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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its spread across the U.S., with the public largely confined to their homes and normal day-to-day life effectively shut down, ordinary folks find themselves facing a unique set of challenges, not the least of which is the prospect of continuous cabin fever.
Shifting government responses, experts' evolving and conflicting opinions regarding the contagion, as well as constant reports on the number of new Coronavirus cases and fatalities, are daily engendering a shared sense of confusion, worry and overwhelm among the population.
Now, more than ever, we crave means by which our spirits may be lifted and our minds might escape, even momentarily, the lockdown in which we find ourselves; particularly those whose springtime travel plans have been waylaid and are keenly feel their at-home isolation most keenly.
Several passenger cruise lines, with operations grounded under a newly-extended no-sail order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have come up with virtual experiences to help avid cruise-goers maintain their sanity.
Carnival Cruise Line - Virtual Caribbean Cruise
While this interactive, 360-degree YouTube Video was released in 2016, Carnival's "Instant Caribbean Vacation" is perhaps more called-for today than ever before.
Feel yourself strolling along the beach with the turquoise waters lapping at your heels before returning to the Fun ship for a trip down its thrilling waterslide, a relaxing pause on the pool deck, and a gorgeous view of the tropical sunset off the stern.
Crystal Cruises - Crystal@Home
Crystal Cruises' new online programming, as discovered by The Telegraph, takes users on a virtual voyage aboard one of its luxury vessels, with a continually refreshed weekly schedule of themed experiences.
Leveraging social media channels to stay connected with would-be cruise-goers, Crystal@Home immerses users via special "Storyteller Monday" podcast segments; "Wellness Wednesday" with Crystal's certified fitness instructors; "Thirsty Thursday" spotlighting creative cocktails from the cruise line's lounges and bars; "Friday Nights at the Galaxy", live Facebook events at 6:00 p.m. ET showcasing the talents of Crystal's onboard performers; and "Sail Away Saturday", where guests are encouraged to share photos and videos from their past Crystal cruises using the hashtag #CrystalFamily. Lastly, at Sundays at 3 p.m. ET are cooking lessons from Crystal's longtime culinary partner, Chef John Ashton, via Facebook Live.
Holland America - HAL@Home
According to Cruise Critic, Holland America Line (HAL) will soon be launching enriching online content to transport viewers with its new 'HAL@Home' series.
The first of its releases is a YouTube video in which HAL Culinary Council member, Chef Ethan Stowell, demonstrates how to prepare one of his favorite pasta dishes: spaghetti with garlic, chili and anchovy. Reportedly, HAL@Home programming will be expanding to include more cooking lessons, entertainment from HAL's onboard talent, itinerary highlights and features on destinations to keep loyal cruisers engaged.
Lindblad Expeditions - Virtual Expedition Cruise
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is sharing elements of its own "Virtual Expedition" via the company's website and social media channels, "bringing you the 'tonic of wildness' from the world's pristine places."
An online cruise that runs Monday through Friday, its programming changes daily, including Morning Wakeup from expedition leaders, Wellness Moments, Virtual Guest Slideshows, Virtual Music Lounges, Global Galleries, enrichment activities, "Ahhh" Moments, Photo Tips and even an evening recap, complete with cocktails recipes to enjoy at home, together.
Royal Caribbean - 'Virtual of the Seas'
At the end of March, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) cruise director, Abe Hughes, took it upon himself to launch his own imaginary vessel, the 'Virtual of the Seas'. With the series sanctioned by the cruise line, he's now hosting his fourth virtual voyage, this time to the Caribbean.
Each day, Hughes issues a Royal Caribbean Daily Compass (RCI's newsletter), live updates via Facebook, RCI trivia, signature recipes, and at-home cruise activities like quizzes, scavenger hunts, and arts-and-crafts. Daily updates are provided on Hughes' Facebook page, and are being tweeted out by Royal Caribbean's chief fleet meteorologist James Van Fleet.
Silversea - "To the Curious" Collection
Cruise Critic reported that Silversea Cruises will be unveiling its "To the Curious" collection of virtual content over the coming weeks via its social media channels and in emails to those who've sailed with the line before.
The first presentation will feature an around-the-world journey of 60 cocktail recipes, with mixology tutorials being posted to Silversea's YouTube channel. The luxury line is also inviting its previous passengers to share the current view from their windows onto the world by posting to its Facebook page with the hashtag #YearningToSailAgain.
Viking - Viking.TV
Viking's extensive range of new virtual content can be viewed on your smart TV just as easily as on tablets or mobile devices. For the latest coronavirus updates and messages from Viking chairman, Torstein Hagen, tune into 'Tor's Corner', or explore the Viking experience via world cookbooks, photography, and connections to history, art, music, literature and film.
There are series from expert lecturers and destination insights of all sorts of cultural aspects of the lands where Viking sails. 'Conversations with Karine and Friends' is an interactive live stream series hosted by Viking senior vice president Karine Hagen with presentations from resident experts and special guests. Viewers will also have to the ability to ask questions in real-time during the show, scheduled Monday through Friday at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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