Oh my, it's the last quarter of 2020.
Take a deep breath everyone, we are all going to make it through this year intact.
This week I'm focusing on the sub-sector of my beloved industry hurt more than any other by this years events, and that's saying something. Cruising. Even before 2020 struck, this is the travel sector that divided public opinion more than anything else. There are cruise fanatics who would sail all year long if they could, on the biggest or smallest vessels (and some do), and there are those who couldn't be paid to board a ship.
What I want to say is that I sense cruising is within range of a return. The CDC through ASTA has been asking travel advisors for opinions on the how, why and when large cruise lines should be allowed to sail again and that is a hopeful sign in itself. The largest cruise lines have also released very detailed documents on how they intend to satisfy health and safety requirements.
Please don't hold me accountable but the list will likely include:
- Negative Covid test required to board
- Staggered embarkation and disembarkation
- Luggage sterilized and taken to your cabin by crew
- No buffet dining
- Masks required at Inside Public spaces
- Restricted shore excursions
There will be other rules of course, but you get my drift. I really shouldn't speculate but I think we might see large ship cruising return before the end of the year.
Cruise lines have been promoting the heck out of their 2021 itineraries with amazing offers, but we have felt that it would be inappropriate to push these yet, and will continue to show restraint and hopefully appropriate tact as each of you reach your own conclusions on when and what type of travel you wish to enjoy in the future.
Meanwhile, here are 5 cruise lines or ideas you may not be familiar with.
Top 5 - Refusing the Losing of Cruising
1. SeaDream Yacht Club
SeaDream have just 2 yachts (they insist we don't call them ships), and at just 112 guest capacity they provide a luxurious, private cruise with superior food and dining experiences. The photos above and below should give you a small clue to the big difference between them and the mega-ships. SeaDream are extremely confident that they will be sailing a Bridgetown roundtrip 7-night cruise from November 7th and through the winter season with all the necessary protocols in place to ensure guest safety. Both yachts sail to the Mediterranean for the Summer season beginning in late April and all their itineraries take you to those charming small ports that you would never realize existed if on a large ship.
Virtuoso Amenities apply.
2. Atlas Ocean Voyages
A very brave newcomer to the cruise market aiming to launch in mid-2021 with their brand new vessel World Navigator (above). The luxury, expedition-style ship will quietly nestle into amazing, remote and rugged locations on your itinerary. Just to pick out a couple, I love the Egypt and Israel Immersion and also a 12-night Antarctic Total Solar Eclipse cruise departing November 28th 2021.
They are aiming at the All-Inclusive market and every sailing in every Suite includes:
- Roundtrip airfare
- Top-shelf beverages
- Butler service for suites
- Enjoy L'Occitane products
- Self-care with yoga, mat Pilates and Spinning
- Enriching classes
- A Complimentary adventure in select ports
- Prepaid gratuities
3. Virgin Voyages (above and below)
It's now 18 months since I was privileged to enjoy Virgin Voyages launch party in NYC. Incredibly, Scarlet Lady has still not enjoyed her maiden voyage as Covid hit exactly on their launch schedule. An adults-only experience, Virgin will live up to Richard Branson's mantra and well, basically, it will be one helluva party when they do launch. Perfect for shorter breaks their Caribbean offerings are mainly 4 and 5 night roundtrips from Miami, and 7-night Mediterranean itineraries with a focus on Spain and Ibiza. Yes, the party island.
4. Regent Seven Seas (above and below)
A favorite cruise line of ours, especially as they have been among the most responsive during the ongoing refund battle for many cruise clients with cancelled departures. So it's a longshot I know, but surely by 2023 we'll be reminiscing about 2020 and how we all coped differently. If you think by then you might be ready for a 143-night, 42-countries and 72-ports world cruise on board Seven Seas Mariner (above) then give our sister company World Cruise Advisors a shout.
Click on the image of the Mariner library below for Regent's luscious 2023 World Cruise trailer.
Virtuoso amenities apply.
5. Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection (above and below)
With an even longer delay to launch than Virgin Voyages, firstly due to problems in the shipbuilding yard, and subsequently Covid, Ritz-Carlton Yachts must be aching to start sailing. This will be small ship ultra-luxury cruising. I particularly love their Northern Europe and Baltic itineraries. Whether searching for a luxury cruise in the Norway fjords, a Northern Europe cruise among famous cities such as Tallinn and Copenhagen, or a longer sea voyage with the opportunity for catching sight of the aurora borealis, there are incredible voyages throughout this region.
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