Given the uncertainty the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to our world, it is overwhelming to think about how we will one day safely travel, let alone cruise again. With cruising being a huge part of the travel industry, many of us have questions regarding what the future of the cruise industry will be? Questions like, will cruise lines require a vaccine to board their ships? What will the mask requirements be? Will they test you each time you get on and off the ship? The list goes on and on! And after the recent Covid-19 cases on Sea Dream earlier this month, the thought of a safe return to cruising seems close to impossible.
However, the future of cruising is not so dim after all! Rex Travel recently hosted a virtual event with Silversea Cruises highlighting several of these questions. The event was informative and reassuring. In fact, the cruise industry was one of the fastest industries to respond to the crisis and come up with a plan of action.
Earlier this year, the Healthy Sail Panel was created by Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line to guide the cruise industry’s way forward in response to Covid-19. The panel is made up of several doctors, scientists and professionals, who are some of the best in the field of public health. This panel is to ensure the highest standards in health and safety protocols onboard future cruises! This is what will guide the industry and bring us back to sea!
In the end of September, the Healthy Sail Panel sent their recommendations to the CDC for review. An overview of the report can be found here: Recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel. If you do not feel like reading through the entire 69 page report (we don’t blame you), you can see some of the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations for cruising outlined below. Also, if you would like to see a copy of the Rex Travel and Silversea virtual event on the future of cruising, you can view the recording here.
Some of the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations for cruising include:
- Negative Covid-19 test before travel and again right before boarding the ship will be required (Rapid tests, which haven’t been reliable, will not be an adequate form of testing).
- Crew will be tested for Covid-19 on a regular basis while sailing and will be required to wear masks all the time.
- Masks will be required on board when social distancing is not possible. When dining and sitting at your table or when you are in your cabin, you will be able to remove your masks.
- Electric mats will sanitize your shoes upon boarding.
- Luggage will be sanitized before it is brought onto the ship.
- All public areas of the ships, guest suites and crew quarters will have new and extensive sanitation protocols.
- Guests onboard the ship will only be able to partake in cruise led shore excursions. Disembarking from the ship on your own will not be permitted.
- Anyone offering shore excursions will have to test their staff for Covid-19 and will have to follow extensive cleaning and safety protocols.
- When it comes to vaccines, crew will be required to take vaccines once they are available, but they may not require guests to have a vaccine to respect those with religious or personal opposition.
We all look forward to the time when we can safely cruise again! We just need to be patient and hope for a fast and safe return to the water!
And keep in mind that what we write today may change tomorrow.
Stay safe and keep dreaming!