7 Things You Won’t See on Cruises Anymore

Cruises are coming back, but they certainly won't be the same.

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Cruise Ship at Philipsburg
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How COVID-19 will change cruise ship travel

If you’re a fan of cruises, you’ve probably been wondering when you can go on one again. Now that the world is slowly returning to normal, cruise lines have also started planning their comeback for a post-COVID-19 world. One thing is certain though: when you do get to go on cruises again, they will look very different from what they looked like before.

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Cruise passengers return to cruise ships
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A casual boarding process

One of the first things that will change about cruises is the boarding process. According to CNN, Cruise Lines International Association has been working with member cruise lines, as well as the U.S. government, to create new guidelines that include stringent boarding procedures.

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Woman on lounge chair with laptop
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Outdated technologies

Ever wished cruises could become more modern? You’ll be happy to know the COVID-19 pandemic could mean cruises investing in newer technologies, such as sterilization robots. “Sterilization robots already in use in other parts of the travel industry, such as hotels, could ensure hospital-level sanitation standards,” Clare Lee, a research analyst at Euromonitor International, tells CNN.

Even avid cruisers might not know these features exist on cruise ships.

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Crew being introduced during pool deck barbecue aboard cruiseship Silver Spirit (Silversea Cruises).
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Socializing with the crew

If you enjoy making friends with the crew while you’re on a cruise, you might have to change your habits. “You won’t be seeing much socialization with the crew and staff of the ship much, especially now that there is a virus on the loose, and nothing screams ‘Infect!” more than physical contact and face-to-face interactions,” says Willie Greer, founder of The Product Analyst.

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Captain and officers on the bridge of a ship.
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Hanging out on the ship’s bridge

According to Greer, unless you are a VIP passenger, it’s possible that you won’t be allowed to tour the ship’s bridge anytime soon.

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Man enjoys pipe aboard cruiseship MV Columbus (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) during passage through islands of Mamanuca Group.
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Smoking on the ship

Are you a smoker? Then it might be time to consider other travel options. “If you’re a serial smoker or vaper, then the cruise ships of today won’t be something you’ll come to appreciate, as more and more cruise lines offer less and fewer areas for their passengers to smoke in,” says Greer. “There are even some ships that don’t allow smoking on-board at all, so you better think long and hard if you want to either relax on a trip to the Bahamas or just smoke at home.”

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Ten Pound Poms on board P&O's Oriana in Sydney
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Some traditional cruise activities

Cruises offer a variety of activities to keep passengers entertained. However, some of these activities might not be happening anymore. “Due to the rising awareness of the environment, a lot of activities that include throwing objects overboard are now being frowned upon, like throwing messages in a bottle, some sports like golf, as well as the tradition of throwing streamers and popping party poppers when the ship set sails, so let us not think of those and just think of the turtles you’re going to help in the end,” says Greer.

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dessert buffet in a cruise ship restaurant
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The self-serve buffet

“Guests can expect an end to the self-serve buffet, however, a full-serve buffet will still be available,” says Ilana Schattauer, owner of Life Well Cruised.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest