Can you keep your cruise retreat safe this year?
Okay, this picture may be overboard, but I'm sure you're thinking I'm a crazy person--how can cruising in groups possibly be safe now? And you know me, I have thoughts too :)
1. Ships aren't sailing- I mean, technically they are sailing, just not with passengers. Ships won't be sailing from American shores until at least May 2021, which means, there's nothing to fear for the moment (and I would also argue, ever). The cruise lines are still working their tails off to conform their ships into even safer sailing vessels than before, and polishing up their safety protocols.
2. Employee (no for now); Clients (yes, but later)- I don't foresee any corporate retreats happening this year to improve employee morale and retention, but I KNOW 2022 is the year where it will be at again. We should be ahead by leaps and bounds a year from today. I mean, if you really think about it, a year ago is when all this mess started. By 2022, most, if not all, of the people who are willing and able to get vaccinated will have already done so, as well.
Where employee retreats are more like mandatory fun in a sense, client retreats are much more voluntary, and I think these will come back sooner for that reason. I would say fall would be a good time to start sailing with your clients, and again, that's months away from now. I can't wait to see what advancements the cruise and hospitality industries have made by then.
3. Physically, nothing changes- We'll still be practicing social distancing and wearing masks. (Collateral idea-- theme face masks to your event or group.) The cruise lines are refitting their ships with updated HVAC systems, larger medical facilities, and spacing out public spaces, amongst other things. Mentally, man, here's where I think we all need a cruise, retreat or not.
Mentally, we need to escape. I don't know about you, but I need the escape and the wonder of a vacation. And especially with so many companies having gone remote in the past year, I can only imagine the sparks that will fly when you get your team back together. For client retreats, we've all been home for most of the year, so while you may have seen your clients in and out or on Zoom, there just isn't anything like in person human connection, especially when complemented with travel.
So while safety is a concern, covid or not, I think cruise retreats have the blessing of two things: time and practice. Time because many groups probably won't be sailing until 2022 anyways, and practice because 1- we've had a lot of it and 2- by the time your retreat sails, so will the cruise lines.
Cheers to the new year,