When I got off the Epic in 2019 after crossing the Atlantic, as I have many times in the past now, I had no idea it would be the better part of two years before I took another international vacation. I say vacation as I ended 2019 with a really fun “BRU boys” elite run to Brussels for dinner to be ready for my 2020 year (gosh, COVID has changed so much).
This trip was unique in so many ways (including wearing eye protection as well as tight-fitting 3M N95 masks) and over the coming weeks, I will be posting about all the bits that made it both fun and nerve-racking day by day. I am talking about the planning, the changes, the insurance steps I would never have dreamed of, the things that went well and the things that did not, the stress over possibly testing positive for COVID anywhere along the way, and the difference between travel in Europe and the USA right now.
So where did I go? Barcelona. Why? To get back on Epic for an Italian Haven cruise!
Yep. As I posted a while back, I took the “safest” trip I could, that is, a cruise with everyone wise enough to be fully vaccinated!
So what will I be covering?
- The booking and rebooking with SkyMiles and success in applying Global Upgrade certs for Delta one flights.
- EMed Tele COVID19 testing for flights. Worth it?
- Folks not wearing masks on jets!
- The Delta One 767-300 experience during COVID 2021
- The transfers from the airport, to the ship and back to the airport.
- The Hilton del Mar in Barcelona as a Diamond guest via Amex Hotel Collection stay.
- The refurbished Norwegian Epic Haven for 2021 – The good and the bad.
- Shots from my excursion in Spain and Italy
- The updated Barcelona BCN lounge.
- The Delta One 767-400 refurbished seat experience during COVID 2021
- Weather diversion on the way home and Delta steps up yet again.
As you can see I have a lot to share and what you can expect travel to be like when you once again venture out (maybe you already have as flights, and airports, are packed).
I will end this teaser post about the trip with one overriding feeling. There is such a massive divide between Europe and the US right now. In Europe masks are the norm. They are taking COVID seriously and caring about others. In fact, take a look at the numbers the week before my departure from Our World Data:
As you can see, it was much safer for me (once I got there) to be in Spain and Italy than to be in the US. There they get it. They are showing fellow feelings about one another. They are racing to get everyone vaccinated rather that here where, even almost two years into this disaster, some in the US still refuse to help both themselves and others and get the shot! Cabs, in Spain, feel safe with plastic dividers and limited contact while here in the US my cab driver, who packed a ton of folks in, did not wear a mask (he had it around his neck).
The contrast was striking.
The trip truly was amazing and so much fun and needed for me. It is so great to be back out but many of the things that have happened, and what is required, has me rethinking what I will do over the next year and where I will go and do. Thankfully I got my COVID booster shot this past Friday so I will feel good about what I do choose to do. – René
Disclaimer: I am LONG NCLH stock for the onboard credit shareholder perk every time I cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines!
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