Local travel agent shares experience with test cruise


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Cruises are slowly starting to sail again, going to ports that will allow tourists.

If you’re wondering what the new ‘COVID-19 cruise experience’ looks like, local travel agent Lori Visser recently went on a simulation cruise and is shares his experience.

“They were so excited to have guests on board,” said Visser, a travel agent with American Express TravelWorld cruise planners.

Visser has just returned from a simulation cruise with Royal Caribbean. She and her daughter traveled from Miami to a private island, called Coco Cay, in the Bahamas.

“Everyone had to be vaccinated to get on the ship, they are taking a picture of that,” Visser said.

Currently, she says, all major cruise lines require proof of vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test.

It could change. This test run was prepared for unvaccinated passengers. Some people have volunteered to act as unvaccinated passengers. Vaccinated guests received bracelets.

“You are never asked once you are on a cruise whether or not you are vaccinated, they are just looking for that bracelet,” Visser said.

Visser says that on Royal Caribbean everyone must wear a mask when moving indoors. Once outside, guests can go without a mask, unless they are in crowded areas.

“They have areas reserved for the vaccinated or for everyone if there are unvaccinated people on board like children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated,” Vissor said.

She says the same goes for shows and meals. Cruise lines worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and doctors to create the new protocols.

Visser says the biggest difference is more sanitation stations and fewer people on the boat. The ship he was on contained more than 6,600 people, but only 1,000 were on board. Quarantine quarters have also been added to ships.

“It sounds complicated before you go, but once you get there you don’t think too much about it other than just putting on your mask,” Vissor said.

The pandemic is constantly evolving and cruises are accommodating. Most companies offer full refunds and sometimes offer more money for a future cruise.

Keeping up with changes is a full-time job, which is why you may want to hire a travel agent who can keep you updated and ready for your trip.

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