EU Releases Health Guidelines for Cruises: Masks, Social Distancing, No Indoor Pools

While it is important to know that these are guidelines and not requirements, it's possible that this document could be adopted, in whole or in part, by other government organizations around the world, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has yet to issue any sort of formal guidance on the resumption of cruises, even as the industry heads into its fourth month of total shutdown.

Some changes, like social distancing and recommended mask wearing, shouldn't come as a surprise. And some of these protocols -- like visible hand washing stations and regular cleaning of public areas -- were already in place on cruise ships prior to the pandemic.

Others -- like the recommended elimination of indoor swimming pools and separate activities for cruisers depending on age -- have the potential to radically change the cruise experience.

A rundown of what cruisers can possibly expect in the not-so-distant future:

  • Limits on Pools and hot tubs

  • High Risk Groups such as the elderly should visit a doctor before boarding

  • Touchless Digital Embarkation

  • Denial for boarding for those with COVID-19 symptoms

  • Capacity restriction

  • Shorter Voyages and fewer ports

  • Limited interactions or creation of cohort groupings

  • Masks to be worn

  • Fewer amenities in cabin, end of twice a day cabin service

  • No more self serve food options

  • Limited public restroom occupancy

  • New fitness center and spa protocols

  • New Air and Ventilation protocols

  • Routine COVID-19 Testing