The day we have been looking for is here! Cruising is back! It has been a long hard road for all of us in the travel industry, and we know that all the bumps aren’t yet smoothed out, but cruising is back. Celebrity Cruises, who is my best selling cruise line, was the first back in the water with North American passengers with their round trip St. Maarten cruise in early June. That cruise proved that the health and safety protocols were working. On that cruise everyone was vaccinated and had taken negative PCR test either at home or at the pier before boarding the ship. With all guests fully vaccinated, masks were not required from passengers, but most crew wore them. I had several colleagues who were on that sailing. They said that there was nothing but sheer joy from passengers and crew who were happy to back on a cruise with passengers.
There was one couple who did test positive for covid during the routine tests that occur to allow guests to return back to the US. The were fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. All other guest who had been in close contact with them were tested and came back negative. Once those negative results were back, inside of 12 hours, those guests were free to enjoy their cruise again. The couple who tested positive were completely asymptomatic, and were flown home by Celebrity via air ambulance. I was a little worried when I first heard the new about the couple who tested positive, but after hearing how it was resolved and that there was little disruptions to the cruise, I was relieved and happy to hear that the measures and protocols worked effectively.
Celebrity was also the first cruise line to depart out of US waters with their Edge sailing on June 26, 2021. I actually had two of my clients on that sailing and they reported nothing but good things about the experience. One of my guests even sent me a picture of her with Captain Kate, the first female American captain of a major cruise ship.
This return to service was shortly followed by Carnival Cruise and Royal Caribbean line sailings, with Princess and Holland America sailings starting up shortly too. Europe is opening up with cruises sailing in Iceland, Greece, Malta and on the rivers! We have a small group that we are going to be taking from Budapest to Prague on an Avalon river cruise in October along the Danube. Avalon has announced our cruise is on their return to sailing list.
For me and my business this signifies a new return to normalcy. There still will be some cancellations, to areas of the world that are not yet ready to open to tourists, but for the most part, I will have cruises to sell, places to go, and real travel options for my clients.