Drawbacks Of A Direct Booking
- Youre dealing directly with the cruise line. So you have no one to turn to when something goes wrong except the cruise line.
- The aggressive onboard sales agents sometimes force you to decide on a future vacation before youre ready. Its a high-pressure sales pitch on the high seas.
How do you buy a cruise, then? In the end, there may be no correct answer for everyone. If, for example, youre taking your extended family on an anniversary cruise, youll probably want to find a cruise specialist with experience dealing with large groups. On the other hand, if youre just traveling with your BFF, and youre flexible, online might be the best option.
Youll Face Lots Of New Health Protocols
If you havent cruised since before the pandemic, you might be surprised by how many new health- and safety-related policies cruise lines have implemented to keep COVID-19 off ships.
For starters, there are the vaccine mandates noted above. No other segment of the travel industry has been as uniform in requiring almost every customer to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As noted above, cruise lines also are requiring passengers to undergo COVID-19 tests before boarding ships a screening process that is keeping many COVID-19 positive people from ever stepping on board a vessel.
When COVID-19 is detected on a ship, cruise lines sometimes then test passengers multiple times to ensure it isnt spreading. On my recent trip to Antarctica, I underwent six COVID-19 tests in just eight days three in advance of stepping on board the vessel and three while on board.
In addition, most cruise lines now are requiring passengers to wear masks at all times while in interior spaces of vessels, and they have stepped up cleaning regimens, improved air filtration systems on ships and made other onboard changes.
Find The Best Cruise Vacation For You
How can I find a cheap cruise?
Cheap cruise deals are fairly easy to find in most cases, and you can begin by considering what kind of features and itinerary you want. The more simplistic the experience is, the cheaper it is in general. On Expedia.com, you can filter for specific features and sort your results by price. By mixing and matching certain features, unforgettable experiences may be available with discount cruises. For example, booking a cruise with stunning restaurants and live performances while opting for an inside cabin without an ocean view window or balcony could be ideal for a traveler who doesn’t plan on spending much time in their cabin anyways.
What is the cheapest month to take a cruise?
The cheapest month to take a cruise varies based on your destination and the cruise line company that runs the ship. A Caribbean cruise, for example, is generally cheapest in the late summer and early fall since it’s the local hurricane season.
Can I cancel my cruise booking?
Yes, you can cancel, but there may be fees for canceling depending on how far in advance you cancel and what kind of booking you have. You can check the specific cruise lines cancellation policies in your itinerary on Expedia.com.
Are river cruises worth the money?
What cruises are best for families?
How much does a cruise ship cost?
What are some of the best cruise lines?
How far in advance do you need to book a cruise?
Are cruise trips affordable?
What is it like to go on a cruise?
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Four Cruise Lines To Drop Covid Vaccination Requirements
Aug. 14, 2022 — Four major cruise lines are dropping their COVID-19 vaccination requirements for some sailings next month, according to USA Today.
Carnival Cruise Line wonât require unvaccinated guests to apply for an exemption to sail after Sept. 6. The changes are subject to local restrictions, such as those in Bermuda, Canada and Greece, and donât include voyages in Australia or trips that are 16 or more nights.
Princess Cruises will remove vaccination requirements on Sept. 6 for most voyages that are less than 16 days. The cruise line currently requires unvaccinated guests to have a vaccine exemption before they sail.
Royal Caribbean Group, which includes Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, will welcome all travelers regardless of vaccination status beginning Sept. 5 âas long as testing requirements are met,â a spokesperson told USA Today.
For Royal Caribbean, the changes include sailings from Los Angeles, New Orleans, Galveston and Europe. For Celebrity, that means cruises leaving from Los Angeles, the U.K. and Europe â but not Ireland. Bahamas and Caribbean cruises that leave from Florida ports still have vaccine rules in place.
Starting Sept. 6, Princess Cruises will require passengers on sailings of 16 nights or longer to take a test within three days of leaving, as well as those on full Panama Canal transits. Unvaccinated passengers will be required to show a negative test for all trips.
Independence Of The Seas
- Cruising from: Galveston, Texas since August 15, 2021
- Vaccine Requirement: Yes, for all passengers 12 and up
- Testing Requirements: Must present a negative result from a test within 48 hours at check-in, unvaccinated kids ages 2-11 must present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of check-in
- Onboard: Masks required indoors except when actively eating or drinking, and in some other scenarios
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Here Are The Cruise Lines Operating Right Now
While the cruise industry stages a comeback this summer in Europe and the Caribbean, a number of lines are already sailing in April.
Here are the cruise lines actually operating right now:
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean was one of the first cruise lines to resume service in Asia. The Quantum of the Seas has been sailing from Singapore since December, offering cruises to nowhere for local residents.
With three- and four-night sailings, the program is slated to continue until through October.
Currently, the cruise line , including the Odyssey of the Seas from Israel and the Adventure of the Seas from the Bahamas.
Region: Asia Singapore
– Quantum of the Seas
Genting Cruise Lines
Genting is currently back in service with its Dream Cruises brand. After first restarting operations in July 2020, the Asian cruise line has two ships sailing, including the World Dream, which is offering short cruises to nowhere from Singapore.
Another Genting brand, Star Cruises , with the Star Pisces. The vessel is slated to offer cruises from Penang, Malaysia.
Region: Asia Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia
Ships currently in service: – Star Pisces
Serving the German market, Nicko Cruises is relaunching service on April 10. With the new World Navigator, the company is offering cruises to the Canaries from Tenerife.
Region: Europe – Canaries
– World Voyager
Currently, the brand is only sailing in the Canaries, with the Mein Schiff 1 and the Mein Schiff 2.
Why Choose Anywhere But Tampa
Why Port Tampa Bay is an ideal homeport for cruise lines wanting to offer exciting itineraries and pre- and post-cruise activities
As any itinerary planner knows, cruises provide guests with a unique and wonderful way to explore the world, allowing them to continuously move between beautiful locations and make memories that will last a lifetime. Every port of call on an itinerary plays a vital role in creating an enjoyable cruise experience, but what about the homeport?
Embarkation is as crucial to the overall cruise experience as the ship, its onboard amenities and the itinerary of picturesque ports. A homeport that is easy to navigate, and provides a variety of unique and interesting activities just steps from the ship? Now thats an attractive prospect for guests. And thats exactly what cruise operators and their itinerary planners will find at Port Tampa Bay on Floridas West Coast.
Positive impressions start from the moment the cruise guests arrive at the modern, award-winning Tampa International Airport. The airport is a convenient 15-minute drive from the Channelside District in Downtown Tampa, which enables travellers to get a view of the water and soak up the Florida vibe and sunshine before they arrive at one of the three cruise terminals.
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Does It Pay To Plan Ahead Or Should I Wait Until The Last Minute
Its an age-old question does the early bird really get the worm, or are there perks to taking a wait-and-see approach? If youre booking a cruise vacation, youll find there are benefits to both strategies. Planning ahead is a great way to score big savings, as Royal Caribbean often runs early saver deals to guests booking well in advance. Its also pretty safe to assume prices usually go up as availability goes down the closer you get to your sail date, so booking ahead is a surefire way to lock in a great rate. That said, booking a cruise at the last minute can also yield some unexpected savings but only if the itinerary youre interested in hasnt sold out yet.
Are Hospitality Industry Shortages Affecting Cruising
If theres one ongoing issue affecting the cruise industry, its staff shortages, which is having a serious impact on the whole hospitality sector. Princess Cruises*, for example, has had to cancel 11 voyages out of San Diego on Diamond Princess because of labour shortages. P& O Cruises* and Cunard* were also affected earlier in the summer.
If you are affected by a cruise being cancelled for this reason, you should receive a full refund, a discount on a future cruise and possibly some on-board spending money as a sweetener.
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Which Caribbean Ports Are Still Closed To Cruise Ships In 2022
All major Caribbean cruise ports are now accepting cruise ships and many have relaxed their rules. But any ship reporting Covid cases on board is likely to be turned away and Covid is still circulating. Grenada was particularly active earlier in the year in turning away cruise ships with Covid cases on board, as were St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands and Ocho Rios in Jamaica.
Theres good news, too, for anybody joining a Caribbean cruise that departs from a US port. As the US has removed its requirement for a negative Covid test on entry, youll no longer have to test before flying to your US departure point. This includes Puerto Rico.
Always Consider Travel Insurance
You probably need travel insurance for your cruise. Most importantly, make sure you have adequate coverage for medical evacuations . For some types of trips, insurance is optional. But not for cruises. Not a week goes by that my advocates dont receive a case from someone who didnt have enough travel insurance and faced a large bill at the end of a cruise. Dont let that happen to you.
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Cruise Lines That Dont Require Covid Vaccines
Do you have to be vaccinated to go on a cruise? The answer is quickly changing, but it depends.
The long answer is that vaccine requirements vary by cruise line, cruise ship, and departure port/destination. Currently, major cruise lines are re-evaluating their Covid protocols, including requiring passengers to be vaccinated. This is largely in part due to Covid becoming far less deadly, and society’s desire to move past the lockdowns and restrictions.
Many U.S.-based cruise lines restarted cruises with mainly vaccinated guests, and the vaccination requirement remains in place for these lines. Some lines have even begun requiring children be vaccinated, such as Disney Cruise Line. Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, allows unvaccinated kids on their ships. However, lines that planned to welcome unvaccinated adults have had to get stricter about vaccine requirements to adhere to new government policies.
Heres the current list of cruise lines that do not require Covid vaccines to sail, for travelers who cannot or choose not to get the shot.
August 22, 2022
What Is The Best Time To Cruise To The Usa
The best time to cruise in the USA will vary greatly depending on the region. Cruises sailing from or stopping in Florida or Southern California are available year-round, but regions like Alaska, New England and the Pacific Northwest are primarily summer and early-fall destinations. Beyond ocean cruises, river cruises also depend greatly on the region.
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Drawbacks Of An Agent
- If its a small shop, you may not have 24/7 support. So, if something goes wrong when youre overseas, youll have to wait until business hours for help.
- Agents are not free. You may be charged a fee to book airfare and make other arrangements, although there may not be a fee for booking the cruise itself .
- Agents are often incentivized by commissions and bonuses called overrides from cruise lines that reward them for booking a lot of itineraries with the same company. First and foremost, an ethical agent will make sure the cruise is the right one for you, but some agents, sadly, go straight for the highest commission. Travel agents can make 10 percent or more in commissions and overrides from your cruise. Ive heard of these kickbacks going as high as 14 percent.
Seeing The World Next Year
So what happened to Copas? He and his wife had originally planned a Holland America world cruise this year. But they canceled out of an abundance of caution. Now they have their sights set on a 128-day sailing next year that takes them to ports of call in Europe, the Middle East, India, Asia and North America.
That may be the best advice: If youre unsure about cruising, maybe youre better off waiting for calmer seas.
We understand that there may be some inconveniences, including mask wearing and COVID tests, he says. But we are all in on getting back to sea.
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The Cruise Lines That Are Back
In all, nine cruise lines have restarted sailings on at least one vessel somewhere around the world, and thats if you only count lines that operate relatively large oceangoing ships.
Quite a few cruise companies that offer river cruises on small river ships have resumed sailings, too, mostly in Europe.
There also are some cruises taking place around the world on very small lake- or oceangoing vessels such as the 12-person boats operated in Scotland by the Majestic Line, or the 49-passenger sailing yacht Galileo operated in the Greek Islands by Variety Cruises.
We dont include the latter cruise companies in our list below. We also dont include shipping companies that operate passenger ferries or other passenger vessels that arent pure cruise ships, such as the company that operates the half-cargo, half-passenger vessel in French Polynesia called Aranui 5. Aranui 5 resumed carrying passengers along with cargo to Polynesian islands in July.
We also arent counting two cruise lines that restarted cruising over the summer only to quickly shut down the sailings after COVID-19 scares.
Norway-based Hurtigruten resumed a limited number of voyages out of Norway and Germany in June and July but halted them just a few weeks later after a COVID-19 outbreak on one of the lines ships. The outbreak sickened dozens of crew and passengers.
Is The Mekong Open Yet
Good news for fans of Asian river cruising: river cruises through Cambodia and Vietnam on the Mekong are making a comeback. Vikings Mekong riverboat Viking Saigon is already sailing, as are five small ships operated by French-owned CroisiEurope. Luxury river line AmaWaterways has also announced the resumption of its Mekong cruises from October 17 on the riverboat AmaDara. And with Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia opening again to tourism, theres increasing scope for adding a land stay onto your Mekong cruise.
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Assume That Everyone Has Tested Negative For Covid
Similarly, many lines are ending their previous pre-embarkation testing requirements. In July 2022, Virgin Voyages was the first to no longer require proof of a negative COVID test to board, and Norwegian and Royal Caribbean quickly followed. While cruise lines still encourage passengers to test if they feel sick, and not sail if positive, the requirement to show proof of a negative test is being eliminated en masse.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Us Entry Testing No Longer Required For International Air Travelers
As of 12:01AM ET on Sunday, June 12, 2022, U.S. CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. This change does not impact Royal Caribbean cruise testing requirements, which remain in place. To learn more, visit our Testing Requirements FAQ.
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What Us Cruise Ships Are Sailing Right Now
After a pause of more than 450 days, cruise ships are now sailing. North American cruise operators started service in June 2021. And while all the major cruise lines are now back at sea, the return to cruising has taken a phased approach, with ships returning to service one at a time and some cruise lines keeping vessels idle until well into 2022.
Weve compiled a list of cruise ships currently sailing from North American ports, the date they returned to service, and important things to know if you want to sail on each ship.
Can I Cruise The Rhine And European Rivers Due To The Low Water Levels
Low water levels around this time of year are not unusual on the Rhine and Danube, although 2022 has been especially dry and conditions are serious. Cruise lines are watching nervously as water levels drop the area around Kaub, in the narrow Rhine Gorge, is suffering particularly low water. Rain is forecast, but when the river is this low, cruise ships cant pass.
Cruise lines get round the problem by operating ship swaps. AmaWaterways, Viking and Avalon* are already doing this by operating identical ships in opposite directions on the same itinerary. The ships sail to either side of the problem area. Youll be asked to pack your bags in the morning before you head off on an excursion. The crew swap the bags to the same cabin on the twin ship waiting on the other side of the shallow water. You return from your excursion and all thats changed is the name of your ship.
Water levels on the Seine, Rhône, Elbe and Douro remain normal and cruises on those rivers are unaffected.
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