Currently in the US the cruising ban has been extended through September 15, 2020. But what is not being publicly advertised is that over in Europe cruising has already resumed! Cruise line Hurtigruten has resumed 4 night expedition sailings to Norway. River ships have also started to resume and many are slated to start throughout July. From the very beginning the cruise lines have yelled from the crows nest, we will be back! And it’s nice to see a slow return to cruising again. We have surely missed not being on a ship since March.
With September approaching and Europe starting to open up, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is what is being done to change policies and ensure the safety of passengers and crew? If you follow the industry news, new policies for different lines are being released daily. They include more in depth medical screening prior to boarding, with some requiring a COVID rapid test prior to boarding. Buffet dining will look very different as guests will no longer be able to serve themselves and crew members will serve the guests. Staggered dining times to relieve the congestion at the standard early and late seating dining. Increased sanitation, crew checks every shift before reporting to work, and much much more are being put into play.
In the first phase of reopening the cruise industry in the US, the guests will be caped and ships will not sail at full capacity but rather staggered amounts that will slowly increase over time. The good news is that according to all figures being released future cruise booking are doing great. Many short term reservations are being made and guests are booking for the reopening sailings. It is apparent the general public is ready to get back to travel and cruising.
As individual sailings are scheduled to resume, the MICE industry has been looking at what this means for them. Incentive budgets have remained intact with few companies citing a reduced budget to align with the current economy. It is important to note that none of our corporate, incentive, or lifestyle clients have canceled their sailings, rather just postponed them into 2021. The general consensus stands, cruising will be back, stronger than ever, and guests and companies alike are anxious to return to the waters.
In the meantime, as ships resume operations at limited capacities we want to remind our valued clients that group sailing are still a great way to host corporate meetings, training, team building, and much more. Contact Steve, Diana or any of our sales agents to get quotes.