top of page

Cruising During COVID

Updated: Dec 31, 2021


I love to travel. Like love LOVE traveling. When COVID became a mainstream concern, nothing could have prepared me for what the future would look like. If I went back in time to warn myself to stock up on toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and masks... I think I'd laugh at how ridiculous future me sounded. Jokes on me though! So jump ahead a year to feeling the impacting on daily living AKA minimal to no social interactions, working from home, no restaurants/bars, or breaking out in a sweat if someone stood too close in the grocery store. I became proficient at ordering from Amazon, Doordash, & other online retailers. I'll admit I started to enjoy life without pants and people.

Unfortunately, stressors related to COVID kept increasing while coping options continued to dwindle. If I had a rough day with work, there was no fun weekend plan to go out for dinner and drinks. Heading off to the mall or Target for some retail therapy, because I couldn't curse at my boss, was prohibited or basically required me to put on a HAZMAT suit for comfort. A week long vacation to reset & destress was a dream. I was stuck.

And then... finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Positivity, hospitalization, and death rates began to drop. Restaurants, malls, and other areas were opening again. Life was going back to normal, well kinda. It was time for my vacation!

I wanted something with minimal effort and complication but maximum enjoyment. I decided on a seven day pre-Thanksgiving cruise to the Bahamas. Since airlines were canceling a lot of flights at that time, I decided to use a port close to home & avoid flying. With all of the recent skyrocketing COVID cases on the major cruise lines, I am very thankful that I went away when I did. I hope it won't be another year before it's safe to travel again. My sanity can't wait that long. 😌 

 

Before we go any further, if you click an affiliate link below, I may earn a commission. You can learn more about affiliate marketing here. Amazon & Target are my go to stores for last-minute shopping. Since I decided on this vacation & booked in all of two days, same day shipping was a huge life saver! I only linked a few of my favorite pieces, there is no cost to you if you checkout any of the items, so happy shopping! 

Now, if you stuck it out this far, here are some tips on how I got the best out of my Royal Caribbean vacation. Remember, always do your research and do what works for you & your safety. 1. Safety

  • Review the requirements for COVID testing and vaccination. There are time-sensitive testing deadlines that must be met to board the ship.

  • Have consideration for others and avoid traveling if you are not well.

  • You would think this goes without saying after 2 years but... wear your mask!

  • The crew had masks available everywhere & were frequently disinfecting. Also, we didn't encounter any aholes who refused to wear a mask. 

  • There were appropriately spaced seating areas in all of the restaurants. The dining & entertainment areas weren't very crowded, we may have been lucky enough to have a sailing that was under maximum capacity. 

  • The gentleman that maintained the cabin was wonderful. He cleaned everything in our cabin at least twice a day or more if we left the cabin for a significant amount of time. 

  • Remember to keep sanitizer handy for high-touch surfaces like elevator buttons, handrails, menus, etc.

  • Having a balcony was wonderful for fresh air & an escape whenever we were in the room... The views were pretty nice too!

2. Search for Deals with Your Browser in Private Mode

  • While searching for options outside of private, I actually received a phone call from the cruise line rep asking if I needed any assistance with booking. I almost fainted like... "Sir... sir! How did you know I was looking!" Worse than the vehicle warranty people.

  • Private browsing reduces the likelihood of ads, tracking, and rate changes. 3. Do Your Research

  • Determine whether you want to fly or drive to your departure port.

  • Give yourself ample time to arrive before check-in/boarding your ship. I had Über as an option to avoid paying astronomical garage fees at the port.

  • Compare cruise lines for different departure port locations, costs, venues, discounts, destinations, and setting (kid vs adult friendly).

  • YouTube is an excellent source to review cabins and the ships layout.

  • Unfortunately, some of the ads & descriptions from the companies for events don't always match the reality. Thankfully, YouTube is also a great place to find videos of different excursions/places on the islands.

  • Luckily there was only one choppy night the entire trip. Not so lucky, I was on the highest deck that night, where you can feel every.single.wave. If you get seasick easily be aware that you may feel more motion the high you go.

  • Non-drowsy ginger motion sickness pills did an incredible job for my nausea. As a back-up, I also kept peppermint Altoids minis on hand.

  • If you're prone to seasickness, study which deck level & area of the ship may be best for you. I get queasy with minimal motion so yeah, go figure that I picked a cruise for vacation. However, deck 7, mid ship was a dream.

4. Food food and more food 

  • You can find menus for the regular and specialty restaurants on-line before the cruise.

  • Most cruise lines offer food &drink (alcohol & otherwise) packages. If you have enough lead time you can watch for discounts on the cost prior to your trip.

  • Specialty restaurants reservations for the book fast. People start booking for breakfast, lunch, & dinner for the week as soon as they get on the ship... like before they even get to their cabin. You can book for almost all the restaurants by calling the service #, via the app, or at your main dining room. 

  • The drink package is not for the conservative cruiser. Keep in mind, if you are sharing a cabin with other adults & you want a package, every adult must also buy a package. There is no option for only one person to get the package (on Royal). Sharing your drinks with someone who does not have a package is prohibited. They really don't make it easy.

  • Drink packages cover alcoholic beverages, soda, juice, & bottled water. Some specialty drinks (red pill/blue pill from Wonderland), drinks over a certain price ($13 on my trip), & room service drinks did not apply & cost extra.

  • Want to save on costs? Most cruise lines allow you to bring bottled water, soda, & or juice in specific qualities. I was able to bring on a case (12 cans of 12 fl oz.) of ginger ale.

  • Read the fine print. Some food, drink, & excursion packages have items that may not be included & have a surcharge. For example, although I had a specialty restaurant package, there was a $10 charge at Izumi.

 

Just a few of the drinks & snacks that I inhaled. Of note, the Bionic Bar... AWESOME! Best drinks on the whole ship.


Izumi



Jamie's


Chops


Solarium


Wonderland


5. Fun Stuff

  • The ships have an abundance of fun free events all day long like karaoke, surfing, trivia, movies, yoga, crafting, etc. There are also other events like the spa, art shows, jewelry viewings, etc. where they try to get you to pay to attend & buy overpriced stuff. You can reserve events in the app.

  • There are many exciting, relaxing, gorgeous excursions available. If you are giving yourself enough of a window before your departure date, you can check daily/weekly for excursion discounts.

  • Check for inclement weather before you book & have a backup plan. 

  • If you are brave enough to travel currently, keep in mind that the captain, and or any of the islands on your itinerary, may decide to skip/deny docking due to safety concerns.

  • High winds almost resulted in the captain skipping Coco cay, Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas (pictured below). Luckily, while most people were canceling their activities, due to the threat of not docking, I held out hope. If the captain hadn't been skilled enough to make it work, we would have missed out on everything we booked.

  • Coco cay was gorgeous, even with the intermittent clouds. There are lots of places to eat, relax, and explore at no cost.

  • Coco cay is broken up into sections; Chill island (quiet area), Oasis lagoon (party area), and Thrill Waterpark (active loud area). Each area offers different activities at varying prices.

  • For the more frugal traveler, you can still go to Coco cay and lounge on many of the beaches at no cost.

  • I opted for quiet and headed to Chill island, a beautiful stretch of private beach with many empty cabanas.

  • Considering a cabana at Cococay? Yes, yes, & yes! The space is roomy & has: four beach chairs, two other chairs, a couch/lounger, towels, a table with a built-in safe, ceiling fan, power outlets, and a cooler with waters.

  • If you have a drink package, your steward will bring your drinks to the cabana. I had so many, I forgot to take pics (make time to live in the moment)!

  • Make sure to pay attention to the ships departure time... don't get left behind.

 

Blue Floral Dress/Cover-up This fabric is light and comfy, it was perfect for the beach. 


Black Wide Brim Fedora Hat This was a last-minute online buy and it was way cuter than I expected.

Sugarfix Gold Link Chain Necklace My shopper picked this as a replacement for what I ordered. Thankfully, I liked it!

CinShein Womens Casual Off Shoulder Wrap Maxi Dress Summer Strapless Ruffle Party Beach Long Maxi Dresses with Belt (out of stock)

I wasn't sure about ordering tMs one but I'm glad that I did. The color is gorgeous!

Orange Black & White Maxi Dress

This long maxi dress is comfy & has pockets!! The fabric is light and more on the stretchy side.

  • This bag was super light & handy for carrying water, a change of clothes, sunblock, and all of the souvenirs I purchased. 😅


6. Misc.

  • I purchased the Stream & Zoom Wi-Fi package for one device. I learned the hard way that the option for 2 devices would have been a much better idea. Switching back & forth to access the Wi-Fi was annoying. The Wi-Fi service had some lapses that were long enough to result in a partial refund. 

  • Without the Wi-Fi package, you're either roaming to get some internet or going without until you get to a port. The Wi-Fi was also available of the ship, after about 20 minutes, while on Coco cay. 

  • On Royal, access to view account activity was available on the cabin TV or the app. Check your account often to make sure that there are no extra charges, they can add up quickly.

  • You can opt to pay the (mandatory) cost of gratuities before the trip or when you close out at the end.

  • Tipping cash for excellent service is permitted. There is an ATM onboard. If you're traveling to Coco cay, there is no ATM on the island to grab cash for tipping cabana & other staff... & it's about a 10 minute walk back to the ship so...

  • There are beautiful paintings, sculptures, and other pieces of art all over.

 

For some, this may not be the safest time to travel. I was fortunate to have booked during the COVID lull, before the current messy state. Figure out what makes sense for you. Nevertheless, I hope that the information here can be of use if ever or whenever you do decide to hit the open seas!

19 views0 comments

コメント