Cruising is slowly making a comeback, with South Africa's cruising season set to restart this year. While this is great news for avid cruise travellers, there will be many changes for the 2021/2022 cruise season due to the pandemic.
According to Nick Wilkinson, the regional vice president of business development for the Middle East and Africa for Norwegian Cruise Line, many cruise ships will operate at reduced capacity, with the most accommodating around 40% of available capacity per cruise.
Wilkinson said there is pent up demand from the South African market, with some already planning their 2022 and 2023 journeys.
Here are some tips for travellers who are considering a cruise:
Find out if you need to be fully vaccinated
Cruise companies may require their passengers to be fully vaccinated before boarding the ship. The purpose of this decision is to make passengers feel more comfortable during their cruise. That way, they get to enjoy the full cruise experience without any Covid-19 fears. In some cases, they may require a negative PCR test.
Cash in on the discounted rates
As cruising came to a halt for most of 2020, cruise companies are trying to woo guests to book with attractive deals. These deals can include price cuts on accommodation, beverage and meals and land activities. Compare the value for money on the different cruise ships before making a booking.
Plan an itinerary
While cruising is meant for leisure and lazy days by the pool, planning an itinerary allows you to balance your time between exploring and relaxing. Since a cruise ship is a destination in itself and offers guests a variety of experiences, you should make time to enjoy them.
Purchase all your vouchers ahead of the cruise
For those not taking an all-inclusive package, book vouchers before the cruise. In the weeks leading up to the cruise, most cruise lines offer significant discounts on food, beverages and activities. As soon as you set sail, you'll find that the price increases.
While cruise companies are taking all the precautions, having implemented new Covid-19 cleanliness protocols, travellers are encouraged to practise social distancing, sanitise and follow regulations on board.