Cruising is different now, but still the same

Finally, we have been able to cruise! We discovered cruising is different now, but still the same. We, as many of you as well, have had so many cruises moved, postponed, or wholly canceled over the last few years. Steve and I were delighted to finally and safely find ourselves on a cruise ship.

Our four-day cruise out of Galveston was our first non-RV trip in quite some time. We have not, by any means, stopped our little RV meandering trips, but we enjoy the variety of cruising and trips involving domestic and international air travel – I always want to go!

cruising is different now, but still the same
Rainy day on pool deck

We began traveling in our little home on wheels because no other mode of transportation was available during this never-ending pandemic. Steve and I have the best fun meandering around discovering small-town stories and histories in this lovely country of ours.

Top priority – Lilly and Tank

We have become very accustomed to traveling with our two dogs, Lilly and Tank. It is one of the best perks of RV travel, in my opinion. Regrettably, the cruise ship we prefer, Royal Caribbean, permits service animals only.

cruising is different now, but still the same

When we travel on cruises, flights, and even some car trips, the top priority is caring for our two dogs, Lilly and Tank. We have to provide responsible, safe, and reliable care for them. Just like children, right?

Our neighborhood is blessed with the best pet sitter ever. A neighbor, Susan, cares for many pets in our community and is cherished by all who meet her. She visits our home twice a day to feed, water, and spend playtime with our dog children. Susan even sends text notifications about her visits.

Cancelled, postponed, and future cruise credits

Aren’t you just too familiar with these words by now? I know we certainly are. In the last two years, we have had so many planned and booked cruises be cancelled or postponed to a future date in exchange for credits for future cruises.

cruising is different now, but still the same

Not only is this disappointing, but if you have more than a few cruises booked, it is a nightmare to keep the information straight. It has been necessary for me to record each cruise on a spreadsheet to keep up with the cancellations, postponements, and future cruise credits.

Hopefully, there will be no more cancellations now. The world is beginning to stop wobbling off-kilter, and many vacation options are available again. Cruising happens to be one of my favorite options.

Cruising is different now, but still the same

Our first cruise back in the game was a complimentary cruise offered by Royal Caribbean based on my long-ago casino play on previous cruises. We were delighted to take advantage of this offer. This four-day cruise out of the Port of Galveston, ten miles from home, required very little planning.

I could choose from an inside cabin on several 4 or 5-night cruises. We selected a cruise on the Adventure of the Seas departing from Galveston, Texas. I upgraded the room (at our cost) to a balcony aft cabin, which we like best.

cruising is different now, but still the same
Nice aft balcony cabin

We had very little planning to do after we selected which cruise to take. This very short cruise had one port stop in Cozumel, and we decided to wander around the port shops and shop for a bit, no excursion or activity.

The internet has always worked remarkably well when we are out at sea, and so, as in the past, we purchased the internet package to stay in touch with the world. We did not buy any specialty dining packages or take advantage of any other onboard offers.

cruising is different now, but still the same
Great balcony!

Since we live so close to the Port, we do not have to make a hotel reservation the night before. We are also often driven to the cruise terminal by family or friends, so there is no parking reservation to make either. Easy cruising for us.

Cruising IS different now

Cruising, of course, is different in a few ways as of right now. Requirements, at this time, for sailing on Royal Caribbean include uploading a copy of your Covid vaccine record to the cruise app as part of the check-in procedure. Guests must also present the original at check-in at the Port.

Also, Royal Caribbean requires all vaccinated passengers to provide proof of a negative Covid test result received within two days of sailing. We chose to purchase Royal Caribbean Pre-Cruise Antigen Testing Kits at the Optum store online.

Steve and I took these self-administered tests through live video supervised by an eMed certified guide and had our results after fifteen minutes. We printed our results from the eMed app and received the result by email.

Also, all vaccinated guests must wear a bracelet at all times to indicate they have had their Covid vaccines.

One change in cruising that I am very pleased about is the new muster drill requirements. Guests are no longer required to report outside to their muster location to wait until everyone in that group shows up and is marked off a list.

We are simply required to review the muster information on the app. Then each guest must physically go to their muster location on the ship, as denoted on their SetSail Pass, and be checked off the ship’s list. What a remarkable improvement this is.

Wearing face masks at the Port and onboard ship

Yes, guests are, at this time, required to wear face masks inside the Port during check-in and onboard ship. Regulations, however, have eased up already since we completed our cruise just weeks ago.

cruising is different now, but still the same

Guests are no longer required to wear face masks at bars, lounges, restaurants, shows, and Casino Royale designated for vaccinated guests only. It was, however, not difficult or a hardship for us to wear masks during the entire cruise. We occasionally forgot them and were very gently but firmly reminded.

Funny story: Steve was across the ship from me and texted telling me he’d lost his face mask and asked if I would bring him one to him since he couldn’t walk to our cabin without wearing one.

cruising is different now, but still the same

I took him a face mask, handed it to him, and that is when he discovered his “lost” mask with the loops still over his ears. It was under his chin! We both had a good laugh over that.

We did wear our face masks when we got off of the ship and while walking through the shops in Cozumel, but it was not a requirement. Many people were not wearing masks at the Port.

cruising is different now, but still the same
Masks off in Cozumel


Dining is different on cruise ships these days also. Each guest must have their SetSail Pass scanned to enter the Windjammer buffet restaurant and scanned again as they leave. Each guest is then required to wash their hands at handwashing stations on either side as they enter.

cruising is different now, but still the same

We choose the food we want from the buffet offering, and the staff serves it to us. Staff assists in selecting seating and delivering drinks or condiments to the table. Alternating tables are marked reserved to enable social distancing. Guests do not touch serving utensils or the food on the buffet.

You can no longer expect to be seated at a large table with strangers in the main dining room.
Couples are seated at tables for two, families and groups traveling together are placed at the larger tables. Face masks are required until seated and served.

Overall impression after our first post-Covid cruise

None of the restrictions, regulations, rules, or requirements were a problem for Steve or me, and I did not see that any of the other guests experienced any issues with the new regulations. Our cruise was enjoyable and a wonderful experience.

cruising is different now, but still the same
Old people having a good time

We are looking forward to our next cruise, which will be on the same ship, with the same itinerary, and in just about two weeks! Steve and I are also looking forward to our next transatlantic cruise, similar to our first transatlantic cruise.

We are not abandoning our RV travel at all. We have many more road trips planned in our little house on wheels.

Cruising is different now, but still the sameCruising is different now, but still the same

6 thoughts on “Cruising is different now, but still the same

  1. So glad you and Steve hot to cruise again and had so much fun.

  2. “I took him a face mask, handed it to him, and that is when he discovered his “lost” mask with the loops still over his ears. It was under his chin! We both had a good laugh over that.”

    LOL!!!! I can relate to that, thanks for the chuckle….I needed that. 😉

    1. It was hysterically funny to us at the time – still is!

  3. Sounds like you had a great time. I’m not ready to cruise again yet. Maybe by summer…

    1. It was terrific fun but I do understand you not being ready at this time to go on a cruise. We got very lucky on this cruise because the ship was training new crew so there were less than 900 passengers on the whole ship. Three thousand is normal capacity. No crowds and never waited in a line. I doubt we’ll ever be so lucky again though.

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