And Just Like That, Our Cruise is Ending

Day 70, Grand Half-World Voyage 2020

Saturday, March 14, 2020; At Sea – Arafura Sea

We’re coming home.

I’m not sure exactly how or when, but this morning Holland America decided to end our Grand World Voyage on March 24 in Fremantle (Perth), Australia. It’s part of a move by all cruise ship companies to “pause” the industry for 30 days due to the covid-19 virus.

Frankly, we would just as soon they “pause” us on the ship. In fact, there is a groundswell of support on board for just setting sail straight for Florida, stopping only as needed for provisions and bunkering.

I had seen the news on Holland America’s website before Captain Jonathan made the announcement shortly before noon. I think he had planned it as part of his daily update a little later, but the news already was flying around the decks.

We have lots of questions and few answers. How will we get home? According to the Holland America statement, the company will make travel arrangements for those who booked air through the company’s program. Others are instructed to contact their airlines to make flight changes. But many passengers are from Florida and drove to the port. We booked our flights on Southwest Air, which doesn’t help much from Australia.

We are toying with possibly traveling in Australia for a bit before flying home. It makes some sense, as we’re already here and it might take a while to get everyone on the ship onto a flight. Everyone at home on Facebook seems to say, “Stay!”

The shipboard internet ground to a halt with the announcement as everyone jumped online to share the news. So I’ve had no opportunity to even research options yet.

How do I feel? I’m probably still in shock and denial. And disappointed. I’m not ready to go home halfway through my first world cruise. And I’m really not ready to even think about packing. There’s still a lot of the world to see. The mood in the dining room tonight was sober, despite it being a gala night with an “Under the Sea” theme.

I’m trying to look ahead. Assuming things get back to some kind of “normal” by fall, I’ll leave from Boston in early October for the Grand Africa, circumnavigating that continent and returning to Florida in December.

Then on to the 2021 Grand World Voyage – with plans for sailing up the Amazon and then heading to Japan, China, India, Dubai, Israel, Turkey and eventually back to Florida.

It’s a crazy world, and who knows where that voyage will actually go, or if it will sail at all.

For now, I have five more Australian ports to enjoy and a few days at sea.