Some good news … for a change ,,, as the world creeps slowly toward a “new normal”! First, slow is good! Leadership that wants to throw open the doors and pretend this never happened, isn’t the way to health and creative change. I was a New Yorker for six important years after seminary [South Bronx no less!], and much of my life I grew up in northern New Jersey, so I appreciate and relate to the New York way. Maybe that’s why I’ve appreciated New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily, update news conferences on the coronavirus pandemic, and the general tone and style of his leadership. Slowly, step by step is the way to recovery.
And it’s working! Panama had very serious restrictions in place which were pretty much followed by an otherwise very independent populous. With few exceptions, mostly in Panama City, foks got in line, litterally at the grocery stores ten feet apart, and sacrificed some of their “rights” for the good of the whole community. So, starting June 1st, Panama is moving to Phase 2, which means you will be able to be out and about from 5 am until 7 pm, Construction supplies will be available so many of those jobs can restart. This doesn’t mean everything is back to normal. Still social distancing, no groups, still masks, most non-essential things still closed, but the first step. For me the big goal is when Panama reopens it’s airspace, scheduled as a birthday present to me!! on June 22nd, and Copa starts resuming operations June 27. A challenge for me because the new protocols for American Cruise Line and Pearl Seas require that anyone boarding the ship must not have travelled internationally 14 days before boarding, meaning I end up in the US 14 days before I go to work.
Gradually I have been moving away from the big cruise ships toward port-intensive itineraries on smaller ships that don’t require long-haul international flights. [Panama to Chicago for example is just 5.5 hours nonstop, nothing like flying to Europe or Australia.] So this year I was scheduled to do mostly trips on American Cruise Lines and Pearl Seas Cruises. I had a busy year lined up, and everything for the first half of the year has ended up cancelled. But the good news … American Cruise Lines will be the first tos resume cruising on the US River Cruises starting in June! Cruise lines and airlines just don’t pick up and resume where they left off. Equipment which was laid up needs to be inspected, prepared, and crews need to be assembled and retrained in the new protocols. So it is a gradual process. But it is starting! I’m delighted with the protocols announced by American and Pearl. And the 25% reduction in passenger load to create more space for appropriate social distancing will make their small ships even more intimate and special.
Right now I’m scheduled to do PEARL MIST on the Great Lakes & Georgian Bay this summer, the Maine Harbors and the Eastern Seabord in the Fall. This summer I’m still hoping to do QUEEN OF THE WEST and AMERICAN PRIDE on the Columbia & Snake Rivers. Fingers crossed!