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Three Great Train Trips and Then Two

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Oreius

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Well, I’ve booked my reservations on the Meteor in February and September, plus the Coast Starlight with my parents for mid-September. Now, I need to book two more trips. We will arrive in Seattle by air on September 4, then take the Cascades to Vancouver for a 7-night cruise. After an overnight stay in Vancouver, we will ride back to Seattle to prepare for the Starlight. Any word on when the Canadian border will reopen?
 

Cal

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If you want a really good train trip, go on the Indian Pacific! It's a luxury train that operates between Sydney and Perth, Australia. It's a true land cruise. I believe it's five days and four nights, with three or four "excursions". These are when you get off the train and learn some history about the place you are in, or something like that. I have never taken it myself, however really want to.

The views aren't amazing, but, hey, the experience is great.

This is a GREAT video on it:
 

flitcraft

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I wouldn't count on the Canadian border being open again until the rate of infection in the US drops to near the level in Canada. We just may get that border wall that some folks have wanted, but it will be with Canada and they'll cheerfully pay for it...

But, to be more serious, the reality is that travel to Canada or Australia is simply out of the question unless and until the US can show that US visitors aren't a threat. Sad, but that's the way it is. If you are thinking about a cruise to Alaska, it would be better to book one from Seattle, and be sure you buy cancel-for-any-reason insurance. Or, just wait on the idea entirely, since it's unclear whether there will be a cruising season this year at all, from Vancouver or from Seattle.
 

Bob Dylan

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Well, I’ve booked my reservations on the Meteor in February and September, plus the Coast Starlight with my parents for mid-September. Now, I need to book two more trips. We will arrive in Seattle by air on September 4, then take the Cascades to Vancouver for a 7-night cruise. After an overnight stay in Vancouver, we will ride back to Seattle to prepare for the Starlight. Any word on when the Canadian border will reopen?
At the earliest probably in the Fall.

Right now Canadians can't even travel between Provinces and COVID is Spiking with Vaccine in Short Suppy just like the US!
 

Cal

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Well, I’ve booked my reservations on the Meteor in February and September, plus the Coast Starlight with my parents for mid-September. Now, I need to book two more trips. We will arrive in Seattle by air on September 4, then take the Cascades to Vancouver for a 7-night cruise. After an overnight stay in Vancouver, we will ride back to Seattle to prepare for the Starlight. Any word on when the Canadian border will reopen?
Just to clarify, I think you should take this post-COVID.
 

WWW

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I wouldn't count on the Canadian border being open again until the rate of infection in the US drops to near the level in Canada. We just may get that border wall that some folks have wanted, but it will be with Canada and they'll cheerfully pay for it...

But, to be more serious, the reality is that travel to Canada or Australia is simply out of the question unless and until the US can show that US visitors aren't a threat. Sad, but that's the way it is. If you are thinking about a cruise to Alaska, it would be better to book one from Seattle, and be sure you buy cancel-for-any-reason insurance. Or, just wait on the idea entirely, since it's unclear whether there will be a cruising season this year at all, from Vancouver or from Seattle.
Booking a cruise out of Seattle for Alaska - would be flawed - Cruises originating in the USA and returning to the same city (Seattle) require a
port call at an international port (namely something in Canada - usually Victoria BC) before that re-entry to the USA.
This a requirement of the PVSA - not to be confused with the Jones Act {cargo}.
With this noted that port call in Canada would be the same as any other cruise involving travel to Canada.

Cruises probably won't take place until summer at this earliest - who knows what that Magic Crystal 8 Ball and Ouija board will predict !
This covid virus 19 has to be well under control before any cross border - cruises - train trips - flights - are going to be viable acceptable to Canada.

Caution about booking any cruises - watch the requirements for payment refunds credits --- tricky stuff with cancellations and rebooking !

The Rocky Mountaineer would be one activity suspect in operation -
Not many folks take the Winnipeg Churchill trip -
The Canadian train trip from Winnipeg to Vancouver -
Anything from Montreal to the maritime provinces

Alternatives -
Fly to Alaska and take the Alaska RR from Fairbanks to Anchorage - extension to Whittier or Seward -
do a self guided tour to get training out of your system.
The Mexican Rivera maybe opened for cruises before Canada (But no Train activity)
 

jiml

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Good advice #1:
I wouldn't count on the Canadian border being open again until the rate of infection in the US drops to near the level in Canada. We just may get that border wall that some folks have wanted, but it will be with Canada and they'll cheerfully pay for it...

But, to be more serious, the reality is that travel to Canada or Australia is simply out of the question unless and until the US can show that US visitors aren't a threat. Sad, but that's the way it is. If you are thinking about a cruise to Alaska, it would be better to book one from Seattle, and be sure you buy cancel-for-any-reason insurance. Or, just wait on the idea entirely, since it's unclear whether there will be a cruising season this year at all, from Vancouver or from Seattle.
Good advice #2:
At the earliest probably in the Fall.

Right now Canadians can't even travel between Provinces and COVID is Spiking with Vaccine in Short Suppy just like the US!
 

Oreius

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I’m hoping that by summer things will have calmed down. The vaccine is starting to take effect here in PA with hospitalizations down and daily case counts dropping. Some states like Florida are still reporting high case counts—likely because the vaccine was rolled out slowly. I’m just hoping no lockdowns; they simply do not work at all!
 

Cal

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I’m hoping that by summer things will have calmed down. The vaccine is starting to take effect here in PA with hospitalizations down and daily case counts dropping. Some states like Florida are still reporting high case counts—likely because the vaccine was rolled out slowly. I’m just hoping no lockdowns; they simply do not work at all!
A main reason why they don't work is simply because so many people ignore it, and go out right.
 

Oreius

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If we must cancel the cruise, we can still spend time in Seattle, as I’ve never been there. Then take the Starlight. We’re also going to Disneyland.
 

joelkfla

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12 miles from Walt Disney World
I’m hoping that by summer things will have calmed down. The vaccine is starting to take effect here in PA with hospitalizations down and daily case counts dropping. Some states like Florida are still reporting high case counts—likely because the vaccine was rolled out slowly. I’m just hoping no lockdowns; they simply do not work at all!
At less than 5% of the population vaccinated, the vaccine likely has nothing to do with it. It's just the downslope after the holiday travel surge.

As for PA vs. FL -- only 3.6% of PA residents have received at least one jab, compared to 5% of FL residents. And the vast majority of those are just the 1st jab, which only gives about 50% immunity.
[Source: Map: A state-by-state breakdown of vaccination rates as Biden takes over]
 

flitcraft

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Booking a cruise out of Seattle for Alaska - would be flawed - Cruises originating in the USA and returning to the same city (Seattle) require a
port call at an international port (namely something in Canada - usually Victoria BC) before that re-entry to the USA.
This a requirement of the PVSA - not to be confused with the Jones Act {cargo}.
That's correct for ships of foreign registry, which includes all the ships on the typical big boat cruise lines. But the smaller boat tours use American flagged vessels, I believe. I know that Lindblad, who does the National Geographic tours, does for sure. If you can afford them, they are an unparalleled way to see the Alaska coast. Plus, I'd rather travel with tens of fellow passengers than hundreds or thousands, especially true these days. We looked into it a couple of years ago; too rich for my blood, sadly. But if I had the scratch, that's the way I'd go.

And, not matter what, I'd buy cancel-for-any-reason trip insurance if I were investing in any kind of travel this upcoming year. Even assuming that travel is possible, your comfort level with traveling may be lower than the legal limit...
 

Oreius

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We do have insurance for our cruise, and I also bought cancellation insurance for the cash portion of my Starlight reservation.
 

Jean

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Blue Mts, Australia
Re the idea that “lockdowns don’t work at all”, I must comment from personal experience that they DO work and they work well. For months now in Australia, we have only had occasional outbreaks of Covid, stemming from human error in managing those folks in quarantine, having returned from overseas and acquiring the disease there.
Each outbreak has been successfully managed by immediate lockdowns, strictly policed, extra wearing of masks etc. These days we all know the drill, out come the masks, businesses close their shutters, folks work from home and so. The streets empty promptly.
Result: in every instance we get back to (almost) normal within several weeks. This even includes a recent lockdown in Queensland involving a case of the highly infectious British variant. It went nowhere. Our lives in Australia would be the envy of most of the world.
Don’t be afraid of lockdowns, they have given Australians back their freedom.
I’ll get off my soapbox now, just to suggest that the trip described above sounds wonderful, but would be quite risky for some time to come, possibly several years.
 
Joined
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Well, I’ve booked my reservations on the Meteor in February and September, plus the Coast Starlight with my parents for mid-September. Now, I need to book two more trips. We will arrive in Seattle by air on September 4,
Good luck!
 
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Devil's Advocate

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I’m just hoping no lockdowns; they simply do not work at all!
Countries that locked down (also called shelter-in-place) were the only examples able to get things back under control again. It took months of effort but several were able to go back to a relatively normal life while our half-measure approach left porous states to fend for themselves.
 
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Exvalley

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The governments that locked down were the only countries able to get things back under control. If you disagree then name a country that locked down (also called shelter-in-place) where the virus continued raging uncontrolled.
It's a complicated issue.

First, it's not realistic to equate a geographically separated island country like New Zealand or Australia to a Western European or North American country.

Second, the part of your quote that is in bold is demonstrably false. Singapore is a prime example of a country that has never locked down and has done extremely well. They achieved this through incredibly aggressive testing and tracing. But day to day life in Singapore has been very minimally impacted. South Korea is another example, although they have been tested somewhat in the past few weeks. Nonetheless, they absolutely got the virus under control without a lockdown. As with Singapore, they embraced aggressive testing and tracing.

The research suggests that other factors are much more influential than lockdowns and that less restrictive measures can have the same impact as a lockdown. This is noteworthy since a lockdown has its own negative consequences.

This peer-reviewed study that calls into question the effectiveness of mandatory lockdowns is well worth a read: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/eci.13484

I will be the first to admit that this all seems counterintuitive. Lockdowns just FEEL like they should work the best. But what I think is going on here is that the most vulnerable tend to self-isolate during a pandemic, whether or not there is a mandatory lockdown.

I don't claim to be an expert. But it is clear that most people tend to overvalue to effectiveness of lockdowns and underestimate the proclivity of the vulnerable to self-isolate without a government mandate.

And if a mistake was made, it wasn't a failure to lock down. It was a failure to have the infrastructure in place to properly test and trace.
 

Devil's Advocate

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It's a complicated issue. First, it's not realistic to equate a geographically separated island country like New Zealand or Australia to a Western European or North American country.
I agree it's a complicated issue but China and Thailand are not isolated island countries and their lockdowns still paid strong dividends. In the case of Thailand the lockdown itself was their primary tool and it worked exceedingly well until they started relaxing travel restrictions and then suddenly it all went to crap again. Unfortunate but predictable.

Second, the part of your quote that is in bold is demonstrably false. Singapore is a prime example of a country that has never locked down and has done extremely well.
Singapore is the size of a city that enjoys soverign government powers. I'm not sure what can be learned from their situation that is applicable outside other city-states. In my view what countries like South Korea and Japan did was a lock down compared to what the US and the EU did. That is not to say they relied solely on lockdowns, that such restrictions remained in effect continuously, or that Western countries are setup to easily replicate Asian solutions.

The research suggests that other factors are much more influential than lockdowns and that less restrictive measures can have the same impact as a lockdown. This is noteworthy since a lockdown has its own negative consequences.
Two or three months of lockdown followed by domestic reopening with closed international borders seemed to create the best combination of severity vs. efficacy. It honestly surprised me to see videos of people living relatively safe and normal lives in the middle of the pandemic but after borders were closed and the domestic infection had been starved it seemed to work surprisingly well. The question is how to convince a safe and healthy population that restrictions need to remain in place or else you're right back in the same sinking boat as everyone else.
 

Barb Stout

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I’m hoping that by summer things will have calmed down. The vaccine is starting to take effect here in PA with hospitalizations down and daily case counts dropping. Some states like Florida are still reporting high case counts—likely because the vaccine was rolled out slowly. I’m just hoping no lockdowns; they simply do not work at all!
I disagree that lockdowns don't work at all and here is some data as evidence that it can work: 1611674090113.png This is data from New Mexico. Due to sharply rising cases and hospitalizations, the governor ordered a "lockdown" the last 2 weeks of November, ensuring that it covered Thanksgiving in order to discourage people from getting together. The period of the lockdown is shown between the orange lines. As you can see the peak of cases happened during this lockdown as expected, but then fell. There was another small peak peak that was probably due to Christmas get-togethers. This pattern is also true for hospitalizations, but not deaths. Deaths rose sharply in November, but haven't come down much yet. All these observations hold true to what epidemiologists have been saying "forever" with respect to pandemics and epidemics. I have been keeping track of certain NM data in an Excel spreadsheet and graphing different parameters of the pandemic since we got our first couple of cases in March 2020.

The local news reported that, unlike some other areas, the airport in Albuquerque didn't have a whole lot of traffic over the holiday season, so that undoubtedly helped our situation also.
 

Mailliw

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Regarding the cruise from Seattle to Alaska; the Jones Act requires the ship call at a foreign port like Vancouver, but doesn't actually require anyone disembark at the port. So if Canada allowed the ship to dock without anyone getting off the cruise would technically be allowed. There are of course other reasons why the cruise might nor happen.
 

WWW

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Regarding the cruise from Seattle to Alaska; the Jones Act requires the ship call at a foreign port like Vancouver, but doesn't actually require anyone disembark at the port. So if Canada allowed the ship to dock without anyone getting off the cruise would technically be allowed. There are of course other reasons why the cruise might nor happen.
Minor correction to be noted - - -

This LINK explains the PVSA act rather than calling it the Jones Act (applies to cargo ships).

Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 - Wikipedia


At least this does not have a similar application with railroads !
 

20th Century Rider

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So here's the catch 22.

The grand timetable of when things become possible for all of us will be dictated by the pandemic and the rate at which vaccinations cause it to recede. So when transit operators set a specific date to announce resumption of service... that is subject to change depending on the decline of spread. With life at risk, preservation of life will come first.

That said, when may have been vaccinated, the bell curve begins to flatten, and it is safe to resume activities, there will be a rush to get out there and see the world again. And prices will rise.

But better to be safe than sorry. But better to be alive, in good health, and frustrated by high prices, then dead.

That is the catch 22.
Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 8.32.15 AM.png
I should have stayed inside.png


Let's Go!.png
 

Exvalley

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I agree it's a complicated issue but China ...
If you believe the information coming out of China, I have a bridge to sell to you.

Singapore is the size of a city that enjoys soverign [sic] government powers....
And? The point is that they are one of the best examples in the world - all without any sort of lockdown.


I disagree that lockdowns don't work at all and here is some data as evidence that it can work...
You missed the point of the peer reviewed scientific research. The research did not find that lockdowns are completely ineffective. Rather, they found that lockdowns do not work better than other much less damaging and restrictive measures.

I am a firm believer in science and, therefore, a peer reviewed research paper carries a lot of weight with me. Believe me... intuitively it feels wrong. But this is one of those situations where we need to listen to the science and be opened minded about the possibility that there are other ways to lower the infection rate - just as Singapore and Korea have learned.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I agree it's a complicated issue but China ...
If you believe the information coming out of China, I have a bridge to sell to you.
What are you actually disputing - that China never sheltered in place or that the virus is still raging despite this?

Believe me... intuitively it feels wrong. But this is one of those situations where we need to listen to the science and be opened minded about the possibility that there are other ways to lower the infection rate - just as Singapore and Korea have learned.
So the experience of a tiny city-state like Singapore is applicable worldwide while the experience of much larger and more conventional countries such as New Zealand, Thailand, and China are not? In a more practical sense how do you propose implementing the ingrained collective uniformity of a culture like Japan or South Korea in a divided and individualistic Western culture without going through a forced lock down?
 

Exvalley

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My point is that there is a peer reviewed scientific study suggesting that much less restrictive and less costly measures can be equally as effective as lockdowns. Given the science, I think it's worth being open minded and exploring those options rather than insisting that lockdowns are the only solution. Especially since the study focused on Western countries.
 
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