Day #261 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…”Cruise to Nowhere” fiasco…

Christmas tree in Colon Park in Arica, Chile, with St. Mark’s Cathedral (San Marcos) in the background.

Today’s photos are from the 30-day cruise (two 15-day cruises, back-to-back), partially sailing around South America on the date in 2017 when we visited Arica, Chile. For more photos, please click here.

The cruise, as mentioned above, seems to have been a lot longer ago than three years. Life was so different then. Cruising was purely predicated by one’s ability to afford it and the desire to be out to sea for socializing, myriad adventures, and sightseeing. Now, we wonder if cruising will ever be possible in the future.

Buses arrived at the port to take passengers on tours.

From today’s news story here, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas four-day “Cruise to Nowhere,” available only to residents of Singapore, had to turn back due to an onboard case of Covid-19, forcing the ship to return to Singapore on day #3.

The article reads as follows:

“A Royal Caribbean ship has returned to Singapore on day three of a four-day “cruise to nowhere” after a passenger tested positive for Covid-19.

The city-state’s “cruises to nowhere” – starting and ending at the same port without stops – launched last month.

Government building in Arica, Chile, near the port.

They attempt to revive the hard-hit industry, which largely ceased worldwide after outbreaks on board but has since resumed in a few places. Singapore’s special cruises were only open to its residents.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Quantum of the Seas departed Singapore on Monday for a four-day round trip as part of a “safe cruising” pilot program announced by the country’s tourism board in October.

From this site: “History goes that during the War of the Pacific (1879-1880) the Morro de Arica was taken by Chilean troops in a heroic deed after only one hour of fighting against the Peruvian-Bolivian army. This historical feat took place on June 7, 1880, and ever since has marked the northern territorial boundaries of the country. Today, over one century after such an epic event, visitors only need to go up almost 200 meters rising from the sea to behold the enormous City of Arica. Whoever hit the summit of this morro in those days would immediately gain control of the city. There were many casualties. In a matter of minutes, almost 2 thousand soldiers from both sides lost their life.”

The cruise company said it had turned the ship around after one guest tested positive for coronavirus after checking in with the onboard medical team.

“We identified and isolated all guests and crew who had close contact with this guest, and each of those individuals has subsequently tested negative for the virus,” it said in a statement.

A view of the Morro of Arica from the Plaza Colon, where we wandered around the park.

It said guests would be allowed to disembark “after a review of contact tracing is completed.”

A raft of safety measures was introduced for passengers on the special cruises to nowhere, including coronavirus tests before boarding and after disembarking. The ships were also running at half their usual capacity for safe distancing purposes.”

In part, these cruises are intended to “test” how numerous precautions may prevent onboard cases of the virus and how they can safely be handled in the event of passengers becoming ill. But, at this point, it appears their “system” isn’t working as well as hoped.

A pond in the park is occupied by dozens of seagulls.

All passengers were tested for Covid-19 before embarking on the cruise. However, as those of us who’ve followed Covid-19 scenarios, getting a negative test result today doesn’t necessarily indicate it won’t be positive a few days later. Upon exposure, one may not exhibit symptoms or test positive for several days.

Until a more accurate/earlier test becomes available, the cruise industry is SOL in offering safe cruises anywhere in the world. Currently, we have four cruises booked beginning on November 30, 2021. The others are well into 2022, none of which we may be able to embark upon, as long as this virus continues to impact cruising.

We stopped to see a nativity scene in the park.

At this point, we are waiting for the cruise lines to cancel our cruises as they see fit and ultimately necessary. I imagine, in the future, all guests may be required to have taken the vaccine and provide a recent antibody test upon boarding to ensure their documentation isn’t fraudulent. Antibody test results are available in minutes. There are now black-market negative Covid-19 tests floating around.

Disappointing? Yes, but under no circumstances would we want to be on one of those cruises where we end up in quarantine. If we think this hotel room is small, a cruise cabin 30% smaller would be worse. Hum, 35 days and counting…

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 9, 2019:

After arriving in Nevada to visit family, we were on our way to the Vegas Golden Knights game, guest of son Richard, a super fan. For more, please click here.

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