Australians Dave and Norma Trail had planned a Caribbean cruise for their 53rd wedding anniversary this year. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and it struck the travel and cruise industries particularly hard. The Trails’ plans were sunk, but they persisted — much to our delight in these stressful times.
The Cruise Industry
In the United States alone, the cruise industry is a $45 billion annual powerhouse that employs thousands of people. Before coronavirus and COVID-19, 14.2 million people were expected to travel on cruise ships this year. Things looked so positive that 19 new vessels were scheduled to launch. In the face of horrific stories of ships full of ill — or just exposed — passengers being turned away from port after port, cruise ship operators have ceased operations.
Introducing Dave and Norma Trail
Dave and Norma Trail made their own decision to cancel their cruise plans, like thousands of other passengers who heard governments’ advice for travelers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, for example, issued a Level 3 Warning and on March 17, 2020, recommended that travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide. Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 had been reported on several cruise ships.
What was the best part of your cruise? Or what do see when you imagine it? Dancing and fancy dinners? Water games and frolicking by the pool? Trips ashore? For many — Dave and Norma included — the chance to sit back in the sunshine with a favorite beverage while the ocean rolls by and between the Pacific Islands would be pure bliss: bliss that they weren’t prepared to give up just because of a worldwide pandemic. With a little help from their daughter Jane and their grandson, they didn’t have to give it up. Well, not quite.
Cruise canceled? No problem!
Jane streamed a video of the ocean on a big-screen television. Dave and Norma donned sunglasses, floppy hats (Norma did, anyway), robes, and beach towels. The lovebirds propped their feet up on the railing — er, the television table — and watched the water roll on by. Bliss. No word on whether Dave and Norma had sunscreen on. We have a hunch that if they’d been on the deck of a Royal Caribbean vessel, they would have.
There are two more things: one to make the whole scene even more perfect, and one to make the scene hilarious. First, the preferred beverage for the occasion was white wine in two pleasantly clinked glasses. Some might have chosen a daiquiri or pina colada, but it was their anniversary! Second, Jane’s son got into the action. He provided the sound of the foghorn in the distance. What port could they be pulling into?
If you haven’t got a cruise on your agenda, or if you’ve had to cancel plans because of coronavirus or COVID-19, live vicariously through the Trails. Thanks to Jane, Dave and Norma’s mock cruise is available on Twitter for all.
— Jane (@janeytrill) March 13, 2020
Prescient or just prudent?
Did Norma and Dave follow the fate of their planned ship to see whether it was afflicted by the coronavirus and whether passengers were diagnosed with COVID-19? No word. We do know, however, that Royal Caribean halted operations March 13, 2020, very soon after the Trails took their living room cruise. Royal Caribbean hopes to resume operations soon.
Happy anniversary, Norma and Dave! What do you have planned for your 54th?
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