Dreaming About Your Next Cruise? Those of us who are cruise holiday addicts are suffering severe withdrawal symptoms and getting impatient for the opportunity to go cruising again. We know it’s unlikely we will have our choice of cruises worldwide until at least late 2022, but the cruise lines just keep on filling our email box with exotic future cruise options, and we keep on dreaming (and sighing loudly)!
My cruise holiday dream is to travel to Europe and back over a 12-month period by taking a variety of cruises and stopping over, spending time in different locations along the way. I would create my own itinerary for a staggered, round the world cruise, with a few great train trips, some overland road trips and lots of exploring along the way. That is the dream and dreams are free!
However, it is highly likely “local cruises” in New Zealand and Australia will be our first available options for cruising, and the cruise we are most looking forward to is a New Zealand one. It’s a great way to see and appreciate some of the most picturesque cruise ports in the world, right here on our very own doorstep. The South Island fjords are just as stunning as those of Alaska or Norway. No other countries have a magnificent volcanic island in the middle of the harbour overlooking its biggest city. The constant natural beauty of our landscape as seen from the sea is simply stunning.
WHAT CHANGES CAN WE EXPECT ON THE POST-COVID CRUISES?
Like many travelers considering booking another cruise, we will need total reassurance that the cruise line has done everything and more to ensure our health, safety, and well-being by putting exceptional systems in place to deal with the Covid 19 risk. The most obvious changes will be seen in the following areas.
- VACCINES & TESTING
Most cruise lines will expect all passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated, and everyone will be tested for Covid 19 before embarking and throughout the cruise. There could be daily temperature checks with touchless apparatus, you may even be required to show a clean bill of health before you board and prove you have medical insurance. There will likely be designated quarantine cabins onboard and increased medical staff.
- MASKS & SOCIAL DISTANCING
Mask wearing and social distancing will be required in many situations on board, and on excursions. Passenger numbers will be limited and smaller cruise ships will become much more popular because of their smaller passenger numbers, which gives the perception they’re safer.
- UPGRADED FILTRATION SYSTEMS
Ships will upgrade the air filtration systems and ensure passengers feel confident the improved air quality is safe.
Passengers are going to expect a very high level of cleaning and sanitation practices, particularly in public areas. Robots using broad-spectrum UV lights will be busy decontaminating rooms and public spaces.
- THE FAMOUS BUFFETS
Buffets will never be the same! If they are available, they will be a contactless experience with the crew serving the food from behind clear screens. Some cruise ships will do away with buffets altogether have mandatory table service.
You may not be able to do your own exploring in cruise ports depending on the safety rating of the port. Offshore excursions may be mandatory small group tours. Masks and social distancing will be required.
- HIGH TECH
Digital technology will be everywhere! You’ll be given a wrist band or medallion which will act as your key card and pay for drinks and services, control your room lights and temperature, locate your friends or family on board, and help you navigate your way around the ship. It can also track where you are onboard, in case of an emergency.
You’ll have a specific boarding time for embarking and disembarking which will be as contactless as possible to avoid the pre-Covid queues and crowds. You will simply flash your phone at a scanner and carry on walking!
You will no longer be expected to attend a muster drill on deck with hundreds of other passengers. This will be done using technology from your cabins.
No more daily paper cruise events news sheets. These will be in digital format and entry to your cabin will be contactless.
It’s not only the cruise industry having to make major changes. All aspects of the travel industry are having to look very closely at their processes to build confidence and regain travelers’ trust. Health and safety precautions are seen to be the most important factors in the decision making of where and how travelers chose to travel. In all likelihood travel, will never be the same as it was pre Covid. In the meantime, we keep on gazing at the tempting offers the cruise lines keep sending to our email inboxes and keep on dreaming!
By Maureen Spencer from “So Many Places! So Little Time.”