Covid on the cruise ship

Yes, we have covid on the cruise ship. After our shore excursions in La Palma and Tenerife, I developed slight sniffles with frequent sneezing. It concerned me to sneeze and sniffle around other cruise passengers and create concern about Covid.

I did not feel sick, tired, or have any other symptoms other than sniffles and sneezing, and I wanted to reassure people around me that I had been tested and did not have Covid. I called the infirmary, described my insignificant, minor symptoms, and requested a Covid test.

Positive Covid result!

After my request, someone quickly appeared at our cabin door and administered a PCR test. The wait for the result was not long, but I was unconcerned because I was confident the test result would be negative.

Covid on the cruise ship

We were astonished to receive a phone call telling me I had a positive test result! Yikes! I did not feel sick; I just had usual, everyday sniffles. Steve had no symptoms at all. He was required to take an antigen test. Again this test was administered at our cabin door.

A guest services representative delivered a positive covid result letter to me at our cabin and informed me that I was required to quarantine for the next five days in a cabin near the infirmary. My instruction was to pack and be prepared to move to my quarantine room that day.

Covid on the cruise ship

Steve and I were both completely taken aback. Steve’s antigen test result showed he was negative. I repeatedly asked to be retested, but it is not cruising ship protocol, and a retest the cruise line denied by request.

Covid on the cruise ship

I still have a tough time believing my positive test result was accurate. It just could not be accurate. How could I be negative just one day before leaving on our cruise, be positive only a few days later, and suddenly negative again?

I know, I know; people get Covid all the time that are asymptomatic and never know it – just not me and not negative, positive, and then negative again in such a short period. A neighbor in the cabin next to us had the same situation; negative, positive, negative. We do not understand.


Covid on the cruise ship

Guest Services gave Steve the option of staying in our cabin alone or going into quarantine in a quarantine cabin with me. Oddly, the ship’s protocol would permit Steve to roam freely about the ship if he did not quarantine with me, even though we had been together 24/7 since boarding the ship.

I believe Steve deserves a husband of the year award because he voluntarily agreed to follow me to quarantine. I knew this would be difficult for him. Everyone that knows Steve knows he does not like being indoors for very long at all – ever.

Steve also informed Guest Services of my crazy claustrophobia problem, explaining to Guest Services that I must stay in a balcony room; that an oceanview room would not work. Ship protocol would require me to move. This is a word we were to hear a lot over the next few days. We did not have to move cabins.

We obligingly (not really) packed up all our luggage and belongings as instructed so we would be ready when Guest Services came to move us to our new cabin. They never came! We did receive many phone calls to let us know they were working to arrange for a quarantine room.

Steve and I both continued to request a balcony quarantine room, which I expect may be a nonexistent thing. I seriously have a problem with claustrophobia and do not believe I would do very well in a cabin without a balcony. Still, I prepared myself to follow what was by now the ship’s famous protocol.

Steve and I were model prisoners, waiting wholly and patiently packed, ready to move for five days at a moment’s notice. We both spent five days of our should-have-been fabulous cruise quarantined in our cabin! We chose not to rock that boat and initiated no inquiries on our own about a quarantine move.

Five lost days

I do how it came to be, but we did not move to a quarantine cabin! The staff and cruise line were extremely nice, accommodating, and concerned. We were provided unlimited complimentary room service meals and instructions and specific phone numbers to call for anything needed.

Covid on the cruise ship

The food was good, although the menu was minimal for five days of meals, AND there was no soft-serve ice cream! While cruising, we had never ordered room service before, and you know what? I don’t think I ever will again.

Somedays, the staff served meals on nice dishes with cutlery and linen napkins; some days, it was cardboard packaging, plastic cutlery and paper napkins. Some days the person delivering would attempt to bring the trays inside; other days, they were handed over at the door by far-extended arms.

Covid on the cruise ship

We requested bottled water with each meal, and right up until the next-to-last day, it was delivered. Then, suddenly bottled water came with a per bottle charge! So odd. We paid for water from then on. All the food we could eat was available to us, but not water?

Covid on the cruise ship

Room service dessert is not bad at all.

Steve was required to take an antigen test each day, and he tested negative each time. I repeatedly objected to my positive test result and asked to be retested each day. The same answer – it is not ship “protocol” to retest a positive guest until five days of quarantine have ended.

We met a terrific couple on the ship, Kathy and Steve, and after communicating with them by email, they graciously dropped off an antigen test at our door for me to take because I could not believe I was positive. You guessed it – negative!

How is this possible?

I understand a person can be asymptomatic and never realize they have Covid. However, I do not know how I can test negative a day before boarding the ship, and a few days later, test positive, and then one day later be negative again. That is not enough time to recover from a mosquito bite.

Any ideas or explanations for me, please? Did I have the 2-3 day version of Covid?

The good news and the bad news

The good news is that we two cranky old people managed perfectly fine and harmoniously in very close quarters for five solid days without a single raised voice or “tone!” We didn’t even watch that much tv.

The bad news: We missed two port stops, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca, which was very disappointing, we were unable to participate in any ship activities or interact with other guests, enjoy the fantastic dining opportunities, and our (already mentioned) soft-serve ice cream cone marathon ended.

Covid on the cruise ship

The good news, of course, is that we are both healthy. Steve never once tested positive for Covid, and although my one test was positive, I believe the test was inaccurate, or I had a miraculous 2-3 day bout of the virus.

Who’s on first?

The cruise staff was amazingly kind and helpful, but we received conflicting instructions and information during every communication, whether in person, at the door, or on the phone. Our ship exit was particularly confusing for us.

Guest Services told us to hold our luggage in our room, and we would take it with us when we were escorted off of the ship the following morning, and that also someone would come by to pick up our passports the night before departure. Giving up our passports was alarming to me.

Another phone call from Guest Services requested we put our luggage outside our door before 10 pm with the luggage tags they had provided. Tags were quickly delivered when we told Guest Services that we had not received luggage tags.

During that conversation, the representative we spoke to instructed us to proceed to deck one to exit the ship at our designated time the following morning. These instructions were utterly different from our earlier communication.

Steve and I were baffled. No one came to pick up our passports, and we went to sleep. About 10:45 pm, Guest Services called to tell us someone WAS coming by to get them. We surrendered them to a staff member after 11 pm! We were so confused. Our luggage was picked up that night outside our door.

Covid on the cruise ship

The following morning, departure day, we called to find out what we were supposed to do to get off the ship. Our instruction, this time, was to wait until called. Finally, at about 9 am, we received a call to proceed to deck one, alone all by ourselves. We were free!

We discovered our passports near the gangway with at least twenty others. Each passport has a post-it note with the passenger’s last name. After receiving our passports we walked straight off the ship to our luggage and the sea of people.

My five-day quarantine had ended, and I magically became safe to be loose in the world again, although we stayed to ourselves and wore masks for some time after that. This is our covid on a cruise ship experience. Have you had one yourself?

Covid on the cruise ship

A cruise to remember! We have two more cruises scheduled in the next few month, a 7-day Caribbean cruise and a 23-day transpacific cruise to Australia. What could possibly go wrong now?

Covid on the cruise shipCovid on the cruise shipCovid on the cruise ship

8 thoughts on “Covid on the cruise ship

  1. Hey Debbie ~

    Steve and I were just in Galveston to join our Texas family for a 7 night Caribbean cruise on Liberty of the Seas. We were gone last week arriving back in Galveston this past Sunday. We had a great time and were lucky to complete the cruise, as Steve and I now have Covid! I started feeling sick on the shuttle bus to Bush Airport and our flights back home. By the time we got home Sunday night, I was full-on sick and Steve got sick 2 days later. According to the Liberty blogs we were among many, many people with Covid after getting off the ship. We had over 4000 passengers and a lot of kids so it wasn’t surprising that so many people were getting sick. We all know that we take that risk when traveling so we will treat our symptoms and start planning the next cruise.
    I’m glad to hear that you and Steve are well, we sure missed you during that last week of the cruise.

    1. So sorry to hear about your Covid cruise experience! Not fun, but I hope you’re both on the mend now. We also missed seeing you guys the last week of the cruise. That whole last week was very disappointing for us. Next time you’re in Galveston get in touch though, we live about ten miles from the port. Coincidentally Steve and I are booked on a 7-day cruise on the Liberty – July 10th. I really hope the Covid has run its course there, dissipated and otherwise magically disappeared. Not very likely I expect, but as you said, we all know that we take that risk when traveling.

  2. I’m so sorry you had this experience! I would have been like you, doing all the right things. I like the idea of taking your own tests with you so you can control the testing and quarantine if needed. I hope you other cruises are much more successful!

    1. Everything turned out okay, thank goodness. We’re leaving on another cruise (much shorter one) in about a month – let’s see how that goes!

  3. Wow! What a mess. I think you handled that situation amazingly well. I’m glad you didn’t actually have Covid, but sad your vacation was ruined.

    I also just returned from a cruise, albeit a much shorter one. Like you, we had canceled several cruises during the pandemic. I was anxious to cruise again.

    The day we disembarked I noticed I had a little cough. Turns out I had caught a cold, but luckily it was not Covid. I think I may hold off cruising for another 6 months or so. 🙂

    1. I think Covid on cruises, tour buses, any group travel venue is just a new way of life we have to adapt to. I understand your hesitancy to cruise again just now, but I’m okay with the gamble. Everyone has to decide that for themselves. I don’t want to wait to travel anymore.

  4. So do not request to be tested anymore…..Just take care of yourself!!!!!

    1. Excellent, very smart advice. Wish I’d talked to you first! We will take some random antigen tests with us from now on when we travel. As a matter of fact, we purchased tests from a pharmacy when we arrived in Spain and frequently (and quietly) took the tests to be certain we continued to be negative, especially before checking in to a new B&B or hotel.

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