Why Cruises are Safe for Travel This Year
Over the past year, many travelers put their vacations on hold, either intentionally to stay safe during the pandemic or due to cancellations. So it’s no surprise that the desire to travel is probably at the top of your mind this summer.
While Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the cruise line industry, cruise lines have made every effort to open for their guests who are ready to travel again. Thanks to heightened security protocol, cruises may be the safest option for travelers this summer.
Throughout the pandemic, the CDC issued many regulations for cruise lines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Now, the CDC is allowing cruises to resume business as usual, but with some new regulations.
- 95% of both crew and passengers must be fully vaccinated prior to boarding, with many cruise lines requiring 100% vaccination for the crew, and even for passengers.
- There are many testing requirements as well, creating less opportunity for a positive case to slip through the cracks.
Cruise travelers this year have felt even safer on the ship than in most public places at home, given that the majority of those on board are vaccinated or tested. Martyn Griffiths, Director of Public Affairs with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), believes cruises to be “one of the safest vacation environments available today.”
If you’re considering a cruise this summer, read on to find out why a cruise is one of the safest ways to travel in 2021.
6 Reasons Why Cruises Are The Best And Safest Travel Option This Year
Cruise lines have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of their passengers and crew as they return to sailing. Increased safety measures, fewer people on board, and the many cruises available are a few of the benefits of taking a cruise this year.
1. Benefits of Cruising vs. Other Forms of Travel
Flights (at least domestic ones) don’t require any vaccinations or testing before boarding. This could put you at risk of coming into close contact with another passenger who has the virus.
Apart from the transportation itself, flying or driving to different accommodations presents more opportunities for exposure with others who haven’t been recently tested.
Hotels, restaurants, shops, or any public place you enter while on vacation might not have requirements for their staff or their customers.
With all the protocol and safety precautions in place, cruises create a safe environment for guests to rest assured there’s no one around with the virus. Not to mention you have your own accommodation, restaurants, entertainment, and shops right on board with you!
2. They’re Less Crowded Than Usual
Most cruise ships are operating at a lower capacity than normal, which means they’re less crowded than the typical cruise vacation. This allows for social distancing while on board.
While the capacity differs according to country and cruise company, Celebrity Cruises recently had the Celebrity Edge cruise ship depart at 40% capacity. Celebrity Edge was the very first cruise ship to set sail from the U.S. since cruises were forced to close down in 2020.
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Along with social distancing, this reduced capacity means fewer lines and more space in general for guests onboard. This may be the only time on a cruise that you won’t have a problem snagging a lounge chair by the pool.
3. Increased Sanitization and Improved Air Ventilation
Following requirements from the CDC, cruises sanitize and disinfect all public areas as well as private rooms at a higher frequency than usual.
Buffet meals, which are typically common on cruises, will no longer be available on most cruise lines. Meals will instead be served by the crew, or in some cases fully vaccinated passengers may have access to self-service.
Many cruise lines are updating their ventilation systems as well in order to adhere to safety protocols and remove pathogens found in the air.
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4. Safe Off-shore Excursions
Cruise lines must follow country policies regarding the pandemic upon arrival. This means that each stop of the cruise will have its own restrictions, apart from recommendations from the cruise company itself.
Some off-shore locations require cruise passengers to stay in their own “bubble” and take tours with other cruise members, whereas other destinations permit visitors to explore on their own.
Most off-shore excursions tend to be outdoors and are considered safe, especially for vaccinated passengers.
5. Test Cruises
Cruises have been running “test cruises” to make sure all safety measures are in order and that staff are accustomed to all new protocols.
For cruise ships that have children on board who aren’t able to get vaccinated, test cruises will be conducted prior to returning to normal operation.
Royal Caribbean has already planned for these simulated cruises to set sail, with many departing in July and August.
6. There Are Many Different Cruises to Choose From
The best thing about traveling on a cruise right now is that there are more options and destinations to choose from. The many locations available provide different vacations, and the various cruise companies themselves provide you with diverse experiences.
Cruises allow you to choose from different budgets, from family-friendly to luxurious cruises, or both at the same time. Whether you’re interested in visiting the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Alaska, or Iceland, there’s a cruise for you.
Try Something New This Year
Travel in 2021 has by no means returned to normal. But cruises are providing a segue to that “normalcy” you’re longing for.
Traveling to exotic locations, going to the theatre or casino indoors without a mask (while feeling safe), dressing up and going out to dinner, enjoying a vacation with your family — not many vacations can give all of that at once. So why not consider taking a cruise for your next vacation?
If you’re still not “on board” with the idea of a cruise in 2021, it’s a great year to add new off-the-grid places to your summer travel list. Enjoy a locals-only experience without big crowds and visit destinations you haven’t thought of before.
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