After a long, lonely spring season on the water, one cruise line is getting ready to set sail on the high seas. Genting Cruise Lines, an Asia-based cruise company, announced that it plans to become the very first cruise line to resume service after COVID-19.
On July 26, the Explorer Dream was set to depart from Keelung in northeastern Taiwan before cruising to the Penghu, Matzu, and Kinmen islands.
The rest of the industry is still not so sure that it’s time to start cruising again. Celestyal Cruises, a cruise line based in Greece, has canceled all of its voyages for 2020.
In addition, major lines like Royal Caribean, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Holland America have canceled sailings into September or October. According to representatives from these companies, whether the cruises will be able to resume this year will depend on the course of COVID-19.
Things look particularly bleak for Americans hoping to cruise to destinations in Europe. Last month, the EU announced that Americans would not be able to enter Europe because of the high number of cases in the U.S.
What to Expect from Cruises in the Age of COVID-19
Despite travel restrictions, countries are preparing for the future of cruising. On the same day it announced Americans could not enter Europe, the EU released ground rules for cruise lines for when they do resume service.
Cruise Lines International Association, a global leader in the cruise industry, has called the rules a “useful resource for cruise lines as they prepare to resume operations” and an “important marker” for the return of cruising.
According to the guidelines from the EU, here are some key changes to expect from cruises during the pandemic:
Cruise lines may introduce pre-boarding screening procedures, including a primary screening and additional testing for passengers who show symptoms.
Exclusion Policy Updates
Cruise lines may introduce policies that prohibit passengers who have been exposed to COVID-19 or that are experiencing symptoms from being allowed to board.
Protection for Vulnerable Groups
“High-risk” passengers, such as seniors or those with underlying conditions, may be met with additional precautions, such as the special group activities or doctor-visit requirements.
Mask Requirements in Common Areas
Passengers and crew members may be required to wear face masks while in the cruise terminals or indoor spaces onboard cruise lines.
Staying Healthy While Cruising
The industry as a whole may not be sure when international cruising will host American passengers again. However, one thing is certain: Cruising will not look the same for anyone when they do.
In addition to cruise lines introducing new safety and cleaning procedures, cruise passengers will definitely be more concerned and aware of the threat of illness on cruise ships than ever before.
If you are considering a cruise vacation when the cruise lines resume operations, you should familiarize yourself with government and cruise industry recommendations.
Cruise lines may try to keep their passengers safe and healthy, but it is important for cruise passengers to be diligent and follow recommended health practices, like washing your hands and eating outdoors whenever possible.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.