I’m ready to travel again. I know now is not the time, but I’m ready to pack my bags and go somewhere and do something…anything. As a travel agent, my work has been upended in the last seven weeks. I’ve had so many cancellations and re-scheduling of vacations that it’s just beyond comprehension. Most of my clients are concerned about their next vacation. Will the vendor cancel, will they not? If they don’t cancel, will it be safe to travel? When will Disney/Universal/Sandals/ re-open? When will cruising begin again?
There has been so much speculation, so many articles written; most are simply nothing more than click-bait. I don’t believe that Disney will remain closed until 2021. I just don’t buy that. BUT, no one knows except Disney, and I don’t think they know exactly when they can reopen. In my opinion, I expect it will be sooner vs. later. I just don’t know. I do wish, however, that all these “travel experts” weighing in with their articles would just stop with the rumors. We’ll know when we know. If you see an article saying that “____________ (fill in the blank with your favorite destination) isn’t going to re-open until xx/xx/xxxx” and it’s not from the ACTUAL company, it’s probably someone’s opinion and they want you to open the article so they’ll get advertising revenue. I know you know this, but it bears repeating. If you have a vacation booked with me, rest assured I’m watching very closely and will let you know anything that I find out. I will never share rumors.
It’s very frustrating to see an article come out, watch it get shared around, and then clients call and want to know if their August 2021 (yes, 2021) will be affected by COVID-19. They read the click-bait article, and they’re concerned. If I wasn’t “in the middle” of all of the emails, webinars, & conference calls with my agency & vendors, I’d be concerned as well. I hope that most of my clients know that if I hear of anything official (good or bad) that will affect their vacation, I will let them know. Immediately. Part of my job is to take the worry off of my clients, and let me do the worrying for them.
Like I said, I’ve been in many webinars & on many conference calls. From what I’ve gathered, most companies are trying their best to come up with a plan to re-open that’s workable to keep their guests safe. That is their number one concern…keeping us safe. I’ve heard some really good ideas, and hope many of them come to pass. I won’t share them here, since they are just rumors (and not policy) at this point. Just like the horrific events of 9/11 changed the way we travel, I believe COVID-19 will change the way we travel in the future. It may take a few more moments to get into our theme park, on our ship, or on our plane, but it may be worth the effort. And, whatever the new procedures will be, we’ll get used to them; just like the bag-checks & metal detectors at Disney & Universal.
Having said all of that, I am going to share some news direct from Princess Cruises. This is not my opinion on what I think will happen, or “ten ways that cruising will be different going forward”…this is straight from the source. In fact, I’m going to copy and paste the rest of this blog DIRECT FROM PRINCESS CRUISES. I want to keep my clients & my blog readers up to date with what is actually going on, and not play into the rumor mill.
I hope you are well and continue to stay safe. Things will eventually get better and we can look back on this and know we got through it. And, if you are dreaming of a vacation, why not begin planning now? With most vendors having refundable deposits, what is stopping you from having something amazing to look forward to? I’ve got four cruises booked from August 2020 through November 2021. I have 122 days before my next Embarkation Day. I can’t wait to pack my bags.
Again, all of below has been copied & pasted direct from Princess Cruises. I hope this helps! When any new information or policies have been released, I’ll be on top of it for you.
MEASURES TO ENSURE OUR GUESTS CAN SAIL SAFELY
Itinerary monitoring & optimizations: We’re constantly monitoring the global health map and cancelling or modifying itineraries to impacted areas. We also prevent guests and crew who have recently traveled through these high-risk locations from boarding.
Boarding restrictions: To maintain a healthy environment onboard, guests and crew members with symptoms of illness will be asked not to travel to the embarkation terminal and will be denied boarding. We’re still working through how this will be managed, so please check back later for additional details.
Stepping up health screenings: At embarkation, we’ll require all guests and crew to participate in mandatory health screenings, including thermal scanning to check temperatures. Some guests and crew will be required to undergo secondary health screenings, which will be conducted by medical staff in the terminal prior to embarkation.
Increased terminal sanitation procedures: High-traffic surfaces throughout each embarkation terminal will be sanitized continuously, and terminals will be thoroughly sanitized and, where possible, fogged before and after each embarkation and debarkation.
Elevated sanitation on all ships: In addition to the rigorous daily cleaning regimen we already have, we are establishing additional sanitation measures on all our ships, which include sanitizing frequently touched surfaces in all public areas, from tables and chairs to casino chips and fitness machines. We will also use hospital-grade disinfectant solutions known to immediately kill all traces of COVID-19 in public areas and when cleaning guest and crew staterooms.
Increased access to hand sanitizer: We already have hand-washing sinks or hand sanitizer dispensers in front of entrances to all dining venues and the buffet. Our crew monitors entrances to all venues to encourage all guests to wash their hands before entering. We are also adding additional hand sanitizer dispensers in high-traffic areas around the ship.
Maintaining crew health: Each day, we are raising awareness of how to maintain a healthy environment on board by reinforcing frequent hand-washing, avoiding hand contact, reporting guests who present signs of illness and more. We will also more actively enforce crew hand-washing and provide more hand sanitizers in crew areas.
Revised medical protocols & preparedness: Every Princess ship sails with a highly capable medical team of doctors and nurses that have received special training on COVID-19. Any guest or crew member who exhibits symptoms of respiratory illness will be strongly encouraged to visit the Medical Center for a complimentary consultation and, if appropriate, screening for COVID-19.
Proactive Planning and Preparation: Our team is monitoring world health developments from our state-of the-art Fleet Operations Center in Santa Clarita, California, and offices around the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are also in close contact with major health agencies, medical experts and partners in the travel industry so we can act quickly to revise plans and protocols as the situation evolves.
Looking ahead: In the weeks ahead, our team of medical experts will be developing additional health protocols to help defend our guests and crew against COVID-19.
Please visit http://www.princess.com/CruiseWithConfidence for more information.