What to Expect in the World of Cruises This Year
For the past 5 years, the cruise industry has been doing better than ever, with a 20.5% increase in demand.
That is, of course, until Coronavirus hit in 2020.
In mid-March of last year, the Center for Disease Control issued a “No Sail Order,” putting cruises on hold until further notice. Travelers had to cancel cruises they were so excited to book, and many are still waiting to get their travel plans back on track.
Luckily, things are beginning to look up in the cruise industry. The timing couldn’t be better, now that you’re officially going crazy from being cooped up at home!
While you still can’t hop on a ship quite yet, travel experts say you may be able to start planning your next cruise vacation.
Get out that itinerary you started last year — here are some predictions for the cruise world in 2021, and how soon you may be able to board your next cruise.
2021 Cruise Predictions
If you’ve been counting down the days until you can enjoy a relaxing, adventurous cruise, you’re certainly not alone.
Since the start of the pandemic, people (and cruise lines) have been gathering clues to see when that might be possible again. With that, they’ve determined a few predictions that are likely to come to fruition soon.
Many Major Lines Are Aiming to Launch This Summer
While the “No Sail Order” was technically lifted on November 1st, many major cruise lines are continuing to hold off on welcoming travelers for a bit longer.
Once they decide it’s safe enough to begin cruises again, executives say it should take another 30-60 days to make sure they’re operating safely.
This will help ensure they meet every virus prevention guideline properly — like quarantine rules and testing for staff — as well as eventual access to the Coronavirus vaccine.
Some cruise lines like Blue Lagoon and Marella Cruises are set to launch limited dates as early as next month, while a majority of cruise lines are holding off until March or even June.
March Cruise Dates:
- Azamara Quest: March 20th
- Carnival Cruises: (except Paradise, Legend, Valor, and Magic), March 1
- Celebrity Cruises: March 1
- Celestyal Cruises: March 6
- G Adventures: March 1
- Royal Cruise Lines: March 1-4
- Sea Cloud: March 21-April 21
Other popular cruise lines like Disney, Holland, Oceania Princess, and Norwegian will be following closely with departure dates beginning April 1st. These dates are consistently being updated, so be sure to check for relevant updates and announcements before booking.
The remainder of cruise lines are set to take off in June and July, so by July, you can expect to be able to book pretty much any cruise you had envisioned, albeit a slightly different experience due to safety regulations.
New and Improved Safety Regulations
While cruises will be resuming soon, they won’t be exactly like how you remembered. There will be new safety guidelines, some smaller crowds, and other small changes to the experience in order to help keep everyone safe.
Before you even board the ship, the CDC will have to ensure crewmates have tested negative for the virus by the time of departure. The CDC will ensure that the ship has the proper laboratory setup to test passengers as well.
Once the initial protocols are met, the CDC also will have done simulated voyages to make sure the ship operator and crew are equipped to follow safety measures while at sea.
Some noticeable regulations will be similar to things you see in everyday public settings. Lines will require 6-foot distancing, you’ll have easy access to hand sanitizer, and cruise sizes will be limited according to the regulations applied during their date of launch.
More subtle changes can include things like upgrades in air ventilation, certain areas being closed for periodic sterilization, and cafeteria-style meals instead of the cruise buffets.
Should You Book Your Cruise Now?
It looks like with extensive safety regulations, you could be set to go on a cruise by Spring! But is it worth the risk to book your trip now?
In short: yes.
We could all use a break this year, and travel has been shown to be extremely beneficial to our mental health. It provides a “big picture” perspective, reminding you of all the beautiful places and people around you.
You’ll see and learn new things that spark your inspiration much more effectively than, say, a Planet Earth marathon on Netflix.
Booking a cruise is saying yes to exploration, mental wellbeing, and enough adventure to make up for a 2020 spent on the couch.
With limited capacities on your favorite cruise lines, it’s absolutely necessary to beat the crowd and reserve your spot now. In fact, you might want to book your 2022 trip this year as well just to be safe.
Eliminate Even More Risk
So you’re starting to feel more confident about the lowered risk of virus transmission on your cruise, but what about the money?
There’s nothing worse than pouring funds into a trip just for your excitement to be shattered. Except, that is, being disappointed and losing money doing so.
If you do book a cruise early and for some reason it’s canceled, many cruise lines have loosened their restrictions on refunds. And don’t worry, you don’t have to spend hours researching the refund policies of each and every cruise line, because we’re here to help.
Contact us to chat with a travel agent about your dream vacation and any hesitancy you may have. We’ll take care of the rest.
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