Within global tourism, the cruise industry has been one of the most affected by the COVID pandemic. This summer, vaccinations and security protocols allow these gigantic floating hotels to once again sail the waters of the Mediterranean and northern Europe.
“We look forward to returning,” said Manolis Alevropoulo, Vice President of Maritime Operations for Celebrity Cruises. “We are excited to return. We attach great importance to the safety and health of our guests and crew. We feel very confident that by following the protocols we will all come back stronger.”
Cruise operators say their ships are probably the safest places for travelers right now. All crew members are vaccinated and hygienic protocols are strict. Passengers can only board with a vaccination certificate or a negative coronavirus test.
“The term is ‘travel bubble’, says Euronews reporter Symela Touchtidou.” The idea is to stay safe by staying away from potential infected areas. The goal is to get people back to ships that have already started sailing in most of the world. The cruise industry is aware that there is a lot at stake. This year it cannot assume that passengers are again blocked on board due to a pandemic. “
And how does that bubble work? Pierfrancesco Vago, president of the International Association of Cruise Lines, explains it to us.
“This is how we create a security bubble. Everyone who works on the ship is checked. When we arrive at a destination, we engage with the local authorities. In our case, we adopt the bubble system for the destination as well. Our clients visit a place and for now they do not meet with the local population. They go in buses in which the driver and the tour guide pass a check-up and return to their surroundings once they are tested. “
Cyprus comes out winning
But the rules may vary depending on the operator or destination. For example, passengers in Cyprus are free to walk wherever they want. The pandemic has allowed the island to reposition itself in this competitive market.
“We have a very secure entry protocol,” explains Cyprus Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios. “You can come with a vaccination certificate or with a negative test, there is also a random test on arrival. So from the moment we think it is safe to enter the country, there is no reason not to let people enjoy it. The island. In Cyprus the pandemic has allowed us to take advantage of this crisis on this issue. An example, for the first time in history, the Royal Caribbean company has chosen Cyprus as its base port. “
It is expected that next August about sixty cruise ships will move through European waters. Operators cross their fingers to get afloat.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.