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No More Masks for Crew Members?


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This just popped up on my news feeds:

Celebrity Cruise has rolled out a pilot program on one of its ships to test the masks-free policy on selected crew. All nonguest facing crew will be mask free for a duration of two weeks, and if the results are promising this will lead to even more relaxed protocols across the fleet. In order to get more results the cruise line plans to add a second ship to the pilot program in the coming days.

I have no doubt that other cruise lines are investigating doing away with masks for crew as various mitigation measures disapper from the cruising landscape.. How they do it is another matter. RCL?

https://crew-center.com/celebrity-cruises-starts-no-masks-pilot-program-selected-crew

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I can see the sense of it ...... I'd suspect that crew members that are the most encumbered by having to wear a mask all the time are kitchen staff, engineering staff, deck staff and the like. That's a lot of crew so, they went with that. But I don't disagree with you ...... I can make an argument, based on what I know about mask wearing in general as a COVID mitigation measure, that masks for crew members are not likely to be preventing the spread of the virus among them or guests in any meaningful way. That's just me.

I'll give credit to RCG for the high probability that they have data on crew to crew and crew to guest infections that support what they have chosen to let Celebrity Infinity and Reflection test out, both sailing form Port Everglades on Caribbean itineraries. But your due diligence point makes sense too as it very well could be presaging the elimination of the requirement for crew to mask in a couple of weeks saying, "hey, look we compared infection rates before and after mask removal for crew and we have the data to back up removing the restriction entirely. 

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3 hours ago, BowTieBrigade said:

I would love for crew members to have the option, at least. Our cruise over the summer had a large majority of cruisers unmasked and, juxtaposed with the crew all being masked, felt very classist. 

Onboard Spectrum OTS I raised this issue with a few crew members notably our waiter and steward... and they both advised they'd prefer the masks stay for now as their used to it but of course this is the Singapore market where on the ship (even outdoors by the pool) people are masked unless their in the water or on the flow rider. Can't believe how strict they were on board the ship with masking - literally going out of their way to remind people to mask up. Also the SAME DAY testing just to get on the ship is nerve racking - and no plans for that to go away anytime soon.

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I was on the Wonder OTS August 14 sailing. August 18th they began the company's second pilot for crew masks optional (somewhat dependent on position?) I understand that the first pilot they did - not sure which ship - may have resulted in higher crew positivity, so hopefully this will be successful. What I can say is that it was so nice to finally see staff with their masks off, which seemed to increase over the following days. They seemed pretty happy too! So many smiles and still wearing their "smile behind the mask" photo pins too 🙂

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19 minutes ago, dmattinson said:

If you have taken a cruise recently, you probably saw but didn't think anything of it, a crewmember having their mask under their nose or consciously pulling it down to be heard easier or just because it was hot and they needed to pull it away from their face.  

On my last cruise, when they did that, a lot of faces were covered with eczema.

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By no means can I    speak for the entire RCCL crew fleet wide, but on the Independence a couple weeks back, we engaged as many crew as we could.  Frankly, it gives us joy to connect with the crew in appreciation, kindness, and gratefulness.  We love to hear their story and believe in the value of connection, especially if we wish to bless them in some form.  First off, the crew have become professionals at understanding obscure mask in noisy environments talk by people who already have broken english.  It truly is amazing.  There should be a college course on it (bad joke, but not entirely out of the question in this day and age).  I simply don't posses that skill and were constantly asking for them to say it again. The vast majority of crew that we would create dialgue with (yes...primarily at bars, on deck, dinner venues, cabin steward) overwhelmingly want to get rid of masks, love to talk to people with their masks off or dropped (looking over their shoulder) and can't wait for it to end.  They think it is silly.  Especially in light of on Coco Cay it not being required....unless....you were a officer/manager from the ship walking around.  Yes, we saw the stripes and rolled our eyes.  If we are rolling our eyes.....

On a cheesy note, seeing a crew member have a moment of courage to drop a mask, give a wink, and a beautiful smile was heart warming.

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On our cruise last week the pool deck attendants typically had their masks below their chins and there were other instances around the ship where the crew had their mask down and no one seemed bothered by it. They told us they were about to start a trial where half the crew were going to be allowed to go mask free and see over the next two weeks how it went. If it is successful then they would allow the entire crew to make a personal choice to go without mask.

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Crews in Europe ( not necessarily RC ) have been able to get off ship at ports.

When onshore they follow the rules of that country ( almost none )

So they can get off ship go to a cafe or bar and sit unmasked next to or at same table as ship guests for hours unmasked then return to ship and need a wear a mask to serve the same guests they just sat with in a cafe or bar. 

Doesn't make sense but cruiselines hands have been tied trying to keep others happy and trying to make sure they don't end up front page news for outbreaks etc.

Its another step in the right direction thats all anyone can wish for. 

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Voyager of the Seas in Europe currently allows staff to choose if they wear masks or not. Apparently they are the first ship in the fleet to relax the mask policy. It has been made clear that at high periods of COVID infection rates they will bring back masks for staff. This makes sense for both the safety of staff and also the ability of the cruise line to maintain staffing levels (Even a couple of % of staff members isolating with COVID on top of normal sickness/injury could really disrupt staffing rosters. It's not like you can just call a temp to work for a week while someone is isolating)

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Observing and discussing the policy with Coco Cay staff was interesting.  Granted I    was cracking open a Caribbean Lobster at the time or ordering a "Strong Island" Ice tea.  I    thought I    would get a sense of guilt or specialness from them for not having to wear a mask.  The ones we interacted with said it was a long time coming and simply feel sorry for ship crews and say it is silly to even keep wearing masks. 

Outbreaks happen (COV and such).  Nobody owns the definition and it is now normalized to whatever metric you feel shapes the reaction.

....just an idea.....STOP TESTING crew and people stop tracing your steps back to anyone who sneezed or coughed by you in the last week.  When they have a cold, they stay in.  When they feel better, they go back to work.  If you continually TEST you will find what you are looking for regardless of the current severeity levels.

If we live by "what if" everyday, we wouldn't leave the house.  It has obviously become a statement move, so give the crew the choice.  I    am totally fine if they want to wear one or not.  Have at it.

 

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On 8/22/2022 at 2:02 PM, JeffB said:

I can see the sense of it ...... I'd suspect that crew members that are the most encumbered by having to wear a mask all the time are kitchen staff, engineering staff, deck staff and the like. That's a lot of crew so, they went with that. But I don't disagree with you ...... I can make an argument, based on what I know about mask wearing in general as a COVID mitigation measure, that masks for crew members are not likely to be preventing the spread of the virus among them or guests in any meaningful way. That's just me.

I'll give credit to RCG for the high probability that they have data on crew to crew and crew to guest infections that support what they have chosen to let Celebrity Infinity and Reflection test out, both sailing form Port Everglades on Caribbean itineraries. But your due diligence point makes sense too as it very well could be presaging the elimination of the requirement for crew to mask in a couple of weeks saying, "hey, look we compared infection rates before and after mask removal for crew and we have the data to back up removing the restriction entirely. 

I am curious if the crew are required to wear masks when in the crew only sections of the ship such as their lounge, crew dining room, etc..

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
2 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

Yup. Confirmed by top brass during the top tier event on Harmony this past week. I told our CD that it's just a shame you can't have a fire onboard, crew should have a massive mask bonfire on the helipad.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

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