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Are we seeing the end of cruising?

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Posted (edited)

BSocial;  I had a river cruise and two ocean cruises cancel this year.  I will try to book another river and ocean cruise next year;  will wait until end of this year to see how things are shaping up.   loge23;  Amen to your comment.

Edited by AF-1
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8 hours ago, Doubt It said:

I have been losing interest in cruising for quite a while. The product has been consistently downgraded while prices were rising. Less staff, lesser quality food, reductions in space and service for non suite guests, Celebrities elimination of forward viewing lounge on their Edge class and reduction in size on some of their S class, seemingly increasing reporting of more missed ports, inward focused design by lessening viewing of the ocean, on and on.

 

The virus is simply the icing on the cake for my household and group of friends. We are moving towards high end escorted tours and train/air travel between ports. 

 

It is not about the money, it is about the experience - and getting a real experience, with real local food, seeing the real local geography etc.

 

Cruising is increasingly fake to me.

 

Since travel is funded by after tax income, I would not be purchasing a cruise if it comprises multiple checking on ship, every port, wearing masks etc. Not interested.

 

 

 

Sadly, we agree with you.  When I asked She Who Must Be Obeyed about the five cruises we had booked between the time Princess cancelled our April 4 cruisr - essentially stranding us in Australia - and the end of 2021, she said cancel them all and let's do a road trip in the US.  We are still waiting on over $9,000 back for that cancelled cruise.

 

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

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I too have my concerns about returning to cruising and I have the same concerns about any travel and land based vacations.  I just cancelled a land based trip in September that I have had booked since 2018.  It was designed to be a break from so many sea days and spending more time seeing the landscape and sights.  The problem is that the 20 day trip entailed 4 different flights, an overnight train trip and a seven day trip on a tour bus.  Not much chance of social distancing there.

 

If the future holds no more cruising for us, what other forms of vacationing/travel will be in the cards for us?  Hotels, public transportation, tourist locations will all be as unsafe as a cruise ship will be.  I think the only really safe trips will be what Thrak suggested - primitive camping trips.

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This is a real problem.  Not even a primitive camping trip will be 100% safe, you still need to stop for gasoline.  Still this is probably the lowest risk option along a continuum along which cruising is the highest risk option.

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12 minutes ago, Loreni said:

This is a real problem.  Not even a primitive camping trip will be 100% safe, you still need to stop for gasoline.  Still this is probably the lowest risk option along a continuum along which cruising is the highest risk option.

Do you think cruising is more dangerous than being packed into an airplane or a tour bus?  You're right that it is likely a continuum but one's opportunities to socially distance on a bus or plane are much more limited than when on a ship.  Nobody really knows the source of the virus' that appeared on cruise ships.  The virus may have infected PAX while enroute to the cruise port and they didn't develop symptoms until onboard.  A big problem with the stats showing cruise ships as being more dangerous is because health officials were not testing other forms of transportation but were certainly focused on cruise ships.

 

At some point, things will gradually open up and people will start venturing back onto the seas.

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15 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

Do you think cruising is more dangerous than being packed into an airplane or a tour bus?  You're right that it is likely a continuum but one's opportunities to socially distance on a bus or plane are much more limited than when on a ship.  Nobody really knows the source of the virus' that appeared on cruise ships.  The virus may have infected PAX while enroute to the cruise port and they didn't develop symptoms until onboard.  A big problem with the stats showing cruise ships as being more dangerous is because health officials were not testing other forms of transportation but were certainly focused on cruise ships.

 

At some point, things will gradually open up and people will start venturing back onto the seas.

While on a tour in a bus the concern is does one of the 40 others have the virus

 

 

On a cruise it is does one of the 2-3000 have the virus.

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Posted (edited)

There is professor at Purdue who is an expert in ventilation systems and disease.  He says that the ventilation system on planes is better because it filters virus while the ventilation system on cruises does not.  Hopefully this can be addressed.  Nonetheless I don’t feel safe flying or on busses because, as you point out, social distancing is not possible.  
 

Social distancing may be somewhat possible on a ship, but since you are on the ship for days or weeks rather than hours I wonder if any mitigation efforts could be effective.  So far the CDC thinks not.  They also don’t think I should fly.  One thing I do know is that I have caught URI (usually minor) on about 80% of my cruises (some of which I have driven to) but on few of the hundreds of flights I’ve taken for business travel.

Edited by Loreni

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17 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

Do you think cruising is more dangerous than being packed into an airplane or a tour bus?  You're right that it is likely a continuum but one's opportunities to socially distance on a bus or plane are much more limited than when on a ship.  Nobody really knows the source of the virus' that appeared on cruise ships.  The virus may have infected PAX while enroute to the cruise port and they didn't develop symptoms until onboard.  A big problem with the stats showing cruise ships as being more dangerous is because health officials were not testing other forms of transportation but were certainly focused on cruise ships.

 

At some point, things will gradually open up and people will start venturing back onto the seas.

The issue with cruise ships is the attack rate in that environment. How fast it spreads in that environment.

 

Health officials have been checking other forms, especially when it comes to contact tracing.

 

One of the best tools for managing COVID-19 is to limit travel.  If you can focus on people that stay in their home area, then you can trace contact, limit spread from outside of the community. It is one of the reasons that in many areas travel is limited to local areas (within 50 miles).

 

With a cruise you have people coming from a very diverse area, some may be well controlled, some may not. They travel to the cruise ship using public transport (another potential risk area). Then the people are in a mostly inside environment, with limited air flow, in fairly close space, with the relatively large population mixing such that most people have some contact with most of the others.  In other words an ideal space for spread (thus resulting in the recognized attack rate).  Then all of those people after cruise spread out and return to their home areas.

 

Doing a cruise with everyone from one area, that is under control, traveling to/from the cruise ship via charter flights would be far safer.

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2 minutes ago, npcl said:

The issue with cruise ships is the attack rate in that environment. How fast it spreads in that environment.

 

Health officials have been checking other forms, especially when it comes to contact tracing.

 

One of the best tools for managing COVID-19 is to limit travel.  If you can focus on people that stay in their home area, then you can trace contact, limit spread from outside of the community. It is one of the reasons that in many areas travel is limited to local areas (within 50 miles).

 

With a cruise you have people coming from a very diverse area, some may be well controlled, some may not. They travel to the cruise ship using public transport (another potential risk area). Then the people are in a mostly inside environment, with limited air flow, in fairly close space, with the relatively large population mixing such that most people have some contact with most of the others.  In other words an ideal space for spread (thus resulting in the recognized attack rate).  Then all of those people after cruise spread out and return to their home areas.

 

Doing a cruise with everyone from one area, that is under control, traveling to/from the cruise ship via charter flights would be far safer.

I agree that a cruise ship is not where I want to be right now.  You mention the 'attack rate' in the cruise ship environment but what are the attack rates for other travel venues?  I don't remember seeing any stats regarding the spread of the virus on aircraft and public transit.  IIRC, there have been many more Covid-19 deaths among NYC Transit workers than the total number of deaths attributed to cruise ships.  My main point is not to say cruising is safe right now, rather my point is that the government has not been as aggressive in testing PAX from other venues resulting in significantly higher numbers for the cruise industry.

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I just hope that CCL stock can recover a bit so I can unload it without taking too bad of a bath. I am not holding my breath however!

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1 hour ago, Loreni said:

This is a real problem.  Not even a primitive camping trip will be 100% safe, you still need to stop for gasoline.  Still this is probably the lowest risk option along a continuum along which cruising is the highest risk option.

Why on earth is cruising the highest risk option?  On a cruise:

There is a huge awareness of sanitation in general and hand sanitizer is everywhere on a ship. .  I doubt there's a higher concentration of people anywhere else on the planet that are as aware of hand-washing and such as on a cruise ship.   

The pool deck is a near ideal place to be...outside, in the sunlight, in the fresh air.  Transmissibility is very very low in that environment.  It's not like people are climbing on top of each other and hugging everyone.  

The primary risk on a ship is the theatre.  Lots of people in a confined space for an extended period.  The dining rooms could be an issue, but less likely as people are spread out more.  Airflow in that environment would be the main factor. 

 

Compare that with just about any other non-solitary vacation option.  

 

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On 5/9/2020 at 4:18 PM, LACruiser88 said:

I wish all the folks that are "never cruising again" would go find another forum to discuss their future vacation plans! 

Don't be such a grouch! These posts are educational and can be entertaining also. What else do we have to do while in stay-home-mode.?

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Everyone has to make their own decisions based on the realities at the time of booking a vacation.

 

I most certainly feel more comfortable driving and hoteling and seeing the landscape and distancing at the most interesting local restaurants. Second best is a plane and bus tour with (like ncpl said 40 people max). 

 

Cruising is now Way, Way down the list of vacation options. One thing that is rarely posted on the CC boards is the impact of less willing ports - we cruise for the ports - if there are less ports - there is No point in cruising.  I realize some people value the cruise ship experience more than the ports, ok for sure, but why bother being on a cruise ship with a few ports/limited medical/no beaches/no cultural experience/same old restaurants nite after nite - when I can fly to Vegas and do a ship like hotel experience big time at many hotels and all the culinary treasures there, or go to Miami and hang there while having a real beach and real golf and more fab restaurants.

 

Cruise ships can never compete with a land based water/hotel/food experience under the current or anticipated circumstances. Cruise ships carry more risk and less resolution options if a virus problem arises.

 

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Probably not the end of cruising. However, you might see a few players get out of the business and cruiselines reduce the number of cruises to avoid having to offer cheap as chips cabins. 

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37 minutes ago, Loreni said:

There is professor at Purdue who is an expert in ventilation systems and disease.  He says that the ventilation system on planes is better because it filters virus while the ventilation system on cruises does not.  Hopefully this can be addressed.  Nonetheless I don’t feel safe flying or on busses because, as you point out, social distancing is not possible.  
 

Social distancing may be somewhat possible on a ship, but since you are on the ship for days or weeks rather than hours I wonder if any mitigation efforts could be effective.  So far the CDC thinks not.  They also don’t think I should fly.  One thing I do know is that I have caught URI (usually minor) on about 80% of my cruises (some of which I have driven to) but on few of the hundreds of flights I’ve taken for business travel.

That the filtration system on a plane has a better filter doesn't make a plane a safer environment.  The issue is where the air goes after it's filtered.   Once the filtered air enters the cabin, how big is the zone in which it is circulated among closely-spaced people before re-entering the ducting for filtering?  If one person is sick, there are lot of others literally within arms reach. 

On a ship, while you may be there for days/weeks, most of the environment does not involve prolonged close-proximity to other people.   Aside from passing others in the stairwells and corridors, I am seldom NOT socially-distanced from other guests on a ship.  We can essentially be alone on a ship fill of people. That's one of the great things about cruising. 

 

If this report is an accurate indication of the professor's work on the topic, I have a lot of questions. 

https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2020/Q1/cruise-ship-ac-systems-could-promote-rapid-coronavirus-spread,-prof-says.html

He suggests that cruise ships are bad because (aside from filtration) they mix fresh and recirculated air.  Airplanes do the same thing.  That suggests the cruise industry is a filter away from matching airplanes.  

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4 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

I agree that a cruise ship is not where I want to be right now.  You mention the 'attack rate' in the cruise ship environment but what are the attack rates for other travel venues?  I don't remember seeing any stats regarding the spread of the virus on aircraft and public transit.  IIRC, there have been many more Covid-19 deaths among NYC Transit workers than the total number of deaths attributed to cruise ships.  My main point is not to say cruising is safe right now, rather my point is that the government has not been as aggressive in testing PAX from other venues resulting in significantly higher numbers for the cruise industry.

In epidemiology, the attack rate is the percentage of the population that contracts the disease in an at risk population during a specified time interval. It is used in hypothetical predictions and during actual outbreaks of disease.

 

There have been numerous studies concerning particle distribution on an air plane.

 

They have been doing contact tracing on air planes.  Such work is taking place.  

 

Any position that has face to face contact with large number of people are risky.  That would include cabin crew of airplanes (mostly during food/drink service when they are very close to passengers and both are talking and during the greatting of passengers as they enter and leave the plane), transit workers, bus drivers, grocery store clerks, etc.

 

As Dr Fauci stated the CDC saw higher attack rates on cruise ships compared to anywhere else, including those in the same household with an infected individual.

 

The daily number of riders on the NY subway is over 5.5 million prior to the outbreak, on March 17 it was still 1.7 million per day.  You had the first known case on Mar 1, though there are some models that calculate that there was probably cases in the city by the middle of feb and probably several hundred by the time the first case was identified.  On the Diamond in a 14 day period you had around a 25% infection rate, starting with 1 person.  Now using the lower March 17 numbers one can expect that there were multiple infected on the mass transit system yet after 17 days on March 17 the total number of cases in the entire state of New York was 3,059.  Even if everyone in the state of new York was infected on the Mass Transit system and even if the actual number of cases was 10 times higher  (30,000 instead of 3,000) that was still only  1.7% of the lower ridership number.

 

The attack rates on the Grand and Ruby were also quite high.  Unfortunately those 3 are the only ships where we have anything close to full infection data (just happens those investigations were driven by land based authorities instead of dealing with cruise line info. 

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29 minutes ago, D C said:

Why on earth is cruising the highest risk option?  On a cruise:

There is a huge awareness of sanitation in general and hand sanitizer is everywhere on a ship. .  I doubt there's a higher concentration of people anywhere else on the planet that are as aware of hand-washing and such as on a cruise ship.   

The pool deck is a near ideal place to be...outside, in the sunlight, in the fresh air.  Transmissibility is very very low in that environment.  It's not like people are climbing on top of each other and hugging everyone.  

The primary risk on a ship is the theatre.  Lots of people in a confined space for an extended period.  The dining rooms could be an issue, but less likely as people are spread out more.  Airflow in that environment would be the main factor. 

 

Compare that with just about any other non-solitary vacation option.  

 

The theater, the lounges. elevators, gyms, hallways, dining rooms  Unless you are up on the pool deck or in your cabin, the rest of the ship is closed in, confined space, with limited ventilation.  Spaces where you are intermixing with a constantly changing population of the rest of the passengers and crew for that cruise.

 

Handwashing is greater for Noro, and must also be down for COVID, but transmission of a URI, by droplets in the air from those coughing, sneezing, talking around you is something that cannot be stopped by hand washing alone.

 

Anyone that has been on any cruises over 7 days has probably seen how no one is coughing on day 1 but by day 10 or 14 half the ship is coughing.  The inside of a cruise ship is a great environment for the transmission of a URI.

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Shakeups taking place on the Cruise lines HAL's Orlando Ashford leaving at the end of May

Seabourn's Rick Meadows has also announced his planned departure.

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6 hours ago, loge23 said:

I think one thing is for sure - it is the end of cruising as we knew it.

As several posters in this thread have opined, there are many other alternatives. The cruise lines not only compete with one another, but with many other forms of travel and leisure that arguably will be better positioned to rebound in a post-pandemic environment. Of course, that is if we ever reach that promised land.

The first casualty will be the recent ship-building boom - we are seeing, at the least, significant down-sizing of the industry with perhaps less cruise companies. Demand will slow, and the public will be less forgiving for being exposed to any contagious illness while on vacation. Frankly, the only times my wife and I have been ill with virus and/or flu-like symptoms in the last few years has been on or immediately after a cruise. A few years ago, on a TA, my wife and many other passengers experienced a respiratory illness onboard resulting in a expensive visits to the ship's MD and a course of treatment. It happens - a lot.

 

The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated these little annoyances to a grand scale. On each of out last three (3) long cruises, the ship had to divert back to it's home port earlier than scheduled to deliver critically ill passenger's to a hospital. Yes, people do get sick on long cruises but this problem has increased in recent years to where it's almost expected that we will have to divert or experience a airlift rescue at sea. That's not hyperbole, that's a fact.

 

The Great Cruise Boom is over just as it was taking hold. 

 

We are so glad we took the trips that we did when we did. We always justified them by agreeing that we should do it now, while we can, before we are too infirm to travel. Well, we did and we would do more if this hadn't happened, accepting the risks by preparing as much as we could to avoid them. The last cruise, in February, we carried hand sanitizer everywhere. We avoided touching the handrails on the ship as much as possible - handrails being one of the prime hot spots for virus transmission and one of the most ignored ones by the cruise companies. My wife wrote to Princess about the handrail problem last year. She got a nice reply back stating that the line would enact additional procedures to counter this problem - taking her suggestion that hand sanitizer stations should be stationed at every stairwell - they didn't follow through as far as we could see on our last cruise. With increased vigilance on our part, we finally broke our streak of getting sick onboard.

 

No matter how much the cruise lines do, however, to mitigate the threat of contagion on ships, the bigger problem always be careless, unsanitary passengers. And that too is a fact. How the cruise line addresses this issue is anyone's guess. We have already seen some rather clumsy suggestions from the industry. 

It's a big world out there. The future of travel is spreading out, not clustering. As much as we enjoy cruising, we would be very hesitant about getting back onboard without significant changes in providing a safe, sanitary environment on any conveyance post COVID-19. 

 

 

 

Have your trips gotten longer and with older people?  Serious question, as I think cruise length and age tend to go hand in hand.  I would not be surprised if longer cruises had more medical issues than 2+ shorter cruises that equalled the same duration, if the age was higher on average.  

 

Unsanitary people will be an issue everywhere you go, but cruise ships will always have sanitizer :) 

I can see ships going to a "we serve you" model at the buffet.   Maybe cleaning high-touch surfaces more frequently.  Knowing my room has an air filter would be nice as well.  Otherwise, I'm not asking for much change before sailing again.   I see other vacation options as being higher-risk, such as a trip to Europe with stays in several hotels in several cities, or a trip to Disney World with snot-nosed kids grabbing handrails in queues with their sticky hands. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Doubt It said:

Everyone has to make their own decisions based on the realities at the time of booking a vacation.

 

I most certainly feel more comfortable driving and hoteling and seeing the landscape and distancing at the most interesting local restaurants. Second best is a plane and bus tour with (like ncpl said 40 people max). 

 

Cruising is now Way, Way down the list of vacation options. One thing that is rarely posted on the CC boards is the impact of less willing ports - we cruise for the ports - if there are less ports - there is No point in cruising.  I realize some people value the cruise ship experience more than the ports, ok for sure, but why bother being on a cruise ship with a few ports/limited medical/no beaches/no cultural experience/same old restaurants nite after nite - when I can fly to Vegas and do a ship like hotel experience big time at many hotels and all the culinary treasures there, or go to Miami and hang there while having a real beach and real golf and more fab restaurants.

 

Cruise ships can never compete with a land based water/hotel/food experience under the current or anticipated circumstances. Cruise ships carry more risk and less resolution options if a virus problem arises.

 

 

This is what we will be doing too.....already have booked some of our favorite hotels at the coast his year....it will be much more fun getting there and sightseeing and relaxing.....also, we feel we are able to control our environment that we are in better....cruising sounds like it is going to be such a major hassle.  Also, we would like to go out of country this summer but it sounds like Americans are not going to be very welcomed with our lack of control of COVID-19 and chance for infecting others.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, D C said:

Why on earth is cruising the highest risk option?  On a cruise:

There is a huge awareness of sanitation in general and hand sanitizer is everywhere on a ship. .  I doubt there's a higher concentration of people anywhere else on the planet that are as aware of hand-washing and such as on a cruise ship.   

The pool deck is a near ideal place to be...outside, in the sunlight, in the fresh air.  Transmissibility is very very low in that environment.  It's not like people are climbing on top of each other and hugging everyone.  

The primary risk on a ship is the theatre.  Lots of people in a confined space for an extended period.  The dining rooms could be an issue, but less likely as people are spread out more.  Airflow in that environment would be the main factor. 

 

Compare that with just about any other non-solitary vacation option.  

 

 

Airplanes, trains etc. are great spreaders of anyone infected

 

A cruise is a closed environment where people are jammed together eating, partying etc. in  place where one person can over the span of days spread it to hundreds who then re-distribute it in every port and then all the way home.   Thus the way a ship first collects high risk people, then allows them to spread, and the re-distribute make them something that will likely be restarted last.  Think of a cruise ship in the same environment as a meat packing plant, but at leas there they don't distribute and reconvene in the theater, dining room, pool, buffet, elevator etc. etc.    

 

That being said I'll cruise again likely in 2022 or 2023, 

 

Fun post to see what happens in a buffet or theater or from the handrails if anyone at the muster drill is a superspreader, LOL

 

 

Edited by chipmaster

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, npcl said:

While on a tour in a bus the concern is does one of the 40 others have the virus

 

 

On a cruise it is does one of the 2-3000 have the virus.

 

You forget about the crew members... It can be twice as many...

Edited by nho9504

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1 hour ago, npcl said:

The theater, the lounges. elevators, gyms, hallways, dining rooms  Unless you are up on the pool deck or in your cabin, the rest of the ship is closed in, confined space, with limited ventilation.  Spaces where you are intermixing with a constantly changing population of the rest f the passengers and crew for that cruise.

 

Handwashing is greater for Noro, and must also be down for COVID, but transmission of a URI, by droplets in the air from those coughing, sneezing, talking around you is something that cannot be stopped by hand washing alone.

 

Anyone that has been on any cruises over 7 days has probably seen how no one is coughing on day 1 but by day 10 or 14 half the ship is coughing.  The inside of a cruise ship is a great environment for the transmission of a URI.

 

Don't forget the attack rate or the probability that the spreader is going to have multiple changes to infect the high risk recipient.  For SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID19 it goes after the old, those with health issues ( obesity, diabetic, etc. etc. ) and on a cruise the % of the population that fall into that demongraphic is far higher, and US overall far higher than most other continents 

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2 hours ago, D C said:

Why on earth is cruising the highest risk option?  On a cruise:

There is a huge awareness of sanitation in general and hand sanitizer is everywhere on a ship. .  I doubt there's a higher concentration of people anywhere else on the planet that are as aware of hand-washing and such as on a cruise ship.   

The pool deck is a near ideal place to be...outside, in the sunlight, in the fresh air.  Transmissibility is very very low in that environment.  It's not like people are climbing on top of each other and hugging everyone.  

The primary risk on a ship is the theatre.  Lots of people in a confined space for an extended period.  The dining rooms could be an issue, but less likely as people are spread out more.  Airflow in that environment would be the main factor. 

 

Compare that with just about any other non-solitary vacation option.  

 

Probably not good for any of us to put our head in the sand, no matter how much we love to cruise.  Lets be very honest.  Mass market cruise ships crowd lots of people into a fixed space.  On many ships the deck chairs are literally butted up against each other and on some lines they are separated by a few inches.  The Lido buffet areas are always crowded during meal times and there is no way to social distance in that venue.  The main theaters are often full with no social distancing possible.  Bars/lounges are often crowded with little or no social distancing possible.   We have over 1400 days on many different ships so do understand the layouts, space issues, etc.  Now compare that to other vacation options.  If I am on a land driving trip in Europe I can (to some degree) control my environment and social space in many venues.  If I go to an All Inclusive I generally spend most of my time on a large beach (social spacing not a problem) or at one of the expansive pools where its easy to social distance.  The dining venues do vary, but one can social space if it is a priority.  

 

A bigger problem then cruise ships are the airlines.   Flying Business Class does make social distancing more possible, but planes do come with their own risks for which we have no solution.

 

So what to do?  We are already talking about a late summer trip to Paris and Prague.  The flying part causes me concern although we can do the transatlantic part in Business Class where there is some spacing.  Once in Paris and Prague we would likely rent apartments which work nicely for spacing and isolation.   For many of our restaurants we can choose to eat outdoors where there is some spacing.  If we do want to dine inside we can choose better restaurants where there is a decent amount of spacing.  But unlike ships, we would have much more ability to control our environment.  

 

Where does leave cruising?  One can achieve some social distancing on the higher end luxury lines such as Seabourn where there is a lot more space per passenger.   But a ship like the Island or Caribbean Princess is always going to be crowded because they have been designed to pack-in the max folks in the least space.  Princess could decide to only allow 50% occupancy, but this would not be possible from a financial point of view.  So, no solution.

 

Hank

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I took a Globus tour of Italy last September - 35 on the bus. The tour guide checked the health of every passenger who boarded, every morning  - asked questions, took notes and compared from the previous day. He was quite upfront saying I will watch your eyes and nose and look for virus symptoms. He also said, not to worry because in every stop there were Globus approved medical facilities that you could be whisked to. 

 

I had considerable comfort in that and this was before the current virus. 

 

Did not get that level of service on any cruise ship.  Enough said.  I will take my chances with the 35-40 on a bus tour instead of 3-4 thousand on a cruise ship.

 

 

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