That's how we feel with the relaxing of some of the lockdown restrictions: maybe we are seeing land at last, although perhaps it's too early to say whether or not the coast will be welcoming us in the near future or a little later.
So we thought this would be a good time to tell you a little about what we have been up to during the lockdown. Not least because the whole travel industry has been suffering from a rather bad press of late, with stories of client calls going unanswered and complaints left unresolved.
We have been at home now for over ten weeks, but not with our feet up; indeed, we need to be working harder than ever to look after the interests of our clients. Which means that, whilst the government furlough offer is a generous one, businesses like ours have simply been unable to take full advantage of it: we have needed plenty of hands on deck.
Working from home sounds easy enough, but actually it can bring all sorts of stresses and strains of its own: life, home and work can all get mixed up in a most uncomfortable way. In the spirit of that melange, we thought we'd let you know what we've been up to as a company, before lifting the curtain on how our team have been coping at home.
The good news is that we are continuing to take new cruise bookings, and we've been booking some wonderful holidays for 2021 and beyond. Some are re-bookings of this year's cancelled cruises, but we are also seeing a surprising number of new enquiries too, including world cruises, lots of UK departures, and a particular interest in river and expedition.
It has however been heart-breaking that we've had to cancel so many wonderful dream trips: cruises, flights and more. And it's surprisingly time-consuming, often taking longer to cancel than it does to book (we have to investigate exactly what the best offer is for you, and ensure your money is properly protected).
We've spent hours on the phone so you don't have to, and luckily our excellent relationships with the cruise lines have meant we've been able to pull a few strings and take the stress out of the process. Susan even picked up a call from someone in need of assistance who hadn't actually booked with Mundy - we still did our best to help, but ran into that familiar brick wall of an automated email message from their agent telling us to wait our turn!
We've mentioned press coverage already, and you will be unsurprised to learn that we've been very unhappy with some of the negative press coverage of the cruise industry, much of it inaccurate and most of it unfair. We are working with cruise specialist journalists and cruise line partners to address some of the misconceptions, and champion the work being done to prepare for the 'new normal'. There will be some special initiatives addressing all of this in the months ahead - we are monitoring this closely and you can count on us to keep you informed.
Our marketing department has been forced to be even more creative than ever before, with an upbeat and entertaining weekly email that our clients seem to be enjoying - if you are one of the many readers who have been in touch about them, then thank you! There has been lots of activity on social media too, and a new issue of our trademark publication, Cruise News, packed full of ideas, reports and inspiration. We've been remembering our favourite trips, and rewriting bucket lists for when we are allowed to travel again.
The cruise lines, airlines, ports and airports are working hard, in conjunction with medical experts, health boards and governments around the world, to find their new normal, with plans including upgraded health checks, pre-screening, decentralisation, quarantine facilities, cleaning techniques and distancing - as we continue to learn more, we will keep you posted. At Mundy we now have but one core aim, and that is to have you travelling again, and travelling with complete confidence, at the earliest opportunity.
That's the business side, but we thought you might like to also know what's been happening closer to home (quite literally).
Sharon tells us that she is particularly missing her grandson Stanley, but that she makes up for it by spending an inordinate amount of time scrubbing her bathroom with bleach. Indeed, the other day she glanced down from her keyboard through the glass dining room table and realised she had turned her trousers white in the process.
Hayley says it's been the first time that she and her fiancé James have ever heard each other at work - they've had a laugh learning each other's 'phone voices', and sharing ways we could improve our communications.
Georgia is locked down with her sister - not a good recipe for restraint as they 'egged' each other on over Easter to achieve an extraordinary level of chocolate consumption. Their other secret passion is TikTok videos.
Susan tells us that she is 'very much enjoying' her husband's lockdown preoccupation - learning to play the saxophone. We can't tell whether or not she is speaking through gritted teeth.
Helen has found out who really owns the house in which she lives - her cats. Normally perfectly happy to wait for dinner until she gets home at 7, they are now exacting their price for her presence with constant high volume demands for food at all hours.
Cathy kindly made a helpful offer to help out with the neighbours' garden, a mission of mercy that ended badly when she pulled up all the irises, thinking they were weeds. No more gardening perhaps for her…
With local barbershops still closed, Tom took matters into his own hands and gave himself a DIY lockdown haircut. Unable to source clippers online, he resorted to using his tiny travel-sized beard trimmer, emerging from his improvised salon an hour later looking considerably more aerodynamic.
And Alex has joined the long list of lockdown bodgers, claiming to have built a small 'extension' to his shed out of some old shelves and leftover roof felt. Very bijou.
So that gives you a picture of what we've been up to during the weeks of lockdown. But the final word has to be about you. One of the best things about this whole business has been the warmth and support we have received from our clients, whether or not you currently have bookings with us.
Many thanks for all of your kind messages; we look forward to speaking to you, and even seeing you, very soon. And please (of course!) stay safe.
Edwina & Matthew