openness to experiences and how warm and empathetic we are, as well as making us more easygoing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/for-a-more-creative-brain-travel/388135/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Adam Galinsky</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a professor at Columbia University Business School, travel can also increase our cognitive flexibility – especially when we immerse ourselves in the environment where we are travelling to.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion and adaptation,” Galinsky says. “Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Regardless of whether you plan to travel domestically or internationally, there are plenty of benefits to be had from booking a holiday or two.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And, if you are savvy about your travel plans you could reap all the benefits while saving money. Taking advantage of deals – such as those offered by the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/504468034;311377491;f" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cunard Cruise Line</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> – can even allow you to spend less on travel costs and more on souvenirs and other fun activities.</span></p> <p><br /><em><strong>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a rel="noopener" href="https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/504468034;311377491;f" target="_blank">Cunard</a>.​</strong></em></p>

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Prince Phillip's posthumous naval honour

<p>Prince Philip has been honoured posthumously, with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution naming their newest boat after the recently passed royal.</p> <p>The announcement came on the 71st anniversary of Prince Phillip assuming command of the<span> </span><em>HMS Magpie<span> </span></em>in 1950 – a huge moment in the decorated royal's naval career.</p> <p>The Royal National Lifeboat Institution charity organisation tweeted “we’re excited to reveal that Wells-next-the-Sea’s new Shannon class lifeboat will be named Duke of Edinburgh, in honour of his maritime service”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">On this day in 1950, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh assumed command of HMS Magpie and we’re excited to reveal that Wells-next-the-Sea’s new Shannon class lifeboat will be named Duke of Edinburgh, in honour of his maritime service <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RoyalFamily</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyalNavy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RoyalNavy</a> <a href="https://t.co/Yp9uey8JYI">pic.twitter.com/Yp9uey8JYI</a></p> — RNLI (@RNLI) <a href="https://twitter.com/RNLI/status/1433331529023905794?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 2, 2021</a></blockquote> <p>The Royal family welcomed the honour, tweeting about it alongside a range of lovely images.</p> <p>Earlier on in June, Prince Charles visited the charity’s Lifeboat centre in Poole where, as a nod to his father’s naval career, he installed a silver magpie on the new lifeboat.</p>

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How Aussies can experience a European summer cruise at home

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead of experiencing a European summer cruise, most Australians are stuck inside due to lockdown restrictions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">COVID-19 rules have seen many Aussies having to abandon their travel plans and stay at home during peak cruising seasons. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To cure the travel bug, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.celebritycruises.com/au" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Celebrity Cruises</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are offering locked down Aussies a chance to experience the European summer of their dreams from their homes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They have shared a detailed list of wine and food pairings that would make anyone think they were living it up on the Amalfi Coast. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their top wine picks have been crafted by experts to give those in a lockdown a unique experience with wines from all over the country. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The selected wines include a Prosecco from the region of Veneto in Italy, a crisp white wine from the south of Italy, and a Bordeaux blend red wine that is </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">among the top 3% of wines in the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Celebrity Cruises holds more awards from the world’s leading authority on wine than any other cruise line, with 89 awards in just nine years. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They also boast an impressive collection of sommeliers at sea to help guests pair their wines with perfect meals. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their impressive wine collections can be found on their website, which is the perfect solution for any Aussie who is desperate to experience a life of luxury, while still in lockdown. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cheers to that!</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

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First COVID cruise death since restart of cruising scene

<p>Carnival cruises has marked their first death since the cruise scene kicked back up, after a 77-year-old woman died from contracting COVID-19.</p> <p>The woman departed on the Carnival Vista with her family on July 31, to sail to Belize, and soon tested positive for the novel virus after experiencing respiratory complications.</p> <p>27 people tested positive over two weeks in late July and early August – the highest number of cases since cruises begun sailing again.</p> <p>The New York Times reported she was a great-grandmother from Oklahoma.</p> <p>The woman was admitted to a hospital in Belize and was put on a ventilator before being evacuated to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and undergoing treatment.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843412/g.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3be7c24f240b449da71e788aa5c08365" /></p> <p><em>Images: Getty Images</em></p> <p>The outbreak aboard the ship was discovered on the fourth day of an eight-day cruise.</p> <p>Twenty-six of those who tested positive were all crew members except for one passenger.</p> <p>The Texas Governor, Greg Abbott previously signed a law banning businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, however more than 96 per cent of passengers and all but one crew member on the Carnival Vista were fully vaccinated.</p> <p>Authorities are unsure if the woman who has since passed was fully vaccinated or not.</p> <p>“We are very sorry to hear about the death of a guest who sailed on Carnival Vista,” Carnival said in a statement.</p> <p>“Regrettably, there is a fair amount of disinformation about the circumstances of this matter.</p> <p>“The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship, and she was assisted with expert medical care on board and was ultimately evacuated from Belize after we provided a resource to her family. We have continued to provide support to her family and are not going to add to their sadness by commenting further.”</p> <p>Carnival has updated its vaccination policy that states a majority of guests will be required to be vaccinated.</p> <p>They must also present negative results of a COVID-19 test taken within three days before boarding a ship.</p> <p>Carnival has also states all passengers are required to wear a mask while indoors from August 7.</p> <p>“We have always required vaccinations. From our restart in July, 95+% guests have been vaccinated. We meet the definition of a vaccinated cruise,” a Carnival spokesperson said.</p> <p>“And we added the testing requirement on July 28. (August) 28 is when new guidelines for the Bahamas go into effect.”</p>

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Cruising company launches its first literature-themed voyage

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A literature-themed cruise is being offered by Marella Cruises for book lovers to enjoy 16 days at sea. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The all-inclusive cruise across the Atlantic leaves from </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Montego Bay, Jamaica in April 2022, and sails over 16 days to the port of Dubrovnik in Croatia. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This tailor-made experience will allow guests to attend guest talks and interactive workshops with authors and entertainers to satisfy any book lover. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Guests will also be treated to the usual Marella Cruises experience, with all-inclusive food and drink spots, evening entertainment including game shows and quizzes and daytime activities like dance classes and yoga.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Managing Director of Marella Cruises, Chris Hackney, says he hopes the new themed cruise will be as successful as ones run in the past. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It offers something different for guests onboard on a cruise where there are not as many days ashore as some of our other itineraries,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Authors and entertainers joining the cruise include Sarah Cruddas, famous for her knowledge of Space exploration, Tony Strange, known for his comic entertainment and impressions, and crime novelist Barbara Nadel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The panelists will all share stories and run a series of workshops to guests onboard at no extra cost. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After a difficult year from the pandemic, Marella Cruises will begin its Spanish sailings from September, before heading into Montego Bay where it will port for the winter before commencing the literary cruise. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

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Massive news hints at when cruising may resume for Aussies

<p>Anyone who’s keen to go cruising again may be tempted by the new season of domestic trips from Sydney, proposed by the second-largest cruise liner in the world, Royal Caribbean International.</p> <p>A luxury cruise liner is taking a punt on Australians getting vaccinated by summer and officials allowing their ships to set sail.</p> <p>The cruise liner has announced a new season of domestic sailings for those who are vaccinated - including trips to places like: Hobart, Kangaroo Island, Airlie Beach and Port Douglas.</p> <p>Foreign-flagged cruise ships have been banned from entering Australian waters since March 2020 and the restriction is not due to lift until September.</p> <p>At this stage, there are no guarantees the ban will be lifted at that time.</p> <p>But Royal Caribbean is expecting one of its vessels to set sail from Sydney between December and March.</p> <p>Industry spokesman, Joel Katz, said the Australian economy has lost more than $6 billion since cruising was suspended and this has jeopardised more than 18,000 local jobs.</p> <p>Katz said he’s concerned by Australia’s lack of progress on resuming cruises and he stated: “The cruise industry has done an enormous amount of work to implement extensive new health protocols globally, but Australia is now the only major cruise destination in the world where there is no progress towards their adoption.”</p> <p>Last year, an inquiry found New South Wales health authorities made serious mistakes in their handling of the Ruby Princess, after the ship was linked to 663 Covid-19 infections and 28 deaths.</p> <p>Despite signs of a major COVID-19 outbreak on board the Ruby Princess, thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark and continue on their travels, leading to further outbreaks.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Cruise line calls off “blockbuster” season

<p>Major cruise line, Royal Caribbean, says it will be suspending Australia’s cruising season ahead of its major sailing season.</p> <p>“We regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans who have supported Royal Caribbean since we suspended cruise operations in March 2020,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement.</p> <p>“We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare for this summer’s Brisbane cruise program, however sadly we will be unable to operate the program.”</p> <p>The line had originally promised a major sailing season, with plans to launch two of its newest Quantum vessels that were set to sail in Brisbane and Sydney.</p> <p>“Due to ongoing uncertainty around the opening of international borders, as well as updates to our global return to service and deployment, Royal Caribbean International has been reviewing our upcoming 2021/2022 summer program in Australia,” the line went on to say.</p> <p>“We have made the decision to cancel the following sailings:</p> <ul> <li>Quantum of the Seas sailing from Brisbane from October 2021 to April 2022 inclusive</li> <li>Ovation of the Seas sailing from Honolulu on 28 September 2021</li> <li>Ovation of the Seas sailing from Sydney on 16 October 2021</li> <li>Serenade of the Seas sailing from Honolulu on 7 October 2021</li> </ul> <p>“We know many of our guests look forward to a return to cruising and we are sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience these cancellations may cause.</p> <p>“We are continuing to assess the remainder of our 2021/2022 season and will announce further changes as soon as possible. Our focus remains on engaging with Federal and State governments to establish a framework and pathway forward for the resumption of cruising in Australia.”</p> <p>The announcement follows behind Princess and P&amp;O’s decision to cancel any cruises until December.</p>

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Scott Morrison reveals major changes coming to international travel

<p>Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will temporarily reduce its intake of international passengers by 50 per cent due to concerns about the Delta variant.</p> <p>The announcement followed after federal and state leaders met at a national cabinet meeting on Friday morning.</p> <p>Mr Morrison said the move would hopefully reduce pressure on quarantine facilities.</p> <p>“While the reduction of those caps will certainly, right across the system, obviously take some pressure off, as we have observed over the course of these past 18 months, that alone does not provide any fail safe regarding any potential breaches,” Mr Morrison said.</p> <p>“We have seen breaches occur, predominantly as a result of infection control procedures and human error and so on, those issues need to continue to be strengthened, so simply reducing the caps doesn’t necessarily provide a fail-safe but because of the particular virulency of the Delta strain, it is believed that is a prudent action while we remain in this suppression phase of the virus.”</p> <p>34,000 Australians hoping to return home will just have to wait, as the passenger cap reduction will only allow 6370 international arrivals each week.</p> <p>NSW will take in half of the arrivals, while the PM says the federal government will facilitate more commercial flights to help Australians stranded overseas, during the cap reduction.</p> <p>Aussies will be taken to the Darwin quarantine facility in Howard Springes, which Mr Morrison says will come at a hefty cost to the Commonwealth Government.</p> <p>“This is not a costless exercise,” he said.</p> <p>“Medicines, vaccines come in by plane. Essential freight comes in by plane. The Commonwealth’s decision to support this reduction in those commercial caps comes at a fiscal cost to Commonwealth taxpayers but we agree that it is an important part of managing this.”</p> <p> </p>

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Desperate push to restart cruising in Australia

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise heads are urging the Federal government to figure out a way to bring cruising back to Australia, however the future remains uncertain. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australians working in the cruise industry are desperate to create a solid “plan” for their lives, the Cruise Lines International Association Managing Director Joel Katz told <em>Sky News. </em></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The coronavirus pandemic set the once-booming cruising industry to a crashing halt at the beginning of 2020, but Mr Katz says that considering 1 in 17 Australians opted to cruise before COVID-19 hit; not enough is being done to bring it back. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He went on to say Aussies are certainly itching to set sail again, and he believes the Australian government’s current international border restrictions could help elevate tourism to regional areas. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“18,000 jobs around Australia are dependent on the cruise industry, and what they’re saying is they need some certainty about the pathway forward,” he told Sky News.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That’s what we’re saying to the government, let’s work out what the framework is for cruise resumption so that all these Australians who are looking [for] the pathway ahead can plan their lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We have the opportunity, while our international borders are closed, to offer domestic cruising to the amazing ports and destinations right around Australia, our communities.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our regional areas are crying out for tourism and cruise has the ability to deliver to those communities while the international borders remain closed safely within the Australian bubble.”</span></p>

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REVEALED: The most annoying accents in the world

<p>The results you didn’t know you needed are in, with a global survey revealing which accents are considered the most appealing and most annoying to men and women.</p> <p>300 men and women were asked by The Knowledge Academy to listen to five minutes of the same script recorded by English-speakers.</p> <p>The researchers were able to determine which accents were preferred or disliked based off how long each participant were able to listen to the audio before they turned it off.</p> <p>Whether it comes as a surprise to you or not, American accents were deemed the most annoying by men <em>and </em>women with men turning the recording off after just one minute and 26 seconds and women choosing to switch off after one minute and 17 seconds.</p> <p>Irish accents were interestingly enough voted the most appealing among women, with the female participants choosing to listen for four minutes and 30 seconds.</p> <p>Men however preferred a Scottish accent by choosing to listen for around four minutes and 35 seconds.</p> <p>Women ruled South African accents as the second most annoying, with an average of one minute and 44 seconds listening time.</p> <p>Canadian accents among men came second with a listening time of one minute and 42 seconds.</p> <p>Women seemed to find Kiwi accents annoying as well, landing third with a listening time of two minutes and seven seconds.</p> <p>Wales come in at second place on the most annoying.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it seems the world does not deem Australian accents as appealing as we may have though, coming fourth on the women's list.</p> <p>The results are as follows:</p> <p>Most Annoying Women's English Accents</p> <ol> <li>USA – one minute and 26 seconds</li> <li>South Africa –one minute and 44 seconds</li> <li>New Zealand – two minutes and seven seconds</li> <li>Australia – two minutes and 29 seconds</li> <li>Wales – two minutes and 44 seconds</li> <li>England – two minutes and 56 seconds</li> <li>Canada – three minutes and 12 seconds</li> <li>Scotland – three minutes and 38 seconds</li> <li>Northern Ireland – four minutes and two seconds</li> <li>Ireland – four minutes, 32 seconds</li> </ol> <p>Most Annoying Men's English Accents</p> <ol> <li>USA – one minute and 17 seconds</li> <li>Canada – one minute and 42 seconds</li> <li>Wales – two minutes and 11 seconds</li> <li>South Africa – two minutes and 27 seconds</li> <li>Northern Ireland – two minutes and 43 seconds</li> <li>England – two minutes and 51 seconds</li> <li>New Zealand – three minutes and 15 seconds</li> <li>Australia – three minutes and 34 seconds</li> <li>Ireland – four minutes and 27 seconds</li> <li>Scotland – 4 minutes, 35 seconds</li> </ol>

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Cruise inaugural cancelled after 8 crew test positive for COVID

<p>Royal Caribbean has been forced to cancel the inaugural cruise of its newest ship after eight crew members tested positive for coronavirus.</p> <p>The cruise line had planned to sail their latest addition to the fleet next month, Odyssey of the Seas.</p> <p>Among 1400 total staff, eight crew members were diagnosed with the virus.</p> <p>Cruise bosses said that why the entirety of their staff have been vaccinated, the full effect of the vaccines would take time to work.</p> <p>Michael Bayley, President &amp; CEO of Royal Caribbean took to Facebook to speak about the cancellation of the sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.</p> <p>"Two steps forward and one step back!" he said.</p> <p>“Out of an abundance of caution, we are postponing Odyssey's inaugural sailing from July 3 to July 31, 2021.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841853/cruise-ship-cancelled-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d9a1c13338d94606902f15229a035e6c" /></p> <p>"During routine testing, eight crew members received a positive test result for COVID-19.</p> <p>"All 1,400 crew onboard Odyssey of the Seas were vaccinated on June 4th and will be considered fully vaccinated on June 18.</p> <p>"The positive cases were identified after the vaccination was given and before they were fully effective.</p> <p>"The eight crew members, six of whom are asymptomatic and two with mild symptoms, were quarantined and are being closely monitored by our medical team.</p> <p>"To protect the remaining crew and prevent any further cases, we will have all crew quarantined for 14 days and continue with our routine testing.</p> <p>"Guests and travel partners will be notified and given several options to consider.</p> <p>"While disappointing, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests."</p> <p>The new ship has more than 2000 staterooms and can host about 5500 guests.</p> <p>Royal Caribbean had announced its cruises would set sail again in July.</p> <p>Cruising is starting to pick up in the US and around Europe, although COVId-19 testing is mandatory.</p>

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Man sentenced to 30 years after murder of wife on cruise ship

<p>A Utah man was sentenced to 30 year in prison for the violent death of his wife on an Alaskan cruise in 2017.</p> <p>The federal judge who presided over the court case of Kenneth Manzanares has labelled the murder of his wife as violent and brutal.</p> <p>The man plead guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Kristy Manzanares last year, but prosecutors sought for life in prison.</p> <p>Manzanares' attorneys, who wanted just seven years for Kenneth, claimed he had brain abnormalities which was backed by a defence expert.</p> <p>The man, who had injuries caused by playing contact sports, along with an undiagnosed bipolar disorder and “a problematic combination of prescribed medication and alcohol resulted in an aberrant episode of violence,”.</p> <p>But Burgess said there was competing evidence offered about Manzanares' culpability and that experts had failed to show what factors led to the crime.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841848/utah-man-murders-wife-3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/445b0ca5b56e489b83a5d2518af1212e" /></p> <p>Prosecutors had disputed the defence’s medical claims and in court documents described Manzanares’ actions as intentional, “triggered by his wife telling him she wanted him to leave the cruise ship and that she wanted a divorce.”</p> <p>The same night of her death, Kristy told her husband that she wanted a divorce, which led to an argument about his behaviour.</p> <p>Kenneth reportedly had issues with anger and that he had acknowledged restraining his wife in the past and punching holes in walls, prosecutors said.</p> <p>Defence lawyers said the couple had a “long and happy marriage.”</p> <p>Jamie McGrady, who is a federal public defender representing Manzanares, accused prosecutors of selectively parsing details from statements Manzanares made to try and paint him as someone who was abusive.</p> <p>Kristy Manzanares’ life was “viciously ended” by her husband.</p> <p>The attack was partly witnessed by two of the couple’s children.</p> <p>Kristy Manzanares’ brothers and father were also on the cruise and responded to and witnessed the scene afterward.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841850/utah-man-murders-wife.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c0fa9fd3672e41079dfe17e7bdb07094" /></p> <p>McGrady told The Associated Press that an appeal would be filed after he received 30 years in prison.</p> <p>She called the sentence a tragedy and said the judge ignored scientific evidence.</p> <p>Manzanares children said in an emotional speech that their father should be held responsible but also asked the judge to “understand that his impairments played a major factor in the events that occurred, and they have already lost one parent.”</p> <p>A statement released by Kristy Manzanares' family said the ruling “brings us neither joy nor anger. Rather, simply a sense of resolution".</p> <p>"We believe that the court made a fair and just determination. However, the legal system does not and is not intended to fill the emotional void of our loss," the statement said.</p> <p>“While this marks the end of another chapter of this unimaginable ordeal, the fact is that Kristy’s three girls are still without both of their parents, and our focus now is to support them as best we can."</p>

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Humpback whales have been spotted ‘bubble-net feeding’ for the first time in Australia

<p>If you gaze at the ocean this winter, you might just be lucky enough to spot a whale migrating along Australia’s coastline. This is the start of whale season, when the gentle giants breed in the warm northern waters off Australia after feeding in Antarctica.</p> <p>This north-south migration happens every year, but the whales can still surprise us. Thanks to a <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-citizen-science-16487">citizen scientist</a> and his drone, humpback whales were seen feeding in a mass super group and “bubble-net feeding” off the New South Wales coast last year.</p> <p>As my new <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.3621">research paper</a> confirms, this a big deal for two reasons: it’s only the second time a super group of humpbacks has been observed in the southern hemisphere (a first for Australia) and the first time bubble-net feeding has been seen in Australia.</p> <p>So what is bubble-net feeding, and why are these observations so important?</p> <p><strong>Blowing bubbles, catching krill</strong></p> <p>Bubble-net feeding is when whales deliberately blow bubbles from their noses to encircle their food — <a href="https://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/animals/krill/">krill</a> and fish — like a net, concentrating their prey into a tight ball. Then, the whale or group of whales swim together from beneath, rise to the surface opening their mouths, and gulp up their prey.</p> <p>It remains a mystery as to why the whales feed in this way and how they learned to do it.</p> <p>2020 was a year full of unprecedented events, and the humpback whales certainly didn’t disappoint.</p> <p>Humpback whales in this eastern Australian population are usually observed lunge feeding on their side, or feeding below the surface. Bubble-net feeding, on the other hand, is mostly documented in some <a href="https://youtu.be/Q8iDcLTD9wQ">Northern Hemisphere populations</a>.</p> <p>But we know there are individual whales in the eastern Australian humpback population who bubble-net feed in Antarctic waters. This means the unique behaviour in Australian waters may have evolved independently, or through <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/7775">cultural transmission</a> (learning new behaviours from different whales).</p> <p>The drone footage and observations made in September from whale-watching boats was the first to document bubble-net feeding. To add to the excitement, citizen scientists also documented bubble-net feeding behaviour further south of <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-04/unprecedented-humpback-whale-sightings-tasmania-migration-season/12844702">Tasmania</a> a month later.</p> <p>Using stills from the September drone footage, an estimated 33 humpback whales can be seen feeding at the same time. Unfortunately, it’s not known exactly what the whales were feeding on.</p> <p>Until then, humpback whale congregations this large had never been observed in Australian waters.</p> <p>In fact, the only other time a mass humpback feeding event has been seen in the Southern Hemisphere was off <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0172002">South Africa</a> in 2011 (this now occurs regularly there). This was the first time the term “super group” was used to describe a group of 20 or more whales feeding this way.</p> <p><strong>But why were they feeding in ‘breeding waters’ anyway?</strong></p> <p>The majority of the east Australian humpback whale population spends the summer months feeding in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-30748-4">Antarctic waters</a>. They then head north to warm breeding waters in the Great Barrier Reef during winter (June-August) to mate and give birth.</p> <p>They forego feeding for love — humpbacks can go for months without eating, relying instead on energy reserves in order to reproduce. Animals that do this are called <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19739368/">capital breeders</a>.</p> <p>From August to November, humpbacks migrate southward back to Antarctica. Along the way, they sometimes take a “pit-stop” on parts of Australia’s east coast <a href="http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v541/p231-244/">to feed</a>.</p> <p>It was originally thought this population never fed along the migratory route. However, we know they do now to possibly supplement their energy intake as they migrate.</p> <p><strong>So why are these observations important?</strong></p> <p>Whales play important an important role in the <a href="https://youtu.be/2PXgFoTtwi0">ecosystem</a> of the ocean because they feed in one area and poo in another.</p> <p>This action — known as the “<a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0013255">whale pump</a>” — moves nutrients around the ocean. Their poo feeds tiny organisms, such as <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/plankton/">plankton</a>, which are eaten by krill, and then eaten by whales.</p> <p>Seeing these super group feedings highlights changes in our marine environment we might not have otherwise been aware of.</p> <p>One possible explanation for this behaviour could be favourable environmental conditions. A combination of ideal water temperatures and nutrients may have resulted in an abundance of food, which saw large numbers of humpback whales feeding in the same area.</p> <p>Or perhaps it has something to do with the recovery of the east coast humpback whale population, which has been increasing in numbers since whaling ended in the 1960s.</p> <p>Regardless, it’s important to understand how changes in the marine environment influence the extent humpback whales depend on feeding opportunities along their migratory route.</p> <p>This will help to predict how whale populations respond to future changes in the ocean. This includes climate change, which will warm ocean temperatures and alter when and where the prey of humpback whales are found. As a result, humpback whales will also move to different locations.</p> <p>One thing, at least, is abundantly clear: more eyes on land and sea through <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mms.12651">citizen science</a> will provide a valuable opportunity to document such exciting future events. So keep your eyes peeled for whales this season, and be sure to tell a scientist if you see something unexpected.</p> <p><em>Written by <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vanessa-pirotta-873986">Vanessa Pirotta</a>, Macquarie University. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/humpback-whales-have-been-spotted-bubble-net-feeding-for-the-first-time-in-australia-and-we-have-it-on-camera-157355">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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The Ocean Decade: how the next ten years can chart a new course for the blue planet

<p>When birdsong was filling the muted days of the first lockdown, marine scientists were noticing something similar in the world’s oceans. Container vessels, cruise ships and drilling platforms had fallen silent, and so the oceans grew quieter than at any other time in recent memory. Researchers are trying to understand how the lull affected ocean life, but there are already stories of whales seizing the chance to sing and dolphins venturing into coastal areas they’d avoided for decades.</p> <p>The year of the quiet ocean is over, and noise pollution is roaring back to pre-pandemic levels, drowning out the sounds that marine species depend on to communicate and make sense of their surroundings. Sadly, that’s just one problem among many.</p> <p>The UN has declared that the next ten years will be<span> </span><a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/">the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development</a>, recognising the enormous challenges facing our blue planet. The Conversation has been keeping an eye on some of these as part of our<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/uk/topics/oceans-21-96784">Oceans 21 series</a>. Already, we’ve heard from experts about how chemical pollution in the ocean<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-ocean-pollution-is-a-clear-danger-to-human-health-152641">threatens human health</a>, how the ocean economy is dominated by<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/blue-economy-how-a-handful-of-companies-reap-most-of-the-benefits-in-multi-billion-ocean-industries-153165">a handful of mega-rich corporations</a><span> </span>and why global warming is<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/the-ocean-is-becoming-more-stable-heres-why-that-might-not-be-a-good-thing-157911">making the ocean more stable</a><span> </span>– with surprisingly worrying results.</p> <p>But we’ve also heard informed reasons for hope. From the geographer studying<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/the-hopeful-return-of-polar-whales-151487">the recovery of polar whale populations</a><span> </span>and the team of physicists learning how to track the journey of<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/where-does-plastic-pollution-go-when-it-enters-the-ocean-155182">each plastic particle</a><span> </span>when it reaches the shoreline, to the anthropologist documenting the role that<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-scottish-gaelic-is-helping-protect-scotlands-seas-155660">Scottish Gaelic plays in conservation</a><span> </span>in Outer Hebridean fisheries.</p> <p> </p>

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