We are often asked, “When will cruising return?” The short answer is that it already has. However, just because cruising has returned does not mean that everyone is ready to get back on a ship.
Most of us are still staying home, many of us haven’t seen friends in months, numbers of us are avoiding restaurants and retail stores. But for others of us, the virus seems like much less of a threat than it did before. People are returning to work, going out to bars and restaurants, and attempting to live their lives similarly to the way that they did before the pandemic. With many river cruise companies returning to the waters of Europe we thought it would be a good time to ask you, our readers, if you had designs on cruising any time in the near future.
Before I looked at the results of the survey that we ran on River Cruise Advisor, I looked at the results from our sister site, Avid Cruiser. To be frank, I was shocked. 52 percent of Avid Cruiser readers said that they were not ready to start cruising again, meaning that a whopping 48 percent said that they were ready. On River Cruise Advisor, there was a bit more of a consensus with 79 percent of readers saying they were not ready to cruise, and a mere 21 percent saying that they are ready to sail again. These results align with a survey that we ran last month where 22 percent of readers said that they would be willing to return to cruising before August, while 78 percent said that they would not be willing to cruise again this summer. However, there is a clear contrast between those results and the results that we got from our readers on Avid Cruiser. So, what has changed?
Some state that the Coronavirus pandemic is not as serious as it is being made out to be. That the media over-sensationalized the virus. Others have listened to what cruise lines have had to say about their sanitation measures, trusting that these measures, along with implementing social distancing on board, will be enough to prevent the spread of the virus.
Of those who said they were not ready to cruise nearly all stated that they would not cruise again until there was a vaccine for COVID-19.
Whether or not you are ready to start sailing again, many cruise lines are eager to get passengers back on board their vessels.
In the beginning of June, German river cruise company, Nicko Cruises, resumed sailing on an itinerary from Straubing to Düsseldorf. Another German river cruise company, A-ROSA, resumed sailing on the Douro, Rhine and Danube in the past week.
It is going to be easier for river cruise companies to resuming sailing throughout Europe over the next few months because travel restrictions have been eased tremendously throughout the EU. But – they haven’t been eased for everyone. In fact, just before publishing this story a New York Times headline popped up on my phone, “EU May Bar American Travelers As It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures On Virus.” So, while certain companies are sailing there may be a bit of time before people residing in the US can hop on a European river cruise.
There are companies within the US that plan on returning to cruising, too, though. American Cruise Lines intended to start sailing at the end of June, but has now pushed back their first departure to July 12. UnCruise Adventures plans to sail its Alaska itineraries starting August 1. Carnival Cruise Line was one of the first cruise lines to announce its return in August; however, the company is now extending its pause through September 30.
What this goes to show is that times are still uncertain. We are learning more information about the virus every day. Some of us are going to be ready to sail away as soon as we are able; for others, it may take more time. We see this in all facets of our lives, though. Are we comfortable going to the grocery store without a mask? What about having friends over to our houses? Going to a restaurant? Riding in an Uber? Jetting off on an airplane? These answers are going to vary from person to person, just as we saw in our survey.
There is one thing that I can say with utmost certainty, though – cruising is back. It may take time for all lines to resume sailing and for people to be ready to step on board a ship again, but it is back. I hope to see you all on the waters soon.