Last week I told you about all the Covid hoops we had to jump through to board our cruise ship. I’m not complaining, mind you, as I fully understand the ramifications the pandemic has inflicted upon the cruise industry. The cruise ships have taken every precaution to ensure the health of their guests and staff, which I greatly appreciate.

To that end, masks had to be worn whenever we were inside the ship unless we were actively eating or drinking. This rule made it easy to justify the continual eating one does aboard a cruise ship. There were days when we went completely maskless because of our nonstop eating. Drinking, however, was a different story. Everywhere we went, whether on the ship or ashore, our hands were compulsory sanitized within a millimeter of remaining skin. It didn’t matter that we had just sanitized our hands and then walked ten feet to a different room, the sanitation Nazi was always standing by with a spray bottle to hose us down. With all the alcohol absorbed through my rapidly dried out and thinning epidermis, I was afraid to actually imbibe in alcohol for fear my body would go into acute alcohol toxicity. I also had to make a conscious effort not to scratch around my eyes, as the hand sanitizer was quite irritating. Of course, this made my eyes extra “itchy.”

Social distancing (gosh how I hate that expression) was also encouraged, which had the benefit of making it more socially acceptable to be anti-social. When the maître d asked if we would mind sharing a table in the dining room, we could gracefully decline and say we wanted a table for two. After all, if I had wanted to share my husband with other people while celebrating our 30th anniversary by taking a cruise, we would at least have brought along friends we liked, rather than having to make small talk with complete strangers over dinner. It was also nice being able to leave seats between us and the people next to us in the theatre.

One would think that with all the precautions of ensuring everyone was vaccinated and Covid negative before boarding the ship, requiring masks, and sanitizing the bejeebers out of us, there would be no way Covid could sneak into our closed little community. One would be wrong. Although the crew was tight-lipped, there were still some outbreaks. About 5 days into the cruise, we were told we had to pack up and move to a different cabin because of an acute, serious “maintenance” issue with our room. Since we did not see raw sewage overflowing onto our floor when we flushed the toilet or smell toxic gas leaking into the room (then again, maybe we couldn’t smell the toxic gas), nor did the television malfunction, we read between the lines. At least, we assumed the dreaded “C” word was being withheld from us.

Our next-to-last port-of-call was cancelled due to rising Covid cases. It really didn’t make much difference to us, as a sea day is often more relaxing anyway. Still, I couldn’t help the creeping paranoia that we were locked in with a deadly disease and nowhere to go. Sometimes, I think living with the fear of catching this virus is worse than the reality. I sometimes feel like I’m just waiting for it to catch me and I wish I could just get the inevitable over with. And had that scenario played out, the timing wouldn’t have been so bad. It might have been nice to take a few days off after our vacation.