Spit tube and tracking necklace.
We have been on four prior cruises; one river and three ocean. This is our fifth and the first one in 2 years. Covid-19 has dictated the essence of the cruise. It is safety; for us, fellow passengers and the crew. We were reluctant to take the cruise, but, staying home at our age (79 & 81) seemed even worse. And, a cruise ship seemed like the safest place. But, we had to jump through a lot of hoops; the most important being not to forget to wear our masks and carry our tracking necklace.
Covid-19 has added a number of things to the ordinary cruise:
1. All passengers and crew must be completely vaccinated.
2. VeriFly is required to prove your vaccination status. No cheating.
3. Negative PCR test 72 hours in advance of various deadlines depending on destination.
4. Negative Antigen test 48 hours in advance of boarding the ship.
5. Second negative Antigen test 48 hours in advance of boarding the ship, because due to a flight delay, we thought it would be 50 hours.
6. Vaccination card.
7. Check in at the dock before boarding the ship with copies of all documents
8. Negative PCR test on boarding the ship. This ship has its own lab to do daily PCR tests.
9. Masks at all times when outside your stateroom except when eating.
10. Daily spitting in a tube which is collected at 9:00 AM for the daily PCR test – hard because we do not have enough spit early in the morning – collected by the room steward in a big bag.
11. Daily questionnaire as to your health.
12. Temp check at the entrance of each restaurant or cafe.
14. Separated seats in the theater.
15. Separeted tables in the dining areas.
16. Whirlpool and spa areas limited to 10 people and apointment required.
17. All crew masked, vaccinated and tested daily.
And, we have yet to get to our first port on this cruise.
At 79 I am in the “at risk” group for coronavirus. I have no real underlying problems, other than old age. However, like all of my neighbors, who are of a similar age, I am concerned.
I was able to get gloves early on. (The next blog is on gloves.) I stay away from other people – six feet, except for my wife. I walk 2 1/2 miles every day. I buy groceries during “senior hour” even though it is early in the morning and I am exposed to a bunch of old people. We have enough food for two weeks. Until today, I drove to a nearby store to get a copy of the New York Times. Today, I had it delivered. So, except for a couple of trips a week and my walks along the Rio Grande River, my wife and I are isolated, “sheltering in place.”
The lack of a face mask concerned me, especially since the Federal Government can’t decide if a face mask is helpful, or not. Even if it is helpful, there are no face masks available for old people. Amazon could not deliver before mid-May; Walgreens was sold out; I had no doctor appointments scheduled, so I couldn’t steal a mask. And, the process of going around looking for face masks is dangerous, in and of itself. Talk about exposure. Web pages do not accurately reflect stock in the stores.
What is an old man to do?
I have a wife of 45 years. In that time she has accumulated a number of bras. She gave me one. It was good for two face masks. The elastic straps could be attached to one side with Super Glue. Bras are washable.
I have yet to convince my wife to wear a bra in any but the ordinary way; however, I am working on her. It would be nice to keep her around a little longer.