The pandemic’s impact on airline travel will be felt for quite some time, even as countries re-open. “In the short term, travel will revert back to how it was in the early days of airline travel when only the elite traveled for leisure or business,” says Tim Davey of Global Marine Travel (GMT). “The costs for the airlines to start up again are going to be high, and the cost to operate the planes with social distancing on board is going to increase the cost of everybody’s seats. The days of pre-COVID when there were really good deals are gone, and they’ll be gone for the next twelve months at least.
”A bonus of being a seaman is access to special marine fares, sold by the likes of Regency Travel, GMT, and Blue Marine Travel. All you need is relevant paperwork on hand to say you are employed by a yacht, explains Lee Harris, who heads up Blue Marine Travel’s New Zealand office. “Price-wise, the marine fare tends to be cheaper than what the published fare would be if you tried to book it online yourself,” he says, adding that most airline marine contracts are fully exchangeable and fully refundable up until departure and allow the passenger to bring 40 kilos or two pieces of luggage.
But that doesn't mean you can't plan for a few short trips to some hot destinations, depending on your location and local regulations.
A new high-speed railway from Athens to Thessaloniki has cut travel time considerably and opened up northern Greece, as the country emerges from economic turmoil. Tom Hall of Lonely Planet calls Thessaloniki an “unheralded little city.” Once the second city in the Byzantine Empire, now the second city of Greece, it is a collision of old and new, from ancient ruins to a new 3.5-kilometer waterfront promenade.
In 2021, celebrations commemorating the 700th anniversary of the great poet Dante’s death will center around this Adriatic city in Emilia-Romagna, where the creator of Italy’s greatest literary work is buried. “When I was there last year, I felt that it was a place that was just about to have its moment,” Hall says.
Montenegro is up and coming, says Davey — which nicely coincides with the rise of superyachting there. It’s also just a drive away from Monaco or Genoa. “The history of Montenegro is fascinating; there are all sorts of ruins and relics to visit, as well as hiking up in the mountains,” says Davey.
Harbour Island at the northern tip of Eleuthera may attract the superyacht crowd but turn to the south and discover one of the least touristy islands in The Bahamas, with hidden beaches, charming towns, and a bottomless blue hole. Davey has seen a trend of crew who’ve signed off in Fort Lauderdale, hanging out here in wait of their next gig.
The Dominican Republic has gained a reputation for adventure travel, offering rock climbing, tubing through waterfalls, hiking through canyons, and courses in kiteboarding and paragliding. “Given its proximity to the U.S. and how economical it is, Dominican Republic has always been a good bet to go for vacations,” Davey says.
This feature originally ran in the August 2020 issue of Dockwalk.