More than a year has passed, and the COVID-19 battle is still on. As the world continues to battle with the pandemic, the vaccination efforts are like oxygen to dying sectors, specifically tourism. Cruise lines are one of them! The excellent news that cruise lines are gearing up to resume voyages. Plans are to continue most cruise operations this summer, although a significant chunk will not be operational until late this year.
Rules of Engagement
Before we get into the detailed cruise news and find out which cruise lines will be operational, know these COVID-19 protocols.
Here are CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines for cruising.
- All cruise lines must comply with safety agreements with ports from where they will operate.
- All cruise operators to test their crew members for COVID-19.
- Passengers get the COVID-19 vaccine before cruising.
- All cruise lines draft their SOP and safety protocols before resuming services.
With CDC’s guidelines, major cruise lines have also included their guidelines and protocol before they intend to resume their services. The safety protocols will consist of compulsory wearing of face masks, daily temperature screening, onboard emergency medical services, and getting a COVID-19 negative report before boarding.
Cruises will also have COVID-19 testing facilities to screen passengers before they onboard and when they offboard.
Changes In Cruise Lines likely To Occur
A few more changes and amendments that are likely to be implemented are as follows.
- Shorter Cruises.
Cruises are likely to be capped in under seven days.
- Social Distancing.
There will be adequate distancing of seating arrangements, dining rooms, and deck arrangements.
- Increased Ventilation.
There is mproved air filtration and air ventilation to increase the circulation of air.
- Revised Itineraries.
Route and halts may change as most ports have strict protocols or may not allow cruise lines to anchor.
- Flexible Approach.
Due to uncertainties, most cruise lines are booking with assured or flexible dates for amendments and cancellation.
Ten Cruise Lines You Can Book
If you plan for a cruise trip and need some help, here are the options available from our top picks.
Celebrity Cruises will begin its services this July. Some inland cruise services may also resume in June as scheduled. Vaccination will be compulsory for all passengers who are above 18 years old, two weeks before embarkation. A negative COVID-19 report taken within 72 hours of sailing will also be mandatory.
The cruise line will also keep a panel of doctors and health workers for temperature screening and onboard testing.
Holland America Cruise Ship
Holland America Cruise accommodates approximately 1200 – 2600 guests. The cruise is famous for its high-quality service. Trips starting from San Diego and New York can last up to 128 days. The trip includes enriched programs like a cooking demo, photography, pilates and yoga workshop, and various other workshops.
Holland America Cruise line plans to restart not before February 2022. Guests will have to adhere to COVID-19 protocols like health screening, extensive sanitation, social distancing, the wearing of face masks, and vaccination alongside a Covid negative report.
Norwegian Cruise is gearing up to resume operations in late July this year. The cruise line has already announced crew members and passengers who intend to sail must get vaccinated two weeks before boarding.
The ship has also been upgraded with high-grade filters and a strict sanitization schedule for private and public places onboard. The cruise line will implement temperature screening, social distancing, and wearing of masks in public spaces. An onboard medical team will also be present to assist passengers.
Royal Caribbean offers voyages in more than 280 destinations across 71 countries and six continents. It will resume sailing in July but will not sail through Asia as of now. The company has 24 ships; the smaller vessels have 2300 guests, while bigger vessels can accommodate up to 6700 guests.
Travelers will have to adhere to COVID-19 protocols of wearing masks, onboard screening, vaccination, and social distancing. In case there are some predetermined COVID-19 cases, the voyage will conclude immediately. A special team of doctors and health workers will be onboard for the safety of passengers.
Princess Cruise became famous in 1977 with The Love Boat TV series. The cruise operates from Florida, Fort Lauderdale, and Los Angeles, with large, mid-level, and small cruise ships covering the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe, Mexico, and Alaska.
Princess Cruises will follow a strict COVID-19 protocol once the voyage resumes. Highlights will include vaccination 14 days before sailing, health screening, social distancing, and consistent sanitization. The company will also provide a medical team for emergency medical care.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise has lived to its reputation of variety entertainment and festive atmosphere. Carnival has 26 ships that depart from major United States cities like Miami, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles. Their destinations include Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, and Mexico.
Carnival Cruise intends to resume service in July and is currently working out its COVID-19 protocol. The management committee has told passengers who plan their voyage with Carnival Cruise must adhere to CDC guidelines.
American Cruise Lines
American Cruise lines operate from the Mississippi River to New England. They have started their sailing with 75% capacity in March 2021, covering a scenic route with exquisite dining and onboard entertainment.
Their COVID-19 protocol requires an RT PCR test with a negative report not exceeding 72 hours before boarding the ship. Travelers are also required to get vaccinated before sailing. Face masks, social distancing, and a sanitization schedule to be strictly followed. Ventilation systems are revamped so that air conditioners and heating systems do not recirculate air between guests and public spaces.
Oceania Cruise’s six ships are all set to sail in August this year. Oceania sails worldwide, covering South Pacific, South America, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Alaska, and Europe. Passengers can indulge in a range of activities and onboard entertainment.
The cruise will require all crew members and guests to undergo vaccination at least 14 days before sailing. All sailing members follow COVID-19 protocols as per the CDC guidelines; onboard safety protocols will include upgraded onboard medical facilities, regular sanitization, advanced ventilation system, and filtration.
Uniworld River Cruise
Uniworld is part of the TTC group operating for over 100 years offering high standards and flexibility. Now, you can book your voyage and cancel without any hassle. Uniworld’s vessels can hold up to 120 passengers making it safe and easy to comply with social distancing.
Safety protocols include temperature screening, wearing masks at public places, and pre-screening of health before embarking. The voyages begin in May 2021.
Viking River Cruises
Apart from Oceanic Cruise, Vikings also offer river cruises on smaller vessels with only 190 guests. The cruise company is all set to sail in July 2021, with Oceanic cruises starting in June.
Guests need to get a COVID-19 test done before getting on board. It will be appreciated to get a vaccination before embarking. Other safety precautions include wearing face masks in public places, onboard screening, and the presence of a medical team.
After more than a year now, the cruise industry is all set to explore the deep waters again. In case you are all game, do read the CDC guidelines carefully before setting sail. It is advisable to get vaccinated and adhere to all laid down protocols for your safety and a great sailing experience.