What’s it like to go on a cruise now? Here’s how COVID modified the onboard experience

The cruise business experienced its major economic blow in decades when the COVID-19 pandemic halted most sailings for months and created nervous cruise admirers imagine two times about booking an ocean voyage.

But cruising is back again and all signals point to a switch of the tide for the market: Far more cruises are scheduled to depart the Port of Los Angeles subsequent calendar year than in 2019.

Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise company, noted that bookings for the second fifty percent of 2022 currently surpassed bookings for 2019. Royal Caribbean cruises for 2022 are practically at 2019 stages, the firm’s main monetary officer, Jason Liberty, said on a recent earnings calls.

Irrespective of the shutdown, the world’s cruise traces have far more than 100 new ships on buy to established sail by 2027. The Majestic Princess, a ship built to serve the Chinese current market, created its maiden connect with from the Port of L.A. on Oct. 6. Some 200 cruises are scheduled to depart from there in 2022, up from 120 in 2019.

What are cruise traces demanding of travellers? How have boarding, eating and other things to do on board improved? We collected some facts to respond to typical thoughts.

Do I have to be vaccinated to go on a cruise?

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Avoidance suggests all travellers be absolutely vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship. The world’s premier cruise companies now require travellers leaving U.S. ports to be absolutely vaccinated, with limited exceptions. Vaccines are demanded for passengers on Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Movie star cruise lines.

You will normally be expected to demonstrate proof of vaccination at the terminal prior to boarding. Some cruise lines will also require travellers — no matter whether vaccinated or not — to present proof of a COVID-19 check taken inside of two times of boarding a vessel. Examine the necessities and protocols of your particular cruise.

Travellers board the Majestic Princess cruise ship at the Port of Los Angeles in Oct. Deal with masks in enclosed areas where people assemble are among lots of new requirements since cruising has resumed. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Do I have to wear a mask at all instances on the ship?

Travellers are strongly inspired to have on masks in community spaces and are demanded to do so in these types of indoor places as elevators, shops, casinos and dining halls, apart from when ingesting or ingesting. You ordinarily will not be needed to dress in masks around the pool and warm tubs, but deck chairs are spaced farther aside than in the earlier to keep bodily distance.

A sign on the Majestic Princess cruise ship says masks are required in elevators.

A indicator on the Majestic Princess cruise ship docked at the Port of L.A. states masks are needed in elevators. Masks are strongly advisable in all community destinations on cruise ships. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Moments)

What about shore visits and excursions?

To go onshore, you have to satisfy the well being protocols of the nation the ships visits. The federal government of the Bahamas, for case in point, a short while ago announced that all cruise website visitors will have to be thoroughly vaccinated, with the exception of travelers below age 12 and individuals with health care exemptions.

On some ships, such as Carnival Cruises, unvaccinated passengers are not authorized to go onshore apart from with a pre-booked “bubble tour.” On other cruise lines, these types of as Holland America, shore excursions managed by the ship are strongly inspired.

Are ships sailing at complete ability?

Most ships are sailing at significantly less than full capability, partly to motivate bodily distancing. The Majestic Princess left on its maiden voyage from the Port of Los Angeles “at about 60% capacity. The cruise lines approach to enhance potential in excess of the next couple months.

The Majestic Princess cruise ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Majestic Princess cruise ship docked at the Port of L.A. in Oct. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Instances)

Have any activities been removed since of COVID-19?

You won’t be lining up at the buffet for foods. Most self-provide buffets have been modified so that workforce serve travellers to stay clear of unwanted crowding. Indoor dancing, karaoke and nightclubs are no more time allowed on several ships, which includes the Majestic Princess, which transformed its karaoke place into extra space for spa treatment options. On some ships, passengers won’t be permitted to test on garments for sale. Bodily distancing is encouraged for all functions.

Will I require to make reservations for dining and other onboard routines?

To control capability and actual physical distancing, many onboard dining places recommend reservations and will restrict groups at dining tables to eight. On Princess Cruises, reservations can be designed by means of the MedallionClass app. On Superstar Cruises, reservations can be built on the Superstar Cruises Application.

What else do I have to have to know?

You will never be necessary to assemble at a selected place on the ship to hear the pre-departure security instruction, also identified as the “basic safety muster drill.” Rather, travellers can view parts of the protection drill on their stateroom televisions or on a cruise ship app.

Spas and gyms continue to be open up, but some cruise lines restrict them to only vaccinated company. Hand sanitizer stations can be discovered throughout the ships.

The pool at the Majestic Princess cruise ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles

The pool at the Majestic Princess cruise ship docked at the Port of L.A. in Oct. Swimming pools are usually nevertheless open on cruise ships. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Instances)

This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Occasions.