In November, we boarded a cruise ship for the first time since December 2019. We did not expect COVID to make such a difference in our lives.
Prior to boarding the
Celebrity Constellation, we were required to take an Antigen test for exposure
to COVID. The test needed to be dated two
days before boarding the ship - not earlier and not later than the two-day
window. We had to take our negative
results with us to the pier. We used a
local clinic to get the tests and I was impressed with their efficiency. Easy…
We flew to Tampa
the day before we were to board the ship and stayed at an Embassy Suites near
the airport for one night. We were surprised
to learn the hotel bar and restaurant closed at 10PM on a Saturday night. This was caused by a staff shortage. Again, COVID.
The next morning, our breakfast
was served on disposable plates, and we were given plastic utensils.
Celebrity gave us a
specific time to arrive at the pier. For
those who arrived early, they needed to wait outside the terminal for their
boarding window. Before we could enter
the terminal, we were asked (twice) to show our passports, our boarding
documents, our COVID vaccination records, and our Antigen test results.
Once inside the
terminal, we were again asked for these same documents, and we were required to
wear a mask. Once we boarded the ship,
we could remove our masks. Everyone
onboard was vaccinated.
The muster drill
process has changed. In our stateroom,
we watched a muster drill video. Once
that task was finished, we went to our muster station and checked in with one
of the officers to verify that we had watched the video and they could answer our
questions. This was not in a crowded
room, but a one-on-one experience.
For the duration of the cruise, life on the ship was normal – no masks required unless you went ashore. On the ship, the crew always wore masks. In the buffet, our food was placed in dishes by the crew, with no self-service.
On this short cruise, we visited two foreign ports. In both ports, masks were always required. We were allowed to take a ship-arranged tour or go on our own (no bubble). In both ports, the locals were all wearing masks. At one stop, Cozumel, we had our temperature taken before we entered shops or restaurants.
The cruise was enjoyable,
and we are glad we had the new cruise experience. It helped us prepare for our next cruise in
late December. Yes, cruising is back,
but it is a different world – travel has changed.
Join us on a Distinctive Voyages cruise on the
7-Night Caribbean, from Ft Lauderdale