Mid-March of 2020 cruise ships were faced with a no-sail order in the United States. It will be at least April 2021 before any ships will sail with paying passengers from US ports. That means more than a year without cruising.
Do I miss that? Yes. We had lots of plans for cruising last year, but none of them came to be. It doesn’t look like they will happen this year, either.
When I say at least April 2021, that’s based on cancellations from the cruise lines. As I type this, most of the ocean cruise lines sailing out of US ports have cancelled through most of April. That means May before the next cruises. However, things aren’t looking that promising right now.
One cruise line is sending home many of their crew, after calling them back. What does that mean? Hmmmmm. Since this cruise line is going to require all their crew to receive the vaccination, maybe that’s why. I don’t know.
Many cruise lines continue to change their policies on Future Cruise Credits (now you can use more than one on a cruise), their final payment period, deposits, etc.
I’ve even heard cruise port officials have said they don’t expect to see a cruise with paying passengers until at least July.
Why is this happening? Well, I don’t know, but I’m sure part of it is confusion with the CDC rules. If airplanes can fly with people sitting two inches from someone else, who even takes their mask off to eat, I don’t know why cruise lines aren’t allowed to cruise. How often are people two inches apart? Well, the only times that happen is at muster drill, shows, restaurants, and bars. Maybe sometimes some activities.
However, the muster drill has been changed, so you don’t gather together like you used to. All the other activities are being changed to provide physical distancing. You won’t be sitting near anyone who is not in your party. I don’t think that’s an issue anymore.
However, since the CDC has the control, we wait, somewhat impatiently.
For me, though, it doesn’t matter. As long as a face mask is required, I won’t be getting on a ship (nor an airplane, train, or bus for that matter). A face mask is not natural, and I won’t put myself in that position. I’ll drive.
If vaccines will be required, I guess I’ll never cruise again. Already one cruise line (a small one in the UK) is requiring the vaccine for all its passengers (but not crew members – what’s up with that?) and Norwegian Cruise Line is looking into if they can legally require passengers to have the vaccine, and are requiring the vaccine for all crew members. This is another consideration.
Rules are constantly changing and I think that’s why cruising may not even happen in 2021.
Royal Caribbean has decided to do some cruises out of Barbados. Since they won’t touch US waters, they will not be required to follow the CDC mandates. Maybe other cruise lines will look into this. The only problem for some people is what will be required anyway?
You will need to fly to any Caribbean port to go on a cruise. So that means masking up, and currently have a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before returning to the US. What’s next? Possibly a 10-day quarantine? That’s what has been buzzing around. So, not only will cruising be affected, but any international travel.
So, keep smiling and keep listening to what is happening so you can be prepared for when travel finally opens up.