One Year Ago Thousands Of Passengers Were Stuck At Sea On Cruise Ships, We Take A Look At The Future Of Cruises

One year ago cruise ships were a hot spot for coronavirus outbreaks, now the cruise industry is starting to make a comeback.

Video Transcript

KELLY LEIGH: One year ago, thousands of passengers were stuck at sea as cruise ships became essentially ground zero for the COVID-19 pandemic. Now as more people consider traveling again, we're taking a look at the future of cruises.

JIM BENEMANN: CBS's 4's Makenzie O'Keefe checked in with a woman she talked to a year ago when she was stuck on one of those ships,

SHERRI PE'A: An adventure unlike any other I've ever had.

MAKENZIE O'KEEFE: One year ago, Sherry Pe'a and her brother-in-law were enjoying a cruise when at least 21 people on board the Grand Princess tested positive for coronavirus.

- Balcony's out here.

MAKENZIE O'KEEFE: Passengers were isolated to their rooms for nearly 10 days, with helicopters airlifting supplies and medication to those on board.

SHERRI PE'A: To have been in international news and to be ground zero for what would be a worldwide pandemic and not understanding at the time the significance of that was very interesting. And then to look back on what we went through.

MAKENZIE O'KEEFE: Saying she couldn't have imagined while sitting on that ship, the devastation the pandemic would end up having on people's livelihood.

SHERRI PE'A: The passengers on the Grand Princess the passengers and the crew, we have a special bond because we did go through something that was very unique. We went on to that ship and in one world and came off of that ship into an altered reality. It just wasn't the same anywhere.

MAKENZIE O'KEEFE: While the pandemic had a devastating impact on cruise lines, Alison Bacus a local travel agent says cruising is slowly coming back.

ALISON BACUS: Cruising is so much fun, and it's so little effort, and you see so much, it will definitely come back and the cruise lines are really doing their best to get everybody back.

MAKENZIE O'KEEFE: Things like requiring rapid testing before and after the cruise, no buffets, and social distance entertainment. Bacus anticipates river cruises will be back this summer once people are vaccinated.

ALISON BACUS: The big cruise lines that have 3,000 or 4,000 passengers, I think are going to be a thing of the past. I think most people are going to be looking for smaller, more intimate cruises under 1,000 passengers where it's easier for the cruise lines to disinfect and make it safer for traveling.

MAKENZIE O'KEEFE: And that large cruise ships could be back by the end of the year into the next, a timeline Pe'a is hoping for as her experience hasn't stopped her from booking two upcoming cruises on the open sea.

SHERRI PE'A: I'm ready. I'm really ready.

JIM BENEMANN: Bacus says to make sure you have a flexible cancellation policy and travel insurance if you do plan to go ahead and book a cruise.