On cruise ships, Omicron puts safety protocols to the test
With the rise of the Delta and Omicron variants, and as the virus spreads across the world, cruise lines have adjusted their health and safety protocols, reinstating measures such as mask warrants and requiring additional testing of the share of passengers. Starting January 13, Disney Cruise Line will require all children over the age of 5 to be fully immunized against the coronavirus.
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Demand remains high
Despite the new restrictions and the risks posed by the new variants, demand for future cruises remains high. Carnival, the world’s largest cruise line, has indicated that its bookings for the second half of 2022 have exceeded bookings for 2019. Royal Caribbean said the Delta variant has reached bookings in 2021 and 2022, but not for 2023.
“I think what people said is I want to go out, but I don’t want to do it too soon. I want to make sure things have stabilized, ”said Richard D. Fain, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, during the company’s last earnings call in October.
Miranda Gibson, 63, an avid cruise lover from Tampa, Florida, took two cruises this summer but then canceled three cruises she had scheduled for the rest of the year over concerns about the Delta variant. .
“The first cruise I did in June in the Caribbean was heaven because everyone was vaccinated, Covid was under control and it was the first time in so long that we could have fun without worry,” a- she declared.
“Now with the variants everything is thorny again and you can’t really have a truly relaxing cruise experience when you worry about Covid, masks and rules,” she explained. “I booked in June 2022 and I know I’ll be tempted to go beforehand but I’ll wait until it’s safer.”
Others believe cruise ships are among the safest vacation environments, due to vaccine requirements and testing protocols.