Forbes: My (COVID-19) Positive Experience Cruising To Iceland On Viking Sky Last Week

I had just finished a blissful massage aboard the Viking Sky, sailing around Iceland, when the announcement came.

A passenger had tested positive for COVID-19, and no one would be getting off the ship that day.

This is the number one fear of anyone cruising now but I turned to the robed woman next to me in the locker room and she shrugged and said, “We all knew the risks. I’ll be spending the rest of the day in the spa.”

Although I felt the same way, I admit I was surprised to hear this easy acceptance, and I give all the credit to Viking.

Here's why:

Viking has taken the pandemic seriously. They’ve spent the past year and a half creating the only full-scale testing labs at sea, putting them into place on every one of their ships (not an inexpensive undertaking) along with health and safety protocols that are setting the gold standard for cruising during these unsettling times.

To start with, every passenger – guests and crew members – must be vaccinated in order to sail on Viking. Honestly, I don’t know why this is not required by every single cruise line. (Well, I guess I do. Any ship that allows children under 12 – Viking doesn’t allow anyone under 18 – doesn’t want to risk losing families and that age group hasn’t been cleared for the vaccine yet. Related question: Why would anyone with unvaccinated kids want to take a cruise right now anyway?). If a fully vaccinated passenger could get COVID, this is almost certainly going to happen again and again and is likely to be much more dangerous with unvaccinated guests on board.

When we embarked, we were given a small contact tracing device to wear around our neck or carry with us at all times. It never got in our way and it helped take all the guesswork out of what could have been a very stressful situation.

Every evening, our stateroom attendant left test tubes for us to fill with saliva before breakfast the next morning. We would spit into them, screw the caps back on and leave them in the little plastic bags marked with our name and cabin number to be taken away for testing. We were grateful for this daily PCR test, which was much easier and less invasive than having people stick swabs up our noses, and the onboard lab, which was able to get results quickly.

The original article first appeared on Forbes: