Cruise safety goes beyond what the cruise lines are doing
In a previous article we talked about what the cruise lines are doing to make cruising safe. If you haven’t read that yet, we recommend you check it out. We think you might be shocked to learn how much effort the cruise lines have undergone to ensure you stay safe on a cruise. Cruise safety has to be proactive in every aspect. Honestly, the future of cruising depends on it. We think the cruise industry has proven they are committed to keeping you safe, and we applaud what they are doing, but what can YOU do?
Are there steps you can take to be proactive in the process? We think so, and we are not going to just tell you to wash your hands … okay, well yes, wash your hands, but there’s so much more. We have the steps you’ll need to take to keep yourself safe on a cruise. We’ll also talk about some things you need to do to prepare for the new future of cruising.
The good news for us is that Princess Cruises has done a lot of the leg work for us in their 7 page health advisory they released way back in April. So let’s start off with a look at that. They’ve broken it down into two areas; how to prepare, and how to prevent.
Okay, you’ve likely heard this before, and yes, it’s all common sense, but bare with us. Here’s what Princess says about about how to prevent illness when traveling by cruise ship:
How to Prevent Illness on a Cruise:
- Frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. This is especially important to do after using the restroom and before dining onboard Princess ships.
- Supplement hand washing by regularly using an alcohol- based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with people suffering from respiratory illness.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze using a tissue or your bent elbow.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Get vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
- Where possible, use your elbow instead of your hands to operate frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and elevator buttons.
They go on to say while onboard, if you experience any symptoms of respiratory illness, which may include fever, chills, cough or shortness of breath, to contact the Medical Center, where you will receive a complimentary consultation.
Wait, hold up, did we say complimentary? YEP, and we think that is one of the silver linings that may come out of this health crisis. We hope other cruise lines will follow suit with free health checks when needed. It’s in everyone’s best interest.
How to prepare:
- Pack 14 days of extra medication — In the event of unexpected travel delays and emergencies, please remember to bring additional prescription medication for at least two weeks beyond the length of your cruise. Also bring a list of the names, strengths and dosages of all medications in case refills are required.
- Provide Emergency Contact INFORMATION — It is critical that cruiseres provide a validated emergency contact and phone number within Cruise Personalizer on whatever cruise line you’re traveling with. The emergency contact should be a personal connection and should not be traveling with you.
- You should also prepare your mobile phone. Guests should enable an international travel plan that includes voice and data. Cell phones will not work the same in all countries without an international plan and Wi-Fi is not always available in some countries. An international plan will enable you to stay connected at a reasonable rate and ensure you can be contacted.
- Purchase travel protection. The cruise lines, and most travel experts strongly recommended that you purchase Vacation Protection, or some other form of travel insurance, not only to protect from losses stemming from unforeseeable circumstances during your vacation, but to also have the flexibility to make new plans with the “cancel for any reason” coverage offered by most providers.
Let’s dive deeper into cruise safety
We’ll start with a one that is a big concern for many of you, testing. Yes, it’s going to happen when cruising restarts, but it won’t last forever. At this point it seems testing is imperative for cruise safety.
So, if you plan to cruise, step one is to mentally prepare yourself for testing. At this time, testing is mandatory, and we assume going forward testing in some form will be necessary. You’ll likely need to provide proof that you have tested negative, or you’ll be required to to test before boarding. You’ll probably also have your temperature taken frequently, if not daily.
Be understanding, be ready, and be gracious.
Respect the ship’s social distancing recommendations. Travelers often let their guard down when on vacation, but if you want to stay safe on a cruise, then you’ll want to adhere to the guidelines. Be aware, and be careful, or don’t cruise. Practicing social distancing goes beyond cruise safety. If you’re flying to port, be sure to apply the same principles in the airport.
Take and wear a mask. Masks will likely be required whenever social distancing is not possible. Many cruise lines will provide complimentary face masks for their guests safety, but don’t count on it. Pack a couple of extras just in case. Accept it … and maybe have some fun with it. Masks don’t have to be only about cruise safety. There are lots of fashion options for masks now.
Overcome fears of big brother. Many lines will be utilizing proximity and contact tracing via a bracelet, worn by EVERYONE on the ship. If a guest or crew becomes ill, the bracelet will have tracked who the passenger had contact with and staff can perform contact tracing accordingly. This is a key factor for cruise safety that will help the cruise lines quickly contain an outbreak.
We get the privacy concerns, but this is the reality, and we don’t believe the cruise lines have nefarious intentions. From what we’ve heard so far, the data is temporary. MSC, for example will destroy the data 14 days after you disembark from the ship. And really, who cares if they know we snuck out for a midnight snack … right?
We’ve always recommended this in the past, but now it’s an absolute must. You need to get insured. If special COVID insurance is available, get it. It may comprehensively cover you in the event that you fall ill and cannot cruise, and will cover you for a refund if you are denied boarding.
If you are diagnosed positive, the insurance will cover transportation home. If you’re sent home early due to being a “suspect case”, the remaining part of the cruise will be fully refunded. Always check out your options for travel insurance before you book and ask LOTS Of questions about your policy (we are NOT insurance specialists). Again, this is an absolute must now.
Welcome the new cleaning procedures. Increased cleaning in cabins and public areas will be a special focus for all cruise lines. It may take a little getting used to, so be ready. You will likely be encouraged quite often to use sanitizing stations around the ship as well. Washy, washy.
Expect that activities will change. In some cases activities will be reduced up to 50%. Cruise lines will probably offer more sessions with less capacity for entertainment offerings like theaters and similar shows. We expect guests will be spaced with physical distancing in mind, and it won’t be optional. Additionally we think things like the sauna and turkish bath activities will not be available, at least not at first.
And that leads us to our conclusion. This is a fluid situation. These things will change. Cruise lines have always been adept at finding ways to make cruising the best possible experience. Yes, there will be some inconveniences at first, but we believe that the cruise lines quickly overcome these issues, and find better ways to do things. It’s what they do, and what they have always done. We think all these changes will ultimately usher in a new era of cruising that will be safer, and yes, better than ever before.
In the meantime, we leave you with one final thing you need to do, and this is perhaps the most important advice we can give you. Be flexible. There are going to be new procedures, and we may need to say good-bye to some things as we knew and loved (bye, bye buffet), but understand this is an evolution. Get on board and evolve with it.
Are you onboard?
Are you ready to cruise in this new era? We certainly have our concerns, but when the time is right, we can’t wait to be back on the high seas! Come say hi and share your thoughts on the topic with us via direct message on Facebook or Instagram!