Travelling to Cancun during COVID-19 with Dr. Nord
Sunwing’s first flight to Cancun since March took off on Saturday, November 7th from Toronto. Wondering what it’s like to travel during COVID-19? We have a firsthand account! Dr. Peter Nord, our acting Chief Medical Advisor on the Safe with Sunwing program, was on our first flight to Cancun along with his wife and enjoyed a week at Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa, where he had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and experience the enhanced health and safety measures in place at the resort to help give Canadians peace of mind on their sunny getaway. Read on for what he had to say about his time in paradise.
The airport experience and check-in process were different than the last time I travelled. First and foremost, the airport was quiet. There weren’t the regular crowds that I was used to seeing when going on vacation. Check-in was simple and quick. I noticed that high-touch surfaces, such as check-in counters and kiosks, were frequently being disinfected. After answering some health screening questions and checking in our bags, we had our temperatures checked and moved through security quickly. I have to say, Toronto Pearson has very effectively set up unidirectional passenger flow throughout the terminals to allow for physical distancing and I felt very comfortable moving through the terminal.
The protocols on board the plane were impressive and followed to a tee. It was clear that the employees had undergone rigorous safety training. As travellers adapted to the new normal, the crew was very friendly and helpful with assisting passengers with the new safety protocols. You’re required to wear your mask for the duration of the flight unless you’re eating or drinking, so my advice to fellow travellers is to make sure you bring a comfortable three-ply mask! One thing that was clear is just how excited everybody was about getting to travel again. Everyone was so eager to get to the tropics that when we took off the whole plane broke out in applause! It’s one thing to applaud a landing, but I’ve never before heard people so excited to be taking off.
Flying into Cancun and seeing the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico as we made our descent was a wonderful experience. You could feel everyone’s excitement the moment we stepped off the plane and felt the tropical breeze. Everyone was so excited to be getting back to travelling after so many months of staying at home! Customs was a breeze and airport authorities were following clear health and safety protocols. Canadians are beloved in Mexico, so everyone was very excited to be welcoming us back.
The Sunwing airport transfer was stress-free and I felt very safe and comfortable on the way to the resort. Our luggage was sanitized prior to being loaded on the bus and our temperatures were checked before boarding. Vehicle capacity was reduced to promote physical distancing, and everyone was required to wear masks on board and sanitize hands with the installed sanitizers. There were even TVs on board the transfer bus playing health and safety videos to reinforce the high Canadian standards, and key health and safety measures.
When we arrived at Royalton Riviera Cancun, our temperatures were taken again and we were asked to complete a health declaration form. We had completed Royalton’s online pre-check-in prior to arrival, which made the process seamless! There were floor markers and plexiglass dividers in the lobby to ensure physical distancing and plenty of hand sanitizer stations. All resort staff were wearing PPE and our luggage was disinfected before being taken to our rooms. Overall, the process was quick and simple – we were very excited to be there and couldn’t wait to see our room!
My luxury suite faced the ocean and the room was sparkling clean thanks to the rigorous Canadian health and safety standards that are in place at the resort. Now it was time to get a bit of rest before hitting the beach!
Safe with Sunwing standards were in place throughout my entire stay at the resort. Physical distancing was enforced around the property, temperature checks occurred regularly, shoes were disinfected before entering facilities like restaurants and lounges, and there were lots of outdoor activities to try.
One of the highlights of my vacation was all the delicious food and the incredible service provided by the hotel staff. There are nine restaurants at the resort serving up a variety of cuisine. Most restaurants around the resort have outdoor seating options so you can admire views of the ocean and feel the tropical breeze as you dine, and any venues that are indoors are very well-ventilated. Before your meal, you sanitize your hands, have your temperature checked and wear a mask when you are not seated at the table.
I know many people may be wondering what the buffet experience looks like these days at all inclusive resorts. At Royalton Riviera Cancun, Gourmet Marché has been re-imagined. Instead of grabbing a plate and serving yourself, there are food stations and prep areas set up that are surrounded by plexiglass. You point out which items you want, and resort staff make up a plate for you – guests don’t touch the plates or any of the serving stations. I felt at very much at ease while dining throughout my week in paradise.
Most importantly, my vacation was memorable and fun. With the high health and safety standards in place I didn’t have to worry and felt very comfortable enjoying my days in Cancun. My wife and I even got to go on a Sunwing Experiences excursion where we cruised along the coast of Cancun on a catamaran tour. Getting out on the water and soaking up the sun was a great way to experience more of our destination.
To top it all off, towards the end of my stay, I got to enjoy a massage at The Royal Spa – the perfect way to relax on vacation! HEPA filters were installed in the rooms, and masseuses wore both gloves and masks. It was truly a stress-free experience.
All in all, it was a wonderful week spent in paradise. We were able to focus on having a fun and relaxing time, not having to worry about anything, knowing we’re well protected with the Safe with Sunwing commitment. After my vacation experience, I can confidently say that getting back to travelling safely and responsibly is possible.