When a Pandemic Threatens Your Epic Family Vacation

We have been planning for months, saving our money, and eagerly getting excited for a trip of a lifetime. A cruise to Alaska, one of the few states I’ve never been.

Alaska cruise pamphlet
The brochure we poured over until we found the perfect trip.

The breathtaking mountains and glaciers. Pictures simply do not seem to do this wonderful state justice.

To say I’m excited for this trip is an understatement. It is going to be the first big trip we have taken as a family of four. I have also only been on one other cruise in my life and that was over 16 years ago.

Child in an airport with luggage
My son expertly navigating the airport on our last vacation to Disney World.

My son is excited too. He even picked going to Alaska this year for our family trip instead of Disney World {and for a 4-year-old that says a lot}.

We did the research, locked in the best prices we could find, and booked the trip for our little family along with five other close family members.

Then, this last December the coronavirus, or COVID-19, started to make headlines. At first I wasn’t worried. It was happening overseas. Yes it was on a cruise ship owned by the same company we were traveling with and the chance of someone being on our ship from there was a possibility, but I still wasn’t worried. We talked as a family and said “let’s see what happens.”

Then it escalated. They quarantined a cruise ship off the coast of California. My mother-in-law was the first to hear the news and sent me a text:

“The ship has the same name as our boat. Do you think it’s the same ship as ours?”

My heart sank. I knew it was. The Grand Princess was the boat we are supposed to travel on in just a few months time.

So now what?

Everything changes daily. In less than a week, the epidemic escalated to a pandemic. Several universities have suspended in-person classes. Major sporting events are being cancelled.

airport runway, partly cloudy day
Waiting on the runway to take off.

As far as other plans, the president is even suspending travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days. While that does not impact our plans directly {departure date or locale}, the state department did issue an advisory for Americans to avoid travel on cruise ships.

Additionally, Princess Cruises has suspended travel on their boats for the next 60 days. This is also not in our travel window, but does help give us an idea of the precautions they are taking.

My family’s health and safety is the number one priority. At the same time, I do not want them living in fear of what “could” happen. So, for now, we continue to play the waiting game as long as we can and hope for the best.

The one silver lining is we bought travel insurance! This was a first for me in all my years of traveling, but thank goodness we did.

I’m curious to know how your family is dealing with coronavirus. Please share your own experiences below.


  1. Thanks, Sarah! We were supposed to be on a cruise March 28. 🙁 We are re-booking and hoping for the best. Thanks for your article. I enjoyed it!

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