‘Enough is enough: Bring back our cruises’

Oct 02, 2020
Brian is ready for cruises to start again. Source: Getty

Discount all the orators who have never cruised. They are mainly talking heads.

Cruise companies are run by experienced business people, not politicians, union bosses or academics, all of whom have highly paid and very secure jobs. Of these highly paid people, few if any have ever managed a profit centre. They have little or no regard for the commercial realities of normal life.

I have spent over 1,600 days at sea on various cruise lines on over 90 cruises, and spent most of my working life in an environment where the mantra was “results not excuses”, meaning we had to make a profit or get out.

It’s not merely the cruise line board of directors who lose out while ships are docked; thousands of workers are struggling to make ends meet across the industry. Everyone from deck crew to travel agents to those supplying goods for the ship are affected.

The cruise ships have a dirty name because of the lazy media who rarely authenticate facts before they publish. As the saying goes: “If it bleeds it leads.”

With my considerable shipboard experience, I can say that cruise ships are not dirty. They do not carry germs. Under normal circumstances, all surfaces are wiped down with a disinfectant every three hours. It is the fool-hardy and uncaring passengers who bring germs onboard, then spread them around to fellow travellers. Some don’t wash their hands between the bathroom and the dining areas.

So what will the new normal be for cruises over he next 12 months? Here are my predictions:

  • That all passengers will arrive at the passenger terminal in a 10-minute window to avoid long lines in waiting.
  • All passengers must produce a clearance certificate from Covid-19 tests, within the last five days.
  • Passengers will pass through a DE-contamination chamber.
  • Passengers will immediately have another swab taken and retire to a safe holding area to await the result.
  • Passengers will then face a body temperature test on shore, on deck, and twice daily thereafter.
  • The ship’s crew and staff will have spent time cleaning to pass Port Authority Protocols.
  • Initial sailings will have only 60% capacity and similar crew reductions to allow social distancing.
  • There will be at least 50 “isolation cabins”,medically prepared for a possible outbreak.
  • There will be encouragement to have some meals delivered to your cabin.
  • Social distancing and masks will be normal.
  • No trips ashore to wander among the ‘unclean’! Only excursions prepared by pandemic aware operators will be allowed.
  • More social activities will be held up on the open decks, rather than closed in spaces.

Most cruise lovers will want to get onboard again and as soon as possible, however, the big worry for over-60s will be travel insurers that won’t cover Covid-19. Added costs associated with the extra money cruise companies have to spend to create a Covid-safe environment will also be an issue for many.

This is easily overcome by the marketing-savvy cruise lines that think thus: “We have executed strict protocols to ensure the ship is clean. We have issued, at the time of booking, new safety measures for all passengers to complete. Now, we are so confident our measures will work, we will charge every passenger $20 to cover any Covid-19 restrictions for the duration of the cruise.”

At the end of the day, we cruise adventurers just want to get back out on the water. So don’t be pedantic, you rule makers in top-paid jobs. Be cautious and generous and let the cruising re-start.

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