Shortly before Covid-19 hit and brought the world to a standstill, My sister and I booked a Pacific Coastal cruise on Celebrity Eclipse which was to set sail on May 3rd. This one-week cruise would have sailed round trip from Vancouver BC (Canada) with an overnight in San Francisco and stops in Seattle and Victoria. We’ve been to all those places before, but this was just to be a little vacation and a fun get-away for us.
Our plans were to take a train up to Vancouver the day before and get a hotel for the night near the dock or at least near a sky train station on the route that goes to Waterfront Station, which is next to Canada Place where cruise ships dock. There is a hotel right at Canada Place. That one isn’t really in our budget, but several nearby were.
We had talked a bit about options of things to do at the various ports, but hadn’t made any concrete plans when the first news hit about coronavirus, before they named it Covid-19. Initially of course it just seemed to be a problem in China, but then when a cruise ship hit the news when the attempt at quarantining it in Japan turned it into basically a plague ship, followed by news of coronavirus on other ships, it led to people frantically canceling their cruises or wondering whether or not they would still sail.
Meanwhile the cost of cruises dropped and we were upgraded from balcony to concierge class, which comes with a more choice room location as well as things like priority boarding and concierge service onboard. Most of the world was still functioning normally at the time and we were looking forward to this more premium than we are accustomed to designation and sailing on a ship that was likely to have far less passengers than usual.
Soon the big news was a nursing home in Kirkland where the virus ran rampant. At the time my husband’s mother was in a nursing home in Everett, which is not that far from Kirkland (or Seattle). Luckily he and his sister were able to get her out before other area nursing homes became an issue, though she had needed medical attention for an unknown flu-like illness that ran through her nursing home shortly before coronavirus became a thing. Was it Covid 19? That was prior to when any testing for it began in the USA and before the Kirkland nursing home hit the news so we will never know. She did say some other residents of her nursing home vanished mysteriously at that time, never to be seen or heard from again. Now that researchers have discovered many people have mild cases or no symptoms at all she’s definitely not the only one wondering if they’ve already had it. Anyone who thought they had a cold or the flu earlier this year may wonder now if that was really Covid 19, and even people who never had anything might speculate if they were one of those asymptomatic carriers.
As things got worse and the virus hit more states and countries all cruising in the USA initially shut down for a month. It looked at the time like ours might still sail as it was nearly two months distant. Then the virus spread farther around the USA, hitting Canada as well. Borders closing between countries followed and Canada closed all their ports. At that time Celebrity was in wait and see mode, probably hoping the situation would improve, as of course was the rest of the world. We figured as long as they stayed in wait and see mode we would be in wait and see what they do mode.
Things got worse and we were pretty sure our cruise would never sail since no port wanted to let any ships still at sea in and the border to Mexico closed as well as the one to Canada. For a time there was no news from Celebrity. If we canceled the cruise ourselves then we would get a full refund. If we waited for Celebrity to cancel it we would have other options, so we waited to see what they offered. The options they gave us were either a full refund or 125% of what we spent on that cruise applied to a future cruise taken any time up to December 2021, so when things settle down and the world gets back to normal we can make new plans. Unfortunately we did not book any shore excursions, as we would have been given 125% of the cost in future onboard credits if we had (or a refund if that were the option we chose.)
Meanwhile our biggest concern personally is for our father, who hits nearly all the marks for people who are most likely to die if they get sick – and for my sister trying to insure that he doesn’t catch it, (or our mother either). I live too far away to help by doing anything other than staying away so as not to expose them to anything I may have come in contact with. Broader concerns of course extend to the entire world since this is a global problem.
Hopefully cures and vaccinations come soon and life can return to normal, but that’s likely wishful thinking. Living in Washington, which was the first and one of the harder hit states in the USA, life has pretty much ground to a halt. Just about everything not deemed essential closed here before the rest of the country and will remain so for some time yet to come. Because of that new cases are under better control here than on the other side of the continent at the new epicenter in New York where their totals far surpassed that of Washington State and the rest of the country bringing the USA into the current epicenter of the world. Some countries definitely handled the impending pandemic better than others early on while they still had the chance to keep it from getting so far out of control.
Even the parks here are all closed – everything no matter how remote. Which was done to keep urban people from congregating in city parks and popular recreation areas. In the rural area where I live the parks are acres of trails where you’re more likely to see a deer, bird, or squirrel than a person, and can easily avoid them if you do happen across anyone, but they are closed anyway which actually puts more people out to walk their dogs into less area. It ends up having the opposite effect in putting people closer together rather than spreading them farther apart.
The only bright spot in all this is with so many people staying home and so many things shut down the air around our planet has become cleaner. People in places like some areas of India and China can see what the world really looks like when not viewed through thick brown smog. Even where I live the view of hills and mountains has slowly faded away in a haze over the years from beautiful vibrant bold bright colors that appear nearby to unimpressive, pale, and distant looking. They are currently bolder and brighter than they’ve looked in years.
After all this if enough people worldwide decide to work from home more often than they did in the past both air and traffic conditions would benefit. And if after that glimpse of color and chance to breathe fresh air all the countries of the world would turn to green energy sooner rather than later then something good could come out of all the bad.