Will We Ever Cruise Again?
Will we ever be able to cruise again? And if so, when?
Ocean, river, and expedition cruises are the go-to means of travel for a large swath of baby boomer travelers.
They love the unpack-once convenience and the idea of traveling on a floating hotel.
And Then Came Coronavirus
And as we are all well aware, the COVID-19 coronavirus hit in the spring and today has most of the travel world just now trying to recover with the cruise industry still under a complete shutdown for U.S. travelers.
The CDC has a No Sail Order for all cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers through September 30, 2020. Further, the U.S. State Department has a Level 4: Do Not Travel Warning issued on March 31, 2020.
So Now What? Will We Be Able to Cruise Again?
The short answer to that is yes. The unknown part of the equation is when. 🙁
One thing to tuck away in the back of your mind is that the coronavirus was found on 32 ocean cruise ships when this all began. What you may not know, however, is that 31 of these ships were the large cruise ships with multiple thousands onboard. I don’t know about you, but that tells me something.
As we are not fans of those massive floating cities, we don’t sell ’em. Therefore, thankfully, we didn’t have any of our clients trapped on these ships.
So, when will we be able to cruise again? Not until it’s safe and not until the CDC gives its blessing to itineraries that might touch a U.S. port.
We get daily dispatches from the various ocean, river, and expedition cruise lines. Top of mind for all of these cruise brands has been the challenge of creating a safe travel experince for guests and crew.
There has been a lot of talk about a cruise ship being a petrie dish for germs. However, the opposite can also be true. A cruise ship is also capable of being a sterile bubble where COVID-19 is not welcome. In fact, some of the cruise lines have mentioned that with their new protocols, they are going to be able to make a cruise ship far safer than getting off and wandering around in some distant city.
While I admit, that seems to be a tall order, let’s take a look at some of the early health & safety protocols:
- Windstar Cruises: in this press release, Windstar lays out their detailed plans that include high-efficiency HEPA filters, germicidal irradiation with UV-C light and much more.
- American Cruise Lines: they have laid out their COVID-19 Operating Protocol with new HVAC filtration systems, onboard testing, enhanced onboard cleaning protocols, boarding practices and pre-cruise medical screening, and much more.
- Crystal Cruises: they have just announced their Crystal Clean+ initiative.
- American Queen Steamboat Company: they have rolled out their SAFECRUISE program and will also upgrade to HEPA filters, increase sanitation at every level, and each stateroom will receive an electrostatic fogging after each guest departure.
- Norwegian & Royal Caribbean: while we shy away from their large ships, these brands also own small-ship brands like Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania, Silversea, and Azamara. They just announced the formation of a Healthy Sail Panel with some of the country’s top medical experts including Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
You know, I just don’t know. I know that the industry won’t sail until they know it is safe. I know that the regulatory agencies won’t put their stamp of approval on sailing again until they too agree that it is safe.
Further, I know that the ocean cruise industry is hoping to sail the Caribbean in the winter. The American river cruise brands hope to start sailing in August of this year. And the European river cruise brands have high hopes to begin sailing in the fall. I guess only time will tell.
In the meantime, if you have plans to book something for 2021, book now. Things are beginning to really fill up.
For more information or to book you next fun cruise, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we’ll reach out to you.
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