The global coronavirus pandemic has severely affected the cruise industry. It could be months before cruise ships start sailing again. While industry experts are predicting vessels to return to oceans by June, potential passengers can expect things to look a lot different when cruise lines finally resume. Here are some fundamental changes that cruise vessels may exercise as they return to the oceans.
Educating the Public
Cruise lines would have to put in a lot of effort to educate the public that cruising is safe. PR efforts would focus on letting potential passengers know the ships have been thoroughly cleaned.
Rebuilding the Fleet
Cruise lines would have to clean and redeploy their fleets. Some cruise ships are either at a port or anchored nearby, and a handful are still sailing. Some ships could get back into service quickly, and they would need fresh crews aboard.
Cruise lines would likely test the waters with a small number of short, maybe three- to five-day sailings to the Bahamas and Caribbean to start. Some lines are also offering discounts, like a 125 percent credit if you rebook a cancelled sail, to fuel demand for later this year and into 2021.
Restrictions on Cruisers Sailing
Older travellers and those with pre-existing medical conditions, especially those most at risk of complications from COVID-19 may find cruising off-limits for a while. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may involve more stringent limits on who can sail.
No More Self-service Buffets
Cruisers can expect the crew to serve food onto plates. This would reduce the transmission of illness that can happen when numerous people touch the same serving utensils. You may also find the crew at self-serve drink stations to hand out drinks, so passengers don’t reach the machines. Cruise lines may also remove highly touched items such as salt and pepper shakers from tables.
Enhanced Cleaning Onboard
Cruise line executives already have promised more vigorous cleaning on ships. Cruisers may find it almost impossible to get into a dining area without either washing your hands or using antibacterial gel, which is always available on stands near the dining area entrances. Most cruise lines station crew at dining area entrances would urge passengers to wash or sanitize their hands.
The COVID-19 epidemic has affected the world in so many ways, it has had a serious impact on the cruise industry as well.