(6 p.m. EDT) -- Who else out there needs something to look forward to?
I know that I do. The crisp and sunny fall days are getting shorter. Colder temperatures are making outdoor dining and social-distanced deck dinners unfeasible. And we're finding it hard to figure out a way to make Thanksgiving and the December holidays safe for an extended family gathering.
Meanwhile, the news is a constant stream of anxiety. No matter what side you're on, the U.S. election looms large in the collective consciousness. Coronavirus cases continue to rise, not just here in the United States, but in Europe and the rest of the world. And if we feel this way now, how on earth will we get through winter?
We're all living in a cone of uncertainty, to borrow a phrase from hurricane forecasters. In the cruise world, we still don't know when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is going to lift its No Sail Order, scheduled to expire October 31, for North America. Our friends in the U.K. and Europe face continually changing quarantines. And no one can leave Australia for months.
So here's my solution: I'm going to plan a cruise.
Many of you already have future cruises on the books from would-be vacations postponed into 2021, 2022 or even beyond. Every time a calendar reminder of yet another canceled cruise comes up on my phone, I feel sad about adventures not taken, memories that were missed. It's natural to want to avoid disappointment.
And to be honest, it's hard to have faith in travel right now. Refunds have taken time to process, and many cruise lovers have lifted and shifted so many times, they have their travel agents on speed dial. Why book, if you're just going to have to reschedule?
Here's why: I need to have something to look forward to. And I bet a lot of you feel the same.
In fact, I know so. For the past few years, I've been a regular on The 80s Cruise, an annual rock and roll celebration at sea. I go with college besties, and it's become a mental escape that we all need, a time that's tinged with nostalgia but also the perfect environment for making new memories -- and new friends.
Out of an abundance of caution, the organizers pushed the 2021 cruise, slated for March, out until 2022. It's a bummer, as those of us of a certain age still say. Particularly with live music shut down in many areas of the world, it's hard to have to wait so long to kick back and rock out.
Yet despite the delay, our Facebook cruise group is still active, with new posts every day. We have longer to plan more elaborate costumes. We still share our Gen X snark. We're watching the house band do virtual concerts. Even if the countdown clock has 500 days or more on it, we won't stop believing that we're going to have a great time when we all get back together.
I'm also looking at booking a true bucket list trip. Cruise has more options in the Galapagos than ever before, ranging from Silversea's new luxury ship Silver Origin to Celebrity's hip new Flora to the more traditional and smaller yachts. One of them will be the right fit, and it gives me a mental lift just to dive into the research process. (It's also one region where cruising is slowly returning.)
Radical optimism that things will get better is one of the few ways that people who love travel can psychologically survive right now. And after having my immediate surroundings made so small for seven months, I want to dream big again. A cruise on the books will certainly help.