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About Tapi

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    4 hours and 38 minutes from the closest cruise terminal

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  1. I travel for work, and I have continued traveling all over the country. coast to coast, and staying at hotels on a weekly basis even during this pandemic (in fact, I’m flying to Tampa today). I have incorporated bringing disinfectant wipes with me. I‘ve made it a habit to wipe things that I normally touch as soon as I walk into the room (countertops, remote, door knobs, light switches, iron, etc). I also limit my outings for food. I carry a small bag with some ready made meals and snacks in case food options are limited. Even though several hotels have pointed out the “extra steps” they are taking to deep clean rooms, it’s become evident that they don’t do as thorough a job as they should. By the time I’m done with the wipes, several are black and grimy. So even after the pandemic is over, I’ll most likely continue bringing wipes along on a permanent basis. So far, even with weekly travel, going through airports, flying between major cities, riding hotel shuttles, and staying at hotels, I’ve managed to remain Covid-negative during all these months (I’ve been tested as recently as 5 days ago), I’m hoping that whatever I’m doing is being effective. What I’d like for you to get out of my post is this: Don’t rely on safety procedures to be in place at hotels (or anywhere) because nobody can guarantee that they’ll be adhered to. Do what you can to remain as safe as possible, take your own measures, and incorporate protocols that you know that work. Nobody better than you to take care of you.
  2. I agree. It can’t be worse. I’ve only been to Golden Corral twice in my life. First time I got sick with vomiting and diarrhea. I gave it a few years before giving it a second shot. Second time I wasn’t even halfway home when I felt an explosion coming. Haven’t been back since.
  3. It must be true then...! 😂 Seriously, here are my two cents. Everything that we do (wear masks, wash our hands, keep our distance, etc) isn’t to eliminate the spread of the virus, but to reduce it. None of these things individually can stop the virus 100%. But their cumulative effect is significant. Add temperature checks to that list. If temperature checks can identify 30% of people who may have COVID, that’s 30% less infected people that could potentially board a ship. It may not identify everybody, but it helps, and that’s what matters.
  4. We sailed in late February, when Covid related protocols started. On that cruise, we were told that our temperature would be taken during check in, and that anybody exhibiting any symptoms of respiratory issues would be pulled aside for medical assessment. I was very conscious about not coughing or sneezing because I didn’t want to be flagged. I was on the lookout, and I swear, I didn’t hear a single cough or sneeze from anybody else during the entire week.
  5. Princess may have made headlines because of how poorly their cases were handled, but there were more than 40 ships with Covid outbreaks (including Oasis of the Seas with more than 150 cases) before the industry was shut down. In addition to Princess and Royal, Disney, Celebrity, MSC, Carnival, Holland America, Costa and Norwegian among others, reported Covid outbreaks on their ships. It boils down to what the media wants to report and what’s most sensational.
  6. Allegiant may be a good way to save money, but it’s not the airline that I would choose to go on a cruise, specially out of Port Canaveral. To start, they fly out of Sanford which is farther away from Port Canaveral and costlier. Also, their schedules to many destinations are limited, with maybe one daily flight, and in many cases, only 2-3 flights a week. In addition to operating from smaller, underserved airports where many times they are the only airline, they also don’t have any interline agreements with any other airline. This means that if your flight is canceled, your alternatives to be rebooked and make it in time to your cruise are basically zero (and they do have a higher cancelation rate than most major airlines). With limited options, if your flight is canceled, they’ll refund your money with no backup options. Or they’ll rebook you on one of their flights that departs days later. Yes, I know that many people fly Allegiant, attracted by the low fares and convenience of flying nonstop from smaller cities nonstop to their destination, but all of that may end up being costlier or ruining a cruise vacation if things don’t quite go as planned.
  7. Projections keep changing on a daily basis. And from what I’m reading, many in the travel sector have become more optimistic than they were just a week ago. For example, Delta’s CEO had said that a rebound in air travel would take take 3-4 years. Now he’s confident that it’s looking more like 12-18 months. We can sit here and speculate all we want about when the cruise lines will actually return. We can be positive or negative. We can speculate that it won’t return until a vaccine becomes available. We can speculate that it will return before it does. Respectfully, every opinion or speculation on Cruise Critic is exactly that: an opinion or speculation. So take it for what it is. https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6157951829001/#sp=show-clips
  8. As a former Florida resident, Tampa isn’t where I would’ve taken a land vacation to. But it does have some attractions to keep day trippers busy. The Florida Aquarium and Riverwalk are steps from the cruise terminal. Ybor City is a fun and picturesque place. The beaches in St. Pete/Clearwater are nice. For amusement park enthusiasts there’s Busch Gardens. And for fans of Winter (from the movie Dolphin Tale), they can head to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Tampa wouldn’t be on my list of top destinations, but I’d find plenty to have an enjoyable day.
  9. HAL is doing a pretty decent job with their new build ships (Koningsdam, Niew Statendam) to attract a younger clientele. Family staterooms, expanded Club HAL (children) facilities, more modern decor, contemporary high tech stage entertainment, Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard music venues, etc. We are a family with young children (8 and 10 year old) and we sailed aboard Niew Statendam 3 months ago. I was very apprehensive about taking that cruise after reading so much about HAL ships being like nursing homes. Long story short, we had an absolutely fantastic vacation. Easily one of the best cruises that we’ve taken as a family. The kids had an absolutely fantastic time. We learned that we don’t care for many of the offerings normally associated with more family friendly cruise lines. I do consider HAL to be mass market, but more of a premium mass market product. It offers enough of an upgrade to be a step above lines like Royal, Carnival, NCL, etc. The experience does feel a bit more upscale but it doesn’t quite fall in the luxury line category.
  10. The Fascination has continued offering the option to sail out of San Juan or Barbados.
  11. Thinking here about what things from the past we may see again, and I thought about this. Carnival used to offer a 7 night itinerary that allowed embarkation at both New Orleans and Tampa (I believe it was on the Tropicale, and then on the Sensation). It looked something like this: New Orleans At Sea Tampa Key West At Sea Cozumel At Sea New Orleans or Tampa Key West At Sea Cozumel At Sea New Orleans At Sea Tampa Now, I know that it’s not the most fascinating itinerary, but I was thinking that bringing something like that back could provide some temporary advantages as cruising ramps up again: It may be logistically advantageous to have one ship serving two ports of embarkation while demand builds back up again and crews can be repositioned back to work, and while new protocols are established. Two ports of embarkation means that the number of embarking passenger will be split in half, creating less congestion on embarkation and debarkation day, and making it easier to abide by any separation protocols that may be in place. A simple itinerary with mostly U.S. ports of call could address the potential issues concerning a reduced number of ports throughout the Caribbean that, initially, may be willing to receive cruise ships. I do believe that Cozumel will be a very viable port once cruising resumes as Cancun and Riviera Maya will begin receiving passengers by air on June 1st. Should there be an outbreak on board, it may be easier to process passengers and proceed somewhere where medical protocols can be in place. So, would you sail on an itinerary like this if Carnival offered it? I think I would, at least to keep me happy until cruising options expand again.
  12. Celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary aboard Golden Princess. We weren’t expecting much, considering that it was a short, inexpensive cruise, but it turned out to be one of our most memorable cruises ever.
  13. I’ve done them twice. R2 and E10. R2 was a bigger stateroom, but the view out of the portholes was not very good. Like 2 tunnels. We also had considerably more vibration and noise there (don’t know if it’s because we had a choppier ride on that particular sailing or because of cabin location, farther down and closer to the water). E10 was smaller than R2 (but still about the same size as a standard ocean view). The view from the portholes was better (no tunnels). Another plus about E10 was being on Empress deck and a few doors down from the atrium and lobby bar. If I had to pick, I’d choose E10 over R2. Overall, I considered these porthole staterooms to be an upgrade over an inside cabin. I’d definitely do it again.
  14. I’m remaining very positive that we will all indeed sail in 2021! Enjoy the Empress!
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