This trip cancelled because of Covid

March 11, 2022 • 2:33 pm

All the passengers had an antigen test today, and I was okay, but I guess some people tested positive. The upshot is that our captain has informed us that this cruise, which is supposed to last another six days, is cancelled, and we’re heading back to Punta Arenas in Chile.

I don’t know what this means for me personally, as I was scheduled to be on another two-week journey after this one was over. For sure it means that at the very least I’ll be cooling my heels in Chile for a week, and it may be that Hurtigruten decides to cancel the next trip, too, in which case there will be quarantine, PCR testing, and an early trip home. None of us knows anything beyond that we’re headed back to our destination in Chile, and will get more information soon.

All I ask of readers is that they not tell me what I’m in for if we have to stay in our cabins for days or so. I’m already bummed out enough. I’ll convey what we learn when we learn it.

70 thoughts on “This trip cancelled because of Covid

  1. Even if you do have to stay in your cabin, you have a nice balcony and you can sit out there and take nice pictures. Not ideal but still a nice get away. Just be careful with yourself and don’t get sick!

  2. Sorry to hear that. Hopefully the next trip will go as planned. I’ve been enjoying the daily trip reports and photos.

  3. A week in Chile could be an opportunity for some culinary adventures – I’ve really been enjoying the current round of gustatory stories & photos. Glad you are well, hope it gets sorted soon!

  4. Aw man – well, at least this trip already exceeded my expectations!

    Best wishes for next time!

  5. That’s a bummer, I really enjoy the photos of the landscapes, fauna, and food. Take some time to safely explore Chile?

  6. I am very sorry to hear what has happened to the trip you’re on. I’ve been following you for many years at this point, your daily email is the first thing I get every single day. I always look forward to hearing about your adventure/yearly trip, knowing you take a better picture of a molting penguin then anyone.. Your daily reports are like reading Charles Darwin’s adventures on the beagle.
    Disappointment is not a strong enough word.
    Be safe on your way back home.
    David G
    Las Vegas

  7. Condolences and best wishes to our host. And many thousand thanks for taking us on his Antarctic expeditions, both last time and this, alas, truncated one. And what, if I may ask, is the significance of Diana MacPherson’s owlish cartoon image?

  8. Oh, noooooooo!!! So sorry to hear this, but I guess they have to take these precautions. I have been enjoying your trip so much. Keep sharing what you can.

  9. I have been enjoying your posts about this adventure and learning something new, as usual. Sorry to hear about this disappointment. Stay well.

  10. Very disappointing. I’m curious if you (Jerry) have any observations about the ship’s configuration or how passenger activities may play into this kind of spread. Are dinners, for example, places where people are in close contact? I’m ignorant of the cruising life style beyond being aware of them as generically hazardous for infections.

    1. The arrangement of diners and tables is very good. I really don’t know how many cases of covid we have as they didn’t tell us. The only observation I made about things that might facilitate the spread was in the bar. Once when I went up to get my free drink, there were tons of people sitting around small tables socialized and yakking, and pretty close together. And you don’t have to wear your mask when you drink. I thought that if anything would spread the virus, that would do it. I think we have more among passengers than crew, which makes sense because the crew is scrupulously trained to disinfect everything. When you eat, for example, and then leave, your placemat (vinyl) and the table is sprayed with disinfectant and then left for a few minutes before the disinfectant is wiped off. When we got our rapid tests, we had to wait as a group for about 10 minutes in the auditorium. As soon as we left out seat, somebody came by and wiped it down with disinfectant. I think Hurtigruten has done absolutely everything it can to keep the place virus-free, but they can’t control passengers who yak at each other close up.

      Of course this is just a theory,,which is mine. And that was my theory.

      1. It’s sad that even though passengers are fully vaccinated and tested the virus still happens. This does not bode well for opening up here on land.

        1. The vaccine doesn’t prevent infection. It decreases the chance for hospitalization and death. Masks prevent infection. It is a problem that someone was infected when they boarded the ship (since they didn’t get it from a penguin) and that the test was so insensitive in the initial stages that the infection wasn’t picked up until days later.

          1. The vaccine does prevent infection especially among the boosted. It just isn’t 100% effective. Masks prevent spread as well as other health measures. I don’t understand the penguin comment as I wasn’t referencing that part of the discussion.

            1. Saying “it does” or “it doesn’t” are both right and wrong. Protection from disease DOES exist strongly a few weeks after your “fully vaccinated” dose. But it diminishes over time which is why we need boosters. They, too, wane over time, losing the preventative value. But protection from SERIOUS infection remains.

              1. Yes which is paraphrasing what I’ve said over the last two posts. It’s a fallacy that the vaccine doesn’t prevent infection. It does. It just isn’t perfect and as I said previous, it wanes. Not to mention the people cooking up variants who are “done with covid”.

  11. Very Sad for you. These trips are extremely precious and I know that you are really bummed that it is ending sooner than it should.
    We have enjoyed you bringing us along on your journey and you made so fun to see each days new pics and stories from the shore excursions to the meal offerings.
    I agree that folks should not try to figure out anything for you guys at this point as you probably don’t have that info. Stay safe and hang in there.

  12. I’m so sorry. What crappy news. I understand why the decision was made, but man, what a shame this is. It seemed like the trip was just starting to get really exciting, too. I hope something good comes out of this for you. I imagine the not knowing what is going to happen next is a real bummer too. Well, hell. What a disappointment.

  13. I’m sorry but also glad to know that for you it is “so far, so good.”

    However, it is reassuring to know that they take COVID-19 seriously. I’m betting it was a hard decision on their end.

    What a world it is these days!

  14. Bummer, man. Though if it comes to cooling your heels for a week in Chile between cruises, I’m sure a fella could find interesting ways to kill the time.

      1. I really enjoyed Punta Arenas. There’s an amazing French restaurant La Cuisine. Drive down to “The end of the road” and there are beautiful hikes on the stone beach and adjacent forest. We toured a working sheep farm with demonstration of shearing and sheepdog herding. Also a vantage point next to a cliff with Chilean condors (bring a guide and/or telescope). Can do a day (or 2) trip to Torres del Paine. Yes, our trip was forced to end a day early due to weather so we did extra activities. Of course ALL of this will get old if you are stuck for 2 weeks.

  15. Fortunately, as a seasoned traveler, you will make the best of your circumstances.Sorry for the glitch in your plans, I know how hard you prepared for this.

    1. Not necessarily. Although all crew and passengers are PCR tested before they get on the ship (and us three days maximum, and then one day before), some people might have gotten on the ship carrying a very new infection that PCR couldn’t detect.

    2. Not necessarily. IIRC one of the passengers tested positive just after the cruise started. They could easily have picked it up after their last test or in the window before a test becomes effective. Don’t forget that they probably all had long trips to get to Chile which would have been opportunities to catch the virus.

      1. My thought too. Bringing people from far away on long flights involving layovers in crowded airports degrades the confidence in a negative PCR done just before embarking. The Covid deniers tell all sorts of lies about false positives. But with any diagnostic test, the real problem in decision-making comes from false negatives. It’s a known unknown at best and often an unknown unknown.

        Sometimes negative + time = true positive. More often, negative + long time = true negative. How much time do you have?

  16. Bummer for sure. I’ve been following your progress with interest (and okay, selfishly) because we have an Antarctic cruise booked for November. This is the replacement for an earlier trip which was cancelled — not in 2020 because of Covid, but in 2019 because the ship went bankrupt.

    So I’m really sorry to hear that. Sorry for you too. I hope your next trip is more successful.

  17. It must be a real disappointment. I am disappointed too that I won’t be reading more of your wonderful illustrated accounts. I am not that surprised though. Here in the UK our National Health Service is divided between or devolved, (decentralised) to each of the 4 constituent nations England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales where I live. The UK’s Office of National Statistics does a survey every week. They have a statistically random group that they give PCR Covid Tests to. This means they pick up the asymptomatic cases as well. The figures for Wales last week were 1 in 32 of the sample infected and this week 1 in 31. This is within the margin of error for the statistics. I would guess it isn’t much different in the USA and therefore there is a high likelihood of encountering someone who’s infected. The tests probably missed someone who was newly incubating the disease.

    My sincere hope is that you escape infection and if you don’t that you have no more than mild symptoms. There are a lot of us who enjoy your writing and I am sure we all wish you the best.

  18. Really sorry to hear that Jerry! Fingers crossed you get to spend an awesome week in Chile and then get out on the second cruise!

  19. Bugger! So disappointing. Sorry about that PCC(E). There’ll be next time though and in the meantime enjoy your stopover in Santiago. I recall you enjoyed it a lot last time and they even look after their street cats. And it is summer there at least.
    Keep well,

  20. Damn the bad luck! 🤬 Hopefully the next cruise won’t be cancelled. It would suck waiting around in a Chilean small town with not much to do for a week and then be told ‘sorry’. It seems to be a very professional and safety-conscious outfit, that’s for sure.

  21. I hope you are able to go on the next trip and everyone remains covid-free. Good luck! I’ve really been enjoying your beautiful photos and descriptions of your trip. Stay well.

  22. This is such a bummer. I was really enjoying your posts. I hope there’s some sort of partial refund coming your way.

  23. I’m sorry for your truncated trip, Jerry, but my first thought was for the infected passengers. Could it be that some are so ill as to require more medical attention than can be delivered on the ship?

      1. Seems that that’s what S Korea did. It’ll be interesting to see if these cases are primarily among the unboosted.

          1. I think you will find, as I heard from an expert on the radio today, that the latest cases are mostly no worse than flu for for death rates, though obviously that means people with other conditions are vulnerable.

            1. First of all a lot more people have it than get flu in normal times. Secondly they are ignoring the people who are becoming disabled with long covid which isn’t prevented well by vaccination. See this from the Daily Telegraph in the UK. 200,000 people disabled in a month

              The links will take you to a copy of the article avoiding the paywall.

            2. However whenever I get the flu I get really sick. My mother would be killed. I also have long term affects of chronic inflammation and chronic migraines (8 per month) for the last 20 years as a result of a flu. A person I worked with died, just before the pandemic was declared, from the flu and he was a fit person and practitioner of Krav Maga so getting sick because people “are done with COVID” is not something I want to go through when we could wear masks a bit longer going to the grocery store and get through this. My provincial government is more concerned that hospitals are not over run but doesn’t care about anything else other than re-election.

              1. Diana.
                I do hope that you do not get influenza or covid for that matter.
                Here in NS the government has also announced the end of covid restrictions beginning on the 21st of this month. The general consensus at least among those of my contemporaries and people I deal with on a daily basis is one of nervous apprehension primarily based on news of rising variant infections from other countries who have and are following the same course. Our main grocery chain as far as I know is continuing with its mask mandates and I have not heard of a big push back regarding this but this is NS and we have generally during this pandemic been exceptionally law abiding and careful and considerate to our population at large.
                The Provincial Chief Medical Officer is and remains an exceptional public servant and is greatly admired by the majority of the population for his work during this pandemic.
                I personally will continue with my personal protection practices as I suspect will many others.
                It is a sobering thought that until the rise of the covid variants and discounting a quite large outbreak in a single seniors facility more people actually died as the results of a rabid gunman in the Portapique incident than from covid.
                Please stay well.

              2. Yeah I’m in Ontario. Several school boards have pushed back about masks. One school board is continuing until April 19. I don’t think anywhere else is continuing and I think it will be an undo burden to place on shop owners here because the rabid anti mask types tend to be loud and obnoxious and it’s hard for them to enforce mask requirements when there is no law behind it. Of course, they can have people thrown out for whatever reason on private property but not without involving the police and all the trouble that comes with escalating things. They sure have made things unnecessarily difficult for all of us given there is lots of covid around, the hospitals are still busy with it, and good grief, can’t we wait until the kids are out of school?

              3. Diana, if we keep masks until the end of term, we won’t have been able to demonstrate that the schools are safe without them. Then the teachers’ unions will want to keep on with them in September (after easing in with a couple of weeks of on-line goofing off, first?) They are unions. Obstructing management is what they do.

                My sister-in-law runs a large grocery store up your way I think. She is thrilled to be able to stop being the unpaid public-health policewoman on mask wearing in the store for 2 years. Compliance is already low despite her nagging and she has better things to do with her attention, like trying to stop addicts from stealing shopping-bags full of meat which they sell to restaurants for drug money. (A new safe-consumption site is about to open so she will be even busier, like trying to keep squirrels out of your bird feeders. You have other things to do but they don’t.) I can’t imagine why any ordinary retail business would want to enforce a private mask mandate on their clientele once the compulsory order is lifted.

                Not one baby step taken by our Centre-Right-Lite provincial government toward re-opening has been followed by the slightest blip in hospital demand, notwithstanding the constant caterwauling from the Leftist parties in this election year.
                Be well,

              4. How can you say that no reopening has been followed by hospital demand. You seem to have forgotten when Dr. Jüni broke down publicly and considered leaving the Science Table because of bad reopening and this was in the Fall. There was also the winter before that where hospital spikes went way up because Ontario wanted to open up. Every time this happens a few weeks after it’s too late, they are forced to close down.


                And your complaining about the teacher unions is simply paternalistic. Why would the unions want to force masking for no good reason? The parents I know prefer their kids not get sick and spread the illness to their grandparents. The Science table agrees with continuing masking BTW. It isn’t the lefty plot you’ve politicized it into but science.

      2. Ditto where I live.

        In England, all anti-COVID19 measures have been dropped including (and I think this is insane) any legal requirement to self isolate if you have tested positive.

    1. This is not specifically a response to @Hempenstein. Just trying to keep the Covid comments in one spot. All pandemics end when they run out of susceptible people to infect, and not a moment before. S. Korea had no cases for two years, so they are getting their full allotment all at once, thankfully only after they made good, not stellar, progress with vaccination. But they have almost no baseline natural immunity. Their ICU census, the only metric that really counts, is also rising rapidly, according to Our World in Data. It counts because it’s an expensive scarce resource and length of stay can be weeks to many months while it is not available for other critical illness.

      Vaccination greatly reduces death and crowding in the ICUs. In the Omicron era it temporarily reduces the fuel load for new infections by half to 2/3 depending on how recent your third dose of vaccine was. But with an R of 4 even with pandemic precautions, that degree of vaccine efficacy is not enough by itself to arrest transmission even if vaccine uptake was 100%. Jerry’s ship illustrates that.

      The area under the curve is the same regardless of how you flatten it with mask mandates and business/school/concert closures. If you are old and don’t have kids to educate, you will think these measures are worth whatever they cost other people because they seem to protect you personally. If you are younger you will not. That’s why it is good to have adult children with small children of their own. It gives perspective.

      Cases and hospital census have both plummeted in Canada, UK, and USA. The ICUs are out of danger. The kids are thrilled to be back at school, even if the teachers’ unions are not. Deaths will trickle in for weeks as the long-haulers in the ICUs who were infected at Xmas eventually run out of gas. Time to move on. We aren’t pretending it’s over. It is over, at least as a continuing existential public health emergency. Yes, it’s worse than the flu, but allowing masked people to walk into banks is not normal and should stop.

      Even South Korea will be fine by May.

        1. Yes I am an optimist. I believe progress happens and it bends to the betterment of humanity. I often don’t sound that way but much of that is Socratic dialogue with myself.

          How useful is it to dwell on two pessimistic themes of post-pandemic life?

          1). If you have had Covid, even if you feel fine now, you are at high risk of heart attack, dementia, blood clots, and disability from fatigue that will condemn you to government benefits for the rest of your life. You can’t do anything to prevent any of these things (except get off the couch and stop doom-scrolling) but the implication is that you ought to consider yourself delicate now. (I don’t mean “you” personally, Jeremy.)

          2) “The virus isn’t done with us yet.” Tomorrow a new mutant could appear that will start it all over again, or waning immunity will light another wave of cases next fall. We can’t do anything about that, either. One call was to “vaccinate the world” to reduce viral churn in poor countries where the mutants are thought to come from…but that turned out to be one of those “hard” problems that we don’t do very well at. Poor countries have their own health priorities. They don’t want vaccine side effects, however mild, inflicted on them in the hundreds of millions to protect fat old people in rich countries. Smallpox eradication was different. Let’s get polio done first.

          I won’t comment on England’s decision to lift the requirement to self-isolate after a positive test: all public health is local. But we eliminated on 1 Jan. all testing for low-risk patients, the ones who could be out and about. People self-isolate according to their judgement that they have Covid and their conscience about isolating. Our pandemic burden is melting away the same as other places. We don’t expect the hospital census to go to zero but it doesn’t have to.

          Living with it is an optimist worldview. Ceiling Cat knows we have lots to be pessimistic about.

          1. This back-and-forth struck me. I share :

            In my personal problem solving experience, I have (sorry, can’t share details) come up with two general patterns :

            1. Strategize solving a problem from a best-possible outcome scenario.

            2. Strategize solving a problem from a worst-possible outcome scenario.

            As the problem develops, the final result comes in, and I evaluate the strategy, knowing the “answer”, as it were. This could be anything – fixing something, learning something, math, etc.

            [2] has tended not to struck me as worthy of devoting resources to.

            However, the thing I was struck by was, when “assuming the worst” [2], I would still find something wasted – time, money, effort, etc. I still do not have a surefire approach, but when looking at the “worst possible outcome” (as is my knee-jerk reaction), I have to carefully go back from it.

            Complicated! Thanks.

  24. Best of luck with the next trip! And I’m glad I was able to enjoy your abbreviated first trip – even if just vicariously.

  25. I’m really bummed out for you Jerry. This damned pandemic!

    I hope you can still somehow make the best of being in a far away land.

  26. Thanks for the descriptions and photos so far. Looks like an amazing place to visit. Good luck with the next voyage.

Leave a Reply