With Covid-19 only growing and spreading faster than ever before, cruise lines are on high alert to prevent diseases from being transmitted internally.
When I first began to write this article, I wanted to discuss the extra measures being used to keep sanitation a priority onboard. There were certain passengers not being allowed onboard- some screened, and some solely based on their Italian nationality.
Some services on the ships were being shut down, and anything that could easily transmit germs from one person to another (ie. Books, board games, touchscreens, etc.) were locked up until further notice. The discussion had just begun about taking temperatures of every single person at the gangway at the start of the following cruise.
Then before we knew it, a day before the “following cruise” was scheduled to begin, a very solemn and empathetic captain addressed us personally.
"All cruises on MSC Seaside have been canceled until further notice. Only certain teams necessary to help hold the ship at anchor will stay onboard and we will be sending all other crewmembers home as fast as possible to get in front of future travel bans."
The theatre full of crew erupted in an array of emotions. Some were relieved to get home to be with their families. Some were furious they would be losing their job temporarily. I looked over at my team…some were crying.
It’s hard to understand until you’ve been in the same position, but when you leave the ship, even if you had a bad experience, it breaks you. Going home means leaving a family behind. For those of us that have done it over and over again, I can say personally it never gets easier to say goodbye-especially if you weren’t planning on doing it for months to come.
Some of us were lucky and got home the following day, some of us took more than a month getting home fighting travel bans and quarantines. Some of us are still stuck onboard quarantined in a cabin.
What does this all mean for crew?
Depending on the cruise line, some crew was allowed to stay onboard. Some cruises (though very few) even continued with their passengers because conditions were not safe to send them all home. Some lost their jobs until further notice and some received paid leave. Since cruise lines operate from all over the world employing people from all over the world there really is no standard for this very unusual situation yet in place.
Just know that it is tough for everyone.
Just because you see highlight reels on social media of crew exploring different ports around the world or partying at the crew bar don’t forget. It’s still how we make our living. It’s not a break from vacation; it’s a break for many from providing for families back home.
As soon as it is deemed safe to travel again, the crew will be the first ones back onboard to start the preparation for your dream vacations once again. Until then, keep the crew in your thoughts or prayers during this time as the transitions home for many were brutal.
What does this all mean for you cruisers?
If you have booked a cruise that has either been canceled or changed due to the coronavirus make sure to speak with your agency or even the cruise line directly about your refund. Most cruise lines will either refund you fully for the canceled cruise or will allow you to reschedule your vacation for later in the year when the pandemic is expected to slow down.
Remember, your health and the health of your family is the priority and we will help you every step of the way through making sure your perfect vacation is just as perfect…just a little later when it is safe for you, and all the crew to travel.
What should you do next?
The only thing we can do as of now is to wait patiently until we know more. Abide by the local laws and know that the quarantines, travel bans and restrictions are put in place not as a punishment, but for your safety. I know this isn’t the perfect answer because frankly, we don’t have all the answers yet either. However, the most important thing is your health. We can always re-book your cruise and money comes and goes…but your health…that sticks with you.
I’m excited to see you all onboard, enjoying a Caribbean breeze and a mojito or some other fruity drink real, real soon!
Would you like to know anything else onboard? Especially during this quarantine, I'm all ears!! I would love to give you all the in's and out's of cruising so follow me on Instagram! I reply to direct messages there! Or even comment below! I'm excited to hear your questions!