Here Are Some Realities About Cruising
Speaking of cruising, did you know that cruise ships are subject to the most rigorous standards when it comes to sanitation, inspections and reporting, in general?! Well, it's true.
Cruise lines lately have been negatively portrayed in the media and some have gone so far as to say that they're the ones responsible for the spread of the Coronavirus... (I have since heard there's been an isolated incident that may not have been handled as well as it should have been in Sydney, Australia, with one particular cruise ship, sadly.)
The truth of the matter is that, in general, cruise ships are the most meticulous in their sanitation procedures since the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health sets standards through their Vessel Sanitation Program. Since cruise lines are required to report any passenger illness to the CDC, unlike airlines or hotels, they get tagged through this association even though the guest more than likely was infected before they ever boarded the ship.
Every vessel that has a foreign itinerary and more than 13 guests are required by the U.S. Public Health Service to be subjected to twice yearly unannounced inspections, and when necessary, re-inspection. They're graded on benchmarks far exceeding those required by hotels and restaurants. In order to pass these inspections, they must achieve a score of 85 or greater. There are very few public facilities that would come anywhere close to the cleanliness of cruise ships.
So, why, with all this due diligence, is the cruise industry getting labelled by some folks?
1. The virus is extremely contagious - more so than anyone realized in the beginning so that anywhere with larger groups of people gathering, like a cruise ship, there inevitably have been some issues.
2. The disease can be spread by people who are asymptomatic resulting in a lack of awareness that it's occurring without any overt symptoms. It's a very unusual strain compared to other types of illness.
3. Older people are more at risk of getting it and having more issues with it and as a result, with some cruise companies generally catering to older clientele (since they have both the time and the money), there's been a greater concern overall.
By the time, there was a call to action for folks to not travel, and particularly on cruise ships, there were still 40 ships at sea. Sadly, in hindsight, what should have happened was for the healthy to be let off these ships so that they could self-quarantine. Of course, it's so easy to say this now, but it would have helped to limit the # of infected people overall.
Unfortunately, some of these ships are still seeking a port to offload their passengers.
The cruise industry was very attentive to report to the CDC, those guests who had flu like symptoms immediately. They were also extremely due diligent about shutting down when asked by the government and most are going out of their way to do the right thing for their clients with either refunds, future cruise credits or a combination of both. Some even with some higher levels of credit for the future.
Ultimately, the cruise industry employs both directly and indirectly a ton of jobs for hardworking North Americans and has a huge positive impact on the travel industry in general.
Whether you prefer the larger cruise ships with their multi-faceted activities for young and old, or smaller, more intimate ocean or river cruise ships (we prefer the latter) - it's a wonderful way to be able to conveniently 'see the world' and only have to unpack once.
These times are a challenge for us all, but let's not look for scapegoats at this point. Let's look for the good in people, be good citizens by helping others at a safe distance, and try to stay connected with family and friends from a virtual standpoint. This will all come to a favorable end hopefully sooner than later and we can all travel again to our dream destinations with or without cruising as a part of it. When you're ready and we're all able to, I'll be there ready to help you achieve your dream travel again!