Home Cruises The CDC Wanted The Public’s Input On Cruising & COVID. They’re Getting An Earful!

The CDC Wanted The Public’s Input On Cruising & COVID. They’re Getting An Earful!

by SharonKurheg

The cruising industry has been put on hold since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. There were some early-COVID-times cruises that managed to end without anyone catching the virus (such as the one my friends were on, where they were stranded on their “healthy” ship for 3 weeks before a port would let them disembark). But with tragedies such as over 700 people on the Diamond Princess getting the virus, the CDC is hesitant to allow cruise ships to sail out of the U.S. until all possible precautions have been addressed.

The cruise lines have, of course, all been compliant with the CDC’s extended Do Not Sail order and, in fact, some are already not even planning on sailing until sometime in 2021.

Meanwhile, the CDC is trying to develop a list of COVID-related requirements and protocols that are appropriate for large cruise ships. As part of its planning, they’ve called for industry people – cruise employees, travel agents, etc. – to give input via an online survey. However, they’ve also opened the poll up to the general public, so they could offer their ideas regarding what should be done.

And that’s when things start to get interesting.

The replies are public (the survey said they would be). I’ve gone through about 250 or 300  replies from throughout the timeline of the survey (which is only about 10% of the responses they’ve gotten. They survey has been out for about a month and still has another month to go) and it appears that the vast majority of them are not from industry people, but from those who like to cruise.

Friends, hardcore cruise fans are a lot like hardcore Disney or Vegas fans – they live to cruise, all they do is cruise, they know how many days until their next cruise, and probably for a few cruises after that, too. Many responses don’t really give advice or suggestions, as much as requests (Or demands. Or begs.) to reopen the cruise industry. Because cruisers just want to cruise:

Let’s get these ships moving – our mental health is just as important.

Only the people who accept the risks are going to be on these boats anyway, so let them re-open and let adults make their own decisions.

We cruisers are more than ready to resume cruising so PLEASE provide for cruising to resume! give us back our lives!

I believe that it is time to Allow Cruise Ships to cruise once again. If a person chooses to go on a trusted cruise it is not Your Right to stop us. This is America we choose, not the government.

knock off all this crap and let us sail already

We want to get back to somewhat of a normal life. ALLOW CRUISING PLEASE !! We cannot continue to be held hostage by an invisible enemy. WE THE PEOPLE need, AND WANT our lives back.

Let my people GO – Moses said it best. If people want to get on a ship or a plane or a
train and travel it is NONE of your business – PERIOD.

Cruises should start to cruise again because they are a great way to escape from everyday life and everything is open now! Companies are gonna go broke if we don’t start to cruise again and many americans are gonna be unemployed.

Some of the responses showed bitterness that while other areas of the travel industry have opened, cruises (which are an entirely different kettle of fish) remain verboten:

Disney world, airplanes, Resorts, and hotels are all operating without these and I think cruise lines should be included in that list.

Restaurants, hotels, airplanes, stores, hotels, etc. We are not tested to go in or on any of these. Stop targeting the Cruise industry and let us be adults.

This is America, and as American Citizen’s we have rights and choices to make our own decisions. If some people are allowed to continue to work, and others are allowed to stay in hotels, and others are allowed to visit theme parks, and more are allowed to fly each day, how is it possible that I am not entitled to make my own decision as to whether or not to take a cruise.

Others showed they still have NO CLUE about the potential issues surrounding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or are in denial that it’s even “a thing.” Not surprisingly, many of those people also appear to be anti-maskers:

We have to build up immunity to things around us, avoiding them is ALSO not healthy. Life happens. Flu season is next and that is even more deadly if you are unhealthy.

If someone feels safe wearing a mask let them, they are protected. I won’t cruise wearing a mask for many reasons. But, I know if someone is wearing one and uncomfortable the mask keeps them safe, right.

I am really disappointed in the CDC’s handling of this situation. Simple and easy treatments for the COVID virus have been dismissed simply because the wrong person presented the idea. Faulty research continues to be brandied about even though it has been repudiated.

I believe cruises should be allowed to begin operations immediately. With the small information they have already begun to show for the changes they are making on board, I believe it will be a healthy environment to sail in and feel comfortable bringing my family on board.

I will not cruise if it is mandatory to show a test or get a vaccine. Disney world, airplanes, Resorts, and hotels are all operating without these and I think cruise lines should be included in that list.

Let the public decide whether or not they feel safe enough to cruise. I would gladly sign a waiver releasing the cruise line of any potential liability. I will not adhere to wearing a mask or getting tested prior to boarding however.

Covid isnt any more lethal than the last 2 flu strains give it a rest

I don’t think they should mandate anything because I feel everyone should have the freedom of choice. People take all kinds of risks every single day if we got rid of every single risk of dying nobody would be born anymore. If people are that worried about catching something and passing it on then they shouldn’t be on a boat in the first place.

Have you ever considered this, by shattering and masking we are not exposing ourselves to germs that our immune systems combat every day..By not breathing in those germs no immunities are built up so when we do unmask there is a greater chance we get something..not much thought went into that has it?

And yet, here and there, were was a diamond in the rough who really seemed to not only “get it,” but some had some pretty good ideas:

I love cruising, but it’s not safe right now. We all know as soon as the rules are relaxed, cases skyrocket. So many cruisers are older and we cannot risk their health. Until a proven effective vaccine exists, people need to stay on land. I miss cruising but it’s not worth my life.
I am concerned about how strictly any good mandates will be followed pre-boarding and while on the ship. Too many times I have seen a laziness in rules. Our last cruise was early March 2020 and we were told there would be extensive screening pre boarding. The employee who had us did not screen.

Having just flown from San Antonio to Las Vegas through Atlanta to gamble, I can state unequivocally, that many people do not comply with mask requirements. Many people “wore” a mask on their chin and several did not have a mask that I could see. Others wore it on one ear and many did not cover their noses with the mask. Still others sat with a drink or food which they appeared to be using only as a prop so they would not have to wear the mask. Other people had loose masks that had large gaps and would not stay in place. There were several 10-14 year-olds waiting for a flight in Las Vegas who darted around people, including me, without masks. Compliance is poor in other words.

Interestingly, we stayed at Bellagio in Vegas and the elevator never stopped at any floor except the floor we were staying on or the casino floor where we were going, so that may be a possible solution to the elevator problem which will exist on cruise ships unless something changes. Of course, in Bellagio, the elevators were high-speed but they are slow-speed on cruise ships and more importantly, people crowd into those and the elevator stops on every floor often. To me, those cruise-ship elevators will be a huge potential issue that will require a radical change. It’s not like many people can walk 10 flights of stairs.

Between the inability to social distance on a cruise ship especially in elevators, and poor compliance which will surely occur, sadly, I do not feel it is safe to cruise with any of the protocols I’ve read about to date. I will have to wait for a vaccine most likely.

*Really with all of your numerous questions and conditions to consider, it shows that cruising should NOT start up again any time soon. And if it is ever to return before a proven vaccine that is shown to be effective, then there should be a guinea pig ship as a study that is given the gold standard of safety precautions to see if even all of those measures will keep covid at bay. It should be treated as a scientific study as the ships have show to be a petri dish for the virus. Not just large mega-ships but the small ‘expedition’ cruise ships as well like the ‘Greg Mortimer’ and the ‘Silver Explorer’.

My answers below are for all sizes of ships large and small, even those small ‘expedition’ ship companies that are petitioning to get back in the water.

*There should be a vaccine that is proven to be working, and al crew and guests onboard the ship should be required to get it and shown to produce antibodies before embarkation; then

*Take a rapid covid test twice right before embarkation; must test negative for both.

*All ships (large and small) must have HEPA filtration systems onboard that run throughout the cabins as well.

*Only one crew person per cabin; even if that means that crew ends up being in what was a guest cabin.

*Guest must quarantine for 14 days in a hotel at the city/port of disembarkation and show a negative covid test before being allowed to return home.

*No buffets onboard

*Passengers should take meals in their rooms as often as possible to limit the number of people in the dining room

*Consider closing the dining rooms altogether

*All ships should have at least one real doctor, or more for larger ships. The doctor(s) must be onboard the ship at all times. They shouldn’t be allowed to disembark at ports and participate in guest activities unless there remains at least one real doctor onboard.

*You should not let all cruises start up again at the same time. Someone has got to be the guinea pig to see what happens with the safety suggestions because they may not work.

Too open up cruising any time soon or until a vaccine is proven to be effective is obviously dangerous and puts other people AROUND THE WORLD at serious risk of dying. The people on the cruises may not care and are willing to risk their lives but they are being selfish, and the cruise companies large and small that want to start up again are also being selfish and are willing to sacrifice human lives over their bottom line.

Part of capitalism is that some industries and companies don’t make it and other innovations and businesses rise up in their place. That may just be the fate of the cruise industry as well, and for the poor treatment they have notoriously shown to their crew and the environment, I’d say it was about time! Think of all of the human rights atrocities that you will save from occurring if you continue to block their cruel industry.

I adore cruising and I find it beyond insane that anyone is considering allowing cruise ships to operate during a global pandemic. It’s already been proven that even in countries with a far better track record on dealing with this virus than the US, cruise ships don’t last more than a day before they have staff testing positive which will then get passed on to the passengers and the rest of the crew. There is no way to socially distance on a cruise ship. The cabin halls are too narrow and the food venues too small to accomodate everyone.

IF (and that’s a big if) cruising resumes, they need to ensure that cancellations can occur up to time of sailing with zero penalty AND travel insurance and standard insurance needs to penalize those who do cruise and catch the disease. Stupidity should hurt.

That’s right, friends…”Stupidity should hurt.” 😉 (“And that’s my new philosophy!” Brownie points if you get the reference)

The best response, I thought, came from some on July 24th. It was detailed, well thought out, organized, and LONG. So click here if you want to see it.

Our take on this

I think the responses show that a whole lot of cruises don’t really understand how COVID-19 is spread and how easily it could go from person to person on a cruise ship. Sure, some talk about how clean ships are but really, even with all that cleanliness and people being reminded to wash their hands, norovirus still runs rampant on cruise ships, year after year. Enforcement of any safety protocol is going to be crazy difficult, because some people either don’t “get it,” or just don’t care.

Several brave cruisers suggest that it’s their lives and they should make their own decisions. We see how well that works. We still allow cigarette smoking and just shy 230,00 are predicted to be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. Only 50% of people age 50 and over get colorectal screenings to check for colon cancer. So yep, lots of people make bad health decision and sure, that’s their right. But you can’t be allowed to take health risks where your bad decision could kill someone else.

I don’t think the CDC is getting the responses it expected. And I’m quite sure they’re not responses they want or need. For the sake of cruisers, both hardcore and otherwise, as well as those working in the cruise industry, I hope proper decisions can still be made and safe, foolproof plans can eventually be carried out.

#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian August 30, 2020 - 4:21 pm

I’d argue that stupidity DOES hurt, just that far too often it hurts some poor sap rather than the person being stupid. If someone smokes, they’re going to be the prime candidate for lung cancer, not someone they interact with for a half hour. Obviously you can’t say the same for a COVID carrier. I do think that allowing a single ship to try things out would be a sensible compromise. I still have doubts but if one ship under rigid rules can’t be made safe then dozens are unlikely to do better.

Jeff servex August 30, 2020 - 7:00 pm

Our family loves to cruise! Life hasn’t felt the same since we haven’t been allowed to set sail, I hope sagely precautions can be figured out soon so we can go back out to sea!

Steve August 31, 2020 - 11:22 am

“And yet, here and there, were was a diamond in the rough who really seemed to not only “get it,” but some had some pretty good ideas..”

Bias much?

In all seriousness; adults can make their own decisions, and you assume the risk should you chose to go on a cruise just like you would assume the risk when going anywhere in public. This isn’t about telling people they should go on cruises – it’s about allowing cruise ships to operate. Those are two separate items at play here.

If all crew and passengers have to provide a negative test within 72 hours of boarding, what’s the harm in letting a ship operate?

SharonKurheg August 31, 2020 - 11:34 am

Of course I’m biased – I don’t want anyone to go on a cruise and wind up with coronavirus. Do you?

If all it took was showing a negative test within 72 hours of boarding, none of this would be an issue. Except you can take the test and be exposed to the virus on your way home, when you stop off at a restaurant to pick up food or to visit your buddy who has it and is asymptomatic.

Plus there are excursions to consider, and when the crew gets off the ship because it’s their day off, etc.

Which is the same issue that cruise ships have had with Norovirus for years – you can tell people to wash their their hands after they go to the bathroom until you’re blue in the face, and you can have Purell stations every 10 feet…but how much you can control people is negligible. And now you’re talking about a virus that’s very contagious and potentially fatal.

Much more than just “negative test 72 hours before boarding” needs to be taken into consideration.

Linda September 7, 2020 - 9:52 pm

It is ridiculous to open everything else and not the cruise ships. You can get the virus at a hotel, airplane, grocery store, every other place is open. In my opinion I would feel safer on a cruise ship with the same people all week than a hotel or casino with different people coming and going. MSC proved they follow their protocols when they have already taken at least 3 cruises with no problem and they sent home a family that didn’t want to follow the rules. They are cleaner now than they have every been. Let the people get back to work and let the passengers make the choice. As for norovirus, unfortunately you can get that at a hotel, restaurant, grocery store, etc. but they don’t keep track of the numbers because of too many people coming and going. Because cruise ships have to report the numbers they are being targeted.

SharonKurheg September 7, 2020 - 9:55 pm

Sounds good. I hope you told the CDC.


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