Weekly Wednesday – Looking Back at 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, I thought it would be appropriate to recap the year of cruise sailings and cruising firsts I had lined up. The year was anything but ordinary yet somehow, we managed to get through it.

Planned Cruises

Carnival Panorama – photo: travelpulse.com

The last cruise I went on was in December of 2019 aboard the Carnival Freedom. 2020 was to be filled with a series of firsts for me and I was very much looking forward to August when we would embark on a journey onboard the newest ship in the Carnival fleet, Carnival Panorama! Leading up to the sail-away date, I researched the ship by reviewing the deck plans and watching vlogs of other travelers who had experienced this magnificent ship. The thought of getting to peddle around the upper-most deck on a suspended bicycle and navigate the interactive ropes course was exciting! To top it all off, we had a room booked in the Cloud 9 Spa area, so I knew relaxation was ahead of us. As the pandemic worsened, our hopes and dreams quickly faded as we learned all sailings out of California were canceled. We immediately got on the phone with our Personal Vacation Planner (PVP) with Carnival and shifted our sailing from the Carnival Panorama to another new ship to our traveling crew, Carnival Breeze out of Port Canaveral.

Carnival Breeze dining room – photo: cruisefever.net

I was particularly excited about sailing on the Breeze since this ship was the first to feature more modern interiors after the departure of famed designer Joseph Farcus. The sail dates were the exact same as our previous booking, so I just had to shift my excitements to this ship and the itinerary it included. We weren’t missing out on too much not sailing the Carnival Panorama as the Carnival Breeze also featured the interactive ropes course and we again booked in the Cloud 9 Spa area. As time continued to crawl ahead, we were notified of additional cancellations, including Carnival Breeze as her itinerary was being modified to take over the route for the yet-completed Carnival Radiance. We didn’t let this cancellation dash our hopes as we had yet another cruise booked in October, and how could that cruise be cancelled?

The Carnival Miracle was scheduled to depart on October 15th out of San Diego for a 16-day voyage to Hawaii and back. What a dream cruise! I’ve never visited any of the Hawaiian-islands and even though this was an older and smaller ship, I was still filled with excitement and anticipation. Our final payment was due for the sailing and we were concerned about the current status, so we contacted our PVP to ask for an extension. Low and behold, another cancellation was issued just days before our extension expired. We swallowed our pride knowing that we had another chance to sail before the year was up.

Carnival Legend

My next great hope would be to sail on a back-to-back sailing in December. This may not sound like a big deal to the average person, but when you participate in a back-to-back sailing, you are treated like royalty. They throw a party for those special folks, including champagne and a little gift to show their appreciation that you are continuing the journey. The first cruise was scheduled to be a 6-day itinerary, departing out of Tampa on the Carnival Miracle’s sister, Carnival Legend. I had sailed on this ship before, so I was looking forward to being reunited with this beautiful ship. The second leg of the journey was another first-time experience for me, as over the course of the 8-day itinerary we would travel through the Panama Canal and then spend time in the upper lake before coming back out into the Caribbean Sea. We were scheduled to sail in December, and we were confident that there wouldn’t be any more cancellations as things seemed to be improving around the world. The end of the summer saw a decrease in infections so if people continued the trend and wore face masks and sanitized often, we would be sure to sail away!

Well, as you all know, that sail date came and went, and the ship never made it to Tampa. It has now been over a year since I was last on a cruise ship and it’s depressing. We’ve selected Future Cruise Credits (FCCs) for all of the cancelled sailings because I have faith that Carnival Cruise Line will be back in business once things have settled down. I have enough confidence in the industry that I have booked a couple of sailings in 2021. When booking, I elected to go for later in the year to ensure vaccine distribution and immunity is more wide-spread and that the CDC and other health organizations have put their faith back into the industry. Currently, I am scheduled to sail on the brand-new Carnival Mardi Gras in early December, followed by the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas the next week. This will be my first time sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship and I couldn’t be more excited about the ship we chose. It will be a great opportunity to experience the largest ships in both cruise lines’ fleet and I look forward to comparing the experiences of each.

I realize I am not alone; many of you have experienced the excitement of booking and the defeat of cancellation. I hope that my story helps remind you that you are not alone and that we are in this together. And together, #WeWillBeBack stronger than ever.

Wishing you and yours a bright and cruise-filled 2021.

Final Thoughts of 2020

It has been a pleasure writing these articles for you to enjoy during the cruise shut down in 2020. Just like the rest of you, I look forward to a greater sense of normalcy in the coming months and year. I’ll keep a positive outlook that my December 2021 sailings will still go on as scheduled!

If you have an idea for a future Weekly Wednesday article, please don’t hesitate to send it my way. I enjoy the research associated with writing these and usually end up learning a considerable amount while working on each article. You can comment below, or send me an email: rocky@thiscruiselife.com.

Please have a happy, healthy and safe New Year!

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