For the last several years I've been taking a solo trip for Christmas, the last one being a back to back trip on the NCL Breakaway out of Port Canaveral. Absolutely one of those trips that I thoroughly enjoyed in the moment but as the year went on I wished that I'd spent a bit more time taking some photos and jotting down some remembrances.
2020's trip didn't happen so when Royal Caribbean announced that they were going to do cruises out of Barbados starting December of 2021 I jumped on the chance to book. At the time vaccines were just beginning the slow roll out, cruises had yet to restart, and it seemed to be one of the better chances to get away for the holidays this year.
So, I booked. December 12th-26th on the Grandeur of the Seas out of Barbados. We'll be visiting Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Dominica twice each over the two weeks. It's an amazing itinerary, waking up to a different island every day and at some ports that Royal Caribbean's never visited before.
Yesterday check in finally opened for the cruise and the Grandeur was loaded into the RCL app, so things are looking up! Flights are confirmed, car service is booked, hotel is reserved, and plenty of electrolyte powder has been procured.
Unfortunately there's some annoying things about this one, understandable during a pandemic, but mildly annoying none the less.
- Barbados requires a nasopharyngeal PCR test within 3 days to get into the country administered by a health provider directly. The US has mostly moved away from this type of test so finding one that would also "guarantee" a return of the results in time wasn't cheap.
- At the moment the only way to get off the ship is to book an excursion through Royal Caribbean. Sadly there's not a huge selection and a lot of them just don't interest me. Not to mention that could get expensive fast. So, there's a good chance that I'll be staying on board and just visiting each port once instead of twice.
Waiting for the test results is going to be the most stressful part for me, there's several forms that need filled out before entry into Barbados and getting onto the ship that will require the test results back for, and I'm not great at waiting for stuff like that. I'm hoping they change the testing requirements before I leave to be more like the Bahamas and just require an antigen test, or at least drop the nasopharyngeal part. Oh well, it's still going to be a great couple of weeks.
I'll have to start researching excursions more this weekend, I'd held off until the protocols were released so plenty to go through! I expect I'll split the ports and hit half of them each week, spend the other days sitting in the shade by the pool getting some tropical air and enjoying the vibe.
Not sure how much I'll document this trip, but maybe one more post about the planning since that'll be part of how I occupy myself over the next few weeks :)