Cruise ships are finally sailing again. My girlfriend and I recently completed two cruises — including one out of Galveston.

On top of being a fun and much needed getaway, we knew we were in a well-controlled environment where the cruise lines and crew had taken every conceivable, practical step to prevent any chance of COVID-19 transmission or infection aboard.

It was reassuring to see how seriously everyone onboard those voyages was taking their responsibilities. Everyone understood the important role they were playing and were eager to prove that they could operate the ship under the new rules while also delivering a great vacation experience.

The crews on our ships were excited, welcoming and happy to have the chance to sail again. They were also top notch, professional, and they had their new routines and procedures down to a science. They take no risks in this new pandemic-sensitive environment, and that gave us a whole new, and comforting, level of assurance.

Knowing that upwards of 95 percent of our fellow passengers were required to be vaccinated or otherwise show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before setting sail offered a great relief and sense of security.

My return to the sea was onboard Carnival Breeze’s first sailing from Galveston. I must admit that I got choked up walking up that gangway. Officers and crew were waiting just inside the entryway to welcome us with cheers and smiles so big you could see them through their masks.

I later spoke to the ship’s cruise director, who told me that just prior to starting the boarding process, many of the crew were in the ship’s atrium — crying — because they were so pleased to finally be able to welcome guests back onboard. That spirit was visible everywhere, including the shoreside staff, porters and everyone we encountered that was part of the Galveston cruise vacation experience.

The enthusiasm for cruises coming back wasn’t just restricted to the cruise workers and guests. At every stop, we were greeted by locals eager to see tourists and the dollars we bring back into their local economies and supporting their jobs. Every step of the way, we felt secure in knowing that the practices in place to prevent coronavirus transmissions were strong and represented a common sense, responsible approach.

And personally, as the owner and president of Premier Custom Travel, a travel agency specializing in cruises, I’m finally seeing cruise bookings start to rebound. This means that my clients trust me to know what the cruise industry is doing and trust me with the total cruise experience they and their family will have. I’m glad that the confidence I have in the industry is the same that my clients can share as well.

The evidence is clear, and our firsthand experience underscores, that not only is the time right for cruising to resume throughout the United States, but we can rest assured that the industry has crafted a responsible return to cruising.

Christopher Grum is owner/president of Premier Custom Travel.


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(2) comments

Paula Flinn

I’m happy that cruises are now safe and available for everyone. It only takes one person, though, to spoil it. Although I am overly cautious and not cruising or doing any long traveling during this spike in the CoVid Delta Variant, I am confident the passengers and crews are happy to be cruising again. I am sure the ports of call are pleased to have tourists again, and we are happy Galveston’s economy will be restored. It is important for everyone to feel safe and be safe.

Charlotte O'rourke

I was glad to read that cruise bookings are picking up from someone in the industry. Maybe the guest columnist will book a trip through the new cruise terminal when it’s completed in October 2022 and write another column. Hopefully by then, talk of covid will be in the rear view mirror.

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