First, Leslie and I would like to say THANK YOU to the tens of thousands of members of Cruise Club of America who have helped us become one of the largest and most respected travel agencies in North America over the past 25+ years. As a top producer for most major cruise lines, resorts, and tour companies, we are extremely proud of our impeccable reputation for integrity, outstanding service, and the best vacation values in North America. Your continued support and referrals are greatly appreciated!
For those of you who are concerned about the safety of taking a cruise, or travel in general, and to set the facts straight, we thought that it was important to separate the facts from fiction. While we respect the right of all individuals to decide for themselves whether they need a vaccination or not, the recent fact that 90% of sick people with COVID-19, currently hospitalized in ICU’s, have not been vaccinated, should be proof enough that vaccines help to minimize the possibility of serious illness or hospitalization. With non-vaccinated people, diagnosed with COVID-19, occupying better than 90% of all hospital beds and ICUs across the country should alone make people re-think the common sense of vaccinations.
Did you know that cruise lines are required by law to report sickness or deaths onboard their ships - but MOST resorts, hotels, large entertainment parks, theaters, restaurants, and sporting events are NOT required to report guests who experience a breakout of illnesses or die? That seems unfair to the cruise industry - and often creates the impression that this ONLY happens on cruises.
The fact is that today’s cruise ships are now safer than most forms of vacations such as amusement parks, resorts, hotels, casinos, large restaurants, theaters, and sporting events.
It is important to note that all major cruise lines have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the health, welfare, and safety of all passengers and crew members. Medical centers and support staffing have been expanded on most cruise ships with hospital-quality facilities and instruments. Special cabins have been set aside on most ships in the event anyone is required to be isolated after testing positive for COVID-19.
Cruise ship enhancements now include:
- The installation of the newest, high-grade air filtration systems in each cabin that prevents the air from spreading from cabin to cabin. New clean air filtration systems to minimize or eliminate airborne germs and particles have also been installed throughout public areas, lounges, restaurants, and theaters on most ships.
- Guests may no longer visit a cruise ship buffet and then pick up or put back food in trays. All food, utensils, glasses, and drinks are served to the guests upon request. Tables and chairs are now also spread out to insure safe distancing between guests. In addition, most theater and lounge seating now provide safe distancing among guests and staff.
- Most guests are required to present proof of vaccination with an original vaccination card. In addition, most guests 12-years of age or older, are also required to produce a negative PCR and/or Antigen COVID-19 test within 72 to 48-hours prior to boarding the ship. In many cases, children 12-years of age or younger must present a negative PCR and/or Antigen test prior to boarding the ship. Any guests found to test positive will be prohibited from boarding the ship.
- Face masks may also be required to be worn by all guests and children. This rule may vary from ship to ship and based on each ship's health and safety protocols. Adults and children may also be subject to a COVID-19 rapid Antigen test prior to disembarkation on many cruise lines.
- Both Celebrity and Royal Caribbean are now offering COVID-19 Test Kits where guests connect with a live medical agent who then instructs and watches (via Internet video) as the guests perform their own test. Results are provided in about 15-minutes. Guests may purchase a 2-pack of tests for $69 or a 3-pack for $99. For guests who may be stressed out about finding a “local” testing facility or pharmacy that can provide results in 48-72 hours, this program is for you!
- You will find hand sanitizer/disinfectant stations at the entrance to most venues including restaurants, lounges, theaters, shops, and public areas. In some cases, as you move from venue to venue, you can’t walk more than ten to 20 yards before having to disinfect your hands again. While it may be a pain in the butt, it does promote safety.
- Many cruise ships are also currently sailing with reduced passenger of from 40 to 60% occupancy to ensure that those guests remain a safe distance between others. Dining tables and chairs are also spaced as are lounge/deck chairs around swimming pools and deck area. As more and more cruises resume safe passages, cruise lines will slowly increase passenger capacity.
While we are sure that some of you will be turned off by the numerous cruise line safety and healthy protocols, it’s really in everyone’s best interest. As vaccinations have been medically and scientifically proven by most doctors, the CDC, and FDA to be the best way to minimize and contain the spread of COVID-19, why would anyone want to take a chance and cruise with passengers who are not vaccinated?
Some cruise lines do not require a vaccination - but impose MANY restrictions on non-vaccinated guests. These include always wearing a face mask (except for dining and drinking) as well as restricting non-vaccinated guest’s access to various venues on the ship. Non-vaccinated guests may also be subject to taking COVID-19 Antigen tests, at their own expense, prior to disembarking the ship.
LESLIE & I RECENTLY CRUISED TWICE - AND LOVED IT.
The first cruise was a seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise sailing from St. Maarten to Barbados, St. Lucia, and Curacao on the luxurious, five-star, Celebrity Summit. Our flight from Boston to St. Maarten on Jet Blue was fine with no issues other than the fact that all passengers were required to always wear a face mask, except when dining or drinking. This was like the 3rd or 4th revenue cruise on the Celebrity Summit with paying passengers. While the ship regularly carries over 2,100 passengers and 1,000 crew members, we sailed with just 271 guests and about 750 crew members. It was like sailing on our own, large, luxury private yacht! No face masks were required while sailing and there were zero illnesses reported by the 100% vaccinated guests during the entire 7-night cruise. The seas were calm, and every day was sunny and in the low to mid-80s.
All the staff, crew members, room stewards, our butler, restaurants, and entertainment were all over the top - and reminded us why we enjoy cruising so much. Way to go Celebrity!
We had to use cruise line sponsored shore excursions in Barbados; in St. Lucia and Curacao we were allowed to go ashore and do our own thing. Facemasks were required in all venues in each port of call except in restaurants and at beaches.
Our second cruise in mid-August, was a six-night Bahamas “Test Cruise” aboard the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, one of the world’s largest cruise ships. We sailed from Port Liberty, Bayonne, NJ with a one-day port of call to Royal Caribbean’s incredible private island in the Bahamas called "Perfect Day at Coco Cay.” It was like being a castaway on a private island featuring so many adventures and thrills that even adults feel like kids again. The toughest part of the vacation was our six+ hour drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic from Boston, MA to Port Liberty, Bayonne, NJ!
As a “Test Cruise,” there were no paying passengers aboard. While the Oasis of the Seas has a regular sailing capacity of more than 7,500 passengers and crew members, we had about 800 passengers and 1,500 crew members. The passengers were made up of travel agents, cruise lottery winners, Royal Caribbean corporate staff, the press and CDC staff to observe that all safety and healthy protocols were being observed. The CDC was required to give the ship a “green light” before it would permit Royal Caribbean to bring on paying passengers. The cruise was great with zero sickness or COVID19-related issues. The entire cruise was perfect with calm seas and temps in the low to mid 80’s.
Royal Caribbean required 100% of the guests to present proof of vaccination as well as to have a PCR test prior to sailing. Facemasks were required in all public areas except in cabins, restaurants, lounges while drinking, outdoors, their private island at Coco Cay, theaters and around the swimming pools and decks. Deck chairs, dining tables and chairs were all spaced out
Cruising is THE safest form of vacation available today! While we respect our client's concerns about taking a cruise or being vaccinated, the facts speak for themselves.
Please feel free to give us a call at 800-982-2276 and “pick our brains” with respect to the safety of traveling. We are EXPERTS - and can help you find the right cruise to fit your lifestyle and budget during 2022, 2023, and 2024.