Will You Choose to Cruise?

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Cruising in happier days.

Photos courtesy of Viking Cruise Lines

Four months ago, I wrote a travel article that began like this –

32 million people can’t be wrong. That’s the number of travelers who booked cruise vacations in 2019.  Statistics show this figure has increased 7% annually since 2007, and it’s not hard to see why. Life on a cruise ship is about as good as it gets . . .

How times have changed.  In January we were blissfully unaware of what was coming and completely unprepared. Well, to be perfectly honest the cruise ship industry probably had a clue. They’ve been quietly dealing with onboard epidemics for a while now, think Legionnaires Disease, and gastrointestinal bugs like Norovirus, Salmonella, and Shigella, any of which can wreak havoc in a cruise environment.

For the most part, these isolated incidents flew under the radar and die-hard cruisers like myself turned a blind eye to the warning signs. It won’t happen to me, right?  Wrong. Now the problems are impossible to ignore. It’s absolutely nobody’s dream to be stuck in a floating piece of jetsam that bounces from port to port unloved and unwanted. The very thought of being quarantined to the tiny windowless room we usually book gives me claustrophobia in the extreme – excuse me while I run outside and take several deep breaths.

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Next time I’ll book this room. (I wish.)

O.K. I’m back – so now, what’s to be done about this? I have no idea. To me, it seemed the cruise lines were already bending over backward to keep things sanitary and hygienic. On our last cruise, I noticed employees constantly disinfecting every surface from stair rails to elevator buttons.  There are spiffy touchless water faucets, and super strength hand dryers at the entrance of every dining area, not to mention the armies of cheery but INSISTENT purveyors of hand sanitizer sprinkled liberally throughout the ship.  Despite all these precautions, the entire cruise industry ran aground in a matter of weeks. The culprit, a microscopic virus called Covid 19.

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So what happens now? Is the divine pastime of floating to exotic lands while stuffing yourself silly to become a thing of the past? I certainly hope not, but can the industry be saved?

Here are some ideas that have been bandied about:

  • Restrictions on Who Can Cruise
    No guests over a certain age, and a doctor’s clean bill of health for everyone else.
  • Health Screenings
    Daily temperature checks and onboard monitoring.
  • Health Questionnaires –  for instance:
    Are you feeling sick today?
    “Yes I am, and I think you should remove me from this million-dollar, once in a lifetime cruise even though it might just be a cold.”
    (Not gonna happen folks.)
  • Relaxed Cancellation Policies
    This idea makes sense to me. If cruise passengers could get last-minute refunds when they fell ill, there would be fewer sick people boarding the ship.

I’ve heard other rumblings about banning self-service buffets, reducing the number of passengers, and installing plexiglass sheets between dining tables, etc. Would any of this be practical or effective?

What do you think? I’d love to get some feedback on this. I seriously want to get back on a cruise ship someday, but not until it feels safe.

What would it take for you to Choose to Cruise again?

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48 thoughts on “Will You Choose to Cruise?

  1. Great post – thought-provoking. I’ll return to cruising for sure, but I’m interested to know more about the changes the lines will introduce.

    I’m not sure if I could relax on any vacation if I need to wear a mask, for example – time will tell!

    Like

    • I agree. I know I’ll eventually go on a cruise, but not sure if I’ll ever l be able to relax and enjoy it like before. I feel like my eyes have been opened and there’s no way to shut them again. Time will tell though, maybe things will look different a year from now?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I will definitely return to cruising when it’s safe. It will be interesting to see how the first river cruise goes (nickoVision). I have a cruise booked for 2022 and hope to add another in 2021 when they hopefully resume.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know, I’ve fallen in love with cruising and hope they can make it safe again. I don’t have anything booked yet but will definitely choose to cruise as soon as it’s an option.

      Like

  3. I’m afraid my view of cruises probably isn’t printable. Here in Australia passengers from the Ruby Princess were allowed to disembark and return home, even though there were people isolated with flu like symptoms on board. There was poor communication with authorities here in Sydney and the whole thing was a debacle which accounted for much of the spread of Covid 19 around Australia and 22 passengers from the ship have died. This ship hovered around Sydney for some time as crew members were taken to hospital and it really did become a plague ship and personally I’m more concerned about keeping out the cruise ships that the refugee boats which have driven our politicians to the brink of madness. There will be a swag of people like me out there and those who have never been on a cruise and will never go on one and probably won’t talk to anyone who goes on a cruise for at least a month after their return.
    That said, I should point out that I have chronic health issues including lung problems and so I’m rather biased. However, I’m not somebody who usually walks round wearing a mask and carrying hand sanitiser pre covid.
    BTW we’re not generally wearing masks in Australia. They need to be worn properly and my approach has been to self-isolate at home and go out into nature. We get our groceries delivered. Our kids have gone back to school, but that’s been unavoidable.
    Lastly, you mentioned the difficulties of writing a travel blog when you can’t travel atm. I’ve put a different perspective on that. I post about my local explorations, but to most of my readers who are in America, this is overseas so they are doing the travelling.
    I also did a recent series on Places Ive Been for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. Here’s a link to the index. Thought you might like to o somewhere with your cup of tea or coffee today and perhaps you could add some links if you’ve been there yourself: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/a-z-reflections-2020-place-ive-been/
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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    • Thanks Rowena, I will definitely visit and read about your adventures. Yeah, the whole cruise thing was handled so poorly. I guess no one had a clue of how to deal with this and the hope for the best solution was not a good one. I would love to visit Australia someday but will remember not to come by cruise ship. 😊 I appreciate your comments. It’s always interesting to hear how people in other countries are faring. Thanks for the good words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Blogging has been fabulous for me in so many ways, but especially gaining a more global perspective on the day to day as well as world events. I touch base every week with friends in Denver, New Hampshire and London at the very least. I had a break for a few months while I’ve been researching Australian soldiers serving in France during WWI However, as soon as I found out we were going into lock down, I went back into my blogging and did that travel series for the annual A-Z Challenge. I knew reconnecting with my bogging community was going to be essential. It’s also meant that I’ve documented this period in our history quite nicely, which I really like. It’s been quite an interesting time to live through even though it’s been a stressful rollercoaster in many ways. I’ve also had some really good things come out of it.

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      • I agree with you about blogging. I didn’t keep a diary during lockdown, but blogged about it so have a small record of the experience. Also it’s great fun to write, and connect with others.

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  4. While in restricted lockdown (here in Australia) it’s good to make future plans and precautions. But come to think of it, I am not really into cruises. So as at the moment this is not for me. BUT if I change my mind, who knows, anything can happen…this is something to consider. Thanks for this.

    Regards, Teresa
    https://mywanderings.travel.blog/

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    • Yes, it’s not for everyone, especially not now. I’ve just fallen in love with cruising a little bit at a time over the years. Didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it until the option went away. I hope to be able to choose to cruise again sometime in the future. It’s good to hear from you TCast!

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      • We’re almost done with sheltering at home. We’ve gone from total lock down, to orange level where you could go out and a few more businesses like beauty shops etc. were allowed to open. Then yesterday we went to yellow level which is one step away from normal. Everyone is basically doing whatever they want. People are sick of being quarantined and are worried about the economy. Here’s the thing though, everyone is strongly advised to wear masks but it’s about 50 / 50 for people cooperating. What about there? Are people refusing to wear masks or is this just a stubborn American thing? I wear one in stores and have to wear one at work. Oh yeah, our library is open again, but just to employees doing inventory, not the general public yet.

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      • In here, we are not obligated to wear masks but since I belong to the older species, I try to wear one when I go out and there are people around. Things are slowly going back to normal here too, and i heard travel will be back interstate and maybe between New Zealand and Australia since we are two countries that have no problems with borders.
        Nice chatting with you, Geanie. Hope people abide more in the rules where you are. Have a nice day!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi / for me it is not an issue because I did not like cruises very much- I used to live in Florida in 90s and we took shirt cruises
    But since that time – not on my list at all. I have family members who are or were shocked my hubs and I did not want to join them on their cruises – but just not our thing. Especially the ones that have the gambling – but I know the shows and entertainment can be fun…
    And side note – I do like your featured cabin – but most rooms are not like that / correct?
    And I think this industry will recover – people sometime have a short memory – and although covid19 has been crippling – I think people will be back on board –
    Even if it is with masks and spray bottles in their purse –
    Lol

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  6. Such a timely blog post, I might send this to my friend who had the “cruise of a lifetime” planned for this fall. She recently retired and they were going on a Scandinavian cruise that also stopped in St. Petersburg. She has been talking about this cruise for 2 years. I am not even sure if the cruise will get cancelled or not. I enjoyed your post and thanks for those links for further reading.

    And, by the way – I nominated you for a blogging award for your lovely blog – the Liebster Award! Here is the link to my post with the nomination (see the bottom for the update) – https://tierneycreates.com/2020/05/07/liebster-award-nomination-part-i/
    If you like you can play along and notify your readers of your nomination, answer the 7 questions I posed to you, share 7 facts about yourself and nominate 7 other bloggers (or do any of these activities that interest you). No obligation 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Tierney, I appreciate the award! I’ll look into this. As for your friend – too bad about her dream cruise. Tell her not to give up hope. I heard the other day that Royal Caribbean is pulling out all the stops to get people customers back – including last minute cancels with full refunds. I may have to do an update blog as the cruise lines get their stuff together and start making once in a life time offers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks and I will tell her. I bet many people are canceling their once in a lifetime trips they scheduled. I have another friend who was headed to Egypt to see the pyramids in April. You are welcome on the award, your blog is awesome 🙂

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  7. Very thought-provoking post. It’s nice to see you’re hopeful of being able to do another trip that you enjoy doing. Let’s see – I went on a cruise once in 1990, I think? It was fun, but I ended up getting seasick with the swells one night, so I never had a hankering to do it again. It was fun, but I prefer a sandy beach in the Caribbean instead. Walking in the waves is more relaxing for me. I speculate that more travelers, at least from the midwest like me, prefer to go on cruises at the peak of flu seasons, so that doesn’t help with containing the spread of viruses or bacteria causing diseases. I laughed at your ‘that’s not gonna happen’ comment. I’d say the bounceback of the cruise ship industry could maybe happen if they switch to being mobile hospitals instead? 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Let’s face it, things are going to change. I don’t believe we will ever get back to “normal”.again. That said, I will go on cruises again, because I believe that the cruise lines will make more significant changes in how they do things. I am not sure what those changes will be, but I lean toward smaller ships and river cruises and I believe they will be the first to get back in business.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m with you, I look forward to the day we can cruise again. Not sure when or how that will happen, but I can’t see my life without at least one more cruise in it. Thanks Bestadman.

      Like

    • Yes, I think I’m seeing a consensus here. Most people think the only safe way to be in a cruise situation is if you’ve been vaccinated against the Corona virus. That means we’re all land lovers for a while. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have never been on a cruise and doubt I ever will go on one now but I did read recently that cruise ship bookings for next year are very high. Personally I won’t be going anywhere much until there is a vaccine.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I haven’t been on a cruise, but after all this, I really can’t see doing it. Right now, I’m not even certain when and if I’ll feel comfortable doing the things we used to do–taking public transportation into Philadelphia, seeing plays, sitting at a café. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was only on a cruise ship once and it was my honeymoon. XD So we spent two amazing weeks in the Caribbean and I loved it but was pretty sure that I could never afford it again. Which unfortunately turned out to be true. *lol* Anyway! I think it will be pretty hard to go for a cruise in future because as you already mentioned I saw the staff that wiped every door and handrail as well. On our ship they also had sanitizers at the door of every restaurant and I’m pretty sure they kept the rest of the ship super clean. So I don’t know what else could be done to stop the virus from spreading. I guess relaxed cancellation policies might be the only possible solution. Cruises are pretty expensive and if you know you’ll never see the money again you won’t cancel your vacation that easily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, it is expensive and if you cancel at the last minute you get a fraction of your money back. Hope they change that. It sounds like a fun way to spend your honeymoon. We went to Disneyland – a cruise would have been more romantic. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll visit you soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m not sure how you could make a ship safe. This virus seems to spread easily, but it’s not the first virus to infect a ship. While I will travel again, I will probably fly again, and I’ll probably attend a sporting event in the future, I doubt very much I’d consider a cruise. At a minimum, the amount of contingency planning you would have to do in order to feel prepared would be mind-boggling.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree, there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop the virus from spreading except social distancing, and that’s not going to happen on a cruise. I’m done with cruising for now, but I’m not saying never – maybe there’s a fix that I haven’t thought of. As for flying – of course I’ll fly again, but I’m a little puzzled right now. Another friend got on a plane last week and it was packed. Are they even allowed to do that? I thought we weren’t supposed to create a gathering of more than 20 people?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I have always wanted to go on a cruise, but now I don’t think I will. I’m not sure what changes would make me feel comfortable.

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  14. A couple of months ago I wrote a sponsored post for a cruise company on the advantages of cruise holidays for the over 65’s. I wish I had had a crystal ball. It is difficult to see how cruising can restart until we get a vaccine but I am sure if we do people will want to go cruising again. I don’t think it is possible to stop an airborne virus circulating in a crowded confined space particularly among the crew who often share small cabins deep below deck.

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    • Actually I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Maybe there isn’t a lot more cruise companies can do than they are now, and it is impossible to eradicate germs altogether. We just need a vaccine for this. Hopefully, there’s something out there that will work. Thanks for a different point of view.

      Like

  15. While we love river boat cruises (and have done most) I could never get my husband on a cruise ship. He sees it like going to the mall, hates buffets and being regimented. I was not adverse to the idea but also don’t like crowds and the idea that I have to be tendered back and forth would drive me nuts. I also don’t want /need the social interaction that would be required.
    After this pandemic we know we will never step foot on a floating petri dish!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you about River cruises. We’ve been on one and it was so low key and peaceful. The amount of people on the ship was just right, and you could socialize or not. I would do another one of those before getting on a supersize ship at this point. Thanks for contributing.

      Liked by 1 person

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