Tips

7 Experts share their advice for traveling after COVID-19

In:
Category: 
24Mar2020

Whether by cruise ship or airplane or car, so many people relish traveling as a way to see the world, revisit history, and enjoy great food along the way. The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed everything, and travel has been particularly hard hit.

Between the lockdowns, cruise lines suspending operations, and the economy taking a hit, it seemed appropriate to reach out to a few travel experts for what their advice would be given the global impact of this virus.

I contacted seven of the very best cruise experts to ask them what travel advice they would share to anyone who wants to get out there again. Here is what they had to say.

It could take a while

"Be patient. But also be aware that it could be a while. If 30 days from now, the situation around the world is still a mess, the cruise lines could decide to extend the period even longer.

The only people who want the ships to be sailing more than would-be guests is the cruise lines themselves."

- Doug Parker (Host of Cruise Radio)

Be Flexible

"Don't let today's concerns keep you from planning future trips - planning now can also give you something to look forward to while your vacations may otherwise be on hold.  

If you have an upcoming trip you don't think will work out, don't cancel earlier than required by providers' policies; you don't want to cancel a trip you could have taken, plus, if a travel provider decides to cancel, they may offer better terms than you'll get cancelling on your own.  

Above all else, be flexible; as unprecedented as this is to your life, the same is true for businesses."

Billy Hirsch (Cruise Expert, CruiseHabit.com)

Stay up-to-date

"These are unprecedented times across the globe, and certainly for the cruise industry. The best piece of advice right now is to stay up-to-date on the latest policies and updates from your cruise line.

Changes continue to be made daily – and compensation continues to be announced for impacted cruises, so it’s more important than ever to keep in contact with the line, fellow cruisers and/or your travel advisor for the latest updates as they’re made."

- Colleen McDaniel (Editor-in-Chief of Cruise Critic)

Wait it out

"The advice we're sharing with our community right now is to be as patient as possible. Whether that means you're on pins and needles wondering if your late Spring cruise gets cancelled, or booking another cruise in the near future, we're all anxious to have some answers!

But, we think waiting just a few more weeks to see how the remainder of this month pans out before taking action is a good move for most. If you're anxious to book, consider securing a deal on a cruise sailing later in the year, or into 2021. There's much less cancellation risk, and lots of great cabins available."

- Sheri Griffiths (Host of CruiseTipsTV)

Stay safe and stay positive

"It's tough not being able to cruise now and knowing exactly when we can get back out there, but I'm definitely trying to stay positive. We all know this will pass and cruise travel will come back strong. I feel badly for people who might be struggling with income and lack of work at these times, though."

If you are passionate about travel and cruising, it can be of some comfort to start planning for a cruise or trip for later this year (or even next year) so that you have something to look forward to -- while also taking advantage of some great prices and relaxed policies on cancellations for rebooking.

Like most people, I've been already getting a bit of cabin fever as we spend most of our days stuck in the home, but it's helped to be able to look for deals and get excited about planning for some time at sea once this all passes. There is going to be a huge amount of pent-up demand and energy for cruising and travel in general when things get back to normal."

- John Roberts (Travel writer, In The Loop Travel)

There's no rush to decide now

"If you’re thinking of booking a trip for the next few months, my advice there, too, is that there’s no rush. I think pricing is going to come down significantly on close-in departures in the coming months. We haven’t seen crazy deals yet for close-in departures – at least not in a widespread way. But we will. Cruise lines appear to be holding off on the crazy deals until they have a better sense of when they will be able to resume sailing. Once that becomes more clear, I expect some very heavy discounting and value-add promotions on the close-in sailings. They will be desperate to refill the ships.

I would warn people that it may be longer than they think before cruise ships begin sailing again. It’s very hard to say at this point. There are so many variables. But we may be looking at several months, at least, in some regions of the world.

Also, I would recommend that anyone spending a significant amount of money on a future cruise right now pay the extra money to buy a travel insurance policy that includes reimbursement coverage if a travel provider such as a cruise line or airline fails. I’m not saying this is going to happen. But it’s prudent in a time like this to be covered for the worst possible outcome. Not every travel insurance policy covers the collapse of a travel provider. It’s important to read the fine print in a policy before buying it. Generally, the policies sold directly through cruise lines, for instance, do not cover this."

- Gene Sloan, (Senior Reporter, Cruise and Travel at The Points Guy)

Be Patient

"We are in uncharted waters right now, sailing through heavy fog, searching for a glimpse of the lighthouse to lead us out of these unprecedented times. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but this is going to play on as it plays out.

The best advice I can give anyone booked or looking to book a cruise is to be patient. It doesn't matter which cruise line, or ship, the next cruise we each go on is going to be amazing for the simple fact we are back to normalcy in our daily lives."

Scott Sanders (Cruise Expert, DisneyCruiseLineBlog.com)

Royal Caribbean Secrets: Hidden sundeck on Allure of the Seas

In:
07Aug2013

Whether you're a first time cruiser with Royal Caribbean or a veteran, there's always something to be learned and we love to share tips, secrets and little tricks for your next cruise.  Today we're going to share a great spot if you want to get away from the crowd on Allure of the Seas.

Once aboard Allure of the Seas, if you want a great spot for sailaway or just somewhere to go to escape people (and with well over 5,000 people onboard, there's a lot of people!), then this tip is for you.  

Go to the port side of deck 14 and walk all the way to the end of the hall and then take a right and go to the end of that hall. At the end of the hall, you will find a door leading out to this special spot.  Once outside, you will find yourself on a secluded deck that is on top of the ship's bridge and one deck below the Solarium.

This door is the only way in or out so it's not easily found by other passengers and it's a great place to come and get some space.

We've found this to be a great place for sunbathing, sailaway or just enjoying some quiet time. Since there's very few people here usually, it's quite pleasant.  

As an added bonus, there's one more secret to this secret deck.  In addition to being a secluded spot, it also is home to a piece of Royal Caribbean history. When Allure of the Seas was built, one of the first things the crew did was to add a number of "lucky coins" to the ship's keel, as part of maritime tradition.  These lucky coins are held in a cabinet that is welded to the ship and has a small commemorative plaque.

Of course, loyal Royal Caribbean fans will note this tip can be applied to Oasis of the Seas as well since the two vessels are sister ships and nearly identical in construction.

Freedom of the Seas: Four Must Do Activities

In:
09Jul2010

If you've got a cruise coming up on Freedom of the Seas, then this is your week as we have even more tips for your next cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas, as provided by CruiseMates.com

  1. Explore the Promenade
  2. Sample the Cuisine
  3. Experience the Entertainment and Nightlife
  4. Activities for Kids

Here is one of the tips, explore the promenade

The Promenade is longer than on other RCI ships, and is similar to a large suburban mall. Three miles of corridors connect the public rooms, and are well marked so passengers don't get hopelessly lost. Boutiques that are on the other Voyager-class ships are on Freedom. The Royal Promenade has special lighting effects for the Mardi Gras-style parades. The Royal Promenade features several spots for snacks and has a book shop, The Book Nook.

Five more tips for Freedom of the Seas

In:
08Jul2010

Last week, Andy Mayer posted tips from his recent cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas and he's back this week with more tips to share.  As always, these tips are specific to Freedom of the Seas, but I believe they can be applied to nearly any Royal Caribbean sailing.

  1. Get up early if you want lounge chairs near the pool on the days at sea
  2. Book your own excursions
  3. Get private lessons on the Flowrider
  4. Get a “cabana chair” in Haiti
  5. Return to the ship earlier than normal in Grand Cayman
  6. Depart on your own term

Here's a good tip Andy posted about regarding the best place to rest in Labadee

 

Unfortunately, we found information lacking about RC’s private beach at Labadee, Haiti.  We checked for maps at guest services and asked around, but could learn almost nothing.  The head of the excursions desk on deck 5 knew zero!  I want to pass one thing on to you.
 
When you get off this ship, go straight and take the path almost as far as you can take it.  By walking straight and far, you come to a less rocky area, from which you can swim.  However, you will also find “cabana” chairs.  These are two normal chairs pushed under a half-moon, umbrella like cover that provides shade and a bit of privacy.  They are first-come, first-serve.  If you don’t care about swimming, then find some shade under a tree.  But, if you want to swim and want shade to relax, go directly for a cabana chair.

Five tips for Freedom of the Seas

In:
01Jul2010

Andy Mayer posted some great tips from his recent experience aboard Freedom of the Seas and they are some good advice.  Here's a quick rundown of them.

  1. Buy Bottles of Wine Not Individual Glasses
  2. Try the Buffet for Dinner
  3. Get the Early Dining Seating for Dinner
  4. Get the Fountain Soda Package
  5. Prepare to be Disconnected

Here's one full tip is posted about the bottles of wine being a better deal than by the glass

My colleague Mike told me about this before we left, and he was right.  Glasses of wine in the dining room can be expensive – in the $15 range.  However, if you know that you want wine every night and don’t mind the same wine for two nights or more in a row, buy a bottle.  At the end of the meal, your waiter marks the cork with your table number, takes it away, and then brings it back the next night for you to finish.  Since we had only two drinkers (my wife and I), this worked better than the RC Wine Plan, where the fewest number of bottles you can buy is five.  The per bottle cost of the Wine Plan is less than we paid, but we couldn’t have possibly drunk five bottles in a week.