NORFOLK, Va. – Cruise lines are making a big splash to attract families like Jessica Adkins’, who are ready to set sail.
“We are actually taking our daughters on their first Disney Cruise,” said Adkins, a mother of two.
Many ships are cruising once again after more than a year of being docked because of COVID-19.
Though people won’t be able to sail out of Norfolk’s Half Moon port until May 2022, AAA said they’re already booking voyages departing from there.
AAA Director of Public Affairs Holly Dalby said the agency has seen a daily increase in travel bookings since April after COVID-19 restrictions eased and more people got vaccinated.
“First, you have the people that had cruises canceled last year in 2020, and they're starting to take advantage of that rebooking option that they were given,” she said. “Then, you have people that maybe didn't have a trip planned, but they are just dying to get out of town and go somewhere.”
If you are planning a trip, Dalby said plan ahead because cruises are booking up quickly.
“If people have any flexibility on when they can travel, or even the destinations that they want to go to, they probably will have an easier time finding a cruise right now,” she said.
At one point, cruise ships were requiring proof of vaccination to board. According to AAA, unvaccinated travelers typically have additional protocols, and having a travel agent might be best to help navigate the ever-changing rules.
“Travel is a very personal decision, and it's really up to each individual when he or she feels comfortable enough to travel, whether it be across the country or around the world,” said Dalby. “It's really important for people that plan to take a cruise right now to work with someone like a AAA travel advisor or another travel advisor that knows what kind of restrictions and parameters are in place, because they're changing daily.”
Adkins and her husband just got their J&J shot. Their two daughters, Mackenzie, 5, and Gracelynn, 8, are too young to get the vaccine.
“Being around a lot of people, I feel like that it would be better for us to be vaccinated and have a little bit more protection,” said Adkins.
AAA strongly recommends getting travel insurance that covers pandemic-related issues so you won’t waste money on cancellation or rescheduling fees.