In the past several days we've seen one cruise line after another suspend operations because of the coronavirus pandemic. Today however marked the end of cruising out of the United States for the next thirty days. This has never happened in the history of cruising. As someone who lives and breathes cruising, this is candidly a stunning moment - though also not a terrifically surprising one. Psychologically though, this is probably a good reset button for me, and for the site.
Cruising Before Coronavirus
Just a couple months ago, the troubles of today weren't even on anyone's radar. Those who frequent cruising message boards and Facebook groups talked about upcoming trips, we discussed what we were looking forward to seeing on new cruise lines, and some people, every day, had lengthy and heated discussions about dress codes and 'chair hogs'.
As friends, as an online community, talking about cruising was how we got our 'fix' until that next cruise.
The Past Two Weeks
Since coronavirus concerns became a bigger and bigger issue, the fun news, like Princess Cruises' new Princess Plus fares became background noise. I had to decide how much to talk about the next coronavirus story. I continued to make every effort to be true to my goal in sharing helpful and factual information - not driving hype. As my world, as our world, far beyond the realm of cruising, became fixated on only one thing, talking about these things was sometimes helpful, but never for a moment gave me that great feeling of discussing one of my favorite subjects: cruising.
Then There Was Today
Pretty much all cruise lines in the US have suspended operation, and most lines elsewhere, with some minor exceptions, have stopped sailing. More than that has stopped: schools and businesses have closed, people aren't going out, and as a world community, we live in various stages of a rather surreal circumstance, but life goes on - just without cruising for a while. All things are temporary, like the run on paper-products, the canceled cruises, and the delayed sporting events. For those of us in the United States, the pandemic will continue to get worse before it gets better, and yet today felt like a crescendo.
Waking up tomorrow is going to feel a bit different, and I'm excited about that. Sure, I was supposed to be getting on a brand new ship in five days, and now I won't. Yeah there will be plenty of bad news online and on TV. What there won't be, at least not nearly to the extent there has been for me, is a mad scramble around cruising. That means that while we won't be cruising anytime soon, tomorrow is the first day we can focus on what we love.
Tomorrow we can catch up on the things that did happen that are important, like how for the first time in history, an all-female bridge team lead a cruise ship, Celebrity Edge, on International Women's Day. Yeah, we didn't even cover it - and shame on us. Sure, for those of us that planned to cruise in the coming days, the changes in policies were timely and important from a logistic standpoint, but there were so many other things that we could have talked about that would be more interesting, more fulfilling, and that would give us that great feeling we get when we get to talk ship with all of you.
Tomorrow there is no pressure to break stories. Sure, there will be news, we'll type the word, "coronavirus" again...and again, but for the most part we'll be able to start fresh, start planning our next cruises - even if we don't know exactly when they'll be. Who knows, after breakfast, we might even start talking about chair hogs and dress codes, you know, for the sake of remembering what things were like before we became so fixated on one story, that we missed the whole reason we were writing about it on CruiseHabit.com.