We were on the Norovirus cruise that ended two days early and missed two islands. It was quite sad, not only that we missed so much, but also because of the poor people who were ill. My wife and I remained well, as did all our dinner tablemates. We were fortunate.
Despite the disappointments, the cruise was a good one for us. The weather in St. Thomas and in San Juan was perfect, as was the weather on the days we missed islands. The weather on the way down was , of course, horrendous because of the snow storm.
One of the highlights of the cruise was seeing the staff in action during the crisis. They gave their all and remained pleasant while they worked so hard to keep everything sanitized. All staff including performers and others, participated in the cleaning and in the distribution of food in the Windjammer. They all get A+ on effort and effectiveness. The virus cases kept coming down in number everyday. The containment process was successful.
One of the reasons the staff might have been so good and involved was the Captain. What a wonderful, professional, compassionate, understanding and calm person. He always presented himself with respect with all people - even those who were attacking him as if he were responsible for the virus. The things that impressed me most about him was that on the evening that he had to announce our immediate return to Bayonne, he did not disappear and hide in the bridge. As I was wandering around the ship that night, I entered the Royal Promenade and there was Captain Henrik standing fielding questions and explaining to the best of his ability. He really not only cared, but also showed the substance of his ability and concern for the ship and the passengers. Thank you, Captain!
Embarkation went well enough, considering we were in a snowstorm. It was cold in the terminal, but everyone was pleasant and helpful. We were on the ship relatively soon -(My wife is on a cane and we were able to move through rather quickly). Of course the worst thing about Cape Liberty is the shuttle process.
Debarkation was a nightmare for someone who is handicapped. The pushing and shoving of the guests over rode the concern of staff. The Staff at Cape Liberty was not the most helpful. I understand that all were disappointed, and that the Longshoreman and other port staff were not really prepared for the arrival of a ship on an "off day". So that contributed to the problems.
Surprise! We had heard that our cars parked at Cape Liberty would be cleaned off --- and they were. Delighted we were that we did not have that to deal with when we debarked.
Will we cruise RCCL again? absolutely --- and not just because we got (or will get) the certificate). We will cruise again because we like cruising -- and because of the way that the staff treated us in a crisis. They are a real team!!!!