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Author Topic: Day one - cruising in the time of Covid  (Read 3014 times)
grahame
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« on: August 23, 2021, 07:27:12 am »

We've cruised before (not quite into double figures for the number of cruises yet), and we've had two cruises cancelled due to Coronavirus ... but, now, the cruise industry is resuming in tentavive steps and I'm writing to you from somewhere off the Isle of Man.  On board P&O's newest and largest ship - the Iona - on just her third voyage.   It's dawn on Monday, 23rd August 2021, and some aspects are just the same as they were before.



We were asked to be at the terminal for 13:00 on Saturday and - travelling by train on a two-hourly service we travelled one ahead and got to Southampton at around 11 a.m. - late breakfast / early lunch at Subway and a short taxi ride to the Ocean Terminal.  Luggage drop of easy - taken from us kerbside, then the fun began. It felt like an age, but it was "only" an hour and a half later we were walking up the gangplank or its modern equivalent - probably less that 10 minute with the people going through the procedures, the rest, masked, in queues. Carefully done so that none of the queues felt *too* long - but never the less, we could have done with some of those Disney signs "You'll be at the ride in just 60 minutes", and we could have done with someone standing beside the queue and playin a ukelele or dressed up as Cap'n Birdzeye and cheerfully telling his sea stories.

Let's see if I can recall ...
A queue outside the terminal front so we could join ...
A queue at the side of the terminal so that we could join ...
A queue in the luggage collection area for a covid test queue ...
From where we had a covid test, registering mobile number for results text.
And back outside, then in to the main terminal entrance to ...
A queue for the escalator as there was ...
A queue at the top of the escalator for ...
A rep to ask us the same series of health questions we had already done online.
Across the hall and ...
A queue at a desk to check covid results; ours not yet through so ...
A waiting area (not a queue as such) where we sat waiting to be pinged negative then we joined ...
A queue to have someone look at the results on our phone and check we were clear ...
A queue to check in and get a "clear to board" stamp on our boarding pass.  YAY!!!
A queue for security check; airline style empty pockets and xray machines, etc and finally
We walked up the ziggy zaggy ramp to the ship and were scanned (no queue) on board.


Illustration - Seated queue / waiting for Covid results (foreground)
Queue to have someone look at make sure covid results read correctly (middle)
Queue for checkin (distance)



Illustration - Gangway alongside the terminal.
Three sloping walkways (zig, zag and zog) to the ship - viewed end on


Not directed straight to the cabin - but rather to our muster station to we knew / know where it is (the Casino, so I'm betting we won't be back there, knowing us) to check in with the muster captain to fulfill the requirement that passengers have to visit and see. Instructions to watch the TV channel about seven long blasts, a short one, and what to do if we hear them.  And, finally, to our cabin.   Greeted by our steward who looks after our set of cabins - "you look tired" he says. Lisa's fancy exercise watch suggests she's had the most exercise today than on any day since she got it, and I'm gasping for a cup of coffee.  And we can take our masks off!

I have spent so long writing this we'll be headed out to queue for breakfast in a few minutes. I'll come back and tell you about life on board (and it's not all queues!) later.
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TonyK
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2021, 10:33:56 am »

Enjoy your holiday, grahame! I haven't been to the Isle of Man since I was in my teens, and a ride on the railway there remains on my list of things to do when I have a moment.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2021, 11:20:46 am »

I have spent so long writing this we'll be headed out to queue for breakfast in a few minutes. I'll come back and tell you about life on board (and it's not all queues!) later.

Day 3 - Cruising in the time of Covid
* Only double vacinnated may travel
* Extra paperwork to be provided ahead of time
* Eeeeelongated checkin procedure
* Obligatory muster station on joining replaced by watch video
* Covid test for all passenges at checkin
* Facemasks must be worn when moving around inside (and outside if crowded)
* Facemasks must be worn in main theatre
* No help yourself buffets - all food served by staff behind counter
* Only half of cabins sold / running at 50% normal guest complement
* Maximum 4 persons per lift (though label says 17)
* Maximum number of customers in each shop
* Seats spacing - alternate tables marked out of action
* No commununal table dining (meeting fellow guests)
* Only one party at a time per whirlpool
* No children
* Virtual queuing for dining
* No evening turndown of bed
* Minibar unstocked
* No talking in lifts
* Have to stand in corners in lifts to maximise distancing
* No stops along the way - all sea days
... beyond that, it's all very much the same.   Different Boat though - more to follow on that
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Lee
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2021, 01:21:14 pm »

I'm sorry, but all this talk of "Cruising in the time of Covid" has me expecting Jane McDonald and a troupe of masked dancers to jump out and give us all a good ole Hollywood musical number  Grin
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GBM
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2021, 01:56:06 pm »


... beyond that, it's all very much the same.   Different Boat though - more to follow on that

S H I P!
Your SHIP has lifeBOATS  Cry Cry
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2021, 02:56:37 pm »


... beyond that, it's all very much the same.   Different Boat though - more to follow on that

S H I P!
Your SHIP has lifeBOATS  Cry Cry

..................and submarines are "boats" !
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2021, 03:54:15 pm »


... beyond that, it's all very much the same.   Different Boat though - more to follow on that

S H I P!
Your SHIP has lifeBOATS  Cry Cry

Ah - so a ship is the parent of boats, like a mare is the parent of foals?  Here are our children at play in Claggan Bay last night

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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2021, 04:21:32 pm »

I'm sorry, but all this talk of "Cruising in the time of Covid" has me expecting Jane McDonald and a troupe of masked dancers to jump out and give us all a good ole Hollywood musical number  Grin

......or as Vic & Bob used to say,  "chicken in a basket" style singer, Joe Longthorne!

(And yes, I know that would require a resurrection!)
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bobm
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2021, 05:16:52 pm »

I often listen the shipping forecast at the end of BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) Radio 4's day.   Actually have a proper reason to at the moment.

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PhilWakely
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2021, 05:23:03 pm »

I often listen the shipping forecast at the end of BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) Radio 4's day.   Actually have a proper reason to at the moment.



"Moderate or good, occasionally very poor"  has always amused me. In another word..... "variable".
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stuving
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2021, 06:15:00 pm »

"Moderate or good, occasionally very poor"  has always amused me. In another word..... "variable".

Or, in two words, "fog patches".
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bobm
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2021, 06:17:18 pm »

Apparently it’s because “variable” is used for wind direction. 

Always amuses me when they read it out without the headings.

“Occasional rain. Good.”
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2021, 08:21:47 pm »

Actually have a proper reason to at the moment.

Thank you - I take that as the care and compassion of a friend, and not spying on how we're doing or looking to report my news before I do  Grin

It has indeed been a mix of wonderfully clear and sunny weather with fog, sometimes thick.   I will try to upload piccies in the middle of the night when the ship's internet can cope!
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TonyK
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2021, 09:50:39 pm »


... beyond that, it's all very much the same.   Different Boat though - more to follow on that

S H I P!
Your SHIP has lifeBOATS  Cry Cry

Ah - so a ship is the parent of boats, like a mare is the parent of foals?  Here are our children at play in Claggan Bay last night


The difference is that you can put a boat on a ship, but can't put a ship on a boat. (I know, those pesky submariners...)
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broadgage
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2021, 02:35:59 am »

How to determine if it is a boat or a ship.

A boat can be managed by anyone, a ship should have qualified mariners to run it.
A boat can be picked up with a hoist or crane for the larger boats, and put on a ship.
If it lists noticeably when moving from one side to the other it is a boat and not a ship.


There are of course exceptions and marginal cases, but in general the above will serve well if in doubt.

Returning to marine weather forecasts, I have only once heard the sea state described as "phenomenal" and at the time a friend was at sea on a cargo ship. They found it alarming, as did the captain. The crew were observed to be praying to various gods for deliverance.


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It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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