Summer vacation fun.

There seems to be a lot of posts on social media this week about people taking vacations. It’s the middle of July. Many schools start back soon so it is the time to go! And from what I hear most all venues will be crowded. Vacationers, many loaded with stimulus cash, have been bottled up in quarantine for more than a year and be hitting the skyways and highways.

Cruises are back! Many cruise lines began sailing again in July.  COVID put a screeching halt to the cruise ship industry for more than a year and many offer special pricing and incentives to try and fill the thousands of staterooms in the massive ocean liners. The thousands of cruise ship workers like to get paid and fuel is expensive.

COVID restrictions are still in place but at last ships are able to sail from US Ports again.

One couple tells me that cruise ships require documentation of COVID vaccinations prior to boarding. Passengers do not have to have the controversial vaccinations but those that do not will be required to take the dreaded COVID test three times: once prior to boarding, a second test mid-trip and the third before disembarking. Non-vaccinated guests will also be required to provide proof of health insurance. Those that fly to the ports are still required to wear masks at the airports and while flying.

A common dining room scenario will see sections for those who have had their vaccinations and sections for those who have not. Passengers will be asked to wear masks in enclosed areas except staterooms and may remove them when dining. Masks are not required while in the staterooms nor on the open decks.

Cruise lines state that all crew will be vaccinated. Protocols in place make it safe as possible to cruise. I have not heard anything about what will be required at the various ports.

Cruising is one of our favorite vacation adventures. One thing we like is that once we unpack we don’t have to pack again until the night before reaching the home ports. Everything is typically included in the cruise fare except gratuities. Those are typically about $14-$16 per person per day and are added to the ticket to be paid at the end of the cruise. Guidelines always state these may be adjusted up or down but most just pay the charges.

All food is included but most cruise ships have specialty restaurants that may charge a bit more. Typically alcoholic drinks and sodas are not only extra money but also a 15-18% gratuity is added.

Of course gifts and souvenirs add to the bill. Wifi is typically an add-on as are any trips (excursions) while in port.

Let us hear about your vacation plans. Many who do not like sailing or flying will be head to the Smokey Mountains while others will head to the day-trip beaches like Myrtle Beach, Panama City Beach, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.

Why not take your newspaper along and send in some pictures with your family holding our newspaper? Don’t forget to describe the location.  This can be done upon return for those who don’t like people knowing they are away from home.

Life is good, and it is always better with your local newspaper.

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