With global cases currently approaching 40 million, there’s no denying the impact of Covid-19 on cruise travel today.
Currently there are a small number of cruises in regions such as the Mediterranean and the Baltic sea attempting new interim solutions such as creating 'cruise bubbles''. These 'bubbles' operate at 50 to 70% occupancy, with onboard social distancing practices and shore discovery available only on guided tours booked directly with the cruise itself.
This has already led to the Italian ship MSC Grandiosa denying a family re-embarkation after they left the guided tour in Naples, in breach of their Covid-19 protocols.
What follows is a likely road map as we look ahead:
- During the next year, cruise travel can be expected to move from crowded, city excursions to offering the experience of connecting to nature and wildlife, as well as more niche expeditions to previously unexplored regions and uninhabited islands.
- From 2022 onwards, the impact from Covid-19 should lessen as a result of improved protocols, testing, and health infrastructure along with transmission decreasing due to a gradual build up of immunity from recovered patients and vaccines.
- By 2023, Covid-19 may still be around but is more likely to be isolated to certain regions.
- In 2024 and onwards, experts agree that most interim solutions will likely no longer be necessary. However cruisers may prefer more niche experiences than the rushed city tours that were prevalent in the industry before now.
Storylines is preparing for such a future by creating a safe environment to live and cruise. By using every technology and protocol available, the company's forward thinking concepts will become crucial features in creating a safe haven for its residents. Storylines CEO Alister Punton said,
“With forethought, technological innovations and smartly implemented protocols, our lifestyle won’t be limited to locked down cities or wearing masks aboard”.
Storylines is addressing well being from every aspect. Sanitation, nutrition, an engaged community, medical center, compounding pharmacy, cultural and educational experiences, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor pursuits and physical fitness have all been included. Storylines aims to enable its residents to live healthier, happier lives.
To do so, Storylines’ Dr. Brian Martin leads a holistic medical approach with assistance from top environmental engineers and sustainability officers. In addition to providing the hospital facilities of a small city, Storylines has introduced industry leading health protocols and advanced sanitation equipment, including HEPA air filtration and UV sanitization. Collectively these approaches are designed to protect residents in their floating home beyond a modern big-city life.
Storylines COO Shannon Lee said,
“Storylines residents’ life aboard is similar to a gated community. High-risk areas such as buffets have been replaced with 20 unique restaurant and bar concepts. Our passenger density is just 40% of a typical cruise ship, and as a residential ship there is little turnover of passengers and crew. That combined with total control over what goes on and off the ship means the threat of Covid-19 exposure is greatly minimized - allowing for safe cruising amongst a healthy, active community”.