Are you itching to book a reservation on a lovely cruise ship and enjoy travelling the high seas again? If so, you’re not alone. And the good news is that cruising is more available now than it’s been since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Safety is, of course, the major concern but on July 18th of this year the Center for Disease Control lifted its Program for Cruise Ships restrictions and is leaving the safety measures up to each individual cruise line.
In general, although being onboard a cruise ship does increase your chances of being exposed to the virus because of sheer numbers of people, you probably incur the same risk by going to the grocery store or any other indoor venue where people gather. And the upside is that all the people on the ship have been vaccinated and tested.
So, is it safe to cruise now? What’s new in cruissing safety? Well, that depends. Here are some thoughts on Covid safety:
- Most cruise lines will require you to be fully vaccinated and possibly boosted as well. Children who are unvaccinated may be required to take an appropriate test.
- Most ships will require you to do a test at a doctor office and bring the written results in document form to be scanned upon boarding.
- Some ships may require masks at certain times or for certain activities.
- Staff members on cruise lines are still required to wear masks
- There are strict and updated sanitizing and cleaning protocols in force for everyone’s safety.
- Those on board will probably be Covid tested daily and will be quarantined if they test positive.
- There may be fees incurred for Covid testing that are the traveler’s responsibility.
- In any case, each individual needs to make a travel decision based on their own personal medical history and their risk levels should they contract the disease.
Some New Protocols
Each cruise line will have a Covid 19 Procedures page on their website. Read this carefully so you aren’t disappointed on departure day. You must follow their guidelines completely.
Each cruise line has new sanitizing and cleaning protocols in place. These may include the way staff are allowed to interact with guests and the way linens, dishes, and other items are handled for safety.
Many ships have eased their restrictions on leaving the ship without booking an excursion. Check to see if free exploration of ports is allowed for your cruise.
Masks may be required in certain situations as will regular hand sanitizing. Be sure you’re comfortable with following the rules that may change as the situation demands. For instance, if there are a number of positive tests on your cruise, the rules may be more strictly enforced.
For everyone’s safety, if you should test positive near departure time, you and your travel party will be denied your place on that trip.
Benefits of Cruising Now
Cruise lines are eager to fill their ships and get back to normal schedules. Here are some benefits of booking your cruise soon:
- You’ll find bargains. It’s a great time to plan a cruise to your favorite destination because the prices will be better than usual.
- You’ll have plenty of room on board. Ships are not as crowded now as they usually are. That means fewer waits in lines to do all your favorite activities.
- There is less social distancing required on board now. Some of the strictest rules for safety have been loosened.
- Some self-serve buffets have been re-opened.
Those who have returned to cruising are ecstatic to enjoy the pleasures on the high seas once again. Covid 19 and its dangers are now part of our daily lives and we’ve learned how to cope with the risks as best we can.
For those who love to cruise, things are looking up. So, make a careful assessment of your personal health status and decide if cruising is for you.