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We’re not even halfway through January 2021. Yet, I feel some pessimism about cruise travel already creeping in.
My daughter and I have a Disney cruise booked in October 2021 for her birthday. I have planned this trip in my head for years, actually. It’s likely the last time I will pull her out of school for a trip. And, a Disney cruise makes sense during October because the price is so much lower during the school year.
When I booked the cruise, it seemed so far in advance and sure to be after the pandemic travel restrictions and inconveniences. I know we are still many months away from this cruise. But, I’m starting to have doubts that this cruise will happen for us.
Vaccine Slow Rollout
Despite the vaccine getting approval last month, the rollout has been slower than expected. Where I live, people in 1A and 1B priority groups are still scrambling to sign up for limited vaccine quantities. In New York, Governor Cuomo says it could take 47 weeks to reach heard immunity at the current pace of vaccine distribution.
Last month, the CEO of Royal Caribbean admitted that vaccines are the biggest factor that will get the cruise industry going again. So if the big impact of vaccines won’t be until the end of 2021, how can cruises resume any time soon?
Getting the Crew Vaccinated
Another issue I see is getting crew members vaccinated. The last thing the cruise companies want is an outbreak among the crew. However, the crew lives in multiple countries, many of them in 3rd world countries that likely aren’t having speedy vaccine rollouts either.
Of course, cruise lines could plan on vaccinating crew members upon arrival in the U.S. But, they still have to find the doses.
Getting Kids Vaccinated
Disney Cruise Line caters to families with young kids. And right now, none of the vaccines are approved for kids under the age of 16. Moderna plans to start testing its vaccine in kids ages 12-17. But, my daughter is only 10. News sources estimate that kids will be approved for vaccines by the end of 2021. With that timeline, it’s entirely possible that my daughter won’t be vaccinated by October. While I’m comfortable going on some trips with masks and social distancing, I’m not sure I’m comfortable taking her on a cruise unvaccinated.
Before cruise lines start to sail again, they need to re-hire crew and train them. This is an involved process that I imagine will take a few months. So far, this mass re-hiring doesn’t appear to have started for cruises in the U.S.
And what about the test cruises that Royal Caribbean is supposed to do with volunteers? Those haven’t been scheduled yet either.
If cruises do start back up sooner rather than later, they will likely have many rules and restrictions, just like the current cruises out of Singapore. So we will really have to decide if a cruise with those restrictions is worth the cost. Even during the off season, DCL is kinda pricey. Is it worth the price if we have to wait in a line to use the pool or if we can’t see a show?
People in my March 2021 cruise group on Facebook thought I was crazy to suggest that our March 2021 cruise would be canceled. At the time, I guess it did seem crazy. But now here we are, and cruising still hasn’t resumed.
I really hope that things improve at a faster rate than is currently happening and that things get back to “normal” sooner rather than later. But right now, I’m pessimistic about our October cruise.
When do you think cruising will resume?
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.