The Cruise that Wasn’t

Celebrity Eclipse (internet photo)

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.

Amtrak train at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver BC

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.

bridge and boat in Zhujiajao, China (an ancient city turned into a tourist attraction)

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.

cruise terminal and park all in one

Westerdam in Yokohama – the port where the Diamond Princess was quarantined

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.

Seattle Skyline

Seattle waterfront

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.

Canada Place in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

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.

Victoria Parliament Building

Parliament Building in Victoria – one of the port stops on the cruise we couldn’t take. Victoria is on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The city of Vancouver is on the mainland.

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.

Cruising into or out of San Francisco means passing under the Golden Gate bridge  where it always looks like there is no way the ship can possibly fit under – but it does

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.

out for a walk

Piper on a trail at a now-closed park where the crowds consist of deer and ducks, not people.

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.

smoggy view from the Shanghai Tower in China – and this was on one of their clearer days

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.

sunset over the Strait of Juan de Fuca

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.

Copyright My Cruise Stories 2020

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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13 Responses to The Cruise that Wasn’t

  1. Lyn Douglas says:

    Thank goodness you were not on a cruise. Many of your photos are beautiful. I am quite familiar with Canada Place as that is where I sailed from last August. So much has changed. in less than a year. We shall just keep looking for the silver linings, eg, look at Venice now. Stay calm and stay safe.

  2. Barbara Borstad says:

    Beautiful sunset! And right by your own home. Hope you can go on the cruise next year. Maybe then I can join you.

  3. Anna says:

    I was supposed to go on my cruise next week to Hawaii, but of course it got cancelled, too. I believe the cruise lines are very good with their cancellations. We were offered 100% refund as well or 100% FCC and some extra OBC. In our area the birds started to sing more. It is really nice to hear nature and listen to their songs.

    • Sorry to hear your plans got cancelled too. I’m sure it didn’t come as a surprise. I know we expected it for ours, and honestly I would not want to be on a cruise ship right now and would guess that you wouldn’t either. Hopefully the world will get back to normal soon and ships will be able to set sail safely once again.

  4. Sorry about your canceled plans…you will sail again 😊

  5. Celebrity Eclipse currently is docked in San Diego. Been here for a month or so and not going anywhere anytime soon.

  6. Sunset beautiful picture

  7. Horace Velmont says:

    I myself have attended cruise trip (Princess & Holland America) several times. That was an amazing experience. So, I truly enjoyed your wonderful pictures, especially about “sunset”. I hope Covid -19 disappear and everybody (including me) can enjoy cruise trip again.

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