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healthy sail panel recommendations are released


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Both my DW and I looked over the Recommendation section and thought they did a good job addressing a wide variety of issues and really didn't see anything we didn't already expect.

 

BTW when we're on a cruise, we really don't socialize with anyone, to include when we play trivia, we book tables for 2 in the restaurants, we always book a balcony so we always have a private place outside to retreat to, and always take cruise line shore excursions. So, for us, these recommendations look fine and we really don't have an issue wearing a mask in public areas until it's safe not to, whenever that might be. For us, the bottom line is we're ready to start cruising again. So whatever the rules windup being for that to happen is fine with us. 

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As others have already stated, the COVID test result requirement up to 5 days prior to cruise is totally useless since you could be exposed while traveling to the ship, at the hotel the day before, etc. They need to spend the money and utilize rapid result testing at boarding. In order for that to be accomplished they will have to have socially distanced lines at check in and make boarding groups mandatory so that you can't even enter the terminal area until your check-in time has arrived to avoid overcrowding and long lines. And yes, even the testing at boarding is not 100% but it would certainly be more effective than up to 5 days prior.

 

I have no problem with wearing a mask onboard but the deal breaker for me is the mandatory excursion requirement to leave the ship at ports. If that is required then I will cancel.

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This is about what I expected.  We will see if CDC agrees to let them start up again, and what restrictions they will require.  RCL and Norwegian are walking a tightrope here.  They have to let CDC know they have a plan that can be somewhat effective, yet they still need enough cruisers willing to live with the restrictions. 
 

Like others I think the pre-cruise testing is most problematic.  Inconsistency of timely results, etc.  It would seem that the quickie 15 minutes test at the pier would be more effective at figuring out who has it.  Are they afraid they can’t get enough of these?  Has the NBA bought them all?
 

 

Edited by radarcruiser
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The Covid 19 test beforehand is not entirely worthless.   If you get a positive result you won’t travel or cruise.   Hopefully you will self quarantine and not infect others.

 

You can certainly come in contact with the virus after you take the test but if you are following the guidelines, always wear a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands often, it is unlikely.   
 

Don’t know why they won’t have the rapid test prior to boarding as it is available although less accurate.

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The cruise DH and I booked using our FCC from our cancelled TA cruise will be sailing out of Bayonne, on the Oasis to Coco Cay and the Bahamas.  We could care less about going to the Bahamas, been there, done that, several times.    Our destination will be on the ship, since we've never been on the Oasis before.  We don't have to fly, since we will be driving to the Port by car.  We have My Time Dining, and are booked in an Oceanview Balcony, and don't have any problem with wearing a mask when necessary.  Hopefully, the cruise line will have the rapid test prior to boarding.  

 

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I don’t see anything in the recommendations were unexpected or  that we can’t live with.  Like many others we prefer private excursions vs ship excursions but if for a period of time we have to do ships tours to get off the ship we will.  
As for masks we have tried many and found some that are fairly comfortable we have to wear them to enter a store, restaurant, museum, church, Movie theater and outdoor pavilions if a crowd is expected.  To enter a medical facility,  hair salon or nail salon requires using hand sanitizer, temperature check and wearing a mask.  So wearing a mask on the ship isn’t much different that life at home.

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45 minutes ago, WonderMan3 said:

As others have already stated, the COVID test result requirement up to 5 days prior to cruise is totally useless since you could be exposed while traveling to the ship, at the hotel the day before, etc. They need to spend the money and utilize rapid result testing at boarding. In order for that to be accomplished they will have to have socially distanced lines at check in and make boarding groups mandatory so that you can't even enter the terminal area until your check-in time has arrived to avoid overcrowding and long lines. And yes, even the testing at boarding is not 100% but it would certainly be more effective than up to 5 days prior.

 

I have no problem with wearing a mask onboard but the deal breaker for me is the mandatory excursion requirement to leave the ship at ports. If that is required then I will cancel.

Testing is rapidly evolving and improving.  By spring the rapid tests should be both available and more accurate.

The mask mandate is a problem for us as DW has asthma and wearing a full face shield truly awful.

The deal breaker for us is only allowing ship shore excursions and the approval for ports will mean many smaller tender ports will not open.  We have no interest is a short cruise to.a private island.

Wonder how Alaska and Canada would handle these guidelines?

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1 hour ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Both my DW and I looked over the Recommendation section and thought they did a good job addressing a wide variety of issues and really didn't see anything we didn't already expect.

 

BTW when we're on a cruise, we really don't socialize with anyone, to include when we play trivia, we book tables for 2 in the restaurants, we always book a balcony so we always have a private place outside to retreat to, and always take cruise line shore excursions. So, for us, these recommendations look fine and we really don't have an issue wearing a mask in public areas until it's safe not to, whenever that might be. For us, the bottom line is we're ready to start cruising again. So whatever the rules windup being for that to happen is fine with us. 

I agree with everything above being similar for us too...with the exception that we usually always book private shore excursions for just the two of us or a very small 6-8 group from our roll call.

 

We've very low key long time cruiser's and tend to keep to ourselves.

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I am okay with most of these, but agree that they seem "obvious" for lack of a better word.  The one thing that would be frustrating for me is to have to choose between staying on board at a port and essentially participating in a cruise line sponsored tour.  I have almost exclusively participated in my own, self-directed nature hikes when in ports.  Rarely encountering people in close proximity, so to have to participate in an over priced group activity holds no real appeal to me.  I guess I'd rather stay on the ship.

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6 hours ago, phoenix_dream said:

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.  

This was a panel put together by NCL and RCL.  Thus did not include many CLIA members.  As such it is tons of recommendations as this group cannot mandate anything.

It does seem, however, that the next step would be to have CLIA accept the proposal which it just accepted.  Following the CDC guidelines probably in late October or so it seems CLIA will sit down to finalize policies.

First cruises sure look like Florida to private islands.  Many smaller ports will unlikely to be able to meet evacuation or treatment requirements.  Some countries like Australia and Canada likely to stay closed until large numbers vaccinated.

Edited by Arizona Wildcat
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I'm fine with guidelines, but won't cruise under them.   I have a couple of private tours & self guided tours planned for our early May cruise, but I highly doubt it's going to happen...   I'll be very surprised if Europe is letting anyone from the U.S. in by that time.... for those that enjoy Caribbean/Bahama type cruises & lying on a beach I guess  this could work for them.

 

I have a feeling that this is going to be a devastating winter for much of the U.S., not trying to be a downer,  but I think that's going to be the harsh reality.  

 

I do have a Thanksgiving week 2021 cruise booked with our kids, & I'm pretty confident that will happen...  as long as we are all vaccinated, & the casino is open, I'm fine with wearing a mask & never getting off the ship...  keeping fingers crossed for that. 

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We're in central Alabama. Who does one even contact to get a rapid COVID test when you don't have any symptoms, but need to get a certificate within 5 days of a cruise saying you tested negative? I would think the only test that would work with such a short notice would be some sort of rapid test which, of course, has to be administer by some reputable organization which would be authorized to provide some form of official verification of the results that same day. Fun times!!

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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Amazing how this document is released this morning and CLIA immediately announces once CDC signs off (and they believe it should), they are prepared to resume sailing on Nov. 1st.  I'm not so sure.

 

 A key element to the plan is universal testing for passengers and crew.  Test them once, test them twice, test a third time if necessary.   Absolutely necessary.  Question is where will they get all these test kits?  My oldest daughter is a doctor in a level 1 trauma center in the midwest.  She was just tested for the first time (negative).  Tried to get the rest of her family tested but no luck as test kits are in short supply.  Youngest daughter is a middle school teacher in NJ.  Two teachers in her school came down with covid.  District is unable to have other teachers tested due to lack of kits.  While a number of new tests have been approved they are all in short supply and it will take quite a while to increase production to a level where supply equals demand.  Meanwhile  hospitals, first responders, schools and businesses are all clamoring for  more tests.  Cruise lines will be a lower priority, so how do they hope to obtain the millions of tests they require?  Maybe next spring, not Nov. 1st.

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2 minutes ago, Baron Barracuda said:

Amazing how this document is released this morning and CLIA immediately announces once CDC signs off (and they believe it should), they are prepared to resume sailing on Nov. 1st.  I'm not so sure.

 

 A key element to the plan is universal testing for passengers and crew.  Test them once, test them twice, test a third time if necessary.   Absolutely necessary.  Question is where will they get all these test kits?  My oldest daughter is a doctor in a level 1 trauma center in the midwest.  She was just tested for the first time (negative).  Tried to get the rest of her family tested but no luck as test kits are in short supply.  Youngest daughter is a middle school teacher in NJ.  Two teachers in her school came down with covid.  District is unable to have other teachers tested due to lack of kits.  While a number of new tests have been approved they are all in short supply and it will take quite a while to increase production to a level where supply equals demand.  Meanwhile  hospitals, first responders, schools and businesses are all clamoring for  more tests.  Cruise lines will be a lower priority, so how do they hope to obtain the millions of tests they require?  Maybe next spring, not Nov. 1st.

in addition tests for screening for travel may not be covered by insurance (not medically necessary) so the issue of additional expense comes up.

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21 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

We're in central Alabama. Who does one even contact to get a rapid COVID test when you don't have any symptoms, but need to get a certificate within 5 days of a cruise saying you tested negative? I would think the only test that would work with such a short notice would be some sort of rapid test which, of course, has to be administer by some reputable organization which would be authorized to provide some form of official verification of the results that same day. Fun times!!

rapid tests are less accurate than pcr. will be interesting to see what the cruise lines will accept.

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6 minutes ago, npcl said:

rapid tests are less accurate than pcr. will be interesting to see what the cruise lines will accept.

Yup! Should be interesting. Can you even get the results of a PCR test within 3 days, since we'll need the certification before we leave for the cruise?

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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OK, so if we do decide to go and if we do decide to take a ship excursion (we've been on two in 15 years), are they planning to reduce the ridiculously high costs?  More importantly, for us at least, is will we be required to move around in herds of 50?  Would they run more, smaller groups?  I get it that there are more important things for them to be worried about, but with a southern Caribbean booked for next February, I'd like to know.  

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27 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

We're in central Alabama. Who does one even contact to get a rapid COVID test when you don't have any symptoms, but need to get a certificate within 5 days of a cruise saying you tested negative? I would think the only test that would work with such a short notice would be some sort of rapid test which, of course, has to be administer by some reputable organization which would be authorized to provide some form of official verification of the results that same day. Fun times!!

 

Ken, I had friends who needed a quick test (their response was in the 48-hour range, not the 15-minute type).  They were concerned they had potentially been exposed but were exhibiting no symptoms.  Had to be tested due to the living arrangement of a family member.  They were tested at UAB; results in under 48 hours.  

 

We're booked for anything until the Apex TA in October 2021.  Our physicians (part of Grandview) has been offering testing since day 1.  However, my concern is timing . . . having the test, an overnight flight to Barcelona  where our plan would be to spend 3 nights.  Past 5 days . . . Since that is 13 months out and hoping for a vaccine . . . Perhaps some modification to timing.  Otherwise, I may be looking for a testing site in Barcelona.  Agree with testing, but the cruise lines may need to help travelers access testing at the port cities.  I would get tested before leaving home anyway, but that would be outside the time frame.

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I agree shuffling down the aisle of a bus containing 48 other people all jammed together does not sound good to me. 

Paying outrageous prices to be herded like cattle does not help make the picture rosy. 

We like to go ashore and find a colorful bar, chat with the bar tender and try a local beer.  We have done this in nearly every port we have ever visited. We even did this twice in Russia without any local money.

I guess that will not be happening any time soon..

Edited by SHIP TRAVELER
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2 hours ago, Arizona Wildcat said:

Testing is rapidly evolving and improving.  By spring the rapid tests should be both available and more accurate.

The mask mandate is a problem for us as DW has asthma and wearing a full face shield truly awful.

The deal breaker for us is only allowing ship shore excursions and the approval for ports will mean many smaller tender ports will not open.  We have no interest is a short cruise to.a private island.

Wonder how Alaska and Canada would handle these guidelines?

 

My next cruise isn't until Sept. 2021 (to Canada/New England); I agree that only allowing ship excursions would cause me to reconsider as would limiting the ports. Would Sydney, NS and Charlottetown, PE (or even Bar Harbor, ME for that matter) really be equipped to handle an outbreak from a cruise ship?

 

I'm fortunate that masks, while a slight annoyance, don't especially bother me. Similarly, the social distancing requirements would be a slight annoyance, but not that disruptive either, since I'm not a social butterfly.


My cruise is still a year out, so I'm hoping COVID-19 will be more of bad memory by this time next year than an ongoing pandemic. But if ship-sponsored excursions (and only in limited ports) is all that's offered, I might pass.

 

This all is coming from the perspective of me being a first-time cruiser (excluding one from my childhood).

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I would be in same boat spending a week prior to the cruise in venice and florence before we depart in rome.  I certainly dont what to spend my vacation time finding a testing facility in italy and having them hopefully email me the results.   If that is the case screw the cruise we will just stay on land and tour some other european cities

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1 hour ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Yup! Should be interesting. Can you even get the results of a PCR test within 3 days, since we'll need the certification before we leave for the cruise?

My guess is that the cruise line will eventually make an arrangement with a nationwide lab like Quest or LabCorp and “provide” the test for you. You will get a document with you other check in documents that shows the applicable date range for the test to be acceptable. The results would go directly to the cruise line and maybe to you, or perhaps a “no news is good news” policy -  hope they would let you know because of mixups. 
As a pathologist whose been working on this, a PCR 4-5 days out followed by a rapid test at boarding is pretty good - that’s as good or better than we are doing for pre-ops, and we have been In a high risk area. It would work even better if they retested everyone in rolling groups, or at least included passengers in the random surveillance- if that was in the document I missed it. Don’t confuse diagnosis with prevention of spread. As it said in the document, these are layers of risk mitigation, no one step is perfect. SNFs and assisted living are doing similar protocols and a spokesman for the CDC compared the living density on a cruise ship to a nursing home (not the age, don’t start!).

Availability of testing is definitely a factor, but it goes up every day. Part of the issue now is that we don’t test in the US without a doctors order, and no one wants to pay for it, all of that can be worked around, but someone has to pay for it, and there has to be informed consent. With testing in schools we are starting to develop more of a surveillance system rather than a diagnostic system.

As for the millions of tests, we are talking about 100K at most to start, millions of cruisers won’t be happening until there is a vaccine.

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