The “Carnival Panorama” is clean, prepped and ready to go, at the port of Long Beach, all 1,060 feet of her.
Not a moment too soon for Wes Meursing and his son, Wes Jr., who are huge fans of the cruise.
“We’re so happy that Carnival is coming back. We've been waiting for this day for a long time. Seventeen months, to be exact,” Meursing said.
That's how long cruise ships in California have been grounded, due to the pandemic.
The Meursings of Huntington Beach happened to be on the Panorama’s last voyage.
“What month was that? That was march. Yeah, it was March,” Meursing recalls.
You can imagine their frustration. The whole family are long-time, unapologetic cruising fanatics.
Dad, mom, the kids, and the grandparents!
When things are normal, they average one cruise a month.
“I just love being out on the ocean, meeting new people on every cruise, and the crew are awesome,” Wes Jr. said.
Early on in the pandemic, the alpha variant took a huge toll on the entire industry, and their travel hobby.
Especially after several on-board outbreaks sent people to the hospital, and into quarantine, in ports around the country.
But now there’s a lot more information about COVID-19 and how to prevent it, that we didn’t have before.
We also have vaccinations and testing, game changers, that Carnival is checking passengers before they board.
“I’m not really concerned about anything. They have protocols in place, which is safe for us,” Wes Jr. said.
Unvaccinated people are allowed to participate in this trip, but there are special restrictions for them. For one, testing, which they have to pay for.
They also have to stay in “bubbles” with other unvaccinated passengers.
All of the rules are outlined on Carnival’s website, which the Meursings -- all of them vaccinated -- have carefully read.
Meursing says he’ll feel safer on Saturday’s cruise than he does going to a supermarket because, at least on the ship, everyone’s screened.
“We’re pretty confident that it should be fine!”
The Panorama leaves for Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta on Saturday afternoon.