Cruising Post Covid-19: What’s It Like?
After 18 months, this September, we finally returned to Alaska on the Deeper Faith Cruise with Alistair Begg! Like many of our travelers, we showed up with high expectations. We were most interested to see how new safety protocols affected the overall experience. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes glimpse from a few of our staff and travelers about what it’s like to cruise today.
Anticipation and Relief
The pent-up anticipation to travel felt tangible. We heard it in the voices of our passengers and saw it in their smiles. After a year and a half of waiting, this was our opportunity to experience the crisp air, towering glaciers and scenic wildlife of Alaska. What a thrill to experience all of this with family and friends while spending intentional time with God.
“You know that moment you’ve been hoping, dreaming and picturing in your head for months and months?” said one Alaska cruise passenger. “It was exhilarating, we enjoyed a tremendous sense of relief that it was finally underway.”
And underway it was! As the ship slowly drifted away from the dock and toward the open sea, our belief that travel would return became a reality. “So much work and emotional energy had gone into getting to that point and we were all waiting to see if the ship would actually set sail. When it did, I was just in awe,” said Executive Vice President Stephanie Smith.
That is the part of planning most people don’t see—the emotional energy that goes into it. There is a sigh of relief and a great deal of appreciation at the start of every event, but this is one we’ll hold close to our hearts forever.
Alaska has always been one of our favorite travel destinations. As one of the most untamed and majestic places on earth, it offers rejuvenation and unique fellowship in a way few places can match. Even the most seasoned travelers among our staff found themselves entranced all over again by its beauty.
“There is no place in the world like it. The water is turquoise and royal blue all mixed together. The mountains are hundreds of shades of green and capped by fresh white snow. As we gently glided through the Inside Passage I could feel the stress of the last 18 months slowly slide right out of me,” one of our leaders said.
Safety and Relaxation
Leading up to the event, the most frequently asked questions by travelers were centered around safety. Would they be safe, and if so how? These were fair questions and ones we’d thought through extensively before going forward with the event. The well-being of our travelers is always our top priority, and like everyone else in the travel industry, we were in uncharted waters.
Proof of vaccination plus increased safety measures onboard the cruise made traveling possible, but how these new guidelines would affect the overall experience had yet to be seen. To our delight, after a day of traveling the concerns seemed to melt away. With the same safety regulations being implemented in other parts of our everyday lives, following cruise guidelines felt like second nature.
“It was no different from walking into my local grocery store,” one traveler said. “Once the event started, things just settled into place and the focus became what was happening onstage.”
“It didn’t impact my experience,” another reported. “Yes, we had to do a few extra things that we didn’t have to do in the past, but in the long run it didn’t affect our check-in or slow us down for getting on or off the ship.”
Even if it takes some getting used to, it is actually these safety precautions that make cruising one of the safest group activities. Vaccine requirements and a negative PCR test prior to boarding provided travelers with peace of mind. They were now able to devote their attention where it belonged—on creating timeless memories with family, friends and God.
After months of Zoom meetings and virtual hangouts, simply being at a live event felt thrilling. “Over the last 18 months, I’ve watched a lot of digital content. It was tremendous to be there in person and watch live,” one traveler told us. “I felt like everyone on the ship—including our group—was happy,” added one of our team members. “I didn’t see any unhappy people that week.”
Even passengers outside our group could tell it was a special week. One cruise passenger, not with our group, told us that of all the cruises they had been on, this one felt different from others. That is the true power of God. In our first event back, His love had spread through an entire ship and united us in joy. What a testament to His grace and the power of prayer!
When the future of travel seemed uncertain, God didn’t give up on us because we didn’t give up on you. We listened to His still, small voice that told us to keep going, dreaming and planning.
“I think God always shows up when we take time to stop and listen to Him,” another passenger told us. “On every trip I’ve taken like this, He’s spoken into my life in vital and encouraging ways.”
The cruise was an overwhelming success, and when we set sail in the great Alaska frontier, it felt as if we’d never been away. You can learn more about Inspiration’s upcoming travel itineraries and our commitment to exceptional, healthy travel experiences.
When you return to travel, where do you hope to go? Leave a comment and let us know!