How cruising looks in 2021 and beyond…
Recently a large number of travel consultants attended a two day event hosted by the Cruise Line Industry Association. The purpose of the event was to inform the industry of all the various developments in the industry regarding all the new things that are offered on board the various cruise ships and how they intend to cope with covid-19.
First of all the members of the Association have been in discussion with each other to ensure that there is a consistent response across the industry. A large and extensive policy has been developed and this been forward to the Centre for Disease Control and also the governments of countries where cruising makes up a large portion of the tourism industry.
It should be noted that this policy is an evolving one and adjustments will be made as the vaccine role out continues and other treatment factors come into play. The first part of the policy regards the operation of the ship and on-going cleaning.
Ships have upgraded their air conditioning system to ensure that they high quality hepta scrubbers and UV filters to ensure that the smallest particles are captured and removed from the air circulation. There has also been the adjustment of air flows to ensure that air is not recycled through various areas prior to being expelled.
Upgraded cleaning of all surfaces and ensuring there is regular hand washing around the ship.
Ships will sail with reduced passenger numbers to ensure that should there be an outbreak onboard guests can isolate. Medical facilities have been improved to be able to carry out covid testing if need be. Wastewater will also be regularly tested to try to identify guests who might not have symptoms. And encourage them to come to the medical facilities for testing.
Itineraries have also been altered to make sure that ports of call are capable of handling medical evacuations. Though this wont effect smaller expedition style cruising.
The buffet will be a thing of the past. All meals will be served directly to the guests on individual plates, this also will help reduce waste. Large entertainment productions will move from free seating to reserved seating. There will also me be multiple performances to give everyone the chance to see the show.
Clients who wish to enjoy shore excursions can only do programs that are purchased on ship. Those guests that do their own thing will not be allowed back on the ship and will be assisted back to their home port.
So, what does all this mean to the average cruise passenger.
First of all, cruise companies are moving to electronic documentation and contactless service. Prior to cruising you will need to verify that you have negative covid test not more than 72 hours prior to sailing of the cruise. Some cruises will check temperature prior to boarding and before entering large public areas. Temperature checking will also occur every time you return to the ship after a shore excursion.
Prior to boarding you will need to download the ships app which will be able to operate onboard without having to purchase a WIFI package. Clients will need to load the app with all the traditional information that they would normally load in their “cruise personaliser” additionally guests will need to upload their own security photographs. The app will be used for most things on the ship including ordering meals & drinks, booking show tickets, reserving day spa treatments, booking shore excursions, and checking your account.
At the wharf guests will be given strict boarding times to reduce the number of people in the check-in and boarding process and reduce numbers at traditional choke points such as security and customs.
The safety briefing will also be conducted via your phone or tablet. No more going to a muster point, however you must check that you have viewed and understood the briefing.
At the end of the cruise disembarkation will be like what you are used to. With staggered times to ensure that there is no great rush.
This is a very brief summary of what has been presented to the relevant authorities. And will evolve as there is better control over the covid virus. Cruise companies are now accepting bookings for 2022 and 2023 – Your Travel Expert is an authorised CLIA agent is proud to be able book all major cruises.
We look forward to cruising with you!