I recently received an email from a lady, let’s call her Julie. Julie was taking a cruise a couple of weeks ago from Spain when something happened to her that she didn’t know could happen.
She was emailing me to ask me if I could let my audience know about this risk as she didn’t want anybody else to be in the same situation as her.
I have to agree, I don’t think the cruise lines have done a good job of warning their passengers about the risks they are taking when they cruise at the moment, so here I am. Some of these have happened to me on my cruises recently.
Risk Number 1 – Quarantine Hotels
During Julie’s cruise she started to get a sore throat and a little bit of a cough, she did exactly what you’re meant to do in that situation and she stayed in her cabin and notified the cruise lines medical centre.
The medical centre team came to test Julie and it was confirmed that she was covid positive.
She was moved to a quarantine cabin on the ship and it’s after this that things started to happen that she didn’t expect.
All mainstream cruise lines have quarantine sections of their ships, they’re used not only for covid positive passengers but also for any crew members who need to quarantine.
Julie expected to quarantine in her cabin for a few days before flying back home and on a lot of cruises, this is what happens, it is easiest for the cruise line, and also the passengers if they can just quarantine on board and then go home afterwards.
It is more tricky when it’s a fly-cruise though because the cruise line can’t just disembark covid positive people and leave them to get on with it.
This happened at the start of the cruise for Julie, so in theory she maybe could have completed the isolation period on the ship, but the requirements for isolation do keep changing and they are different in different countries.
When the ship docked the next day she was taken off the ship and placed into a quarantine hotel with other guests who tested positive.
Cruise lines have partnerships with certain hotels and in this situation, it was the cruise line’s responsibility to find her somewhere safe to quarantine. This happens all over the world.
In some situations, guests have to pay upfront for this accommodation and then claim it back from their travel insurance company, I’m not too sure what would happen if you couldn’t pay in this situation but this does highlight the importance of travel insurance.
To learn more about how to get travel insurance, check out this post: Cruise Travel Insurance – Why You Need it and How to Get It: (Step by Step Illustrated Guide)
Julie said that at no point had she been warned that she may be disembarked in another country, and I agree. I took a very similar cruise recently and at no point in the booking process did this come up as a risk, but it is.
If you do catch covid on a cruise, it is usually up to the local destinations and the cruise line to determine where you will quarantine. Because Julie’s cruise was a fly cruise, meaning that she flew from the UK to Spain, she would have had to quarantine in Spain anyway after the cruise, so that may be what affected this section.
You Can Catch Covid on Cruises
I didn’t want to put ‘you could catch covid on a cruise’ as one of the risks in this video, I like to think that’s a given. Given the percentage of the general population that have covid, statistically, there will be some that get onto cruise ships, despite the vaccines and testing, there’s still always a chance that somebody will pick up covid on the way to the port or pick it up in port.
The risk is very small, but it’s never zero. If you’re not prepared for the possibility that you may get covid on a cruise, don’t go on a cruise.
That said, the percentage of people infected with covid on land is much higher than even the cruise ships with the worst ‘outbreaks’.
Covid is just something we have to deal with at the moment, but the more you know, the better prepared you can be.
Having to quarantine on land is one of the biggest risks you currently take when cruising but there are other things that can affect your cruise on the ship and on land.
Risk Number 2 – Entertainment Changes
On my last cruise, covid affected us in a way that I hadn’t really considered.
One of my favourite things about cruising is the entertainment, I love the live music, I love the broadway shows but the theatre teams on cruise ships have the same issues as theatre teams on land.
At the start of our cruise everything was going well, we watched lots of broadway-style productions in the theatre and they were brilliant.
I booked all of the shows in advance and was really looking forward to them, the shows that we did manage to see were great.
We did have some issues with bad weather on the cruise, so a couple of times the theatre team shows were replaced or moved but they were always rescheduled, so we looked forward to seeing them later in the cruise.
To learn more about the bad weather we had, and to see how I dealt with the worth weather I’ve ever had on a cruise, check out this post: The Truth About Cruising During a Storm (Review of 7 Days at Sea)
It was towards the end of our cruise that there was an announcement made saying that they had to make some changes to the entertainment and that the theatre show team wouldn’t be performing again during our cruise. I can only assume that this is because somebody tested positive for covid.
I don’t know that, but I can’t imagine anything else that would shut down the entire production. If somebody in the cruise ship theatre team breaks their leg or gets sick, the show will usually go on without them.
Being flexible when cruising has always been important but now more than ever, the onboard activities could and do change right up until the last minute.
Cruise ships have amazing broadway-style shows but don’t book a cruise just because you want to see a certain show or do a certain thing. It could change and you’ve got to be okay with that.
Risk Number 3 – Port Limitations
Another risk you take when cruising at the moment affects your port stops. Of course, ports can be cancelled, changing requirements can mean you need to do additional covid tests but that isn’t the risk I think you need to be aware of.
I’ve just booked a VERY cheap Caribbean cruise, very very cheap, I’ll tell you more about that closer to the time but almost instantly after I booked there was an update to our itinerary.
The main thing I am looking forward to about this cruise is being able to see and feel the sunshine again, I didn’t have big plans about what to do in ports when I booked the cruise but I had planned to make arrangements closer to the cruise.
The update said that certain countries and ports would require us to either take cruise line organised excursions or to take an approved taxi to an approved tourist destination.
This update can happen at any time in any cruise port.
It isn’t the case that because one cruise line visits a place without restrictions that other cruise lines will too, this can change at the very last minute.
I am a big believer that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy a cruise but it’s important to remember that you may need to budget for expenses like this. There’s not much worse than a surprise cost.
Whenever you press the book button on a cruise right now, you are taking the risk that the cruise may be cancelled or the itinerary changed. The same thing happened to me on my last cruise, the replacement itinerary and ship wasn’t one that I ever would have considered booking originally.
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