By: Laura Reece, Reece Worldwide Travel
As Floridians, we are accustomed to the luxury of living relatively close to the water, so naturally many of us have an affinity for spending our leisure time on a boat, charter or cruise ship. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cruise industry to take a short hiatus, so we at Reece Worldwide Travel have some ideas for those of us who can’t seem to stay away from our beloved watercraft.
Private charters are an excellent way to fill the absence of embarking on a commercial cruise. Albeit smaller, they can offer many amenities and the peace of mind of easy social distancing. The Moorings, established in 1969, is a family company offering travelers a unique way to explore different countries and experience the thrill of sailing. The award-winning charter fleet now includes more than 400 yachts in 20+ destinations across the globe. Whether it’s a self-skippered monohull; a Sail catamaran with a skipper at the helm; a high-performance Power catamaran or a Crewed yacht with a captain and chef – they can make your time on the water truly unforgettable.
For something less expensive and only for a few hours, consider renting a beautiful Hinckley with a captain from Flagship Charter. Viewing the beautiful mansions of the island of Palm Beach, navigating the downtown West Palm Beach waterways, and experiencing the unforgettable sunsets around Historic Palm Beach County is an exceptional treat with the Flagship Charter Group.
Or, consider chartering the Food Yacht, a 40-foot catamaran located in Jupiter, FL. The Food Yacht is a farm-to-boat concept, serving fresh local caught seafood, steak, and an array of fresh salads and sides. The menu is created prior to each cruise and served family style. With a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 guests, you can cruise the Jupiter waterways and dine on cuisine prepared by Chef Justin Lindemann, former chef at the locally famous Food Shack restaurant. Just remember to BYOB!
For those of us with their hearts set on a romantic river cruise beyond the borders of the sunshine state, the American Queen Steamboat Company offers stateside river cruises on the Mississippi, the Ohio and Tennessee rivers as well as the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest. At this time we’re uncertain when Europe will be available for Americans to visit, and a river cruise on one of these domestic rivers is a lovely alternative. Currently, all cruises in the U.S. have been suspended through September 30, 2020, but we believe that Americans will be able to travel domestically on a river cruise far sooner than we will be able to in Europe or other international destinations.
Cruising has cemented its role as a mainstream vacation choice and the industry is at the forefront of best practices designed to protect the sanctity of the destinations and to enhance the experiences of travelers and residents alike. Last year the total worldwide ocean cruise industry was estimated at $45.6 billion with 26 million passengers annually, and we know that it will return soon in force. With a myriad of choices and ever-changing regulations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to consult a professional travel agent in order to make the best choice for your upcoming vacation. Many agents are certified, have first-hand knowledge, and offer their knowledge without charging their clients a fee. Having earned the Certified Travel Associate (CTA ®) distinction by the Travel Institute, we encourage you to seek professional advice to help to save time, money and a lot of frustration when planning your next holiday adventure.