I Took A Cruise During The Pandemic
Now you're probably thinking he really take a cruise during the pandemic or is that just a title for the sake of getting views. yes I actually really did take a cruise during the pandemic. It was my honeymoon. Given the circumstances of COVID, as COVID is going into its junior year, we were not really sure of when we could actually do a honeymoon and so it was either do it now or wait and we really didn't want to wait. The original plan was to go to Hawaii but Hawaii had at the time more restrictions in place than practically the rest of the United States. Thus we decided maybe we should go somewhere else and that resulted in deciding on going on a cruise since neither of us had been on a cruise before. The scary part about going on a cruise was that the week prior to our departure date the cruises that were coming back to Shore or back to the mainland were COVID positive. One of them actually had 55 cases on board and were denied entry to 2 countries that were part of their stops. They had to continue on their journey and they were given credit for the excursions that they had paid for as well as a voucher I believe for a future Cruise. Having read all of this in the news we decided hey we're still going to go and we're going to pray about everything and hopefully we get there and back safely without getting COVID. Given that the cruise lines had been through this before I believe they already implemented some procedures in place but they may have extended those procedures even further prior to our cruise date so I'm going to talk about my experiences going on a cruise in the pandemic.
Before Boarding The Ship
As part of going on a cruise with Royal Caribbean one of the requirements is that you had to have a negative COVID test within 2 days prior to your departure date. This became very challenging because of the fact 2 days prior to departure date was Christmas Eve and nobody is giving out a COVID test on Christmas day so we had to get one on Christmas Eve. they strongly advise against getting one on the day of your departure date as it may not necessarily be accurate. However they were administering COVID test on site at the terminal in case you did not have a COVID test prior to arriving at the terminal. Those on-site tests were $105 each and they did not accept any insurance at all so you had to pay for it out-of-pocket. Luckily we were able to get those COVID tests ahead of time and were admitted to board the ship. In addition to having a negative COVID test prior to getting to the terminal you also had to show proof of a completed COVID vaccination. For those that are not eligible such as kids for a COVID vaccination they were still allowed to board but only because of the fact they were not in the group that were able to be vaccinated. Those who are eligible for vaccination, basically anybody over the age of 12 were required to have been vaccinated in order to board the ship. Once that verification process was done after three different individuals looked at the COVID vaccination documentation including the vaccine card and the negative COVID test you were then given a wristband that you were to wear the entire duration of the cruise. This particular wristband you may have had once before which is the type that does not come off once you put it on unless you cut it off.
While On The Ship
A number of measures were put in place on board the ship. The most noticeable was the use of hand sanitizer stations basically everywhere you looked except in your staterooms. At the elevator, at each of the restaurants, in areas where multiple people would be such as the theater… all of these places had sanitizer stations at the entrances to them. Furthermore on the first few days of the cruise, cruise staff words actually station next to these hand sanitizer stations and were telling people who walked past them that they had to sanitize their hands before they enter the area. After about the first few days people got the hint and well they just automatically did it going forward for the rest of the cruise. In addition any time that you were inside of the ship in a common area other than your stateroom you were required to wear your mask over your mouth and nose. If you did not have it over your mouth and nose as I saw several people lacking oh, the crew staff within asked you to make sure you pull your mask all the way up and wear it appropriately. There are areas of the ship that you were not required to wear masks and those particular areas were around the pool, on the walking Track, and other areas outside of the ship.
When we got aboard the ship, there were several shows of Grease the musical that were to be performed by several of the crew staff. However those first two showings were canceled on the first two days of the cruise. A reason for those cancellations was not provided if I recall correctly but later when they were to be rescheduled for Thursday and Friday the reason was being provided for why those shows would not be performed at all. The reason being was that some of those cast members for Grease the musical actually had COVID and they had been quarantined in their dorm and or staterooms during the entire duration of the cruise. As a consolation to the guests on the cruise they were going to get some of the non COVID positive Cruise staff to perform the musical selections from Grease that they could perform. As far as I know none of the guests got COVID while on the cruise.
While At Port
During the cruise there were several stops of which was in Mexico one in the Bahamas and one in Honduras. Each of these respective countries had varying levels of what they enforced when it came to preventing the spread of COVID. all of which required that you had to wear your mask out in public unless you were eating or drinking. In some cases like in Mexico you actually had to wear your mask even if you were outside. One of the places that we went to in Mexico actually did temperature checks on the wrist and required that you sanitize your hand before entry. When it came to the Honduras and the Bahamas I did not experience temperature checks or as many hand sanitizing stations or availability like it was in Mexico. Obviously this has something to do with the availability of said items to prevent the spread of COVID but I believe a lot of that had to do with the leadership of said countries and how they perceive COVID.
Can you take a cruise during COVID? Yes you can.
Is it advisable to do so? Probably not but if you do choose to do so like my wife and I did, be sure that you do everything that is necessary to prevent you from Catching it including wearing your mask and sanitizing and washing your hands regularly if not more often than you are normally used to.
Furthermore make sure that you are aware of the behaviors of others and their awareness to prevent you from getting COVID.