PENNSYLVANIA, USA — As travel continues, cruise lines are testing the waters on some COVID-19 policies for passengers on board.
“Travel does have some new rules and restrictions that we didn't have before but it's still something you can do, you can enjoy and do it safely, you just have to be well prepared,” Everhart said.
Vickie Everhart, Chief Experience Officer with Krouse Travel has been on over 60 cruises and her most recent was a simulation cruise, testing the waters on COVID-19 cruise safety precautions.
“This cruise was more of a practice and we saw that in action, were someone coming on a regular cruise starting on Sept. 5, it will look very similar; you won’t see the CDC people, you won’t have changes of how they are doing things Monday to Wednesday because everything was already tested out," Everhart said.
She says a lot has changed on board cruise ships and unvaccinated passengers will not have access to all that the ship offers.
“One example of an area that you could not go to if you were unvaccinated was the casino," she said. "So far, some people who like to cruise, the casino is a really big part to that and if they are unvaccinated and able to sail on that particular ship, they might not be able to go to the casino so there are a lot of conversations that we as travel professionals will be having with our clients who are considering cruising."
Everhart says it was clear that the crew and CDC on board prepared the ship to keep the passengers as safe and healthy as possible.
“For example, in a restaurant you might see tables with cards saying reserved, and they just would not be used and that’s part of the social distancing," she explained. "As soon as someone sat down, someone from the staff would come over and flip that card saying that it needed to be cleaned. So as soon as someone got up, a team rolled in and they took care of cleaning everything."
And if you’re looking to sail on the high seas soon, Everhart shared advice on how to stay safe and healthy while on board.
First, she recommends being vaccinated so that you can take advantage of all a cruise has to offer. Second, she says to obey all the new rules, to make the experience seamless. And third, be prepared for things to change.
"That’s one thing about travel in general right now is that you have to remain flexible because there are a lot of changes outside of our control and we don’t know when they are coming,” Everhart said.