The cruise industry has been shaken by the impact of COVID-19. Still, cruise lines are going ahead with plans to resume cruises as soon as they can, with a few changes in mind.
If you’re a fan of cruising, then you likely are ready to get back to it as soon as you can. If so, you may be considering cruising on a smaller ship than you’re used to in order to reduce your exposure to potential illness, including COVID-19.
Here’s what you need to know about the passenger size of various vessels, the limits cruise lines currently have in place to help reduce the spread of illness, and what you can do on a cruise to help you stay healthy and safe when you cruise again.
Passenger Size Aboard Different Ships
If you’ve ever taken a cruise, then you know that some cruise ships are like floating cities. Royal Caribbean has ships that can accommodate over 5,500 passengers, which is a far cry from the small ship cruising you may now be considering.
Small ships are gaining in popularity around the world, not simply because of the COVID-19 pandemic but also because they can go places the larger ships simply cannot. River cruises, for example, can travel inland and reach destinations other cruises can’t.
Small ship cruising is also affordable, catering to a variety of budgets. You can often find shorter itineraries and reduced fares for smaller vessels. While they may not benefit from the economy of scale that much larger ships do, they are not all priced at a luxury level that offers a unique experience.
So, what are the different categories of ships?
Ship Classes and Passenger Loads
According to Cruise Critic, small ships come in a few size designations. They are:
- Small Yachts – Carry up to 110 passengers
- Large Yachts – Carry up to 400 passengers
- Ultra-Small Ships – Carry up to 625 passengers
- Small Ships – Carry up to 1,300 passengers
To give you an idea of the differences between ship classes, the average cruise ship (not a small ship) has the capacity to serve about 3,000 passengers. As mentioned, the largest cruise ships can carry upwards of 6,000 passengers if all berths are occupied.
Current Cruise Ship Limits
There are a number of limitations cruise lines are currently placing on their capacity in order to help keep everyone healthy and safe aboard a cruise when they return.
Some lines have reduced capacity by 40 percent and even with the reduced capacity, public events and rooms will have limited seating to encourage physical distancing between passengers.
Each cruise line is taking different measures, so it’s important to do your own investigation into what the cruise line you’re considering cruising with is taking to limit capacity and keep passengers safe.
How to Stay Safe and Healthy While Cruising
A cruise line can only do so much to keep passengers healthy – you also must do your part to ensure that you can stay safe and healthy while cruising. To that end, there are a few things you can do to help make your cruising experience safer.
Wash Hands Frequently
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from any illness, including COVID-19, is to wash your hands frequently. That means about every 20 minutes, not simply before or after eating, you should wash your hands. You should also wash them if you sneeze or blow your nose as well as while you are onshore excursions.
Avoid Questionable Food and Drink
When you disembark from the ship, make sure to watch the food and drink you buy in ports of call. Only buy from reputable places or drink water that is from a sealed water bottle. Any food or beverage made from contaminated water can make you sick with things other than COVID-19.
Think About Postponing
If you’re in a high-risk category for illness because you have a preexisting condition or are recovering from another illness, then you may want to reconsider travel. You may want to consult with your physician ahead of time to make sure you’re healthy enough to travel.
Consider Travel Insurance
You can often get travel insurance through a cruise line, but you may want to opt for a third party vendor this time. That’s because third party policies often have more robust coverage, including coverage for illness.
There are many things to take into account right now if you plan to cruise, whether it’s on a small ship or a larger one. Be diligent to stay healthy and safe no matter what type of cruise you choose to take.
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.