Curious about the future of cruising?
Cruise lines are steadily rolling out their health protocols, but we won’t truly know until sailing resumes, and the CDC and other authorities worldwide approve those plans, and release their own recommendations. We definitely have questions about the future of cruising. In this episode we’ll share some of our thoughts on the topic. But here’s what we’re seeing so far:
Will there be masks?
Probably the most asked question we get here at CruiseTipsTV is “Will we have to were a masks on our next cruise?” Already there are signs this will happen. In April, Royal Caribbean applied for a patent for “Seaface,” described as “sanitary masks for virus isolation purposes.” River cruise lines in Europe and the United States that plan to return to sailing in June say masks will be part of the experience.
In an interview with Cruise Critic earlier this month, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO and President Frank Del Rio said that, at least when ships first start sailing again, health precautions and rules will look very similar to what’s happening on land.
“My guess is early on, there will be masks,” he said.
On April 8, the cruise company filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark their very own sanitary face mask, aptly named “Seaface.”
“Right now, it’s just an idea,” Royal Caribbean spokesperson Jonathon Fishman, told USA TODAY. “This is one in a number of innovations that our teams are exploring as we look forward to a safe, healthy and fun return to cruise.”
It is not clear whether the mask would be a fleetwide implementation if the patent is approved.
The application for the “sanitary masks for virus isolation purposes,” which can be viewed on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website and was first reported on by the Royal Caribbean Blog, which is not affiliated with the cruise line, has been accepted but has not yet been assigned to an examiner. The form states that new applications are assigned to an examining attorney approximately three months after filing.
So it seems based on the information above that masks may be a part of the future of cruising.
What else do we know about the future of cruising?
We know several cruise lines have published new protocols. Let’s take a look at some of them below
Bahamas Paradise: Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will reduce capacity on its ships by 40 percent, introduce new online check-in procedures, fogging empty cabins and cleaning occupied ones regularly, washing and disinfecting linens at high temperatures, limiting capacity of shops and entertainment venues to 50 percent capacity and eliminating air recirculation onboard all vessels. Full details of all procedures can be found here on their Coronavirus Q&A page.
Stateroom Capacity control
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will also be closing two passenger stateroom decks on each ship. They state that this action will reduce the capacity of each ship by 40%, which will bring the guest-to-space ratio to one of the highest in the cruise industry. Not only will it demonstrably contribute to social distancing, but it will provide guests with an experience of spaciousness, unmatched by any other cruise line in their category.
Fresh air ventilation systems
One of the most important safety precautions Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is taking is ensuring healthy air quality in all areas of the ship. Fresh air ventilation systems will be implemented on all ships to ensure 100% external fresh air is filtered throughout the staterooms and all public areas onboard.
Food & Beverage
All food and beverage outlets, including bars and galleys, will be cleaned and sanitized at least three times daily, during and after service. Also included will be the crew restaurant, shop, and bar. As always, guests will be encouraged to wash and/or sanitize hands before entering any venue.
Other measures include:
- Guests per table will be restricted to ensure appropriate social distancing is maintained.
- Plastic cutlery provided upon request at all venues.
- All food & beverages at all restaurants, lounges, and bars will be served to guests by crew members wearing face masks, hats, aprons, and disposable gloves.
- Our staff and crew will only use clean cotton cloths to rinse and sanitize.
- Stringent procurement guidelines will be enforced and product sourcing from highly affected regions will be strictly prohibited.
Genting: The popular Asia-based cruise operator was one of the first lines to publicly announce health and safety protocols back in April for its Dream Cruises and Star Cruises brands. This includes new boarding procedures, crowd-control measures, elimination of self-service buffets, and mandatory doctor’s notes required for cruisers over 70 years of age.
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Cruise Line revealed its new health and safety protocols on June 1. We covered this in a previous article. Check out our post titled “Sail Safe” New From Norwegian Cruise Line
In addition to the details outline in that article Norwegian has also weighed in on the future of cruising as it applies to buffets. NCL has indicated it will implement a full service buffet to minimized guest’s risks.
Other NCL protocols for the future of cruising include mandatory touchless temperature screenings at embarkation, when returning to the ship, and before entering onboard events and dining venues. Capacity across the fleet will be reduced, and capacity in public rooms and events will be limited to encourage social distancing. Norwegian says that all normal activities will be available, but that capacity may be controlled and some modifications may be necessary.
Princess Cruise Line
Princess Cruises got out in front of their future of cruising plans, and on April 14th issued a 7-page Health Advisory, outlining “some of the actions we have taken or will be taking to ensure that our guests are able to sail safely and confidently”. The Princess Cruises Health Advisory is an extension of the line’s “Cruise with Confidence” policy.
For more details, please review the full Princess Cruises health advisory.
American Cruise Lines: The line has implemented a touchless check-in and boarding process, along with a 25 percent reduction in capacity. ACL will also allow for more time in between cruises to allow for a full sanitization of the vessel. Buffets will be eliminated, public washrooms will be closed, capacity will be reduced during mealtimes, and tables used only once per sitting. Those who have traveled internationally within 14 days of their voyages will be denied boarding. Read more here: American Cruise Line Health And Safety
American Queen Steamboat Company: American Queen Steamboat Company has partnered with Ochsner Health of Louisiana to introduce new procedures, including pre-cruise medical questionnaires and temperature checks, random screenings at the gangway, hourly sanitation of high-touch surfaces, reduction in passengers onboard buses and more. Full details can be found here: AQSC Health And Safety
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection: Uniworld has introduced set meal times, eliminated buffet service and has discontinued self-service snacks, which will now be served by crew. Masks are available on buses and in cabins for guests, payments are now contactless, and books, magazines and brochures have been removed.
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