What It Was Like Cruising During COVID
If you have been wondering what it is like to cruise with COVID-19 protocols in place, you are in luck! Cruiseline.com Contributing Writer Solange Drigant recently sat down to chat with world adventurer Stefan of stgtravels to discuss his recent Christmas cruise out of Singapore onboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. Keep reading to see what he had to say about the experience or check out his video below for a full recap.
Let’s jump right into it. Can you tell us about the testing process?
Stefan: It was a lot easier than I expected. Royal Caribbean sent me instructions on how to get a COVID-19 test two to three days before the cruise, and they even had a place set up for us to go get the PCR test done. They took care of everything before embarkation day so there wasn’t a long wait, which was nice. While Royal Caribbean said I would need to show these results upon boarding, in fact no one asked for it. I am pretty sure they already had the results in their system and knew everyone was negative. Oh, and they did a rapid COVID-19 test at the end of the sailing too, which also went super quick and smooth.
An onboard health screening on Quantum of the Seas. - Screenshot by stgtravels
Things went smoothly even on the day of boarding?
Stefan: Yes! We had digital check-ins and were assigned a specific time we had to be there, so even though there were things we had to do–like get our contact tracing wristbands, get our temperature checked, etc.—we were in our rooms within an hour of getting to the pier.
So, what was the overall experience like onboard?
Stefan: I have to say going on the cruise was tremendous fun. I have some high standards, so in my mind there is always room for improvement, but overall; the people were positive and cheerful, and it was a nice getaway. I’ve done staycations recently where I booked a hotel hoping to get that "vacation feeling," but the cruise came much closer. Now, you must wear your mask all the time, except for eating or drinking, or when you are in the pool or working out, but it was no different from being out and about in Singapore.
Signs for reserved seating to maintain social distancing guidelines. - Screenshot by stgtravels
What other COVID protocols did you encounter?
Stefan: Well, there are checkpoints throughout the ship where you get your temperature checked or must scan your room card, and of course other things like QR codes at restaurants and hand sanitizers everywhere. You also need reservations for nearly everything. Which turned out to be a bit of a challenge! What I quickly realized was while there were fewer people on the ship, there were also fewer seats at entertainment venues too. So, there was not really an advantage to having less people on the ship.
I always use a travel agent when booking a cruise and I know you said the Royal Caribbean online booking experience was difficult. Would you consider using a travel agent in the future?
Stefan: Honestly, I did not realize how complex it would be to book a cruise on my own. I would have assumed that booking through an agent would be more expensive than booking direct too. Now that you and I have chatted about this and I know that is not the case, if I could find someone to save me the headache and possibly even some money, yea absolutely!
Ok, last question, was cruising during a worldwide pandemic worth it?
Stefan: While it is a different kind of travel experience than I am used to, it was amazing to get away for a few days and relax. I did not think I was going to enjoy the cruise as much as I did, but it was absolutely worth it. Just the fact that you physically leave the city and see it fading into the distance helps trigger the feelings of a true vacation. I would not hesitate to book another cruise, well maybe I would not book it myself, but you get the idea.
Check out all of Stefan’s travel videos on his YouTube channel @stgtravels.
Christmas COVID Cruise on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Sea