Let's get the obvious out of the way...
Vincent, Wendy and another couple are going on a cruise in the middle of this pandemic?
We'll let him explain.
This is a rolling blog. It will be updated daily as they check out Italy and Spain. New stuff will be posted as it comes in.
Check back often.
Here we are at the Daniel Inouye International Airport waiting to spend 17 hours and 47 minutes in the air or a total of 23 hours to get to Italy! WHY….in this, extended, middle of a PANDEMIC!
So...are we crazy to go cruising in the middle of a world-wide pandemic?
Here's how it came together. In February I presented one of the best cruises deal I ever saw to friends. They all said nicely “not at this time”. A few said bluntly “you NUTS or what”!
To start - it was smart of NCL to make this great offer knowing there is a 70% chance of cancellation by us or by them. NCL would still have our down payment and commitment to cruise with them in the future.
The Nishimoto’s came to me and said if the vaccine does its job and by September it is safe, they have never been to Europe and do not mind going to Rome and cruise the Mediterranean.
In April, after we all got our vaccinations, we put our down payments in and that was when I said, “the adventure starts NOW”.
Every weekend we got together to plan our trip and the only rules were to have Italian food for dinner. After 2 months we ran out of different Italian foods so any kind food will do.
We started watching YouTube viral tours of parts of Rome and what she had to offer.
In March 2021, Italy got a surge and mandated regional lockdowns and all public attractions closed. By June, the surge started to trend downward, and the Government started to reopen museums and other attractions.
While other parts of Europe and US started their pandemic surge, it did not look good for us, and we had to pay the balance to NCL by the end of July or cancel! Italy was ahead of the curve because they were the first and they were hit the hardest with the virus in 2020. Dining outside, no gathering and every Pharmacy store has a white tent in front to do virus test. As of today, Rome is safer than being in Hawaii. Hard to fight Mother Nature. Science tries, but nature will always take its course.
Then came the government, Airline and Cruise Regulations. We all went online to register with Italy Minister of Health to fill out 9 pages to prove you are safe to enter their country. It is called EU Digital Passenger Locator Form. You must show you are vaccinated or a survivor of Covid-19 and have been tested negative within 72 hours of arriving in Italy. We got our swabs test and got the results the day of departure.
Then each airline has its own Passenger Disclosure and Attestation form for each to sign. Plus a proof of a negative test done within 72 hours of departure.
NCL is the first cruise ship to mandate all employees and passengers be vaccinated and before boarding be tested negative.
Once on board we are in a bubble. Then at each port we can only go on shore with NCL approved excursions. No one can go on their own and mingle with the locals. Total separation, can’t test my Italian and Spanish communication skills.
So that's how we got where we are.
Our plane is waiting.
Come back tomorrow as we arrive in Italy and start seeing everything we can.