Understandably, with some of these hideous stories we’re being bombarded with in the media on a daily basis, people are thinking twice about ever cruising again. I mean, they’re ‘Petri dishes for infections’, ‘unsanitary’ with ‘poor cleaning practices’ and if you don’t get Covid-19, you’re bound to ‘get norovirus’ right?
Whilst I’m not going to deny that there are some incredibly sad incidences occurring in these unprecedented times, I want to tell you why we should keep on cruising – when this nightmare is over of course…
If you have ever been on a cruise you can’t help but notice cleaners everywhere, all the time. Everything is being disinfected, from the hand rails to the buttons on the lifts, the interactive screens, and pretty much anything that could possibly be touched by anyone. This is on top of the usual housekeeping cleaning which happens twice daily in cabins, and continuously around the ships.
Guests are encouraged to use hand sanitiser regularly, you will find it all over the ship, and most cruise lines won’t allow you into the main dining areas without you using it. Several even provide sinks at the entrance to their buffets for guests to wash their hands, being much better than just sanitising.
In the public restrooms, you will see a paper towel dispenser next to door, and guests are encouraged to use the towel to open the door and then dispose, so you are not touching the doors with your hands. Some even have remote switches which you can press with your elbow to release the door.
Since the outbreak of corona virus, the cleaning protocols have increased. All hard surfaces are now being regularly cleaned with a high grade disinfectant known to kill the virus within 30 seconds. And let’s also remember, not every ship has cases of covid-19 onboard, for those that don’t, they are currently in the safest place in the world right now, in a happy healthy little bubble at sea, with everything they need – including toilet paper!
Take your own sanitiser with you everywhere! Purchase through Amazon here.
Did you know that every ship has a medical team who can conduct basic surgeries? Where else can you go on holiday and have a Doctor within a couple of hundred metres away from you, who speaks English?
Obviously, you want to have medical/travel insurance as they are mostly US operated, but still, you have care right on your door step, and if you need anything more critical, they will ensure you get to the nearest hospital and are looked after.
We can’t ignore the number of cases of corona virus that sadly have been found to be on ships – but that’s also because the medical teams were able to test, quarantine and report them. They know exactly who is sick and can begin to manage and contain it. I’m currently staying in a suburb of Sydney recently identified to be a hot spot for the virus – but it’s not being monitored, or contained, people are still moving around, going to my local supermarket etc…
And how many cases are there REALLY in Bali? No one knows, because they can’t test it… Get my point?
Further reading: How to Stay Healthy on a Cruise – 8 Easy Tips
We have never felt the financial pinch more so than we are right now. The number of job losses are heart breaking, particularly in my industry of Travel, and my husband’s, in Entertainment.
Whilst I’m sure most of you want to get a long way away from your families when lock-down is over (haha), I think we also realise how important it is to spend time with our loved ones, and in the most economical way possible. Cruising has always been a great option for this, with a cruise line which is right for everyone (check out my reviews if you’re not sure: Large Ships / Mid-sized Ships), with as many or little inclusions as you want, and where you can spend as much or little time with you family as you desire.
If you had a cruise booked already, most cruise lines are offering you a better deal to reschedule, than if you just cancel, so make the most of this bonus and postpone your trip so you have something to look forward to.
Fun for all the Family
We certainly need some fun right now – and most ships have this by the bucket load! Get rid of that pent-up energy on a skating rink, a surf simulator, a bowling alley, scream down a water slide, or zip line through a ship… Sing your heart out at a karaoke or dance the night away in a club, after enjoying endless gourmet food you didn’t have to cook yourself or wait to be home-delivered. Or maybe your idea of fun is more sedate, finding a more relaxed cruise for you to just reconnect with your loved ones with some classical music in the background, or enjoy a round-table discussion about a historical event, or watch a movie on the big screen under the stars with some popcorn.
I’d talk about the wine tasting sessions too, but I’m pretty sure we may all be checking into AA after all of this, if you’re anything like me…!
Safe Way to Travel
Many first-time cruisers are also inexperienced travellers who love the thought of visiting new countries in a completely safe manner. They don’t need to worry about being ripped off when trying to find taxis or book local tours, or be concerned that the food they’re eating may not be fresh, or that they can’t get around easily because they don’t speak the local dialect or understand/have the right currency.
Cruise companies look after all of this for you. If you book an excursion through the cruise line, they will do everything for you, from start to finish, you really don’t have to worry about a thing. This is why so many older people are attracted to cruising, but also the younger crowd are appreciating the value they get from a cruise holiday too.
I know, most of us are literally glued to our phones and freak out if we have to go without it for more than hour! I am the same, I did the first week of my quarantine without WiFi and was starting to lose my mind! However, having been on a ship through the start of this craziness, I have to admit, I was so much calmer on board than I am now, back on land.
Don’t get me wrong, we had internet on board and I was still on social media and chatting to friends and family, but we didn’t have the news in our faces the second we turn on the television. The news is of course readily available, but you have to purposefully look for it, it’s not slammed in your face, like it or not. The constant doom and gloom I believe is a big contribution to people having meltdowns, and people suffering from anxiety which they have never previously experienced. We can’t escape it – even as I type this from the couch, I’m listening to announcements on the beach outside reminding people to keep socially distant.
It’s good to get away from the news and the media sometimes, have a detox from it all, and cruises are the best place to do that. Most cruise lines charge for internet (and it’s rarely cheap), so save yourself the money and enjoy some time out – your mental health will thank you for it.
More reading: Want to be Happy? Go Travel!
Keeping Jobs Globally
Crew lives are being dramatically impacted by the cruise cancellations at present. According to crew-center.com an online resource for crew members, in 2017 over 250,000 people were employed on a cruise ship, including those currently on a contract and those on rotation. Each ship has between 30-40 country representation by crew, with the majority being from the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Russia, Ukraine as well as many other European countries, the US, Australia and the UK.
Most of these crew member’s salaries are sent directly home to their families. They rely on this money to feed and educate their children, many whom are being brought up by grandparents whilst the parents are working at sea. Whilst most cruise companies are looking after their crew and ensuring they continue to receive a salary, it’s a reduced amount, or they are being forced to take longer vacation.
These workers are reliant on guests returning to the ships as soon as possible for them to be able to support their families again. Whilst I appreciate that times are tough for everyone, and ‘charity starts at home’, we also need to remember that we are privileged to live in affluent countries (directing this at my key readers, from the US, Canada, UK and Australia) and we have Government support available…some of these lower socioeconomic countries don’t.
Developing Countries Rely on Tourism
Whilst we’re talking about these countries, it’s not just the crew affected, many of the small villages in developing countries no longer receiving the cruise tourism will be suffering through this. Think of the South Pacific islands, the smaller Caribbean islands, Komodo Islands etc. The kids are literally trying to sell you the shirt off their back to bring money home for their families, they will be struggling now. We need the industry to get back up quickly to help small communities help themselves back up too – especially as they are the ones least equipped to cope with this pandemic.
Recognition for their Charity Work
Cruise companies are slammed for everything these days it seems, from labour laws to carbon footprint abuse to spread of disease… I’m not going to defend all of these or get political, and I’m sure I’ll have people give me their opinion on them, but how about we look at the good stuff they do too?
Royal Caribbean just took the Australian Bush Fire First Responders and their families on a complimentary cruise on their brand new Spectrum of the Seas just last month. Over 7,000 volunteers were treated to an all expenses paid trip over 2 cruises as a thank you for the selfless work they have done. In the quake of Hurricane Dorian they were one of the first to offer assistance to the hard-hit Bahamian community, offering 20.000 hot meals per day, provided by a dedicated ship ported to bring essential supplies, as well as donating $1m to the people. This is on top of their regular charity work, including their close partnership with Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Ocean Fund to support marine conservation charities, G.I.V.E the employee program allowing their staff to take a couple of days a year to go volunteer for a local organisation, and so much more.
Carnival Corp had a huge part in the rebuilding of the Bahamas recently as well as their ongoing charitable work, mostly focused on children, for mentorship programs, hefty donations to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital (to the tune of over $18m), involvement with the Mercy Ships to provide healthcare in African countries and a strong partnership with the British Princes Trust, as well as building a school in Cebu, The Philippines. They have been recognised in the US as a leader in corporate social responsibility.
Holland America has a ‘Ship-to-Shelter’ program which donates supplies to people in need, such as on board toiletries, towels, linens etc. MSC is actively involved with UNICEF, NCL donates 100 cruises per year to charitable organisations and also works closely with Make-a-Wish Foundation, Viking works with MIND and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean Blog
Think Other Options Are Safer? Think Again…
I’m going to assume that after all this is over, you’re not going to stay home forever right? Most of us can’t wait to be able to get back out into the big wide world and start exploring again.
Do you think that staying in a holiday resort will be safer than a ship? That any infections wouldn’t spread there just as quickly? Or that passing through airports, queuing with hundreds of other people through immigration and at baggage carousels won’t leave you susceptible? Maybe taking a coach tour, a train voyage or visiting a key tourist attraction would be safer…really?
Let’s be rational and keep things in perspective (firstly, ignore all the scare-mongering media). We can get sick anywhere, but if we take the correct precautions, sanitise regularly and practice good hygiene habits, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t enjoy many more cruises safely. I can assure you every ship surface has been scrubbed to within an inch of its life right now!
Need more reasons to choose cruise? Check out my post on Cruise vs Resort – Get the Lowdown!
Keep Cruisin’ On…
So, please, if you already have a cruise booked which has been impacted by corona virus, don’t cancel it, just postpone. The travel industry needs us to keep travelling and support them in these challenging times – which is a win-win really, we’re being asked to take a holiday. Oh, ok then…!
But seriously, it’s frustrating to see how the Cruise Industry is being treated at the moment. An industry employing thousands of people just wanting to serve guests, give them the most memorable experiences of their lives, keeping a smile on their faces through all adversity, and trying to support their families who they are separated from at the same time. Let’s not see them as bad guys through this, and spread the cruise love far and wide to keep them all afloat.
If you’d like to read what it’s like to be on a ship as a guest during the Corona Virus pandemic, check out the excellent blog from Andy and Judi, who were made ‘honorary crew members’!
As always, I love to hear your feedback. I’m sure I’ll get some negativity here but hopefully I have enough cruise-enthusiast readers to support my view! If you do agree with me, please share this post so we can attempt to negate some of the current citicism towards our beloved cruise lines.
Thanks for reading – see you next time.
Wendy A x
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