It was really only a matter of time; I suppose. Traveling is a risky business to begin with, and even more so in the time of COVID, no matter how careful you are. Sometimes your luck just runs out. Mine did yesterday and I’ll be alone for at least five days in an ocean view suite on Deck 5 of the Seven Seas Navigator.
Yesterday, after a lovely lunch with cruise buddies in Charleston, we all lined up in the ship’s lounge for the required COVID test for entry into Bermuda. Mary and I had already taken two antigen tests within the last week–one to return to the US and the other to board the ship. Both were negative.
Within an hour the ship’s doctor called to tell me my test was positive. In minutes they were in our room giving me a more definitive PCR test. It was also positive. Fortunately, Mary’s test was negative.
And so it began. I was told to pack everything I’d need for at least five days of isolation in another Heppa filtered cabin. In shock, we quickly threw clothes, etc. into a couple bags. And then waited for minutes that soon became hours for my escort of medical personnel.
My mind raced with nightmare scenarios. Being separated from Mary. Being perp-walked through the throngs of martini toting cruisers.. “Oh my god,” would they think. “Was he on my tour to Fort Sumter? Was he in the elevator with me?” And then they pelted me with vodka-soaked olives.
What actually happened was even more bizarre – kind of like a science fiction movie directed by Mel Brooks. After about four hours, the knock finally came. I put on my best big boy face, donned my mask, hugged Mary, and opened the door. At least three fully hazmatted crew members greeted me in the long hallway leading to the glass elevators. Thankfully, they had cleared it of guests. An extension cord ran the length of the hallway connected to some kind of virus-zapping fogging machine that would follow me down to the elevators to my new room. Four more crew members in the same getup kept innocent bystanders away.
Another team met me at deck five and busily zapped and sanitized with other mysterious devices as I passed through a large door and down the hallway to cabin 525. My splendid isolation–with full room service – had begun.
While I make light of the seemingly over-the-top transport, I’m sincerely impressed with the commitment of the ship’s crew to keep their passengers safe and healthy. A nurse visits twice a day. Meanwhile, Mary is tested daily as a close contact and has been hunkered down most days in our balcony suite.
Other than experiencing a minor head and chest congestion that I thought were allergies, I’m feeling OK. Mary remains negative and we chat on the phone frequently, counting our blessings in these pandemic times