Mailbag: What are the chances that my cruise will sail?


Perhaps no other question has been asked as often over the past year as the likelihood of their cruise actually sailing.

Each week I ask a popular question that RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have asked to help anyone who might be wondering the same.

I have a cruise booked for October 2021 on Harmony of the Seas. What are the chances that this cruise can sail? -Rick T.

Rick’s question can be extended to almost any cruise booked this year (or even 2022), because after a year without a cruise and numerous cancellations, it’s unclear when cruises can resume.

Unfortunately for Rick, and everyone else wondering the same, there is no answer.

No one knows that with any precision.

Why is it so difficult to know when cruises might resume?

Essentially, there isn’t enough information to make any predictions that aren’t purely random.

We learned earlier this month that the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has yet to provide cruise lines with technical instructions on what each ship needs to do to prepare for cruise ship cruises. trial.

This is a major hurdle for Royal Caribbean to start implementing new health protocols on its cruise ships and performing navigation tests.

It is generally believed that before a cruise ship can sail again, navigation trials must take place and be validated by CDC observers. At this point, a cruise line may apply for conditional approval to resume cruises.

Other than canceling upcoming cruises one month at a time, Royal Caribbean has not provided any outlook or forecast on when departures might resume.

In fact, Royal Caribbean Group chief executive officer Richard Fain told travel agents earlier this month that he said no one is sure yet when cruises will resume en masse.

“My answer is consistently, I don’t know. But more recently my answer has been, I don’t know, but that’s the right direction to go.”

Time is on your side

The best answer to Rick’s question about the odds of his sailing happening is to say that the further away your cruise is, the higher the likelihood of it happening.

Right now, the world is in a race to distribute vaccines to help reduce the number of cases contributing to a public health emergency.

The further you go into 2021, the more time pharmaceutical companies and governments have to produce and distribute vaccines to the population.

Dr Scott Gottlieb, Co-Chair of the Healthy Sail Group of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Group, noted By the end of March, the vaccine could be widely available to residents of the United States.

Dr Gottlieb estimates that 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.

Of course, there are many conflicting predictions about when “herd immunity” could become a reality, but even conservative estimates predict widespread distribution of vaccines in the summer.

All of this means that cruises planned for the summer of 2021 and beyond certainly seem to have a better chance of happening.

What signs to look for when cruises could restart?

Besides Royal Caribbean’s announcement of a firm restart plan, there are likely indications that things are moving in the direction of a cruise restart.

Rehiring crew members is always a positive sign that cruise lines think they want to do Something to get closer to rebooted. There have been times in the past year that the crew were hired and then canceled their intention to return, so this isn’t always a firm indicator.

The best sign will be when the test crossings can begin. In order to get approval to sail, all cruise lines must demonstrate to the CDC that the new health protocols can work.

Test cruises are simulated cruises with most of the cruise line employees on board posing as guests. Travel agents are also likely to be on at least some of these crossings.

All test crossings are a very good sign of what to expect.

Additionally, comments from cruise line executives can provide context in the coming weeks and months on where things are going.

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