Important Note: It is a piece of the latest travel advice for all the passengers to consult the US CDC advisories, warnings, and recommended precautions before making the bookings. If a certain level of virus infection is found on the cruise, either before or during the voyage, then the journey will stop immediately. The cruise will return to the port and the travel of the passengers will be restricted until further notice.
For all the cruises and the passengers, 2020 was really a tough year. The cruise industry worldwide had to shut down and stop its services right from march 2020 due to the spread of the deadly virus COVID-19. In the month of November, with the opening of the world, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a conditional sailing order by which the department provided the cruise operators permission to restart the services. But this order comes with the latest travel advice that specifies the requirements that the operators need to follow for resuming the service. This made people eager to enjoy a cruise journey again. But there is one question that keeps on emerging- Is it safe to travel on a cruise ship? This is the most difficult and common question that travelers have. There is no yes/no answer to this question as it all depends on the traveler’s health and the risk they are willing to take.
Despite the latest travel advice by the CDC, many operators prefer to keep their services shut. Not all cruises open the gates for the passengers, only some do. This is because the world is still addressing the difficulties of the Coronavirus and the primary focus of all the cruise operators is to provide all the guests with a healthy and safe journey. For ensuring safety, many operators took the decision to prolong the suspension of sailing operations. As per the US CDC, all the sailing departments are suspended for a few more months. The date of the service operation will differ from cruise to cruise. Until then all the voyages are canceled by most of the companies.
Although the CDC gave the green light to cruise travel, the industry watchers are still doubtful to label the journey as 100% safe. Although the department granted permission to resume the services, they are taking several precautions. To limit the spread of SARS-COV-2 on the cruise, the US CDC keeps a regular check and provides periodic latest travel advice on the COVID-19 threats and travel. Recently CDC warned the travelers and informed them about the higher risks of virus spread while traveling by air, bus, rail, and even cruises. Since people have to share or live in close quarters on the ship, it increases the chance of the virus spreading. With the higher risks of virus spread, CDC asked cruise ship travelers to reschedule their bookings for some time in the future. Especially for individuals with a higher risk of several diseases, CDC provides important travel advice to cancel or reschedule the voyage. However, if the traveler still wants to go on a cruise amidst the coronavirus pandemic, then he/she should have to follow some of the general guidelines.
The travel advice by the department is to avoid any kind of travel, especially by cruises, at this time when the whole world is at great risk. Even after the recommendation of the CDC to avoid cruise travel, the ultimate decision remains with the travelers. If the travelers are interested to go on a voyage, then they have to comply with the strict guidelines and remember the latest travel advice. Some of the advice that the department had laid down are:
1. All the passengers to go on the cruise have to get tested 3-5 days after the trip. Till the time the cruises declare the provision for vaccination, testing will remain the key. Always remember, if you don't get tested or it comes positive, you will end up being stuck abroad that you haven’t intended.
2. Together with the test, it is mandatory to stay at home for 7 days after the travel. This is one of the latest travel advice and is required to be considered even for the travelers who tested negative for the COVID.
3. Providing the options to the passengers, the travel advisories ask them to stay in the home for a period of at least 10 days, if they don’t want to get tested.
4. Wearing masks is mandatory on the cruise whenever a passenger is out from their cabin.
5. If any passenger is feeling unwell or came in contact with the virus-infected person, any time before 14 days of travel, then it is recommended to not board the cruise.
6. It is recommended to all the travelers to stay at a certain distance i.e. 6 feet with all the passengers who are not going with you on the cruise. This is important for keeping all the passengers safe whom you are going to meet on the board.
7. In case any passenger gets sick on the voyage and sees the symptoms of COVID-19, then he/she should immediately get in touch with the medical center and inform them about it.
Not being a part of the latest travel advice by CDC, there are many cruises that are taking preventive measures for keeping their passengers and workers safe. The precautions that the operators are taking are mentioned underneath.
1. Basic temperature screening of all the passengers and checking of their health declaration before boarding the cruise.
2. Infrared fever checking so as to know the true condition of the passenger. This will be done at the gangway and passengers will only be allowed to enter if they don’t have a fever.
3. Online check-in for all the guests. This will help keep the terminal free from the passenger’s crowd and will help in reducing the risk of infection.
4. High level of sanitization and disinfection of all the passenger bags, the ship, and everything. The sanitization will be done twice a day and in all the cabins of the guests as well as the corridors. When it comes to the public areas, they will be sanitized every few hours.
5. Timely removal of all the waste material for eliminating the risk of bacteria generation.
6. Sitting arrangements for all the guests in restaurants, cinemas, and other places are done keeping in mind the social distance.
7. Self-service has been suspended to reduce the crowd of the guests at the counter. All the meals will be served to the customers by the cruise members. They all will serve wearing masks and gloves and take all the required precautions.
8. Cruises have banned the culinary use of any kind of wild animal and its related products during the pandemic.
9. All the equipment that will come in use in any kind of entertainment and recreational activities will be sanitized every 2 hours and before the use of the guests.
10. The capacity of the guests to enjoy the entertainment activities is reduced in order to follow the social distancing restrictions.
11. For lowering down the risk of air transmission on cruises, one of the latest travel advice or precautions is to supply only the filtered air into the cabins of the guests. There will be no air recirculation between the cabins.
These are the latest travel advice and precautions that cruises are taking for serving travelers with a safe and healthy journey. Make sure you keep this in mind before you travel. Happy Journey!!!