Why I’m falling out of love with the cruise industry

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I never thought a day would come when I didn’t love everything about cruising.

But, with tears in my eyes, it only seems fair that I share with you the reasons I feel the way I do…

Cruise Mummy

How I fell in love with cruising

My love affair with cruising began eight years ago to the day.

The first time I ever saw a cruise ship was when I stepped aboard Allure of the Seas.

As we sailed away from Miami, cocktail in hand, on our dream honeymoon, we were completely in awe.

I was hooked. As soon as we returned, we booked another cruise.

Not long after that, I began cold-emailing cruise companies begging for a job.

Luckily, the very first email worked! I joined the marketing team at a large cruise travel agency, where I spent the next five years immersed in all things cruise.

It was heavenly.

Cancelled cruises

During the global pause, we’ve all suffered from cancelled cruises. But for me, the cancellations started a little before that.

In late 2019, I had a Bahamas cruise cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian and a European cruise cancelled due to a technical fault with the ship. 

Each time, the cruise lines were a dream to work with. Their attentive teams, flexible policies and generous credits made rescheduling and getting refunds a doddle.

The shutdown

When the pandemic hit and everybody’s cruises were cancelled it was, of course, a different story.

Refunds took months. But we didn’t mind. Travel agents and call centre workers became our new heroes as they worked tirelessly to pick up the pieces of our disrupted travel plans.

Travel agents have been, and still are, working harder than ever. And those that are self-employed aren’t actually even earning any money for much of the work that they do.

Initially, the cruise lines offerings of compensation seemed incredibly generous, with most offering at least 125% credit to anyone whose booking was affected.

Getting through lockdown

When the ships stopped sailing, I immersed myself deeper in the cruise world.

It gave me hope and something to look forward to during difficult times.

During lockdown, I posted daily videos on my Instagram stories, offering helpful cruise tips. I scoured the web for the best cruise deals and shared them with my followers. I spent hours in my DMs, helping people to plan and re-plan their cruises. 

I never made any money from these activities, I did it for the love of cruise.

My first cruise of 2021

In May 2021, I became one of the first Brits to cruise when MSC Virtuosa set sail on her maiden voyages from Southampton.

Only 800 guests were allowed on board a ship that had a capacity of 6,300. It was blissful.

The cruise went without a hitch, and I was overjoyed that cruising was back.

Although I knew that we were spoiled on this cruise, I had no idea how much things would change over the coming months…

Our Disney cruise

Next up was a Disney cruise with my husband and kids in July. 

Without the pandemic, we would probably have never been able to take a Disney cruise, as sailings in Europe were rare, usually at least seven nights’ long and way over our budget.

Yet the introduction of short cruises from our nearest port, Liverpool, made DCL accessible to us.

Our Disney cruise experience was truly amazing. It was everything we dreamed a Disney cruise would be.

Disney cruise

However, as I explained on the DCL Duo podcast, the pre-cruise experience was not so great.

Honestly, I think I spent more time planning the cruise than we actually spent on board the ship! There were so many hoops to jump through with PCR testing and form-filling.

We were told that there would not be enough spaces for everyone to attend the kids club, the speciality restaurants and the shows. We were invited to log in 30 days before the cruise, at 5 am on the dot, to reserve our spots.

However, before reserving anything, we had to complete the online check-in which opened at the same ungodly hour.

Disney’s online system just couldn’t handle a shipload of guests checking in simultaneously.

So, two hours and several coffees later, I was still frustratedly watching a blue circle spin around on my screen. Photos I tried to upload were rejected for different reasons on each attempt and the system repeatedly crashed, offering only an image of Snow White’s Seven Dwarves and a message that the website issues were being worked on.

If you’ve taken a Disney cruise this summer, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with those dwarves!

Although the online check-in was nothing short of horrendous, all was forgiven the moment we boarded the ship and we enjoyed a truly magical cruise.

MSC Virtuosa

Next up was another cruise on the beautiful MSC Virtuosa. This time with the kids, plus an extra 4,000 or so guests.

This was nothing like my first MSC Virtuosa cruise.

It soon became apparent that there were not enough staff on board to effectively deal with the number of guests.

The only way to get a sunbed was to move towels and brace yourself for a fight

Lunch in the main dining room was a two-hour affair, with drinks often taking 30 minutes or more to arrive. Every guest had a free drinks package and the poor staff were working like crazy trying to serve everyone. 

Reminding guests to wear masks, to wash their hands before entering restaurants and to social distance weren’t jobs that the MSC staff were tasked with on this cruise. They had enough to deal with.

As a result, around half of the guests ‘opted-out’ of the supposedly mandatory mask rules. People crowded into lifts and hot tubs and lined up shoulder-to-shoulder at the self-service buffet.

I suppose that some passengers might have assumed that because everyone had a lateral flow test before boarding that the ship was a covid-free zone. That wasn’t the case.

My daughter has caught norovirus on a cruise before, and I’m aware of how quickly germs can spread on a ship. We couldn’t share salt and pepper shakers then, why was it okay now?

During the cruise, rumours began circulating on social media that covid was spreading on the ship. One lady claimed that MSC Cruises had tried to charge her £100 for a test for her son who was unwell, a claim that MSC Cruises denied.

This was the first time I had ever looked forward to the end of a cruise.

As it turns out, my family was absolutely fine. Our experiences were nothing more than niggles in the grand scheme of things and they didn’t seem worthy of moaning about.

Sadly, the same isn’t true for every passenger on that cruise, as I have since discovered.

It’s been reported that over 100 people contracted COVID-19 on the cruise, with at least three people tragically dying. 

It’s important to note that these are all unofficial reports taken from a Facebook group set up to support people who had fallen ill as a result of their cruise. The actual numbers are not publicly available.

I would also stress that other ships have not seen the same issues as MSC Virtuosa. Guests have worn masks, have been reminded to distance where required, and as a result, there have not been any other reports of superspreader infections.

I would still consider the vast majority of cruise ships to be safer than hotels.

Harmony of the Seas

My next cruise is set to be Harmony of the Seas in a few weeks time. Although at this late stage I have no idea whether we will actually cruise.

I booked this cruise a year ago and paid for it with Future Cruise Credit. However, the cruise I’m being offered now falls some way short of the cruise I signed up for.

According to the travel agency I used, Royal Caribbean has changed my flights. Instead of the direct Manchester to Barcelona flights I booked, we now have indirect flights going via Frankfurt!

Instead of an easy two-hour trip, I’m now expected to get the kids out of bed at 2 am, take a flight to Frankfurt, hang around the airport for a few hours and then take another two-hour flight to Barcelona. We would land in the afternoon and make a quick sprint to join the ship just before it departs.

I’m not doing it. Aside from the fact that it’s not what I booked, taking unnecessary flights just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do given the pandemic (and climate crisis!).

It’s currently looking like we’re expected to pay for a second set of flights and transfers in addition to the ones we paid for that were changed.

The travel agency has been attempting to sort this out for several weeks and as the cruise date draws nearer, I’m becoming more stressed.

Even if we do cruise, we wouldn’t be able to leave the ship all week.

The stop in France has been removed from the itinerary. Majorca won’t allow children to get off the ship. And we can only get off in Italy if we buy Royal Caribbean’s excursions. 

Of course, these are government requirements, but I do think that Royal Caribbean could have done more to help.

Initially, there were some relatively cheap excursions (£500 for three half-day coach trips), but these sold out within a couple of days while I was trying to fix the flight issue. There are now no family-friendly excursions left at all.

Those without kids (or with older ones) do have some options, but they’re all so expensive! Sure, we’d love to take a day tour of Rome. But not for £1,325, thanks.

How I feel now

It pains me to say that I’m falling out of love with the cruise industry.

But, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I regularly receive messages from people who feel they’ve been given an unfair deal that has cost them time and money.

Oftentimes, changes to plans have been unavoidable. The ever-changing government rules and guidelines have made it incredibly hard for cruise lines to keep the plates spinning, while not turning a profit for quite some time.

While I sympathise and understand that they have a huge task at hand, I do feel that some of the cruise lines could be doing more for their guests.

The reason people return to cruising again and again is often due to the outstanding levels of service that they receive. If this continues to slip, what else is there?

The promise of a stress-free holiday with the freedom to explore multiple destinations just can’t be kept any more in these unpredictable times.

And without the same high levels of customer service that cruisers have come to expect when they part with their money, cruising will begin to lose its appeal for some. 

The solution

I believe that the cruise lines must invest more in supporting their workers both at sea and on land.

There must be enough staff on board to keep people safe. There must be enough staff on land to answer the phones when people need help with their bookings.

I get that finances are tight and I don’t envy the decisions that must be made by those at the top.

But cutting corners by understaffing, booking flights that nobody in their right mind would book for themselves and hiking up the price of excursions just isn’t the right way to do it, in my humble opinion.

Where this leaves me

I was nervous about airing my dirty laundry concerning my changing attitude towards the cruise industry. But, I feel it’s only fair that I share my downs as well as my ups.

Comment trolls sometimes criticise cruise bloggers and vloggers for not being honest. They believe that we’re all just given free trips in exchange for glowing reviews.

Well, my cruise blog has been read two million times and I’ve never received a free cruise because of it. So losing my so-called ‘perks’ isn’t something I’m worried about! I’m more concerned with helping my readers in the most honest way I can.

Some of the people who boarded MSC Virtuosa last month are no longer alive on this Earth and the thought of that has definitely affected me. I can’t even begin to comprehend what their families must be going through, as well as the families of anyone who is fighting for their lives in hospital at this moment.

I know that despite the changes, the cruise industry still has the potential to offer fantastic holidays. Every day, thousands of people are having the most amazing experience at sea.

So, I’ll continue to post useful cruise content on my blog. I’ll continue to help people to choose the best cabins, decide whether to buy a drinks package and find great deals on cruise car parking.

I’ll also continue to send out weekly emails to the people on my list. (You can join that here if you’d like to keep in touch).

And I’ll (hopefully) take the five cruises I have booked!

But, if you wonder why I may not be shouting quite so loudly about the latest cruise news on social media, booking more cruises for my family and sharing the best cruise deals I find with you, this is why.

I hope you understand.

Jenni x 

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38 thoughts on “Why I’m falling out of love with the cruise industry”

  1. Really interesting read Jenni, we have two cruises booked next year both with P&O.

    We fell out of love with RC back in 2018 when we cruised on the newly refurbished Indy. This had been our favourite family ship but it was clear they were heading towards making more money.

    Fingers crossed for next year and that things get easier.

  2. It’s interesting to hear you! I feel exactly the same way.
    We were on the maiden MSC Virtuosa this year as well and it was wonderful and I remember coming out of my room and had forgotten my mask straight away I had Sir, your mask!
    We went on P&O in July for a few days and it was a lovely trip.
    Virgin voyages was a nice trip but mask wearing wasn’t enforced and that was the end of August.

    It feels like people have just decided that as things are easing then the pandemic is over. Which is clearly not the case. As we all know double vaccination cannot stop you getting the virus.

    We were just on Princess Cruises recently and as I arrived in Southampton I got a text to say I had registered for my covid test and it was negative and I was no where near the ship. At the port it took 40 minutes to get it all sorted before I could board and my anxiety levels were through the roof. As soon as I got on board I felt really uneasy and said to paul I don’t want to film or do a vlog I think I want to get off. I stayed and filmed a little but I really didn’t enjoy it. The tables in main dining were so close together that I just couldn’t cope. We didn’t eat in MDR for the rest of the holiday and the queue outside it with no social distancing was horrible.
    We were not enamoured at all. We have our final trip this year in a few weeks on Anthem of the Seas. So I’m hoping it reinvigorates my passion as if not god help us for the ones we have booked for next year…

    I think it’s also been hard as we can get off at ports that is making it a different experience. Let’s hope that things get better for us all so we can get back to why we fell in love with life at sea.

  3. Thanks for the very interesting article.
    I only travel with P and O and always have felt very safe with them.

  4. Hi Jenny, many thanks for your informative email. We are going on a cruise Sunday the 3rd of October with p&o on Ventura to the canaries.
    We to had lots of paper work to get through. We also had to pay £100 for a pcr test for 2 days after we get home. Lucky for us we are now aloud to get off the ship and do our own thing, which we feel could hopefully be the safer option. We found it annoying that we could not be told what the trip’s were or the price of them until after you booked and paid for the cruise. We are of course apprehensive and a little nervous about going but as we have to live with covid and life goes on decided to take the plunge. Look forward to letting you know.

  5. Very honest post Jenni, we were in MSC Virtuosa in August and we had the worst cruise experience, we couldn’t wait for the cruise to finish. An outbreak of COVID-19 was going to happen sooner or later, we noticed the same like you, people not washing hands, no social distancing, long queues for everything, people touching the food at the buffet, etc.
    We loved cruising with our 3 girls, for us cruising isn’t cheap we. We are trying Celebrity Silhouette at the end of October. We had cruise with Celebrity before and we always have the best service. I had read reviews about it and it seems that Covid-19 protocols are enforced, finger crossed

  6. If masks, distancing, etc. are mandated, why don’t people simply follow the mandate? Is it necessary to stop adulting once you board ship? My 2022 cruise with MSC has already been cancelled by the line for the third year running. I’m assuming some of the Lirica class ships are going to be scrapped.

  7. We are on the MSC Virtuosa from February 26th. It is by far the largest ship we have ever sailed in. We are very worried about it – having read nothing but bad reviews of the ship and the staffing levels. I don’t know what the COVID situation is going to be by then but I hate the thought of putting myself at risk as I am quite vulnerable although I am doubly vaccinated and will hope to have the booster before we sail in February.
    We have booked and paid in full through Imagine cruising including having tickets booked with Emirates so changing or cancelling would be almost impossible. Any thoughts or advice?

  8. Great stuff Jenni, please keep it up

  9. Keep up the reviews new to cruising going on P O Ventura to Canary Islands in Nov 2021 your a great help to us

  10. The price of exscursions are redicilous, and they need to clarify their rules, for all cruise lines. There is so much hassell, to get everything sorted out. You are a normal cruising family, having your say.

  11. Thanks for your honest thoughts, which I agree with. Cruiselines must do more if they want to survive. Firstly either bring back or hire staff to answer phones and emails. P&O for example are so busy you are generally told that the wait time is so long you can’t even join the queue. Email is around 3 to 5 weeks to get a response. To make things worse they close at 6pm and are closed on Sundays.
    That’s just an example of shoreside.
    We sailed on the first Anthem cruise from Southampton. With only 1,000 on board it was great, pre testing meant boarding was a breeze, lots of space, theatre with empty rows and three seats between parties, we felt safe. Disney in September was different, hundreds packed into a marquee before being tested! Very busy onboard, theatre packed in, only one space between parties and all rows used. No challenge for large groups of adults all without masks. Definitely didn’t feel safe during embarcation and made our own safety on board.
    Next week we have the Regal Princess with two port stops, more waits for testing at the port, but at least we stay in the car. Will see how busy it is, but already seen theatre pictures showing it very busy. This cruise will determine what we do next, it may be time to put cruising on pause for a bit after so many great cruises over the years, having already cancelled our December P&O cruise.

  12. I am reading a lot with regards to bad customer service either prior too or post cruise. I have 2 booked with p&o and reading some of the comments about people’s rooms being downgraded with only 5 days notice not very comforting. Blaming Covid for poor customer service is not on! If these companies are happy to take peoples money then they need to employ the staff to answer phones , queries and worries or they won’t have any future customers left !!

  13. Hi Jenni,
    Good honest post.
    Like Nick, I think the Cruise Industry is shooting itself in the foot. MSC for example have made a complete dogs dinner of Med cruises for October and there is even some risk now that they will not allow UK or Irish residents to embark after 30th September. They (MSC) also introduced special rules for UK and Irish residents, from 6th September, who must now have a PCR test 72 hours prior to departure, an Antigen test is not acceptable whearas the Vaccination Certs of all other European residents are being accepted along with an Antigen test. UK passengers under 12 years must be double vaccinated (this is not done under UK Health policy), thus they can’t really travel unless MSC ignore thier own rules or they are for public show only. For Irish residents in particular these new rules are an arbitrary affront, as they are contrary to EU consumer law and at variance with the open up Europe initiatives- EU Digital COVID Certificate (Regulation (EU) 2021/953 – which covers the use of the certificate to facilitate travel within the Union during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU Digital COVID Certificate serves as proof of vaccination, testing and recovery, which can be used across EU Member States, and the EEA countries Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, as well as Switzerland. When travelling, every EU Digital COVID Certificate holder will have the same rights as citizens of the visited Member State who were vaccinated, tested or recovered from COVID-19. Member States may not impose additional restrictions to free movement, unless they are necessary and proportionate for the purpose of safeguarding public health.
    The industry has never been particurly good at answering questions but now it has gone beyond a joke. No statements or advice on the Virtuosa outbreaks, thus the public are left to general internet news, possibly even fake news. Imagine reading that 127 CREW members were isolated on the Virtuosa (deck 8) – and of course the failures to clarify the news on the deaths of passengers. Passengers standing in line like cattle in three or four hour queues to board …long queues for everything on board, Breakfast, Bars, Entertainment, Excursions, understaffing with consequent poor service from tired worn out staff. Its simply not good enough.

    I am booked to travel on the Virtuosa in October, but I am seriously considering walking away from it.
    Looks like sad times ahead for the industry. If the Cruise Lines don’t shape up they wont be shipping out.

  14. Loved your honest Bells & Warts email. Thank you!

  15. Great and honest news from you Jenni ..I’m happy to say that all went well on our 3 staycation cruises this year (Anthem, Celebrity Silhouette & Britannia) but very disappointed with our 4th on Sky Princess ..which included very disappointing food and service and no one seemed to care but the suite and entertainment was excellent.
    Looking forward to the 2022 season 🤞Happy cruising all!

  16. I was on a cruise on regal princess in July, I felt exactly the same, the poor staff were overworked, I’m booked on 2 cruises next year, hopefully things will improve before then

  17. An interesting read Jenni and it seems very balanced. I can absolutely understand why you’ve fallen out of love with the industry at this moment in time but I’m sure when things return to the normality we are all craving it will return.
    Our last cruise was January 2020, San Diego to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal. It was a perfect cruise and I didn’t want the memory of cruising tarnished by cruises not providing the service and experience that I’ve grown to love, so I’ve avoided the seacation cruises. I’m grateful to all those passengers who have been as it’s thanks to them that protocols have been tested etc.
    Our next cruise is June 2022 and hopefully things will have improved.🤞
    Take care!

  18. Hi Jenni, thank you for your honesty, I love your excitement when you talk about cruises so it’s sad to hear of your bad experiences. My hope is that once we learn to live with this wretched virus and we get better at controlling it things onboard will improve, do you think this will be the case? I have been shielding all the way through and have a cruise booked for June 2022, how safe do you think it will be for me. Thank you, keep writing. Suzanne x

  19. Thanks for being honest, I’ve noticed the reactions of many regular cruisers change from Yay! We’re on… to more sedate Hey! Here we are on….
    The excitement of being back has gone and the pressure is on certain cruise lines to up the pace of getting back to normal service has deminished the relaxation holiday feel of a cruise

  20. Thank you Jenni for your honesty, i enjoy reading your comments and advice about cruising. My husband and i have a few cruises booked with P & O next year we always go on the smaller ships because we don’t want to be on a ship with 5000 people we wouldnt feel safe. We are concerned being on a ship with 2000 people, we havent been on a ship for over 18months, because of covid. Thank you Jenni your a wonderful lady and what a lovely family you have. janice

  21. So sorry to hear about your bad experience. Hopefully I will still be going on the cruise that Kate has got for me. Unfortunately all companies are cutting back and it is all about money. Hopefully the next cruise will be fantastic.

  22. Thank you so much for your honesty.

  23. Well done for saying what you have Jennie – it definitely needed saying. Hopefully things will get better and we can all start to look forward to fabulous cruises again. x

  24. We have been on 3 staycations and they have been variable. our experience on Princess recently and P&O were both good. They felt safe and well managed in terms of getting on board, passengers adhered to mask wearing and hand hygiene was well managed. It did help that capacity was reduced on the cruises. though we did have to wait for service (drinks in particular on Princess), that was a minor niggle and staff were fantastic. Our experience on Virgin was totally different, no interest in hand hygiene, no use of social distancing and no expectation on use of face masks (even and particularly prior to testing). The App which gave access to everything did not work – completely like the experience you describe. No sense that we were in a pandemic at all. Virgin also accepted people on board without the right documentation despite insisting people should be double jabbed.

  25. Hi, we sailed on a 3 day seacation in Aug with P&O Britannia & it was like ‘coming home’ so much so we have booked 14 nites on Iona in Nov 2021. We also experienced some of the issues you mentioned ie lack of staff, not being able to get into the restaurants so we chose to eat upstairs in the Buffett where you were served your food at the self service counter. May l remind everyone though, it is YOU the passenger who doesn’t wear the mask, regularly wash hands & keep to social distancing. We have to take responsibility as well – it is a partnership. I sincerely hope we are still sailing this time next year. Take care everyone

  26. Thank you so much for your honesty! We have a cruise booked for June 2022 and I’m praying they get all this worked out before then. And, we won’t be booking our flights through the cruise line, for just the reason you mentioned. I hope for everyone’s sake, the cruise industry can get it’s act together as fast as possible.

  27. An honest summation of the current situation. We sailed on virtuosa in July with greatly reduced numbers and even then I thought it was going to be a nightmare if the volume of passengers increased. We were also concerned that the staff were not enforcing protocols. We did bring this up with a staff member when we were asked for feedback, but it seemed that they were getting no management backing. We booked the cruise as I feel it was a safer option than a hotel at the time, but wouldn’t book with them again. The news of a superspreader event is not surprising unfortunately.

  28. Hi Jenni

    I’m sorry you feel this way but to be honest I’m on many cruise forums and seeing more positivity about cruising during covid than negativity..
    We went on a cruise for a week in August and couldn’t have felt more safe, plenty of social distancing and mask wearing, it sounds to me like you have just been super unlucky with your cruises throughout this time but need to remind yourself its not forever and certain things will go back to normal eventually.
    We need to learn to live with covid as it’s not going to go away and if you don’t feel comfortable being around so many people at the moment (if not for your physical health but also for your mental health) it may be best not to travel for the time being.

  29. I have just finished a P&O cruise on Britannia, Southampton – Liverpool – Southampton, 19th Sept to 25th Sept. The cruise was above my expectations with more than sufficient staff on board. Covid protocols were strictly enforced and we
    all felt very safe.

  30. I sympathize with you, these are hard days ahead. Our next cruise will be a short one on the Danube (Christmas markets), currently not extra precautions as we are both EU COVID vaxxed! Our next one is a long Cunard cruise in oct 2022 so I hope sanity will prevail by then. Keep up the good work!
    Slainte!

  31. I have a terrible issue right now with RCI, I booked 5 rooms with 12 people. Four of them are kids ages 15,12,8 & 3. We didn’t get to cruise last year for Christmas gift because of the pandemic shutting the cruise lines down. I booked this cruise April 2021 for a cruise Jan 2, 2022. Two of my 12 people are in the medical field. You know how hard it is to get those schedules worked out. I talked with RCI yesterday after being on phone over an hour and 45 minutes their response was I’m so sorry when you booked one of your savings was NRD (never told this). Take in mind my husband and I are booked on 2 more RCI cruises 1 prior and one after the one my kids and grands were suppose to be on with us. I’m at a loss. But, I have to figure something out. The deposits are 2000.00 total. Too much to just let it go.

  32. The reasons you quote are so understandable and I sympathise if you have to cancel. Some of your statements about what is happening are why we have not booked a cruise until next summer as we suspected it might be quite a while for cruises to even attempt to get back to normal, if they even do.

  33. Hi Jenni,
    Nice to hear both sides of the story.

    Richard

  34. You’ve done the right thing by being honest as I too was disappointed with how RC has handled the pandemic. We cruised in August in the UK and had to pay a considerable amount for exersions due to us having children with us. I felt that RC were very much taking advantage and profiteering from the Covid pandemic.

  35. We are booked on Sky Princess next week our cruise to British Isles now includes France!!!! Not happy at all, we will have to have two COVID tests as we are going to Scotland as well.
    I am seriously unhappy and will seriously consider never going with Princess again, I might add I’m elite so I have had many cruises with them.
    I to am falling out of love with cruising.

  36. Well done for saying what a lot of families are saying over many cruise lines. Customer service is bad across many industries but there comes a day when they can no longer blame covid good luck

  37. Dear Jenni,

    Thank you so much for your honest account of your experiences. It’s very helpful to know these things. I only hope that with time all the cruise lines will be able to have safe procedures and enough staff to enforce them.

  38. Great thoughts Jenni, well done you for saying it like it is. The cruise lines are not doing themselves any favours at the moment.

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