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Sassafrass Apr 9th, 2020 12:45 PM

When will cruising feel safe again to you?
I know there are some Doctors and medical people on Fodors and some of you who cruise are in the fields of medicine and science. I am curious about your opinions, and what you see in the future. Do you think cruise lines will restrict older passengers? I know older people are vulnerable and people do die on cruises. My husbandís Mother did, and had she been in a hospital, she might have survived. However, that has not stopped us from traveling or taking a cruise when we can. Since seniors are a big percentage of cruise passengers, I canít see the cruise lines limiting us, except to perhaps require insurance. Will many be too frightened to take a cruise? Personally, I do not think a cruise is any less safe than our crowded schools, theaters, trains, subways, busses, planes and airports, but I may be wrong.

HappyTrvlr Apr 9th, 2020 12:57 PM

We have never been on a large cruise ship, just a few expedition boats with 75 and Hurtigruten and Aegean Odyssey with 350. At this point, I do not think I will ever book a cruise again; the idea of being trapped in a contagious situation is not something I want to experience.
We are primarily independent land travelers anyway.

Macross Apr 9th, 2020 02:03 PM


I live in Fl and the hate and angry people not wanting those ships to dock here were horrid. Our local facebook page was really bad and I live close to Port Canaveral. Ron DeSantis got them off the ship with hazmat crews, took them to the planes on the tarmac and off they went for connecting flights in Atlanta. They were as shocked as the people sitting next to them on connecting flights. No sort of quarantine for them, just mixing with all the others at Atlanta.

I have always wanted to do a Baltic cruise but not now.

justineparis Apr 9th, 2020 03:32 PM

Interesting question.. and glad my friend who manages a cruise travel agency isnt seeing it as she is trying hard to stay optimistic .. but is still aware that even after things become "normal" again,. the cruise industry has been and will be for some very long time, impacted..

Ive been on six cruises.. not recently ( last one was about 11 yrs ago ) and I enjoyed them.. however..prefer land travel.. but always thought " when I get older and less able to haul my suitcases around we can take another cruise" ..

Now I think " nope" .. maybe a river cruise in europe.. but I wouldnt get on a mega ship or a seagoing ship now.

The thought of being trapped in my cabin for a few weeks is horrifying to me.. I would lose my mind, the only way I enjoyed cruising before was we always had to get a balcony cabin ( we tried just outside with a window when younger ) and even then we spent little time in cabin..

And yeah.. the fact that ship are simply too enclosed if any virus gets on it..

AlessandraZoe Apr 10th, 2020 05:28 AM

Do not let me start!

I was only ever on one cruise--a Red Boat Disney Cruise (extinct)--when my husband and I wanted to give our 4-yr-old a treat before the arrival of her little sister in 1991. I lean towards the germaphobe designation anyway, and a pregnant germaphobe has an awareness at another level. Since I could not drink at the time, I got to observe on-board sanitation laxity at a hyper-aware reality level. When we finally got off, I told my husband, "We were just part of a petri dish."

Now that we are ages 67 and 75, we thank God we were able to do so much travel with our children that never involved another boat cabin. And we've often pointed out debarking passengers on any boat to our children and will say, "This is the high point of stupid."

mlgb Apr 10th, 2020 06:32 AM

I've caught respiratory illnesses on the plane on the way to a cruise (passenger in the aisle seat of my flight to Anchorage coughing up a lung) and waiting in line in immigration to disembark from a cruise in the Manhattan cruise port (cheek to jowl for an hour with coughers). But never actually ON any of the 6 cruises I've taken. My roommate on my first cruise also caught a RI on our flight into Fort Lauderdale. As did two other passengers on our same flight and hotel shuttle.

I don't know when I will want to take another cruise, though. And would avoid an inside cabin and flu-season cruises. I have a $200 deposit with NCL that is supposed to be used within 2 years. If I don't use it I"ll transfer it to the 30-something friend I took my last cruise with (separate cabins) since he treated me to a few specialty dining dinners on his Platinum status. It will only be a net loss of $100 since I got OBC of $100 on the last cruise.

I briefly considered booking that Zaandam Cape Horn cruise (which turned into a COVID zombie ship). Dodged that bullet.

AlessandraZoe Apr 10th, 2020 06:43 AM

MLGB--You just pointed out the important direct channels of infection.

One has all these people already trapped on an airplane reporting to a port to be funneled into cabins served by waitstaff who live in itsy bitsy living spaces.

There usually is no recovery time in the line of transmission. There is very little hope of catching what is ever coming down the line from the influx of staff and passengers, and there is just not enough possible sanitation of surfaces and air on board.

Sassafrass Apr 10th, 2020 07:20 AM

Interesting comments, to say the least, especially from people with basically no reasonably current experience. The question was when would you again feel safe to cruise? That implies that you have cruised before and did feel safe doing so before the Coronavirus. So, I am really hoping to hear from people who enjoy cruises and get their perspective of the future.
This is definitely not to encourage anyone to take a cruise. We all enjoy different things, and often the same traveler enjoys many different things. I love land travel and also cruises, each with personal criteria. I will just say that I was a teacher and if you are afraid of germs or think a ship is a Petri dish, spend days in an elementary school, especially in winter. I used to go home every day and head straight to the shower. The sickest I have ever been was one time teaching, and my school and home were the only places I went. I have gotten very sick after a couple of flights. I did not cruise 30 years ago, only in the last 12 years or so, and with one exception, find the ships I have been on to be extremely clean. Most of the time, they are constantly sanitizing and cleaning. Of course they canít completely prevent passengers bringing illness with them. That being said, I do not do short booze cruises or cruises where there are babies and toddlers in pools. Neither DH nor I have been sick on a cruise or after, and actually do not even know anyone who has, except people who were baptized in the Jordan River. My husbandís Mom had a heart attack, nothing to do with the ship.

Justineparis, please tell your friend that things will get better. There will likely be some changes on some ships, but considering that approximately 30 million people a year go on some kind of boat, sailing and cruising, I personally think people will cruise again, fly again, take trains again, even go to school again. So, good thoughts to her.

I grew up fishing with my Father, and DH used to be on rowing teams, so we both love water, boats and ships. I do not like the mega ships or noisy ships with all the amusement park atmosphere (though I do see the appeal for others, so I donít knock it), but love the mid-sized ships with wide, outside promenades. When most everyone is asleep, I love being awake in the wee hours, standing by the railing, seeing only moonlight, sky and sea, and hearing the water. Having our own boat is no longer an option, but I donít want to give up that experience. This has put a bit of a damper on all travel for me, especially flying, but after some thought, I think if there is a vaccine developed, I would feel fine taking a cruise. I actually like inside cabins, but would probably always go for a balcony from now on, just in case.

It is an open forum, of course, but I am very anxious to hear from folks who are avid cruisers, to know if this has changed your concerns and travel plans.

mlgb Apr 10th, 2020 07:36 AM

I've taken 6 cruises, the most recently in November 2019. On a Cape Horn cruise we met a cruise ship lecturer who has been doing long cruises since the 80's. He told me that the bugs get passed back and forth between passengers and crew on subsequent cruises. When I read that Princess was transferring crew around from their first sick ship, I thought "Uh-Oh".

I've noticed on long cruises that the coughing starts to increase during the duration. I've always been of the opinion that it's the respiratory bugs that are a bigger threat on cruises than Noro. When I hear the coughing increase I switch to stairs and not elevators and don't go to the lectures but watch them in the cabin replays instead. I also prefer the ships with outside walking decks, but a lot of the mainline ships are inserting cabins or private spaces at the ends so cutting off the possibility of doing a loop without walking through the interior. Knuckles instead of fingertips on buttons and handwashing, of course.

The big problem with the current virus is that ships are not being allowed to dock if there is the slightest hint or possibility of Corona. Different than the flu. And I would not want to be on an inside cabin with the chance that the cruise could be extended by weeks.

We had passengers offloaded at every port in ambulances on the November cruise and even a few unscheduled stops. Pre-Corona.

chepar Apr 10th, 2020 08:53 AM

I am booked for a New England/Canada cruise this September. Needless to say, I won't be taking it. It may be canceled anyway for all I know.

I enjoy cruising in certain situations/itineraries. But I don't see myself cruising again for a while - until they develop a vaccine for the virus definitely and also when the rate of new infections isn't so widespread that the danger of turning every cruise ship into a floating prison is almost certain.

KTtravel Apr 10th, 2020 12:06 PM

I am not a big cruiser so realize my opinion isn't very helpful but I wonder if cruise ships in the future will be able to make some sort of arrangement with different ports guaranteeing them access in similar situations? I think that kind of guarantee would be worth a lot and would ease my mind should I decide to take a cruise.

My husband and I loved our three night trip down the Nile in February (our timing was good) and would love to be able to do small ship trips like that in the future.

fmpden Apr 10th, 2020 12:12 PM

We will go again when a vaccine is available. Probably not going to travel anywhere until a vaccine is available.Our timing was good this year. We got off a 25 day cruise on Feb 9 just before everything came unhinged. We cruise mostly Holland America and the middle size ships --- < 2,000 or a bit more. In recent years have noticed a much greater emphasis on hand cleaning etc. Never thought the risk was any greater than on train cars, buses, and hotels. Or the past 15 years or so we have had about 200 days on Holland Am and never contracted anything. Obviously you need to take reasonable precautions. We had three cruises scheduled for this fall and winter but probably will cancel all. I do think the cruise industry will take a hard hit but I also expect some very good deals. We are waiting.

Sassafrass Apr 10th, 2020 01:39 PM

It will be interesting to see what the deals are. Right now what I see listed are dirt cheap for insides and out of sight for balconies. I think they will capitalize on the fear of being quarantined in an inside cabin with recirculated air. Perhaps they can/will create a filter system to put into each inside cabin. The risk of the flu or Norovirus is always there, as it is on a plane, etc., but I figure I have that same risk taking care of my little Granddaughter and her friends every day after school. I had a friend who cruised six months a year for 20 years and was never sick once, so I do not worry overly much. A world-wide pandemic is a whole other issue. It is a wait and see at the moment for me.

thursdaysd Apr 10th, 2020 03:20 PM

If you want to find people who are crazy eager to cruise again - IN MAY 2020 - just head over to

mlgb Apr 10th, 2020 04:38 PM

No doubt most of us who have taken a few cruises are already familiar with Cruise Critic.

Macross Apr 10th, 2020 04:53 PM

I was on that Big Red Boat. I did enjoy the Abacos on that trip but on the last night during dinner the Captain talked to us and said we were headed back to Cape Canaveral in a hurry as a hurricane named Andrew was headed there and they wanted to drop us off and head to Jax. That was 1992. That was an interesting ship for sure AlessandraZoe.

thursdaysd Apr 11th, 2020 04:58 AM

@mlgb - no doubt. I don't typically spend much time there, but have been following a few threads lately and was expressing my shock at the cavalier attitudes I've been seeing. Why would getting on a cruise ship be any safer in mid-May than mid-March? (And please don't say "temperature check", we now know asymptomatic people can spread the disease.)

AlessandraZoe Apr 11th, 2020 08:03 AM

Sassafrass--Your point about those replying--many of us were not your directed cruise audience--is well taken. I so apologize. Others on this thread are like my husband and me-we actually take mass transportation most of the time when traveling, which is quite a risk. We have to weigh that, too.

thursdaysd Apr 11th, 2020 08:43 AM

I am fortunate to have been able to get in a lot of travel over the last couple of decades. I am unfortunate by being doubly at risk of a bad outcome if I contract this virus. I have no plans to travel anywhere for the foreseeable future, by ship, plane or train. I will be waiting for a vaccine.

marg Apr 11th, 2020 02:07 PM

We did a cruise in February and got home just before all this came to the boil. There is another cruise booked for September but can't see us going on that one - I'd prefer to think about doing another cruise next year. Of course that will depend on the situation at that time. Although we have been independent travellers for many years, now that we are older cruising suits us - gives us the opportunity to visit other countries without the hassles of hauling luggage, hopping off and on trains, long long international flights. I feel sorry for the cruise companies - they may not have handled the problem perfectly but none of us really knew the best thing to do. It's just as easy, if not easier, to pick up infection on planes.

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