I am back from my 2nd Disney Cruise in less than a month! This time I sailed onboard the Fantasy and it was Fantastic! There have been a few changes to cruising since I went in August though.
The biggest change was the Bahamas announcing that all guests age 12 and older must be vaccinated to sail to any Bahamian port, even the cruise line private islands. This went into effect on September 3 but was only announced 8/20. I am sure this changed things for a lot of families especially since the Bahamas didn't allow enough time to get everyone vaccinated if they were already booked on a cruise.
Next up the CDC updated their requirements for cruising starting September 13.
This did mean that we had to take a test when arriving at the port when we didn't last time. The process was pretty simple though. We drove our own car over to the port so we entered the parking garage like before but this time we were directed to a parking space where someone gave us the test kits and explained how to do them. They were an easy test and you do not have to go as far up your nose as the other test. You put the swab in the vial and hand back the sealed baggie and then are directed to go park in the garage and hang out until your results come back which should be within 45 minutes. We parked went to the bathroom and then found a cooler spot to hang out in the parking garage while we waited. I can understand why Disney hasn't set up a seating area in the garage but having somewhere other than your car would have been nice. We got the message on our phone that we were clear to board so we headed over to the terminal to check in. This process was the same as before however what we hadn't factored in was that it would take pretty much an extra hour from our scheduled port arrival time to when we were actual able to get on the ship. By the time we did we were very hungry so next time we will plan our time better. Please note that while Disney is providing this test at the port not all cruise lines are offering that so if you are sailing with another line be sure to check if you will need to acquire your own test before boarding.
Besides these big changes we did see a few smaller ones. There was only one night for fireworks this time. We were up on the top deck for the fireworks and there seemed to be plenty of space for anyone wanting to watch up there so I am guessing that is why they went back to just 1 night.
Even though all adults had to be vaccinated the mask rule seemed to be more enforced than before. While on Castaway you are pretty much always outdoors except for the bathrooms and when getting lunch. Even though the food area is an open air area they were really strict about having your mask on and even had a box of disposable one handy as you entered for anyone that might not have brought a mask to lunch. We ate at the adult only lunch location so it really surprised me that they were so strict about it. I was glad to see hand wipes come back to all dining entrances instead of having to always use the sanitizer stations that squirt way too much for me.
This cruise was a Halloween on the High Seas so it was nice to see how Disney was handling that with new protocols. I had been on a Halloween sailing a few years ago and I honestly didn't notice that much of a change this time so the new policies did not take away from any of the festivities.
Even with the new rules in place I had an amazing time and would go back and do it all again without thinking twice!
Going to the beach is the perfect remedy for winter blues, especially this year! There are so many wonderful beaches within just a few hours of most US cities. Right now there are some that no longer require a quarantine (subject to change at anytime). Even if you usually plan your own beach vacations now more than ever using a travel agent to keep you informed of all new rules is a good idea (yes I know self promotion but I we really do come in handy).
There are plenty of beaches in the continental US that are great to visit year round. I am of course partial to Florida beaches but there are also times when I just want to go somewhere else.
Here are the Top 5 Beach destinations outside the continental US that are no longer requiring you to quarantine upon arrival
#5 - Costa Rica
Known for the ‘Pura Vida' way of life, unlimited outdoor adventure activities, lush national parks, super-chill beaches, and affordable prices, its no wonder Costa Rica welcomed over 1.3 million American tourists last year.
As of November 1st, all Americans may travel to Costa Rica as long as they present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate.
Jamaica has reopened for tourism and is known for its world renowned all-inclusive resorts, white sand beaches and laid back culture. Over 1.8 million Americans flocked to the island in 2019 to escape the cold and enjoy the tropical warm weather.
American travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate no older then 10 days from the time the test was taken to arriving in Jamaica.
Mexico had over 32 million U.S. visitors in 2019. Although numbers will be much lower due to the pandemic, U.S. travelers will still flock to the country due to its easy entry requirements and beautiful tropical weather.
The white sand beaches and all inclusive resorts of Cancun have already seen a large rebound in U.S. visitors since reopening back in June. I cruised in the Sea of Cortes last winter and we went to the most amazing, basically totally private beaches, in Baja!
With no testing or quarantine requirements, Americans will continue to choose Mexico this season as their vacation destination.
The Bahamas has reopened for tourism and is now accepting American tourists after initially banning them when the islands first reopened.
With beautiful white sand beaches, surrounded by incredible deep blue and turquoise waters, this tropical paradise is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
There is no quarantine but all travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test when completing their ‘Travel Health Visa'.
Surf's up! Hawaii just reopened to tourists this week and over 8,000 said Aloha that first day!
Hawaii had more than 10 million visitors to the Islands in 2019, setting a new all-time high, according to year-end data by Hawaii Tourism Authority. The increase in total arrivals reflected growth from U.S. markets — air arrivals from the U.S. West were up nearly 10% and arrivals from the U.S. East were up 4.2%.
The state’s pre-travel coronavirus testing program requires travelers to produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in order to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine in effect for arriving passengers.
Hopefully more beaches will be added to the list of destinations that allow US visitors without a quarantine so if your favorite isn't on the list yet it might be soon. I cannot think of a better place to social distance than on any beach with the waves gently lapping the shore!
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