While the number of virus cases continues to rise in many parts of the United States, so too does the time it will be until cruises return.
What originally started as a month-long pause in operations has turned into a complete shutdown of the entire industry for more than six months… and possibly longer. As of now, there’s no clear date as to when cruises will sail again from the United States.
One thing that is sure is that when cruises return to sailing, it’s going to be very different.
Already cruise lines have announced many changes they plan to implement. All of the following look to be given on any cruise based on what’s been announced so far:
- Social distancing
- Temperature checks
- Increased air filtration
- Stateroom disinfectant fogging
- Removal of self-serve food
But there’s something that’s noticeably missing from this list of what’s been announced — face masks.
Hints That Masks May Be an Option
In the battle against the virus outbreak, the biggest recommendation has been social distancing. But a close second has been to wear a mask. To be sure, no one likes wearing a mask, but in many places it’s a requirement — especially when you can’t social distance.
And one thing that’s been at the forefront for cruise passengers is the question of if they will have to wear a mask while they sail.
To say it would make cruising feel a bit different is an understatement, but there are signs that masks may be required — at least at times on the ship when distancing is impossible.
First, this is already recommended on cruises starting to return in Europe.
EU Healthy Gateways is a consortium that aims to coordinate between European Union countries about how to protect public health in regards to ports of entry like airports and cruise ports. In that regard, they recently released a 49-page document outlining how to start cruises back sailing safely.
Among the recommendations were masks for both crew and passengers in cases where social distance couldn’t be observed.
Furthermore, Virgin Voyages has mentioned that if masks are required on land, then they would require them on the ship.
In recent months other cruise lines have seemingly been in a “wait and see” mode regarding masks as it hasn’t been mentioned in any official plans on a return to sailing that we’ve seen. That said, the CDC has asked that crew members on cruise ships wear masks during the current outbreak.
In other words, there has been no definitive word on masks for passengers, but there are several hints that they could be required.
How Many Passengers Are Open to Masks on a Cruise
Given the controversy being seen with masks on land, and the fact that there is at least a possibility of masks being required on cruise ship, we wanted to know what actual cruise passengers thought about wearing masks.
Specifically, if you had to wear a mask at times on a cruise ship (such as when indoors), would you still sail?
This is the question we asked more than 1,500 past cruise passengers. The answer? Nearly half of those surveyed said they would sail if they would sail on a cruise if it meant they had to wear a mask at times.
Almost another quarter said that they would “maybe” sail if it meant they had to wear a mask on their cruise.
In other words, about two-thirds of people would at least be open to sailing while wearing a mask.
On the flip side, there was a large amount — 32% — who answered that they would not sail if they had to wear a mask, even if it was only wearing one sometimes.
What Passengers Have to Say About Masks
In addition, we asked readers for comments about issues regarding the return to cruising. As you might guess, masks were frequently mentioned, with strong opinions on both sides of the topic.
From people saying they absolutely would not wear a mask to that anyone not wearing one should “ride in the life boats pulled behind the ship,” comments show there is still a wide divide of opinions.
– All people on cruises should wear a mask when INSIDE the Ship or outside the ship in a large gathering. No masks required when in your room or just walking around outside the ship.
– I don’t think I want to vacation wearing a mask all day but I would be willing to wear a mask on close proximity of others such as during the shows but not around the pool or casino.
– I would not sail if I knew I had to wear a mask at all times.
– Having to wear (a) mask all day… it’s suffocating!
– Overreacting and forcing us to wear masks and too much washy washy happy happy and not being able to go out of our cabin.
– I’m good with wearing masks at embarkation and disembarkation but not while on the ship.
– I would prefer to not wear a mask at all but would consider wearing one in hallways only. I will cancel my cruise if we have to wear a mask outside.
– Wearing of masks at all times onboard may be a deal-breaker.
– Unless there is a vaccine, masks must be mandatory in crowd situations.
– I won’t wear a mask on my vacation.
– No to wearing a mask. If things haven’t calmed down enough when sailings begin to avoid mandatory masks, then it’s not time to start cruising.
– I would never cruise if masks were mandated at any point on the cruise.
– I do not want to wear a mask; I am 68 years old and my life is passing me by. I would gamble on dying rather than continue to live like this.
– As long as we aren’t made to wear masks outdoors I’m ready to cruise! 👍
– Enforce the rules that they make, do not say that you have to wear masks, and then let people not wear them.
If mask are required, make sure everyone complies or make them ride in the life boats pulled behind the ship.
– Would like them to require masks when indoors and not eating or drinking.
– Make sure mask wearing is enforced.
– I will only go on a cruise during this pandemic if masks are required in areas where social distancing can’t be maintained (basically inside the ship).
One thing we know for sure… we’re just happy that we don’t have to make the decision on whether or not masks are required.
What do you think about wearing a mask on a cruise? Let us know in the comments below…
- Survey: Four Out of Five Cruisers Definitely Plan to Sail Again (And Two-Thirds Are Open to Masks)
- Updated: When Major Cruise Lines Plan to Resume Sailings
- Critical of Cruise Lines, CDC Extends No Sail Order