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Coronavirus causes Royal Caribbean to push back new ship Odyssey of the Seas until April 2021

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels select voyages through October

Norwegian Cruise Line is reportedly canceling select trips through October to ensure passengers and crew members remain healthy.

Royal Caribbean is pushing back the debut of its Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship until April 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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"In the wake of COVID-19, our initial global suspension and its subsequent extensions, we understand the uneasiness all of this has caused both for you as a travel advisor and, of course, your clients whose vacations have been regrettably disrupted," the company said in a blog post. "The health crisis has unfortunately also impacted shipyard operations, as well as our supply chain."

According to the cruise line, all Odyssey of the Seas sailings between Nov. 5, 2020, and April 17, 2021, have been canceled.

"We are saddened to share this news," the company added. "There's nothing we wanted more than to launch this revolutionary ship this fall–but trust us when we say that Odyssey will be well worth the wait!"

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RCL ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES 50.30 0.00 0.00%

EUROPE RESTRICTS VISITORS FROM THE US AMID CORONAVIRUS RESURGENCE

Royal Caribbean is offering multiple compensation options for affected customers, including its Lift & Shift program, through July 17, where customers can move their existing reservation to next year with the same itinerary, sailing length, stateroom category and four-week window of the original cruise date.

Customers will also be given the option to switch to another seven-night Caribbean sailing that departs within one week before or after their original sail date.

The original cruise fare will either be price protected at the original rate or reduced to the current rate of the new reservation, excluding taxes, fees, gratuities and other noncruise fare items. Those who paid in full will receive a refund within 45 days of the price change for any difference in pricing and Royal Caribbean will waive any nonrefundable deposit change fees.

Holiday sailings are excluded for customers not previously booked during the timeframe.

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Eligible customers can also opt for a 125 percent Future Cruise Credit redeemable through Dec. 31, 2021, for Odyssey sailings through April 2022. The credit will be sent via email by Aug. 7, 2020.

Those who prefer a cash refund can request one by Dec. 31, 2020, and will receive the refund within 45 to 60 days from the cancellation date.

In addition, interested guests can convert their pre-cruise purchases into an onboard credit through July 17, including shore excursions, specialty dining, beverage package and other add-ons. The credit will be valued at 125 percent of the original amount paid.

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Odyssey of the Seas was originally scheduled to debut in November 2020 but instead will debut in Europe next summer with sailings scheduled from Rome. The ship, which has a passenger capacity of 4,200,  will debut in the United States in November 2021 when Caribbean cruises will sail out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

When the Odyssey finally sets sail, it will no longer feature a trapeze school as part of its SeaPlex indoor activity venue, and guests using the ship's Sky Pad virtual trampoline will now be required to be at least 7 years old to jump and 13 years old to jump with a virtual reality headset.

The Odyssey of the Seas was already expected to be delayed due to a fire that broke out on one of its ships at a construction site in Germany over the weekend.

Odyssey of the Seas (Courtesy Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean has currently all cruise operations in the United States through Sept. 15, 2020.

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Princess Beatrice reunites with her mother for heartwarming gesture

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Beatrice appeared to read The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright and Chris Chatterton on the segment Storytime with Fergie and Friends. Her mother, Sarah Ferguson expressed her delight at the appearance with her introduction.  Sarah said: “I cannot thank you enough for doing this for your mummy.

“This is so incredible and you’re just so beautiful and I look at you reading the stories and I just go I mean I’m the luckiest person alive to have two of the most beautiful girls.

“Thank you so much.”

Beatrice then said: “Welcome to Fergie and Friends, it’s my first time reading and mum, I love Fergie and friends so thank you for having me.”

In a video published on May 25, Princess Eugenie read the book All In One Piece by Jill Murphy.

According to Waterstones, the book read by Beatrice is: “A fun and reassuring tale about dealing with worries from the author of the bestselling The Lion Inside.”

The bookstore describes Eugenie’s selection as: “A stunning new edition of a modern classic in the bestselling Large Family series.”

The sisters did not appear on the screen at the same time as their mother.

Hello reported that Beatrice’s appearance was scheduled to take place via video link.

In both videos in question, Sarah only appears by voiceover.

At the beginning of June, Sarah announced the foundation of Sarah’s Trust a charity with an immediate focus of helping the NHS.

A statement claimed Sarah and her daughters “personally funded and donated hundreds of items”.

According to Town and Country, the charity has made 150,000 deliveries donating food, masks, scrubs, and toiletries.

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The coronavirus outbreak has been the source of personal disappointment for Beatrice.

She had been due to marry Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on May 29 but the ceremony and reception were both cancelled.

They have postponed the event indefinitely.

This was not the only royal wedding to be affected.

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, the daughter of King Constantine II of Greece, the final monarch before abolition was due to marry American lawyer Matthew Kumar at the end of May, but that event has also been postponed.

At the beginning of May, James Middleton, the brother of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge took to Instagram to shave his beard: “As Alizee [Thevenet, his fiancee] and myself were due to get married… well actually, this month.

“She’s never seen me without a beard, so I thought it was about time I showed her what was behind it.

“In fact, what I am most worried about is these guys might not recognise me afterwards. Say goodbye.”

Beatrice had been due to host the reception of her nuptials at Buckingham Palace.

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Prince William backs campaign to end illegal wildlife trade – ‘Abhorrent Activity’

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The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) estimates the industry is worth between £5.6billion and £18.5billion annually. Alongside William’s United For Wildlife organisation, the FATP have written a report providing guidance to help prohibit money laundering from the trade. In a video message, William said: “The work that has been done will help authorities trace the finances of the transnational organised crime gangs that facilitate this abhorrent activity.

“It underlines the need for us to work together to tackle the ill-gotten gains of wildlife poachers and traffickers and put a stop to this multi-billion criminal dollar enterprise.”

William also praised the report commenting: “This will help to improve and co-ordinate the public and private sectors to detect, disrupt and prevent this crime.

“Because it is only through prioritising this issue and following the money that we will stop these criminals in their tracks.

“Once again, I am grateful to you all for your continued efforts to end the illegal wildlife trade for good.”

Money laundering is defined as the process through which criminals disguise the ownership and control of the proceeds from criminal conduct.

The aim is to make the proceeds appear to have come from a legitimate source.

Last year, William called for more to be done to stop the illegal wildlife trade.

At the United for Wildlife Joint Taskforce event, William said: “Our motivation in doing this work is that we are going to play our part, we are going to do everything we can possibly can to prevent the extinction of some of the world’s most iconic species by poaching or by criminal networks.

“It has taken a lot of hard work – and real commitment – to get to the point where you are all sitting here together today.

“And we should all feel proud that we’re starting to see an impact.

“But it’s just that.

“The start.”

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According to the United for Wildlife website, the organisation helps train rangers.

This is done to aid on-site protection to help conservation efforts.

During a 2014 trip to the United States, William visited Washington DC.

 

He delivered a speech to the World Bank in which he spoke of the link between corruption, natural resource crime and illicit financial flows.

William explained the issue goes beyond just endangered species: “It recognises neither national borders nor national interests.

“It distorts economic development, undermines the rule of law and exacerbates sources of conflict.”

According to the Royal Family website, William has discussed the issue with then US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

William’s brother Prince Harry also has shown support for wildlife conservation.

As President of African Parks, Harry helps with the NGO’s conservation efforts.

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Royal Caribbean, NZ tour company sued after couple sustains 'catastrophic injuries' during volcano eruption

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Royal Caribbean and ID Tours New Zealand Ltd. have been served with a lawsuit after a couple said they "sustained severe burns" stemming from a deadly volcanic eruption in New Zealand during a shore excursion provided by Royal Caribbean Cruises.

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In a lawsuit filed Thursday against the tour and cruise company, Matt and Lauren Urey claim Royal Caribbean and ID Tours New Zealand Ltd. had failed to caution passengers about the increased dangers of the White Island volcano during the December 2019 excursion.

"At the beginning of the excursion, the tour guides did not inform passengers, and/or the plaintiffs of the increased alert levels, the increased volcanic activity and/or the increased risk of eruption," the lawsuit states, adding that shortly before the eruption passengers were taken to "what appeared to be" the center of the volcano.

NEW ZEALAND VOLCANO ERUPTION LEAVES 'NO SIGNS OF LIFE' ON ISLAND

There were 47 people visiting the tourist destination of White Island when the volcano erupted Dec. 9. The harrowing event killed 19 people and left more than two dozen others "catastrophically injured" a spokesperson from the firm, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A  told FOX Business in an email.

"We continue to support the needs of those affected by this tragic incident," a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told FOX Business. The company declined to comment further while the investigation is still proceeding.

ID Tours New Zealand Ltd. did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

Tourists on a boat look at the eruption of the volcano on White Island, New Zealand on Dec. 9, 2019. (Michael Schade via AP)

Matt and Lauren were newlyweds aboard the ship for their honeymoon when they took part in the excursion which was allegedly arranged by Royal Caribbean, according to the lawsuit.

Although they survived, Matt had sustained burns to 54 percent of his body with a majority, 30 to 39 percent, being deemed third-degree burns, according to the lawsuit. Similarly, Lauren had sustained burns to 23 percent of her body wherein 10 to 19 percent were considered third-degree burns, court papers show.

The lawsuit further claims that the cruise company had only advertised White Island as "one of the most active volcanoes in the world."

"The potential danger of participating in this excursion was not open or obvious to the Plaintiffs based on this description because an “active” volcano is defined as a volcano that has had at least one eruption during the past 10,000 years," the suit continued.

NEW ZEALAND VOLCANO ERUPTS, AT LEAST 5 DEAD, RESCUERS CAN'T ACCESS ISLAND

This particular volcano had erupted multiple times within the past 10 years with the most recent incident occurring in 2016, court papers show.

What's more, the volcano "was showing signs of unrest" for several weeks prior to the trip, the suit stated.

"Volcanic tremors and sulphur dioxide gas were at their highest levels since the last eruption in 2016, indicating that an eruption was more likely to occur," the lawsuit stated.

Additionally, the volcano’s alert level was raised to a level 2 a few weeks before the trip took place, which is the highest level it can be prior to erupting, the suit alleged adding that this further indicated "heightened volcanic unrest."

Royal Caribbean "knew or should have known that there was a high potential for the volcano to erupt during this excursion based on the increased alert level issued by New Zealand’s volcano monitoring service, GeoNet, in the weeks and days before Plaintiffs’ cruise," the firm told FOX Business in an email.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Royal Mail axes 2,000 jobs to save costs during coronavirus

Royal Mail has announced it is to cut around 2,000 jobs as it is reducing costs during the coronavirus crisis.

The jobs are understood to be management roles.

The postal company said the pandemic has resulted in more parcels and fewer letters being sent.

A statement posted on the Royal Mail website during the Covid-19 crisis said: ‘We continue to work hard to collect, process and deliver the UK’s mail in unprecedented times.

‘However, along with other organisations, we are experiencing increased levels of employee absence due to illness and self-isolation. Absence rates are currently significantly higher than what we normally expect at this time of year. 

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‘To manage these severe absence levels, we are implementing a range of mitigations. These include changing the time guarantee on Special Delivery and deploying non-operational managers in delivery.

‘Our delivery operation is a key part of keeping the country moving. So, we have chosen not to avail of the UK government’s furlough scheme, except in some very limited circumstances.

‘In fact, we have put even more resources in to keep delivering. This includes additional overtime provision and a very significant investment in protective equipment for our colleagues. We thank you for your support and patience.’

It comes after the company stopped deliveries on Saturdays from May until further notice.

As Royal Mail already does not deliver on a Sunday, this means a number of people have ended up having to wait into the following week for their post.

This is a breaking story, more to follow.

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