Vacations for Canadians

After sailing on 17 cruises since August 2021, Covid-19 finally caught up with me. Towards the end of my cruise on the Celebrity Apex, I tested positive after having mild cold-like symptoms.  I’ve learned some valuable lessons from this experience that are worth sharing.

My Experience

My husband, Barry and I traveled to Amsterdam to embark on the Celebrity Apex departing August 1st, 2022 for Iceland and Ireland – a dream itinerary, if there ever was one. We both wore masks diligently in common spaces and on excursions, as well as in the airport and of course, on the plane. 


On Wednesday, August 10th, I started having mild cold symptoms so I felt it best that I take a covid test. I didn’t want to risk infecting others. I took a self-test with the Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs)  I had brought with me and it was negative. I did another RAT Wednesday evening and again Thursday morning and they were again both negative. Knowing that RATs are sometimes unreliable, I alerted the ship that I was experiencing symptoms and they came to our stateroom and performed a PCR test. I was very surprised that this test also came back negative.


Ship protocol dictates that if you are symptomatic, you must isolate for 24 hours and test again. We stayed in our stateroom for the day, and I was tested again on Friday morning. This time the test was positive which meant that we had to quarantine on the ship for the remainder of the cruise. We were fortunate that this was only one day and we didn’t have to move cabins. When we arrived back in Amsterdam, we were escorted off the ship with masks.


The ship took good care of us…checking in on me numerous times, offering medication, and the ability to order food from the restaurant menus.

What You Need to do to be Prepared

Buy Travel Insurance

It’s always been important to protect your travel investment with insurance coverage, but I can’t stress enough how exponentially more important it is now. We have Manulife’s Premium Protection Plan for this trip and it provides $350 per day per person for quarantine expenses (meals, taxis, hotels), as well as medical expenses related to (and not related to) covid-19. Without this coverage, we would be out of pocket $5,000-$8,000 dollars since we have to stay in Amsterdam for 10 days before we are allowed to fly home to Canada. 


Hotels & Transfers

While Manulife will reimburse you for your expenses, they do not help you book hotels and transfers. We had to do this all on our own while we were quarantined on the ship. With patchy ship wifi, it wasn’t easy. If you are in this situation, we are here to help and you can call us, your agents, to help you with your arrangements. 


Have Plenty of Available Credit on a Card & Carry Cash 

As I mentioned, Manulife will reimburse you for your expenses, AFTER your trip, once you’ve submitted your receipts. This can get very expensive, so be sure that you have plenty of available credit on your card. Also be mindful that not everywhere accepts credit cards (they don’t take Visa in many places Amsterdam!) so be sure to have some local cash with you.  


Bring Extra Prescription Medication 

Make sure that you bring extra medication with you, just in case. Due to the ongoing pandemic, always plan ahead with at least an extra 10 days’ worth of medication and vitamins. It’s also advisable to bring some over-the-counter medications like Tylenol Cold & Flu as they may not be as readily available where you have to quarantine, or can be very expensive. 


Take Rapid Antigen Tests with You 

Throw a box of Rapid Antigen Tests in your suitcase when you’re packing for your trip. They can offer peace of mind or also alert you to a positive case of covid-19 so that you don’t risk infecting others.

I knew the risks going on each and every cruise.  And I feel very fortunate that my symptoms were very mild.  This will in no way deter me from any future travel; I will just continue to be as prepared!