Five Reasons to Book a Cruise Post–COVID-19
Even before the pandemic, we were wary of cruises because we considered travel on our own to be “more fun.” Now, it's one of our favorite ways to travel as outdoor adventure lovers, and I'll explain why.
“Wait, you’re going on a cruise? I don’t think you’re going to like it.”
“I can’t believe you chose a cruise for your honeymoon! That’s not like you!”
“Aren’t you a bit young for a cruise?”
These are just a handful of the reactions we got when we booked a two-week-long journey around the Caribbean, with a packed schedule: eight different islands, like the stunning St. Lucia and warm and welcoming Barbados.
Our travel schedules often have us running around from sunrise until sundown because we don’t know how to sit still and because I’m a little overzealous in creating travel “to do” lists. A cruise, we thought, would be the best way to give ourselves some “forced relaxation” on our honeymoon.
We weren’t wrong. Over the course of those two weeks, we found the perfect balance of rest and exploration—sipping margaritas poolside and swimming among a fever of stingrays in the open ocean. On a cruise, you can adventure to your heart's content at each port and then follow your adventures up with eating, dancing, or snoozing the night away as you sail onto the next stunning locale. We met incredibly interesting people, from island locals to fellow cruise-goers, who really helped shape our experience. We even spoke to one couple who had done fifty-five cruises together! As I walked off the boat for the last time, I truly considered myself a convert who might one day check fifty-five cruises off my bucket list.
Ever since the pandemic, though, our desire to book another cruise has been met with even more skepticism than our first endeavor. If the idea of cruising isn’t something that floats your boat at the moment, that’s totally okay. But if you’re even remotely curious about testing the waters, here are a few reasons to book a cruise post–COVID-19.
1. The vaccine combined with enormous leaps and bounds in terms of safety and health protocols make cruising no different than a trip to the mall.
If anything, the pandemic has probably improved things for germaphobes, as general hygiene and cleaning practices have enormously improved. Think automatic doors, table service, and contactless ordering instead of buffets, extreme behind-the-scenes sanitation, high-tech air filtration systems instead of recycled air—the list goes on. In addition to these improved health features, the cruise industry has established rules requiring a negative COVID-19 test prior to walking onboard. They will likely implement rapid testing of all guests as an extra safety precaution.
2. Incredible deals offered by an industry that would love to welcome you back at sea.
The pandemic shuttered businesses around the world, but cruises were arguably one of the most affected industries. Now, with the aforementioned safety protocols in place, they’re excited to welcome back vacation-starved customers who are tired of quarantining at home and ready to venture out into the world again. Many cruise lines are offering some of the best packages and deals the industry has ever seen. Not to mention, they also come with incredibly flexible cancellation or rebooking policies for extra peace of mind.
3. Choose from a plethora of activities.
We referred to our virtual activity guide as our “menu of fun.” Swimming with sharks, diving to underwater museums, flying around with a jetpack, zip-lining, chartering your own boat or Sea-Doo—the options were literally endless. You can book in advance if you know what you’re interested in, or you can book the night before from an app on your phone, which was the option that suited us perfectly as we’d often relax for a day and then want to sign up for something extreme the next.
4. Play hard and relax even harder (days at sea are the best!).
When I first saw that we had four days at sea on our itinerary (which meant we wouldn’t be docking), I was a little frustrated. Having never been on a cruise ship before, I wondered what we would do all day. Well, as it turns out, I enjoyed those days at sea almost more than the days at port. The cruise industry has it all figured out when it comes to entertainment (and relaxation), and you can easily switch from one activity to another, depending on your mood.
For relaxing: book the hot tub, tan poolside, enjoy some live music, watch movies on demand in your cabin, book an appointment at the spa, go shopping, or enjoy a three-course dinner with table-side service.
For entertainment: dance lessons, comedy shows, outdoor movie night, photoshoots, the casino, the waterpark, basketball/tennis/squash courts, obstacle courses, or mini-golf on the lido deck.
5. The people on board became like family.
You often hear that travel isn’t really about the places you go but rather the people you meet along the way.
You can’t spend two weeks on a cruise without interacting with the same people over and over again. By the end of our time on board, we’d made fast friendships with everyone from our waiter, the couple we’d see every night at dinner, the room service attendants who insisted on making me every towel-animal known to mankind, and the other “young” couple on the boat. Everyone was extremely friendly, visibly loving life, eager to meet each other, and had a fondness for (and in some instances, obsession with) cruising, which made our trip even more enjoyable.
Traveling in a post-pandemic environment might not be smooth sailing again for a while, but I’m a-boat ready to hit the high seas again! Who’s with me?