Updated 3/17/20: While we did recently cruise and had no health issues on our ship, the cruise lines made the decision to suspend cruising for at least 30 days. We did not feel at any increased risk on our cruise ship vs. on land; however, the cruise industry made the right call due to the increasing concern in the United States. With the recommendation for limiting non-essential travel and “social distancing”, the cruising world in now currently on hold. See all the latest cancellations and refund policies here.
We departed this past Sunday on a seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s newly amplified Freedom of the Seas. Shortly after boarding the ship, there was a CDC advisory recommending travelers “defer cruise ship travel worldwide” given the coronavirus. Yes, there have been some unfortunate incidents recently with confirmed cases on cruise ships, but at this time, we are not letting it impact our travel plans. In fact, we have another cruise planned for next month, and we have every intent to still board that vessel. We understand that some might be wary about traveling, but we wanted to share our 7 reasons we are still cruising during the coronavirus.
7 Reasons We Are Still Cruising During the Coronavirus
Being Extra Cautious While Cruising During the Coronavirus
First and foremost, traveling healthy and safely depends largely on us, not just now but always. We always travel with hand sanitizer and ensure proper hand washing. Admittedly, we are a bit more conscious this trip.
We are being diligent about reducing exposure by avoiding handrails, public door handles, and elevator buttons when possible. However, we are not isolating ourselves by any means. We are still attending the shows, parties, dining, and other activities. This is a cruise after all, and we are going to make every minute count!
Our Current Health Conditions
While we might not be in top-notch condition, we are both somewhat young and relatively healthy. Neither of us have any underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems.
So, given our current health, we do not consider ourselves in the high-risk population.
Again, we completely understand that cruising during the coronavirus is an individual decision. If we were in a different age bracket or had other health issues that left us more susceptible, we might have a completely different opinion. Of course, this is still an evolving situation, and our actions might change in the future.
Cruise Line Procedures
We have never been worried about our health while cruising as we know that the ships are routinely cleaned and sanitized. In fact, we have encountered hotels and other land-based facilities that we felt were in far worse condition than any cruise ship.
Even with these high standards in place, the cruise lines are now implementing even more policies and extra procedures to further ensure everyone’s health and safety. Firstly, all passengers are now being screened for fever before being allowed to board.
On the ship, cleaning staff are certainly more visible in high traffic areas. There are several extra hand sanitizing stations found throughout the ship, and crew are frequently reminding cruisers to wash their hands. While there is an emphasis on making sure everyone does their part to reduce the spread of illness, there is no sense of concern throughout the ship.
Cruise Line Decisions Regarding the Coronavirus
As we would expect, the cruise lines are taking extra steps to reduce potential issues onboard ships. We are equally confident that cruise line officials on land are constantly assessing the evolving situation. We have faith that the cruise lines would make the right decisions if there becomes an immediate threat. This is already evident as cruise lines have pulled vessels from certain regions, altered itineraries, and updated cancellation policies to ensure guests can cruise with confidence.
With our current cruise in the relatively unimpacted Southern Caribbean, and our next trip in the Bahamas, we feel that there is a limited calculated risk for us. Of course, conditions can change quickly, so everyone needs to be monitoring the situation.
Other Cruisers’ Behaviors
Yes, we are sharing our cruise ship with thousands of other passengers, so their behaviors do play a role. As this is the first sailing after the ship’s recent amplification, we are alongside many seasoned cruisers. So, it is no surprise that for the most part others are actively taking similar precautions during the trip.
People watching over the past couple days, it seems like cruisers are using every hand sanitizing station by which they walk. It never hurts to be extra cautious.
Further, no one seems to be letting the negative media attention get to them. Everyone is happy and enjoying the vacation.
Limited Cases of Coronavirus
It is undeniable that there have been a few recent outbreaks on cruise ships. While the first instance on Diamond Princess did result in hundreds of individuals being diagnosed, there have been literally hundreds of thousands of cruise passengers traveling since then with only a few additional positive cases.
The cruise lines have learned from that instance and have instituted a number of the policies and procedures mentioned above. While we are aware that there is the potential to catch the virus on a cruise, we don’t feel that we are at an increased risk versus air travel, public transportation, or community events for that matter.
Yes, the coronavirus is a global threat, and with new cases confirmed around the world, it is continuing to spread. Still, there are more common health concerns that have a greater impact that receive considerably less media attention.
Stopping all cruise transportation would not blunt this spread. We can’t help but feel that the attention regarding the virus by the media, particularly towards cruising, has sensationalized the situation. We are not letting this portrayal sway our decisions to cruise during the coronavirus. While we plan to stay informed about the latest updates and warnings by government officials, we will ignore the hyperbole and focus on the facts.
Again, our opinions are subject to change given a number of factors as this is a dynamic situation, but for now, we are cruising and will continue to do so.
Do you have an upcoming cruise? Have you cancelled or rescheduled your trip due to the coronavirus? Drop us an anchor below to share your thoughts on cruising during the coronavirus.