The world changed completely in just two months. We’ve never said that before in our lifetimes. Even the changes to travel wrought by 9/11 pale in comparison to the COVID-19 pandemic. Air travel is down 95%, countries have shut their borders and issued mandatory two-week quarantines for visitors and the entire cruise industry has shut down. We are living in an entirely new world.
And that means that even as cruises resume, countries open their borders and flights begin to fill in the weeks and months ahead, we will be sailing in a new world as well. That’s why travel by river cruise and small ship, with passenger capacity limited to around 200 people or less, is going to boom. Not to mention it’s easy to stay close to home if you travel on America’s coasts and rivers.
In today’s blog, we’re not going to recount or list when our river and small ship cruise line partners are going to begin sailing again, since that changes on an almost daily basis. Quite frankly, it’s too hard to know when it will be safe to sail again. And even then, your decision to sail is a personal choice and not one we can make for you.
However, how we cruise will be different thanks to masks, testing and social distancing. One of the biggest changes we’ve seen since the pandemic is in the cancellation policies. Most companies are allowing guests to book future cruises and cancel those bookings with no penalty as close as 48 hours before sailing. Not to mention that there are some great deals to be found for cruises in late 2020 and through much of 2021.
All that said, it’s still important that we all stay safe until we can travel with peace of mind again. And when we do begin cruising, the cruise lines will be working hard to keep us safe onboard. So, we suggest you do what we’ve been doing the past two months, which is following the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
First of all, know how it spreads and be aware that though there is hope on the horizon, there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, which is spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). The virus travels through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Importantly, realize that some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms at all.
Since there’s no way of knowing if the people you come in contact with have the virus or not, make sure you wash your hands often and do so with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands as these are easy entry points for the virus.
Next, avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members. Naturally, put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home and, once again, remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people and do not gather in groups. Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings. As you can imagine, keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
While the wearing of masks has become politicized, the simple truth is that wearing a mask provides you some protection but mostly protects other people if you happen to have the virus and you have no symptoms. That why you should always cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others because you could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Please observe proper social etiquette and remember that the cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Even with a mask, continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Both clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
Lastly, take care of yourself and be alert for the most common symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. This is especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet. Take your temperature if symptoms develop but not within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
Take care of yourself in these unprecedented times and with liberal cancellation policies and great offers, it’s never too soon to start planning your river or small ship cruise.
Contact Select Waterways to begin planning your next river cruise and anticipate the time when the world of river cruising returns. Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1-844-SWCRUISE (1-844-792-7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.