As we await the announcement on when cruises will resume, we do know that initially there will be quite a few changes. As with the airline & flights, face masks are expected to be mandatory. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) face coverings can “slow the spread of the virus and help people who might have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.” Here is what we know (& speculate) about wearing face masks on a cruise ship.
Wearing Face Masks on a Cruise
- Masks will be required at the port during the check-in process.
- You will need to bring masks with you. It is likely that the cruise lines will also have masks with their logos available for sale onboard. We recommend you bring either plenty of disposable masks or enough cloth masks for several days or your trip since it is recommended you at least hand wash them daily and they will need to dry. MSC decided to give daily masks out to passengers, but it is 1 ship with limited capacity. We believe as all ships start sailing out of U.S. that the cruise lines will require you to bring your own or purchase one, but time will tell if we are correct.
- The crew will be wearing masks at all times, both indoor & outdoor settings.
- Masks will be required in public areas when social distancing is not possible.
- Cruise operators should ensure that requirements for face masks are in accordance with the most up-to-date CDC guidelines. This means a mask that has two or more layer covering both the nose and mouth.
- Seating in restaurants, bars & lounges will allow for physical distancing, so guests can eat and drink without needing face coverings while seated.
- Seating will be spread out on the pool deck so you do not have to wear face coverings there once you have your spot.
- Some exceptions might be made in advance of sailing for someone who has a health condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. According to the healthy sail panel set up by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and NCL Cruises, guests who have medical needs might be able to receive an exception. “Individuals for whom wearing a mask is medically contraindicated should be directed to a secondary medical screening (to be conducted in person or as a telehealth consult) where a case-by-case assessment of the individual’s fitness for travel will be made, and a recommendation to allow or deny boarding will be based on the fitness for travel determination.” Based on the strictness of airlines & masks, we feel it’s safe to assume that initially, the cruise lines will also enforce this with little to no exceptions.
Wearing masks has become a controversial point on land, and the debate over whether people will want to wear them on cruises is equally divisive. If you enjoy cruising, don’t let masks discourage you from cruising. Remember that we are in different times and it’s not all bad. There will be fewer people which means more personalized service & fewer crowds, plus enhanced safety features like never before. Keep in mind that masks will be part of the cruise experience, but not forever. Keep in mind that it is for your health & safety and there will be plenty of places like the pool deck, your cabin, and during meals where you will not have to wear your mask.
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