The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) imposed a “No Sail” order that was functional until October 2020. This law applied to ships that would sail in the waters belonging to the US jurisdiction. With the law uplifted, cruises are now free to float, however, with strict measures. New protocols such as testing, quarantine, and social distancing need to be demonstrated by the cruising companies to meet the standards laid by the CDC.
Suppose you are planning on a cruise trip soon. In that case, you should know these rules imposed by the various international committees such as CDC, European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) for adherence by the cruise lines.
Wear A Mask!
The use of masks is mandatory to reduce the transmission of the virus. And this applies to the ships as well. In the test cruises, wearing masks was required by the CDC. It was a suggestion posed by the industry executive to the CDC, and therefore, be prepared and carry on a few sets of masks because you may have to wear one while you are outside your suite.
Rapid Laboratory Testing Is A Must!
Most of the tests include RT-PCR, which takes a day to reveal the results, but other procedures like rapid antigen testing will instantly give out the result. This is particularly true for asymptomatic individuals. So before you board the ship, you will be expected to do a rapid laboratory test and body temperature scanning. Passengers with cold and flu symptoms and who have a history of international travel in the past 14 days will not be able to board the ship.
Reduced Passenger Members!
Some may be happy to have extra space for themselves, while others may feel lonely during the trip. The cruise industry has to cut its boarding passengers to almost half to maintain social distancing and safe management of the hygiene requirements and contactless services.
Frequent Cleaning And Sanitization!
You may see hand sanitizer stations everywhere, and all surfaces and areas will be sanitized frequently by the crew. The ventilation will circulate clean air, and most of the ships must insert HEPA filters for the best results.
Cruises like the Disney Cruise line have employed rigorous sanitation standards, including extensive cleaning of joint surfaces and areas twice a day, followed by additional disinfections when required.
The Self-service Rule Is Prohibited!
This means no more self-service buffets; instead, you will have servers and online menus. Menus will be in the form of bar codes or one-time use menus. Restaurant setups will change. You may have to book your seat in advance and be seated at places recommended by the staff.
Shoreline Excursions Will Have Increased Protocols!
You will be screened and asked to sanitize before leaving the ship, and this procedure stays true while you board the boat again. Every port will have its protocol, and if you want to venture out, you will have to follow these rules obediently.
Cruise lines like Carnival have clearly stated that passengers will not be allowed to exit the ship independently. Excursions and activities will only be from their vetted tour operators that understand Carnivals COVID-19 protocols well. Most ships have pre-arranged transportation from the boat to the venue and back again. Self-travel is prohibited.
Information Is A Must!
Most cruises have included personal gathering information, an essential factor for tracing its passengers and cruise members. Passengers will also take a questionnaire regarding the activities they are involved in during their cruise time.
Reduced Trip Span!
The travel days will change based on public health considerations, but currently, cruises have been authorized to travel for seven to nine days maximum. This duration cannot be increased, or the sails will have to face stringent fines.
These rules are subject to change as situations around this pandemic change. Some restrictions may ease out, while others may get stringent. Apart from that, you have to follow another set of protocols once you return from your trip.
– Get tested within three to five days of your return and self-isolate for seven days at home even if you tested negative.
– If positive, take the necessary precautions advised by your health center.
– If not tested, you are expected to stay indoors for two weeks.
– Follow the protocols or recommendations given by your state authorities for your next trip.
The Bottom Line!
You may have been overwhelmed with so many rules. These protocols are mandatory and are for the safety of you and your family. There are still many ways to enjoy a cruise even while following these standard precautions. Other tourist destinations will require the same guidelines so take advantage of half-full cruise ships now!