What Are The Rules For Cruising In 2021
Cruising policies and protocols vary by cruise line and country, according to Chris Gray Faust, managing editor of Cruise Critic. In the U.S., cruise lines are following guidance from the CDC for the next steps in moving towards a resumption.
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Ships sailing out of the Caribbean are following the testing and safety guidelines of those countries, and are also implementing vaccination requirements.
Cruises And Managing Outbreaks
Back in February, the Diamond Princess case made cruising the poster child for rapid coronavirus spread. While not being allowed to dockand thus, disembark passengersinfected guests were contained together for an extended period of time , furthering both disease spread and widespread headlines of cruise ship disaster.
It’s nothing new: Cruise ships regularly make headlines for outbreaks, most notably the norovirus. While all manner of travel assumes risk, infectious disease doctors point out that cruise ships have certain qualities that heighten the risk of an outbreak, particularly in scenarios with a large number of passengers and crew from different locations, staying together in relatively close quarters and using shared facilities. This raises the possibility for person-to-person spread of certain infections, as well as outbreaks spread via contaminated surfaces or food and water, says Henry Wu, M.D., director of Emory’s TravelWell Center in Atlanta.
Yet because of these factors, cruise lines have a wealth of experience in managing outbreaksand over time, have incorporated safety considerations that you won’t find on flights or in hotels, making them particularly adept at responding when things do go wrong.
Is Your Cruise Ship Safe How To Check Its Covid
A new color-coded system adds new information to cruise safety.
If you have already booked a cruise or are in the throes of deciding whether or not to take one, you might be having second thoughts after listening to news reports of COVID-19 outbreaks at sea.
The CDC has recently reported that 15 of the 24 ships currently sailing in U.S. waters with paying passengers have experienced outbreaks of the virus on board.
Because traveling in the era of COVID is never risk-free, up-to-date information can help travelers make better-informed decisions, taking into account their personal health status and willingness to take risks.
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Advice For Cruise Travellers
For many Canadians, a cruise is the perfect way to explore foreign shores. However, like all international travel, cruising calls for careful planning and attention to personal safety.
Careful planning is the key to successful travel and to ensuring your well-being abroad. Before you leave Canada and during your trip, follow these tips.
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Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Where they sail: Regent Seven Seas offers all-inclusive luxury cruises around the globe, which include perks like free airfare, free excursions, and complimentary unlimited drinks on board. The company is also offering free multi-day land extensions before and after sailings for several cruises leaving between October 2021 and March 2022.
Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding.
What other safety measures are in place: All guests must take a rapid antigen test before boarding. Staterooms will be cleaned with “intensive non-toxic microbial disinfection” each day.
Find out more: Royal Caribbean International
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The Cruise Was At Less Than One
I’ll almost be sad to see when things go back to normal because you never had to wait for an elevator or look for a pool seat.
The staff was really great and eager to have everyone back on board. Every single person, no matter which hall or promenade you were walking through, said, “Hello, thank you for sailing with us again.”
You could see they were very cautious because their jobs depended on it. At one point, a server tripped and spilled some wine in the restaurant and started crying. You could tell they were on edge and wanted to make sure things went great, but they’re always going above and beyond anyway.
Getting Ahead Of The Risk Factors
The biggest challenge facing the industry is to identify and put into place measures that manage risk, says Brian Salerno, senior vice president of maritime policy for CLIA. As of late, even with measures like pre-screening and increased sanitation protocols in place, there there have been outbreaks on small cruise liners carrying fewer than 250 passengers, which are not subject to the CDC’s no-sail advisory.
“We are still learning a lot about COVID-19 and how to prevent outbreaks in numerous situations. It is clear that our available screening tools are imperfect, and when cases are missed, significant outbreaks can occur,” says Dr. Wu. “Unless COVID prevalence is very low in the populations that passengers and crew come from, our screening tools are not good enough to ensure the absence of cases on board. Without better screening tools or an effective vaccine, the only other tools to prevent outbreaks are the distancing, masking, and hygiene recommendations.
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Cruise Line Cancellation Policies
Princess is offering affected travelers the chance to transfer 100 percent of the money paid for their canceled cruise to a future cruise of their choice. Also, they will be adding extra credit to those who take advantage of this offer. In some cases, passengers can request a cash refund. Cruisers on a canceled Carnival cruise can either get a 100 percent refund or get a 100 percent credit for a future cruise as well as an onboard credit for their next cruise.
For many of the cruise lines that are still operating, uneasy passengers will have the option to cancel as well. Regent is offering its guests the option to cancel up to 48 hours before embarkation. Travelers receive a 100 percent future cruise credit, which can be applied to any new booking within one year. Those who have paid and are denied boarding will also receive a credit.
Carnival is allowing guests through Sept. 2020 to cancel their cruises for future cruise credits. Guests traveling in March may cancel up to three days before sailing, while guests cruising in April may cancel through March 31, 2020. Otherwise, you have 30 days from embarkation. Guests who sail as scheduled will receive additional onboard credits. Royal Caribbean’s policy is similar, allowing guests on sailings through July 31, 2020, to cancel up to 48 hours in advance.
Whats Between You And That Cocktail On The Beach
There is some housekeeping to do before youre on a sandy Bimini beach with a rum punch in hand. All passengers age 12 and up must be fully vaccinated to cruise on most lines. Proof of vaccination along with a negative PCR test is required to book your ticket.
Although Crystal allows a limited number of unvaccinated kids on board, parents should know that they cant freely move around the ship or disembark at every port. The usual kids programming is not offered and the pool, specialty restaurants and most public areas are off-limits, making another family vacation option perhaps a better move.
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What Color Is Your Ship
A color-coded system developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can provide helpful information about the COVID-19 status of cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters.
A table on the CDC website, which promises to be updated several times a week, assigns each ship a color statusgreen, orange, yellow, red or gray.
The color-coding is based on both surveillance data collected over the previous 7-day period as well as the findings of any CDC investigations.
These are the CDC definitions of each of the color codes:
Green: No COVID-19 cases or COVID-19-like illnesses are reported onboard
Orange: Reported cases are below the CDC threshold for investigation, which varies for
restricted voyages, simulated voyages and ships with crew-only
Yellow: The ship meets the threshold for investigation , or a state or local health department has notified the CDC of passenger cases occurring within five days of disembarkation
Red: The ship is at or above the threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases. Based on CDC investigation, the ship is subject to additional public health precautions. such as immediate return to port or delay of the next voyage
Gray: The ship operators health and safety protocol hasnt been reviewed or confirmed by the CDC this only applies to ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida that chose not to follow the CDC Conditional Sail Order voluntarily.
Planning Way Ahead With Flexibility
Given the surge of infections globally and shifting regulations, most cruise lines are selling future itineraries with flexible cancellation policies that allow travelers to roll their investment forward to a future cruise if they decide to cancel. And now space is getting tight for some popular itineraries because so many people who had planned to sail in 2020 have already rebooked for 2021 and beyond, says June Kleier, a travel adviser based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She adds that many received 125 percent credit on their future sailings and so they have been upgrading to nicer cabins.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on September 1, 2020. It’s been updated to reflect new developments, including the CDCs changes to its rules for cruise lines.
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International Holidays Are Back
After our summer of UK coastal cruises, its time to take our ships further afield as we begin international cruising once again. Initially Britannia, Iona and soon Ventura will take to the seas with Azura following in December. Were so looking forward to when Aurora and Arcadia can also return to service.
Now that we are sailing internationally it is imperative that we work hand in hand with our regional partners in the destinations we visit and that we comply with their local protocols and entry requirements. Our ships need to be able to berth and we need to ensure that our guests are able to enjoy time ashore –whether that is independently or on organised experiences and those options may vary according to the port.
For the latest information on the requirements of the ports we visit,
Our suite of protocols is designed to adapt as needed to evolve to the changing public health situation related to COVID-19 and as such we need to make a change to the vaccination policy for all Caribbean holidays on Britannia and Azura. Given the long-haul destinations, the number of ports of call in different countries combined with the current health protocols and entry requirements in the Caribbean, all guests of all ages will need to be fully vaccinated in order to travel on any Caribbean holiday up to and including 27 March 2022. This policy will also include our long Caribbean cruises on Ventura and Aurora leaving in January and February next year.
Is It Safe To Cruise Now Your Questions About Boarding A Cruise Ship Post
After headlines were made by COVID-19 outbreaks onboard cruises at the start of the pandemic, the cruise industry has been reeling. Now in the spring of 2021, with vaccination rates steadily increasing, many are wondering, Is it safe to cruise now? When will cruises open back up?
When it comes to cruises, there are many considerations for safety. Tight indoor spaces, lots of contact between guests, and international travel make these trips some of the most difficult industries to regulate. With these challenges in mind many cruise lines are learning how to take those precautions for a safer sea journey.
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Ban On Cruise Vessels In Canadian Waters
Cruise vessels in all Canadian waters and pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic water are prohibited until November 1, 2021. This means:
- adventure-seeking pleasure craft are prohibited from entering Arctic waters
- passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast
- cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.
- smaller cruise ships certified to carry 100 or fewer people are not banned
The Government of Canada will continue to evaluate the situation and make changes as necessary to ensure the health and safety of all Canadians. Should the COVID-19 pandemic sufficiently improve to allow the resumption of these activities, the Minister of Transport has the ability to rescind the ban.
Is Cruising The Safest Way To Travel Right Now
Passenger ships sometimes are undeservedly derided as floating petri dishes usually by people who have never sailed but cruising has emerged as an especially safe way to travel at this time.
Ive been on three cruises since mid-June, and thoughts of COVID-19 rarely entered my mind when I was onboard. Thats because all passengers were required to provide vaccination proof and many times to test within a certain time frame or at the port before boarding. Sometimes passengers are tested mid-cruise. When overseas, all are tested again before disembarking, since a negative result is required to re-enter the U.S.
Once onboard, masks are generally required when moving around the ship but are removed when drinking or dining. I have to say, I dont mind taking off my mask when I know my dining companions are vaccinated.
Onboard passenger capacities are still reduced. Dining tables are set for smaller groups, and there are social-distancing reminders. Hand sanitizer and masks are placed in every stateroom.
Cruising took its hits early on in the pandemic, back before anyone really knew what we were dealing with. There was an outbreak on a ship quarantined by the Japanese government. Several countries blocked cruise ships from docking. But those cruise ships were not the cause of the outbreaks the passengers on those unfortunate cruises boarded before or right as health officials began sounding the alarm.
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Is A Cruise Safe Right Now To Go On For A Vacation
Perhaps no other industry has been singled out for being of concern because of the Covid-19 pandemic as cruise ships.
Cruise ships were front page news in early 2020 when the virus was completely unknown and a few ships in Asia quickly found themselves with cases onboard and no protocols to handle it.
Since then, the cruise industry has learned a lot from what health professionals around the world have advised, and cruise lines are armed with more stringent Covid-19 protocols than any school, workplace, or theme park in the world.
If you’re concerned about going on a cruise because it be unsafe, here is what you need to know about the changes cruise lines have made to make cruising safe again.
Essential Items For Your 2021 Cruise
If you want to cruise in 2021, here’s what you need:
A vaccine or a negative coronavirus test. Although none of the major cruise lines have announced a vaccine requirement, insiders believe it’s just a matter of time before they do. “Obviously, vaccines will play a very important role going forward,” says Paul Rutter, a customer service expert who works with cruise lines. “But until the vast majority of the population is vaccinated, testing will be key.”
Will I need to get vaccinated to go on a cruise? Lines lines start announcing vaccination requirements for travelers
A travel adviser. A cruise can be a complicated purchasing decision. There’s airfare, ground transportation, shore excursions and hotels. Lots of moving parts! And now, there are also health and safety precautions. Annie Scrivanich, senior vice president of Cruise Specialists, says her advisers have been busy learning the new requirements. “They know the onboard protocols and additional measures taken by each cruise line,” she says. “And they are your advocates before, during and after your cruise vacation.”
Travel insurance. To give you peace of mind, consider travel insurance. Most policies will cover medical expenses and evacuation. Even if you don’t have a serious condition, medical transportation to get you home can cost $100,000 or more without insurance. “The cost of insurance is so much less than an air ambulance trip,” says Ben Carothers, a flight coordinator at Global Air Ambulance.
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Do I Have To Be Vaccinated To Go On A Cruise
Currently companies operating out of the Caribbean and some European countries only require a negative COVID-19 test, but in the futureas more people have had access to the vaccinethis is likely to change. It is likely that most major US cruise lines are are going to require vaccinations prior to boarding. This requirement will likely be waived if you can prove a medical exception such as having a medical condition that makes vaccination risky.
Relying On A Negative Covid Test Is Also A Flawed Strategy
If you don’t quarantine for two weeks before your pre-boarding Covid test, the test is “basically irrelevant,” Ostrosky says.
To make cruises genuinely safe, he says, companies would need to require mandatory two-week quarantines for each passenger and crew member, negative Covid tests 24 to 48 hours before boarding and another negative Covid test immediately after boarding. That’s an onerous process, and difficult to organize and pull off, especially in the middle of a passenger’s vacation.
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Cruise Cancellations Down Under
Princess Cruises, P& O Australia, and Carnival Cruise Line have announced further suspensions in Australia. The Carnival-owned cruise lines had multiple ships operating in the area and planned to resume with fully vaccinated Australian guests and crew members soon.
However, uncertainty regarding protocols, government guidance, and public health requirements has put the cruise lines in a spot where further cancellations are the only option.
P& O Australia Cruises that have been affected include cruises scheduled to depart from December 18, 2021, through to January 14, 2022, for cruises sailing from Brisbane and January 18, 2022, for cruises sailing out of Sydney. The cruise line has also cancelled Melbournes summer cruise season, the latest extension making it no longer feasible to operate.
Princess Cruises has cancelled all voyages until January 27, citing the uncertainty of cruises returning to the region as the main reason. There are three Princess cruise ships impacted by this.
Voyages on board Coral Princess through January 17 have been cancelled, and cruises onboard Royal Princess and Sapphire Princess through March 2022 are also cancelled.