Cruises Are ‘a Recipe For Transmission’
Even on a good day outside of the pandemic, cruises are challenging environments from an infection-control standpoint, Ostrosky says.
On a cruise, you often spend time in shared common areas. You eat and drink indoors at buffet restaurants with large communal tables, attend shows in theaters and touch all kinds of surfaces, from railings to casino games. If an outbreak happens at sea, you’re restricted to the boat, which can make the outbreak harder to contain and treat.
“It’s just a recipe for transmission,” Ostrosky says. That’s why it’s common to see outbreaks of other contagious respiratory or gastrointestinal viruses, like norovirus, aboard cruises.
Cruises are even particularly risky when compared to other types of travel, like driving or flying, because they present more opportunities for prolonged exposure. “Frankly, the risk on a two-hour flight where everyone is masked and airflow is good is than being on a cruise ship for five days straight,” says Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer at the University of Michigan.
Cdcs Rules For Cruise Ships Are Set To Expire November 1 What Then
In just weeks, the CDCs rules that govern the return of cruise ships are set to expire, opening up the possibility of changes in the sailing experience for cruise passengers.
The Centers for Disease Controls Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships lays out the requirements for cruise lines in order to sail again. The order was first published in October 2020, along with three different possibilities for when it would expire:
- The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
Now nearly a year later the health crisis continues to be an issue, but the November 1 deadline is fast approaching.
Cruise News: Whats The Latest From The Industry
Tuesday January 18 2022, 12:00pm
As Omicron continues to sweep around the world, cruising is facing uncertain times for the immediate future, at least. Outbreaks of Covid among passengers and crew mean ships are suddenly being turned away from some Caribbean and Mexican ports in what would normally be peak season. There have been cases in Europe, too, of infected passengers being disembarked and transferred to medical facilities ashore to quarantine. Some cruise lines have delayed the great comeback theyd announced for 2022.
Yet is this all gloom and doom? No. Read on to understand more about why were hearing so much about Covid on cruise ships, how it might affect your travel plans and what there is to look forward to later in 2022.
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Why Cruise In November
If you’re thinking of a late-autumn getaway, there are many November cruises to choose from, with varied and exciting itineraries which visit some truly memorable destinations.
There’s a world of possibilities when it comes to November cruises, with a wealth of incredible itineraries available, taking you on epic journeys to iconic and beautiful destination all over the world. Read on to learn more about some of the most popular November cruise destinations and get in touch now to book your dream cruise getaway.
Health Protocols For November 2021 Cruises
Royal Caribbean released its November cruise protocols just last week, and there is not much change at all from the October protocols.
Royal Caribbean requires all passengers 12 years old and older to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination at check-in.
Guests under 12, who are currently ineligible for the vaccine, can still cruise as long as they continue to provide a negative test result at boarding and follow certain health and safety protocols.
All passengers must also get a negative Covid-19 test completed before the cruise. The test can be either a PCR or antigen test. Vaccinated guests can get their test done up to 2 days before sailing, while unvaccinated kids can get their test done up to 3 days before the sailing.
Masks are required in the terminal, in select locations inside the ship, and may be required at various destinations. Guests under 2 years old dont need a mask.
One notable change is for cruises sailing from Puerto Rico, where you may need to provide a negative test result if flying to Puerto Rico before your cruise.
Another change is the requirement for all cruise passengers, regardless of vaccination, to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion at select islands in order to disembark the ship:
- St. Lucia
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Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Allure of the Seas – Arriving 2022
Adventure of the SeasRoyal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas offers four and five-night Western Caribbean cruises seasonally including Cozumel, Puerto Costa Maya, and the Yucatan as ports of call.
Liberty of the SeasRoyal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas offers seven-night Western Caribbean cruises year round including Isla Roatan, Honduras Belize City Belize Cozumel, Mexico Falmouth, Jamaica Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Montego Bay, Jamaica and Costa Maya, Mexico as ports of call.
Seychelles To Welcome Back Cruise Ships In November
Seychelles will welcome back cruise ships in November
Seychelles will be reopening its shores to cruise ships in November 2021.
Launching the 2021-2022 cruise season on November 14, 2021, will be the MS Island Sky, the first cruise vessel to sail to Seychelles since the closure of the destination to cruise ships in March 2020. As per the decision taken by the countrys authorities in March 2021 relating to the size of the vessels and limiting their carrying passenger capacity, Seychelles will only be welcoming smaller vessels with a maximum of 300 passengers.
Island Sky, operated by London-based Noble Caledonia, is a relatively small cruise ship with a carrying capacity of 118 passengers a regular sight in the Seychelles waters prior to the pandemic, she will be calling at four of the Seychelles outer islands, namely Aldabra, Assomption, Farquhar and Cosmoledo. MS Island Sky will be followed by other small cruise ships throughout the season.
Principal secretary for civil aviation, ports and marine, Alan Renaud, has said that throughout 2020, working in collaboration with the health authorities, tourism department, the port authority, and the tourism industry, the department, has implemented new procedures to allow the safe resumption of cruise ship visits to Seychelles.
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Royal Caribbean Cruises Highlights
- An incredible company that has been in operation since 1969.
- A well-known name in the cruise line industry, with service standards that accompany their length of time in the industry.
- Winner of a plethora of service awards, including “Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean,””Best Cruise Line Overall,” and “Best Cruise Ship Symphony of the Seas.”
- Amazing rooms in various sizes available for all of your accommodation needs and party sizes.
- Breathtaking views, offering you uninterrupted views of the water, the shores, and all of the beautiful sights of each destination.
- Unmatched customer service to make your trip a relaxing and unforgettable experience.
- Knowledgeable tour guides to accompany you to places that you might have never heard of.
- Lots of space to explore and get to know the ship.
Signs Of Sailing Safely Under The Order
There are signs that the rules put in place by the CSO and cruise lines are working well. Just like on land, there have been cases on cruise ships. But despite setting sail right at the start of the rise of the Delta variant and with dozens of ships now carrying passengers cases on ships appear low in number and quickly contained when found.
Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain shared a few weeks ago that his cruise line sailed with more than 500,000 passengers and only had 141 cases among guests . And while official case numbers are not announced by the CDC, when word does come of cases on a ship, they are typically among only a handful of people.
As well, industry group Cruise Lines International Association told Cruzely in a statement that worldwide over 2 million passengers have sailed since summer 2020, with a lower incident rate than we are seeing on land.
Furthermore, the CDC tracks cruise ships sailing in U.S. waters, which provide daily reports to the health agency regarding possible cases on board. From there, a color status is given to the ship based on the conditions during the seven days. The color status varies from green to orange, yellow, and red. A single case is enough to change the color status of a ship from green to another color.
Currently, around 75% of cruise ships have green status. No ship has received red status, indicating a sustained outbreak onboard.
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Cruising The Caribbean In November
As you may expect with winter fast approaching, the Caribbean is an extremely popular choice when it comes to November cruises, as many of us begin to plan our escapes from the cold. Whether you cruise from one of Florida’s sunny embarkation ports, San Juan in Puerto Rico or the UK port of Tilbury, you can be assured of a great itinerary.
From the tropical escape of Gustavia on St Bart’s and Antigua’s beautiful capital St John’s to the bustling shopping mecca of Castries on St Lucia and the enduring appeal of Barbados, there really is something for everyone cruising through the Caribbean in November.
What Are The Current Rules For Going On A Cruise
The UK may have relaxed its entry requirements with the scrapping of the pre-departure test and the day 2 PCR for vaccinated travellers. But other countries, and cruise lines themselves, continue to be extremely strict.
Be prepared for a lot more admin than you were used to pre-Covid. First, there are the form-filling and testing requirements to enter the destination from which your cruise departs. Everywhere is different, from passenger locator forms to PCR or antigen testing prior to entry, or on arrival. If you dont have the countrys required paperwork, you wont be allowed to board the flight to your embarkation port.
Taking a test to enter a country is at your expense. Cruise lines will then test you again at the departure terminal before embarkation, which you dont pay for. Youll have to show your NHS vaccination passes too, as well as filling in a health questionnaire, having your temperature taken and in some cases, having your blood oxygen levels tested with an oximeter.
While vaccinated travellers now only need an antigen test two days after their return, everybody entering the UK still has to fill in the Passenger Locator Form and without the form, you cant board the flight home. Make sure you cruise with a smartphone, tablet or laptop with internet access to complete the form, as the cruise line cant do it for you.
Whats Happening With River Cruises
While river cruising in Europe fizzled somewhat as Omicron took hold in December, 2022 is shaping up to bring a full comeback, with several new ships to look forward to. Arena River Cruises, Saga Cruises and APT Travelmarvel are all launching new ships, while German-owned A-ROSA is introducing A-ROSA Sena, the first riverboat with hybrid power that will enable it to glide silently into port.
Some interesting new products are being introduced, too. Riviera Travel has announced Cruise and Explore voyages on the Rhine, Rhône and Danube, a series of pared-down voyages that allow the passenger much more freedom. Guests arrange their own travel, book their own shore excursions and only eat one main meal a day on board. The ships will stay in port late so passengers can dine ashore. This is all reflected in the price, of course.
Something else to look forward to in 2022 is the Netherlands massive Floriade exhibition, which runs from mid-April for six months. Floriade is only held once every ten years and is one of the biggest garden festivals in the world. Cruises to Dutch and Belgian waterways next summer all offer a chance to visit, with transfers and entrance fees arranged.
Sailing The Mediterranean In November
The Mediterranean is also quite a popular destination for November cruises, as it still enjoys a generally favourable climate. World-famous cities such as Rome, Barcelona and Athens are all yours to explore and offer the very best in iconic architecture and historical attractions. Escape to your very own beach paradise in Corfu or in Palma de Mallorca, while further east, there’s the opportunity for a taste of the exotic in Turkey’s bustling capital Istanbul, where Europe and Asia meet in captivating style.
The rest of Europe boasts quite a few popular itineraries for November cruises, which call at such world-famous cities as Russia’s St Petersburg, Copenhagen in Denmark and Germany’s Hamburg. Memorable cities such as Portugal’s capital Lisbon, Helsinki in Finland and Estonia’s charming capital Tallinn are also yours to explore.
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Vaccine Requirements Help But Are Not Foolproof
Several cruise companies, including Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, are cracking down on vaccine requirements. It’s a good start, experts say but not enough.
While being fully vaccinated significantly reduces your risk of hospitalization or death from Covid, Ostrosky notes, the delta variant’s increased transmissibility means vaccination “no longer guarantees that you’re not going to acquire the infection, or be able to transmit it.” That means any vaccine mandates need to be paired with other safety measures, like wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
“We can try to do cruises as safely as possible, but we are going to have breakthrough cases,” says Ostrosky.
Another factor to keep in mind: The level of community spread in the place where you live or, in this case, where a cruise is departing from significantly affects your risk level. “When spread is extensive in the community, like it is in Florida right now, every everything becomes risky,” Malani says. “The idea of going on a cruise is that much riskier.”
Norwegian Cruise Line sued Florida’s top health official in July, requesting a preliminary injunction to let the company implement its vaccine mandate for all passengers and crew. The company won the case earlier this month, with U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams writing that Norwegian “demonstrated that public health will be jeopardized if it is required to suspend its vaccination requirement.”
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What Does The Latest Cruise Advice From The Cdc In The United States Mean
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised its cruising advisory to Level 4. This means Americans are advised against cruise travel, even if they are fully vaccinated. Its not a legal ruling just an advisory, although it has prompted outrage among the cruise lines.
Similar advisories have not been applied to hotels, airlines, theme parks, ski resorts or any other sector of travel. The issue with cruising is that even a single case of Covid on board has to be reported and outbreaks of 0.1 per cent of passengers and crew trigger an investigation by the CDC. So on a big ship with, say, a total of 6,500 people on board, including crew, this means that at the moment, just seven need to test positive to merit an investigation.
As a snapshot of the week to January 5, 94 US and foreign-flagged ships sailing in US waters were being monitored by the CDC for Covid on board, while only 16 were below the threshold for reporting, or had no reported cases. None in the CDCs colour coded chart had red status, which meant they had exceeded the threshold for reporting. But this doesnt mean cruising is grinding to a halt.
Nobody is expecting every cruise to be Covid-free even the CDC acknowledges this. But as Cruise Lines International Association , the industry body, points out: The majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little or no burden on medical resources on board or on shore.