It’s very frustrating. Lockdown has eased, but it’s taking forever for foreign travel to open up. On Tuesday, April 20th the BBC ran an article indicating the US State Department is advising against travel to 80% of foreign countries. Even Antarctica only gets Level 2 – “Exercise extreme caution.” What can you do until it’s time to start sailing again?
- Take stock. You’ve cruised plenty of times. What lines did you like best? Which ships? What are the new ships coming into service?
- Bucket list. No, you aren’t assuming your time is short. You have certain countries you’ve always wanted to visit. Cities where you would like to return. What experiences like a safari are on your list? Talk it over with your partner. Why? Because now you have the time.
- Do research. You’ve got cities in mind. What would you do once you’ve arrived? What are the best restaurants? What sights must you see? When is the best time of day (or year) to see them? Have friends been there before? Get their feedback.
- Start shopping. You know where to want to sail. You know the cruise line. You know the ship. How are prices looking? Do some price comparisons on the vacation options you have identified. Don’t think “I can do this myself.” (CruiseCompete, which owns All Things Cruise, has a cool service where you identify the basics like line, ship, dates and cabin style. They come back with a series of competing bids from different travel providers.) It’s highly likely most cruise lines will have very liberal cancellation policies.
- Look into pet sitting. Let’s assume you are optimistically looking to sail this summer. Book your pet sitting now. Why? Because everyone else is looking to get away at the same time.
- Try food connected to the country. You want to visit Portugal. Good choice. Your city might have a Portuguese restaurant. Book a date night dinner. Try the cuisine. Learn about the different dishes and regional variations.
- Reconnect with your cruise friends. Do you and friends travel together? Get back in touch. Catch up. Have they been vaccinated yet? What are their travel plans? Share yours.
- Invite them for a visit. Let’s assume these friends don’t live in other countries. Are they within driving distance? Invite them over for lunch or dinner! This assumes everyone is comfortable with gathering as a group.
- Sort through your vacation photos. It’s amazing how many photos we have stored on our phones. I’m not the best at Smart Phone technology, but I try to sort through mu pictures, deleting massive amounts. I organize them into albums on the phone. If you can’t remember why you took a certain picture, you don’t need it.
- See if your cruise clothes still fit. This is a touchy subject. Recently, The New York Times reported people gained a pound a month on average, during the pandemic lockdown. Worse, the rate was 1.5 pounds in the early months. As the joke said, “What did you expect if the only stores open sold food and liquor?” You might need to replace a few items.
Let’s hope we can all get back to sailing really soon!
Cover photo: Bridge at border of Portugal and Spain, photo from Katherine Rodeghier