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Back in October, I took a calculated risk by going on a Disney Cruise with my daughter. Due to DCL’s protocols which included vaccine requirements, masks indoors, mandatory PCR tests the day before and embarkation antigen tests, we felt safe. It was a great cruise with low capacity. No cases were reported on board, and the ship remained in green status according to the CDC Cruise Ship Color website.
My entire family is looking forward to cruising on Royal Caribbean in early 2022. This will be the last cruise before my son turns 18 and therefore the last time he will be eligible to participate in the teen club on any ship. We have an awesome suite booked at a great price. We were supposed to go on this cruise in 2021, but it was canceled.
What’s Happening on Cruise Ships Now
How quickly things change. Over the past few weeks, there have been some Covid outbreaks on cruise ships. Nothing as big as the big Diamond Princess outbreak of 2020 where over 700 were infected and some died. But, smaller outbreaks are happening on several ships.
Of course, these cases are milder than the Covid cases of 2020 and represent less than 1% of people on board. And, we understand the virus better and have treatments available.
However, these on-board Covid cases definitely impact cruise vacations. Odyssey of the Seas was denied entry at its scheduled stops at Curacao and Aruba this week. The captain tried to find alternative ports, but no place would allow the ship to dock. In addition, shows on board the ship have been canceled, presumably due to sick crew members.
A couple of Carnival ships and at least one other Royal Caribbean ship had enough cases on board for ports to turn them away.
Our cruise is not dirt cheap. I’m ok with forgoing a few amenities based on safety protocols. But, skipping ports and shows is a bit too much.
In addition, if we were required to quarantine after the cruise, it would be problematic for my family. My husband has work commitments and my kids have school.
Searching for a Backup Plan
I’m not 100% sure that we will cancel our upcoming cruise. I intend to closely watch what happens on cruise ships the next few weeks. If these past two weeks were just a blip and things go back to “normal”, we will considering keeping our cruise. However, if these disruptions continue, we will change our plans.
It’s not easy searching for a backup plan for an early spring break trip with little notice. Decent beach rentals are almost impossible to find. I’ve looked.
While I’ve tossed around different ideas, the easiest thing for us to do is keep our flights to Orlando and find something else to do in the area. We visited Disney and Universal parks this past summer, and I have no desire to repeat those so soon. But, Orlando has a lot to offer. We may end up booking a rental house or condo with outdoor resort amenities like a lazy river and water slides. My kids would actually love to just relax, maybe play some tennis and swim.
Cruising has always posed a risk during the pandemic. However, with this new wave of cases, the risk is currently a bit higher. I hope things settle down and we can cruise again soon. But if not, my family will proceed with alternative plans.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.