How it started: On March 13, 2020, cruise lines announced a voluntary 30-day suspension of sailings, with an additional “No Sail Order” commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), followed by multiple extensions.
How it's going:
What began as one of the most unprecedented moments in the history of the cruise industry has now developed into an optimistic comeback and renewed appreciation for the good that travel brings.
As of October 2020, the CDC’s No Sail Order was replaced by its Framework for Conditional Sailing, allowing cruise lines to follow strict requirements and move toward a return, in addition to the implementation of heightened protocols such as Royal Caribbean International’s Healthy Sail Panel recommendations.
The latest cruise news is trending towards the good! Cruise lines have adapted to the above measures with diligence and enthusiasm and are beginning to announce their return to the sea. We understand that new and returning cruisers will have questions, and we’ve compiled answers to some of your most popular queries. For more specifics, feel free to contact your Vacation Consultant at any time.
Which type of cruise vacations are being booked now?
These days, guests are going bigger and bolder to make up for vacations missed, and we don’t blame them! The following booking trends continue to gain momentum as cruise lines head back to sea, with sailing reservations available as far out as 2023, and 2022 already in short supply!
- Guests are opting for an upgraded cruise experience by booking a verandah suite or higher to enjoy a breezy ocean view and an overall premium experience.
- 2022 sailings are nearly sold out or require a waitlist, we recommend securing your deposit as soon as possible.
- Many river cruise itineraries are in high demand as far out as 2023 with guests eying European itineraries well into the future, with closer in bookings to the Mediterranean blues of the sunny Greek Islands as Greece is one of the first countries re-opening its borders to tourists and cruise departures.
- Guests are locking in further out sailings now to destinations like Europe, Alaska, Asia, Australia and New Zealand to save their spot for a longer bucket-list vacation.
- Guests who want to travel soon are booking shorter-in trips a little closer to home in the sunny Caribbean to soak in some Vitamin D.
- Guests are feeling extra-adventurous with their next vacation, with Oceania Cruises’ 2023 Around the World in 180 Days cruise and Silversea Cruises’ new 2023 world cruise, South Side Story - All the World's a Stage selling out in just one day!
- Cruise lines continue to announce new sailings and bucket-list destinations that you can book right now and set sail as soon as this June. Stay up to date with our Latest Available Sailings.
How has cruising changed?
Cruise lines are offering a broader selection for travelers to choose from:
- Longer journeys. World cruises, month-long cruises, cruises spanning multiple continents, or multiple iconic rivers are being offered more frequently to meet the demand, with select itineraries that visit over 60 destinations, 30 countries, and five continents.
- Updated itineraries and amenities. More outdoor, fresh air options have been added to itineraries with enhanced excursions from vetted tour and activity partners, as well as a larger focus on health, wellness, and relaxation. Plus, more overnight stays at some of our favorite Caribbean private tropical islands!
- Leveling up all-inclusive pricing options. A number of popular cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, and more are making all-inclusive packages available to offer guests more value and a hassle-free vacation.
- Embracing smart technology. Onboard innovations like Princess Cruises’ wearable OceanMedallion™ device and Royal Caribbean’s Royal iQ app offer guests a more personal and streamlined cruise experience than ever before, with the OceanMedallion not only elevating the cruise experience, but serving as an efficient tool for creating a more limited-contact experience while elevating the best parts of cruising.
Along with guidance from the CDC, cruise lines are taking steps to offer guests peace of mind on board:
- Accommodating limited guest volumes. In accordance with CDC guidance, many ships will sail with capped guest capacities to improve social distancing.
- Expanding fleets. Many cruise lines have announced brand-new ships to meet the pent-up demand and accommodate higher guest space ratios while offering guests a unique and modern cruise experience, with a record-breaking 15 new ships added in 2021.
- Establishing conditions for sailing. In the US, the CDC has said that crew and port personnel must be vaccinated, and it is recommended for passengers. In Europe, there is a requirement for passenger vaccination. Some cruise lines that have announced their return currently have specific conditions to board including a fully vaccinated crew, vaccinated guests, and a negative PCR test 72-hours prior to boarding.
- Implementing further measures. In addition to existing cleanliness measures, cruise lines have quickly adapted by implementing new cruise ship health and safety measures and protocols to encourage peace of mind at sea.
These are exciting times! Our local Vacation Consultants are thrilled to get back to doing what they love best—helping you plan your extraordinary vacation at the perfect price during our Ready, Set, SALE promotion. Click below to Get Assistance from a Vacation Consultant near you, no question is too big or too small!Get Assistance
*Please note, conditions to board vary per cruise line and per country of residence. Please refer to cdc.gov/travel/notices for more details.