In my opinion, we have entered the reward versus risk phase of COVID travel. Basically, is the reward of whatever trip you’re planning to take worth the risk of COVID to you?
This post stems from my reaction to reading a post (rant) on a Facebook group page I am on. This person was on a river cruise and was upset for many reasons.
- The water level was low so they were being bussed to places instead of taking the boat. I totally understand being frustrated with this since I had a similar experience on a river cruise in Portugal in 2019. It was not what I paid for and was not the experience I wanted. At least this person was on a ship for part of the time that was actually moving. My river cruise never left the dock and I slept on three ships.
- People are coughing so she was upset the cruise line didn’t immediately test everyone, require masks, and quarantine or remove the sick.
- Her elderly and disabled mother tested positive for COVID and thinks she got it because they were forced to be on busses with people with no masks.
- She said her sister does not have enough medication with her if she gets stuck in Europe for a few extra days.
- She says the cruise line should fly anyone who wants to leave home for free.
I have SO many issues with this person’s rant.
First, while it stinks the river cruise isn’t what she expected, that is part of travel. When taking a trip, expect the unexpected. The river cruise lines cannot control the water and say in the travel agreements that they may have to make alternative arrangements if water levels are not adequate for safe passage.
COVID is everywhere. If you don’t want to take the risk of getting it, stay home. This year, I have attended a massive sporting event, traveled to Europe, taken an Alaskan cruise, and more. For me, the reward is worth the risk. I also got COVID sometime at home.
I wear a mask when I feel more comfortable wearing one and have been vaccinated and boosted, so I think I have done what I can do. I know others feel differently and wear masks when they are in situations where they are around people. I’m also OK with this and do not judge them for wearing a mask if I am not.
I do not feel it is up to the cruise line, travel company, airline, hotel, etc., to change the rules/policies for all travelers because some people feel uncomfortable around people. Now that testing, masking, and quarantine policies have changed, I think people know what they’re getting into and assume the risk. If you don’t want to take the risk of getting COVID, don’t travel. It’s your decision and nobody should judge you for it, just like you shouldn’t judge me for traveling.
As for positive tests, I think it is impossible to figure out where it came from. I have used the analogy of trying to figure out where you got COVID is like trying to determine which ray of sunshine burned you. It’s impossible. Whether it came from a bus, a river cruise cabin, or somewhere else is irrelevant in my opinion.
When I travel anywhere, I always take at least an extra week of any medications, vitamins, OTC meds, and anything else I may need. You never know if travel delays will happen for any reason, COVID or otherwise. Even if a prescription is on a strict refill schedule, a doctor can write a vacation prescription to give a little extra.
Now, for my usual advice about travel insurance. It is my opinion if you travel without it, you’re nuts. It isn’t just about canceling your trip. It’s about delays, trip interruption, illness, and much more. Depending on the policy, coverage may have kicked in for this situation.
These people are not hostages on this “cruise.” They could pack their bags and get off at any time, find a hotel, and possibly book flights home. I actually chose to do this when on my non-cruising cruise in Portugal, opting for a self-pay hotel and skipped excursions instead of being bused to yet another boat. This person was saying they didn’t have the money do to so and therefore the cruise line should pay to send everyone home who wanted to go. Why is it the cruise line’s problem that you feel uncomfortable?
I don’t think anyone should travel if they can’t afford to take care of contingencies. I was on a Mediterranean cruise once where someone in my group lost her luggage and when I suggested going shopping before we boarded for a few necessities, she said she couldn’t afford it. Why was she on a European cruise if she couldn’t afford $250 to buy some underwear, a few items of clothing, and toiletries?
Many of these issues existed pre-COVID, but seem to be exacerbated now. If you can’t assume the risk, you might want to reconsider going for the reward.