Six things to know about returning from a cruise


Just because the Australian government has yet to come up with a cruise stimulus plan doesn’t mean we can’t start planning.

Here is what Ceylan Yeginsu wrote for The New York Times about her first time on a cruise when she got on board Celebrity Millennium earlier this month: “A woman threw her bag on the floor and began to vibrate to the rhythm of the Caribbean calypso being played in the reception hall. Another triumphantly banged his fists with a crew member before hugging him, while an older man stood still and stared at the delighted guests, his eyes filling with tears as he dealt with reality to be back on a cruise, one of the more than 400 he took in his lifetime.

It has been a tough road for cruising enthusiasts, but I hope that soon you will have your moment like Ms. Yeginsu did.

Here’s what the experts say you should watch out for:

What to know when booking

Cruise specialist and travel agent Kathy Pavlidis has a particularly crucial idea for those hoping to take a cruise on their return.

“My only advice is not to leave too late. Much of the uptime for 2022 is already drying up, so people are trying to make up for lost time. People are even looking to 2023. “

When it comes to what people book, they’re looking to return to cruising in style with longer, more luxurious trips.

“People want to take a cruise, they have a lot of future cruise credits, but they’re looking for longer Mediterranean-type itineraries, a repositioning cruise, an expedition-type cruise.”

Another cool idea is that you probably won’t encounter too many newbie cruisers when you return from a cruise.

“The mass market has tended to decline a bit. People who are new to cruising have mostly stopped.

For a heavy dose of inspiration on the cruises you can book, you can check out the 17 recommended itineraries in our Best Cruise Deals for 2022.

Where people want to be.

New COVID protocols to be expected

The first thing you should expect is that you will have to fill out additional paperwork before you even leave the house. The exact protocols will obviously vary line by line, but you can expect to complete a health questionnaire and, as needed, attach proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. There may also be an additional medical examination.

You can also expect boarding to take a little longer than usual. A writer for The guy at the points was aboard the Royal Caribbean Sea adventure when he restarted operations in the United States earlier this month and calculated that boarding had taken him about an hour.

That’s a bit longer than Royal Caribbean’s previous “15 minutes or less” standard, but not the biggest sacrifice given the circumstances.

Instead of meeting at the water’s edge, cruise passengers were first invited to a nearby hotel, where they had their temperatures checked and tested for COVID.

While it seems unlikely to become the new normal, you can expect the boarding to be a little different than how you remember it.

A few more changes may be present as you step aboard and make yourself comfortable in your cabin. Ms. Yeginsu said the usual drills and safety drills are delivered via smartphones.

She also reported that the rooms were stocked with hand sanitizer and face masks on arrival, as well as sanitized daily.

Your safety will be the number one priority.

Dining room changes

To be reassured, despite some fears, the buffet is not going anywhere. However, it will just be slightly different.

Royal Caribbean Global Culinary, Dining & Beverage Vice President Linken D’Souza assured future guests.

“Rest assured, the buffet will exist. There may be a few small changes that allow us to make sure that we have a very good and healthy return to service. But your favorites and what you’re used to in Windjammer will still be there.

A writer for the Mirror who took part in the first UK cruise since 2020 on MSC Virtuoso spoke about his experience with the buffet.

“I was guided to the pools to wash my hands and the food was served by the staff, you can’t help but. This may all seem like a far cry from the normal, relaxed vibe of a cruise, but has become second nature.

Another thing to be prepared for with meals is that specialty meals seem to be more popular than ever. Royal Caribbean reported that demand for specialty restaurants has increased on Sea adventure.

The reasons for this aren’t fully known, but it makes sense that cruise lines would want to splurge on the extras to make up for lost time, so if you’re planning on eating a bit more on your return from the cruise, be sure to book. nice and early.

Culinary specialties will be in great demand.

Rising price

While it’s understandably difficult to commit to times of uncertainty, if you haven’t booked anything yet, booking your first cruise as early as possible might be the right decision.

With cruise lines potentially unable to operate at full capacity and cruisers more eager than ever to get back to sea, the simple economy is playing its cruel hand. As the supply decreases and the demand increases, the prices will increase with it.

Not to mention that cruise lines must try to recover nearly two years of profits. Especially since most lines plan to resume with only a few ships, rather than their entire fleet, further reducing availability.

Once a date or at least a frame for the return from the cruise is finally announced, you can expect bookings to skyrocket and prices to jump instantly, so don’t leave your booking too late.

The advantages of limited capacity

In a positive sense, if you find yourself sailing on a ship that is forced to sail below capacity, passengers have reported all kinds of benefits for themselves.

As well as obviously feeling less worried about COVID, you’ll also feel like you have the ship almost to yourself. You’ll also feel like you have more room if you stop for excursions in areas designed to accommodate thousands more passengers than are actually on board.

There will be shorter wait times, fewer queues and crowds, and a more relaxing experience with more open spaces and free places to relax on board.

Prepare to use your smartphone

Expect to receive safety instructions, order food and drink, make reservations, and get your cruising compass through a smartphone app.

For example, Royal Caribbean has spent its time locking in by investing heavily in and developing its app. Even at full capacity, this should help reduce wait times at restaurants and kiosks, make the reservation process easier, and keep you more up to date with events on ships.

In addition, of course, to providing you with all the safety information you might need as soon as possible.

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