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Social Distancing as a solo


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I hadn't really considered the loss of the social aspects of solo cruising until I read the OP's post.  I would have said that I wasn't social anymore (widow - late 60's) so it didn't apply to me.  At this point, I just enjoy the ocean, reading & relaxing, and the familiarity of cruising.  Last year I did manage to take a bucket list cruise to the Mediterranean that had a lot of excursions, as well as my traditional solo "birthday" cruise in February to get out of winter weather.

 

After reading OP's post, I realized that a large part of my enjoyment from cruising still comes from buffets, chatting with people occasionally, people watching and wandering around the ship for old lady exercise.   I have another "birthday" solo cruise with RCL booked for February.  Unless something dramatic changes, I suspect I'll end up canceling.  No buffets? Masks?  People trying to maintain distancing?  Possible reductions in service?  And a vaccine with only 50% efficacy?   Bleh.   I'm not not motivated to risk health under limited medical care in a test of cruise lines' ideas about how to save their businesses during a pandemic.  At this point, cruising still seems like a social experiment in a floating petri dish.  Most importantly, it no longer offers me the solo cruising experiences that I want at this point in my life.   

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22 minutes ago, Truluv said:

Unless something dramatic changes, I suspect I'll end up canceling.  

 

I wouldn't discourage you from doing so.  There are so many questions about what the cruising future holds that, whether one is a solo or not, it seems so illogical to me for people to keep "spending money" for deposits on cruises that have no assurance whatsoever will ever sail. 

 

No doubt the desire to cruise again is strong.  But, I wonder:  if this same "urge" is like that "urge" we had as children that "we just had to have that particular toy"?  Or those sneakers?  Etc.   

Edited by rkacruiser
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14 hours ago, Truluv said:

I have another "birthday" solo cruise with RCL booked for February.  Unless something dramatic changes, I suspect I'll end up canceling.  No buffets? Masks?  People trying to maintain distancing?  Possible reductions in service?  And a vaccine with only 50% efficacy?   Bleh.   I'm not not motivated to risk health under limited medical care in a test of cruise lines' ideas about how to save their businesses during a pandemic.  At this point, cruising still seems like a social experiment in a floating petri dish.  Most importantly, it no longer offers me the solo cruising experiences that I want at this point in my life.   

 

@Truluv  What a great idea to do traditional "birthday" solo cruises! Not only to celebrate your birthday, but since your birthday is in February and you live up north in Ohio, to also escape the winter weather. I also live up north in Michigan, so I may have to follow your lead and escape winter by cruising!

 

Yeah, if the hopefully soon to be coming Covid vaccine is anything like the flu vaccine, it'll be on average 40%-60% effective. Last flu season's (2019-2020) vaccine was 45% effective. There also have been previous flu seasons, where the flu vaccine was even less effective (i.e. 29% not too long ago). Each person's immune system is different (like snowflakes), so the flu vaccine effectiveness will also vary for each individual person - in some people the vaccine will be more effective in others less. Depends on how each person's immune system reacts to the vaccine.

 

But, remember, even though the vaccine may not prevent you from getting the virus, if you do get it, by having the vaccine it will greatly reduce your chance of having to go to the doctor thus greatly reducing your chance of being hospitalized and thus, most importantly, greatly reducing your chance of death. Plus, there are also new theraputics being developed which will also be available and will also greatly mitigate the above mentioned consequences from getting the Covid virus.

 

So, like the flu vaccine, the hopefully upcoming new Covid vaccine will most probably not be 100% effective in preventing you from getting the virus. But, with the flu each season and by getting the flu vaccine each season, we were and are able to go about our normal lives (i.e. cruising). It will work the same way for the new Covid vaccination.

 

That being said, buffets may still be a thing of the past (or ship's crew will continue to serve your plate in the buffet) but we'll thankfully be done with masks and social distancing. I totally agree with you, I will not cruise under the current situation with no Covid vaccine and having to wear a mask, social distance, etc. This will totally ruin the cruise experience.

 

Brighter days are ahead though and we may indeed have a Covid vaccine by the end of 2020. Priority will go to health care workers, first responders and the elderly then we should all be able to get the new Covid vaccine by early 2021. I'm predicting that we'll all be cruising like the way we did pre-Covid by early to mid 2021. So, your currently booked February 2021 cruise has a shot of sailing (without Covid restrictions) but cruising may not return and return to normal until later next year.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6907a1.htm

Edited by farmersfight
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On 6/14/2020 at 9:09 AM, Joanne G. said:

I was heartbroken when I my first solo cruise, 14-days around the British Isles on NCL in May, was canceled.  Besides the fabulous itinerary, I was looking forward to my first solo experience.  I was a little nervous but focusing on the positives - doing exactly what I want, cabin space all mine, etc.   I was not yet at the point where I would be comfortable doing a land vacation in Europe, but the inherently social nature of cruising made it an easy choice to go solo.   However, when the cruise was canceled, I chose a refund over the sizeable FCC.    Unrelated to being a solo, I am not ready to make big travel commitments for later this year, or 2021, or even 2022.  

 

But before the pandemic hit, I booked another solo cruise - London to Rome in August of 2021 on Carnival.   I am very excited about this itinerary (stops in  Spain and Portugal as well as Le Havre), and I was thinking of overcoming my apprehension about land vacations and extending my vacation for a few days in Rome after the cruise.   The deposit is refundable, so I am just sitting on the reservation for now.   By the time final payment is due next May, I will have a better sense of what travel will be like by the time of the cruise.    

 

Of course none of us knows what cruising will be like when it starts up again - prices higher or lower, masks or not, maybe partial occupancy and so forth.   But I have an additional concern about efforts to enforce social distancing.  I have seen speculation about dining only with your party, enforced distance at bars, people spaced out on tour buses, indoor and deck seating spaced far apart, etc.   These actions seem to take away the opportunity for the casual socializing that we are used to on cruises and seem to affect solos particularly hard.    Solo is one thing - isolation is something else entirely!  Is anyone else wondering about this?

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, those are exactly my concerns as well. It's going to be a while before we know what cruising in the age of pandemic looks like for anybody, let alone solos. If there are too many restrictions, I'll opt for land based until things normalize. If you're wary about taking land based tours solo, I'd recommend group travel with Road Scholar or Overseas Adventure Travel. They are not specifically for solos but there are a lot of solo people on the trips and everyone's friendly. Good luck.

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On 6/14/2020 at 9:09 AM, Joanne G. said:

But before the pandemic hit, I booked another solo cruise - London to Rome in August of 2021 on Carnival.   I am very excited about this itinerary (stops in  Spain and Portugal as well as Le Havre), and I was thinking of overcoming my apprehension about land vacations and extending my vacation for a few days in Rome after the cruise.

 

This sounds like a wonderful cruise. Yes, I definitely recommend extending your vacation a few days in Rome after the cruise. My then fiance and I cruised on the then new Carnival Dream out of Civitavecchia, Italy on a 12 day Mediterranean. After the cruise, we went to Rome and stayed 3 nights there. Awesome experience! So much history and culture. So much to see that even 3 nights weren't enough.

 

On 6/14/2020 at 9:09 AM, Joanne G. said:

Of course none of us knows what cruising will be like when it starts up again - prices higher or lower, masks or not, maybe partial occupancy and so forth.

 

Hopefully, by the time of your August 2021 Carnival cruise, there will be a safe and effective vaccine. IMHO, I think there will be. I will not cruise under current Covid requirements/restrictions - wearing a mask, social distancing, no pool(s), etc.

Edited by farmersfight
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Farmersfight - Your advice is terrific and practical - thank you!  My daughter & her spouse are health care professionals, and a son is a health care professional doing some Covid research work.  He just got engaged to a doctor.  They sound like aliens to me when they get started talking about Covid, viruses, vaccines etc.   Anyway, thank you again.  Your comment and info were actually understandable LOL.     

 

Mally 900:  I'll take a look at Road Scholar's offerings too.  I've only taken one organized tour,  but it was a very positive experience.  I took a bus tour with Trafalgar in Ireland a few years ago, and thought it was a very solo-friendly way to travel.  It was nice to have someone else responsible for driving, answering questions, ensuring we saw as many highlights as possible and even delivering luggage to hotel rooms.  People on the tour were very friendly.  Seats on the bus were rotated each day, to force everyone to meet (and ensured that nobody claimed & hogged the "best" seats as a side benefit).  The group ate breakfasts together every day, which also forced everyone to socialize.  Hmmm.  I might try another tour in 2022 for my 70th!  It's a reasonable possible alternative to cruising.

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4 hours ago, Mally900 said:

 I'd recommend group travel with or Overseas Adventure Travel

 

I have not used OAT, but I have good friends who are very well traveled who have booked trips with this company for several years.  The groups are small and well escorted and operated.  Their are always some solo guests in the group.  They only had one tour where the escort was not "quite up to par" as compared to their past experiences.  

 

My friend had a medical emergency while the group was in Poland.  Their escort arranged all the details and provided whatever assistance Dave and his wife needed.  His hospital stay was only an overnight one before he could rejoin the group.  Obviously, they were very pleased with the service that they received.  

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4 hours ago, Truluv said:

Farmersfight - Your advice is terrific and practical - thank you!  My daughter & her spouse are health care professionals, and a son is a health care professional doing some Covid research work.  He just got engaged to a doctor.  They sound like aliens to me when they get started talking about Covid, viruses, vaccines etc.   Anyway, thank you again.  Your comment and info were actually understandable LOL.     

 

Truluv - glad I could help! Wow, sounds like you have some very knowledgeable and professional resources at your disposal. Without a doubt, they know far more than me wrt to Covid, vaccines, theraputics and where this is all heading.

 

With that said, I'm glad my honest opinion was of use to you. I am an optimist so, I truly believe we WILL be solo cruising again sometime next year (2021). Hopefully earlier in the year than later.

 

Take care.

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If I had to social distance it would defeat the purpose of going. It would be sad.

I went on the wrong cruise in 2010 and had really no one to talk to- did it better on the 5 ones after that and made a lot of friends.

Some of my concerns are I really think it will be 2 or 3 years before I am on a cruise again and there might be more checks before going onboard, it almost seems concerning when you stay overnight in a large city etc. the night before.

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22 hours ago, HowardK said:

If I had to social distance it would defeat the purpose of going. It would be sad.

I went on the wrong cruise in 2010 and had really no one to talk to- did it better on the 5 ones after that and made a lot of friends.

 

As a fellow solo guest, not being able to easily meet people would not totally defeat my purpose for cruising, but it surely would put a damper on the experience.  One of the things that I like best is when a group forms at a ship's bar for Happy Hour.  The bartenders, the Stewards, and the guests:  often, we become "one happy family" for awhile.  

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/14/2020 at 10:40 AM, CruiseMH said:

Well,as i have been travelling solo on the last 2 cruises i also thought about how social distancing is going to affect solo cruisers.

Especially on NCL where the solo gatherings and solo activities offered by NCL are a rather important part of the cruise for me.

I`m really curios on how NCL will handle this.

Maybe with the required Covid testing for all crew and passengers it will be help.  

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On 9/6/2020 at 4:23 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

As a fellow solo guest, not being able to easily meet people would not totally defeat my purpose for cruising, but it surely would put a damper on the experience.  One of the things that I like best is when a group forms at a ship's bar for Happy Hour.  The bartenders, the Stewards, and the guests:  often, we become "one happy family" for awhile.  

If when I wasn't cruising solo meeting other people on the cruise was indeed a favorite part of my trip. 

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I got a notice that final payment is due on my 2/21 cruise.  Regretfully, I cancelled.  I did take a credit for a future cruise (nontransferrable).  Maybe I'll be able to cruise in another year or two for a 69th or 70th birthday....but right now, I'm not too optimistic.  Even with travel insurance & a Medigap policy that has some travel coverage, I wouldn't want to risk getting Covid at sea or in a foreign port.  And a vaccine for Covid that only has 50% efficacy just doesn't give me enough comfort to risk my health to take this kind of vacation, especially with risk factors.  On a different note, one of my kids just ashamedly admitted to taking a Disney weekend trip to WDW in Orlando, two weeks ago.  He showed me a few pictures including a picture of the Haunted Castle ride...NO LINE AT ALL.  Stupid kid.  I admit that I was envious though....     

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3 hours ago, Summerstravel said:

Maybe with the required Covid testing for all crew and passengers it will be help.  

 

The problem is that a testing is only the result at this moment. We all know that it takes 2-3 days from the infection until it can be proven by a test.So if you infect yourself on saturday and the cruise starts on sunday and you get tested either sunday at the port or friday at some tsting center then the test might show negative but you are infected.

So you still have to keep distance and try to avoid as many gatherings as possible.And i am afraid that solo gatherings would be one of the first things they will eliminate.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/31/2020 at 12:31 PM, CruiseMH said:

 

The problem is that a testing is only the result at this moment. We all know that it takes 2-3 days from the infection until it can be proven by a test.So if you infect yourself on saturday and the cruise starts on sunday and you get tested either sunday at the port or friday at some tsting center then the test might show negative but you are infected.

So you still have to keep distance and try to avoid as many gatherings as possible.And i am afraid that solo gatherings would be one of the first things they will eliminate.

My concern would be having to quarantine on the ship and/or be turned away due to something that happened on the way to the cruise.

I concluded the earliest I might return is March 2023 last minute from NYC and / or May 2024 before memorial day weekend. I went from Oct-2014 to May-2018 not cruising and did 2 that year. didn't cruise from May 1996 to June 2010. 

my plan is to do 2 in 2024 or 2023 (was able to pack for both at same time)

I had May this year but the same ship isnt being offerred- Encore to Bermuda. The closest thing meeting my requirements for now is Breakaway to Canada/NE and while I went there already and liked it I want Bermuda or the Bahamas. Also, next  time I am bringing some friends at least. 

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I have been reading your letters. I have been cruising solo for 18 years - usually 2 or more a year. Have concerns about returning to cruising. Never join the solo cruise groups anymore - find them a strange collection of guests. Like being at a table of mixed guests and finding out about them. Also meeting new people throughout the ships. So, not sure how keeping distant from others would make the cruise any fun. But, do not want to "catch" Covid. Have no plans for a future cruise at the moment. Try to find places that there are few or no cases on the world map, but seems this is everywhere. Agree, if you are negative on Sat when you board, not sure you are still neg on Monday....etc. that is a worry. When or are we going to be retested?

Was on ship end of March when this started, but cruiseline did not seem to get how much of a problem this was going to become - and of course neither did we on board.

Boring staying home all winter, but will do what is necessary...sleep and eat..haha. no travel!

Good luck with future plans everyone!

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7 hours ago, nanwel said:

I have been reading your letters. I have been cruising solo for 18 years - usually 2 or more a year. Have concerns about returning to cruising. Never join the solo cruise groups anymore - find them a strange collection of guests. Like being at a table of mixed guests and finding out about them. Also meeting new people throughout the ships. So, not sure how keeping distant from others would make the cruise any fun. But, do not want to "catch" Covid. Have no plans for a future cruise at the moment. Try to find places that there are few or no cases on the world map, but seems this is everywhere. Agree, if you are negative on Sat when you board, not sure you are still neg on Monday....etc. that is a worry. When or are we going to be retested?

Was on ship end of March when this started, but cruiseline did not seem to get how much of a problem this was going to become - and of course neither did we on board.

Boring staying home all winter, but will do what is necessary...sleep and eat..haha. no travel!

Good luck with future plans everyone!

 

Keep your hope up about future solo cruising. With the very positive news about Pfizer's vaccine (& Moderno's right behind it), we may all be solo cruising again by spring or summer 2021! Fingers crossed 🤞

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I agree, and with luck, they will have some room for solo cabins without charging us double for a single person in our cabin.

Would be interested to see if they have a cruise with the provision that you have had the new Covid needle before the cruise.

And if they will make it mandatory for all crew and staff.

Sailing sailing over the ocean blue.....

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18 hours ago, nanwel said:

Would be interested to see if they have a cruise with the provision that you have had the new Covid needle before the cruise.

And if they will make it mandatory for all crew and staff

 

This is very well the way things may be headed. The anti-vaxers will just have to stay ashore.

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I do better on a cruise when I am around people. Sometimes I might do my own thing during the day but from dinner on prefer eating and socializing with people. 

I am going to mention to my friends I am going next time instead of having a tunnel vision like I often do.

However, at this point I am not planning a return until 2023

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1 hour ago, farmersfight said:

 

2023? Wow, that's a long way off. With the latest good vaccine news, I'm hoping cruising returns to "normal" by the 2nd half of 2021.

Me too.......if the cruise I have booked for Oct 2021 is able to sail, I will be on board.

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