Melissa and I love cruises. Our first was our honeymoon—a seven-day Alaska cruise on Holland America Line in 2005. Since then we have tried to go on a cruise every two or three years. So far, our longest was a fourteen-day cruise for our tenth anniversary in 2015—back to Alaska on the same ship from our honeymoon.
We ended up on a charity cruise to New England and eastern Canada in 2016, then had a big non-cruise trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong in 2017, so we took it easy for a couple years. But 2020 was going to be a big travel year; we got our “TSA Precheck” and “Global Entry” cards and everything. It would start with our embarkation on a fourteen-day Hawaii cruise in April.
That cruise was in the second round of cancellations by Norwegian Cruise Lines in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Norwegian gave us 120% back in cruise credits to use on a future cruise. And we tried to use them. Oh how we tried. We’d book a cruise, they’d cancel it. We’d book another, they’d cancel it. This went on for quite a while, long after the justifiable early measures to “slow the spread” had given way to political, unscientific nonsense and overreaction. But I digress.
Eventually, we gave up on a Hawaii cruise, since Hawaii maintained some of the most overwrought and absurd restrictions in the nation long after the pandemic was over. (It turns out that we will be visiting Hawaii later this year, but not on a cruise.) The tourist-centric nations of the Caribbean were some of the first to reembrace sanity, and they seemed least likely to shut back down for dubious reasons, so we ended up booking two shorter Caribbean cruises with all those saved-up cruise credits from our multiple cancellations and re-bookings. The first of those cruises was scheduled for September 2021, and the second for January 2022.
The September cruise went off without a hitch. We spent a few days in and around Miami, then boarded the Norwegian Gem for seven days with ports-of-call in Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico. No masking theater. No fear or fear mongers. Just a ship-full of vaccinated vacationers who were glad to be doing something normal again. It was lovely. I’ve posted some belated photos below.
As for that second cruise, yeah, Norwegian canceled it less then two days before embarkation (after we were already in Tampa, Florida). More about that in a future post.