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zzzz8888

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  1. Unfortunately, I think many Cruise Critic members are living in the cruise world bubble where faults, issues, and oversights by the cruise industry are dismissed and ignored, attributed to financial limitations, logistics, etc. I understand that point of view and accept it. But when it comes to matters like this - perception trumps facts. The perception and PR being broadcasted to the world by cruise companies are: Not keeping their passengers safe. To be blunt, cruise passengers are dying in substantial numbers in a short period of time. Have no (apparent) safety protocols. Cruise ships are efficient vessels to spread coronavirus. Quarantining on board cruise ship doesn't work - you don't want to be quarantined on a cruise ship when an outbreak occurs. Have medical staff that are overwhelmed, incompetent, understaffed. Lack of medical equipment on board, etc. Governments don't care about cruisers. Cruise lines indeed don't have much, if any responsibility (as mentioned by @sparks1093) to protect its passengers. Many ignored or were ignorant of this in the past. But no more. We can argue whether all of this is actually true or not. But there's no doubt this is the perception in 99% of the world who are not CC forum members or hard core cruisers. The original point of my post is cruise lines need to battle this horrible perception and regain trust by taking steps that show they're trying to improve. They have done little to nothing of this sort in the last few months. I would love to see and witness CC forum members and hard core cruisers prop up the industry when it start operations again. Perhaps the hard core cruisers can keep the industry afloat - for a while. But there is a difference between keeping a cruise industry on life support vs one that is thriving. Repeat cruisers are not enough for the latter. The cruise industry needs to take action now to reassure the other 99%. I would love to be wrong here, but let's see what happens when operations start again to see what the drop in revenue and passenger volumes will be.
  2. Yes, that's correct. However, let's ignore their medical backgrounds for now. The medical staff and facilities/equipment have failed the cruise passengers. For example, the stories coming out of the Zaandam are horrible. Supposedly, staff are ignoring infected crew and cruise passengers. I've also read the medical staff are "intimidated" by the entire situation and are at a loss as to what to do. I don't necessarily blame the medical staff for being overwhelmed as this is an entirely new situation that few have ever encountered. But it is still very worrying the cruise line medical staff seem entirely incapable of even partially dealing with the situation.
  3. I definitely agree money talks. Do I expect change? Perhaps not in the next few months. But when people are avoiding cruises like the plague, when the second wave of coronavirus hits - and ultimately, when the financials are going to be even worse than they are now (when money is screaming), they will be forced to change, at least a little.
  4. What I originally posted are "aspirational ideals" that could possibly be adopted by the cruise lines. I understand the cruise lines will not adopt a great majority of these suggestions nor are they bound by any law to do so. However, I have the feeling that some governments and the marketplace (possibly the lack of customers) will eventually force cruise lines to adopt many of these guidelines. At an absolute minimum, I am hoping for the following below which should not cause an inordinate amount of money and are guidelines which can be implemented relatively quickly: Cruise lines must have pre-existing agreements (published and reviewable by cruise passengers) in place with countries (where the ship is visiting) for handling and offloading sick passengers Cruise lines must have strict protocols (published and reviewable by all passengers) in place for another COVID-19 or another similar medical outbreak Protocols must be known by all crew members. Training must be performed to adhere to protocols. Doctors and nurses must have practiced their craft in reputable hospitals and/or settings (and must be trained in infectious disease/quarantine handling). Surgical masks (and if necessary, N95 masks) must be made available to all crew and passengers. Cruise ships must travel with a minimal number of masks per passenger/crew/ per day for the duration of the cruise. All passengers must be tested for COVID-19 using rapid COVID-19 test kits (when it eventually becomes available) before embarkation and disembarkation Buffets must not be self serve. Buffets can still be all you can eat, but all items must transferred to the passenger's plate by the food service crew. I believe (and yes, I understand this is a guess) COVID-19 is not going away any time soon. I believe many people and cruise lines are under the impression this is a one-time event that lasts a few months. Unfortunately, the virus has gotten such a foothold on the planet where we can expect to have at least a few infection waves. Worst-case scenario is this becomes a seasonal event. Flattening the curve has only prolonged the pain, transforming this into a multiyear/wave event rather than a one time event. Even if vaccines are available, I can imagine the vaccines will work as well as the flu vaccine, which is to say it will only be partially effective at best. Just recall the success in a vaccine for the common cold... I hope I am wrong though! Thus, the question for cruise lines is how do they deal with such a threat? There will be another COVID-19 outbreak (if it's not COVID, then perhaps something similar) on a cruise ship when the ships start sailing again. What will the cruise lines do to prevent another outbreak on board a ship? Will there be effective protocols, training, equipment, etc. in place when this does happen again? Cruise lines haven't demonstrated I should trust them if an outbreak does occur on a ship. The only actions I've heard from the cruise lines (at least actions I've heard publicly espoused to a large extent) include temperature screenings upon embarkation and requiring passengers over 70 years old to have a doctor's note. I have yet to hear - and maybe I have to look for this information, but cruise lines need to be publicizing this information front and center - protocols implemented by the crew when the next outbreak occurs. Cruise lines can and should take the medicine now. Take the short term pain for a long term gain. Or they can bury their heads in the sand and hope this goes away. Consumers will be scared of the cruise lines for years to come and the cruise industry will not get back to its peak of the last few years until a decade or so pass, if ever. I don't want to see that happen.
  5. I am looking forward to the day when I can get back on a cruise. However, I need to know cruise lines have made significant steps in improving their handling of medical issues among other things. I haven't heard much from the cruise lines in how they will deal with COVID-19-like events in the future. What follows are my suggestions for cruise line passengers before they step foot on-board another cruise. I understand cruise lines may not be able implement all of my suggestions. I also understand adopting these suggestions will increase the cost of cruises and/or may decrease the level of service. However, they need to take concrete steps towards prescribed solutions rather than ad hoc, chaotic responses. Cruise passengers need detailed action plans rather than cosmetic changes. This is what I could come up with right now. I'll add more if I come up with more ideas. What's your Bill of Rights? Medical Cruise lines must have pre-existing agreements (published and reviewable by cruise passengers) in place with countries (where the ship is visiting) for handling and offloading sick passengers Cruise lines must have strict protocols (published and reviewable by all passengers) in place for another COVID-19 or another similar medical outbreak Protocols must be known by all crew members. Training must be performed to adhere to protocols. Cruise ship doctors and nurses my be educated and licensed from first-world, developed nations. They must have graduated from reputable universities (for doctors), reputable institutions for nurses. Doctors and nurses must have practiced their craft in reputable hospitals and/or settings. Cruise ship doctors and nurses must be directly employed by the cruise line, i.e. not contracted out Each cruise ship must have a minimum doctor and nurse/(crew + passenger) ratio Medical facilities must be expanded, with the number of beds/facilities proportional with the number of crew and passengers on the cruise Cruise ships must include medical care/evacuation within the cruise price or at the very least, provide medical care/evacuation at reasonable and customary rates Surgical masks (and if necessary, N95 masks) must be made available to all crew and passengers. Cruise ships must travel with a minimal number of masks per passenger/crew/ per day for the duration of the cruise. All passengers must be tested for COVID-19 using rapid COVID-19 test kits (when it eventually becomes available) before embarkation and disembarkation The cruise ship must have an adequate supply of rapid COVID-19 tests on the ship Cruise Ship Design Certainly not an expert in this, but consider installing HEPA filters and/or UV light cleaners in ventilation system. Again, certainly not an expert in this - for new ships, all staterooms should have negative pressure ventilation Crew Crew members, especially those with significant customer contact, can work at most 60 hours per week with at least one day off per week All crew members need to be trained and retrained in personal hygiene techniques All crew members get paid sick leave while on board/during contract Max number of crew members per crew cabin (2-3?) Food Service Buffets must not be self serve. Buffets can still be all you can eat, but all items must transferred to the passenger's plate by the food service crew. Self serve drink stations should be eliminated - food service crew can deliver drinks to the cruise passenger. Customer Service Better cancellation policies, with the ability for passengers to cancel (for any reason) within 72 hours with a minimal fee. If a pandemic has been declared, no fee will be assessed upon passenger cancellation of cruise. Refunds must be processed and deposited in the passenger's credit card account with 72 hours. Cruise Line Financial Operations Cruise line companies must be incorporated in a developed, first world country with strong cruise line regulations and customer protections Cruise ships for the cruise line companies must must be registered to a developed, first world country with strong cruise line regulations and customer protections Cruise line companies must have a minimum amount of cash on their balance sheet, in proportion to the number of passengers/days/revenues
  6. 60 additional coronavirus infections on board Diamond Princess, bringing the total to 130 now: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-09/china-to-spend-10-billion-who-sends-team-to-asia-virus-update?srnd=premium
  7. I'm thinking of going on the 14 day Voyage of the Midnight Sun cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. I definitely want a verandah stateroom - and the obstructed verandah staterooms seem to be a good deal. However, the nonobstructed verandah staterooms don't seem to be that much more expensive. How obstructed are the views? Is it worth it to save a few hundred dollars on an obstructed verandah stateroom - or should I just bite the bullet and get a nonobstructed verandah stateroom? I'm leaning more towards the latter because I would make full use of a nonobstructed verandah stateroom on a Norway cruise as I can imagine the views will be spectacular.
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