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Cruise: New Health Protocols Announced For Cruise Ships

One cruise line announced major new health protocols last week that could give us an idea of how cruising might change when we set sail again. We look at these proposed changes and how the major cruise lines might implement some of these ideas in light of coronavirus and future health concerns.

Cruising is going to change and some of these changes would be welcomed by us as a permanent part of cruising moving forward. What changes would you like to see and how much 'freedom' onboard are you willing to give up in the name of safety?

Full Transcription. Apologies for any typos.

Walter Hey folks, welcome back to Where's Walter. I'm Walter. Rebecca And I'm Rebecca. Walter And today we're talking about possible changes to cruise lines moving forward. Walter The cruise critic website reported this week that Genting Cruise Line who operates out of China has announced some new health protocols in response to Coronavirus and getting ready to sail again. And they're wondering if this might point to what we might see from our Royals and Celebrities and Carnival to all of the mainstream cruise lines. So we thought we'd take a look. Obviously embarkation is going to change. One of the things they said they're going to do, temperature checks on everybody. They're going to check the health screening from everybody. You know, if you've sailed recently in the US, that health questionnaire is more or less gone away, they almost don't care about it. But you can expect that's going to come back with probably a lot more questions on it. And this one, people who are 70 and over, are going to have to have a doctor's notice saying that they are clear to sail. That could be somewhat, I mean, you might not think that's a big deal, but Rebecca was hearing that some doctors won't do it. Rebecca Yeah. Because currently, for any potential near term sailings, they there are several cruise lines that are requiring such a letter. And there are people who have had a hard time getting their doctor to actually sign it, even though they're completely healthy and shouldn't be in any more danger than anyone else. Walter And those of you who live in the States you know, we have way too many lawyers here who file way too many frivolous lawsuits, that's probably what the doctors are afraid of. You're over 70, you're healthy, but you get sick anyway. Oh, it's the doctors fault because he let me sail, no it's your fault because you went on the boat. But you know, that's how some people think. Obviously sanitation is going to be stepped up. They've announced all these protocols, like every hour or every couple of hours, things are going to be wiped down all over the place. I think we can expect every cruise line to really step up their sanitation policy. There's these, you know, sanitization policies cleaning everything up. One of the difficult things I think it's going to be they said they're going to sanitize the entire theater before performances. Now, if you've sailed recently, you know, some of the theaters are rather large. So that's going to be very interesting to see how they can pull that off. Walter Yeah. Rebecca Some of the, currently, some of the performances are scheduled back to back. Rebecca There really isn't, I mean, you might have your main theater show and then like a little game show and then the second running of the main theater show, but there's no time in between Walter So that'll probably get altered you know, you used to have the seven o'clock and nine o'clock show. Maybe it's gonna be a five o'clock and a nine o'clock show to give them more time to, to clean down the theater in between Rebecca Yeah. With no extra game shows or bingo or anything in between. Walter Yeah, yeah. Now, one of the things that I'm actually very excited about, and Rebecca and I had some bad experiences on our last cruise. The buffet will no longer be self serve. Yay. Like on our last cruise, Rebecca had a woman who would just scoop stuff into her hand, tasted and put the spoon back. I mean, what's the deal? We've all seen people grab the french fries or grab the stuff with their hands right off the buffet. So moving forward on Genting they will serve in the buffet. They're going to wear gloves and they're going to wear masks. And the masks is the part that the article is wondering if Europeans and Americans will be okay with that. Because in a lot of Asian countries, It's kind of become the norm. You see a lot of people wearing masks, but in the US and Europe you don't see a lot wearing masks. So they're wondering, well, will that kind of freak people out? I, me as American, I don't have any problem with it. It would make me feel just fine if they have a mask, and I know that they're not getting germs on it. I know Rebecca brought up a great point. Rebecca In principle, I'm fine with the idea. I'm not afraid of it. But if you are hearing impaired enough that you need to read lips, unless you have the specialized mask with the clear portion, that's going to be a problem. Walter Yeah, and I kind of fall into that actually. I wear hearing aids to help me hear and without the hearing aids, it's, sometimes I do read lips, so maybe they get, you know, that young lady that came up with the mask with the clear in it, maybe maybe they could do something like that. So.. Rebecca At least have those available if they need it. Walter So we're okay, we're okay with gloves and masks, you know, whatever you need to do. And we're really okay with no longer self serve in the buffet. Yeah. This is gonna be interesting. They say they're going to do capacity control. You know, obviously, during muster drills, when shows let out that's when you have the biggest congregation, certainly when, when you're when you have a port day, everybody's trying to get off the ship. So they say they're going to do capacity control. We're real curious how this might look. I'm wondering if you might have an assigned group and assigned seating group so in the theater you can't enter, you know, everybody will be staggered to enter. But of course, then once you come in, you're all kind of sitting together. Rebecca And I would imagine for embarkation, you know, a lot of cruise lines give you a suggested time of arrival. I think they might get more serious about them. Walter Yeah, we have probably that time when it says show up between 10 and 11, they're probably going to mean show up between 10 and 11. Don't show up at nine. Rebecca Just so not everybody's in the terminal at the same time. Walter Yeah, yeah, exactly. This is interesting. They're going to check the crew temperature twice a day, just to make sure about their temps. I'm curious what they're gonna do with the passengers, once we're on board. Will they be checking our temperature? Will we have a mandatory check, you know, every day or every other day to check our temperatures? And how would that go about? That'll be interesting. Obviously, they can track us with our cards to make sure that you know, yes, we actually went through the procedure. I would expect that to happen. I would be totally fine with that. I mean, it's painless. They just shoot a little thermometer at your head. I think they should do it. Why not? You know, there's more passengers than there are crew, so the odds that a passenger might get it, to me are a little bit higher. So why not go ahead and give us a little temperature check, though. What do you think? Rebecca I just don't think that's very practical for the passengers. Cuz people aren't going to pay attention. I might have like, there's trivia I want to do at my assigned time and I'm gonna blow it off or you know, or I'm drinking and I lose track of time. I mean, I just don't see that. I don't know how it can practically be done with the passengers. Walter So it's interesting. You know, Rebecca brings up some good points there. How would this work practically if all the passengers were going to be required? I am willing to bet that when you come back from a port... Rebecca Oh, yeah. Walter ...they're gonna get everybody coming in just to make sure. Ships are going to have isolation wards. I don't know what that means whether those are just going to be certain cabins or they're going to set up some new medical area, but obviously if somebody gets sick, they are going to immediately move to isolate them. Now in the past, you would just simply quarantine in your room if you had norovirus. Obviously with, with a Corona virus, they would want to actually move you somewhere. The isolation wards are good, but that also goes hand in hand with allowing the people to get off the ship to get proper medical attention. In the past, if somebody got really sick or really injured and the ship could not take care of that person, they would get them off the ship so that they could go get proper medical attention. So, what we've seen recently is countries in ports, not allowing the people to get off. So this is going to have to work hand in hand with the ports to say, hey, if somebody is sick, and they do have this Coronavirus, or they have something bad, we need to get them off the ship as quickly as possible. So it's one thing to have these isolation wards, but they're only good for just so long, you're still going to have to get the people off the ship. So I applaud them for saying yes, we're going to have these. Yes, we're going to contain these people in one area of the ship, but then the ports have to be willing to let the people get off and go get proper medical attention. So I'm hoping that there's going to be some sort of protocol set up for these people to get them off the ship. Then lastly, they say they're going to improve the ventilation systems on all the ships so that there's is much more fresh air coming into the cabin and into the ship as a whole to go ahead and turn over the air. And make it better in the ships. So overall, I think they're all excellent ideas. I'm sure some, if not all of these will show up on the main cruise lines. I expect certainly isolation wards are going to show up. Certainly there's going to be temperature checks for passengers, not just when you get on board. It's probably, I would guess even though Rebecca think there could be some logistical issues, I would guess there's going to be some way of checking everybody's temperature, even when we're on board, and Yay, to the end of the self serve buffet. I hope it never returns. I hope all of the cruise lines institute this and we never ever see a self serve buffet again. And then for me, will the ship be able to have enough ports that would be willing to set up a protocol to get people off the ship if they do get sick. So cruising is going to change. We're still going to cruise. We're set for two in 2021. We're going on the Carnival Mardi Gras and we're going on the Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages. So we're ready to get back on a ship. I would get back on a ship tomorrow if all the protocols are in place, and we were ready to go. We're still really excited about cruising. So that's a look at what might be coming to cruise lines once we start sailing again. I'm Walter. Rebecca I'm Rebecca. Walter We'll see you next time. Hey, thanks so much for watching. If you appreciate what we're doing, please hit that subscribe button. Click the bell icon, then you'll know when we've got more cruise stuff, more travel things. More recipes. Oh, and more cocktails. So thanks so much for joining. We'll see you next time. Oh, I can do jazz hands. Thank you.

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