So we’ve just come back from a cruise. In hindsight, going ahead with our plans to cruise was probably one of the dumber decisions we’ve made, now that it’s become clear the nation was already diving headfirst into the calamity that is the novel corona virus pandemic. At the time it seemed as though we had a month or so before things got really serious; there were reports of outbreaks in Washington state and a few very localized communities and we talked ourselves into believing that’s all there was to it, but with little to no testing going on, we were only denying the reality of the situation.

And it was pretty easy to keep on denying anything was wrong. O’Hare airport was jammed shoulder-to-shoulder with travelers and the airlines weren’t taking any special precautions that were apparent to us. Fort Lauderdale airport was just as busy as O’Hare and the motel we stayed in appeared to be fully booked with people who were for the most part unconcerned about being in close contact with one another. I noticed a few people at the continental breakfast making good use of hand sanitizer, but they were just two or three out of dozens. We all happily climbed into crowded buses to take the short ride to the cruise port at ten o’clock.

We boarded in one of the early groups and although they warned us we would be subject to a stringent medical screening due to the pandemic, this amounted to little more than asking us to fill out a questionnaire and requiring us to submit to having our temperature taken. They used little plastic pistols which they pointed at our foreheads to take our temperature, and we’re a little doubtful about their accuracy — B’s temp was 91 degrees Farenheit, which I’m pretty sure is not possible for a walking, talking human being.

Sanitation is very important on a cruise ship, so the crew is used to keeping everything clean, and there was almost always someone standing guard at the entrance to the dining hall, squirting everyone’s hands with a jumbo-sized bottle of hand santizer. The people who ran the charter cruise we were on regularly reminded everyone to wash their hands and even played a couple of specially-recorded videos with catchy tunes to keep it at the front of our minds.

Nobody got sick on the cruise that I know of. Although a few people reported on social media afterwards that they were under the weather with sniffles or coughs, they attributed it to “cruise crud,” a catch-all description for the various bugs people suffer from after a cruise. B had a nasty case of cruise crud the first time we went cruising; we made sure we washed our hands more or less constantly the next two times and we avoided coming down with anything. If we’re lucky, it worked again this time around, too.


Best part of our cruise? The balcony. I’m not kidding even a little bit about this. There were lots of things about the cruise that were great, but the number one best thing about it was sitting on the balcony with a book and a fruity drink, listening to the waves whoosh off the sides of the boat for hours. Not even close.

view from our cruise ship stateroom balcony

We originally had a reservation for a room on deck one, two decks below the lowest open deck on the ship, so although we had a window — it was much bigger than what you would probably think of if I said “porthole,” so I’m going to call it a window — it didn’t open and didn’t provide us with much more than an up close and very personal view of the waves crashing off the bow.

Then, a few weeks before we sailed, My Darling B casually said to me, “What if we upgraded to a balcony? It doesn’t cost that much more.” I enthusiastically endorsed the idea and sent an email message to the booking office, asking to be put on the waiting list for an upgrade to a room with a balcony, should one become available. We never heard back from them, so I assumed there were no cancellations that resulted in an vacant room with a balcony.

But in the last few days before we flew down to meet the ship at the cruise port we saw posts on social media from people who were canceling because they were sick or were concerned about becoming sick, so after we got there and checked in, we went to the guest services desk to ask them if they had any vacancies with a balcony. And what the heck, they did.

Getting the upgrade wasn’t easy. Well, it was easy for us, but we unintentionally made it confusing and complicated for the women at the guest desk partly because we were a little bit tipsy but mostly because they showed us two different rooms: first they showed us a vacant cabin on deck 5. Then we went back to our room to talk over whether or not we wanted it (we did, but we always have to do this talking it over thing). When we went back to ask for the upgrade, we talked to a different woman at the guest desk who wanted to give us a vacant cabin on deck 8, so we asked her to show that one to us, too. I thought the one on 8 looked bigger but the woman walled the desk and confirmed with someone (who turned out to be wrong) they were the same size. B wanted the cabin on 5 so we went back to the desk, signed some papers, grabbed our bags and made our way up.

When we got there we could immediately tell that the cabin on 5 was *much* smaller than the one on 8, even smaller than our original cabin on deck 1, so we marched straight down to the guest desk to ask for the one on 8, which they gave us, but it a great big hurry because the life boat drill was about to start. They got the paperwork done and the key cards made just in time for us to rush out to our muster station. There was just one more little hiccup, a delay getting our bags from our new room on deck 5 moved up to our newest room on deck 8, but that got sorted out shortly after the dinner hour so it was all good.

And we put that balcony to good use. We did lots of other cruise stuff, too, but it turned out what we most wanted to do was sit on a couple of deck chairs and stare out at the sea as our minds wandered far away from the cares of the world.

view from our cruise ship stateroom balcony