Can Cruise Lines Survive COVID-19? Absolutely!

By Sarah Gallo

When the cruise industry—and the world—came to a screeching halt last year, many questioned whether the fleets would ever return to sea. They had good reason. But can the cruise lines survive COVID-19, even after being in port for over a year? Absolutely! If anything, cruising is coming back stronger and safer than ever before. Many cruise lines have resumed operations for the summer season and have taken extraordinary measures to ensure that all passengers feel safe from embarkation to disembarkation. And us cruisers? We’re here for it!

Travel has been discouraged and difficult for the past year, and people are tired of being cooped up at home, unable to hug their loved ones, or socialize with friends. But, on the flip side, we’re all so mentally drained from the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic that the idea of planning a trip as restrictions ease just sounds daunting and exhausting.

As someone who’s been to over a hundred countries across all seven continents, it should go without saying that I’ve planned many trips and adventures of all kinds. I’m usually on the road ten months a year, and I find few things more exciting than planning a new trip. Yet now, I just want someone to figure it all out for me.

And that is the beauty of cruising! All you have to do is choose your destination, determine which cruise line is the best fit for you, and leave the rest of the logistics up to your cruise team! Sometimes it’s nice not to have anything to do other than show up to the port on time.

Now, more than ever, people of all ages and demographics want to travel easily. They don’t want to figure out which countries are open for tourists, which land operators are following safety guidelines, or what to do if a border closes—and based on personal experience, you certainly don’t want to get stuck overseas (the pandemic broke out while I was on assignment in the Arctic).

With cruising, you don’t need to worry about these circumstances because someone else is in control. In giving up the reins, you allow yourself to experience the joy of cruising with those you love and cherish. You can disconnect, unwind, catch up, and recharge while experiencing some of the world’s most beautiful destinations.

You may be thinking that cruise ships would be a little too close for comfort post-pandemic, but it’s worth mentioning that most cruise lines have taken extraordinary measures to ensure the safety and health of all their passengers. You can safely enjoy a stress-free vacation with those you love. Here are some of the things cruise lines have implemented to help you feel comfortable again at sea!

Increased sanitation efforts

Cruise ships have always been one step ahead of hotels and other resorts. Even prior to the pandemic, they had hand sanitization stations near all major touchpoints, particularly at the entry/exit points of the ship and at the entry/exit points of all major restaurants. I always thought it was overkill, but the joke is clearly on me!

To take it all a step further, cruise lines have implemented medical-grade air filtration systems on their ships and have also begun providing access to increased medical resources on board.

Mandatory vaccines

In addition to increased sanitation measures, an increasing number of cruise lines are implementing strict vaccination requirements to better ensure the safety of their guests. Prior to embarkation, proof of vaccination (the final shot having been administered at a minimum of two weeks prior) is required for many cruise adventures, in addition to proof of a negative COVID-19 test (cruise line dependent) and daily rapid saliva PCR tests. Cruisers I know—myself included—support this mandate, as it allows the comfort of knowing that everyone on board cares about the health and well-being of not only themselves but others too!

Safety on board and off

With reduced occupancy, some modified itineraries, and enhanced health protocols, guests can rest assured that the cruise lines are doing everything possible to increase safety both on board and ashore. For example, Cunard Cruises announced new protocols on board, including appropriate social distancing, new ways of using on-board services, and mask-wearing in certain areas of the ship.

Even as COVID-19 requirements change quickly as guidelines evolve, the cruise lines are working in collaboration with their land-based tour partners to ensure health and safety measures at each destination. You don’t need to stress over choosing a safe tour operator because they are picked and vetted for you prior to your departure.

Is it all worth it?

COVID-19 certainly didn’t doom the cruise industry! Your vacation-at-sea awaits as you reunite with loved ones and set off to see the world, one port at a time. Many families are eager to get back to sea, as it’s a safe and affordable way for people to spend time together again after a difficult year. With the stress and uncertainty of the last year, it’s comforting to see the ships heading back to sea, reuniting loved ones in a fun and relaxing space!

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