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FAQ: Covid-19 and Statsraad Lehmkuhl

Here you will find answers to common questions about Covid-19 and the Statsraad Lehmkul circumnavigation.

(Top photo: R. Fagerås)

Statsraad Lehmkuhl sailed from Arendal on 20 August 2021. The send-off marked the beginning of a 20-month expedition across the world’s oceans.

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl foundation has put in place extensive measures for ensuring a safe journey and to avoid any infections onboard the ship. Our procedures are stricter than Norwegian government recommendations since infections on board a ship can have consequences for everyone on board and the journey as a whole.

Q: Do I need to be vaccinated to join the ship?

A: Yes, you need to.

  • To participate on the crossing from Las Palmas to Curaçao, you must be protected – i.e., you must have received at least one dose of vaccine. You must be able to present a vaccine certificate.
  • For all other stages of the circumnavigation, including Curaçao – Jamaica, you must be fully vaccinated, without exception. You must be able to present a vaccine certificate.

Q: I don’t want to, or I can’t, be vaccinated. Can I waive the vaccine requirement?

A: No, everyone must be vaccinated. It is an absolute requirement.

Q: I am fully vaccinated. Do I still have to present a negative PCR test before boarding?

A: Yes, you have to. It is possible to be infected even though you are fully vaccinated.

Q: Which type of test should I take, and when should I take it?

A: We require everyone to have a negative PCR test before boarding. PCR tests are valid for 48 hours. This means that your test must be taken no more than 48 hours before boarding. Additionally, you need to take a rapid test, with a negative result, in your port. The rapid test will be administrated by the Statsraad Lehmkul crew.

Q: What is the difference between a PCR test and a rapid test?

A: Rapid tests are less accurate than PCR tests. A PCR test can discover tiny amounts of virus. Rapid tests require a larger virus presence to detect an infection.

Q: I am boarding the ship in a foreign port. Where can I find a local PCR test centre?

A: You cannot take a PCR test on board the ship. Tests will normally be offered at airports and similar travel hubs. You are yourself responsible for finding an appropriate testing facility.

Q: Does Statsraad Lehmkuhl offer PCR testing in ports?

A: On board the ship we have the necessary equipment for administrating PCR tests, but capacity is strictly limited. The ship’s own PCR tests will only be used in exceptional circumstances. An example would be if a passenger has a false positive rapid test before boarding – i.e., if a rapid test is positive, even though the PCR test is negative. The ship has an on-board doctor who will administer the PCR test. The price for an on-board PCR test is NOK 650.

Q: If I, despite being fully vaccinated, become infected immediately before sailing, can I still board the ship? If not, will I get a refund?

A: If your PCR test is positive, you are not allowed – in any circumstance – to board the ship. We can unfortunately not offer you a refund if you become infected before travelling. In such an instance, you will need to contact your travel insurance provider.

Q: Do you know any insurance providers – Norwegian or international – that offer insurance for travelling to countries that the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travelling to?

A: Many insurance companies do not offer travel insurance to countries that authorities advise against travelling to.

This is the current advice from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, valid until 1 October 2021:

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is maintaining its global advice against all non-essential travel to all countries outside the EU/EEA, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This advice currently applies until 1 October 2021. Exceptions have been made for certain countries and regions outside the EU. The infection situation and local restrictions can change very quickly. Anyone considering a trip abroad should think carefully about whether it is necessary to travel.

Luckily, some travel insurance providers, e.g., Gouda, do offer travel insurance to countries outside the EU/EEA, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Such an insurance will apply as normally, except that all costs related to Covid-19 will not be covered. This means that costs incurred from hotel quarantines, hospitals and journeys home after a positive corona test will not be covered by the insurance.

But we do have a solution for this. The ships own provider, Skuld, has confirmed that the ship’s coverage extends to passengers becoming ill with corona, as long as the infection occurs during sailing.

This applies to corona-related incidents that are not covered by personal travel insurances.

This extended coverage applies, for now, only to the following laps:

  • Las Palmas – Curacao
  • Curacao – Jamaica
  • Jamaica – Cuba
  • Cuba – Bahamas
  • Bahamas – USA

Prerequisites for Skuld covering costs related to corona illness on board the ship:

  • That the infection is discovered while a passenger is on board. This means that Skuld will cover costs for hotel, hospital stays and a journey home, if a person falls ill with corona while on board the ship. However: If a passenger falls ill with corona while they are travelling outside the ship, before or after being on board, Skuld will not cover any costs.
  • That your personal travel insurance only has an exception for Covid-related costs.
  • That you fulfil Statsraad Lehmkuhl’s vaccine requirements. For Las Palmas – Curacao, you must be protected – i.e., have one dose of vaccine. For Curacao – Jamaica and Jamaica – Cuba, you must be fully vaccinated. Additionally, you must be able to present a negative PCR test, no older than 48 hours, before boarding – and a negative rapid test from the port before boarding.

Q: If the foundation has to cancel a sailing because of Covid-19, or other extraordinary circumstances, will I get a refund for my ticket?

A: In the case of a cancellation due to corona and/or extraordinary circumstances, the foundation will refund your ticket. The journey to and from the ship and/or hotel stays should be covered by your personal travel insurance. Make sure that you have a good travel insurance.

Q: Can I cancel my sailing and get a refund, if I have to quarantine when arriving?

A: No, that is a risk known to you at the time of booking, and it is outside our area of responsibility.

Q: What happens if I, or anyone else, is infected while we are on board?

A: If the crew or passengers have symptoms, and a positive test result, while we are on board, either during or at the end of a sailing, they will be isolated at the ship hospital. When we reach a port, everyone will need to remain on board until local authorities have decided a course of action. You should make sure to have a travel insurance which covers the costs of any planned activities and onwards travels, if such a situation occurs.

Q: How do you evaluate the political situation in Cuba?

A: The foundation handles political instability in the same way as it does Covid-19. In cooperation with Norwegian embassies, the situation is carefully monitored. Measures will be put in place if deemed necessary. Cuba is a destination which has experienced some political unrest this summer. We keep close contact with the Norwegian embassy in Havana, and they are optimistic that our arrival in November can go ahead as planned.

Read more here (in Norwegian): https://www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/utenrikssaker/reiseinformasjon/id2413163/

Q: Where exactly in a port will I find the ship?

A: The exact location is normally not available at the time of booking. We will share this information with you as soon as it is available for the individual stages.

Q: I have been fully vaccinated abroad with a different vaccine than the one used in Norway. Can I travel?

A: Yes, you can. The vaccine must be approved in the country where you have been vaccinated. You must be able to present a vaccine certificate/documentation.

Q: How can I stay up to date on any changes and other information?

A: We send all information to the email address you gave when booking. You can also find updated information on our websites: https://oneoceanexpedition.com/ and https://lehmkuhl.no/

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl Foundatiin 

02.09.21

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