Cruising is making a comeback and this week we talk to couples travel and cruising experts Dan and Mikkel Woodruff to learn about their recent cruise experience.
About Dan and Mikkel Woodruff
Dan and Mikkel are a husband and wife team who write about couples travel and cruising (with a focus on small format cruises) around the world. Their adventures take them as far away as Southeast Asia, to the Arctic Circle in Norway, around the United States and close to home in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can find their travel stories at SometimesSailing.com or SometimesHome.com.
What to Expect When Cruising in 2021 and Beyond
- Norwegian Cruise Lines has announced that it plans to keep its 100 percent vaccination requirement indefinitely
- The Center for Disease Control has announced that in January it will be lifting cruise requirements and after that the guidelines will be dependent on each cruise line’s individual rules
- During COVID, cruisers should expect to wear masks inside and for capacity to not be at 100 percent, giving a little more elbow room around the ship. Cruises may allow booking at 100 percent capacity, but they aren’t yet fully booked.
- Some countries in Europe may require N95 masks to be worn (and these may be provided by the cruise line.)
- You will see even more hand sanitizing stations throughout the ship or more hand washing stations, especially on large ships
- Most cruise lines currently require all adults to be vaccinated and children to be rapid tested prior to boarding. Now that younger children can be vaccinated, this may change. Vaccination is especially required for small ship cruising.
- Once off the ship, you need to follow local rules. In many European countries you need to show your vaccination card to eat indoors or to enter shops/attractions. Some require both a photo ID and your vaccination card.
- Make sure you carry your actual vaccination card, because in some places a photo of the card is not acceptable.
- Cruising feels very safe right now when you know everyone on board is vaccinated and many ships have large scale testing capabilities or even do rapid testing in ports
- Most cruise lines have plans in place on where you would be housed and quarantined portside if you tested positive while onboard
- Travel insurance is always a good idea but make sure you understand what is offered through the cruise line and see if you need additional insurance to cover the flights or pre or post-cruise stays
- The cruise lines have a health and safety tab that outlines exactly what to expect during the cruise
- If you are departing from a foreign country, make sure you understand the entrance requirements for that country, which may include a negative test and a passenger locator form in addition to a vaccination card. You can also find this information on the embassy website
- Before booking, make sure you understand the cancelation policies or what would happen if the cruise line had to reschedule your sailing. Many cruise lines are offering Future Travel Credits (FTCs) and some will offer 125% credit if they have to reschedule.
- When it comes to new ships and itineraries, Kontiki Expeditions is offering a new small ship cruise that will cruise along the coast of Ecuador (not the Galapagos), and will focus strongly on the people and the culture. This is a great cruise to take in the winter because of the location along the equator
- American Queen Voyages will be cruising the Great Lakes and some of the American rivers like the Snake River and the Mississippi. They are also coming out with expedition ships in Alaska and will be doing the Inside Passage and incorporating First Nations culture
- The Emerald Azzurra and Sakara super yacht will be sailing in the Red Sea and off the coast of Africa and the Seychelles
- The Disney Wish megaship is also launching in 2022
- The Celebrity Beyond is a new large ship launching in 2022
- Virgin Voyages is an adult-only cruise line launching soon
- Many cruise lines, including small ship cruises are looking to attract multigenerational travelers. A-Rosa is a UK-based small ship cruise line that offers European river cruises and a new ship coming in March 2022 is very focused on families.
For more information on small ship cruising, give episode 154 a listen.
Full Episode Transcript
[00:00:00.130] – Kim Tate
Cruising is back. Stay tuned to find out what to expect.
[00:00:15.710] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation, Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Star Suitcase and Tamara from We Three Travel.
[00:00:30.290] – Tamara Gruber
So Kim, I was looking at the news yesterday or the day before, and I noticed that Norwegian has announced that their 100% vaccination requirement is going to be extended indefinitely for their cruise ship. So I imagine that makes you feel good about your upcoming cruise.
[00:00:46.670] – Kim Tate
Yeah, we booked Norwegian for spring break of 2022, and part of the reason is just it was something easy that I didn’t have to put a lot of thought into. And the kids were really excited about cruising again. And the Norwegian ship, they really liked the ropes course. So we are all booked with them. And I’m personally like for our family, we’re happy with that announcement. So we’re looking forward to our cruise in the spring, but sooner than that, actually, I will be on Celebrity with Paul.
[00:01:14.750] – Kim Tate
We’re going on a short little four day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. Pretty soon. When this goes live, I’ll be getting ready to go. So I’m excited about checking out that and kind of getting more of a feel for what it looks like. And then, of course, with the spring break trip, that’s a little ways away, but definitely excited about all these changes. I think when you were talking about news, it made me think that I had recently read that the CDC has extended their requirements for cruising through January 15, 2022.
[00:01:45.410] – Kim Tate
But they mentioned that after that date, they’re probably going to be moving into more of a voluntary recommendations type program for cruise lines. So I think that will be a big date with if people are planning cruising in 2022, you’re going to want to stay tuned and see kind of each individual cruise line what decisions they make. Like you said to me with Norwegian saying that they’re going to be 100% vaccination required. I don’t know how that’s going to work with kids, or I don’t know what other cruise lines like Disney or Celebrity or Carnival or Royal Caribbean.
[00:02:15.650] – Kim Tate
I don’t know what their choices will be, but I think that January date will be a big marker for which cruise lines decide to do what?
[00:02:21.710] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, it’ll be interesting. It’s like everything that’s travel right now, like, you got to pay attention.
[00:02:25.910] – Kim Tate
You have to be.
[00:02:27.230] – Tamara Gruber
We’re heading to Aruba in a couple of weeks, and I was trying to explain to my extended family like what they’re going to need to do, and they’re just like what? So there’s always some hurdles to jump. It’s, in my opinion worth it.
[00:02:45.590] – Tamara Gruber
If you’re vaccinated and feeling healthy and comfortable. But it’s definitely something that is on you to pay attention to some of these changes if you have some travel coming up. But that’s what we’re trying to help you with with these podcast episodes. Yeah.
[00:02:59.570] – Kim Tate
Maybe give everyone a heads up. And I think we’ve been saying this for a while now that travel is back, but you definitely have to be a little more on point and just willing to do a little bit more research so that you don’t get stuck not knowing what you’re doing. We experience that in Portugal when we are coming into how they had everything set up and then even coming into Portugal, like having the right papers of what you needed to show because you had to have, like, a locator form and you had to show your vaccination, and you had to show a negative test.
[00:03:26.930] – Kim Tate
And I think it’s just about making sure make yourself a little checklist to make sure every person has everything checked.
[00:03:35.270] – Tamara Gruber
The other day, I keep my vaccination card with my passport. And the other day I went out to get my booster, and I was walking out the door and I realized I didn’t have my vaccination. Can you imagine if I got down there and I didn’t have it? So, yeah, it’s just a few more things you need to remember to carry with you and to plan ahead, but it’s worth it. But yeah. So today we’re going to find out a little bit more about what cruising is like now from someone that has been recently and someone that does a lot of cruising.
[00:04:03.110] – Kim Tate
Yeah, definitely. Mikkel and Dan definitely focus on small ship cruising. But I think since they have cruise recently, they’ll have some good insight and tips. So if you guys are considering cruising in the upcoming for your next trip, you might want to tune in.
[00:04:24.810] – Tamara Gruber
This week. We’re here with Dan and Mikkel Woodruff, and they are a husband and wife team who write about couples travel and cruising around the world with a focus on small format cruises. Their adventures take them as far away as Southeast Asia to the Arctic Circle in Norway, around the United States and close to home in Raleigh, North Carolina. So it’s been a while since we talked about cruising and for obvious reasons, a lot has changed in the last year and a half. So what would people expect now moving forward in 2021 and beyond when they’re cruising?
[00:04:54.810] – Tamara Gruber
Obviously, we’re recording this on November 5. And so things can change. But what are some of the expectations that travelers should have?
[00:05:02.310] – Dan Woodruff
The cruise industry has always been had high standards for safety and sanitation. But of course, with COVID masks are going to be a part of cruising now, or they are a part of cruising, hand sanitation and constant reminder of sanitize your hands. Also, just the capacity of the ships are going to be different here in Covid, and that is you’re not going to be at 100%. So you’re going to see empty tables and empty seats, and you’re going to have a lot more elbow room and room to roam around the ship.
[00:05:40.950] – Kim Tate
I was thinking also, I know that buffets are a big thing. Have you seen or most of the cruise ships kind of getting away from the buffets? And maybe now it’s like they’re serving the plate for you, right? Or are they back to letting people serve themselves at the buffets? Do you know?
[00:05:54.810] – Dan Woodruff
So buffets did make a disappearance, but they’re coming back. What we’ve seen is you’re wearing your mask as you’re going through line. There’s sanitization throughout the entire buffet and still some more. The table service is still a thing, but we’re starting to see the buffets come back.
[00:06:13.890] – Kim Tate
So what cruise lines? Have you guys sailed? I guess we can say post pandemic, but we realized it’s not post pandemic. We’re still in the pandemic. But now that they’ve come back and tried to have these safety measures in place, have you cruised recently? And then what was your experience like?
[00:06:30.390] – Mikkel Woodruff
Yes, we actually just got back from a fantastic cruise with Emerald Cruises on the Emerald Destiny. It was a Danube River cruise. Itinerary so not only was it our first cruise experience, quote, unquote post pandemic, but it was also our first experience going back to Europe since March 2020 because we went on a land experience right before the pandemic really crap hit the fan. So we just got back with Emerald Cruises, and it was amazing.
[00:07:01.590] – Dan Woodruff
The cruise itself was so much fun. It was about kind of getting back to travel. And just a sentiment with all the cruisers on the ship was it was truly like we’re just happy to be back. And cruising is a way to build a bubble around your travel. So yes, you’re going to fly to get somewhere. But ultimately you’ve got your room, you’re changing destinations and you’re doing the travel. But it’s still a home base, and it feels like you have a bubble within travel. So it’s a great way to kind of ease back into it.
[00:07:40.530] – Mikkel Woodruff
And also, speaking of protocols, kind of in a post pandemic. But still in Pandemic world, many cruise lines, most of them are requiring passengers to be vaccinated. You’ll pretty much see this vary little bit on bigger ships because more children are included in that. There’s some smaller cruise lines that you can’t go on unless you’re 18 or older. But the bigger ships include so many families and children. And just now you’re seeing kids around five being vaccinated. But let’s assume the majority of them aren’t vaccination is a thing.
[00:08:15.090] – Mikkel Woodruff
And showing your vaccination cards and proving it before you even get to the point that you’re embarking on the cruise ship. So that’s a new protocol that obviously didn’t exist before 2020. Vaccines are not new, but nobody was asking you for your proof of measles vaccination before you cut on a ship. That’s definitely new. And kids need to test before they get on the ship. If they’re not vaccinated, in most situations. And it’s a test. You wait for a rapid test. But also we have masks waiting for us in our ship cabin.
[00:08:48.510] – Mikkel Woodruff
And obviously we wouldn’t have had that before. We had our own masks. But these were according to the protocol of most countries and the places we were going in Europe. And we can say that the mask requirements in the United States are definitely looser. You don’t need your N 95 mask, but you do. They’re strict about that in countries like Hungary and Austria, Germany. So that was interesting while there’s hand sanitizer around the ship, normally even pre pandemic. Well, now there’s pants sanitizer in your room.
[00:09:24.750] – Mikkel Woodruff
We experienced that on our small main Windjammer cruise that we went on in June. We had that in our cabin as well as, like Dan was saying the buffets and everything before you started, that’s a really small ship. It was only 21 people, but nevertheless, hand sanitizing stations. So there’s definitely differences. But I think we can all say it’s been such a part of our lives, even at home, that it didn’t feel it didn’t feel different in terms of everyday life. It just felt like the new normal kind of thing.
[00:09:55.650] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I think Kim and I both experienced that recently traveling internationally. It feels like such a big hurdle to get over. But once you do, then you’re like, okay, especially depending on where you’re going. If it’s a place that you feel pretty comfortable with how things are being handled, then you do what you do like you said, you do what you do in everyday life. And I guess some of that depends on where you live and how the protocols are that you’re accustomed to in your day to day life.
[00:10:23.610] – Tamara Gruber
But it is definitely nice to get back out there. I wanted to ask you one question about that European cruise, though, because obviously one of the challenges with visiting Europe right now is that certain countries will require, like, the green pass, the EU code, the Vaccination like, Ur code. So what did you have to show when you left the ship and you were out in the cities? Did you have something from the cruise line or did you show, like, your CDC cards, or did they allow you to get any you pass?
[00:10:56.250] – Dan Woodruff
Everything was really hinged around the Vaccination card. So our CDC card. And if you want to eat indoors at a restaurant or even some shops just to go in, you had to show Vaccination card. And then in some countries, you also had to show a photo ID along with your Vaccination card. So ultimately it was don’t leave the ship without your card and be ready to show that if you want to engage in the destination.
[00:11:25.330] – Mikkel Woodruff
We did see Europeans with those booklets. We found them. They’re kind of like an Orange yellow color, but we didn’t need that. Everybody accepted our Vaccination card. I think most people can very quickly tell that you’re American, and we quickly learned to have it with us because on the ship, for instance, we locked our passports in the safe, but we took the cards with us, and otherwise I keep my Vaccination card with my passport. But we learned as soon as we got to Europe pretty quickly that we’d have to show that we did see, in some instances, people showed a photo of the card, but we just thought that was a little risky.
[00:12:00.430] – Mikkel Woodruff
We didn’t want to be out without the card and then not be able to eat somewhere we wanted to. And then in another language, sometimes somebody would ask us for the card, and we would learn that if we didn’t know what they were asking to just take it out.
[00:12:16.490] – Kim Tate
Chances were it was that I had someone who I just saw they were flying to London, and they were saying that the digital copies of the Vaccination cards and stuff were not acceptable, like they wanted the original CDC paper Vaccination card to be shown. So that is something to consider, because you don’t want to lose that piece of paper, I guess. Yeah.
[00:12:38.810] – Mikkel Woodruff
100%. And like you said, we just thought it was safer to have the actual card with us, so we didn’t run into any problems.
[00:12:45.470] – Kim Tate
Can I ask a quick question? Why do you guys leave your passports on the cruise ship and not take it off with you? I’ve always thought to keep my passport just because if something happens and I miss the boat, I want to at least have that to be able to fly home or get off of the other country. So is there a reason you guys normally don’t bring your passports with you?
[00:13:03.770] – Mikkel Woodruff
That’s an interesting point. I never thought if we got stranded, we would need our passport because I don’t really carry around idea. Otherwise, in Germany, you can drink when you’re 16.
[00:13:14.150] – Mikkel Woodruff
So I was like well, I’m not going to get carded. I think it’s because of losing your wallet or getting pocketed or something. That’s the main concern.
[00:13:23.090] – Kim Tate
Yeah, definitely. I’ve always wondered that because I’m always torn on what the right option is.
[00:13:27.290] – Mikkel Woodruff
Yeah. I mean, when we were in a hotel and we were in Germany for a couple of days before the ship departed, so we carried it around with us because we didn’t want to forget it in a safe that day or whatever. But once we got to the ship and we knew that we weren’t changing rooms or anything, we just kept it in the safe. And I don’t know. But now I’m going to think twice. Because what if we miss the ship?
[00:13:51.590] – Kim Tate
So I have a question for you guys. Do you see any big differences between large ships and small ships when it comes to these covid protocols? I know. One thing I’ll mention is just when I was booking, we booked a cruise for spring break, and one of the reasons we liked cruising is we didn’t have to worry about the food situation, which is such a stress these days with COVID. Finding restaurants every night can be stressful. But I noticed there’s a lot less cruise cabins to choose from.
[00:14:16.910] – Kim Tate
It seems like. And I guarantee you, this ship is not that picked over, but yet kind of I think what Dan had said there’s limited capacity, maybe. So they’ve got some cruise, like every other cabin blocked out. Maybe. I’m not sure. But do you see any big differences between large ships and small ships when it comes to the protocols?
[00:14:33.650] – Mikkel Woodruff
Overall, I don’t think there’s a big difference, but like we were saying before, with the kids, that’s going to be a main one. Also, the capacity, like Dan was saying, it’s a little different right now. I know that some bigger cruise ship lines are, let’s say, at 80% capacity right now, but they’re going to be at 100% capacity for booking. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be booked 100%. But let’s say, by the start of 2022, I’ve heard as early as December 2021. Two, you just have to look at the updates, but that’s one of the main differences, especially with big shifts.
[00:15:08.570] – Mikkel Woodruff
While our Emerald Cruises experience was only booked, it was something like 76 passengers out of 180 that could be on the ship. They could have booked 100% they would have if guests were booking them. So I think that’s one of the main differences between big ships and small ships. And again, not to be redundant, but going back to the families and having kids on the ships and what that entails logistically with families getting on board. That’s another main difference. And then also some bigger ships have had the ability to do things like install another sink and hand washing station right before you go into a restaurant.
[00:15:49.070] – Mikkel Woodruff
Whereas a small ship is really not going to do that. I mean, it would be less time for you to walk back to your cabin and wash your hands, or for everybody to go through the bathroom. That’s right next to the dining room to do that. So big ships might be able to accommodate structurally, implementing new things. But if anybody had been on a cruise before, there’s always a gazillion hand sanitization stations around with hand sanitizing gel. I’m just guessing maybe they were one of the best Purel purchasers before.
[00:16:21.890] – Mikkel Woodruff
That might not be the case now, but I’m sure that that’s still going strong. And that’s pretty much the same across big ships and small ships as far as we know. And then also Dan alluded to having these little pods. And we have an article on our website sometimes selling about why we think cruises are the safest way to travel right now. And kind of being in that little bubble of who you’re with and everybody was tested and vaccinated and all those things. Some big cruise ships, even expedition ships that are, let’s say, 100 to 300 passengers can test almost every day if they need to on board, or they’ll bring in a vendor that can test on board wherever the Port they’re going to is as the regulations change from city to another city, if the country changes, if that makes sense.
[00:17:13.070] – Kim Tate
I’ve heard of that. We have friends who were on a cruise in Europe, and that was what was happening, like before they went into a Port, they had to go through a testing phase and they had somebody actually tested positive at one point and they got quarantined, and there was all these. There’s definitely an extra level there on. I think that’s where travel insurance comes in handy as well. Like figuring that out, because what happens if one of you does test positive and you have to figure out now how to get off the ship and home from whatever country or Port you’re in, or how they handle that?
[00:17:44.750] – Kim Tate
I’m not sure which cruise lines are letting you quarantine just in your cabin on the ship or if they’re making you get off the ship. I’m not sure.
[00:17:51.830] – Mikkel Woodruff
And to your point about insurance, you have to know what kind of insurance you’re buying into, if the cruise line offers their own, or if it’s an upgrade that the cruise line offers directly, or if you need to purchase additional travel insurance. I mean, if you’re going to go on a cruise and then you’re going to extend it and stay before her and after and that’s not covered by the cruise line. You might want to consider travel insurance anyway, but to your point, we know that Viking offers an insurance that you can upgrade, but you do have to specifically add it to your cruise.
[00:18:24.650] – Mikkel Woodruff
Some cruise lines cover housing, which would mean that if you get COVID on the ship, they have an agreement Port side about where you’re going to be housed and quarantine before you can go back from testing negative or whatever the situation is. It does vary. I think the most important thing, though, is to be educated about it know that options exist. You just need to spend a couple more minutes reading. And we’ve also noticed that most cruise lines now have a very obvious health and safety protocols tab that they might not have had as prominent before or even there at all.
[00:19:00.050] – Mikkel Woodruff
And it helps to explain what you need to do before the cruise during the cruise and maybe even after the cruise or right before you disembark. So that’s been something new that we’ve seen pop up a little bit, too. But again, we think it’s one of the safest ways to travel right now because they have such stringent regulations that they mostly put on themselves because they’re in the eye of the media so much obviously.
[00:19:26.450] – Tamara Gruber
To go to Europe, I imagine that you tested as well as had your Vaccination cards for the cruises that are leaving out of the US? Do they require testing and vaccination before you board or only testing for the kids that are too young to be vaccinated?
[00:19:42.950] – Mikkel Woodruff
What we’ve seen is mostly just proof of vaccination and then testing for kids. That’s not to say that it doesn’t vary with one cruise line, an outlier or that it’s not going to change. Like you said, we’re recording this on November 5, but everything changes so rapidly, whether it’s for the positive or negative. But that’s mostly what we’ve been seeing as a requirement in the United States. Now, if you’re in an area that has free testing and it’s very easy for you to go. For instance, we are not positive that we needed a test to go to Germany.
[00:20:16.010] – Mikkel Woodruff
We actually asked somebody that represents German tourism, and they actually were a little confused, too. So it just goes to show how confusing it could be right now. But we have the test anyway because it was important to us to just check all those boxes, cross all those T’s and those I’s. But we also had to fill out a form with the Ministry of Tourism or whatever it was for Germany to get into the country, and they check that state side before you even are allowed on your flight out of the United States.
[00:20:45.290] – Mikkel Woodruff
And we actually even had a connecting flight from Raleigh. So we had to show it before our first domestic connecting flight. But for United States, what we’re mostly seeing, especially because it’s mostly bigger cruise lines are you have to show proof of vaccination, and if you can’t, then you need to test before going on the cruise. And that’s mostly for children.
[00:21:06.290] – Tamara Gruber
That’s good to know. I definitely see that some of those things are pretty common to start to look out for is like vaccination, probably a negative test and usually some kind of locator form or health attestation form is required. And I found that sometimes looking at the embassy website for that country, it helps a little bit. They’ll usually have some kind of page about that. But if you are also transiting through different countries like you would on a cruise or if you have a connecting flight, you really have to know that information for all of the different countries.
[00:21:42.950] – Tamara Gruber
So it’s a lot more reading. Like you said, people need to you can’t just click by, right. You should think through like, what happens if this what happens if that and make sure you’re comfortable with all those answers.
[00:21:56.450] – Mikkel Woodruff
And another interesting thing is that we actually had to reschedule our cruise from September to October. So another thing you might want to be aware of beforehand is what happens if you need to reschedule in terms of your investment. Are they flexible with the date? A lot of cruise companies are providing FTC future travel credit if they need to reschedule. So in other words, a lot of people that had cruises scheduled for summer 2020. They offered a reschedule for 2021, which turned into later 2021, and they offered 125%.
[00:22:34.370] – Mikkel Woodruff
So now you had more money to kind of play with on the ship kind of thing, but very candidly. And I don’t mind saying so. I’m vaccinated. I was vaccinated, and I felt like I had a cold and we were leaving for the cruise in four days, and I was shocked that I tested positive for COVID, but I did. So Emerald Cruises was really amazing about getting us rebooked, and we were so thrilled we could do it just weeks later. And I was thrilled when I tested negative again.
[00:23:01.550] – Mikkel Woodruff
Another aspect of this, and a piece of the puzzle that people need to consider is what happens to that investment. So not just the travel insurance, but you want to know that the cruise line is responsive and it’s going to work with you if you need to rebook.
[00:23:14.330] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, that sounds good. You are fine and that you were able to rebook that because that’s one thing that I do worry about is like, even if it’s very mild, it’s still preventing you from going forward with your plans.
[00:23:27.710] – Kim Tate
So when we heard so much about the Delta, I mean, it seems like a lot of people who are vaccinated that it was a story that you wouldn’t even know sometimes just thinking, you have these sniffles Tamara and I just got back from Portugal, and I kept being worried. We had to test to go to the Azores, and I was thinking, man, I really hope it’s negative. And then you have to test to come home. And I’m like, what’s going to happen. But every time that negative test came through, I was just so relieved.
[00:23:52.610] – Kim Tate
But even being vaccinated, I think it’s something we’re all still mindful of. Yeah.
[00:23:56.330] – Mikkel Woodruff
And it’s true, because you can get it if you’re vaccinated. And like you said, the Delta variant people are getting it. And not too long before we were supposed to go on this cruise in September, I was in the Dominican Republic, and I had a test negative to come back to the United States. And I did. But either I got it after they tested me before I left or I got it as soon as I got back. We just know because I had symptoms. And then you have people that are asymptomatic and wouldn’t even know until let’s say you get tested, and now you have to deal with it.
[00:24:26.990] – Kim Tate
Yeah. I’m glad it all worked out for you. So we’ve covered a lot of the administrator, the dull side of the health requirements and all the new rules and changes. But let’s talk about some fun stuff because I know that now that the cruise lines are all kind of jumping back into the water, they have some new ships, and itineraries that they’ve released. So what are the ones that stand out to you that you’re kind of excited about.
[00:24:52.190] – Dan Woodruff
So ultimately, we’re really excited about Kontiki expeditions. So they’re exploring a very small format ship. They’re exploring the coast of Ecuador. And what we’re most excited about and what makes the most stand out is they’re not focused on the Galapagos. They’re focused on kind of the culture of Ecuador and marrying both the people and the culture and the sea and being able to introduce people to that country. And it’s not just all about the Galapagos.
[00:25:25.070] – Dan Woodruff
That’s going to be coming up. They’re going to be launching in a couple of months now, I think. And what’s great about them also is that you can cruise during the winter, you can get down to the Southern Hemisphere, and it’s something different that I’m excited about.
[00:25:39.470] – Mikkel Woodruff
Yeah. Ecuador literally means the equator. So there’s really not a bad time to be on a cruise there. And Dan said they’re small format. They’re very small format. It’s 18 passengers, but it’s a new cruise line. It came across our radar, and we love that they’re marrying the culture with the coastline. And you can do either a Northern itinerary or Southern Coast. Itinerary there are eight days. They always leave on a Sunday, and we love that they support the Ecuadorian community. So that’s really cool. Most people don’t know about that.
[00:26:08.630] – Mikkel Woodruff
And then another cruise line that we’re excited about already exists. But now they’ve rebranded it’s American Queen Voyages because support the American economy. If anybody knows, there’s very strict guidelines of being flags, an American ship, of it being built in the United States, and a certain percentage of the crew needs to be American. So that’s a really interesting cruise line to support. So they’ve rebranded two American Queen Voyages, and they have new shifts in the works. So they already sail on the Great Lakes, all the popular Rivers in the United States, Mississippi, Snake River, all those good things.
[00:26:47.450] – Mikkel Woodruff
But they’re coming out within Ocean Discover and Ocean Victory. And those two ships are going to be expedition ships in Alaska. A lot of cruise lines go to Alaska, but we’re excited about this American cruise line, and they’re going to do the Inside Passage. And they’re incorporating First Nations Native Americans kind of thing. And we always love seeing that. So that’s great. And they’re also renaming some of their ships, actually with their rebrand on the Great Lake. So that’s really interesting. And then we have one more exciting one for you.
[00:27:19.130] – Mikkel Woodruff
This is kind of another ship super yacht kind of situation. But we always get excited when there are less explored areas. And itineraries so something like the Red Sea and the Seychelles kind of off the coast of East Africa anyway. So the Emerald Azzurra, is a super yacht that’s launching in January 2022. And they have a sister ship coming called the Sakara. And that is going to the Seychelles. So we’re excited about all those things. We get jazzed about small format cruises. But of course, there’s a lot of mega ships in the works, too.
[00:27:57.770] – Mikkel Woodruff
We’re super excited that Disney is also coming out with the Disney Wish, and we are booked for September 22, 2022. On that. We love that the tangled characters on the back, with her hair weaving in and out of the letters of the wish. Although Disney ships have a different character on the back, and we were so excited, we were at a cruise industry trade conference at the end of September, and we were able to see a scale model of the ship. So that was super exciting for us.
[00:28:24.830] – Mikkel Woodruff
So there’s exciting things for cruising on the horizon. It’s full steam ahead. Probably all puns intended, and the pandemic is certainly not going to stop the cruise industry. So across the board, we’re seeing cruise companies, no matter how big or small, the company announce new ships. Yeah.
[00:28:44.390] – Kim Tate
I think it’s great that you guys have that pulse on the small ships. I think that appeals to a lot of cruisers. I’m also excited about the Disney Wish. We’ve had a couple of Disney Cruises, and they really do some special things for families. And it’s really great. I’ve had a few opportunities to sail with Celebrity, and they have a brand new celebrity beyond coming out that I think for big ship format. I really like them. So I’m excited about the celebrity beyond. And then I know you guys didn’t mention Virgin Voyages, which they’re coming out and hitting the seas, and they’re an adults only cruise line as far as I know.
[00:29:17.330] – Kim Tate
So that’s another thing for people to keep in mind if they’re like, they want to have a break from the kids.
[00:29:25.790] – Tamara Gruber
Speaking of that, we cover family travel. And so I would love to hear what kind of cruise lines you might want to recommend for families, like, obviously, Disney, but maybe even in the small ship range, because I know one of the observations that a lot of people will make and Kim and I made I think even on the last episode is that sometimes like the River Cruises goes with a much older demographic, and you guys obviously are like a younger couple. So which of the brands do you think would be good for families and which are good for someone that’s not of the retiree age?
[00:30:02.750] – Mikkel Woodruff
I love this question. Cruise lines are either very specifically going towards the multi generational trend or away from it. Like you said, with Virgin Voyages doing adults only, even something small, like we were on Maine Wind Jammer has a 14 year old kind of weird in between age range for your minimum age to go on the cruise. Not good for babies falling overboard on a ship that sells. But of course, like you said Disney. But I think overall, what families look for is programming for all ages, care for the kids if they want the kids to have time with new friends on the ship or if the parents want the kids to have it and they need a break.
[00:30:51.050] – Mikkel Woodruff
Things like rooms that join together, just like on land hotels that have two conjoining rooms with the door. Some ships have that not every ship has that. So that’s something else to keep an eye on. So Besides the obvious and the big cruise lines that most people know of, I think one to point out that a lot of people, especially in the United States, aren’t aware of is a aRosa. It’s A-R-O-S-A. It’s a UK based cruise line. They have twelve ships, seven of them are international, and they are going really hard for multigenerational.
[00:31:26.630] – Announcer
They have a new ship coming out in March 2022, was a little delayed from this year because of Covid that has some amazing family friendly aspects. One of those things is a separate kids pool on board, and this is a small ship. It’s four decks. It sells the Rivers of Europe. So we’re not talking huge cruise line, and that’s really kind of revolutionary for river cruises. So they also have kids club on board, and they have a specific area in the dining room. If kids want to eat together, which is great for adults that don’t want to eat with the kids, they also do things like kids cruise for free on all itineraries.
[00:32:07.430] – Mikkel Woodruff
The only exception to that is their Douro river ship because the capacity is a little different. So they kind of do a 25% discount on that. But we personally don’t have kids. We adore our nieces and nephews and such. And if we consider going on a river cruise with our siblings and parents and all that stuff, we will definitely be looking at a Rosa. It’s amazing. And they really have a great product. And then just in terms of what those cabins look like, because on bigger ships, kind of the bed can fold down from the ceiling and the sofa turns into another bed.
[00:32:40.790] – Mikkel Woodruff
But they have bunk beds too. And I know as a kid, I always wanted a bunk bed and I never had one. So I think that’s kind of a cool feature of their cabin. So they kind of do a mix of the sofa, bed thing and bunk beds and then a bed for the adults and the way that they are kind of separating those spaces within the cabin to feel like different areas and there’s still some Privacy is really interesting. Awesome.
[00:33:04.850] – Kim Tate
Great. I hadn’t heard of them. I’ve never heard of them. Yeah, that’s great. Yeah.
[00:33:07.370] – Tamara Gruber
Nice to put on my radar. Awesome.
[00:33:09.650] – Mikkel Woodruff
I love that.
[00:33:11.870] – Kim Tate
So we are going to wrap up and we’ll ask you a question that we ask all of our guests and you guys can each chime in because we always have some guys who always want to hear from guys as well. So Dan, make sure you chime in as well as Mikkel.
[00:33:22.370] – Kim Tate
But do you guys have a favorite thing that you like to wear when you travel? Especially maybe, if anything, specifically for cruises, but any favorite travel outfit or brand.
[00:33:32.150] – Dan Woodruff
So when I’m traveling, I always have a raincoat. And my go to is North Face a little bit heavier. Goretex raincoat. It’s versatile. I can layer with it and then usually throw, like, a Nano puff Patagonia nanopuff underneath it just for extra warmth and a scarf. And I’m good to go. And everything’s always in black.
[00:33:58.890] – Kim Tate
Versatility, but not great for Instagram photos.
[00:34:00.990] – Mikkel Woodruff
Right? Well, he always looks nice and sleek and particular, and you really don’t need those layers, even in Alaska. If you’re there in summer or May and June, it gets cold when you’re outside. And why wouldn’t you want to be outdoors, too? So for me, it’s things that I can layer, kind of like what Dan said, and then things I don’t have to iron because I hate it. I hate ironing. So anything that’s going to fold up nicely, we always do carry on. Actually, we were just in Europe for twelve days, and we did carry on.
[00:34:34.230] – Mikkel Woodruff
And that was like partially with winter clothes and sweaters and stuff, too. And then anything footwear wise that you can dress up or dress down. So we love that. And as a female, I love getting dressed up. Emerald Cruises isn’t that formal, which is nice, but don’t most women like a reason to get dressed up? So some jewelry to dress it up if I need to as well.
[00:34:59.730] – Tamara Gruber
Mikhel, do you have a favorite carry on thing? And I were just in Europe for 17 days, and I had, like, a giant giant suitcase. And I find that cruising. It’s actually easier for me sometimes to go just to Europe or something with a carry on. But with cruising, I feel like, oh, I’m going to need to change for dinner. And so I might need more changes, of course. So kudos to you for the carry on.
[00:35:25.170] – Mikkel Woodruff
Thank you. And to your point, it’s a game of pros and cons and kind of weighing. What’s more important to you? Is it more important to you to carry on or is it more important to you to go on a cruise that has, like, two formal nights? Because then you’re going to need to bring a garment bag with a dress or a suit potentially. So that’s a really good point.
[00:35:46.350] – Kim Tate
Did you have a favorite shoe that you like to wear, Mikkel, that you feel like you can dress up and dress down?
[00:35:50.430] – Mikkel Woodruff
Well, a black heel because you can wear it with jeans. And then you can wear it with a dress and it’s black. It kind of matches everything. Don’t tell anybody, but I sort of paired it with a Navy dress this time.
[00:36:05.430] – Kim Tate
My daughter wear like a Navy shirt with black leggings the other day. And I was like what are you doing? And she’s like, that’s totally fine, mom.
[00:36:11.550] – Kim Tate
Evidently, it’s allowed now, according to Gen Z.
[00:36:16.890] – Tamara Gruber
So if you can remind our listeners where they can find you online so they can follow your travels
[00:36:22.650] – Dan Woodruff
so you can find us on at sometimes home . Com and then also sometimessailing. Com and then pretty much Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and all the usual suspects.
[00:36:34.890] – Mikkel Woodruff
The only one that doesn’t have the same name is Twitter for sometimes sail singular, because Twitter has a character cap for their names, too.
[00:36:46.530] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Got it.
[00:36:47.790] – Tamara Gruber
Well, thank you guys so much for sharing your knowledge. Do you have your next cruise on the books?
[00:36:53.910] – Mikkel Woodruff
We are actually excited to be. We tried to do this a couple of months ago, but it didn’t work out, but for the first time, we actually want to book a last minute cruise from Florida, where we’re going to be posted up for a little bit of the winter. So we’re excited that we kind of feel like the cruising ocean is our oyster in this situation.
[00:37:16.170] – Tamara Gruber
Take advantage of being right there. Yeah.
[00:37:19.710] – Kim Tate
Get those local last minute cruises for sure. Yeah. Well, thanks again. So much for sharing all your information.
[00:37:26.190] – Mikkel Woodruff
Thanks for having us.
[00:37:27.210] – Dan Woodruff
[00:37:31.590] – Tamara Gruber
Well, if you are listening to this on the day it comes out, we are currently together again. Yay in Tempe, Arizona, which is a place we’ve been wanting to visit together for so long. So we’re enjoying some sunshine. I’m sure some great food and some great drinks and possibly some wonderful sunsets. So make sure you are following along on Instagram. Once again, I’m @we3travel on Instagram. We the number three travel and Kim is at stuffed suitcase and make sure you follow our trip.
[00:38:02.010] – Kim Tate
And after you’ve checked us out on Instagram, stay tuned, because in two weeks, we will have a new podcast episode all about our trip to Tempe, Arizona, so we will hope to have you join us.
[00:38:11.550] – Tamara Gruber
Talk to you soon.