With the new protocols, procedures, and operating standards that cruise lines seem to be coming up with daily, are they taking it too far? Will using a mask, social distancing, sanitation stations, health and temperature checks, and mandatory testing before and maybe even during a voyage be a turn off for cruise passengers?
Under The Looking Glass
During pre-COVID times, the cruise industry has been the subject of intense scrutiny when it comes to its passengers’ health and safety. It is precisely for this reason that the industry has been at the forefront of creating, introducing, and maintaining the highest standards for safety, sanitation, and cleanliness of its vessels.
Although it may be disputed by the uninformed some, you only have to look at the USPH inspection results over the last years to see that a cruise ship is one of the safest places to be during a vacation.
Only three ships achieved an unsatisfactory score of 85 or less from the CDC since 2017, out of 215 ships tested. Also, these inspections certainly do not lack in detail, as you can see here
Let’s also not forget that Norovirus, one of the most infectious diseases, has all but been wiped out onboard cruise ships, despite the hype some media outlets like to put out and have you believe. The chances of getting Norovirus in the U.S. is 1 in 15. Onboard a cruise ship, this is 1 in 5500.
So if it’s safe, why do I need to get tested and wear a mask on my cruise?
The Truth About The Measures
Cruise ships are inherently a safe place to be. In an uncontrolled environment, any virus can cause severe damage. That’s why cruise lines are introducing so many new measures. Up to a point, a cruise can be a controlled environment. However, is it so much different for cruise lines now then it was six months ago?
In some way, yes. Self-service buffets will be a thing of the past. A crew member will now be behind the buffet to serve you, while on some lines, table service will be the standard.
Social distancing will be enforced; however, this will be on a relatively open standard. Don’t expect police officers to tell you where you can and cannot stand. You will be treated as an adult.
There will be many more procedures in place. However, more than likely, the majority will not be noticeable or be an actual improvement as a passenger. Think doing everything from ordering food to paying for a drink with a smart device
Let’s not forget that the cruise lines realize very well that if you don’t enjoy your cruise during the Pandemic, you will most likely not return for another try.
But I Don’t Want To Get Tested And Wear A Mask, I’m On Vacation
And the testing, and the wearing of masks? As we’ve seen from MSC Cruises, this will hardly be an issue. In situations where social distancing cannot be enforced like in public areas or while in line for something, you will be asked to wear a mask. This will not be the case in all other situations like lying by the pool or sitting in a bar.
This is because everyone will be tested before coming on board, and cruise ships will sail at a maximum of 70-75% capacity.
COVID-19 is with us and will be for a considerable amount of time to come. With rapid 15-minute tests coming out that are reliable to 98%, and no more need to do RT-PCR tests that take a day or so for a result, doing a test before going on a cruise, and possibly a second one during a cruise, will probably not cause any nuisance at all.
The Reality: Cruises Won’t Resume Properly Until 2021
European countries and the U.S. are approving rapid tests at a rapid pace, it will not be long before they are the standard and not RT-PCR.
So, will the measures that cruise lines are taking spoil the fun you can have on a cruise?
It will if you let it. If you cannot comply with the few measures that directly affect you, your cruise will not be the same. If you can comply with the regulations in place, and trust the cruise lines, your cruise can be as enjoyable as ever.
Photo Credit: byvalet / Shutterstock.com