The World Is Opening Up
Although it doesn’t really feel like it yet in Australia and New Zealand, some parts of the world are beginning to open up again. In Europe, several cruise lines have resumed operation although it looks somewhat different to pre-COVID days.
Ponant has successfully operated more than 50 COVID-free, successful voyages since resuming cruising. Other cruise lines have also been cruising again – the larger ships taking far fewer people and with shorter itineraries. The larger ships have had to make more changes than the smaller ships. Shore excursions on the larger ships, for example, are more structured and have more restrictions in order to limit contact with people outside of the cruise operators. The smaller ships on the other hand, often include their own excursions with their own on-board expedition team so things are running relatively normally albeit with heightened awareness and protocol around sanitation.
One concern people have is the recycled air through the air-conditioning units. Again, for smaller ships like the Ponant fleet, this isn’t such a big challenge. Their staterooms all have balconies allowing plenty of fresh air and their air conditioning system was already bringing in fresh air several times each hour.
Unfortunately, the media doesn’t report the success stories and this often gives a skewed version of reality. We didn’t hear about the many cruise lines who were totally unaffected by COVID-19, we only heard about the few that were. We don’t see the success stories in the paper but rest assured, they are happening. People are getting out and about and exploring the world still and it’s only a matter of time before we will be able to do the same. So keep dreaming, keep planning and hang in there … the world will be your oyster again soon!
Image: PONANT | Phillip Plisson