I am currently sailing in the Caribbean right now aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, The Oasis of the Seas, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, and y’all it’s kind of crazy.
Here’s What It’s Like To Be On A Cruise Ship Right Now…
First of all, it’s nothing like you’d expect. There isn’t really any panic, and it’s been a pretty okay cruise so far. I don’t want to say it’s been as good as all of our cruises, so I can really just give it the stamp of okay.
This is actually our fourth time on the Oasis of the Seas, so we have a lot to compare it to. We would consider ourselves frequent cruisers, and this ship is our favorite.
Before we boarded the ship, they took everyone’s temperatures to check that we didn’t have a fever.
It made me a little stressed out at first, but I appreciated it. They had us stand in these little corrals, and basically took the temperature of our entire party.
Mine was 95.4 though, and that made me a little nervous, because never in the history of time has my temp been that low, so I don’t really know how accurate their thermometer is.
They also asked us if we’d traveled outside the US and if so, to where. They wanted to know if we’d been in contact with anyone who had been to any impacted countries. Everyone said no, and they didn’t question anyone on their answers.
Before we ever boarded the ship, we had to use hand sanitizer. There were employees standing next to the hand sanitizer machines and they would not let us through until we used some. But, that’s usually the case when you board the ship. They’re always pretty strict about hand sanitizer because of norovirus.
The entire staff is taking extra care of everyone on board.
The first day and a half I actually got pretty sea sick and couldn’t get out of bed. My stateroom attendant checked on me multiple times, and even one time when my husband answered the door and said i was in the bathroom the attendant said he needed to physically see me and make sure I was okay.
Luckily I was all recovered. He told me Later that if I hadn’t been out of bed by day The end of day two, he was going to make me go to the infirmary. Or have one of the doctors come to the room. They’re actually willing to come to your room if you don’t want to go down to the infirmary and risk catching something you don’t already have.
They’re also making us wash our hands every time we eat.
There are hand sanitizer stations everywhere. And I do mean everywhere.
At every single door there’s a station. It’s like at a hospital. It’s kind of ominous to see that many stations, just because you are constantly reminded, but it also is nice to have them.
Ob, and only once so far has one actually been out of sanitizer. And there was another one about three feet away from me.
I will say that my hands are pretty dry just because I’m using so much sanitizer but that is a small price to pay.
So ya know, you have no excuse to not have clean hands. I think my hands might be the cleanest they’ve ever been.
The staff is going around and cleaning EVERYTHING. There is never someone not next to you cleaning.
They are putting sanitizer all over every table, banister and surface. It’s everywhere. It took a little while getting used to, but pretty much everything is wet at all times.
If you touch a table, it’s probably wet. If you touch a banister, it will pretty much always be wet. I don’t know how to feel about that one. I mean, it feels kind of gross, but at least it’s sanitary?
There’s even sanitizer people who just goes back and forth. Up and down the ship sanitizing everything all day.
These people are everywhere all over the ship with their buckets of sanitizing cleaner. Just wiping down every single surface. Over and over again.
For the most part, We have been skipping the crowded stuff and trying to do things in private instead.
instead of group karaoke we booked a karaoke room just for ourselves, and our royal genie set up a private pastry decorating class for my daughter and her best friend.
Not everyone has that luxury though and we’ve taken full advantage of it. Opting to eat in our room and have some of the specialty restaurants delivered to us instead of going to them.
We have eaten at a few of the smaller restaurants and they are full of people, so we’ve opted to eat at a later time in the evenings so the restaurant is a little more empty. That’s worked out well for our family.
We have breakfast delivered to our room each morning and haven’t touched a buffet. The staff heard our concerns there and assured us that it was perfectly safe, but they understood why we weren’t eating there, too.
We’ve been told to keep our hands off our faces. Nobody is wearing masks or anything. Everyone seems to be in general good spirits.
After each spa treatment they’re sanitizing the whole room before the next person is seen. They say they aren’t doing much more than they usually do because they try to keep things super sanitary in there, anyway.
We aren’t getting off at the different ports and we’ve canceled all our excursions.
This was a personal choice though, and there are a lot of other people getting off the ship and having a blast. When we pulled in to Costa Maya, there were two other ships there and I just didn’t see any need to co-mingle with them.
I kind of felt like we were already tempting fate.
We did actually get off the ship earlier in the week at the private island when we were the only cruise ship there. We ended up renting a private cabana to avoid all the crowd stuff, and opted to get back on the ship and skip their big buffet lunch.
The ship has actually changed one of the ports due to the Coronavirus Outbreak.
Instead of stopping in Jamaica as planned, we went to Costa Maya, Mexico. They refunded us for all our planned excursions in Jamaica, and we opted not to get off in Costa Maya.
When I asked why they skipped Jamaica, they said it was because Jamaica was being super strict about what ships they were letting into port and denying a bunch of them docking privileges, so it was better to just come up with a contingency plan instead.
This part kind of sucked, but I totally get it.
Oh and they’re fogging they ships with sanitizer nightly.
Everything is about as clean as it could be. Which is nice. It gives you a sense of security, at least.
In all, this has been a great experience and the way Royal Caribbean has handled everything on our cruise has been amazing.
Royal Caribbean is offering their money back to people right now as long as you cancel 48 hours before the cruise. We didn’t have that option when we booked our cruise, because we were less than 48 hours away from our cruise when they started offering that. I actually tried to get them to bend that policy, but they wouldn’t.
I couldn’t get ahold of them via phone, so I ended up messaging them on Facebook instead. It took them a little while to get back to me, but they did get back to me. Sort of.
If Royal Caribbean had given us a refund or credit towards a future cruise, we honestly would have probably skipped this week and gone another time instead when we felt a little safer.
I hear that you can book a cruise right now for dirt cheap though, so that’s something to consider.
They also told me that starting the next cruise, all of the captain’s tours and stuff are canceled. They will also be canceling a lot of the group activities like sushi making class and jewelry making class.
I asked if they would be canceling shows as well. But wasn’t given a straight answer. A lot of times, it seems like the staff is well trained, but they aren’t being given any answers that we aren’t. I appreciate the transparency there.
We are having a great trip, but I do spend my evenings reading the news and freaking myself out. Like, we still have to fly home to Texas from Florida after this, and I’m considering renting a car and just driving instead. I still haven’t decided on that one.
Would I have gotten on a ship if I knew that things were going to get this bad? Probably not. Are we making the best of it? Heck yeah.