International cruises have been sorely missed throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries have have periods throughout the pandemic where limited cruising was available, but it has been quite some time since sailing between different nations has happened. Vaccine distribution is making many cruise lines hopeful for a restart this summer. There are still many questions, however. Perhaps the most pressing is whether or not international travel will be a realistic goal. Let’s look at the facts.
Iceland opens up to fully vaccinated travelers
The main thing standing in the way of international sailing is the travel bans that various countries have instituted. It’s been made clear that areas of the world like Oceania may be closed off for a while, but other regions are more open to the idea of ending their travel bans. Iceland has already announced on March 17th that it will open up to those who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. This is a pretty huge deal for tourism in Iceland, and it’s also a good indicator that international cruises may be making a return once vaccine distribution is more complete.
Cruise vaccine rules
One of the points that may help out the cruise industry in making a return to international travel is a strict adherence to a vaccine requirement. Several cruise lines have already announced that they will be asking all guests to have proof of vaccination, including Royal Caribbean. This, combined with advanced sanitization procedures that have been pioneered throughout the pandemic, might make countries more open to the idea of allowing cruises to visit. It may take some time to build up that trust, however. If cruises can successfully sail within their own nation (or to nearby nations) without causing major outbreaks, we may see some travel bans lifted.
Tourism is influential
Another factor that may indicate the return of international cruises is the mere fact that tourism is a major boon to economies. Many nations (particularly those regularly visited by cruise ships) have been hurting due to the lack of tourism during the pandemic. It was made clear that the economic side effects of ending a travel ban were part of the reasoning for Iceland. If vaccines are shown to be effective at keeping people safe on cruise ships, many nations may decide to take the small amount of risk in favor of restarting their tourism industries.
Ultimately, it is impossible to say what the future of cruising looks like. The next few months will be vital in restoring the public’s confidence, and we hope to see it go quite well.