Our first cruise in over two and a half years to the Canaries
Sunday, 31st October 2021

Whether it was going to be fourth time lucky for us to take our next cruise was touch and go right up to queueing in the cruise terminal ready to board. The Government statistics for Covid kept showing alarming spikes. Strange to think back to 2020 and naively believing Covid would all be over by the cruise we had booked for the middle of the year! Covid came very close to home as Virginia's brother William tested positive for Covid and we had seen him at my retirement party in the middle of October!

As if Covid wasn't enough of a concern the mass media decided they wanted variety in their headlines, and encouraged the UK population to panic about petrol supplies. We were anxious that we would manage to get diesel so we could drive to Southampton and back for the cruise! This all blew up in the weeks just before the cruise date. The mass media may have newsworthy stuff to write about, and hot pictures to use, but living in a perpetual drama is not fun for most people.

Every time we got an "Important information about your cruise" email it was a worry that the cruise had been cancelled. First Cunard changed the ship from the Queen Victoria to the Queen Elizabeth which we had been on before. Then Cunard told us we were no longer going to Funchal on the 5th so our excursion there was cancelled. Checking our excursions we found another excursion had been cancelled too.

Then Cunard changed our cabin from 1070 to 1071, probably to keep the ship balanced so it didn't tilt over. They did claim it was something to do with reducing the number of passengers aboard (they can't have thrown the original passengers in 1071 overboard can they?) Then there were innumerable emails about all the paperwork that had to be done for the cruise, vastly more than before. We found it difficult, others less techno-savvy must have found it nigh impossible.

Your travel insurance had to cover Covid. You had to check in online. You had to do a health declaration just before the cruise. You had to book a Day 2 Lateral Flow Test for when you returned to the British Isles. You had to a Passenger Locator Form just before the cruise using the Day 2 test reference. You had to print out E-tickets and Boarding Passes and luggage labels.