My Honest Opinion of UK Cruising in 2021

Is UK Cruising safe in 2021?

Hey Owlets,

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the cruise industry starting to reawaken, and honestly I’m excited. You have no idea how much I miss having my morning coffee with a view of the sun rising over the ocean, meeting new people and out of nowhere making friends for life, getting to experience a new culture every day and revel in the amazing entertainment. The only issue is that I’m not sure how possible some of the things I mentioned are going to be - it’s almost definite that several of those things are out the window for the time being, but at least we can go on a cruise, right? I have several thoughts about these UK Staycation cruises launching so I wanted to share - if anything just because I’m hoping you can help me decide.

Is UK Cruising safe in 2021?
P&O Cruises MV Ventura

Being “trapped on board”

This is the first thing I wanted to address because even pre-covid this was a comment I would receive all the time from my land-loving followers and I never really understood it until recently. In case you didn’t know, apart from a very limited number of cruises, the vast majority of these staycation cruises DO NOT STOP ANYWHERE. There are no ports of call, no day trips to explore the local area - once you board the ship that’s it until disembarkation day. It’s just sailing around the UK so you can experience being back on a cruise ship.

I’m very much in two minds about this, and I think it’s because there are so many variables. When I went on MV Columbus in November 2019 I got a little glimpse of what life might be like in a pandemic-cruising world. There was an outbreak of Norovirus on board and the crew tried (and did very well) to contain it to a small number of passengers, but it did impact on our experience because the pools and jacuzzis were closed. On top of that, CMV really didn’t have a reputation for entertaining their guests on board. When we were further South it was fine because I was happy to sit and sunbathe with a magazine or practise my Spanish with the bartender I had befriended over a language exchange. But once we got closer to the UK ((particularly the two days crossing the Bay of Biscay) I started to get cabin fever. There was very little entertainment on board, it was too cold to sit outside and the ship’s internet was both extortionate and non-functional so I ended up just sitting in my cabin watching TV which I could’ve done for free at home. This is my concern about UK cruises to nowhere.

If you choose a line like Royal Caribbean, NCL or (I’m just guessing on this one) P&O with their renewed focus towards family entertainment on the newer ships then you’re not going to be bored. Some do this more than others, but in general these cruise lines tend to go out of their way to give you a jam-packed schedule and make sure there’s something to do every day. Cruise lines like Fred Olsen, or to a certain extend Princess Cruises, pretty much leave you to make your own entertainment apart from the odd talk or on-board event. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue because sea days are your time to relax after a busy day in port, but if you’re not visiting any ports then I think you need to choose your cruise line wisely, depending on your personal preferences. It’s also a little luck of the draw as to whether you get good weather and can enjoy the ship’s outdoor facilities.

Personally I don’t mind the idea of 7 days straight at sea, but then I’ve always fancied doing a repositioning cruise. It might be a deal breaker for you though so it’s definitely something to think about.

Is UK Cruising safe in 2021?
On Board MV Columbus

Being REALLY Trapped on Board

Let’s say the worst happens and there’s somehow an outbreak of COVID on board. I can’t really speak to what would actually happen because we don’t have a lot to go on at the moment, but what if you end up in quarantine, trapped in your cabin?

I’ve always been the type of cruiser that goes more towards the “quantity over quality” end of the cruising scale. I would prefer to travel with a cheaper cruise line in an inside cabin so I can afford to travel more often because you never actually spend that much time in your cabin, right? Well the he pandemic world of cruising totally flips that idea on its head. I’m the type of person that needs fresh air and sunshine to function, so being trapped in an inside cabin and not allowed to leave would be my worst nightmare. Realistically I’m not sure if I would feel comfortable booking an inside cabin at the moment. I would still book a UK cruise, but it would be a case of quality over quantity and I would spend the extra to book a balcony cabin, rather than my usual method of travel.

Is UK Cruising safe in 2021?

Masks and Vaccines

Let’s just get this out of the way now because I know this is a big elephant in the room. I’m pro-mask and pro-vaccine. I don’t understand why you would be against something that protects you and the people you care about, but if you’re a regular reader of my blog then I’m pretty sure we have similar views on this. In terms of cruising though, both of these safety measures have caused issues.

A lot of the big cruise lines have said that you have to have both vaccinations in order to cruise with them. Now I am lucky to have already been offered and had my first dose of the vaccine, but I hadn’t at time that these rules were announced and I was upset - not surprised and I didn’t disagree but I was upset. The way that the UK government have chosen to roll out the vaccine means that cruising is pretty much exclusively for anyone over the age of 40 - it’s basically back to old days when cruising wasn’t considered cool. As much as I understand the reasons behind this measure, a lot of people my age feel like they’ve been left behind. Even though I’ve been vaccinated it’s still putting me off because I can’t travel with my boyfriend because he’s too young and healthy to be offered the vaccine before cruising restarts this summer. If you do feel this way though, let me tell you that it’s not just un-vaccinated people. Cruising has always been about spending time with my family, and one day earlier this year they received a letter to say that they would no longer be welcomed on board because of their health conditions. I understand that it’s what needs to happen for cruising to restart but it’s no less disappointing to see all of this news about the relaunch of cruising only to have the door slammed in your face once again.

Another big issue that a lot of you have mentioned is the idea of wearing masks on board. I’ve heard so many comments that you don’t feel like you can relax if you’re wearing a mask and I do understand that. Right at the start of the pandemic I was freaking out because I felt like I couldn’t breathe with a mask on, and I still feel a little like that now although I have gotten better. The only response I can give to this is how badly do you want to go on a cruise? From what I’ve heard so far, I’m pretty sure that regulations on board will just be a carbon copy of the UK’s general mask rules. If you can wear a mask into a pub or restaurant and still have a good time then great. If not, maybe you should wait a while before booking.

Is UK Cruising safe in 2021?
Spotting Cruise Ships in Torquay

Final Thoughts

I know this post probably comes across as quite negative but I just wanted to speak freely and honestly about my concerns around these staycation cruises that are popping up. In all honesty, I’m genuinely considering booking one and I realise that I’m saying that from the perspective of someone that has somehow gone from being unfortunate to have inherited dodgy kidneys to now being privileged because I get my vaccine sooner. The only reason I haven’t booked yet is simply because I want to wait and see if Jack can get his vaccine or if I would have to go alone. We’ve been waiting so long to be able to return to our happy places, so it’s mad to me that so many people are complaining about the rules that have been imposed when it was what we all expected. At the end of the day, would you rather cruise with a mask or have to wait a while to get your vaccine, or not cruise at all for potentially another year or two? I know which I’d choose, but only you can decide what’s right for you.

Have you booked a staycation cruise, or are you considering? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have your say; it's a hoot!