Yes, cruising has returned, and there are plenty of cruise options available in 2022! If you've been itching to sail again, cruising is indeed back and ready to greet you - but, a few things have changed, and there are some important things you need to know before picking your next cruise.
Vaccination is Required
While specifics can vary a little from cruise line to cruise line, all major cruise lines are requiring full vaccination against COVID-19. For some cruises, this is 100%, and some others allow children who are too young to be vaccinated. You can consult with your travel agent on specifics, but in general, everyone that can be vaccinated needs to be in order to cruise until further notice.
The other main requirements that cruising guests need to know about is testing for COVID-19. All major cruise lines have a requirement for pre-cruise testing, though the specifics vary by cruise line. Most require guests to take a test at their own expense prior to arriving at the port, though some also have additional testing requirements upon arrival at the port. Consult with your travel agent for specifics, but it's vital to have valid negative COVID-19 test results in order to board.
Download Your Cruise Line's App
All major cruise lines offer a mobile app of some kind, and most offer lots of additional functions that can help you plan your days. Especially now, many cruise line apps have additional functions to make sailing more convenient and contact-free. From completing cruise check-in, to ordering food to your room, to managing onboard reservations, make sure that you have your cruise line's app downloaded in advance. And don't worry about WiFi costs - cruise lines typically allow their app to be used on their ship's WiFi at no charge.
Guests are able to go ashore on cruises to a variety of destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, and Europe. Some destination options are still limited due to entry requirements, but guests are able to explore many popular ports for cruises going forward. The experience at each port can vary depending upon local protocols. At some ports, guests can feel free to explore on their own. On the other hand, some destinations may require that guests book an excursion in order to go ashore, particularly for guests with unvaccinated children in their group. Because a booked excursion is often required, it's best to book your excursions well in advance to guarantee availability.
The experiences aboard cruise ships have largely offer the same types of entertainment and activities that guests have come to expect from cruise lines, but with a few changes. Most dining and snack locations are open, though guests may find that buffets are now served by staff rather than being self-serve. Stage shows, deck parties, and other onboard entertainment has resumed with social distancing in place. For fans of meeting characters on Disney Cruise Line, guests can again get photos with their favorites, but with distancing in place and no autographs allowed. Face coverings are also required for indoor areas on most major cruise lines.
Cruising with Kids
If you're cruising with kids, there are plenty of fun cruising options available, but there are a few things you need to know. First of all, some cruise lines are only operating fully vaccinated sailings - this means that kids too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can't sail on those lines yet. There are, however, several cruise lines like Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, that allow children of all ages. Many kid-friendly activities have returned, such as pools and water play areas, and onboard kids programming. Please note that onboard kids clubs now sometimes require reservations in advance, so be sure to check with your travel agent.
Ready for your next cruise, or have questions? Contact one of our Travel Pros!