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The cruise segment of the travel industry has been hit particularly hard, and although many countries are experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 cases, people are starting to travel once again, so cruise providers and popular destinations are hopeful that the recovery will be swift.
The outbreak of coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan and its rapid spread to the rest of the world has devastated the travel industry, with all but essential travel pretty much coming to a standstill beginning earlier this year.
However, going on a cruise today, or in the near future, will be noticeably different from a post-coronavirus cruise.
Read on to find out how taking a cruise will change as a result of the pandemic…
Mandatory Wearing of Face Masks
We’ve all become accustomed to wearing a facemask when in an indoor public area, and this rule is enforced especially strictly on public transport – both intracity and when traveling abroad on airplanes and cruise ships.
So, be sure to pack a few facemasks with you if you’re planning on going on a cruise anytime soon.
No More Buffets
Many States have opted to temporarily outlaw buffets, as they are a considered a high risk means of transmission. It’s likely that most cruise providers will also choose not to offer buffets, or, at the very least, make significant changes to how they are offered in a bid to avoid contamination and minimize crowding.
Sanitization stations have been set up in malls, transport facilities, airports, stores and other public areas all across the country. You should expect to be asked to sanitize your hands when boarding a cruise ship in addition to before entering a public area on the ship itself.
There should be plenty of strategically placed sanitization stations for you to use, or, alternatively, you can carry a bottle of sanitizer around with you to be extra careful.
Again, in line with the trend we’ve seen across all types of transport, cruise ships won’t be operating at full capacity in a bid to keep travelers reasonably well dispersed to reduce the risk of coronavirus being spread from one passenger to another.
It’s not clear by how much capacity will be reduced, but expect it to be quite considerable (possibly around the 50 percent mark), though this will vary between cruise providers.
All cruise-goers must follow strict social distancing measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Such social distancing measures will include one-way systems and arrows to help passengers stay at least two meters apart.
Family members, or other people in the same “bubble”, won’t have to keep their distance from one another.
Many cruise providers are likely to switch to a contactless check-in procedure. In other words, you won’t be required to print a boarding pass – you will instead need to show your e-ticket on your smartphone or check in digitally in some other way.
Travel insurance is no longer something to ignore. With many travel restrictions in place and the cancellation, postponement or interruption of travel a real possibility, taking out a travel insurance policy is a wise decision. Some destinations are even requiring proof of travel insurance before they’ll even allow you to enter the country.
A Quick Summary
- The travel industry has been devasted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is likely to launch a partial recovery even before the pandemic completely passes.
- However, traveling during the pandemic will be considerably different to traveling pre-COVID.
- For example, cruise providers will likely switch to a contactless check-in procedure and will strictly enforce social distancing to minimize the risk of coronavirus being spread onboard.
- All passengers and crew members will also have to wear face masks when in public areas of the ship, and they’ll be several strategically placed sanitization stations that must be frequently used.