• author
    • Carolyn Wyler

      Columnist and C.E.O.
    • March 8, 2020 in Columnists

    C of uncertainty

    Normally, a 15-day cruise to Hawaii would be one of those once in a lifetime dream vacations and our dream vacation was turning out to be quite fabulous, up until a couple of days ago when things took a drastic turn. We were supposed to make a stop in Ensenada but were told our ship had been exposed to the COVID-19 (AKA Corona Virus) and we had to head back to San Franciso.  One of the passengers who had been on the Grand Princess cruise right before ours had just died from the disease. Other passengers on our boat had likely been exposed when they cruised with him to Mexico, before continuing on to Hawaii with us. We were all going to die!

    Of course, I don’t believe that will be our demise, but I am concerned about the immune-compromised and passengers who have comorbidities. As a nurse, and having studied up on the Coronavirus, symptoms are generally no more than the flu or a common cold. People who are healthy may not even realize that they have it. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned. I myself may not get the virus, but I could be a carrier and it would kill me if I passed on this virus to someone who may not be able to fight off the disease due to being immune-compromised. 

    After the notice of the death of the passenger, we could no longer serve ourselves food at the buffet. It appeared that the attitude of the crew went from cheerful and friendly, often calling us by our names, to “hey you, potential COVID-19 virus A235.”

    On Thursday we were told that we were to be confined to our cabins after lunch. During lunch, we should stay at least 6 feet from each other. So while standing in a long line, just one foot apart from each other, I thought of the irony. Just a few hours ago we were all crammed in a theatre watching a show and soon we would be locked away from everyone in our cabins.

    My husband and I grabbed our lunch and went to our cabin where we would be spending the remainder of our days, however long that might be, trying not to kill each other. This is where we are now, lying in wait for CDC to decide what to do with us.

    Being trapped in our rooms hasn’t been too horrible though. We have tons of movies we can watch (made available by Princess), internet, books to read, games to play, but we do get cabin fever, not the Corona type of fever. While sitting around, I came up with a list of things we could do while confined.

    Ten activities you can do while quarantined in your cruise ship cabin.

    1. Play a game of Baseball-  The rolls are extremely hard and make great baseballs. Take your small pillow and use it as a bat. Open your balcony sliding glass door. If the ball (um…roll) makes it to the ocean, it’s an automatic home run. 
    2. Have a “campout.” Move the bed to the balcony. Ask crew for lots of blankets (but don’t tell them what they are for) and sleep under the stars.
    3. Next day, use those extra blankets and tie them together to rappel down to the lower cabin to hang out, play cards or just talk because you need someone other than your spouse to talk to and to find out if there is really life outside your cabin. 
    4. Tie together all your charging phone and computer cords together to a fork and stick food at the tip of the fork and go fishing off of the balcony.
    5. Challenge your cabin mate to a contest to see who can find the craziest, ineffective, homemade “protective gear” for the Coronavirus. The winner gets to order room service. 
    6. Every time (and only the first person) to hear the C word on TV (Corona Virus) you get to smack your roommate.
    7. Order 12 rolls, 24 olives and 12 mini carrots from room service and make a family of four angry snowmen/women and children, then set them outside your room door with a note stating they are to ward off any viruses. 
    8. Have a water fight. After drinking the water from free water bottles they are giving us while trapped in our cabin, refill them from the tap water and battle it out with your partner. You will likely have to ask for new bedding after this however and have to make your own bed. Ugh. 
    9. Before asking for more bedding, use the wet sheets, tie them together, use your balcony chairs and use it as makeshift skis. Jump off the side of the boat and go water skiing.
    10. Take your life jackets with you on this last one and go for a swim while you’re out in the water. 

    ***For additional fun, call room service, and after waiting on the line for 40 minutes because everyone else is calling them, ask them to send you a Heineken beer, not a Corona beer because you don’t want to get the Coronavirus. Listen to them as they roll their eyes.***

    ***Get all excited when the captain kicks you off of the boat and sends you home because you are driving everyone nuts.

    We don’t know a lot at this point about what will be happening to us. We don’t get a lot of informative updates. I found out about the 19 crew members’ and 2 passenger’s positive test results via a phone call from my son who was on land!  Mike Pence had already done a press conference about it and the whole world knew that we have infected people on this ship before we did. The captain promised to let us know as soon as he had found out anything and had just announced 20 minutes before my son had called and said there were no results yet.

    Right now we are floating around in circles out about 40 miles off the coast of San Francisco in a holding pattern. We don’t know if we will all be tested, where we will be going if or when we get off the boat. Many of us need medications because we only brought enough to cover the 15 day trip. I don’t have mine for today and don’t know when or if I’ll get them. So many uncertainties.

    In the meantime, I’m trying to stay positive, which at times can be difficult,

    We do have a wonderful view of the ocean (my favorite place to be), we are able to talk to family and so far, we haven’t run out of food.

    Instead of thoughts and prayers though, could you all please send chocolate to

    Carolyn Wyler c/o Grand Princess
    Monster boat wandering around the water looking confused
    San Francisco, California, SOS911


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