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Cruises

Cruise secrets: Ship crew worker reveals alarming truth about ‘unexplained deaths’ onboard

Cruise ship holidays see passengers exploring a number of different destinations and enjoying life on the floating hotel. While most go off without a hitch, sometimes things do go wrong on cruises. A former cruise ship crew worker has revealed the truth about deaths onboard – or rather overboard.

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Brian David Bruns shared the insight in his book Cruise a la Carte.

He explained that some deaths on cruises never come with any explanation.

“Though statistically utterly significant, unexplained deaths on cruise ships do happen,” wrote Bruns.

“Because most occur in international waters, reporting obligations and behaviour are decidedly less than altruistic.

“Cruise lines invariably fudge reporting, because people read headlines, not articles.

“Whether it’s a suicide or not matters little to critics, who pounce upon any hint of cruise line recklessness.

“Even if it is a suicide, days can pass before verification from land-based authorities, even with the presence of a note.

“By then sensational headlines would have already blown things wildly out of proportion.”

Bruns revealed he had once been on a cruise ship on which a “mysterious” death occurred when someone went overboard.

“Rumours of how and why among passengers and crew were rampant,” he wrote.

“The leading story among the former being that two honeymooners were arguing and there was a push.

“Crew thought differently. Another suicide, most agreed. For suicides are not so rare on cruise ships.

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“More than a few folks intentionally spend their every last penny on a final week of wild abandon and, late on the final night, jump overboard.

“What better way to ensure no one will rescue you? How many people are looking aft of a ship at 3am?

“It is possible to survive such falls, but unlikely unless you’re a fighter.”

Bruns went on to explain what he eventually heard about that tragic death.

“On that dark cruise outside the swamps of Louisiana, nobody knew for certain what happened, what caused the mysterious death,” he said.

“An investigation was eventually resolved somewhere on land, as was always the case.

“The only fact the crew knew for sure was that the man was never found until he washed up on the Gulf Coast several days later.”

According to a cruise line insider who spoke to cruising website Cruise Critic, up to three people die per week on cruises worldwide, particularly on lines that typically carry older passengers.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

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Travel

Five best travel documentaries to watch during coronavirus self-isolation revealed

Coronavirus has made the days seem longer and emptier as social events get cancelled and holiday plans get put on hold. Many Britons were just getting ready for summer to begin before lockdown thwarted their plans. But while some people have taken to dreaming about their holidays plans on Google Street View, others have decided to give some classic travel documentaries a go.

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From Louis Theroux to Simon Reeve, below are some of the most essential travel documentaries to watch while in self-isolation.

Simon Reeve

Simon offers what most documentary series do not – endearing enthusiasm that is infectious.

Who can really say they have been put in a bad mood by Simon Reeve?

From Ireland to the Indian Ocean, and Bangladesh to Columbia, Simon will take you on an adventure across the globe that is jam-packed full of information and stunning sites.

His documentary on the tropic of cancer sees him track 23,000 miles through deserts, mountains and simmering conflicts.

All Simon’s documentaries are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Louis Theroux

Louis’ documentaries are not travel-based per se but instead explore the people in various corners of the world.

The infamous documentarian has remained a favourite on our TV screens for decades with his programmes covering both the weird and the wonderful.

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His best series include Dark States, LA stories and Altered states which all cover the vast land of America.

The series looks at murder, drug addiction and the world of dogs in LA.

All of the above are available on Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

The Trip with Rob Bryden and Steve Coogan

Rob and Steve provide plenty of laughs in this hilarious travel documentary that sees the two men journeying to different locations while bickering.

The series has everything you want from a documentary: delicious cuisine, stunning scenery, local culture, inside jokes and lots of impressions.

Some of the series is on Netflix.

Michael Palin’s Around the World in 80 Days

Michael is a kind soul that immediately makes viewers feel relaxed and in safe hands as he takes you on a trip around the world in just 80 days without using aircraft.

Based on Jules Verne’s classic book of the same title, the documentary series sees Michael go from Egypt to Singapore, to America and back to the UK as he trecks around the world.

The series is available on Google Play.

Bethany Hughes

Bettany offers up a historical look at the Mediterranean.

Her documentary-style is serious rather than jokey but offers authority on the subject.

Rather than learning about the modern-day Mediterranean, the programme delves deeper into the past which makes you feel as though you have walked back in time.

Some of the series is available on Channel Five.

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Travel

Royal travel: Queen’s ‘peaceful’ foreign escape & the devastating reason she had to leave

Queen Elizabeth is no stranger to world travel, frequenting nations across the globe as part of her royal duty representing the UK. However, there is one destination where experts say she felt most free, and actually settled to live for a number of years.

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A Channel 4 documentary has revealed the destination she so lovingly explored and truly found her freedom, and the heartbreaking reason she was forced to leave her happy place.

The documentary “The Royal House of Windsor” reveals why Queen Elizabeth felt so at home in Malta, when she and her young family were stationed there in 1949 as Prince Phillip took on a vital naval role.

The documentary explains: “In October 1949 Phillip was sent to the British naval base on Malta, where he was promoted to lieutenant commander and took charge of his first ship HMS Magpie.”

Having birthed an air to the throne, Prince Charles, as well as a daughter, Princess Anne, the Queen was free to relax and enjoy her time living in Malta.

According to Author Phillip Eade, who is interviewed in the programme: “She could for the first time do more or less what she wanted.

“She could be like a normal young woman.

“She could go to the hairdresser on her own.

“She could drive around the island. She could go to restaurants with her husband, go on picnics, and all the while the Maltese people left them alone. “And so Malta, for her, represented a great feeling of freedom.”

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The couple resided in Villa Guardamangia, located on the outskirts of the capital Valletta. It is said to be the only place outside of the UK that the monarch called home.

The Royals lived there between 1949 and 1951 while Prince Phillip took on his role as a naval lieutenant.

“Visiting Malta is always very special for me.

“I remember happy days here with Prince Phillip when we were first married,” she once said during a visit to the country in 2015.

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However, the young family’s ideal life in Malta came to a heartbreaking end when her father King George VI became fatally ill with lung cancer.

It was at this time, and for this sad reason, that the Queen returned to the UK to take on more royal duty, including a royal tour on behalf of her father.

This would be the moment the Queen took on life as head of state.

However, Malta is not the only place that has stolen the monarch’s heart over the years.

The Queen is also known to be extremely fond of visiting Scotland, where the Royal Family take their summer holiday annually.

Every year the Queen relocated to Balmoral Castle, where she is occasionally joined throughout by other members of the Royal Family.

In an ITV documentary “Our Queen at 90” Princess Eugenie explained her grandmother’s love of the region.

She said: “It’s the most beautiful place on earth. I think Granny is the most happy there, I think she really, really loves the Highlands…walks, picnics, dogs, a lot of dogs, there are always dogs, and people coming in and out all the time.

“Family-wise we’re all there, so it’s a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa to be – for us to come and see them up there where you just have room to breathe and run.”

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Travel

Flights: Shocking pictures reveal new life for UK’s grounded flights – where are they?

Coronavirus has thrown the travel industry into an unprecedented state, with airlines across the globe being forced to cancel journeys, severely reduce itineraries and ground huge portions of their fleet. In the UK alone airlines have seen their schedules slashed by up to 95 percent.

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Though British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Jet2 are among those who are working with the government to repatriate Britons currently abroad, there remains a massive portion of their aircraft firmly on the ground.

While planes are usually en route to a destination, fuelling up at an international airport, or at a home base patiently awaiting its next lot of travellers, their reality looks for different for the time being.

Images have emerged of rows upon rows of popular airline’s fleet lines up, with no immediate plans to jet off anywhere.

Meanwhile, in the US taxiways, maintenance hangers and even runways have been transformed into special aircraft parking lots.

So, where exactly are UK aircraft being stored amid the COVID-19 crisis?

British Airways aircraft are being stored across the world at various airports, though here in the UK Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Nottingham, Glasgow and Cardiff Airports have all been reported to be providing a safe haven for the carriers.

Bournemouth airport has also taken on a large number of planes after the capital’s airports reached capacity.

According to The Points Guy UK one of BA’s A380 planes is grounded at London, meanwhile, another is being stored at Manila Airport in The Philippines.

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Two 747s are currently parked at Cardiff Airport, and six other 747s are residing at Heathrow.

Cardiff is also housing a Dreamliner, while nine others are at Heathrow having not operated a commercial flight since March 18.

The airline is also reportedly storing some of its fleet in Madrid, and others at Glasgow airport.

Express.co.uk has contacted BA for more insight into where its planes are being stored.

British Airways most recently suspended all of its Gatwick flights, following in the footsteps of easyJet which grounded its commercial planes.

“Over recent days, easyJet has been helping to repatriate customers, having operated more than 650 rescue flights to date, returning home more than 45,000 customers,” the airline said in a statement.

“The last of these rescue flights were operated on Sunday, March 29.

“We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.

“At this stage, there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights.

“We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”

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The Luton-based carrier has parked all of its 334 planes, though it is not clear where they are all housed.

Images have emerged showing some grounded flights parked at Gatwick and Luton airports.

Express.co.uk has contacted easyJet for further comment.

In a similar move, Stansted airport’s biggest airline Ryanair says it expects the majority of its commercial flights to be grounded until June.

The Irish carrier said it does not anticipate operating scheduled services throughout April and May, though this is dependant on government advice.

According to the Ryanair website: “We expect that most if not all Ryanair Group flights will be grounded, except for a very small number of flights to maintain essential connectivity, mostly between the UK and Ireland.”

Like most airlines, it is likely a large portion of its fleet will be parked at one of the airline’s main bases, including Stansted and its primary Irish base in Dublin.

Express.co.uk has contacted Ryanair for further insight.

Yesterday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab explained how the UK government has teamed up with airlines at this time to bring Britons home.

The government has partnered with UK airlines including British Airways, easyJet, Virgin, Titan and Jet2 to set up a repatriation effort and ensure those who want to fly home are able to do so.

“The first priority is to keep as many commercial flights runnings as we can, and that’s based purely on the scale and the number of people who want to come home,” explained Raab.

The government will now be injecting £75 million into repatriation efforts in a bid to help commercial airlines continue to fly while keeping ticket costs as low as possible for travellers who wish to book onto flights.

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Travel

Coronavirus travel: What are the priority countries for flights where Britons are trapped?

Coronavirus has surpassed a global total of 740,000 cases. On Monday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a partnership between the Government and airlines to repatriate Britons stranded abroad. Tens of thousands will be flown home using chartered planes. But which countries will be prioritised with this repatriation effort?

Mr Rabb announced new arrangements between the Government and airlines to fly tens of thousands of Britons home.

Airlines involved include British Airways, Virgin, EasyJet, Jet2 and Titan.

Mr Raab said those in countries where commercial options are still available should not wait, but book tickets home as soon as possible.

Where commercial flights are no longer running the Government will provide £75 million support for special charter flights to help British nationals back home.

He added vulnerable people will be prioritised for those flights.

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Mr Raab said: “Where commercial routes remain an option, airlines will be responsible for getting passengers home.

“That means offering alternative flights at little to no cost where routes have been cancelled.

“That means allowing passengers to change tickets including between carriers.

“So for those still in those countries where commercial flights are still available, don’t wait, don’t run the risk of getting stranded.

“The airlines are standing by to help you. Please book your tickets as soon as possible.

“Where commercial flights are no longer running the Government will provide financial support for special charter flights to bring UK nationals back at home.”

The Foreign Secretary added the UK Government is working with other governments to keep commercial flights working had so far helped get many Britons home.

This includes:

  • 150,000 from Spain
  • 8,500 from Morocco
  • 5,000 from Cyprus.

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What are the priority countries for the special charter flights?

The Foreign and Commonwealth travel advice page reads: “Special charter flights will operate in some countries to help British tourists and short term visitors and their families to return to the UK.

“To see if you are eligible and to find out how to book, see the ‘Return to the UK’ section of for the travel advice page of the country that you are in.”

Special charter flights will appear on the travel advice pages on the FCO website here as and when they are arranged according to the Foreign Secretary.

British travellers who want a seat on those flights will book directly through a travel management company.

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Travel

Holidays: Should you buy back pounds? Exchange rate experts issue travel money warning

Holidays have been cancelled or postponed for the near future as coronavirus sweeps the globe. Many Britons may now be left with travel money they purchased that now has no use. It is possible to exchange this back into pounds at this time?

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Express.co.uk spoke to experts to find out what Britons should do about their euros or other leftover currency.

Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of Equals (formerly known as FairFX), said: “We’ve found that on average people return from holiday with around £177 worth of leftover currency.”

However, he warned that Britons need to be careful about buy-back rates.

“Those with cash, whether leftover from a holiday or because travel plans were cancelled due to coronavirus, can change their currency back to sterling, but this will leave them at the mercy of buy-back rates, which have been hit by the falling pound over the last few weeks,” he said.

The best way to counter this problem is to shop around first.

“Savvy consumers should shop around before they change currency back to make sure they’re getting the best offer available and not losing too much money in the process,” Strafford-Taylor detailed.

However, given the closure of many bureau de changes and suspension and cash services it may actually be best to hold on to the travel money.

“If they can, holidaymakers might want to keep hold of their currency until their next trip and use it then,” said Strafford-Taylor.

“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.”

Sacha Zackariya, CEO, Change Group International Plc, also agreed exchanging money may not be wise right now.

“Along with all other bureaus de change and banks, we have now closed all branches,” Zackariya told Express.co.uk.

“We actually made the decision to close them before government restrictions to protect our staff and customers.

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“Due to this, 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.”

Sterling’s biggest low this week came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered an announcement on Tuesday night that saw the UK forced into full lockdown.

The measures included the closure of many “non-essential” shops and businesses which saw the pound plummet.

However, Michael Brown, Currency Expert at Caxton FX, said: “Sterling continued to gain ground against the euro on Thursday, as a broad-based improvement in risk appetite helped to push the pound to its best levels in a week, back above the 1.10 handle.”

The boost came as the Bank of England decided to keep interest rates at a steady 0.1 percent on Thursday.

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Cruises

Cruise: The luxurious new trend of spa cabins – but is it really worth the price?

As the modern traveller begins to change, cruise lines have followed suit and began to broaden their offering. No longer are cruises just for one age bracket, but with different companies adding new features from technology to entertainment, there is something for everyone.

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One of the latest upgrades to make its way into several cruise lines is the introduction of luxury spa accommodation.

This may make you envision bubbling jacuzzi at the foot of your bed, or your own personal mud bath.

However, that isn’t quite the case, though they do certainly promise elevated relaxation for your trip.

Kerry Spencer, Editor of Cruise Critic spoke to Express.co.uk to explain exactly why this new form of stateroom is on offer and how much travellers will need to stretch the budget to bag one.

She explained: “Spa cabins generally include special in-cabin amenities, such as specialist toiletries; closer proximity to the onboard spa and VIP privileges within the spa itself.

“In addition, some lines also offer additional perks such as free speciality dining or free beverage packages.”

If you’re someone who frequents the spa on a regular basis throughout your holiday, they could well be worth the extra cost.

“Spa cabins are typically near the ship’s spa since easy access is one of the perks of choosing a spa cabin,” says Kerry.

“They range from inside cabins to suites, and are often the same layout as standard cabins in their class, but with added amenities and a higher price tag.”

Several big-name cruise lines are now offering this pamper-filled package to guests, including MSC, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Costa, Norwegian and Seabourn, though the perks for each cruise line vary.

For example, Royal Caribbean transformed rooms on its Radiance, Voyager, Freedom, Oasis, Quantum and Quantum Ultra Class at the end of 2019 in a bid to provide customers with a one-of-a-kind stay.

The new spa stateroom is described by the cruise holiday provider as “your private retreat for relaxing and recharging”.

The spa Stateroom will include a range of “calming in-room amenities” including specialist, down-feather bedding and “upgraded toiletries”.

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Passengers staying in a spa room will also benefit from 50 percent off one spa treatment, priority spa reservations, a welcome basket of fresh fruit and daily coffee and tea deliveries.

These rooms will be available for journeys beginning in 2021.

Kerry says they will provide “passengers with priority boarding and a relaxing retreat complete with several exclusive perks, such as a welcome gift of fresh fruit in their cabins and a nightly selection of refreshments including bottled water, tea and coffee; plush bedding; upgraded toiletries; slippers and a robe; and a balcony with cushioned furniture.”

Meanwhile, Celebrity Cruises already offer their specialist “AquaClass” cabins.

“Of the ones currently found on major cruise lines, Celebrity’s AquaClass spa cabins offer the most included perks, such as upgraded bathroom amenities, specialist bedding, exclusive access to speciality restaurant Blu, as well as the spa concierge, unlimited access to the AquaSpa Relaxation room, the Persian Garden or SEA thermal suite,” Kerry continues.

Furthermore, some boast unique features you might not expect.

“Costa Cruises’ Samsara Spa cabins, for example, have direct access to the Samsara Spa via a glass elevator surrounded by a waterfall,” adds Kerry.

“Seabourn’s penthouse spa suites are also located directly above the Spa and have direct access to and from the spa via a spiral staircase located in the spa’s lobby.

“In the evening, Seabourn spa penthouse passengers can also choose a calming fragrance from a selection of four by L’Occitane to be diffused throughout the suite.”

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However, with the added experience unsurprisingly comes an added price tag, and that varies depending on who you cruise with.

Kerry says: “The cost of a spa cabin varies significantly based on the cruise line, ship and itinerary. The general guideline is that a spa cabin will cost more than a regular cabin in a specific category, but not as much as the next category up.

“A spa oceanview stateroom, for example, will cost more than a regular oceanview, but not as much as a balcony cabin.”

If you do want to enhance your cruise experience, then they may be worth the cost.

It largely comes down to how much you plan on using the spa.

“A spa cabin can certainly enhance your holiday experience if you are going on a cruise for some all-out pampering, and plan on spending a lot of time in the spa,” says Kerry.

“The perks you can enjoy include free thermal suite access, free fitness classes and great discounts on and priority access to spa treatments.

“If all you want are just a few onboard spa days, then the additional cost of a special spa cabin will probably not be worth paying a premium for.”

For passengers hoping to book spa treatments, they should do so quickly. If treatments become fully booked guests could miss out on their favourite experience, even if they’ve paid the extra cost.

“Don’t forget to book spa treatments in advance – ideally, as soon as you book, but definitely before you get onboard – since they can get booked up quickly, and can be more expensive onboard,” warns Kerry.

On the flip side, it is vital customers do their research as they may be disappointed.

Kerry explains: “When it comes to specialist spa accommodations, cruise line offerings vary significantly, so it is worth doing your homework to see if you are really going to gain from the upgrade.

“Work out how much time you also really want to spend in the spa, especially if you are on a port-intensive cruise or are excited about experiencing all the other onboard activities and entertainment programmes on offer.

“You don’t want to be beholden to your spa if it means missing out on other activities or being unsociable with new friends.”

Ultimately, holidaymakers should consider the purpose of their trip before purchasing spa accommodation.

“If you want your onboard experience to be all about pampering, then a spa cabin might be the perfect way to ensure you get the VIP treatment you deserve,” concludes Kerry.

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Travel

Coronavirus: Gatwick Airport plans to shut down terminal as deadly pandemic takes its toll

London’s second biggest airport has been forced to shut down its north terminal thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has seen many airlines cancel their flights. Gatwick Airport has decided to temporarily shut its north terminal from the end of the month.

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The terminal is usually served by carriers including easyJet.

The decision is expected to be announced later today, according to Sky News.

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The drastic move is just one step away from a full airport closure.

Although, reportedly, the option to close the airport is still on the cards.

Earlier this week, London City Airport announced it would be closing completely for several weeks.

Meanwhile, Heathrow and Stansted have seen a huge plunge in passenger numbers as countries around the world prohibit travel.

Numerous regional airports are thought to be suffering with the same problem.

Currently, airport operators are in talks with the Government about rescue packages.

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak wrote to aviation bosses this week that support packages could be available to some individual companies.

However, this will only be made available once private sources of capital have been exhausted.

Gatwick is mainly owned by VINCI – the largest private airport operator in the world.

The London airport serves a massive 46 million passengers each year and flies to 230 destinations.

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Last week, Gatwick said that its chief executive Stewart Wingate, and his executive team would be taking a salary cut.

The team is expected to cut their pay by 20 percent and waive bonuses.

The airport also said it was cutting 200 staff who are on temporary fixed-term contracts along with contractors.

It is expected that further announcements of cost-cutting measures will be taken in the next few weeks.

Mr Wingate said last week: “Gatwick is a resilient business, but the world has changed dramatically in recent weeks and we have been forced to take rapid, decisive action to ensure that the airport is in a strong position to recover from a significant fall in passenger numbers.”

Gatwick airport has been approached for comment.

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Travel

Coronavirus: Australia sets up covid-19 hotels for new arrivals in tougher new measures

Covid-19 has led to some extreme travel measures but now Australia is setting up its new arrivals in hotels. But these aren’t the fancy hotels you would wish to relax and take a holiday in. The hotels are especially for new arrivals in Australia from overseas and will likely include some protective measures.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the measures on today, just a week after a cruise ship called the Ruby Princess saw 2,647 disembark in Sydney without being checked.

Since the cruise liner’s slip up, 162 of the ship’s passengers have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

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A Princess Cruises spokesperson said:”As NSW Health has stated publicly the Ruby Princess cruise that began in Sydney on March 8 was regarded as low risk for COVID-19. Notwithstanding this assessment, our onboard medical team was rigorous in its treatment of some guests who reported flu-like symptoms and these guests were isolated. In line with existing protocols, the ship reported these cases to NSW Health, which in turn requested swabs to be provided following the ship’s arrival in Sydney, some of which subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is practice the world over that tests for COVID-19 are not conducted on board cruise ships. The protocol is for swabs to be tested by the relevant public health authority, and this was done in relation to Ruby Princess. Disembarkation of the ship was in line with the then existing process for health clearance for vessels on arrival in port.

“On disembarkation, guests were aware that anyone arriving in Australia from abroad, irrespective of whether it was by air or sea, would be required by the Australian Government to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. This applied to Ruby Princess guests who arrived in Sydney from an overseas port, in this case from New Zealand.

“Princess Cruises has robust public health standards and practices that are based on the best international public health advice. Ships have sophisticated medical centres that are staffed by medical practitioners and other health professionals.

“The advice from NSW Health that COVID-19 had been confirmed among Ruby Princess passengers came as a disappointment. We share the public health authority’s concern and have worked closely with them to make direct contact with all passengers.”

From midnight on Saturday, which is at 12pm GMT today, all arrivals at international airports will be made to stay at hotels for two weeks for mandatory self-isolation.

The isolation will take place under the eyes of border force officials.

Once the two weeks is over, people will be able to return home.

Currently, 228 passengers from the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship are residing inside the Swissotel in Sydney’s CBD after being escorted in through the hotel’s backdoor at 4am.

The passengers were forced to wear masks, gloves and protective suits as they arrived.

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Passengers will also be given an $1,000 (£495) on-the-spot fines if they leave their hotel room.

Mr Morrison said that international arrivals will be put in quarantine in the city they touch down and won’t be allowed to catch a connecting flight to their home state.

He said: “States and territories will be quarantining all arrivals through our airports in hotels and other accommodation facilities for the two weeks of their mandatory self-isolation before they are able to return to their home,” he said.

“If their home is in South Australia or in Perth or in Tasmania and they have arrived in Melbourne, they will be quarantining in Melbourne.

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“If it’s in Sydney, it will be if Sydney. If it’s Brisbane, and so on.

“The ADF will be supporting those states and territories with compliance checks to ensure that people are at their residences, that they have so worn sworn they would be at, to ensure we get compliance with the self-isolation.”

Australia’s borders closed last week to foreigners, with only returning Aussies allowed to fly back to the country.

However, people on Twitter have mixed feelings about the Australian government’s latest measures.

One user said: “How much is the government going to pay hotels, caravan parks and any other accommodation facilities, for disinfecting their premises totally, after allowing international people into Australia again. No wonder there’s more coronavirus coming into the country!

“If people flying into Australia are put in hotels to isolate – fantastic.”

Another said: “But what about those who arrived here in the last two weeks, who are meant to be in their homes isolating but are not there?”

Another posted: “Enforced quarantine in hotels to all arrivals into Australia for two weeks is a good step by Scott Morrison and team.

“This is a huge element that has made Singapore, Taiwan and Japan so successful.”

But another passenger said they had arrived back in Australia last night and would not be quarantined.

They said: “Arrived in Australia last night after 26 hours. I now hear that if it was tomorrow I would be in a hotel in Melbourne for two weeks. I do feel for those that are yet to make it home.”

Another said jokingly, “In a nutshell, Australia is a holiday hotel masquerading as a nation.”

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Travel

Hotels: Swiss hotel offers ‘COVID-19 service’ package including coronavirus test

Hotels across the globe have been left without customers as people have been forced to sit at home in isolation. But what if there was a hotel that offered the perfect self-isolation retreat, including a coveted coronavirus test?

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Hotel chain Le Bijou in Switzerland is offering just that for $77,500 (£65,133) for two weeks.

The Swiss hotel’s slogan before the global pandemic took hold was, “hotel service without the other people” which has now taken on a whole new meaning.

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Le Bijou is a hotel that was exclusively built for people who wish to avoid human contact which is the perfect set-up for a global pandemic.

The service provides customers with a luxury coronavirus-themed package with options for doctor visits and food delivery.

The hotel chain has 42 units at properties in cities all around Switzerland.

Each unit includes certain amenities such as a full-service kitchen, saunas, Jacuzzis, fireplaces and gyms.

The units do not operate with members of staff which includes checking in.

To avoid human interaction at all costs, there is a private app and a remote 24-hour concierge that customers ca use to order what ever they want.

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Meals, personal chefs, groceries, massages, cabs, and more are all available at the touch of a button.

But some of the offers have changed in the light of the pandemic.

Co-founder and chief executive Alexander Hübner told Insider that launching the “covid-19 service” didn’t take much thanks to his concept.

He described the units as their own “luxury Airbnbs”.

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He added: “The whole thing is set up to be fully automated so you don’t need to see any other people.”

Mr Hübner said that creating the package was the perfect next step.

He said that overnight stays of his guests got longer due to the coronavirus and that more inquiries for doctors making room visits also led to him turning all these services into one package.

The service package is customisable and includes add-ons such as doctor visits, a coronavirus test and 24-hour nurse care.

The Swiss hotel chain has partnered with a private clinic to provide top medical services too.

Mr Hübner said that last week bookings went up to five per day since the service launched.

He added: “The inquiries are growing exponentially.”

Guests can stay for a single night but most people are choosing to stay for two weeks and even two months.

To protect against coronavirus, each room is cleaned before and after the stay, deliveries are dropped outside the doors and cleaning staff wear masks and gloves.

A two-week stay can cost anywhere between $6,000 (£5042) and $77,500 (£65,133), depending on whether guests opt for the 24/7 nurse service and a coronavirus test.

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