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healthy sail panel recommendations are released


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After looking at this we plan to cancel our cruise. I am mostly concerned about being quarantined if a waiter, room steward, trivia partner, etc. tested positive during the cruise but am also choosing not to sail due to the mask requirement. For me personally it would be a depressing vacation to see everyone constantly in masks and, also, to not be able to expore ports on our own. However, I am sure others won't mind the restrictions and will just be glad to cruise. 

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The deal breaker for me...

 

the Panel recommends that cruise operators initially prohibit self-guided tours and independent exploration and only allow certain curated indoor activities until further notice. This is a significant change to the cruise experience, so the Panel recommends this information be communicated clearly and early on to guests.

 

Paying X an expensive fee to go to the beach is not in the cards.  If they offer free shuttle rides, fine.

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4 minutes ago, marieps said:

The deal breaker for me...

 

the Panel recommends that cruise operators initially prohibit self-guided tours and independent exploration and only allow certain curated indoor activities until further notice. This is a significant change to the cruise experience, so the Panel recommends this information be communicated clearly and early on to guests.

 

Paying X an expensive fee to go to the beach is not in the cards.  If they offer free shuttle rides, fine.

they also recommend limiting initial trips to ports that can be controlled such as the private islands and other tightly controlled ports. so the beach would be restricted to ones with limited access.

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None of these are necessarily surprising, given the cruises that have resumed, but here are some of the recommendations for ports/excursions (language quoted; emphasis added):

 

  • Recommendation 57: In the startup phase, cruise itineraries should be as simple as possible, utilizing private, cruise line-owned and operated destinations or ports where there can be tight control of the onshore experience.
  • Recommendation 59: During the initial return to sailing, cruise operators should only allow guests debarking from a ship at a destination port to participate in cruise line-sponsored or verified excursions as a way of limiting potential exposures in the destinations they visit.

Also:

  • Recommendation 16: To prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, cruise operators should require guests
    and crew to wear cloth face coverings/face masks
    in accordance with CDC recommendations.
  • Recommendation 58: Cruise operators should initially return to service with shorter length trips (≤ 10 days).
  • [from Recommendation 19 on social distancing]: While many of the specific modifications may vary by cruise operators and ship, the Panel believes that removal of, and substitution for, self-service buffets during this time will help to maintain these general distancing guidelines and avoid overcrowding, and should therefore be implemented across all ships.

There is general guidance on Page 27 that on-board capacity should be reduced, but no specific rules, formulas, or caps.

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Full disclosure - I skimmed through the document and did not read every word.  Here are my impressions:

  • I could have written this.  They didn't need PHD's - as a knowledgeable cruiser, Cruise Critic reader, and former manager I could have filled it with the same manager speak they did.  I learned nothing new
  • There is way too much recommending to recommend.  They need to recommend that cruise lines REQUIRE some of these processes, not just recommend them.  Too many passengers already ignore many recommendations.
  • Their recommendation of a negative test up to 5 days prior is almost worthless.  Many of us fly to our destinations, stay in port cities a day or two prior, and take transportation.  In addition, many of us cannot find anyplace to get a test that gives quick results.  So that means, the actual testing date may be as much as 10 days prior or more!  I also don't know about others, but in our area the standard testing spots do not give you any type of written confirmation.  So you would need to try to get an appointment at your doctor's office for the test  - may not be possible.
  • Too many "if feasible", such as the quick test before boarding.  IMHO (yes, I am not a PHD!) that is something that needs to be required before boarding!
  • A lot of vague recommendations - decrease capacity by what %?  Increase medical facilities and care to what passenger to doctor ratio/what passenger to bed ratio?   What is the definition of a quarantine area and how is it to be managed?? To me this is a critical oversight in the document.  This is the kind of detail which I would think would be expected by the knowledgeable experts on this panel.  But is it not there!
  • Not their fault, but what happens next?   I know this is US based only, but the CDC has not given any indication (to my knowledge - correct me if wrong) of what they intend to do with this document.  
Edited by phoenix_dream
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5 minutes ago, npcl said:

the report itself is an advisory document. the cruise lines will still need to do their plans which should include more specifics.

I understand that.  But IMHO the point of having these highly educated experts doing this would have been to come up with more detail about what is required.  Specifically things such as passenger to doctor ratio, passenger to hospital bed ratio, specifics about medical equipment required, specifics about what is required in a quarantine area and how it needs to be managed.  Truthfully, there is nothing here you and I could not have written - it is all common sense based on what we know about the virus now.  Very disappointing I think.  It leaves the cruise lines open to create a variety of very different plans for some very important things.  I thought that is what this document was supposed to be designed to avoid.  They did not need to pay experts to come up with generic, common sense "recommendations"

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Keep in mind, the subject of the document is "Recommendations from the Health Sail Panel" which is a joint effort between Royal and Norwegian. This isn't a CDC, CLIA or government agency set of guidelines. There is also substantial differentiation (the M and K columns) between steps they recommend keeping long term and steps they recommend allowing to evolve as the virus and what we know about it changes. 

 

All in all, testing, accommodating quarantine, limited off ship activity, short cruises, agreements with ports to enter, social distancing and masks are the main take-aways for the short term. 

 

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For us, there is virtually no after no if this comes to pass.

 

Short trips? No.  Private islands (e.g. Caribbean/Bahamas)? No. Only ship sponsored tours, no self touring?  No. Potential quarantine?  Absolutely no.

 

Have already had 6 sailings cancelled/lift and shifted since April.  If the same occurs with the next 4 through mid 2021, so be it.

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16 minutes ago, paulh84 said:

Keep in mind, the subject of the document is "Recommendations from the Health Sail Panel" which is a joint effort between Royal and Norwegian. This isn't a CDC, CLIA or government agency set of guidelines. There is also substantial differentiation (the M and K columns) between steps they recommend keeping long term and steps they recommend allowing to evolve as the virus and what we know about it changes. 

 

All in all, testing, accommodating quarantine, limited off ship activity, short cruises, agreements with ports to enter, social distancing and masks are the main take-aways for the short term. 

 

As respects your last paragraph - we needed "experts" to tell us this???  This has all been discussed ad nauseum here on Cruise Critic🙂

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Will be very interested to see how this is going by July/August 2021 when I will be cruising next.

I'm also not sure what the term "verified" in relation to excursions actually means?

 Possibly a private tour operator can be used if they submit a plan and are approved by the cruiseline.

Let's wait and see the plan/response from the cruiseline.

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8 minutes ago, phoenix_dream said:

As respects your last paragraph - we needed "experts" to tell us this???  This has all been discussed ad nauseum here on Cruise Critic🙂

 

It is a way to justify the expense and pass it on to the cruise fare

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1 hour ago, marieps said:

The deal breaker for me...

 

the Panel recommends that cruise operators initially prohibit self-guided tours and independent exploration and only allow certain curated indoor activities until further notice. This is a significant change to the cruise experience, so the Panel recommends this information be communicated clearly and early on to guests.

 

Paying X an expensive fee to go to the beach is not in the cards.  If they offer free shuttle rides, fine.

 

This looks like what MSC and the other lines that are sailing in Europe are already doing. And they paid big bucks to someone to copy what the competitors did on their own??

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55 minutes ago, ECCruise said:

For us, there is virtually no after no if this comes to pass.

 

Short trips? No.  Private islands (e.g. Caribbean/Bahamas)? No. Only ship sponsored tours, no self touring?  No. Potential quarantine?  Absolutely no.

 

Have already had 6 sailings cancelled/lift and shifted since April.  If the same occurs with the next 4 through mid 2021, so be it.

With everything that's been published both here on CC and in the general media, I'm wondering what was in your mind that was going to be recommended steps? As many have said almost none of the recommendations are anything new that hasn't been said before as steps needed to be taken to restart cruises. Right off the bat most of the CEO's have said they will restart with a few ships sailing short itineraries so again nothing new.

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Hmmmm. $6k to wear a mask most of the time, not do what I want to on an island but only take the crummy cruise line excursions, take a covid test several days before boarding ( good luck on that one), limit going to “safe” ports, stay 6 feet away from all other cruisers. I hope I never get that desperate to plunk down that much cash to sail under these conditions. Adios to 2022.


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With everything that's been published both here on CC and in the general media, I'm wondering what was in your mind that was going to be recommended steps? As many have said almost none of the recommendations are anything new that hasn't been said before as steps needed to be taken to restart cruises. Right off the bat most of the CEO's have said they will restart with a few ships sailing short itineraries so again nothing new.

It’s not so much a surprise but an affirmation that the cruise experience for the cost involved is a huge negative for many of us. If so desired I will just go to a resort like Sandals (St. Lucia?) and enjoy far more freedom. I’ll wait to 2022 when a vaccine will blow this over ( if the lines are still solvent).


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I had two thoughts upon reading this:

 

1. Yes, these recommendations seem reasonable and if all were implemented would be the most likely to have a safe cruise 

 

2. This is a cruise I'm not interested in taking 

 

So, unfortunately, as cruising is an optional activity that still has to be marketable enough for people to want to pay for it,  I don't feel better about the cruise lines getting back into business in a meaningful way. I do hope them the best though.

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38 minutes ago, kwokpot said:

With everything that's been published both here on CC and in the general media, I'm wondering what was in your mind that was going to be recommended steps? As many have said almost none of the recommendations are anything new that hasn't been said before as steps needed to be taken to restart cruises. Right off the bat most of the CEO's have said they will restart with a few ships sailing short itineraries so again nothing new.

I am not surprised that these are the recommended steps.  Not sure why you are wondering.  Never once did I say or insinuate surprise, just that the type of "cruise" described has zero interest for us.

We've already had 6 sailings cancelled, self-cancelled or lift/shifted since April.  If 4 more go the wayside in the first half of 2021 because of such restrictions (all of the booked sailings are either crossings or port-intensive) so be it.  We don't do the types of cruises likely to be offered in good times, let alone doing them in this scenario.

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Let's see what the CDC says about these recommendations.  I, for one, am for trying them to determine their efficacy and then open up as things progress. 

 

It's time for port workers, travel agents,  cruiseline personnel and others associated with cruising to get their jobs back and start earning income!   I will happily comply with the recommendations to help get cruising back in full operation!  

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