Hawaii/South Pacific: Pre-Cruise Thoughts

We’ve had this upcoming cruise on the bucket list for years. In 2020, we decided to take it off the “want” list and move it to the “just do it” list by putting down a deposit for a trip in February 2021. We naively thought Covid would be in the rear-view mirror by 2021.

Instead, Holland America (HAL) had to cancel that cruise and gave us the opportunity to move it to 2022 for the same price. In addition, HAL threw in a few extra days/ports, and a couple of extra perks. Or we could get our deposit back. We decided to take the transfer.

Fast forward to 2022. Covid is still here. We have sailed two Caribbean (Carnival and HAL) cruises recently and they had port changes and restrictions. Some cruise lines have cancelled their cruises until Spring. And I’ve read about people’s experiences being quarantined onboard their ship when they failed an onboard Covid test. From the reports, at least HAL seems to make quarantine bearable. Other lines, not so much.

Then, if Omicron illnesses weren’t enough to add to the uncertainty of cruising, there is the crazy bad weather we’ve had this Winter with so many airline delays and cancellations. (I can understand all the snow, freezing temperatures, even Winter tornados but Seriously? – an undersea volcano erupts in the South Pacific? WTH?)

So, at this point in normal cruise planning, all I usually have left to do is contact the credit card companies about the travel dates, set up the mail hold, and pack. For this one, I still have those things to do plus get our required entrance paperwork for Hawaii completed, buy more masks, and gather things we might need if we find ourselves in quarantine – playing cards, coloring book/pens, lots of books downloaded on the Kindle, crossword puzzles, etc.

We also must pass our initial Covid tests which we can’t take until 2 days before we are scheduled to embark. If we fail the test at that point, everything comes to a screeching halt and we start dealing with cancelling the cruise, flight, shuttle service, and the pre/post-cruise hotels.

There has also been talk on the cruise message boards that our itinerary will be changed from the one that is currently printed. This change is because of Hawaii’s new rule that our first stop to the islands must be Honolulu and not Hilo. Also, some say we will be docking at a different port in Maui because of construction at the original port. However, at this point, we have not been officially notified by HAL about any changes to the itinerary.

And to add to all that excitement, there is also talk on the message boards that, in addition to doing our Covid tests at home, we will be tested again at the port on the day of embarkation. Test positive and No Ship for You! But again, no official notification from HAL so who knows?

What HAL has notified us of is that the French Polynesian government and the Hawaii state government are both requiring all guests who want to visit to have their booster shot at least 14 days prior to boarding. At least that requirement is not a problem for us. We had ours as soon as we were eligible.

Why are we putting up with all the hoops and uncertainty?

Just call me Annie.

I am determined to remain optimistic. I believe we will pass all our Covid tests. I believe we will have good weather and the plane will take off on time. I believe we will be able to get to every wonderful cruise port and be allowed to take our tours or wander about as we see fit. I believe we will avoid onboard quarantine.

I believe we will have an excellent time on this 35-day Hawaii, French Polynesia, Marquesas islands cruise.

I believe!

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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