Everything You Need to Know About Cruises During Coronavirus
Spring has sprung, summer is right around the corner, and our travel plans are, well, not happening as we’d imagined.
The best we can do is stay educated and updated on the state of travel throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We hope that sooner than later, you’ll be able to hop on that 2020 cruise you’ve been dreaming of!
We’ve had our finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the cruise industry so you can stay informed on the COVID-19 travel laws and recommendations and prepare to head out when you can.
Cruises and COVID-19
Currently, CDC has issued a level 3 warning for all travel. That means COVID-19 has a widespread and ongoing transmission, and you should only travel when absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately, badly needing a vacation doesn’t count as necessary travel at the moment!
Since the beginning of the spread, cruise ship passengers have been at high risk of catching the virus. Enclosed quarters with many travelers makes a cruise the ideal place for the spread of coronavirus.
But don’t worry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to completely cancel your plans for your next cruise.
In response to the government’s No Sail Order and CDC warnings, all major cruise lines have stopped all cruises starting in mid-March. This pause will last until one of the following three things happens:
- The Secretary of Health and Human Services declares COVID-19 is no longer causing a state of emergency; or
- The CDC finds evidence that travel is safe again; or
- 100 days have passed since the order was issued on March 14th
In the meantime, organizations and government affiliates have been working hard to ensure cruise ships will be as safe as possible once the No Sail Order is lifted. They’ve been doing things like training crews on virus prevention, responding to outbreaks that have already occurred, and strategizing other methods.
What If You’ve Already Booked a Cruise?
If you booked a cruise for dates before May 1st, contact your cruise line to see what sort of offers, vouchers, and refunds they’re offering customers.
Refunds, Vouchers, and Cruise Credits
Princess and Viking cruise lines, for example, are giving cruise credits to any travelers who had to cancel a cruise, which will be redeemable when the ships are back up and running. If you’d rather hold off on your cruise plans entirely, Princess and other cruise lines also offer a cash refund option.
In order to encourage people to stick to their cruise credits, some cruise lines are offering additional benefits like on-board spending money or even bonus cruise credits.
Cruise lines have also been loosening up on cancellation restrictions. Many of the major cruise lines are allowing cancellations with full refunds all the way up to the day before your cruise was scheduled to leave.
So unless you’ve decided to count your cruise as a loss, you can take the time to feel things out before you call off your plans entirely. If you have trouble deciding whether to cancel or not, contact our team of cruise experts at CloudBlue for guidance.
If you booked your cruise through CloudBlue, we’re ready and waiting on the line to help you sort through your options for your upcoming cruise.
Stay in STEP
You can stay up-to-date on the status of cruises and other travel by enrolling in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveller Enrollment Program, or STEP.
If you’ve already planned an upcoming trip, you can enroll it in the system to receive relevant updates about your cruising destinations and methods of travel. If you haven’t yet planned a trip but hope to, the STEP program will send you important updates on travel advisories.
What Will Happen to Cruises After the Pandemic?
Once the No Sail Order is lifted, there will still be a few things that need to happen before cruises go back to normal.
First of all, cruises will need to wait until certain ports are open. This will happen faster for some cruise lines than others depending on the location of said ports.
Once cruises are back on the seas, there should be plenty of perks for customers.
Since cruisers (especially new cruisers), will likely be a bit nervous to travel, cruise lines will be implementing extra safety and sanitation precautions, as well as offering deals and incentives to get you back on the high seas.
Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean believes people will dive back into booking their cruises as “Making memories and great vacations will be in huge demand when the current situation passes.”
He could very well be right, as a poll by Cruise Critic found that around 66% of cruisers plan to go back to business as usual post-pandemic.
How to Stay Safe on Future Cruises
No matter when you’re able to hop on a cruise, it’s important to take precautions to avoid not only COVID-19 but any other illnesses that might ruin your vacation.
Take these steps to help ensure you’re clean and safe on your next trip:
Step up your hand washing game
- You should be washing your hands even more than usual on a cruise ship — before and after eating, after touching door handles or anything in the bathroom, upon returning to your ship after exploring a port etc.
- There should also be strategically placed hand sanitizers on your ship, so keep an eye out and take advantage!
- Water helps boost all bodily functions, including the immune system.
- Carry around a water bottle and keep it filled to help keep you on track.
- Before you drink local water, check to make sure it’s safe to drink.
Get plenty of rest
- There are so many fun things to do on a cruise, it can be hard to get as much sleep as you should.
- But your immune system will thank you for sticking to a proper rest schedule.
Keep in mind that the current travel restrictions are to protect you and your family, and when health is at risk it might be worth a postponed trip. Be sure to contact us and cruise lines to see what your next steps should be and whether you should plan to reschedule your cruise and when.
Once you’re ready to cruise, remember the ways to stay safe and enjoy the extra precautions ships will be taking on future trips.
Before you know it, you’ll be back to planning your next cruise, knowing it will be safer than ever. And with our assistance, you’ll have someone to guide you every step of the way!
We have decades of experience working with cruise lines, from the major names to boutique offerings. Our cruise travel experts can design a trip that fits your lifestyle and save you money while we’re at it.
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