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Tales from a cruise ship
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Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 15, 1:35am

Post #1 of 42 (392 views)
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Tales from a cruise ship Can't Post

If anyone has noticed my absence of late, it’s because B.G. and I are 53 days into a 56 day cruise that took us around the entire continent of South America. While it’s been an absolutely amazing experience, oh what a difference 53 days makes!

The day we left for our vacation way back in January, one death had been reported in China from something that looked like it might be a communicable disease. As the news, and the virus, spread, we counted our blessings that we took the South America trip considering it took many, many weeks for it to make it to any South American countries. Oh what a difference a few more weeks makes!

First of all, and most importantly, B.G. and I are totally fine and completely healthy and, as far as we know, that applies to everyone on the ship with respect to COVID19. However, cruise ships in general have been getting a very bad rap of late. Of course, there are a lot of variables with cruise ships such as what ports they stop at, and where most of the boarding customers come from. However, there’s always a chance that someone, either a passenger, crew member, etc. could board and be sick depending on where *they’ve* been.

To that end, Cunard, the company we’re traveling with, started screening everyone coming on board weeks ago (symptoms, places visited, etc.). As of the last week or so, passengers, crew members, etc. from certain areas are being told to stay home until further notice. Now, when we stop in Ft Lauderdale where B.G. and I will get off, they’re not taking anyone new onboard. That includes passengers, crew, and even entertainers (B.G. and I joked that it’s time for some passenger talent shows!).

Also, in the last week or so, we’ve noticed more and more face masks being worn by port authorities, and we’ve had our temperature taken with ‘remote’ wands when getting off the ship. One recently scheduled port, Cartegena Columbia, informed us not to bother stopping there. Luckily, we were welcomed with open arms for an unscheduled stop in Aruba, so it turned out to be a happy ending.

From here on out, it may get even more interesting! European and UK passengers will be allowed to do their day trips in Ft. Lauderdale. However, many of them planned to get off the ship in Ft. Lauderdale, and fly back home from the U.S.. Of course, travel from the U.S. to the UK and Europe hasn’t been banned, but how many airlines will be flying to the U.S. with only U.S. passengers only to fly back with half-empty planes? Cunard to the rescue! They’re offering an option for anyone who planned to get off to keep going all the way back either to South Hampton or Hamburg.

For us, we’re crossing our fingers that there won’t be any restrictions in the next few days in the U.S. 1) for people getting off cruise ships or, 2) for people travelling from major cruise ship cities. Of course, we’re crossing our fingers *and* toes that no one on board is diagnosed with the virus. In that case, all bets are off. Luckily, of all the cruise ships still out at sea, ours has a very, very low probability of that happening.

Anyway, I thought you might all be interested in an account of a cruise ship story from someone you know who’s living it day-by-day. I’ll keep you posted as to what, if anything, happens in the next few days! I’ll be happy to be back on TORn more often, and hope all of you are safe and sound.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Moahunter
Rohan


Mar 15, 10:40am

Post #2 of 42 (295 views)
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You haven't detailed your route. [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Can I assume that if you went all round S. America you went through the Panama Canal either on your outward or return part of the voyage.
I was lucky enough on my first trip to NZ (by passeger carrying freighter} to go through during daylight. Perhaps cruise liners, being superior vessels, always have that privilege.
Its a fantastic experience especially if you have some knowledge of the canal's construction.


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Mar 15, 12:12pm

Post #3 of 42 (283 views)
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*wild applause* Squeeeee!!!! HI!!! [In reply to] Can't Post



It's so fantastic that you two are having such a glorious trip! In a wonderful way, you've been on an island barely touched (for the most part) by the virus. It sounds like Cunard and the crew are taking very good care of you. I hope your ship stays clear and everyone is free to enjoy the rest of the journey :D

Thank you for this. I've wondered how you both have been and if you're able to relax and soak in how incredible your trip has been... Goodness knows you've really needed a long respite like this!


*hugs*




sample

We have been there and back again.


TIME Google Calendar


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 15, 2:16pm

Post #4 of 42 (271 views)
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Glad to hear you're safe & healthy [In reply to] Can't Post

Your story runs counter to the narrative in the news, that all cruise ships are petri dishes and are being shut down, or should be. Thank you for giving us more perspective. And happy to hear that your long cruise has remained so enjoyable!


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Mar 15, 3:03pm

Post #5 of 42 (267 views)
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Good to hear from you! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm glad to hear that you've had your wonderful cruise to some amazing parts of the world---Tierra del Fuego!---and hope that your homewards journey from Fort Lauderdale goes off without a hitch.

My husband and I were scheduled to do a cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo May 1st. Needless to say, that was cancelled three weeks ago and we'll be nesting at home instead.

It breaks my heart to see the cruise lines and their amazing employees taking such a huge hit from the crisis. Unsure

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 15, 5:29pm

Post #6 of 42 (261 views)
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Yes! We did! [In reply to] Can't Post

We went through it just a few days ago as part of the return journey. It's amazing, isn't it? They had an expert on board who grew up around the canal because his father worked there for years, working his way up to being in charge of the whole thing. He's also an engineering expert in his own right and he gave commentary over the PA system almost the entire way. It was wonderful to hear his stories about growing up there, as well as to get the benefit of his technical knowledge.

We did go through during the day and as you know, it takes around 8-9 hours. We learned that the average ship pays $500,000 US to pass through one-way, but that large container ships can pay well over $1 million. The expert says each ship has to make a reservation and pay in advance. Otherwise, no go.

I'm glad you had the chance to do it yourself. It's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Smile


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 15, 5:33pm

Post #7 of 42 (258 views)
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Ha! Thanks, gramma [In reply to] Can't Post

It has been one amazing trip that I'll never regret committing to. There was a lot of soul-searching in terms of both time and money, but I'll never regret doing it. I did have to work part of the time which, other than not being prepared for slow and sometimes non-existent internet, went well, and now I'm work-free for the most part until June. I'm considering it my dry-run for being more-or-less 100% retired, so I'm looking forward to it. It will be great to get back home and be able to access the internet and TORn more! Smile


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 15, 5:42pm

Post #8 of 42 (257 views)
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The news [In reply to] Can't Post

..is being hyped for sure. We get most major news channels in our room, so we've kept up at least on what they're showing. It's like many things: statistically, the number of ships that have had virus cases is massively small, but they make better stories than someone who's been minimally impacted and otherwise just had a great time, lol.

The 'danger' of cruise ships now is the same it's always been: you *are* exposed to more germs than you would be at home, but they do take precautions (especially now), so it's probably not much different, or even maybe better now, than eating at a food court then using the restroom in any mall.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 15, 5:48pm

Post #9 of 42 (255 views)
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Argh! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
My husband and I were scheduled to do a cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo May 1st. Needless to say, that was cancelled three weeks ago and we'll be nesting at home instead.



What a bummer. Of all the place to have planned to go right now. Hopefully you'll make it there sooner than later. Yes, they'll take a big hit financially as will the entire travel industry and business that support them. We can hopefully be encouraged that places like China that had it early-on are seeing declines, and that it will make its way around the globe quickly and with a minimal toll on people with vulnerable health.



Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 15, 6:20pm

Post #10 of 42 (253 views)
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Thank you for this update, Altaira! [In reply to] Can't Post

What an amazing trip that's been - but yes, what timing! I'm glad all is well with you and the other passengers, it sounds like they're all taking the best precautions. Smile And kudos to Cunard for doing the best thing for their non-U.S. travellers!

Here's hoping the travel back to Colorado goes smoothly, and of course, we're all going to want the full details of the trip - with pics! Cool


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 15, 9:46pm

Post #11 of 42 (242 views)
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Sounds like an amazing trip [In reply to] Can't Post

And glad you've managed to enjoy it despite the virus threat.

Storm clouds


Greenwood Hobbit
Tol Eressea


Mar 15, 9:56pm

Post #12 of 42 (242 views)
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What an experience! [In reply to] Can't Post

You must have made so many remarkable memories. Glad to hear you and your cruise ship are unaffected by the virus. Worrying times for many. The main media focus is on who has died, not who has been infected and got better, which I find very annoying - but a balanced view doesn't make good headlines, does it! Stay safe, folks.


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 16, 2:31am

Post #13 of 42 (211 views)
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Thanks, dernwyn! [In reply to] Can't Post

Today they announced that the passengers that had day-trips planned in the Ft. Lauderdale area won't be allowed off the ship. The reason is that there are confirmed cases, and sadly deaths, in Florida, so it would violate their commitment to not let anyone new, or anyone who may have been exposed, on board. They're also not making any of their planned stops between here and South Hampton. They're fueling up in Florida and making a b-line for England.

I *will* do some kind of report. I know I always say I will, but I've always hesitated to start a thread just about me (this one excepted because it has a wider interest factor. I'm thinking I might start a recurring thread about TORnsub travels, so everyone can share their incredible journeys. Smile


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 16, 2:34am

Post #14 of 42 (212 views)
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Truly amazing, indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

As a VERY seasoned traveler, I know you would have loved it! Remind me; have you been to S. America?


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 16, 2:39am

Post #15 of 42 (216 views)
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Spot on about the news [In reply to] Can't Post

Thankfully, a few stories (at least on the internet) are making it though of people who made it through having the virus just fine. Those, and the stories about young people who can have it and not even have any symptoms, are encouraging.
And, yes, the memories are priceless. We've seen and done things neither of us ever dreamed of.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Mar 16, 3:25am

Post #16 of 42 (217 views)
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Encouraging but also of concern. [In reply to] Can't Post

Among the relatively younger people who have tested positive is Francis Suarez, the 42-year-old mayor of Miami who reported almost no symptoms but got tested because he had lately interacted with a dignitary from Brazil who had been found to have COVID19. Suarez had no fever, no cough, and only minor aches; he didn't even know he was sick. He has now isolated himself, but says he suspects there are many others like him, interacting with other people and unknowingly spreading the disease to them. Unfortunately, this bug is devilishly wicked against certain patients, particularly the elderly, those with compromised immune patients, and, new research suggests, those with a high body-mass-index. (In fatal cases, the worst damage often is not to the lungs but to the heart.) In Seattle, where the U.S. outbreak is worst, hospitals are not yet overwhelmed as they are in northern Italy, but they're getting closer to that point, and doctors are exhausted.

Setting all that aside, your trip sounds fascinating! And I'm very glad you've not been troubled like some other cruises we've heard about. Are you familiar with the 1840 memoir, Two Years Before the Mast, about a voyage from Massachusetts to California and back? There was a film version in 1946.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 16, 8:43am

Post #17 of 42 (196 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

Brazil for the 2016 Olympics and then a couple of weeks afterwards, followed by a month in Peru. Would love to go and see more of South America but I guess it'll have to wait for now ...

Storm clouds


NottaSackville
Tol Eressea


Mar 16, 12:11pm

Post #18 of 42 (183 views)
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Wow! Sounds like an amazing trip! [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad you got to do it, had such a good time, and didn't have any Corona issues along the way.

Good luck with the trip home!

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 16, 3:10pm

Post #19 of 42 (181 views)
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I meant to ask: how has this affected you so far? [In reply to] Can't Post

What can we expect when we get back to the 'real world?' Are your grocery store shelves empty? We've seen lots of scenes of empty shelves but it's impossible to know whether that's a bit of media-hype, or something that's wide-spread.
Thanks to watching a documentary on the Yellowstone super-volcano a few years back, and the fact that we get occasional blizzards and associated electrical outages that make it safer to stay put for a few days, we took some preventative measures and have had extra food, water and, yes, toilet paper, tucked away in our basement ever since.

I'd love to know whether you're all okay too, and how you're coping. Heart


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 16, 3:14pm

Post #20 of 42 (170 views)
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Thanks, Notta! [In reply to] Can't Post

We'll be glad to make it home safe and sound soon. Smile


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 16, 3:21pm

Post #21 of 42 (187 views)
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There are definitely empty shelves [In reply to] Can't Post

My local (medium-sized) supermarket in SW London was out of rice, pasta, a lot of fresh meat, tinned veg, tissues and loo rolls last week - I've got enough stuff for now but had to rapidly revise my dinner menus when I went shopping simply because the stuff I wanted wasn't there. The smaller supermarket attached to the local petrol station was in a similar situation yesterday (but they did have Ben & Jerry's cookie dough on offer, so, silver linings).

The main impact on me right now is that all my freelance sports journalism is on hold because there's no sport. That's okay for the moment as I have other stuff on, but I might feel the hit in May and June if this continues. Luckily I've got savings, but it's not ideal.

Also we've closed the rowing club gym and are minimising water sessions for this week, and next week will close entirely, which makes social distancing easy for me as rowing is basically my social life.

Storm clouds

(This post was edited by Eledhwen on Mar 16, 3:22pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Mar 16, 3:28pm

Post #22 of 42 (185 views)
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Store shelves in the US [In reply to] Can't Post

Those media stories are not exaggerating things. I went to my local big box grocery store on Friday morning, and a few sections were totally barren (eggs, bread, toilet paper), but others were stocked normally. My landlady went to the same store that night and said almost everything was gone, including fresh fruit, which of course doesn't last that long, so it's odd to stockpile it.

At the same time, I know that drugstores have many items that grocery stores do, and they're not cleaned out (or not yet). And seeing things across Facebook, as just one example someone posted about a store in the Chicago suburbs that's been emptied by a storm of locusts, while another 2 miles away is normally stocked. There was a long line wrapped around a store at 4 am on Friday, waiting to get in. So it's very hit or miss.


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 16, 3:36pm

Post #23 of 42 (179 views)
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To be sure [In reply to] Can't Post

Hopefully, people are getting better educated about 'social distancing' even if they don't feel sick. I already told my brother not to get offended if we don't give him a hug when he picks us up at the airport as it's for the protection of him and his family, not us. We feel just fine, but who knows what we'll have been exposed to by the time we get home, COVID19 or not.

That book sounds great. We'll look into it. Thanks! When we were rounding Cape Horn and going through the Straits of Magellan, the deputy captain occasionally read from the memoirs of Captain Heywood who was on the Bounty, and from others all the way to those who sailed who sailed with Magellan. It added such an amazing flavor to the experience to hear and learn about both the successful, and unsuccessful, attempts.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase





dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 16, 4:54pm

Post #24 of 42 (170 views)
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Yes, that's strange about the fresh fruit and vegetables [In reply to] Can't Post

My local large grocery store was nearly barren of those Saturday morning (along with toilet paper and antibacterial wipes and soap). But the store one town over had plenty of fruits & veggies.

So it really is hit or miss. I haven't dared to see what it's like inside one of the warehouse stores!

It was just announced: in NJ, NY, and CT, restaurants are closed except for take-out (also bars and theaters are closed). Are you able to keep an eye on what's closing in Colorado?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


cats16
Valinor


Mar 16, 5:28pm

Post #25 of 42 (168 views)
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Oh good [In reply to] Can't Post

I was expecting an absolute horror story when I saw your subject line, but good to hear you've made it out pretty well!

Looking forward to the full report and have a safe trip home. :)

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!



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