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Jul. 31, 2021 | Saturday
Local News
After the Pandemic: Taking back-to-back cruises
Hazel and Al Whitehead. (Bernard Lansbergen)

Now that more and more people are getting vaccinated and there is finally a clear pathway out of this pandemic, we will periodically check in with different Niagara-on-the-Lake residents to see how COVID-19 has affected their lives – and what their hopes and dreams are for when things return to normal.

Bernard Lansbergen
Niagara Now/The Lake Report

Hazel and Al Whitehead, who live in Virgil, love to travel on cruises. “Normally we go twice a year,” says Hazel.

When COVID-19 broke out, the retired couple saw their roster of planned cruises all postponed to 2022, which means that they now have four cruises to go on in one year.

“The first cruise is to Barcelona, (then) goes to Italy, Sicily and back to Barcelona. That was booked a year ago and got pushed to June 2022,” says Al.

“Then we’re leaving for Vancouver, to Alaska and (then) across to Japan and that’s two cruises back-to-back,” which Hazel adds were booked all the way back in 2019.

“And then we’ve (also) booked a Christmas market cruise from Budapest to Munich.”

When it comes to the couple’s travel plans for this year, all they are really hoping for is to see their son Mike again. He has been living in the Yukon for 11 years and Hazel and Al are planning to fly there for a visit this Christmas.

“That will be two and half years we haven’t seen him,” says Al.

Without all their planned travel the couple has had to fill their time in other ways, but Al says they've managed to cope.

“You know, as a retired person, quite frankly it hasn’t changed our lives that drastically other than the travel and (the) golf courses when they close. The rest of it is kind of business as usual.”