[Worldtrippers home] [World Cruise home]

March 14, 2020
The Great Escape

Russell writes…

We spent the last two days agonizing over what to do about our world cruise in the face of coronavirus, closed ports, changed itineraries and dwindling services. Last evening, we made a final decision to stay on board. This morning, we received a letter from Regent informing us that the remainder of our cruise has been cancelled. All passengers must disembark in Perth (Fremantle).

Those who had already planned to depart were ahead of the game. Those who had planned to stay were thrown for a loop. We had to completely flip our mindset. We also suddenly had to worry about where we go after Perth.

There is a scene in Russell’s favorite movie, “The Great Escape.” The prisoners of war have spent months cooped up together, sharing their common ordeal. As they finally make their escape, everyone has a different plan and direction. Some will progress without a hitch; others will not. They only have time for a hurried “good-bye” before they go their separate ways. They know that most of them will never see each other again.

That’s how we felt this morning, during the mad dash after the announcement that our world cruise will end in five days. The concierge and reception desks have been overrun with people trying to book reservations.

Mike and Jackie are planning a getaway to Australia’s wine country. Mal and JD (who just met on the cruise) are taking a train across Australia. Peter and Birgitta must disembark tomorrow, days before we arrive in Perth. Their home region of Denmark is about to close its borders, and they are literally racing to get home before that happens.

For us, we looked at several scenarios. Continuing to travel around the world on our own. Renting a car and driving across Australia. Parking somewhere in this part of the world until the coronavirus threat subsides. Going directly from the ship to the airport after we disembark on March 19.

We have decided to stay in the Perth area for one week, then fly directly home to California. There’s an advantage to getting home soon, in case travel gets completely cut off. There are also advantages to taking a pause before we go further.

First, we avoid a rushed transition off the ship. There’s nothing worse than having the relaxation of a cruise completely undone by the stress of the travel. Second, we avoid the chaos of everyone else rushing from the ship to the airport. Third, we give Gail time to get well.

We looked at an online list of “The Very Best Things To Do in Perth”. The first six involve leaving Perth and going somewhere else. Recommendation No. 7 is the first one that actually involves staying in Perth. “Go Bar Hopping in the City.” Well, that’s not us.

The No. 1 recommendation is “Spend a Day in Fremantle.” Fremantle is the port town 14 miles outside of Perth where we will dock and disembark. So we have made a hotel reservation in Fremantle, and we have made plane reservations to fly home on March 26.

Following a “Breaking News” email we sent this morning, we have been inundated with messages of positive thoughts and well wishes. From fellow travelers who provided coronavirus news and Regent updates… to travel agents who helped us with travel arrangements… thank you everyone for your incredible support.

In the meantime, we still have four Australia ports coming up as the last leg of our world cruise. We intend to make the most of them!

[Worldtrippers home] [World Cruise home]