At the beginning of the late August christening cruise of AmaSiena, cruise manager Martina Valachova and hotel manager Romeo Luchian exuded warmth and humor to set the tone for its COVID-era maiden voyage by explaining how AmaWaterways’ new health and sanitation practices would enhance the experience. Their PA announcements throughout the cruise positioned the necessities of masking up, pre-meal temperature checks and pre-departure COVID tests as extensions of the safety protocols that existed in the “before-times.”
“During these unpredictable times, we are confident in our teams’ ability to react quickly to changing conditions and come up with creative solutions to collaboratively implement the measures,” said Kristin Karst, cofounder and CEO, AmaWaterways. “The same attention to detail and willingness to take on new challenges pre-COVID shapes how we’ve moved forward. We have tried to instill in our teams the freedom and confidence to make decisions as long as they are always in the best interest of our guests. This validated that we have done things the right way in Europe and are now fully prepared for the [remainder of ] 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons.”
During summer 2020, a year before the AmaSiena christening, AmaWaterways management staged a dress rehearsal in collaboration with a German tour company. Safety and health protocols were put into practice for four months with European passengers, and with no cases of COVID, they were implemented on a wider basis once American tourists were allowed to travel to Europe. The protocols will extend throughout AmaWaterways’ fleet.
Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer, Carnival Corp., touched on how the cruise operator implemented its enhanced protocols first on its AIDA and Costa brands, which began cruising on a limited basis in Europe in late 2020. Based on positive passenger feedback and effectiveness, the protocols were expanded throughout the Carnival fleet through a “gradual, phased-in restart with limited guest occupancy” so crew and passengers would become familiarized with the new onboard “normal.”
Onboard dining industry-wide is changing, with the phasing out of self- service (buffet dining). In part a reaction to public concerns about COVID, it also reflects changing tastes among passengers wanting meals to be more personalized and elegant. AmaWaterways president Rudi Schreiner expressed in his speech aboard AmaSiena he had long wanted to eliminate self-service in favor of menus and personal attention. Across its global, 10-brand fleet, Carnival continued to expand the number of shipboard full-service restaurants and other dining options.
“As an industry, we have dealt with many types of viruses previously and already have effective protocols in place on board our ships, including screening measures, medical centers and enhanced sanitation procedures,” said Frizzell. “Cruise lines have some of the most stringent and effective public health and sanitation practices, with multiple layers of protection encompassing the entirety of the cruise experience. The successful resumption of cruise operations has been a testament to that approach.”
While practices differ significantly between ocean and river cruise ships as well as large- and small-sized lines, according to Cruise Lines International Association, the parameters set by its ocean cruise members present a good overview of what cruise lines of varying sizes, demographics and products (itineraries and travel offers) are doing to ensure everything will be afloat as soon as possible. Every CLIA-member ocean cruise line has its own policies to monitor, detect and respond to cases of COVID-19. In the relatively rare instances of COVID-19 occurring since operations resumed, pre-arranged response plans on board every ship under the CLIA umbrella swiftly address the cases.
A 2021 CLIA survey found 82 percent of veteran cruise travelers will resume cruising (exceeding pre-pandemic levels), while 62 percent of general travelers now say they are open to cruising. In her opening remarks for CLIA’s annual conference in July 2021, president/CEO Kelly Craighead said numbers reflect both growing confidence among travelers as well as member cruise lines’ continued commitment to stepped-up safety efforts.
What does all of this mean for avid and novice cruisers? They may need to allow more time for extra planning and preparing before their cruise. The trade-off, however, is cruising will deliver a satisfying means to explore the world with less risk all around.
At press time, 30 countries reopened to cruise tourism, with additional markets poised to reopen, according to CLIA. By taking collaborative efforts to install science- backed protocols through the industry, CLIA member lines and others work closely with governments around the world to facilitate a smooth resumption of operations and help put people back to work while serving as a model of responsible travel. This adds up to something with which passengers and crews all will be on board to support.
Crystal Cruises, which resumed cruising in July 2021, adopted the Crystal Clean+ banner to cohesively group its protocols and procedures. The initiative mandates vaccines and negative COVID-19 tests for all guests and crew, reduced capacity, social distancing, nimble mask policy, rigorous cleaning procedures, isolation rooms in case of illness, contactless options such as QR codes for menus, and a health screening questionnaire at embarkation. All guests, regardless of age, must be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to travel for all Crystal River ships through Dec. 31, 2022.
Princess Cruises introduced new social distancing-driven crowd control measures. To avoid embarkation crowds and to stagger boarding, guests can prepare to board at home by filling out their pre-cruise health questionnaire on the MedallionClass app as well as select a preferred time to arrive at the port. The traditional safety drill is now streamlined so guests can watch the required safety video any time on the MedallionClass app or their stateroom TV on embarkation day. While passengers are required to produce a negative viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) result taken within two days of their embarkation, if the ship sails on a Sunday, the test may be taken on Friday or Saturday and as late as Sunday if the passenger is guaranteed to receive results in time for check-in.
In compliance with the Bahamian government’s emergency order regarding vaccination, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line requires all passengers aged 12 and older to be fully vaccinated for COVID- 19 at least 14 days prior to sailing and present their original CDC vaccination card at the pier upon embarkation. Passengers must also obtain a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen or PCR test at least 72 hours prior to sailing. Unvaccinated guests under the age of 12 must provide a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to boarding plus take an antigen test at the terminal.
Read This Next
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
JW Marriott Debuts in Spain with JW Marriott Hotel Madrid
JW Marriott makes its way into Spain with the unveiling of JW Marriott Hotel Madrid. The hotel lies within the Canalejas zone, merely steps away from theaters and prestigious art institutions, as well as other popular landmarks and attractions.
Treasure Every Moment in The Islands of Tahiti
Welcome to The Islands of Tahiti, where every moment is a treasure waiting to be discovered. From the moment you arrive, you will be greeted with warm hospitality, time-honored traditions and an awe-inspiring landscape that will take your breath away.
Wynn Las Vegas Debuts Luxury Wine Weekend with Opus One Winery
Wynn Las Vegas and Opus One Winery partner for the ultimate weekend wine escape April 28–30, bringing the Opus One experience outside the Napa Valley estate for the first time. Participants enjoy in-depth master classes, intimate tasting room experiences, food and wine parings from Wynn chefs, and an Opus One Under the Stars outdoor feast.
Italian Mansion, Winery Locanda La Raia Available for Private Stays
Looking for luxury in Italy’s Southern Piedmont Region? In the wine hills of Gavi, north and west of Genoa, Locanda La Raia offers 10 splendid guestrooms and two apartments on a 180- hectare estate. Once a countryside inn and post station serving travelers journeying through the area on horseback, the space has been meticulously restored by the Rossi Cairo family to showcase original features such as vaulted ceilings and exposed brickwork. Each guestroom has been individually decorated and now features enormous windows overlooking the surrounding landscape of lush gardens, rolling meadows and organic vineyards.
FXExpress Traveler of the Year
FXExpress Traveler of the Year Contest 2023
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach’s Wellness Experiences
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach offers travelers a new immersive wellness experience: Healing in Hawai’i.
4 Spring Hotel Openings
DailyMar 29, 2023
Elk Cove Inn & Spa Review
eFlyer ReviewsMar 29, 2023
Puerto Rico’s Hotel El Convento Unveils Multimillion-Dollar Renovation
Hotel El Convento, one of Old San Juan’s most popular landmark hotels, recently completed a multimillion-dollar design and architectural renovation to its 81 rooms. The renovation blends Old World charm with Puerto Rico’s vibrant and modern energy.
Share Your Travel Preferences with Global Traveler in a Short Survey & Win
Learning more about our readers’ travel habits and preferences ensures Global Traveler delivers the content you desire. As the travel industry has adapted and changed over the last few years, it’s more important than ever to connect. To best meet your short- and long-term travel content needs, please help us!
Etihad Airways Teams Up with Emirati Chef for In-Flight Ramadan Menu
Etihad Airways prepares a specially curated in-flight menu through the holy month of Ramadan. The menu comes thanks to the airline’s collaboration with Emirati Chef Khaled Alsaadi, in which Alsaadi recreates popular Ramadan dishes blending Emirati recipes with contemporary techniques and local ingredients.