In the midst of what has become a pandemic, I am on the 2020 Oceania Insignia World Cruise. The ship left Miami on January 8 and will arrive in New York City on July 25. As a presenter of stories from a Cruise through History, I came prepared with one hundred stories to entertain the 650 guests, about half of whom are world cruisers. Due to our change in itinerary, there will still be as many stories, about half of different ports.
World travel is an enlightening experience. Being afloat during the growing spread of this pernicious flu has kept everyone tuned in to developments. Fortunately for this ship, it was visiting ports of South America when other ships became engulfed with flu in Asia.
Oceania made the decision to keep the World Cruise sailing and adjust the itinerary. Instead of heading across Southeast Asia to China and Japan, across Alaska and down to San Francisco, the Oceania Insignia will sail from Cape Town, across the Indian Ocean and down to Perth. The ship will sail across southern Australia, to New Zealand and on to ports of Polynesia and Hawaii, before docking in San Francisco on July 5, as originally scheduled.
The decision of Oceania Cruises to keep the Insignia sailing on the World Cruise was not in defiance of government and other opinions. Rather, this ship is an opportunity to display the possible. The ship is healthy. Every effort is being made to keep it healthy.
Cruise ships, like hotels and schools, bring people together to live in close contact. Ships have the option to control the onboard environment, fumigating halls late at night, constantly cleaning surfaces of public areas and keeping guest rooms sanitized. On Oceania food is always served, even in the buffet. Sanitation is optimum. Under normal circumstances, Oceania runs healthy ships. In times of health concerns, the ship goes into even higher level of care.
San Francisco is the end point for guests on the 160-day 2020 World Cruise. Other guests will stay for the Miami to Miami cruise, while about fifty will still be on board when we reach New York City. Additional guests will join the ship in San Francisco.
The attitude of guests from the beginning of these troubled times has been positive. They rely on Oceania to look out for their safety and well-being. Altering ports in times of bad weather or political crisis is taken as a part of travel. Missing anticipated ports of Asia is a disappointment. Guests look forward to the new schedule, even those repeating visits.
People at the US State Department issuing the advisory that people over sixty not cruise, are out of touch with travelers today. The adage that sixty is the new forty is the reality of this ship. At the last port, popular shore excursions were riding bikes through a colonial town, hiking the forest or swimming pristine beaches. Guests revel in all of it.
The Covid-19 pandemic brings home the teaching of John Muir that everyone in the world is connected. Whether virus, or loss of the Amazon Rain Forest, no part of our world is truly isolated. We need to care for ourselves and our environment.
We also need to remain rational in our actions. Virus occur every year. Under-reaction followed by over-reaction can be as harmful as the virus. Let us take care of each other and continue to enjoy life.
As long as the Oceania Insignia is sailing forth toward New York City, I hope to keep in touch. So many ports and so many stories to tell. To all my readers, be well.
If you want to learn more about Sherry Hutt’s adventures check out one of her books on Amazon.com