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March 12, 2020
Good-bye, Middle East and Europe… Hello Africa and South America?
- The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic
- The US Centers for Disease Control have warned Americans against taking cruises and long flights
- The US has announced a broad ban on travel from Europe
- Viking has become the first cruise company to fully suspend operations
After many days of waiting in suspense, at 11:00 this morning we finally heard an official announcement from Andy (the cruise director) regarding the next segments of our world cruise. Regent headquarters stresses that this is a planned itinerary – most ports do not yet have final confirmation.
(It is also substantially different from the internet itinerary we had blogged about a few days ago.)
In a nutshell: Our world cruise is no longer going to the Middle East or Europe.
Instead, the plan is for the Seven Seas Mariner to head west from Perth, Australia. She will visit South Africa. Then she will head across the Atlantic Ocean to South America. From there, she will head north into the Caribbean. She will arrive in Miami on May 17, as originally scheduled.
(The itinerary after Miami is currently unchanged, pending further developments in the coronavirus situation.)
All world cruise passengers have been given the opportunity to continue their world cruise, or to end early and go directly home from Perth. Some folks we have chatted with have chosen to continue; others have chosen to go home.
One factor is that the new itinerary has 14 more sea days. Previously, we had 20 sea days during these segments; we will now have 34. Fortunately, both of us enjoy our sea days, especially Russell.
We had a long discussion. We looked at the pros and cons. At this point, we have decided to continue with our world cruise. Here is some of our reasoning:
- We knew when we booked this cruise two and a half years ago that the itinerary was subject to change. The specific route was less important than going around the world from San Francisco to San Francisco – without having to get onto an airplane.
- Originally, Gail was even disappointed that we were not going to Africa and South America. Those are two continents that we are much less likely to visit on a Viking lecture cruise. (On the other hand, we have many Viking lecture contracts for Europe over the next two years.) The big disappointment is not going to Petra. We will have to save that for a future adventure.
- We really, really, really don’t want to get on an airplane with all our luggage. Plus, flying home all the way from Australia would be a long nightmare of a flight. Plus, if we end our world cruise early, Regent will not cover our airfare home.
We also considered several risk factors:
- Many ports on the new itinerary do not yet have final confirmation. These ports are subject to change.
- The coronavirus situation may get worse and close ports in Africa and South America.
- We may have difficulty re-entering the US at a future date.
We decided we are willing to live with these risk factors. As one of our fellow world cruisers declared, “Better the petri dish you know, than the petri dish you don’t know!”
So for now, we are continuing our world cruise! Here is Regent’s updated (non-final) itinerary from Perth (March 19) to Miami (May 17):
- Mar 19: Perth (Fremantle), Australia
- Mar 20: At Sea
- Mar 21: At Sea
- Mar 22: At Sea
- Mar 23: At Sea
- Mar 24: At Sea
- Mar 25: At Sea
- Mar 26: At Sea
- Mar 27: At Sea
- Mar 28: At Sea
- Mar 29: Port Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles
- Mar 30: At Sea
- Mar 31: At Sea
- Apr 1: Port Louis, Mauritius
- Apr 2: At Sea
- Apr 3: At Sea
- Apr 4: Richards Bay, South Africa
- Apr 5: At Sea
- Apr 6: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
- Apr 7: Mossel Bay, South Africa
- Apr 8: Cape Town, South Africa
- Apr 9: At Sea
- Apr 10: Luderitz, Namibia
- Apr 11: Walvis Bay, Namibia
- Apr 12: Walvis Bay, Namibia
- Apr 13: At Sea
- Apr 14: At Sea
- Apr 15: At Sea
- Apr 16: Jamestown, St. Helena
- Apr 17: At Sea
- Apr 18: At Sea
- Apr 19: At Sea
- Apr 20: At Sea
- Apr 21: At Sea
- Apr 22: At Sea
- Apr 23: Punta del Este, Uruguay
- Apr 24: Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Apr 25: At Sea
- Apr 26: At Sea
- Apr 27: Santos, Brazil
- Apr 28: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Apr 29: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Apr 30: At Sea
- May 1: At Sea
- May 2: Recife, Brazil
- May 3: At Sea
- May 4: Fortaleza, Brazil
- May 5: At Sea
- May 6: At Sea
- May 7: Devil’s Island, French Guiana
- May 8: At Sea
- May 9: St. George’s, Grenada
- May 10: Bridgetown, Barbados
- May 11: Castries, St Lucia, West Indies
- May 12: St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
- May 13: Gustavia, St Barts, French West Indies
- May 14: San Juan, Puerto Rico
- May 15: At Sea
- May 16: At Sea
- May 17: Miami, Florida, USA
(The only ports that are confirmed are Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro.)
We are here for an adventure… and this is getting to be quite an adventure!
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