Cruise canceled but marriage continues
Missing out on the cruise of a lifetime is the least of Colin Carrington’s concerns as he sits down to assess the impact of COVID on his travel plans.
Colin and his wife Judy for 20 years missed their daughter Emily’s London wedding and never met their son-in-law Charlie, at least not in person.
“Our daughter got married in London in July this year. We couldn’t make it there for the wedding, ”Colin said.
“It was really, really difficult.”
Emily, who inherited her parents’ penchant for travel, met her future husband on his travels.
“She met Charlie 12 months ago and decided to stay in England,” he said.
The newlyweds had their own contact with COVID, as one would expect with the large number of people in the UK affected by the pandemic.
“Charlie’s grandfather died of COVID. He was only seventy, ”Colin said.
She was coming home to show Charlie Australia for the first time, with a view to getting married here. She was supposed to be here in March 2021.
“It was going to be a wedding visit, but the border closures meant it wasn’t possible,” Colin said.
The couple were forced to cancel their honeymoon plans as travel at the time was restricted across Europe.
“Our next trip will be to London. We never met our son-in-law, at least not face to face, ”said Colin.
He explained that Emily and Charlie have decided to move their marriage forward due to uncertainty over travel restrictions.
“Emily either had to renew her visa or they could move their marriage forward,” Colin said.
“They chose the latter and Emily is now seeking English citizenship.”
Zoom was the closest of the Carrington family’s Echuca-based contingent to Charlie.
“Anytime we can book a trip to London, we will. Like everything, you just can’t plan, ”Colin said.
Keaton, the Carrington’s other child, lives in Melbourne.
“We haven’t seen him for months either, because of the lockdown,” Colin said.
The well-traveled Echuca residents make an annual pilgrimage in May to coincide with Judy’s birthday, but their overseas travel plans – like so many – have been turned upside down by the global pandemic.
They understand that there are much worse things that have happened in the world and they are certainly not the type of people to complain about their script. But this is just another example of how COVID has turned everyone’s world upside down.
The Carringtons made their original vacation booking with Helloworld travel agent Echuca Tara Cahill in early 2020, planning their annual vacation trip to celebrate another passing year.
“We were planning on going in May 2020. We were going to Europe and sailing from Venice to Greece, with a few stops along the way,” Colin said.
Plans for the three-week trip were quickly thrown into chaos with the developments in March 2021 and, in particular, the scenario of the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney.
“It was when things really exploded in March that we knew the vacation was over. Because Europe was ahead of us with the whole issue, we were briefed pretty quickly, ”said Colin.
“I think we received notice from the cruise line that the cruise had been canceled.
“Over time cruising became a problem and we knew like any other international travel this was not going to happen for some time.”
Enter Tara Cahill and her Helloworld team.
“We have used Tara a dozen times on various trips,” said Colin.
“Her team is still as professional as ever, we have total confidence in her. She worked really hard to get us a refund on the cruise.
“The cruise was offering credits, but the schedule for taking the cruise kept getting longer and we came to the conclusion that this was not going to happen.
“It was a matter of six months before we got our refund, but it happened.”
It was not an insignificant amount that the Carringtons had invested in the trip, with the $ 15,000 trip being reimbursed in full.
The couple have previously traveled to the United States, Canada, Europe, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, to name just a few destinations.
“I always try to make my wife’s birthday special, so May is our vacation time,” Colin said.
“When we saw the stories in the media of people losing fully paid tickets some didn’t even get credit, we thought we were very lucky.
“We are so lucky to have a local travel agent who cares. “
Colin, who is semi-retired, was not going to be beaten and started planning his next adventure – in Australia.
“Earlier this year, again for my wife’s birthday, Tara booked us on the Ghan,” he said.
“We were so lucky to escape between blockages.
“This was when NSW, especially Sydney, was starting to have all of its problems.
“We took the Ghan to Darwin.”
The most difficult part for the couple was still at the time of the reservation, between them and the travel agent, they were able to negotiate the blockages.
“The train was stopped at the South Australian border until they were able to clarify that no one from Sydney had been in any of the hot spots,” Colin said.
“We were held there for eight hours.
Hopefully the Carringtons are able to plan a trip to London before they miss out on any other family opportunity – the potential for grandparent status is not lost on them.