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As some of you know, my family is a huge fan of cruising. But after the coronavirus hit, I’ve been a little sour on the cruising industry. Covid-19 spread like wildfire on a few ships before the cruising industry was halted, and even now the virus is still affecting crew members stuck at sea.
My husband and I decided that we would not cruise until there is a vaccine and/or the cruise lines made some significant changes to combat the spread of the virus on board. We have a cruise scheduled for early next year that we will likely move out a year.
I have been waiting for the cruise lines to announce what changes they will make to ensure that sailing is safer. After all, the CDC won’t allow lines to port in the USA until they come up with some new safety plans.
Finally, a few days ago, the first cruise line stepped up. Norwegian Cruise Line announced six new safety protocols on their ships:
1.) All-new Air Filtration–NCL is installing medical-grade HEPA filters that will filter out 99.95% of airborne pathogens.
2.) Enhanced Screening Protocols–Additional health screenings will include temperature checks for guests and crew before embarking and at various points throughout the sailing.
3.) Increased Sanitation Measures–NCL will clean more frequently and add fogging to guest rooms and public areas. Beverage stations and buffets will now be served by crew members.
4.) Responsible Social Distancing–Guest boarding will be staggered, and onboard activities will operate at a reduced capacity.
5.) Enhanced Medical Resources--Each ship will have additional medical personnel on board as well as rapid Covid-19 testing availability.
6.) Extended Ship-to-Shore Safety–NCL will only visit safe, open ports and will change itineraries based on current local conditions.
The Magic Words
So what are the two magic words for me? HEPA filters! This is what I’ve been waiting to hear. Ever since I read about the way illnesses spread via air flow on cruise ships, I hoped it was just a matter of time before cruise ships added HEPA filters. Most planes already have these air filters.
As I mentioned a few months ago, I would still like to see cruise lines invest more in touchless technology (i.e. more automatic doors, touchless drink stations, etc.). But, these improvements by NCL are a good start.
I would bet that Carnival, Royal Caribbean and DCL will soon announce a similar list of health improvements and that HEPA filters will become the new standard.
Do these improvements make you feel safer about cruising? Or, will you still wait to cruise until after a vaccine is available?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.