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Do you REALLY think we'll be cruising this year?


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I have to admit I've been pretty depressed not being able to look forward to my next cruise. I have two scheduled, in Jan. 2021 and Jan. 2022, but I'm not optimistic I'll be able to go on either. I do not believe cruising is likely to be viable for a lot of us for a long time.  As you probably know, even when social distancing measures are slowly rolled back, most epidemiologists believe there will be numerous waves of the virus resurfacing, with new social distancing measures reintroduced as needed.  This is expected to go on until there is a widely available vaccine.  (I read recently that the fastest vaccine developed so far was four years, for mumps.)  My greatest concern, even if I were to learn that I have immunity to the virus, is that if I am on a cruise and someone develops symptoms that suggest COVID-19, we could be stranded at sea just as several ships were recently when denied access to ports to disembark passengers.  At the very least, cruise lines will have to have the ability to test quickly and accurately, and they will have to have arrangements already in place with countries on how to handle disembarkations when there are COVID-19 cases on board. I think it's going to be a long, slow process for cruise lines, with passengers and crew from many different countries on every ship, to work out these arrangements with all the various countries where they have ports of call. And few of us will be willing to sail if a wonderful two-week cruise could possibly turn into a four-week or longer imprisonment with no means of escape. This is completely separate from whatever dangers there may be of contracting the virus on board. I hope I'm wrong!

Edited by MarkWiltonM
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I predict that cruises will be operating in some capacity before the end of the year. Now will that be in August, Oct, or Dec? No idea. They are already working on the Phase plans for re-opening things in the US. By the time they hit Phase 2 I think cruise companies will be pitching plans to re-start with enhanced health screenings, less than full capacity ships, and social distancing measures in place. As you said, vaccines take very long time. The industry will collapse if they try to wait for a vaccine. 

Edited by sanger727
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5 minutes ago, sanger727 said:

I predict that cruises will be operating in some capacity before the end of the year. Now will that be in August, Oct, or Dec? No idea. They are already working on the Phase plans for re-opening things in the US. By the time they hit Phase 2 I think cruise companies will be pitching plans to re-start with enhanced health screenings, less than full capacity ships, and social distancing measures in place. As you said, vaccines take very long time. The industry will collapse if they try to wait for a vaccine. 

Other countries aren't rushing as quickly to re-open, recognizing the dangers associated with doing so too soon. Consequently, even if the US is open for business, there may be nowhere to sail to. Suspending the PVSA might be one option, allowing cruises with no foreign destinations, but there are definite complications.

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Yes. 😀 I think before the end of the year, but not during the coming months. 
 

As we gather more information, and what works and doesn’t work becomes clearer, we will be able to create the proper guidelines to move forward, not only with cruising, but with everything in life. Right now the future feels very gloomy because we don’t have all the answers, but that will change. Think of how rapidly things have changed in a few short weeks. I believe that things will continue changing rapidly in weeks to come, and I remain optimistic that it will be for the better.

 

We went through this with 9/11. Many of the initial guidelines to return to the skies were made  in the blind as we faced an unprecedented threat. There were many policies that were quickly applied, only to be abandoned and modified just as quickly as we gathered more information. I believe that we will go through a similar “trial and error” process with this but we will ultimately come to a place and to guidelines that will allow everybody to safely sail again.
 

I know it may be hard to remain positive under the current circumstances, but do your best! Happy cruising!

Edited by Tapi
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I think once you take into account port closures (especially those that were already wanting to limit ship traffic), upcoming regulatory requirements, ships that may be in long term storage, crew shortages and so on, I think cruising will 'resume' in very slow incremental steps and only in certain parts of the world.

 

Even if cruising were to resume by year end, just because you are booked, I think there is a very solid chance you will still be cancelled, or at a minimum have a ship, itinerary or duration change.

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Of course none of us really knows, but FWIW here is my opinion - I think there will be some small amount of sailings beginning late this year out of the US.  I think these will be,  in essence, test runs so to speak.  I think they will be short (2-3 days), and perhaps even cruises to nowhere for people just wanting to get on a ship again.   I would be shocked if we see ports opening up this year to accept cruise ships.  For sure, I expect my Sept East Coast/Canadian cruise to be cancelled.  There is little to gain, and much to lose, for the ports to begin allowing ships to enter.  They don't rely on cruise revenue to live.   I know Caribbean islands are a different story - not sure how long they can survive (literally) without cruise ship revenue.  At the same time, they have natural limitations on virus spreading they I suspect they will be very fearful to break that soon.

 

I realize that in the past vaccines took years to develop.  At the same time, we are light years ahead of the past in science and technology.  I believe the experts who say it is possible (not necessarily likely, but possible) to have a vaccine ready to go early next year.  How soon it can get out to the  masses who knows.  We also may find relief if we can develop accurate antibody tests and determine the true length (if any) of immunity.  Best case would be accurate antibody tests widely available and proven immunity.  That would go a long way towards opening up everything.

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There are so many moving parts before any cruise company can even think about returning let alone actually scheduling sailings.  They have a tough row to hoe but they don't need us to tell them that.

 

Testing is paramount and we are nowhere close on that currently.  Forget temperature checks and oximeter checks.  Too many asymptomatic but infected people would be boarding ships.  Then you have the whole distancing issue.  Can it be implemented like it is on land? Not likely. Then cruise companies will be looking closely at liability issues.  That is part of a much bigger picture where overall travel is concerned. Buffet operation.  Dining room operation.  The theater.  All of these issues will need to be addressed and dealt with before they announce a single sailing.

But a huge factor is the willingness to travel question.  Even with most issues ironed out (if that is even possible) how many will be willing to sail.  And what will the experience be like?  

SWAG?  Maybe late fall.  But that would be just in time for a second wave, if it is to come.

 

And I agree with another poster that said they may roll  sailings out slowly--like 2 or 3 day sailings, maybe to nowhere.  But for us, and I would guess a good number of people, we have zero desire to potentially put ourselves at risk just to get on a cruise ship with no destination.  We sail for itinerary, culture, new experiences.  No ship alone in the world would come close to satisfying that, so no thanks.

 

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My thoughts are that if a cruise was to set sail tomorrow there will be enough people that would go.  Just like if there was a NBA or MLB game tomorrow it would be a sellout.  Many people think this is not a big deal and the numbers are not accurately counted because everyone hasn't received a test.  Others, will say that social distancing and preventive measures we are taking are the reason why the numbers are down.  There is no winner. 

I think Cruises will set sail again this year.  I just hope it is by September.

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We are absolutely content in not having to plan for a cruise this year.  There are just too many things that may impact our health if we travel as we used to.

We're not looking forward to be at a dining room table where our neighbour's table is only 4 inches from ours.

We are not looking forward to a luncheon in the oceanview cafe where we have seen all too often passengers licking their fingers as they sample various offerings and grabbing the next utensil.

We have absolutely no desire to sit in a theatre full of guests elbow to elbow.

We have absolutely no desire to be packed like sardines around the swimming pool.

 

Right now we feel safe at home and don't plan to cruise again until the cruise line gives us some space while on board.

 

However this is April and it's snowing.  Who knows what will make us dream about the warm tropical waves and breezes that we used to experience despite all the concerns mentioned above.

 

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I posted this thought on another thread, but it's relevant here too.  My fear is that if cruising resumes too soon there will likely be Covid19 outbreaks on some ships.  If this happens and the ships are stuck at sea because no port will allow them to dock, I would expect to see another round of cancellations and possibly a shutdown of the cruise industry once again.

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I think next year is possible.  I expect and hope for a vaccine.  So many talking heads refer to the timeline of 4 years for development of the mumps vaccine.  Um, that was 53 years ago.  It might take a year or a bit longer, but I believe we'll have one.  Then it'll be how-fast-can-I-drive-to-Port-Everglades!  

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If the cruise lines have to wait for a vaccine to sail again, I am not sure we will have a cruise industry or either it will need to be drastically restructured.    What is the right balance between health of passengers, crew and financial stability???? I do not know.  

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We were doing our monthly bills this morning and my wife asked ”why is there so much money in the checking account”? Didn’t even have to think about it - no air fares, no cruises, no pre & post hotels, etc. What we would normally do is — — book another cruise.

We have had three cruises cancelled and one we cancelled(1/31/21 SA), and still one in October up in the air. 
The cruise lines are not being realistic about their near sail dates, as port are closed, crews were sent home in large numbers, CDC no sail date is still in effective till the end of July. Some ships might need refurbishment after allowing crew access to guest cabins and other facilities. (Saw on Facebook yesterday, that on the Summit the crew are now housed in balcony cabins).

 There is a high likelihood that the CDC will extend the no sail until pandemic responses are not needed in port cities or destinations within the US.
Best guess, 12/31/2020.

 

Hal

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Had booked the Edge out of Rome for August but will obviously cancel and re-book another cruise for late 2021.  Now I have to deal with our Airfare which we have already paid for in full.

 

Not sure how testing has progressed but if we can find a way to instantly test all passengers upon embarkation then that would make things easier.  Mind you, there is still the issue of port stops where passengers can pick up the virus and bring it back on board.  So many things to consider before we can go back to normal or a new normal.

 

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I don't think the cruise lines need to wait for a vaccine, but I will (autoimmune issue).  I just looked up some milestones:  mumps vaccine (4 yr development) was 1967; DNA sequencing discovered 1970 (50 yrs ago!).  Science has come a long way since then.  With every single pharmaceutical firm and laboratory IN THE WORLD racing for the first vaccine/treatment, whoever is first is going to win a multi-billion-person prize.

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