Cruise planners navigating choppy waters

HOBE SOUND, Fla. – This latest surge of COVID-19 has brought the cruise industry back into potentially rocky waters, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending no cruise ship travel, regardless of vaccination status. .

Some local cruise planners are doing their best to stay afloat.

At Cruise Planners in Hobe Sound, John Morgenthaler said things have been positively dynamic this year.

“Incredibly busy here. It was probably…next year was our best year ever,” Morgenthaler said.

He had traveled as far as Greece and Turkey since ships started taking passengers again last summer.

“Everyone was looking forward to leaving,” added Morganthaler. “They’ve been locked up too long.”

But last week, a personal trip to Antarctica was canceled at the last minute, and big lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian started cutting their schedules.

When the entire cruise industry initially shut down for COVID-19, Morgenthaler became a jack of all trades to make ends meet.

The Hobe Sound Chamber recently recognized him for his ability to recover from the pandemic.

“As long as it’s going it looks like it’s okay, hopefully we should be good this year,” laughed Morgenthaler.

While some of its customers are delaying their trips, Morgenthaler is telling all of its customers what life on board is like right now.

“Different cruise lines have different mandates,” he said. “Some you have to wear a mask all the time. Others you only have to wear it when you’re indoors.”

Although ship guidelines have changed, Morgenthaler believes cruise lines have a much better handle on COVID-19.

“They didn’t know what to do with everyone,” he said. “They now know how to get someone off the ship or keep them on the boat. There are plenty of open cabins so they can do that.”

In a statement, the American Society of Travel Advisors added:

“Cruising is no more responsible for the spread of the omicron variant than travelers from southern Africa were at the start of the current crisis.”

Morgenthaler said he hopes 2022 will be a year of smooth sailing.