So you’re wondering what singles cruising is like in the wake of Covid-19. Is it worth it? Will it be like it used to be? Can I really have fun and connect with others while having to wear a mask and keeping up with the restrictions?
Well, the answer is a resounding YES!!!
Singles Travel International embarked on our first cruise since March 2020 in the beautiful Greek islands! There were some steps we needed to take in order to enter the country and to board the Celestyal Crystal, and I will outline them for you now:
- In order to enter Greece, one needs to be either vaccinated or have had a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of entering the country.
- Also, every person must fill out what is called a Passenger Locator Form – an online form issued by the Greek government that basically addresses where you’ll be and for how long. Once you fill out and send the form electronically, you’ll immediately receive a confirmation. This is necessary to show in order to board your aircraft to Greece.
So our group all made it to Athens successfully, and we had a wonderful two days in the capital city of Athens: We ate, drank and shopped until we dropped! In Greece, one must wear a mask when entering enclosed spaces such as museums, restaurants and hotels. Outdoors, mask-wearing is not necessary unless you are in tight spaces (think outdoor concert hall…).
In order to board our cruise ship, we had to produce a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of boarding the ship – even if you are vaccinated. Those of our 12-person group who departed the U.S. within this time frame got their tests done at home and received their results before boarding the Celestyal. The 10 of us who had arrived in Greece earlier needed to get a test while we were in Athens, so we all went together to a local clinic and made a morning out of it! We received our negative test results within 24 hours and all successfully boarded the ship for 7 nights of fun!
Life on board the Crystal truly felt as it always had. By now, we are all accustomed to wearing masks, so even that didn’t feel strange. When we were in the elevators or walking around the ship, we wore our masks. When we were entering the dining rooms and bars, we wore our masks. As soon as we were seated to eat or to enjoy a drink at one of the bars, we could take our masks off. The outdoor bar on the aft of the ship has always been a favorite Singles Travel International meetup spot, and there we didn’t have to wear masks!
The disco was open, the shows were happening, the shore excursions went on as usual, and it was absolutely wonderful to be cruising again! Plus, to be in Greece during the summer months, when the sea is calling your name and the sun is shining, was magnificent!
While there, our group visited the acropolises of Athens and of Lindos (Crete), swam in the Aegean Sea in Milos and even rode donkeys in Santorini! We laughed harder than we had all laughed in a long time, and it was evident that we had been missing travel in our lives, missing being together in a group to share experiences and jokes. More than just a vacation, this trip was almost a culmination of many of our hopes and dreams that the sadness and loneliness of the last year is behind us.
So is cruising back? If Celestyal is any indication of how to successfully run a cruise during this difficult time, I’d say yes