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First possible family cruise in 3 years - decisions and considerations


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Hello, my family of 6 enjoyed a couple of Caribbean cruises on Oasis class ships in the years leading up to the pandemic. We had a third Mediterranean cruise on Allure booked for summer 2020, which obviously did not happen. 

We are now again considering a spring Caribbean cruise and I am curious how the feel of cruising may have changed for some people  and how you now base your decisions.

Realistically, with a family of 6, my thought is it is highly likely someone in our group could contract Covid, which would impact the whole family. I am the most cautious in my family, though I'm not particularly cautious any more in my day to day life. My teens would certainly balk at the idea of masking on vacation.

Anyways, I am hoping others might share their thoughts about how they have approached family group travel decisions in this new age of cruising, in a respectful way. I'm genuinely excited to cruise again, but am not sure how the experience might be different from our previous pre-pandemic cruises.

Thank you!

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We cruised last Christmas at the height of omicron and were able to fly, cruise, take land transportation and stay in hotels without getting sick.  We try to keep our immune systems healthy by daily use of our at home steam shower and infrared sauna and we always book the thermal suite onboard to maintain access to these facilities. Plus weekly visits to our chiropractor. We stay in suites, eat at specialty restaurants, practice good hand hygiene, keep our hands away from our face and always avoid any buffets (we did all these things that pre Covid).  We are cruising again this Christmas and are looking forward to the relaxed protocols. Last year we did try to limit our 16 year olds interactions in the 2 weeks leading up to our cruise due to testing requirements.  Hopefully we all remain healthy this year but the risk of someone getting sick is always possible whether on a cruise or on land.  

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7 hours ago, Castle Cruiser said:

Hello, my family of 6 enjoyed a couple of Caribbean cruises on Oasis class ships in the years leading up to the pandemic. We had a third Mediterranean cruise on Allure booked for summer 2020, which obviously did not happen. 

We are now again considering a spring Caribbean cruise and I am curious how the feel of cruising may have changed for some people  and how you now base your decisions.

Realistically, with a family of 6, my thought is it is highly likely someone in our group could contract Covid, which would impact the whole family. I am the most cautious in my family, though I'm not particularly cautious any more in my day to day life. My teens would certainly balk at the idea of masking on vacation.

Anyways, I am hoping others might share their thoughts about how they have approached family group travel decisions in this new age of cruising, in a respectful way. I'm genuinely excited to cruise again, but am not sure how the experience might be different from our previous pre-pandemic cruises.

Thank you!

Get everyone vaccinated, and take advantage of the new bivalent vaccine for Omicron coverage.  We were very careful on our June cruise, but my wife still got sick the last night.  One never knows which random event will lead to an infection.  But if you have travel and health insurance, you go on with life.  When our son was younger, we engaged him in the planning and decision-making.  Our June cruise was like pre-pandemic cruises except that we wore masks indoors unless eating, drinking, or dancing.

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9 hours ago, Castle Cruiser said:

Hello, my family of 6 enjoyed a couple of Caribbean cruises on Oasis class ships in the years leading up to the pandemic. We had a third Mediterranean cruise on Allure booked for summer 2020, which obviously did not happen. 

We are now again considering a spring Caribbean cruise and I am curious how the feel of cruising may have changed for some people  and how you now base your decisions.

Realistically, with a family of 6, my thought is it is highly likely someone in our group could contract Covid, which would impact the whole family. I am the most cautious in my family, though I'm not particularly cautious any more in my day to day life. My teens would certainly balk at the idea of masking on vacation.

Anyways, I am hoping others might share their thoughts about how they have approached family group travel decisions in this new age of cruising, in a respectful way. I'm genuinely excited to cruise again, but am not sure how the experience might be different from our previous pre-pandemic cruises.

Thank you!

Cruising has largely returned to normal at this point.  I would expect it to be 100% normal very soon. 

Between vaccinations, widespread herd immunity, and mutations that have made it more benign, Covid is no longer something to be feared, at least not more than other illnesses. 

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I traveled as a family of 6 on a cruise in June, and with some of my family on other cruises. 
the cruise itself does not concern me.  It’s the weeks leading into the cruise or other family gatherings, holidays, that have me concerned, which kid will get Covid causing us to cancel?

I can’t control my teens actions, nor hubby.  We are all potentially exposed in our daily lives.  We can either live our life or we can live in a bubble. Having trip insurance gives me some peace of mind. 

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My family of 9 sailed in June in Europe and none of us caught it.  We all had vaccines and boosters and to be honest between 2 months and 3 weeks before the cruise intentionally took minimal precautions against getting COVID.  I figured if we got it before the cruise we would not have to worry about getting it before or during.  No testing on most cruises now means you don't have to be as worried about a false positive before the cruise, but you are probably more likely to get it during or shortly after if you lack strong antibodies because more people may be bringing it aboard.

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Personally, I refused to allow COVID to interfere with my life.  I was somewhat successful, but there was no avoiding lockdowns, protocols, etc.

I did contract COVID twice.  Both times it was after a cruise.  On the other hand, I'm retired and I spend my life getting ready for a cruise, on a cruise, or just returned for a cruise. 😉  I've averaged 1 cruise every month since June 2021.

My advice pretty much mirrors everyone else.  Whatever your thoughts about COVID in 2020 or 2021, we've reached the point where we all need to move on.  If you get sick, then you get sick.  At this point, you're really no more likely to die or have serious complications from COVID than you are from the seasonal flu or from a cold.  Granted, it's no fun, but neither is a cold or flu.

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My recommendation would be to try as much as possible for family members to "quarantine" (restrict unnecessary activities) in the 2 weeks leading up to the cruise.  We did this in advance of our July cruise just to do our best to be sure to test negative, but there is definitely a chance that someone in your group will test positive and impact the trip (or get sick while traveling).  That's just reality right now.  I wouldn't let it keep you from booking a cruise b/c chances are everyone will be fine and you'll all have a great vacation.  

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we cruised on Mariner in July. I could't believe the crowds. definitely higher than pre-pandemic. Its was our 13th cruise and we had never seen anything like it. If you wanted to go to a game show had to be there at least an hour before. Pool chairs in the solarium 630am,. Food was very mediocre. We were 2 families of experienced cruisers and we all agreed this was our least favorite ship and cruise. Hopefully crowds will decrease after this initial demand post pandemic. I'd stick with Oasis class if I were you or Celebrity.

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On 9/10/2022 at 7:33 AM, loki007 said:

we cruised on Mariner in July. I could't believe the crowds. definitely higher than pre-pandemic. Its was our 13th cruise and we had never seen anything like it. If you wanted to go to a game show had to be there at least an hour before. Pool chairs in the solarium 630am,. Food was very mediocre. We were 2 families of experienced cruisers and we all agreed this was our least favorite ship and cruise. Hopefully crowds will decrease after this initial demand post pandemic. I'd stick with Oasis class if I were you or Celebrity.

Interesting.  I've been on 11 cruises since June 2021 and there's no question that things are busier than they were in 2021.  However, when I think back to cruises in 1999, I don't see them as significantly different.

I've always found the food to be good, but uninspiring on Royal. The menus are very consistent, but the food quality does vary slightly between ships. For example, on Adventure the food was very good.  On Radiance, it was fair.  For comparison, both ships were better than Pride of America (2019) and Carnival Triumph (2015).

I have noticed one big change recently.  Pre-pandemic, Royal would have a major show every night in the main theatre.  Lately, they have been skipping 1 or 2 nights on a 7 night cruise.  I really enjoy the shows and miss them greatly.

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11 minutes ago, steverk said:

I have noticed one big change recently.  Pre-pandemic, Royal would have a major show every night in the main theatre.  Lately, they have been skipping 1 or 2 nights on a 7 night cruise.  I really enjoy the shows and miss them greatly.

I believe it was just not feasible to get all shows on every ship up and running right away for the restart - every show needs rehearsal space/time, choreographers, tech staff, etc. Wonder has 3 shows going in the Royal Theater. Quantum is rehearsing (or is in the process of adding) their 2nd main theater show back in. I don't know about all of the other ships - I would guess that the Entertainment group's goal is to get back to more shows across the board, but it's a process.

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10 minutes ago, FloatyBoaty said:

I believe it was just not feasible to get all shows on every ship up and running right away for the restart - every show needs rehearsal space/time, choreographers, tech staff, etc. Wonder has 3 shows going in the Royal Theater. Quantum is rehearsing (or is in the process of adding) their 2nd main theater show back in. I don't know about all of the other ships - I would guess that the Entertainment group's goal is to get back to more shows across the board, but it's a process.

Thanks! I hope that's correct!  

When Royal first started back to service in 2021, they had shows every night.  They started thinning out the shows in 2022 as the whole fleet came back on line.  Therefore, it may be they just weren't ready for that many shows right away.  

On the other hand, it could be a cost saving move.  Only time will tell.

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We just got off Freedom last Monday and nobody (I repeat nobody) I ran across even mentioned Covid. The terminal employees do a half assed check when you are on the way in and then once you are onboard it’s literally business as usual from what I can recall of pre pandemic cruising. The crew members still wear masks but there are literally no more protocols. It’s actually a wonderful thing. 

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