There’s often a lot of stress involved in planning travel because there’s so much that can go wrong.
That’s especially true now as the nation is in panic over exposure to Coronavirus.
So in this edition of, “Are you out of your mind?,” we’re examining how this pandemic is affecting one specific type of travel.
From the subways to the skies, travelers can’t help but consider how the rapidly-spreading Coronavirus will affect their travel plans.
Should I be worried about getting on a busy flight? What if I’m stuck next to someone having a coughing fit on the train? Will people think I’m an idiot if I wipe everything down with my Clorox wipes?
Probably, but they’re either going to be doing the same thing, or they’ll wish they had the guts to not care what people think.
There’s plenty of panic to go around, and if you’re human, you’re probably a little bit worried about travel.
But then there are the people who are out of their minds.
They’re getting ready to go on a cruise.
In recent weeks, the words “cruise ship” in general brings to mind germ-infested close quarters.
The industry may never lose the stigma of becoming synonymous with Coronavirus.
Now, I’ve never been a fan of cruises. I’d much rather be free to roam through a city or hike up a mountain. (Yes, you can do these things as part of a cruise, but I don’t like being on someone else’s timetable – and I don’t like crowds.)
But some people love them. And despite the dire warnings and the images of trapped and sick passengers on recent cruises all over the news, there are people who have no intention of changing their plans.
It appears these crazy cruise-goers fall into two categories: Those who already booked a cruise well before the spread of the virus…
…And those who are taking advantage of bottom-basement prices offered by desperate cruise lines – Coronavirus be damned.
Now, for the first group, I can understand that it would be a difficult decision to make.
Maybe, like one woman who planned a special trip for her daughter’s graduation several months ago, there are more important issues to be addressed than the possibility of getting sick.
As reported by The Daily Beast, this hard-working mom planned way in advance. She banked her vacation days from work. She saved up money – and her budget doesn’t allow for changing her plans – especially with no travel insurance.
And then there’s the fact that this cruise represents a milestone in both mom and daughter’s lives. There’s the fleeting time as her child enters adulthood. There are the memories to be made.
Others are in the same boat – no pun intended – as this woman.
Families are celebrating anniversaries and retirements; weddings and reunions – plans sometimes years in the making.
They’ve looked forward to their cruise for a long time. They want this time with family and it was hard enough to plan it all out.
They’re just hoping for the best.
And then there’s the New York mother who spent a great deal of time planning a family vacation to Bermuda.
I can relate to this lady. She’s practical and concerned, but not panicked.
Her greatest fear is that of any mother – not getting sick herself, but being trapped in a quarantine with sick kids and a sick husband. And you know “Mancoronovirus” is the worst strain.
She hasn’t pulled the plug on their adventure yet and is trying to stay positive. At least she wouldn’t have to cook or clean for a while if they were stuck on board, she thinks.
For these people, their concern over becoming ill has yet to steer them toward cancelling their plans.
It took a lot of time, and a lot more money, to make these trips happen, and they’re going… come hell or high water.
And some cruise lines aren’t being very accommodating about cancellations. They’re hurting financially and they’re not offering refunds – or shutting down operations.
So when you have six or seven thousand dollars on the line for a trip you’ve booked, it makes the decision to take your chances a little easier.
Here’s to the crazy ones..
Then, there’s that second group of upcoming cruisegoers. And I think they’re nuts.
We all understand the laws of supply and demand. When everyone wants something at the same time, supply dwindles and prices rise. Take hand sanitizer and toilet paper, for instance.
But when demand is low, prices plummet – like when we buy another 500 Christmas lights in January at 75-percent off. We don’t need them, but the price is too good to beat.
And that’s what’s happening now with cruises.
Cruise lines are slashing prices by thousands of dollars. People who could never afford a cruise before are now finding prices too cheap to turn down.
A thirty-something lawyer just booked a cruise from New Orleans to the Caribbean in May. He’s an educated, reasonable man.
He doesn’t think that the preparedness and caution over the virus are overblown. He doesn’t think it’s a bunch of hype.
His girlfriend thinks he’s an idiot for planning the trip, but the cheap fare and the thought of getting away had her reluctantly agreeing to accompany him.
Then – you knew it was coming – there are the millennials.
Young people in college or experiencing their first unpleasant stint at adulting want to get away for spring break.
They’re young and invincible. They know they’re supposedly at lower risk of getting seriously ill. And it’s time to get the gang together and get partying.
One carefree little sprite even commented that if she consumed enough alcohol, she was sure it would keep the virus at bay – no pun intended. That, and she’s bringing some Lysol.
Some are even hoping they get quarantined, thinking it’s a good excuse to get out of work and extend their vacation for a while.
Only the youth of today would risk serious illness to get out of a day’s work. Why should you have to do anything to get paid anyway?
A little perspective…
So, from the horror stories in the news about passengers getting sick, being quarantined, and even dying on the Diamond Princess last month…
… to the Grand Princess and other recent cruises being quarantined and stuck in port while undergoing testing, there’s no way I’d ever become part of “Camp Corona,” as this unique trend is being called.
I don’t care how cheap the tickets are.
Like everyone else, I’m being careful. I’m washing my hands and avoiding huge crowds. I always do that anyway. Did I mention I hate crowds?
I’m not panicking. But I’m not an idiot either.
There’s a difference between going about your travels with caution on a plane or public transportation and willingly entering a floating city with recirculated air and no means of escape.
Experts are concerned because hundreds of thousands of people who are already out there on a cruise, or who have booked an upcoming voyage with a company that has not halted trips yet, could be flooding into major U.S. ports.
It’s a little scary to think about and I, for one, don’t want to have any part in the story.
If and when cruise lines are forced to cancel operations until things improve, there are those people who will think it can never happen to them.
And that’s the problem with this kind of situation. From hoarding toilet paper and Lysol to wearing masks in public, it’s “all about me.”
If that’s your thing, I can’t stop you.
If you’re going for it, we hope you stay safe out there on the high seas.
And if you have an ounce of sanity and no plans to take a cruise yet, then stay off those floating virus carriers until things die down.
Spending your vacation sick in bed surrounded by a ship full of strangers doesn’t sound all that fun to me.
And the scariest part may be that they’ll run out of alcohol.