Wednesday 3 August 2022

How cruising has changed since Covid

A couple of weeks ago we embarked on our first family cruise post-Covid. My husband found an amazing last minute deal on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas - a ship that we were actually due to sail on back in April 2020. We cruised for a week from Southampton, visiting La Rochelle and Le Havre in France and La Coruna and Bilbao in Spain. 

Cruise ship testing rules are changing all the time. When we cruised, all over 12s needed to be fully vaccinated and all passengers needed to have a supervised negative lateral flow test result within 48 hours of the cruise date (unvaccinated children under 12 within 24 hours). We did our lateral flow test online with DocHQ the day before which was very straightforward, although I did feel that I couldn't start properly packing until we had received that negative result!

Royal Caribbean cruise ship hand sanitiser stations

Once onboard we noticed very little change to our usual cruising experience. We purchased expensive FFP2 masks which we wore whenever we were walking around the ship and we avoided the lifts and other crowded areas whenever we could. However we were definitely in the minority. Although the crew wore masks, only a handful of fellow passengers wore them.

There were a lot more hand sanitiser stations than I've been used to seeing on a ship, but generally handwashing is very much encouraged on cruise ships anyway. There was plenty of signage to encourage social distancing but no actual enforcement. The buffet and other eating areas were operating as normal. 

Royal Caribbean cruise ship covid safety signs

Of course we knew that the Covid risk on a cruise ship would be very high, and so despite the precautions that we took we weren't particular surprised that both me and my husband caught Covid on board. Judging by the comments in our cruise Facebook group we were far from alone, and a huge number of people came down with it. 

It's difficult to know what we personally could have done differently to avoid it. Perhaps mask wearing needs to be more strictly enforced among passengers, but I'm not sure that would make much difference. 

I think if you are taking a cruise holiday you just have to be realistic about the fact that there's a good chance you'll be bringing Covid home and if you are particularly at risk of serious complications from Covid then you need to consider whether it's the right holiday for you at this time.

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