You may have seen some rumors on Facebook from time to time about different Cruising start-up dates. A lot of it was wishful thinking and speculation as COVID numbers went up and down all over the world and travel looked to be further and further away.
Even though most cruise lines are still scheduled for September/October or even later- a few ships have begun to launch in certain regions. MSC Cruises specifically has officially launched MSC Grandiosa for EU passengers only this past weekend. (August, 16th 2020)
Here’s what you should expect if you hope to embark onboard one of these ships shortly.
COVID Tests and Temperature Checks
Upon embarkation, there will be mandatory negative COVID swab tests. These tests are expected to have results within half an hour alongside daily temperature checks for the crew, and potentially, passengers when leaving and entering the ship as well. The cruise lines will be giving smaller grouped time frames for embarkation in hopes of not creating a backup and slow down due to these extra embarkation steps.
Limited Ship Leave
At least in the early stages, passengers will only be allowed on and off the ship on pre-approved, cruise organized excursions. These excursions will ensure the ship's passengers maintain proper social distancing/COVID safety regulations even when in port. All other ship leave will be denied.
Social Distance Tracking Bands
Some cruise lines/ships will be providing passengers with safety tracking wristbands. If a passenger/crewmember were to come down with a fever or case of COVID, the band would alert medical about who has been within 6 feet of the case for 15 minutes or more throughout the cruise. The medical then can decide the proper quarantine/temperature checks/COVID tests necessary to ensure further safety and health and keep anything from breaking out.
Just like on land, social distancing in the restaurants/lounges/bars, etc. will be highly encouraged and ship capacity will be limited. Crewmembers will also be wearing masks and protective wear from the bartenders to the musicians. Masks are highly recommended for passengers and will be provided by the cruise line but we’ve yet to hear much about whether these will be required and enforced or not for these guests.
Even though there will still be shows and even live music still available. A lot of parties will be canceled as well and entertainment will be less than what some are accustomed to. It’s just not possible to do a conga line and a huge dance party while social distancing.
While the ships have launched in the EU, some areas of the world have quite a bit longer to wait before ships are expected to start moving again. This will all depend on local regulations, coast guards, numbers of COVID cases, and the cruise line’s ability to proceed with updated safety cautions but before them.
Say Goodbye to Touchscreens
Electronic screens onboard to reserve shows, look at digital maps, order service, etc. will be shut down. Instead, you will be able to book/research on your personal stateroom TV or mobile device. This allows cabin stewards to the properly clean surfaces before a new guest can use them.
Drink and food menus will also be available through the mobile device instead of the standard menu books that often lay on the tables.
Decks of cards/board games/library books etc. are expected to be unavailable or highly limited to allow proper cleaning between uses.
In a few weeks, we will know even more as the first group of passengers on board right now will begin to share even more and crewmembers begin to adapt to a different way of life. How do you feel about cruising post-pandemic? Make sure to let us know in the comments below and share this with all your cruising friends as well!
For more information and other sources feel free to visit….
MSC Cruises Official Statements
CDC’s Official Cruise Guide
Carnival’s Official Media Releases