The size of a toppled Empire State Building, freight ship Ever Given — with its towering, Lego-like cargo of green, red and blue containers — was wedged tight in the teal waters of the Suez Canal. The world took a brief break from Covid-19 death tolls to gape at a different number: the estimated $15bn per day lost when one of our planet’s busiest trade routes was effectively choked on Tuesday, March 23.
As the novel coronavirus tore through the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan early last year, passengers confined to their rooms grappled with boredom, inconsistent room service, uncertainty and fear.
Royal Caribbean International has said it will start sailing seven-night voyages from the Bahamas in June, with stops in the Bahamas and Mexico. All adult passengers and crew will have to be vaccinated, and passengers under 18 will have to test negative for the coronavirus.
When a cruise ship departs the dock and heads out to sea, it's like leaving everything behind and moving toward infinite possibilities. There's a slight rumble under the ship's hull, the coastline fades, and the ocean becomes both your only view and your highway to new places. The water sparkles in the sunshine. It moves. It's breathtaking.
Cruise lines in the United States aren't able to sail U.S. waters with passengers, but they could be allowed soon if they rehearse passenger voyages with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety protocols in place.
When the MSC Grandiosa set sail from Genoa last Sunday - with only citizens of Europe's Schengen-area countries and below its 70 percent capacity limit - it became the first ship in MSC's fleet to return to cruising since spring coronavirus lockdowns halted cruising in Europe.
In over 30 years of covering the cruise industry, I've taken more than 60 cruises. I enjoy sailing on megaships and on smaller vessels. But even when this pandemic is over, it will take a lot to get me to board a cruise ship of any size.
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