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6 questions we still have after Royal Caribbean released new health guidelines

In:
Category: 
24Sep2020

Earlier this week, the Healthy Sail Panel released its initial recommendations for every cruise line to employ in order to make a safe and healthy return to sailing, but it did not answer every question cruisers have about what cruises will be like once they start up.

The Healthy Sail Panel addressed the major topics related to keeping guests and crew healthy on a cruise, while mitigating the chances of any kind of widespread infections. However, there are still a few areas that will need to be addressed by Royal Caribbean in their cruise line-specific protocols.

Here are the major questions RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have expressed after reading the new recommendations.

What will be the reduced capacity of ships?

For quite a while we have known that the initial cruises that start up will not be at 100% capacity. Royal Caribbean has said many times, and the Panel agrees, that it will artificially reduce the capacity of its ships by not selling as many staterooms as possible.

Neither the Panel nor Royal Caribbean have given an exact percentage to this figure.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain was not able to give an exact figure during a webinar with travel advisors on Wednesday, "I think that is something that we will be dealing with. It will change over time. One of the recommendations from the panel is that we do this incrementally. So we start back and we do some test sailing."

"I don't have a number, and any number I start with is going to be wrong right away afterwards....it may depend on the ships too, it's not there's some magic percentage."

In addition, many guests want to know what happens if a particular sailing already is sold beyond that threshold and what logic will be implemented in order to determine who is not able to sail.

Any changes to Adventure Ocean?

The Healthy Sail Panel recommendations made little mention of children, and no references at all to the children's programming onboard.

While some may believe it will continue operating like any other area of the ship (albeit with the same mask protocols and other ship-wide policies), others are wondering if additional protocols for Adventure Ocean will be added.

Could there be reduced capacity at Adventure Ocean? Will check-in or check-out be handled differently in order to promote social distancing?

Will I get a refund if I test positive?

Another major concern is what happens if you test positive, either before your cruise or at check-in. Will you receive a refund since you are unable (but not unwilling) to cruise?

While the cruise contract everyone signs when booking a cruise seemingly offers no compensation, nothing about the current situation is usual, so will there be any special handling.

One of the recommendations by the Panel is Royal Caribbean is  "incumbent upon cruise operators to foster a culture of caring and compliance for guests."

"This includes education around the need for honesty and timeliness in reporting of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure without fear of negative repercussions."

Can I sightsee before my cruise?

A popular choice for many is to fly to their cruise embarkation port early and do some sightseeing, but will that still be permitted?

The Panel recommends getting a negative test in the days leading up to the cruise, but will going out to see various tourist attractions compromise the integrity of the test.

Will there be a rule prohibiting it, or will testing at the cruise terminal be the final means of determining health.

What changes will be made to the Windjammer and other counter service venues?

A major concern over the last few months was the fate of the Windjammer buffet, but the Panel barely mentioned it.

There is one mention of buffet, where it says it should not be self-service, "the Panel believes that removal of, and substitution for, self-service buffets during this time will help to maintain these general distancing guidelines and avoid overcrowding, and should therefore be implemented across all ships."

This could be easily achieved by having crew members serve guests, but it is unclear yet as to if that will be the only change.

Exactly where will I be able to not wear a mask?

A major focal point is the requirement to wear masks while onboard, although there are at least a few areas where masks are not required.

The question remains where exactly will masks not be required.

The Panel noted masks are not needed in these locations:

  • Cabin
  • Seating in restaurants and bars/lounges
  • Outdoor settings as long as physical distancing is feasible

Will this be the only places, or are more available? How will smoking be handled in designated areas? Is the Solarium considered an outdoor setting?

All the health policies Royal Caribbean has confirmed or hinted once cruises resumes

In:
Category: 
14Aug2020

Over the last few months, Royal Caribbean has talked, announced and even hinted at a variety of things that it will do once cruises resume to keep guests safe.

While the entirety of their new health policies and procedures will be forthcoming with the release of the Healthy Sail Panel recommendations later this month, there have been some indication of what to expect through various statements and comments.

Here is a look at the confirmed and strongly hinted at changes we can expect to be part of Royal Caribbean's recommendations.

Confirmed: Social distancing

A few different Royal Caribbean executives have stated at least initially, there will be reduced capacity on cruise ships in order to promote social distancing.

As of right now, reducing guest capacity is not expected to be permanent.

In addition, other forms of social distancing are being explored, including reduced capacity at dining and other public venues, staggered embarkation and check-in and the addition of more options for entertainment such as additional show times to allow for social distancing.

MoreRoyal Caribbean will add social distancing on its cruise ships

Hinted: Testing

Earlier this week, Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said COVID-19 testing of guests is very likely to occur.

"Testing is part of the thinking that we have not yet reached a point in our protocols where we're ready to publish and release for for discussion," Mr. Bailey started, "But it's very likely that testing will occur."

The statement did not include if guests, crew, or everyone on the ship would be tested, but that is likely to be part of the Healthy Sail Panel's recommendations when they are published.

Confirmed: Muster 2.0

A new electronic muster drill is one of the new initiatives that blends tech innovations with guest policies, and it will allow guests to conduct the mandatory safety drill in a social distance-approved manner.

Known as Muster 2.0, guests will be able to complete the muster drill via mobile devices instead of standing in a line at the muster station.

Within a 4 hour window, guests can review safety information in the mobile app or interactive stateroom TV. Then they just have to visit the assembly station to complete the process.

MoreTop 10 questions about Royal Caribbean's new Muster 2.0

Confirmed: New Chief Medical Officer

With all the changes Royal Caribbean expects to add, there is going to be a need to implement and monitor these new policies effectively. To that point, Royal Caribbean has created its public health czar by creating a brand new role.

Dr. Calvin Johnson has been hired to be Royal Caribbean's Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer.

This new role will tackle the needs of the global health and wellness policy, manage its public health and clinical practice, and determine the strategic plans and operations of its global healthcare organization.

In addition, Dr. Johnson will  collaborate with the Healthy Sail Panel to ensure the company establishes and implements its protocols and recommendations. 

Confirmed: Enhanced sanitization

Cruise ships had already been aggressive with onboard sanitization, but expect a higher level of attention to this need once ships resume sailing.

Royal Caribbean has said guests can expect enhanced health and safety standards that will come out of the panel's work, such as enhanced embarkation screening, temperature screenings at the pier, and testing options for guests and crew.

Confirmed: Modified buffet

It looked like early on that the Windjammer buffet would be removed, or completely reworked, but Royal Caribbean has said the buffet will exist, albeit with some tweaks.

Royal Caribbean Global Vice President Culinary, Dining & Beverage, Linken D'Souza confirmed the buffet will remain.

"But rest assured, the buffet will exist. There may be some small modifications that allow us to ensure that we have a really great, healthy return to service. But your favorites and what you're used to at the Windjammer will still be there."

"So I'll I'll put that to rest. We will absolutely have a Windjammer with all of your favorites in a very similar fashion to what you've had previously and maybe some different service steps to ensure healthy service."

Many more health protocols by the end of August

While this list gives a preview of a few changes to expect, the vast bulk of changes are forthcoming when the Healthy Sail Panel releases its recommendations.

The first set of recommendations should be delivered to Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line by the end of August 2020.

According to Royal Caribbean, this will be a pretty good outline of what changes the cruise line should implement.

Top 10 health concerns on a cruise ship Royal Caribbean's Healthy Sail Panel will address

In:
Category: 
27Jul2020

When Royal Caribbean announced its blue ribbon panel of health experts, it promised to deliver a new set of the best guidelines for keeping passengers and crew safe during a cruise.

The primary concern for so many cruisers is what exactly will the panel address, and what sort of policies will they come up with so that cruises can resume.

While Royal Caribbean has not divulged much information about the work the panel is engaged in, we do know some key areas to expect answers about once they deliver their recommendations.

Enhanced embarkation screening

Prior to cruises shutting down in March, we got a small taste of what to expect in the pre-cruise check-in area.

Royal Caribbean implemented mandatory temperature checks for all guests, and we should expect enhanced embarkation screening, temperature screenings, testing options for guests and crew going forward.

Another idea being considered is staggered embarkation and check-in to spread out guests on the first day of the cruise.

Social distancing on the ships

A major change that could be coming to cruise ships is social distancing, and this could come in a variety of forms.

Initially, Royal Caribbean expects to reduce the overall guest capacity on board their cruise ships to make social distancing easier, although this will not be permanent. This means ships would sail intentionally with less guests than its capacity.

The panel is exploring other options for social distancing, including reduced capacity at dining and other public venues, and the addition of more options for entertainment such as additional show times to allow for social distancing.

What if potential cases arise on a cruise ship?

While the primary intention is to create policies that totally prevent the spread of any disease on its ships, the reality is Royal Caribbean will need to come up with a plan to deal with any new cases that occur onboard.

The panel will be working closely with the governments and ports the ships visit around the world to establish plans and protocols for the resumption of cruises, including protocols to deal with COVID-19 cases that arise.

The Healthy Sail Panel will address this in its recommendations.

What if cruises resume and the recommended protocols fail?

Any good plan needs a "worst case scenario" contingency, and Royal Caribbean is no different.  Whatever the Healthy Sail Panel comes up with is based on theoretical plans, and how well it works onboard will not be known until cruises restart.

The goal of the Healthy Sail Panel is to provide a robust and comprehensive set of protocols and recommendations to cover many different possible scenarios and minimize risk.

In the unfortunate event that a situation arises, the cruise operators are committed to quickly addressing any issues and developing appropriate solutions. The main priority will remain the health and safety of guests and crew, and the communities Royal Caribbean visits, and the cruise line will act accordingly.

How long will the panel be working on addressing new challenges?

The timeline of the panel and their work seems to indicate they will be around for a while to troubleshoot issues as they appear.

The initial contract that the panel members signed is for two years, and the expert panel will work together as long as necessary.

After the fleets return to service, Gov. Leavitt and Dr. Gottlieb will continue to assist the companies in evolving their approaches as new insights emerge. Royal Caribbean will continue to evolve protocols and standards as appropriate.

How much of an increase will there be to onboard medical teams?

In order to properly implement these new protocols, as well as properly tackle any onboard situations, an enhanced medical presence onboard cruise ships could be part of the plan.

Royal Caribbean is evaluating numerous options to increase resources in terms of both personnel and equipment for the onboard medical centers.

The addition of new or enhanced protocols could result in the need to hire additional crew, including crew members with specialized expertise and training. This will depend on the final protocols and what will be needed to implement them.

Will we need to wear masks on a cruise?

Perhaps no single topic is of higher interest in the short-term than if guests will have to wear masks during a cruise, and there is no clear answer yet.

Royal Caribbean wants to deliver the same core guest experience that makes cruising so popular, but with an adapted format.

"With the gradual reopening of other leisure experiences, consumers are having to adapt to the new normal and cruising will be no different."

Once the panel makes their recommendations, we will know if masks will be part of the overall approach.

Disinfection protocols

It is very likely we will see new means of which to sanitize the ship, based on comments from various Royal Caribbean executives.

Enhanced sanitization and disinfection protocols, upgraded air filtration, social distancing, reduced occupancy, and changes to dining and other initiatives are just some of the proposed changes onboard.

The use of technology is going to play a key role, such as UV light.

Fate of the buffet

There has been quite a lot of discussion related to if there will be a buffet still on cruise ships once they resume sailings, and it looks like the buffet will remain, albeit with some changes.

While the Windjammer buffet will be there, how it operates is still up in the air. Royal Caribbean has worked through a few different scenarios, from employee service to individual portions to individual tongs for self-service, to finger koozies that you can pick up hot dishes with that can be washed and sanitized.

Thus far guests should expect the Windjammer to remain, but with some different service steps to ensure healthy service.

The crew

Just like guests, keeping crew members safe is going to be part of the Healthy Sail Panel's recommendations.

Royal Caribbean will take additional measures to ensure the protection of their crew, so expect new protocols to be part of the overall new plan.

CLIA wants cruise lines to work closer with CDC to resume cruises

In:
Category: 
21Jul2020

The cruise line trade group thinks the best approach to get cruise ships sailing again faster is more unified approach from the industry.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) held a phone conference with members of the media on Tuesday to go over their approach for resuming cruises.

CLIA Global Chair (and former Royal Caribbean International CEO) Adam Goldstein believes the cruise industry needs to keep its "eye on the prize" in terms of getting back to service.

Goldstein indicated he expects new policies related to the current global health crisis to be added to CLIA’s Compendium of Policies, which would help in streamlining the industry's handling of health and safety onboard its ships.

"We have tried to work with member cruise lines and be as supportive as we possibly can. In some cases, members are very keen for CLIA to take the lead while in other cases individual lines have felt compelled to take the lead themselves."

"Our goal remains to emerge from this with a unified approach policy-wide, across the association, that all member lines will sign up for."

There were no specifics given on a timeline for releasing new policies or protocols, just that CLIA is actively working with the CDC.

Cruises held to a double standard

While the cruise lines have been shut down since March, other aspects of travel have re-opened without any oversight from the CDC, including theme parks, hotels and airlines.

When asked if the cruise industry was being treated unfairly compared to other aspects of the travel industry, Mr. Goldstein believes cruising already adheres to many more regulations that makes them unique.  Moreover, Mr. Goldstein feels complaining about it things being unfair will not achieve anything.

"Cruise ships live under a unique and different reporting regime because they are constantly crisscrossing international boundaries. So what people, including our regulator, believe about our environment is much greater than what they could possibly know about any of these other sister environments in the travel and tourism industry."

"Is it unfair? It’s not a question of fairness but one of preparation and execution. We need to keep our eye on the prize, lamenting on things is not going to get us there. Engagement, dialogue, preparation and execution are what’s going to get us there."

Royal Caribbean will have new health protocols by end of August

In:
Category: 
08Jul2020

Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced their ambitious new panel of health experts earlier this week, which aims to get its first set of recommendations for both cruise lines by the end of August 2020.

The Healthy Sail Panel will is comprised of 11 subject-matter experts, who represent a diverse group of health advocates that have experience not only in their professional fields, but also working with government officials.

The Royal Caribbean Group spoke with members of the media on Tuesday, and provided a timeline of events for the panel.

Carol Cabezas, Azamara's Vice President and Chief Operating Officer indicated the panel would have their initial recommendations by the end of August.

"The panel has been together several weeks now. And the goal is to offer their initial recommendations by the end of August."

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed echoed that timeline later in the meeting.

"We expect to get a first draft of a pretty good outline of what the changes we need to do by late August, they're going to be reporting back to us."

Open source transparency

While the Healthy Sail Panel is tasked with coming up with protocols for Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, their findings are going to be made available to any cruise line and company.

Ms. Cabezas indicated the work of the panel is going to be open source, which means it will be available to anyone who needs it or wants it at no cost. 

"We want to make sure we're completely open, very candid on what we're doing, how we're doing it."

The Royal Caribbean Group has made it clear that it wants this work to be transparent, and freely available for all to scrutinize and build upon, regardless of which company wants to benefit from it.

"The one thing we know about our industry when it comes to safety and security," Ms. Freed said, "there is no competition."

Adding to that point, Dondra Ritzenthaler, Celebrity Cruises Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service, mentioned how proud she was of the work being done by this panel, "I think this Healthy Sail Panel is not only going to assist us and make sure that in the cruise industry that we have the best protocols and set us up on the healthiest and safest vacation possible, but frankly, to help all of the all of the industries, no matter what it is, hotel or airline or cruise line."

What new protocols to expect

The question on everyone's mind is what new policies and procedures the panel will come up with, and while the panel is hard at work to come up with their complete set of recommendations, we do have at least a preview of what direction they might work towards.

Dondra Ritzenthaler, Celebrity Cruises Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service spoke about the potential enhanced health and safety standards that will may come out of the panel's work.

"Enhanced embarkation screening, temperature screenings at the pier, testing options for our guests and our crew. Obviously enhanced sanitation and disinfection protocols, use of technology, things like the UV light."

"Clearly, social distancing when we can, and one of the ways to do that is, of course, reduce the amount of guests capacity on board, reduce the capacity in different dining venues, in public venues, and then things like, maybe doing an extra show where we have additional show times and staggered embark and check in."

Ultimately, the panel will work through all the options and practices considered, and come up with the best course of action for the cruise lines.

What changes will Royal Caribbean make to keep guests healthy once cruises resume?

In:
Category: 
19May2020

While many cruisers are anxious to return to cruising, some are wondering what the cruise experience will be like in first few months once cruises resume.

Without a doubt, Royal Caribbean will implement a wide variety of policy changes to the onboard experience, but it remains to be seen exactly what these changes will look like until a formal announcement is made.

Here is a look at  the changes we know about, as well as what we think is reasonable to expect, once cruises start back up again.

Confirmed changes

Royal Caribbean has been very quiet in terms of announcing specifics to what it will be like once cruising resumes, but a few bits and pieces are generally known.

Prior to shutting down cruises, Royal Caribbean implemented some rules, as well as retracting others.

Temperature Checks

One of the first policies the cruise line added even before sailings stopped was to add mandatory temperature screening for guests.

Beginning on March 6, 2020, the cruise line conducted mandatory temperature screenings that looked for temperatures above 100.4°F or 38° C. Anyone with that kind of a high temperature would undergo a secondary health screening and have a medical professional evaluate and determine if they are fit to sail.

Enhanced sanitization

For the last few sailings, Royal Caribbean also took additional steps onboard its ships and in the cruise terminals by thoroughly sanitizing the cruise ship terminal before and after every sailing.

The cruise line also added extra medical staff on each sailing, special sanitizing of high traffic areas onboard the ship, and complimentary consultations with medical experts for all guests & crew.

No doctor's note will be required to cruise

Although never implemented on any sailings, Royal Caribbean added a rule to prevent any guest 70 years or older from boarding a ship without a doctor's note, but then rescinded it in April.

The rule came from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)  and said guests who are 70 years old or older, or have a pre-existing chronic medical condition would not be able to sail unless a doctor's note affirmed the guest's good health.

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed confirmed a health form is no longer required for those travelers ages 70 plus, nor are there restrictions for those guests with underlying health conditions.

Buffet eliminated

It looks like the buffet is also going to be done away with in light of health and safety concerns.

Royal Caribbean International President & CEO Michael Bayley spoke on the topic recently, and indicated the Windjammer buffet will not be a traditional buffet, and instead transformed into something else.

"We've got teams working on every single element of the guest experience, and we obviously have a team working on the buffet. I think in the beginning, there will not be a buffet in the beginning, that's how I see it. It depends again upon the timing. We will utilize the space, we will utilize the Windjammer, but in all probability it won't be a classical buffet. It will be something more akin to a restaurant."

"I think the key focus on dining, for example, is making sure that our guests have plenty of choice. But now, that plenty of choice has to be put through the lens of distancing, and safety and health, etc. in a more acute way. I think there will be changes for sure, and I think the word 'buffet' will diminish and we'll replace it with a new concept."

Plan is in the works

Beyond what is listed here, Royal Caribbean has indicated repeatedly they are working with health officials to craft a plan of new policies and requirements to keep guests safe.

"You need to be timing your return to service so it fits with how consumers are thinking about taking a vacation. We have some protocols that we need to really get right, and of course we need to be working with the CDC on all of these things," Bayley said recently about returning to service.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain has spoken on numerous occasions about the work going on behind-the-scenes to prepare for the resumption of cruises.

"Looking forward to restarting, health and safety are absolutely paramount as I've said before, what was fine just a few weeks ago is no longer adequate. Good enough just good enough. We need to raise the bar to new heights, and we have teams of doctors, of scientists, of epidemiologists, and teams of people who know our business, all looking hard and charting the safest and surest path forward that we can."

"At Royal Caribbean, we're using this time of the suspension to learn as much as we can about this disease, and how to contain it. We're using this time to consult with experts in the field. We're trying to understand the science. We're using this develop new ways of doing things to protect the health of our guests, and our crew. Our objective is to make our ships not just good enough, but the best they can be."

Unconfirmed changes

In lieu of much information on what policy changes Royal Caribbean is planning, lots of people have speculated on what could be coming based on what other cruise lines, theme parks and municipalities are announcing.

There are plenty of steps Royal Caribbean could take to keep guests safe, including screenings, temperature checks, on-site medical professionals, social distance markers and additional shields and safeguards, mandatory PPE training for all staff, and more.

Face masks while cruising

The role of wearing a face mask in some capacity onboard the ship is a topic of discussion among many cruisers who are concerned with what level of social distancing will be required.

While Royal Caribbean has not commented at all on the role masks will play, the cruise line did file a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for "Seaface".

The trademark lists the description of the trademark simply as:

Trademark applications usually quite vague in regard to their intended use, so it remains to be seen precisely how it will be used, if at all.

Anecdotally, while a great majority of cruisers have no issue with going back on a cruise without a vaccine, many seem to be concerned about being forced to wear a mask.

Digital muster drills

Another trademark filing made during the shutdown is for something called "emuster".

There is no other information provided, but the name has many thinking it indicates Royal Caribbean might be changing its safety drills to make them more of a self-service role.

The muster drill is a compulsory drill required of all guests to gather in designated areas around the ship in order to understand where to go and what to do in the case of a real emergency.

Currently, the muster drill involves large groups of guests lining up in close proximity to each other while being counted and briefed on what to expect in the case of an emergency.

Your thoughts

What changes do you think Royal Caribbean will make to keep its guests safe? What sort of protocols or policies do you see as absolutely necessary, and will any of these stop you from cruising? Share your opinions in the comments!

This is the longest we've gone without Royal Caribbean cancelling more cruises

In:
Category: 
11May2020

If you are keeping score at home, we have now gone through the longest period of time since Royal Caribbean voluntarily suspended all of its cruises without any more cruises being cancelled.

Here is the breakdown of the recent timeline of cancelled cruise announcements:

The time between the first and second announcements of cancelled cruises was 11 days, and then the second and third round took 23 days.

At the risk of jinxing things, today marks 25 days since the last round of cancelled cruises.

This statistical anomaly is not necessarily an indicator that more cruises will not be cancelled. In fact, Royal Caribbean disclosed last week that more cancelled cruises are possible, as continued disruptions to travel and port operations in various regions.

However, it is a good sign that with shelter in place laws being lifted around the United States and abroad, perhaps this just one more sign that we are getting closer to cruises resuming.

More than any other question, cruisers are curious to know when will Royal Caribbean resume cruises.

Royal Caribbean has not provided much detail on when it intends to resume cruises, other than stating it will resume cruises on June 12, 2020 (with the exception of Canada, New England and Alaska sailings).

Carnival Cruises announced a more fleshed out plan to resume sailings later this summer, while simultaneously cancelling more cruises. The announcement seemed to carry more weight with it, as it provided more than just a new target date to sail again.

When do you think cruises will start back up again? Share your predictions in the comments!

Royal Caribbean trademarks name for sanitary masks

In:
Category: 
22Apr2020

The current health crisis has lead Royal Caribbean to file a new trademark for its own brand of sanitary masks.

Royal Caribbean has filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for "Seaface".

The trademark lists the description of the tradmark simply as:

Trademark applications usually quite vague in regard to their intended use, so it remains to be seen precisely how it will be used, if at all.

The trademark was filed on April 8, 2020 and is intended for cruise ship services. The trademark lists it as a "medical apparatus".

It has been widely speculated that Royal Caribbean, like all cruise lines, will have to take extensive new measures to protect guests against the spread of any communicable ailment on its ships.

Deserved or not, cruise lines have been the scapegoat for many in the court of public opinion that they are extra susceptible to person-to-person spread.

When will Royal Caribbean resume sailings?

In:
Category: 
21Apr2020

There are currently no Royal Caribbean cruises sailing due to the current global situation, and the most commonly asked question these days is, "When will cruising resume?"

The answer of when cruises will resume sailing has two answers: the official answer and the real answer.

Officially, Royal Caribbean says the majority of its fleet plans to resume service on August 1, 2020. China sailings are scheduled to resume July 1st.

The longer answer is the August 1st date is a moving target, as Royal Caribbean has changed the time it intends to start cruising again two different times.

Hurdles to overcome

The reality is cruising will resume once conditions allow for cruise ships to resume service without a public health emergency hanging overhead. Just like friends and family wondering when movie theaters, sporting events, or school will resume, the answer to when cruises will definitely start up again is nearly impossible to answer.

"Legally, the pandemic has to no longer be a health crisis -- that's the easiest way," said Motley Fool contributing partner and podcast/on-air personality, Dan Kline.

There is also legal barriers that prevent cruises from starting up again, such as many countries closing off its borders to cruise ships as well as the United States' 100-day 'No-Sail Order' issued by the CDC.

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed said on a recent webinar with travel agents that with the current climate, "things can change rather quickly," and that, "we all have to take it day by day."

When should you expect cruises to start again?

There is no "inside information" or secret algorithm to knowing when cruises will resume, because no one really knows.  By the same token, there is no way to know if your upcoming Royal Caribbean cruise this summer, fall or even next year is in jeopardy of being cancelled.

The answer I provide to readers who ask if their sailing is going to happen or not, is simply, "I don't know" because there is no definitive way to know what to expect. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

My guess is the further out your cruise, the better your chance of it occurring.

For now, you should take Royal Caribbean's date of operations to resume in August as the defacto answer, but prepare for more cancellations.

The answer of when cruises will resume may be better determined by looking out your window and seeing when life begins to return to some kind of normalcy. The sooner daily life starts back up, the less impediments (and social blame) the cruise lines will have to face in starting up again.

Many cruisers look at the CDC's 'no-sail' order as the major obstacle for Royal Caribbean to cruise again, but it is important to note that order can be rescinded at any time.

When do you think cruises will resume? Share your best guesses in the comments!

Florida Governor gives go-ahead to start reopening some beaches and parks

In:
Category: 
18Apr2020

If you are looking for signs of the world resuming some level of normalcy, you may want to consider Florida Governor  Ron DeSantis has given the okay for some beaches and parks to reopen if it can be done safely, and north Florida beaches became among the first to allow people to return.

Beaches in the greater Jacksonville, Florida area reopened for the first time in a month, howeever they have restricted hours, and they can only be used for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing.

Gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited and people must still practice social distancing.

With Florida being the home of so many cruise ships, the re-opening of beaches is perhaps a sign of the current global situation eking slightly back to normalcy.

The governor said it was important for people to have outlets for getting exercise, sunshine and fresh air.

“Do it in a good way. Do it in a safe way,” DeSantis said.

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