There are some changes but it’s still all good

By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva

Millions of  people world wide waited anxiously for the return of cruising.  So much so that many itineraries sold the first day or week bookings were open.

After all, there’s little like a luxurious cruise vacation.  You only need pack and unpack once. Everything you need from food to entertainment is at your fingertips or beck and call. You see the world seamlessly and go home refreshed and maybe a few pounds heavier.

Yes, it’s the good life at sea. But in today’s ever-changing pandemic climate things will look a little different on board. There will be mask wearing, social distancing, hand sanitizers galore and a few things you didn’t anticipate like travel insurance.

Mandatory travel insurance for the unvaccinated

We’re not sure how many cruise lines will follow suit, but Royal Caribbean International is now requiring unvaccinated passengers age 12 and older to show proof of insurance that covers any COVID-19 medical expenses.

Another noticeable alteration is the use of phone apps, wearable devices and artificial intelligence to ensure passengers keep their distance and to provide contact tracing.  Buffets are also different.  Instead of serving yourself, you will make selections that will be placed on your plate.

Crowd capacity control

Everybody will like this one. Capacity in public rooms and dining venues will be limited amounting to less crowding and shorter lines.

Digital detection devices and onboard monitoring

Princess Cruises’ Medallion Class already employs digital contact for room service, reservations, spa bookings and other services. And now Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruise, Virgin Voyages and others are getting into the cyber act. RCL’s Tracelet records when people come into lose contact.  Virgin Voyages has WiFi reader to track your whereabouts via a smartphone App.  MSC is using a wristband from which you can pay for purchases.

Carnival’s HUB App

 Carnival’s been using the HUB App for long enough to see score  more than 8 million total downloads.  For its cruise reboot the line is expanding the program with more food and beverage services. It’s also adding restaurant check-ins and virtual reservations.  Passengers can also use the HUB to submit health documents and departure information.

Additional  gadgets and protocols are in the works. Especially with the emergence of the Delta variant to COVID19.  And also because of a few cases of coronavirus found on some of the earliest cruises.

You can also expect higher sanitization standards throughout the ship.  Hand sanitizers are everywhere, so please use them often, and wash your hands often.

But no matter what it’s worth it just to be back to sea again. And, with the ever-changing climate, a travel agent is more  valuable than ever. So give Pavlus a call at 800-528-9300 to discuss your plans.

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