Greetings from the Indian Ocean on board the Pacific Princess 2020 World Cruise. I thought I would share a bit about our situation. The 2020 World Cruise began officially from Fort Lauderdale/Port Everglades on Jan 5th (I joined in LA on Jan 20th) The Corona virus had just barely come into being when the cruise began. The Pacific Princess had come from Europe and crossed the Atlantic and has not been in any Asian port in a very long time. The cruise started out well, but then we missed the port of Rangiroa in French Polynesia due to “port congestion” We were ported in Moorea instead and then had an overnight in Papeete. All is still pretty well. We then headed to New Zealand, but a severe storm prevented us from seeing the Fjordlands and Stewart Island. We were ported in Christchurch instead. We crossed “the ditch” / Tasman Sea to get to Australia and made all our intended Australia ports. This is now where things start to go askew. We were informed that the ship would be denied entry to Bali, Singapore and Phuket, Thailand. We instead sailed to Western Australia where we spent 4 unscheduled days. We were informed on Mar 1st that the Maldives will not welcome ANY cruise ship and we make a call to a second port in the Seychelles. Then we were to go on to Sri Lanka (A 7 day crossing instead of 3) Yesterday, Mar 5th we were informed that NO PASSENGERS OR CREW would be allowed to disembark in Colombo. This will now be considered a “Service Call” only to take on only necessary provisions, but not all the goods that were supposed to be. This would mean that the people who had booked the Taj Mahal overland trip would NOT be making that trip, which was a major bucket list item for some. Today, Mar 6th we had a full Q & A session with the Captain, ship’s Doctor and Hotel General Manager which was of course packed. Many issues were brought up, everything from specifics about Corona virus, impact to the rest of our itinerary, compensation from Princess to hand washing and ship sanitation. No one knows what our fate will ultimately be at this moment. The good news is … we are a very SAFE SHIP and probably better off here than any other place. We are being very well taken care of by staff and crew and my fellow passengers have been pretty amazing. It is difficult for all of us being in this very unusual predicament.
UPDATE: Mar 9th
This is our 6th day at sea since we left Australia. The Indian Ocean has been much calmer than what we had been experiencing and some very nice weather as well. We are seeing a very noticeable significant increase in sanitizing of the ship and a person is now stationed at the hand sanitizer pumps. I believe this is in reaction to discussion at the earlier Q & A briefing. The plan is still for the “Service Call” in Sri Lanka on Wednesday Mar 11th, which is expected to be 4 to 5 hours. Then we head back out to sea. The Maldives is going to maintain their closure to cruise ships it seems. The Seychelles may be the next port possibility. Nosy Be, Madagascar is currently looking doubtful. As of yet we do not know definitively when or where we will be allowed to port. We are being told that there are almost hourly changes and discussions going on all the time.
Among the passengers there is a lot of disappointment as we realize this specific cruise itinerary on this Pacific Princess can never be replicated. We continue to be very well taken care of. Spirits tend to remain pretty good on board. Passengers are enjoying the pool and the planned activities and getting to know each other. We have aptly named our scavenger hunt group Lost at Sea. I think we passengers are all mindful that we are a very SAFE SHIP and probably better off here than any other place. We just hope we will be welcome back in the US when we arrive at Fort Lauderdale/Port Everglades at the end of April without any issues or quarantine.
Also, I am injured 😞 On my tour in Picton, NZ I was reaching for my backpack to get money at lunch and took a spill. I went sideways and landed hand down on the floor and it jarred my whole arm. I have a slight fracture with no dislocation at the top of the humerus bone on my right arm (Yes, of course, I am right handed) The ship’s doctor and medical staff are very good. I need to wear a “cuff sling” for another week or so and up to 8 weeks of healing time. It is painful and very annoying. In this situation the ship is absolutely the best place for me. .
UPDATE: Mar 9th
Great News! I saw the doctor today and he says I am “not doing good, I am doing bloody good” (He is from South Africa) I no longer need to wear the “cuff sling” YAY! and continue to do my PT exercises the same as I have been. I still have healing to do and should be mostly back to normal in 2-3 weeks.