Top 10 much-loved films for coronavirus isolation to transport you far away from home

Holidays are not an option at the moment due to the coronavirus lockdown. Fortunately, there are a plethora of films to watch that can help frustrated Britons transport themselves to far off lands – even if only in the mind. Holidu, a search engine for holiday rentals, has decided to rank the best movies of all time that will allow you to escape as far away from home as possible.

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Holidu studied over one hundred films about travel (or that inspire the viewer to travel). These were then ranked according to several criteria: the number of awards obtained at the Academy Awards, the average rating obtained on imdb.com, and the number of times the film was mentioned in travel film lists.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – 2003

While The Lord of the Rings may seem somewhat unconventional for a travel movie list at first glance, they enable the viewer to discover the unique landscapes of New Zealand.

Plus, each of the three films allows you to travel not only to the other side of the world but further afield, to the fantastic world of J. R. R. Tolkien.

With eleven nominations and eleven Oscar awards, it is also the highest-rated film in the ranking, with 8.9/10 on IMDb.

Watch it online: available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime and YouTube from £2.49.

Titanic – 1997

Titanic may not make you want to go on an Atlantic cruise anytime soon, but it’s surely the best portrayal of the anticipation you feel when you’re about to embark on a great journey.

The film won a record number of fourteen Oscar nominations and eleven victories. As is often the case, the IMDb rating does not necessarily reflect the cinematic excellence rewarded at the Oscars, but Titanic nevertheless gets a good score with 7.8/10.

Watch it online: available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play from £3.49.

Out of Africa – 1985

Set off to discover Kenya and its fabulous landscapes in the footsteps of a strong and independent woman with Out of Africa. Expect amazing safari scenes with lions and giraffes. A story of love, desire for freedom and emancipation led by Meryl Streep in the form of a young girl from Denmark, forced to leave everything to follow her husband and conquer her journey to East Africa.

The film garnered eleven Oscar nominations, seven wins and averages 7.2/10 on IMDb.

Watch it online: available for rental or purchase on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play from £2.49.

Slumdog Millionaire – 2008

Slumdog Millionaire allows you to discover India for a total change of scenery, following Jamal Malik in search of his childhood sweetheart. Experience the vibrant city of Bombay in full expansion, the rural landscapes of deep India and the Taj Mahal all from your sofa.

With eight Oscar awards and ten nominations, Slumdog Millionaire has managed to charm its audience with its unique Bollywood vibe. It also received an excellent 8/10 rating on IMDb.

Watch online: available for rental or purchase on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play from £2.50 and on Netflix.

Forrest Gump – 1994

Forrest tells of his adventures around the world, chasing Jenny and taking us with him. Forrest Gump takes the viewer from Vietnam to the crossing of the United States.

Thirteen Oscar nominations for six wins, Forrest Gump also received the second-highest rating of any film on IMDb with 8.8/10.

Watch online: available for rental or purchase on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play from £2.49.

Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981

To escape to faraway lands, there is nothing better than to follow the infinite adventures Indiana Jones encounters during his mission. In just one film, he manages to find the love of his life in Peru, unearth a mystical object hidden in the lost city of Tanis, Egypt, have it stolen and imprisoned by the Nazis, escape, retrieve the object and save the world.

A true cinematic feat for the time, Raiders of the Lost Ark was nominated eight times and won four Oscar awards. The IMDb average score is 8/10.

Watch online: available on Amazon Prime or for rental and purchase on YouTube and Google Play from £2.49.

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Dances with the Wolves – 1990

Dances with the Wolves promises a total change of scenery and a complete immersion in a fast-moving America. John Darbard takes you on a journey through time and space for more than three hours of film. He then makes us discover the most incredible landscapes of the Far West and the Grand Teton National Park, where he became friends with the Sioux Indian tribe. Breathtaking panoramas of still immaculate territories, this is the history of America before the United States.

Twelve nominations and eight Oscar awards – not bad for a Western that nobody wanted to produce! On IMDb, it gets an average score of 8/10.

Watch online: available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play from £2.49.

Inception – 2010

The youngest film in this ranking is a fascinating mind-bending voyage. Escape to Paris, Los Angeles, Morocco and Japan.

The second film with Leonardo DiCaprio in this ranking, which also performed well at the Oscars with eight nominations and four victories. It gets the third-best score among the films in the ranking with 8.7/10.

Watch online: available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play from £3.49.

Doctor Zhivago – 1965

Doctor Zhivago takes you on a journey across Russia, starting from imperial Moscow, followed by the hard Ukrainian front during the First World War, to finish in the snowy Ural. Throughout the film, you discover icy and majestic landscapes of the Russian winters as you have never imagined them before.

It has been nominated ten times and awarded five times at the Oscars and gets a score of 8/10 on IMDb.

Watch online: available for rent or purchase on YouTube and Google Play from £3.49.

Before Sunrise – 1995

This is the story of two young people who do what you’ve always dreamed of doing but never really thought possible! Make a random encounter, turn all your plans upside down, and spend a day exploring a new destination. This is a romantic film which shows, as a bonus, beautiful pictures of the Austrian capital.

No Oscar for this film, which stands out from the rest of the list by being lighter and easier than the others. However, it gets the well-deserved 8/10 rating on IMDb and will transport you for a while to the beautiful city of Vienna.

Watch online: available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play from £3.49.

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Cabin crew secrets: Flight attendant reveals tips for packing luggage light for flights

Cabin crew spend much of their working life packing bags for their next flight. It’s hardly surprising they soon become pros at what to do and what not to do when it comes to assembling a suitcase. One ex flight attendant has revealed her top tips for holiday packing.

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Heather Poole shared her insight in her book Cruising Attitude.

She explained that travellers have to always be able to lift their own bags.

“You pack it, you lift it” is the “mantra” of cabin crew the world over.

So what is the best way to ensure you pack light and can easily lift your luggage up into the overhead locker?

“What you pack and whether you check your bag or carry on can drastically affect the outcome of your trip.

“Don’t make travel more stressful that it has to be. Play it safe and do what flight attendants do.

“When it comes to preparing for a trip we’re experts. We travel with just a roll-aboard and a tote bag, even when we’re packing for days at a time.”

Poole explained exactly what she does with her clothes and belongings when packing.

“The secret is rolling,” she wrote. “Rolling instead of folding leaves clothes wrinkle-free.

“Our other tricks? I always coordinate my outfits around footwear.

“A comfy kick-around pair for exploring the destination by day and something rest for dinner and a show at night.

“Undies, socks, bikinis, whatever can be wadded up, are inside shoes. No space goes unused.

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“To make things simple, pack black and be done with it.

“So what if you wear the same outfit over and over? That’s what easy-to-pack accessories are for!

“Scarves and jewellery can completely change boring black into something fab.

“And whatever gets left behind becomes the perfect excuse to go shopping for something new!”

Choosing the right bag can also help when your airline has strict rules on hand luggage allowance.

David Scotland, from Outdoor World Direct, advocates travelling with backpacks.

“Large camping rucksacks also offer convenient pockets which can be used for stowing passports, snacks and water so that you don’t have to open your hand luggage on the plane or dig around for your passport,” he told Express.co.uk

“Just be sure to check the dimensions of the rucksack complies with your airline’s regulations beforehand.”

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Clardige’s hotel shuts after 200 years – but opens its luxury rooms to some special guests

The coronavirus crisis has forced hotels across the country to close their doors amid a lockdown effort to try and prevent the spread of the disease. For five-star London hotel Claridge’s, this means shutting its doors for the first time in its 200-year history.

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However, just days after closing, the chain has announced it will remain open and offer out some of its £650-a-night suites to NHS staff working during the pandemic.

From tomorrow 40 doctors, nurses and other key members of staff based in London and working at nearby NHS trusts who can not live at home at the moment will be welcomed into the hotel.

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Claridge’s, based in Mayfair, said it will also provide dinner and breakfast to those who opt to stay.

Paddy McKillen, co-owner of the Maybourne Group, which runs the hotel announced: “Just as it has in the past world wars, Claridge’s has a duty to step up and support the people of London.

“Teams from all our hotels have volunteered to help and support the dedicated NHS workers at this critical time. We are forever in their debt.”

The news is welcomed by those workers who currently live with at-risk and vulnerable people, and so can not return to their normal dwellings.

It also aids workers from other parts of the country who have been drafted in to help with the growing number of cases.

London is currently the epicentre of the UK COVID-19 battle.

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In the city alone there have been more than 700 fatalities.

However, the capital is not the only place where free accommodation is being offered to frontline workers.

Airbnb announced it would be offering homes and places to stay to NHS and medical workers through England.

The move is part of a global push with aims to provide accommodation to 100,000 medical workers.

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While the website usually pairs holidaymakers with places to stay during their travel, Airbnb has switched direction amid the global pandemic.

Working closely with the NHS, hosts with entire homes are being given cleanliness protocols that they must abide by to ensure the safety of their families and the guests they welcome to stay.

Hospitals and NHS trusts are then being helped by Airbnb to sign up relevant staff in need of a place to stay.

Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy, at Airbnb, said: “The entire country is behind our heroic NHS and medical staff as they battle the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have made it our priority to stand with the Airbnb community to do what we can to help.

“By working together, we can ensure that frontline workers can find a free and convenient place to stay as they continue their critical work.

“We thank our doctors and nurses across the country from the bottom of our hearts and are grateful to hosts who have already opened their homes during these difficult times.”

The news comes as the global coronavirus rate surpasses 1,000,000.

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Hawaiian Airlines Gives Free Flights to Medical Personnel Fighting Coronavirus

Hawaiian Airlines announced it would provide free flights between islands to medical professionals battling the coronavirus outbreak.

As part of the airline’s partnership with leading healthcare providers in the state, Hawaiian will be sending personnel and equipment to impacted communities as the tourism industry grinds to a halt. Partner organizations include the Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated (HEPA), The Queen’s Health Systems and more.

The carrier also announced a new flight schedule designed to provide vital connectivity in April between the Hawaiian Islands as the state continues its 14-day self-quarantine requirement.

“This virus has presented an unprecedented test for all of us who call Hawai‘i home, and we are glad to be able to support the exceptional and important work our medical providers are carrying out across our islands each day to meet our state’s healthcare needs and help us overcome this challenge,” Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram said in a statement.

Starting April 4, Hawaiian will be providing a total of 16 daily roundtrip flights between Honolulu on O‘ahu and Hilo and Kona on the Island of Hawaii, Kahului on Maui and Lihu‘e on Kaua‘i.

The airline will also keep serving both Moloka‘i and Lana‘i from Honolulu, but suspended service between Honolulu and Pago Pago for at least 30 days at the request of the American Samoan government.

Other airlines have been forced to make drastic changes, as officials from easyJet announced the decision to ground its entire fleet until further notice due to heavy travel restrictions and self-quarantines caused by the viral outbreak.

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Airbnb supports NHS heroes with free accommodation amid coronavirus crisis

Temporary rental website Airbnb has stepped forward amid the coronavirus crisis to offer free accommodation for medical workers across the world, including those here in the UK serving the NHS. Already over 1,500 free places have been offered by hosts across the nation to support NHS hospitals and trusts, and other healthcare organisations.

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The initiative is part of a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which hopes to connect 100,000 frontline workers with places to stay.

Whether professionals need to relocate to help bolster medical services in other cities or countries or feel they need to be closer to their workplace, the rental site hopes to provide safe and clean accommodation for those in need.

While the website usually pairs holidaymakers with places to stay during their travel, Airbnb has switched direction amid the global pandemic.

Working closely with the NHS, hosts with entire homes are being given cleanliness protocols that they must abide by to ensure the safety of their families and the guests they welcome to stay.

A similar initiative in both France and Italy has already been successful, with more than 8,000 hosts opening up their homes to doctors, nurses, caregivers and other medical support staff.

On March 18 a pilot programme was launched in Italy, one of the main hotspots of the pandemic.

Dubbed “Airbnb For Doctors and Nurses” the programme then expanded into France on March 14 through Airbnb’s Open Homes programme, which usually provides free housing to those in disaster zones.

Now, the initiative has gone globes, calling upon citizens of every nation to help medical staff working round the clock in this unprecedented time.

“Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response and as the world unites to fight the coronavirus outbreak, we have made it our priority as a community to provide what support we can,” said France’s Airbnb Director, Emmanuel Marill, in a statement.

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“By standing with our host community to offer free accommodation for caregivers and social workers we hope we can help heroic professionals on the front lines as they work to protect us all and save lives.

“Any host who is willing to provide free accommodation can visit www.airbnb.co.uk/d/medicalstaysuk to find out more about the health and hygiene practises necessary, as well as how they can sign up.

Meanwhile, NHS trusts, hospitals or any other UK healthcare organisation can set up an Airbnb account where they can register eligible staff for a place.

Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy, at Airbnb, said: “The entire country is behind our heroic NHS and medical staff as they battle the coronavirus outbreak.

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“We have made it our priority to stand with the Airbnb community to do what we can to help.

“By working together, we can ensure that frontline workers can find a free and convenient place to stay as they continue their critical work.

“We thank our doctors and nurses across the country from the bottom of our hearts and are grateful to hosts who have already opened their homes during these difficult times.”

The news comes as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus surpasses 880,000 globally.

In the UK alone there are 29,474 confirmed cases at the time of writing.

However, the UK government has announced a push for more testing across the UK.

The government has set a target of carrying out 25,000 tests a day, though it is not expected to be met until the end of April.

Speaking at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Gove said: “More NHS staff are returning to the front line, and more testing is taking place to help those self-isolating come back and to protect those working so hard in our hospitals and in social care.

“But while the rate of testing is increasing, we must go further, faster.”

Mr Gove added: “We are working with companies worldwide to ensure that we get the material we need to increase tests of all kinds.”

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Holidays 2021 MAP: Top 10 UK bucket list destinations for next year as Britons plan ahead

Holidays 2021 may seem far ahead given April 2020 has only just started.

But with coronavirus writing off the majority of holidays this year, many Britons are keen to start planning for next year.

In fact, holiday rental marketplace Snaptrip has noted a 30 percent rise in searches for holidays in 2021 since the Government told people to stay at home on March 16.

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So where is everyone hoping to go once the world has finally seen the back of coronavirus?

When members of the British public were asked what destinations they most longed to visit, 45 percent of Britons said they would like to go to the beach or somewhere along the coast.

Meanwhile, 28 percent want to go into the countryside and 17 percent are keen for a city break.

Snaptrip has now revealed the UK’s most searched for destinations as Britons in lockdown plan their dream trips for when it is safe to do so.

The company looked at its internal data to reveal the top search results for UK holiday destinations in the last month.

So where is the most popular place to head for 2021?

Findings showed that found that the Scottish Highlands is the most searched for destination in the UK.

The Highlands are home to vast open spaces – ideal for stretching your legs after months of isolation.

Ben Nevis, the tallest peak in the British Isles can be found in the there.

This was closely followed by the Snowdonia in North Wales and the Yorkshire Dales.

Snowdonia boasts some of Britain’s tallest peaks, most beautiful lakes and has over 200 miles of coastline.

Meanwhile, visitors to the Yorkshire Dales can enjoy 840 square miles of limestone valleys and rolling hills as well as picturesque villages and historic castles.

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Cornwall and the Lake District came fourth and fifth respectively.

The former has some of the best beach beaches in Britain – with Porthcurno beach a particular highlight.

As for the Lake District, 12 of the largest lakes in England can be found there and is perfect for long walks.

Completing the top 10 were the Peak District, Kent, London, Brecon Beacons, and County Antrim.

Matt Fox, CEO and co-founder of Snaptrip.com, commented on the data, saying: “It is a tough time for the travel industry at the moment, with the majority of the British public avoiding making concrete plans until there is more reassurance and stability moving forward.

“However, we have definitely noticed an increased interest over the last couple of weeks towards certain destinations, and we can only surmise that Brits are eagerly planning dream trips to take around the UK when it is safe to do so.

“We are confident that the British tourism industry will bounce back.

“It is looking as though there will be a greater appreciation for the amazing spaces that Britain has to offer and a desire to visit some of the more remote and wild locations within the British Isles once we have put this episode behind us.”

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Pound to euro exchange rate: Coronavirus ‘key driver’ as GBP enjoys first quarter boost

The pound to euro exchange rate has experienced a positive week for sterling. GBP ended the first quarter of the year with a “front foot against the euro,” said experts. The pound even rose above the 1.13 handle for the first time in two weeks – although it has now slumped back to above 1.12.

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The boost came as GBP “continued to benefit from improving risk sentiment across asset classes.”

Of course, coronavirus continues to wield its power over the exchange rate.

Focus remains on the deadly pandemic, making it the “key driver of risk appetite.”

However, attention will also turn to the final manufacturing PMIs.

The pound is currently trading at 1.1233 against the euro, according to Bloomberg at the time of writing.

Michael Brown, currency expert at international payments and foreign exchange firm Caxton FX, spoke to Express.co.uk regarding the latest exchange rate figures this morning.

“Sterling ended the first quarter on the front foot against the euro,” explained Brown.

“It briefly rose above the 1.13 handle for the first time in a fortnight, as the common currency faced headwinds into the final fixing of the month and the quarter.

“Today, while final manufacturing PMIs highlight the data calendar, focus will remain on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – which remains the key driver of risk appetite.”

So what does this all mean for Britons’ travel money?

Yesterday, the Post Office warned that the ability to purchase Travel Money online from the Post Office website and the use of its branch pre-order service are now suspended.

“Both services will remain suspended whilst strict self-isolation measures remain in place,” said the Post Office in a statement.

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It’s not just the Post Office which is closing down services at this time.

Sacha Zackariya, CEO, Change Group International Plc, said: “Along with all other bureaus de change and banks, we have now closed all branches.”

As a result, experts have warned that it is inadvisable to attempt to exchange holiday money at this time – even if you purchased some ahead of a holiday which is now unfortunately not going ahead.

Zackariya explained: “Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to change your foreign currency at this point.

“I would, therefore, recommend holding on to this leftover currency until your next holiday or if it is somewhere you are unlikely to travel again then exchange it at a later date.

“As international travel restrictions are updated and government policies change we recommend checking our website for updates on this situation.”

It’s better news, however, for those with prepaid currency cards.

“For those using prepaid currency cards, they can spend their money back in the UK online or in stores, keep it for their next trip, or change it to a different currency altogether,” Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of Equals (formerly known as FairFX) told Express.co.uk.

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Royal travel secrets: Prince Harry had to do this for royal tours – but will he stop now?

Prince Harry officially stepped down from his royal duties today following a decision with his wife Meghan Markle to no longer dedicate their time to the Royal Family. Now planning on becoming financially independent, the couple will split their time between the UK and North America.

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As part of an agreement with Buckingham Palace, this means Prince Harry will no longer partake in “royal duties, including official military appointments”, changing the way Harry travels for good.

As part of travel for royal tours and other appearances, the Royal Family must follow a strict criteria.

As representatives of the UK, it is essential the royals learn the basic greeting in each country’s native language before they visit.

“The internal palace aids will always be on hand to prepare each royal before an important visit,” says Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette, told Readers Digest.

“It is the correct protocol to practice the etiquette of the country or culture you are visiting, in order to show respect, so each royal knows how to make the best first impression.”

However, now Prince Harry is breaking free from the royal traditions, this could be one that is left in the past.

Particular as the Prince himself has said that learning languages is not his natural forte.

While on a royal tour of New Zealand, Prince Harry revealed: “I learned French at school, but I’ve forgotten most of it.”

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Despite this, the Duke of Sussex has been known to greet locals and even offer speeches while on tour in the past.

He has delivered a speech in Arabic before, as well as offering a speech in six languages while on tour in New Zealand.

In the speech, he is reported to have spoken Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean, Cook Islands Maori, Maori.

At the time he said: “This is definitely the first time I’ve spoken most of those languages, so I apologise if my accent wasn’t any good.”

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Of course, while Harry may no longer be required to learn languages as part of royal duty, his wife Meghan Markle is known to speak foreign languages, and she might be keen to encourage Harry’s international schooling.

According to the Duchess of Sussex’s Royal biography: “The Duchess completed an internship at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she learned to speak Spanish. She also studied French for six years.”

Reports also state that when visiting Edinburgh in February 2018 Ms Markle greeted people using the Filipino phrase “salamat po,” meaning “thank you” in Tagalog.

Though little is known about what the future of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle holds, the couple has assured they will be financially independent.

A statement from Buckingham Palace assured: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared their wish to repay Sovereign Grant expenditure for the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, which will remain their UK family home.”

Speaking to Hello! a palace source added: “The Queen has made it clear that Frogmore will continue to be the Sussexes’ home.

“They will repay the public expenditure on it and will pay for its upkeep. They will be paying a commercial rent on it.”

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Coronavirus cruise: British lives at risk on stranded ship – governments ‘turned backs’

Cruise ship Zaandam, of Holland American Line, has been turned away by several countries so far amid coronavirus concerns and fears mount that the vessel will continue to be rejected. Zaandam is currently travelling towards Florida, USA although it’s not known for certain whether the cruise ship will be able to dock. On Monday, governor Ron DeSantis said passengers cannot be “dumped” in his state, in the latest cruise news.

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There are hundreds of British, American and Australian holidaymakers on the liner.

However, DeSantis as dismissed those onboard Zaandam as mostly “foreigners,” when speaking to Fox News.

The ship was previously rejected by several Latin American countries.

Four people have died on the ship so far and eight people have tested positive for coronavirus.

What’s more, around 200 people are unwell with flu-like symptoms.

Many of the Zaandam passengers are elderly.

President of Holland America Line, Orlando Ashford, has now called for ports to show “compassion and grace” to Zaandam and its sister ship Rotterdam.

“Holland America Line is working tirelessly to find medical help and safe passage home for the 1,243 guests and 1,247 crew stranded at sea on our two ships, Zaandam and Rotterdam,” he said in a statement.

“They are among the 9,000-plus passengers still remaining on about a dozen other cruise ships worldwide.

“These are unfortunate souls unwittingly caught up in the fast-changing health, policy and border restrictions that have rapidly swept the globe.”

Ashford continued: “Nations are justifiably focused on the COVID-19 crisis unfolding before them.

“But they’ve turned their backs on thousands of people left floating at sea.

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“Are these reactions based on facts from experts like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or fuelled by irrational fear? What happened to compassion and help thy neighbour?

He added: “We are dealing with a ‘not my problem’ syndrome. The international community, consistently generous and helpful in the face of human suffering, shut itself off to Zaandam leaving her to fend for herself.

“As a result, Zaandam was forced to take proactive measures, rendezvousing with sister ship Rotterdam to replenish much-needed supplies and protect the health of the guests and crew who aren’t ill.”

The cruise line President explained: “We made the unprecedented decision to transfer to Rotterdam those guests we could quickly and safely move to alleviate Zaandam crew workload immediately and to get as many guests as possible into rooms with windows and verandahs.

“Following CDC protocols, we screened guests prior to transfer and all wore protective face masks.

“To ensure everyone’s well-being, we did not move guests who needed further screening or those likely to need ongoing support by the medical team to Rotterdam. Guests on both ships continue to self-isolate in their staterooms.

“Reducing the guest count on Zaandam helps available staff better serve those remaining on board. No guests who have been ill or symptomatic were moved, nor were their close contacts.

“And no Zaandam crew moved to Rotterdam. Zaandam received additional medical supplies including COVID-19 tests, face masks for guests and personal protective equipment for crew, as well as medical staff. This will help, but patients will need to get home for additional medical care.”

Ashford concluded: “The COVID-19 situation is one of the most urgent tests of our common humanity. To slam the door in the face of these people betrays our deepest human values.” 

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Coronavirus holidays: Will Britons lose money over cancelled staycations during lockdown?

Holidaymakers across Britain are now faced with cancelled plans as the UK government continues to enforce draconian lockdown measures in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus. While airlines and international travel operators are obliged to offer refunds to customers, it seems those with UK staycation plans might not have the same rights.

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Staycations are growing year-on-year in the UK, with the latest Travel Trends report from ABTA revealing that 56 percent of the nation was planning a domestic getaway in 2020.

However, those who had plans to travel in the next month may have to rethink everything as the government urges Britons to “stay home and save lives.”

At the time of writing these strict measures will be in place until April 13, and reviewed on a three-week basis, though government officials warn it could be longer.

With all non-essential travel off the cards, those who have staycation plans up until this date should consider them cancelled. Non-essential travel sadly includes both holidays and leisure trips.

Meanwhile, hotels, hostels B&Bs, holiday rentals, campsites and tour operators have been forced to close amid the lockdown.

While in some cases customers are entitled to a full cash refund, with holiday companies including Haven and Centre Parc assuring customers will have their money returned to them, many businesses are initially offering customers vouchers instead.

How can I get my money back?

In most instances, if the tour operator or travel provider has cancelled the trip, customers are entitled to a refund.

According to consumer rights advocate Which?: “If you had booked a package holiday for the next few weeks – that’s where any two parts of the holiday were booked together, such as accommodation, car hire, transport and activities – then the law says you are due a refund within 14 days.”

Many hotels and B&B’S are also issuing on the spot refunds for cancelled stays.

Which?’s expert continues: “If you had just booked accommodation, and the hotel or B&B has now cancelled, you should also receive a refund. Many hotel chains like Premier Inn and Hilton have said that they will offer full refunds. Airbnb is also offering customers full refunds until 14 April.”

Similarly, airlines, coaches, trains and other transport services are obliged to offer refunds for cancellations as a result of the lockdown.

Even if your journey is still going ahead, some travel providers are allowing customers to cancel and be refunded for no fee. Others are asking customers to rebook to a later date.

“If travel has been cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown, you should be able to get a refund regardless of whether you’re catching a domestic flight, train, coach or ferry. In some cases, you might only be able to rebook at the moment,” says Which?.

“If you have pre-booked train tickets, check the train operator’s policy on cancellations. Most operators now have a coronavirus cancellations policy on their websites.”

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When should I accept a credit voucher?

Many companies are offering customers credit vouchers for future use in a bid to lessen the financial blow they will feel from a series of refunds.

Though Which? advise customers to “insist on your legal right to a refund” if they do not want a credit voucher, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis suggests considering your financial situation.

He explains: “I would say in this day and age we are trying to keep as many companies surviving as we can.

“If you can take the voucher and that wouldn’t compromise you and your finances taking that voucher form this company may just be what keeps this company going and keeps its staff in a job.

“So I’m not telling anybody to do that, I’m saying we must all look at our own personal, ethics, morality and situation which is very important to decide how hard we are going to push in these unprecedented times.”

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Is travel insurance still valid?

Many travel insurance companies announced they are unable to sell new packages to those travelling after the Word Health Organisation named COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. However, most travel insurance policies purchased prior to this date will still be valid.

Which? advises: “Admiral, Saga, Direct Line and Churchill have said existing annual policy holders could be covered for UK travel affected by lockdown, but it will depend on the terms of your policy.

“There might be certain conditions you have to meet before you can claim, such as the trip lasting for a minimum number of nights, or the type of accommodation you’ve booked.

“Also, if you have travel insurance included in a packaged bank account, it’s also worth asking if you’re covered for UK travel.”

Policy holders are advised to check the terms and conditions of their policy to ensure both UK travel and “travel disruption cover” is included.

It is always worth picking up the phone and having a chat with your provider to discover the options available to you.

Should I cancel any future travel plans?

As lockdown measures are currently only in place until April 13, there is no answer regarding how things will pan out for holidaymakers. Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, the government’s directives could change at any time.

“If you’re due to travel between 14 April and 30 April, contact your travel company and ask what their policy is,” says Which?.

“Many are being flexible with bookings at the moment and some are allowing travellers to cancel or change existing bookings for free until April 30.”

Should lockdown measures continue, most holidays will be officially cancelled meaning customers will be entitled to a refund.

For holidays in May 2020 and beyond, customers are advised not to cancel their plans yet.

“If you do, you’ll probably have to pay cancellation fees and you won’t be able to claim this back on your travel insurance,” warn Which?.

Customers still paying off holidays should continue to do so, as this is the only way they will be entitled to a full refund if plans are cancelled at a later date.

“Wait it out for now to see if the situation improves,” adds Which?.

“If your trip is cancelled at a later date, you should be entitled to a refund or at the very least, be able to postpone your holiday.”

Should I cancel any future travel plans?

As lockdown measures are currently only in place until April 13, there is no answer regarding how things will pan out for holidaymakers. Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, the government’s directives could change at any time.

“If you’re due to travel between 14 April and 30 April, contact your travel company and ask what their policy is,” says Which?.

“Many are being flexible with bookings at the moment and some are allowing travellers to cancel or change existing bookings for free until April 30.”

Should lockdown measures continue, most holidays will be officially cancelled meaning customers will be entitled to a refund.

For holidays in May 2020 and beyond, customers are advised not to cancel their plans yet.

“If you do, you’ll probably have to pay cancellation fees and you won’t be able to claim this back on your travel insurance,” warn Which?.

Customers still paying off holidays should continue to do so, as this is the only way they will be entitled to a full refund if plans are cancelled at a later date.

“Wait it out for now to see if the situation improves,” adds Which?.

“If your trip is cancelled at a later date, you should be entitled to a refund or at the very least, be able to postpone your holiday.”

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