This is my friend Dario and he’s actually been on a cruise this week. Didn’t think we would be saying that but he’s been onboard Mein Schiff 2 which is owned by the German cruise line TUI Cruises.
TUI Cruises are owned half by Royal Caribbean so I think it’s very interesting to see what happened on this cruise because we’d likely to see all of these things implemented on British and American cruise lines.
Are Cruise Ships Sailing Now?
There are some cruise ships that have been sailing since July 2020. German cruise line TUI, Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten, and many other cruise lines have all had short sailings with passengers onboard. The majority of these cruises were cruises to nowhere with limited capacity onboard and a number of Covid restrictions.
In this article, we will explore my friend Dario’s cruise on board the Mein Schiff 2 taken in July 2020.
Mein Schiff 2 Cruise – July 2020
During this cruise, the ship had 1,200 passengers on board which is around 60% of her full capacity. I think we’re going to see going forward reduce capacity on most cruise ships.
This was a three-night cruise and it didn’t really go anywhere, it went into the ocean and it came back off to three days but this is a really good time for Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruise is to test out all of these things before they try and do them on other cruise lines.
You can watch the video version of this post here if you don’t feel like reading:
Embarkation – Masks in Cabin
One of the first things that happened was Dario got on board was he got to his cabin and he found a packet of masks in the cabin. He did bring his own mask and guests were told that they had to wear masks at certain points on the cruise.
The cruise was set up so that social distancing can be adhered to as much as possible but there are certain places like in the corridors of the cruise ship, where guests have to wear masks. I’ve heard reports from this cruise that said that guests onboard wore masks in a very disciplined manner and I really liked that.
We may see more trouble in the future if wearing masks does continue on cruise ships but the people who were on this cruise knew what it was going to be like before they went on the cruise.
It is kind of a test cruise. I do you think that we’re gonna see some mask-wearing mandatory on some cruises at least in the short term.
All Crew Were Wearing Masks
Onboard the cruise ship, all of the crew were wearing masks and that’s probably something that we’re gonna see for quite a long time. Please be aware that the crew are not only working incredibly long days, but they’re also working incredibly hard jobs and now they have to do it with a mask on so be extra nice to everybody who works on a cruise ship.
Menus Available by QR Code
One thing that I am really excited about and I wish they had done this years ago is that you can now view menus on an app so that you don’t have to have a physical menu.
When you sit down at a table in a restaurant, there will be a QR code, you scan it with your phone and you just get the menu on your phone. I honestly wish that they did this years ago. I have my phone with me all the time anyway and if there is a thing that I can do on my phone, I’m gonna do it.
It is worth noting that if you don’t have a phone, they still do have some paper menus but the majority of people will be looking at the menus on their phone.
On some cruise lines, you can already look at the menu on your phone but most people don’t, going forward though, I think we could see them being a regular part of cruising life and I’m very happy about it.
Limited Elevator Capacity
One of the hardest parts of cruising is trying to use an elevator. I avoid it at all costs because they can be incredibly busy. But during this cruise, only four people were allowed in the elevator at one time and it was marked on the floor in a cross as you can see here.
Everybody had to stay in their own little corner. They also have to wear masks when they’re in the elevator. I think makes a lot of sense.
I’ve been in so many elevators on cruise ships where you can barely even stand because there are people everywhere. It does raise some concerns when it comes to people who need wheelchairs and those who need a bit more space. You would hope that the other passengers would be more caring and maybe let them in first but if you’ve ever been on a cruise, you probably know that that’s not really very likely.
Enforced Social Distancing
Most things on this cruise were open and set up and ready for guests to use because there was only 60% of the passenger’s onboard that meant everybody had a lot more space and could social distance much better.
Things like the sun loungers and fixed chairs in bars and restaurants physically set up to keep two meters or six feet away from each other. You’re supposed to stay six feet apart from all the other passengers at all times on your cruise if you can and if you can’t, you’re supposed to wear a mask.
Because of this need to social distance, there are some things that of course have to have a limited capacity. In the gym on this cruise, there were only 20 people allowed a time.
You could go to the spa but the spa part wasn’t open. You could book a massage if you needed to. If you’re having a massage, apparently, if you’re lying face down, you don’t have to wear a mask but if you turn over, you have to wear a mask and the person doing your massage will be wearing a mask regardless.
I think going forward, we are gonna see reduced capacity in most things. This may just mean that if you actually want to get a massage or you want to do a gym class, you’re just gonna have to book it far in advance. It’s just another thing to think about but having 60% capacity does mean make it much more likely that you’ll actually be able to get a space.
Added Disinfection Stations
As expected all over the cruise ship were extra disinfection stations. On a cruise, you’re normally encouraged to wash your hands when you go into restaurants and you’ll find hand sanitizer at the entrance to every bar and restaurant and when you get on and off the ship.
Cruise ships are already incredibly hygienic. I washed my hands more on a cruise than any of the time in my life but that said, they’ve added loads of disinfection stations onboard their ships. They’re going to be making hand-washing as mandatory as they can.
I don’t see how anybody could say that extra hand washing is a bad thing. It may stop you from getting into the restaurant for an extra 10 seconds but I think it’s well worth it to preserve the health of everybody on the ship.
When you go to a restaurant, your temperature will be scanned. If you don’t have a temperature scan, you will not be going into the restaurant.
It looks like a very, very easy process. You just walk up to this machine. You pretty much act as if you’re gonna take a selfie but instead of taking a selfie, it virtually takes your temperature and lets you know that you’re okay to go into the restaurant.
We’ll probably see things like this popping up all over cruise ships, not only at the entrance to a restaurant but I could see that realistically we would have one of these machines when you get on and off the cruise ship.
What Happens if You Have a High Temperature?
If you were found at this point to have a temperature, you should head straight back to your cabin and then inform medical services via the phone. They will have a plan for what they do if somebody has got a temperature. They’re going to have to think a lot about how they can quarantine people.
If you do have a high temperature at some point trying to get into a restaurant, that doesn’t mean that your cruise is completely over at that point. You maybe like me, you may have just walked up 10 flights of stairs to get to the restaurant which I suppose could give you a superficial high temperature.
If that did happen, you’d head back to your cabin, tell medical services and then they would do more tests from there. It doesn’t mean that if you at some point you have a high temperature, your cruise is over. It doesn’t really work like that but it’s just an extra level of checking to make sure that everybody in the restaurant doesn’t have a high temperature.
Does Temperature Scanning Work?
High temperatures aren’t a foolproof way to determine if somebody has coronavirus or not but they are a pretty good way to work out if somebody is healthy or they have something going on with them.
I know a lot of people who don’t like the idea of having that temperature scanned. But if you do want to go on a cruise, anytime soon, you’re gonna have to do it. I think there is not really going to be any options where you can avoid it.
There were some new guidelines that came out recently from the EU and I have a full video on that if you haven’t seen it yet. But basically what it said is that cruise ships have to have a plan before they go on a cruise. They have to know where they could quarantine people, are there hospitals on land, are there hotels where they could leave people?
They have to have a plan for a worst-case scenario.
No Self Service Buffets
We’re not gonna see self-service buffets on cruise ships for a really long time. They do spread a lot of germs with everybody touching the same tongs. Sometimes people touch things and they put them back is disgusting but we’re not going to have any kind of so service buffets on cruise ships anytime soon.
During this cruise, the buffet was actually still open but you would just find the food there all ready for you. So you just take the food, you don’t serve yourself the food. I don’t think we’re going to see cruise ships completely getting rid of any buffet format.
Sometimes you just want to grab something quick to eat, you don’t wanna go and sit down and cruise ships don’t want to get rid of that. They just want to get rid of the part where you get your own food.
You can see Dario’s food below, it just looks similar to when you get room service. I think they’re exactly the same food coverings as you’d get if you ordered it to your cabin but now you just pick it up and you eat it and then go on with your day.
This cruise was sailing at 60% capacity and one thing I hadn’t really considered is that that means that the cruise doesn’t have to use the same cabins over and over again. So once someone has disembarked, you’re not automatically straight away refilling that with new passengers which means that they can maybe clean it to a higher standard than they would be able to do in one morning.
We’re gonna see everything on board limited in terms of capacity. So even things like kids clubs so probably be a reduced number of children that can be in the kids’ clubs at a set time.
On this cruise, all passengers had balcony cabins. That may be because there’s no point really having people in inside cabins if your ship is not full to capacity or it may be to do with having fresh air and being able to circulate things around a bit better.
Is This The End of Inside Cabins?
I don’t think this means that we’re never going to see inside cabins again. I’ve booked a cruise in an inside cabin for January and I’m really looking forward to it 14 nights in an inside cabin, that doesn’t bother me at all but I think in the very, very short term, we’re gonna see more balcony cabins being used because if the ship’s not too capacity, you might as well put those guests in balcony cabins.
What Does This Mean?
It would not surprise me at all if we saw many of these things onboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships in the future. As I said TUI Cruises are owned 50% by Royal Caribbean and it makes so much sense for that company to test things out on their TUI cruise ships.
The aim of all of these measures is to keep passengers apart as much as they can and try and reduce the possibility of anything spreading if coronavirus did to get on board, it may also help us with things like Norovirus and colds and flu, maybe in the future, we’ll come back from our cruises healthier then when we left.
I have a loved following along with Dario this adventure of this cruise, it was almost like being on a cruise. I felt his excitement when he got back on board for the first time. Make sure you’re following him on Instagram and check out his YouTube channel.
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