What is it like to go on a cruise now? Here is how COVID has changed the experience for cruises.
Cruising is back! There are more cruises scheduled to depart from the port of Los Angeles in 2022 than in 2019. Carnival has announced that their bookings for the second half of 2022 are already higher than the total for 2019. Royal Caribbean is seeing the same trend.
Recovering from the huge financial toll placed on the industry from the global pandemic, positive signs of future business growth include orders for new cruise chips that will be in the waters by 2027.
Cruisers just want to cruise. However, there are some questions about how things have changed, and what passengers can expect.
Vaccination: The CDC recommends that all passengers be fully vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship. The largest cruise lines require passengers leaving U.S. ports to be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination will be required at the terminal before boarding. Some cruise lines will also require all passengers, vaccinated or not, to show proof of a COVID-19 test taken within two days of boarding a vessel.
Masks: Masks are strongly encouraged in public spaces and are required in such indoor areas such as elevators, stores, casinos and dining halls, except when eating or drinking. Masks are not required around the pool and hot tubs. To maintain social distancing, deck chairs are spaced farther apart.
Shore Excursions: Each country the ships visit have their own Covid-19 protocols, so it is advised to know before you go. For example, the Bahamas, requires all cruise visitors to be fully vaccinated, except travelers under age 12 and those with medical exemptions. On some ships, unvaccinated passengers are not allowed to go onshore except with a pre-booked “bubble tour,” where passengers travel only with friends and family in a controlled environment. On other cruise lines encourage passengers to take only shore excursions managed by the ship.
Capacity: To encourage social distancing, most ships are sailing at less than full capacity. The Majestic Princess left on its maiden voyage from the Port of Los Angeles at about 60% capacity. Most cruise lines will be increasing capacity over the next few months.
Onboard Activities: On many ships, indoor dancing, karaoke and nightclubs are not allowed for now. The Majestic Princess converted its karaoke area into extra room for spa treatments. Passengers might now be allowed to try on clothing for sale in shops.
Dining: Most self-serve buffets have been modified so employees are serving passengers which will avoid crowding. Many restaurants onboard recommend reservations and will limit groups at dining tables to eight. Some cruise lines have an app to make reservations.
More Info: Safety drills will now be presented on stateroom televisions or a cruise ship app. Spas and gyms are open, but some lines limit access to only vaccinated guests. Hand sanitizer is widely available.
What are you waiting for? Spread the word and let your clients know cruising is back!
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