Sailing the South Pacific – with Carole and Martin Elliott
– a holiday cruise of a life-time blown off-course by the corona virus emergency
We were so overwhelmed by people being concerned for our safe return from holiday this March that we decided we ought to let you know the story. It isn’t a short one, and I have omitted many twists and turns.
We booked the holiday of a lifetime nearly 2 years ago – a 34-day cruise on the South Pacific Ocean from New Zealand to San Diego. Imagine all those beautiful islands you have seen in the brochures – blue seas, white sands, coral and colourful fish. Well, those images are still in my imagination!
It all started in New Zealand on March 1st when we joined the Holland America Maasdam cruise ship for the South Pacific crossing voyage including ports Waitangi; Fiji (Suva, Savusavu, Dravuni); Tonga (Nuku, Vava’u); Cross International dateline; Cook Island Rarotonga; French Polynesia (Moorea, Papeete, Maroe Bay, Bora Bora); Crossing the Equator; Kiritimati Christmas Island; Hawaii (Lahaina, Hilo, Kona, Honolulu, Nawiliwili) and ending in San Diego on the 3rd April where we planned to stay a few days and then fly home.
We said goodbye to a warm and sunny Auckland. Next morning, we arrived at Waitangi, Bay of islands where we had a great day sightseeing. The next two days were at sea before we reached Fiji. The Fijians were lovely people, and very welcoming, and Dravuni gave us an insight into what we were to expect – Then along came Coronavirus. The Captain announced that the King of Tonga had closed the ports to all cruise ships, the first of many changes to come. So, 4 days later, bypassing Tonga in the distance, we arrived one day early at Cook Island Rarotonga. Fortunately the swell was just about suitable for us to tender to the island, as there were doubts at one point. Rarotonga was lovely and our first point of call was to go and buy WiFi!!!! We had been out of contact for 4 days and no-one knew where we were. Family and friends were ringing each other to find out any information on our whereabouts…………