Will cruise fans get to hit the water again in 2021 or not?

Are you a cruiser too? If so, you may be going cuckoo crazy wanting to know when we can hit the high seas again also and if that will be in 2021. As we all know, the pandemic is not over and cruise ships make for excellent Petri dishes.

Just ask anyone who has experienced a norovirus outbreak on one. Or, worse, has succumbed to one. Raises hand. February 2018 Asia cruise. After 20-something cruises, it finally got me. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later with how frequently I cruise.

Recently, I read some encouraging news in the travel section of U.S. News and World Report about cruises resuming as early as Spring 2021. From A to Z, they listed cruise lines and the dates they plan to start sailing again —with enhanced safety protocols in place, of course.

However it also needs to be noted that the Conditional Sailing Order that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued back in October 2020 still remains in effect until Nov. 1, 2021.

Cruise liner

MIAMI, FLORIDA – MARCH 14: Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas Cruise ship which is the world’s largest passenger liner is seen docked at PortMiami after returning to port from a Eastern Caribbean cruise as the world deals with the coronavirus outbreak on March 14, 2020 in Miami, Florida. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that at his request Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and MSC have all agreed to suspend outbound cruises as the world tries to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In addition to the CDC’s recommendation to avoid cruising “because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high,” the order also stipulates a “phased approach for resuming passenger cruises.” This means enhanced safety protocols that include daily temperature checks, face masks and onboard facilities with testing capabilities, among other procedures.

Basically, just like everything else, expect changes with cruising thanks to COVID-19, including additional pre-travel homework. Because you’ll also need to check travel requirements for the city you’re planning to embark from.

Do they require a negative COVID test prior to your arrival? Do you have to quarantine for a certain amount of days after arriving in the city? And if your itinerary includes international ports of call, are they open to Americans? Depending on your risk tolerance and health status, you may be ready to start planning your next voyage.