Sheltering in Place in Florida

A New Reality

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

 

On the news, we saw that cruise liners were parked at all the terminals available throughout the world.  At Port Canaveral, there are at least 4 ships in port at any given time.  They are idle due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  On March 13, 2020, the cruise lines announced a 30-day, self-imposed hiatus.  After returning those passengers already on board to a dock, the ships would sit out the hiatus wherever they could find space.  As a matter of fact, some ships are leaving their docks; going out to sea; giving another ship time and space to take on supplies and fuel; and then returning to the dock until another ship needs to come in.  This musical chair routine will go on at least until April 11th (even a month or two longer for some cruise lines.)   We decided to go to Port Canaveral and see this phenomenon in action.

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Port Canaveral is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. More than 4.5M passengers and 6M short tons of cargo pass thru the port yearly. Carnival, Disney, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines have regularly scheduled service.
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The Carnival Magic and the Disney Fantasy. Disney Fantasy is home-ported at Port Canaveral.
The victory Casino Ship and the Carnival Breeze.
The victory Casino Ship and the Carnival Breeze.
Victory Casino operates daily gambling cruises from the port.
Victory Casino operates daily gambling cruises from the port.
The Carnival Breeze is home-ported at Port Canaveral.
The Carnival Breeze is home-ported at Port Canaveral.

Normally, it would have been possible for us to eat, drink, shop and visit the Exploration Center at the port.  But with COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, these venues are closed for the time being (except for restaurant take-out.)

Grills Tiki Bar was open for take-out only.
Grills Tiki Bar was open for take-out only.
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Seafood Atlantic was still doing business selling the catch of the day. The restaurant, however, was not seating guests!
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Rusty’s Seafood & Oyster Bar seems to be totally closed–we saw no customers or take out activity.
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And yet, there were several people enjoying the harbor, the sun and the breezes. Notice, they are all practicing social distancing!!!
The Exploration Center is a fabulous place to visit, when open!!!
The Exploration Center is a fabulous place to visit, when open!!!

On the drive to and from Port Canaveral, we stopped to check-out what was happening in Cocoa Village, Cocoa Beach and a couple of shopping malls along the way.

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Cocoa Village was quiet and empty. We were there on a Saturday afternoon when one would expect lots of shoppers, diners, and sightseers!
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Travis Hardware is an amazing old hardware store selling everything you could imagine. But no one was there today.
Cocoa Village
Cocoa Village
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As we crossed Merritt Island on our way to Cape Canaveral we tooled thru the Merritt Square Mall. As this photo shows, EMPTY!!!
Merritt Square Mall
Merritt Square Mall
Merritt Square Mall
Merritt Square Mall
Our final drive thru of the day was The Avenue.
Our final drive thru of the day was The Avenue.
Locally owned shops were open.
Locally owned shops were open.
National brand stores were not.
National brand stores were not.
And the restaurants are take out only.
And the restaurants are take out only.

So, “What,”… you may ask… “are the cruise lines planning to do with their empty ships currently rotating in and out of ports all over the world?”  Well, this is what we’ve learned:

Carnival Corporation (including Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America Lines, and P&O Cruises) has offered their fleet as floating hospitals. So did Saga Cruises & MSC Cruises.

American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines have offered their fleets to the U.S. military to house military personnel who are quarantined as they have either arrived from a foreign deployment or will be departing shortly for a foreign country.

And on a lighter note:

All the lines have taken this unique opportunity to have their crews experience the “Life of a Passenger” by using the cabins, dining facilities, and entertainments!

Nice!!!

But my favorite story is of Stephen Christoffersson, Carnival Cruises’ Vice President of Housekeeping, who (along with his crews) came up with a process to figure out which cabin lights to turn on at night and spell out messages to the world.  The Carnival Breeze message was “We Will Be Back.”  Other lines around the world have followed the practice!

 

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