Before Covid, questions on the cruise health questionnaire were asked by a person before boarding the ship. Today, guests answer the questions using an app, I’m guessing it’s meant as a time-saver at the cruise terminal but does double duty as a way to track who admits to what. You should always answer the questions truthfully. Full stop. Read that again: always answer the questions truthfully. Truthfully, knowing that the questions are referring to how you’re currently feeling, all answers are evaluated through the lens of Covid, and there’s no explaining your answer to an app.
Recently I answered a call from a panicked client who, along with her husband, had already flown from where they live to where they were sailing from. While filling out the cruise health questionnaire on the cruise line app, she clicked the box that said, “difficulty breathing” and the app sent a message saying, “Your reservation has been canceled. Call for further instructions.”
As it turns out, her husband has COPD and occasionally has difficulty breathing even though he felt fine in that moment and his breathing difficulties have nothing to do with Covid. She misunderstood what the questionnaire was asking and answered truthfully, “he sometimes has trouble breathing so it made sense to check the box.”
With his Covid test results in hand, I called the cruise line to solve the problem. After explaining the situation — he’s not having trouble breathing now, when he can’t breathe it’s because of COPD not Covid, he has a negative test result — to a couple managers their reservation was reinstated. It was suggested that if anyone at the terminal or onboard asked about the questionnaire they explain the situation and everything would be fine.
The next time you’re boarding a ship and getting ready to answer the cruise health questionnaire you are answering the questions based on how you feel in that moment (or depending on the question “in the last x days”) and at least for now, the focus is trying to keep people who may have Covid — not people with things that aren’t contagious — off the ship. Also keep in mind that as smart as technology is there is no gray area, only black and white, yes and no. There is no way to explain a situation to an app.
I almost forgot. My clients were able to board the ship and had a wonderful vacation.