New health and safety measures designed to guard against the spread of viruses and other germs have become part of daily life. The cruise industry is part of this movement as well.
Some new cruise health and safety measures – such as electrostatic spraying to disinfect staterooms between cruises, washing linens at higher temperatures and the installation of new, hospital-quality air filtration systems – are “behind the scenes” changes.
But others – such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance in the common areas of the ship – will be very visible. And while some may disappear over time, we expect some are here to stay. These include:
On-line and touchless check-in. Most cruise lines now conduct at least some check-in procedures online, which helps reduce the time passengers need to spend standing in line and filling out forms at embarkation. We expect this trend to continue as more cruise lines use downloadable smartphone apps to gather the pre-cruise information they need from you.
Staggered check-in times. Like online check-in, the practice of giving passengers specific check-in times for embarkation began before the COVID-19 pandemic and we expect it to become even more common. The idea is to maintain a steady flow of passengers coming on board, rather than having to manage a big crowd.
Updated muster drills. It’s essential for all passengers to be aware of what to do and where to go if there’s an emergency on board; that’s the reason for the required muster drill. Now, cruise lines are finding new ways to conduct these drills in order to avoid having bunches of passengers gather at muster stations. In some of these updated drills, on embarkation day, passengers review muster information using the cruise line app or the TV in their stateroom. Then, they go find their muster station by a certain time and have a crew member verify their completion of the drill.
Temperature checks. Expect touchless checks of body temperature at embarkation and when reboarding the ship after a shore excursion. Some cruise lines may check temperatures whenever you enter a dining venue or other common space on the ship.
Buffets with table service. The time-honored Lido Deck buffet will still be a common feature on cruise ships, but self-service will not. Instead, you’ll tell a server what you want, and your plate will be delivered to your table.
Now that you know more about what to expect, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, to make arrangements for your next cruise.
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