I’ve written a bit about how the ability to be flexible in this situation is what keeps you sane and functioning. That hasn’t changed in the last month, as we have no idea where we’re going. I seem to have gotten to a complacent level of that though as at this point I don’t really care very much. I’m along for the ride and we can’t get off the ship anyways. If it was somewhere cooler that would be great. Those unfamiliar with the weather in the Philippines it is either 90+ degrees and insanely humid or raining. There doesn’t seem to be a lot in between.
My only other request would be that wherever we go after Manila new crew are able to come in (like Stuart’s replacement – no, we don’t know when he is coming), and that crew (and us) are able to get flights home.
At this point, I am very hard to please.
We’re still at anchor in Manila. The cruise ships around us change a little bit from day to day, but mostly it’s the same ones. My initial enthusiasm doesn’t carry every single day. I still get my binoculars out from time to time and look at the new ships that come in. It’s a little comforting knowing they’re all in the same situation as us, even if they aren’t in the same “boat”. (Get it?!) Each day you’ll hear a horn sound from a ship or two as they have a few more crew disembark. They do it to say goodbye to their crew but I think that it gives us all hope. Some of the Princess ships play the theme song from “The Love Boat” when their crew leaves. Their ships of yesteryear were where the show “The Love Boat” was partially filmed and based. I like it.
This month we had a lot of progress for getting crew home. By my count since we left Fremantle, Australia (so not taking into account the crew that left when the passengers left), 264 crew have disembarked, nearly all of them during this month. We still have quite a few Filipino’s waiting clearance to go ashore or awaiting the test results from their COVID-19 tests. Their tests were administered on May 13th, so it’s been a bit of a waiting game. However, with 23 +/- cruise ships in the area all trying to do the same thing I can understand it taking a little while to get all of the results and then get the appropriate paperwork to the various ships. We’re not talking small numbers here but easily in the 20,000+ range for everyone here – and, there are more ships on their way.
Incase you’re wondering about what travel restrictions there still are out in the world, here’s a fun little map put out from the website iatavisitorcentre.com where you can click on a country and find out. What an arduous job it must have been to put all of that together. It’s getting better in the majority of places. At the beginning of the month I wrote about crazy US CDC restrictions making it quite challenging for crew to go home. I’m happy to say on our ship that all the US citizens have been returned home (except me, I’m waiting to go when my husband goes).
So, What’s Going On Now?
We are waiting to disembark remaining crew here in Manila. Some additional crew will be on some chartered and some commercial flights in the coming week utilizing the “Green lane” open for crew to disembark their vessels and then connect directly to the airport. And, for those that still can’t get home I’ve heard rumors they will be getting moved to another ship to then sail home and try it that way.
There is talk that the office is starting to work on getting replacements to the ship for the crew that are necessary to have onboard during the ships “lay-up”.
- That’s our category! Once this starts happening we get to go home!
Until the above happens we still have no idea of when we are heading home. We’re doing okay though and we just keep cruising along and doing the best we can.
We still have our twice daily temperature checks and have to practice social distancing.
We have food and no one is going hungry, but alas, we are out of Corona beer (ironic? Good in the irony? Not sure.) In spite of that incredible challenge (the lack of Corona beer), I have comforted Stuart, and we know we must continue on…
A Review of Our Adventure So Far:
Days since we were last on land: Me: 76 days, Stuart: 82 days (as he wasn’t able to get off the ship since we were in Sydney). In retrospect, last year I was on the World Cruise with Stuart for 77 days…
March 12th: Cairns, Australia. The last port we were able to go ashore in. Stuart couldn’t get off the ship that day, so he hasn’t been on land since we were in Sydney, Australia on March 6th.
March 21-23rd: Fremantle, Australia to disembark all passengers as well as some crew.
April 5-April 10th – Durban, South Africa: 5 crew disembarked
April 25th – Malaysia to refuel
April 28th – May 6th: Jakarta, Indonesia: 172 Indonesians disembarked
May 12th – present: Manila, Philippines. 54 Filipino’s disembarked, 33 from other nationalities
Total so far: 264 (not including the crew that left in Fremantle)
Let’s see what happens in June….