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Everything posted by frteach

  1. I have AZ and Pfizer and got a refund for a Royal C cruise that I was going to take in Feb, even though my deposit was NF. I was on hold for several minutes while the agent checked with supervisors, but a refund was offered bc they have not changed their "protocol" on accepting this mixture yet, nor did they have any idea when it would change. She also offered credit or delaying my FP, but I was happy to take the refund, since I am planning other cruises in '22, to places that are higher on my bucket list. Sail on!
  2. Top of my list would be a stay in Quebec City at any time of year, but the Carnaval d'Hiver is a special treat. Never forget my first trip as a student with my university French club, and I have been several times since. They know how to do winter!
  3. Count us among those who have decided to stay in Canada this year, but we have 3 cruises booked for 2022, and I am already looking for 2023. We are doing a tour of BC, ending in Edmonton, Alberta, and it includes 2 days on the Rocky Mountaineer. Decided to treat ourselves and go for Gold Leaf service. This has always been on my list. Smoke, and wearing a mask on planes, trains and buses has not deterred me yet, and we are scheduled to leave one month from today. Skating on the Rideau Canal and getting a "beaver tail" is also something I'm going to do, perhaps this winter. Supporting Canadian tourism is fun!
  4. I know that the covid situation is unprecedented, but unpredictability is a part of cruising. St. Petersburg is a highlight of any Baltic cruise, but it can be very windy, and our ship was not able to get into the port until the 2nd day of our planned overnight, so we lost a day of visiting, including the Peterhof with the beautiful fountains. Some had an overnight visit to Moscow planned, so it was completely cancelled. Definitely disappointing, but you can't argue about safety and the weather, although you wouldn't have known that by listening to a few passengers. I hope that I get back some day.
  5. I am glad to see that the feds are getting on this, given the reluctance of Ontario's premier to create a proof of vaccination card, which he claims would further divide society. Hello, we are already divided into those who have the shots and those who don't! Those who have a legitimate medical exemption could have a card that states that as well. If it is developed in cooperation with like-minded nations, so much the better. I have a lot of international travel in my plans for my life. Go for it, Justin.
  6. I always wear my Canadian pin on my jacket when travelling, and despite the fact that we are a "work in progress", I am still proud to do so.
  7. I, too, am late to realize that there is a forum just for us Can cruisers, but it is a great idea. I have stuck to the forums for the cruise lines that I have booked in the past, but I will visit here regularly now. I just read the whole 10 pages even the ones that got bogged down in vaccine discussion. One last word: Canada needs to get facilities to manufacture our own drugs, such as we used to have before globalization, and never again have to go begging foreign gov'ts for vaccines. I'll vote for any political party that gets on that. I got the cruising bug in 2009 when I was talked into going on a 7 day Caribbean to celebrate my retirement, and the only thing I found to criticize was that it was too short. Since then we have stuck to Celebrity, but I am willing to try others, especially river cruises. We have optimistically booked 3 for 2022, and I can't wait to board my first RC in Feb in Cape Liberty, which my son-in-law will drive us to. I will be interested to hear how those of you who are booked for this year make out. As for this year, we will be visiting Vancouver in Sept and boarding the "Rocky Mountaineer" as part of a tour that will end in Edmonton, flying home from there. Got to get travelling again!
  8. We did the Spain Day Tour trip to the Alhambra in Sept, 2019, which was our last cruise before all hell broke loose in the world. It was organized right here on CC by someone named Stan. It was really the only thing I wanted to do in Malaga, although I know it is a beautiful city. It was a long day to Granada, but well worth it. Don't be fooled by other tours, some of which go to Granada, but only circle the Alhambra on the bus. A spectacular heritage site, probably a once in a lifetime visit for me.
  9. Ditto on the tears, probably as soon as we start up the gangway that leads to the ship. My first PP (post pandemic) cruise will be on a new ship and a new line for us, the RC Anthem of the Seas, sailing out of New Jersey in Feb, 2022, so there will be a lot of exploring to do that day. Probably not too much balcony sitting, since it will be cold, I expect. I know that I will never again underestimate the work done by the ship's staff and crew, esp those who keep the ship clean. This time spent away from cruising has only strengthened my desire to travel again, and go to more exotic places. I have friends who say that I must be nuts to get on one of those "floating disease incubators", but they don't get it, and I am not trying to explain it to them.
  10. I love cruising enough to make some sacrifices, and it helps that our routines do not include the captain's table, spa, art auctions, casino, specialty restaurants, room service, and only rare theatre presentations. We do enjoy the buffet, lectures, trivia, Celebrity Life stuff, hot tubs, and the MDR, with a table for 2 (and they ARE distressingly close). The ports are of primary importance, and the reason we cruise. The deal breaker for us will be vaccinations, and not just the availability of a vaccine. There has to be some way to ensure that those on board are vaccinated. As someone else has pointed out, there are already people on CC who have stated that they won't be getting it, and I assume that everyone on here is committed to travel. I have no problem with the anti-vaxers as long as they realize that public spaces must remain closed to them. Research tells us that a vaccine with 60% protection from the disease, which is apparently a good protection factor, will have to be administered to 95% of the population in order to be effective. These numbers are from one of the many vaccine experts who are appearing on news programs these days, sorry I can't remember the name. I would like it to be 100% on a cruise ship. Exceptions should be for medical reasons only, and proof must be shown for this. I realize some people cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons. "Philosophical" reasons should not be acceptable. Maybe the countries that are being visited by the ship should insist on this.
  11. We were on the Celebrity 2 day tour of SP in July, 2018 which ended up with only 1 day because high winds prevented the ship from getting into the port. Very disappointing, but not that uncommon in the Baltic, I understand. Be prepared for anything when cruising, which is certainly what we are learning this year. Celebrity refunded half of the price to our account immediately since it was a ship tour, and we went on the 2nd day itinerary, which did not include some of the sites that I was looking forward to. I spoke to some passengers who had been on a privately arranged tour, and their guide took a poll at the beginning of the day to see what most of the people wanted to see, then went to the places that they could fit into the day. They didn't get an immediate refund, but had to wait for it to appear on the credit card that they had booked it on. Some also said that it was not going to be half of what they originally paid. The ship sponsored tours are more expensive, for sure, but I have been on both kinds, and I have never seen Celebrity tour groups being held back while other tours jumped a line. All the attractions depend on treating tours fairly, and all organized tours get consideration over those who are regular tourists to the city. Our guide told us that the Hermitage was opening early just for ship's tours, but I don't know if that was true or just bragging about her tour. Since you cannot do SP on your own at all, all the companies are professional and run great tours. "Celebrity" tours are contracted with local tour companies anyway. I loved my Baltic cruise, and hope to go again and see what I missed the first time. You will love this beautiful city.
  12. Received the notice for the 125% FCC on my June 14 Alaska cruise today. No refund to my CC yet for taxes, etc, but I check everyday. No problems, and I was pleased to see that the credit can be applied to a cruise booked in late 2021, and not actually starting until April, 2022. I missed that when I read the terms at first. Anyway, now to decide which cruise it will be applied to, or maybe even a new one.
  13. Hilarious! Love the port names. Can't wait to see what's coming up next.
  14. I have always booked a 1A "on the hump" of the 9th level of the S class ships and the balcony IS larger, but not 2.5 X larger. Have had the bed in both positions. Easier to access the closets when the bed is nearer the balcony doors.
  15. I can't remember how I celebrated my 50th, but I would remember if it had been as well marked as yours! You have so many great memories that will sustain you until cruising time again, which we all hope will come soon. A TA friend of mine has told me that those who are new to cruising or may have been considering one are running for the hills after all the publicity, but seasoned cruisers are booking well into the future and researching how to make their cruise credit work for them. Count me in the latter group, and I believe you are in it too. I am relying on reviews like yours and CC to get me through until my next one in March (knock on wood). Your descriptions of your activities in the ABC's will help me make up my mind. I have read a lot about the golf cart rentals in Bonaire, and have reserved one already. Did you see any when you were there? The stingrays will be on my list too. Did you get to see the movement of the floating bridge in Curacao? It is quite interesting. Like most of us, we will remember all the wonderful, helpful people we meet when we cruise, and even "negative" encounters (only had them when off the ship) become funny stories in the future. The mime jumping into your carriage in Cartagena must have been hilarious. I would have given him money to get him to go bother someone else! Thanks for the great review with a lot of info and laughs. I saw my Dave and me when I read about your interactions in many places. Hope we meet some day on a cruise.
  16. Could you give more information about your cruise and the ports you will be visiting, please? I have done both ship sponsored tours, privately arranged tours, and sometimes arranged my own walking tours, not that I am as knowledgeable as many on here, but I am a planner.
  17. Really enjoying this, Annie! Cruising is life-changing, I always said. Glad to hear it worked out for you job-wise. Those "pods" to transport you from hotel to an airport terminal look like a great idea, and so cute. For a huge airport, HR is remarkably easy to navigate, I found. I am a planner as well, and I have never felt the need for a TA in these internet times. My husband, also named Dave, seems much like yours in that he doesn't give much input ahead of time, then springs into action the day before we leave. He has even asked "Where are we going again?"
  18. Going to read your review right now. Thanks for the effort! Will be on the Reflection to the ABC's in March of 2021, unless something intervenes with this plan...
  19. Just spent an enjoyable afternoon on your Iceland cruise. I felt like I was there, with your wonderful photos and videos. Hope this cruise is still a possibility for next year, because I have always wanted to go to Iceland and now I absolutely must see it. Probably won't get the exact same itinerary, but two ports in Iceland would be nice. Thanks so much for the whole site, I will visit it again soon. Carol
  20. Celebrity is not giving credit for money not already paid and in their coffers. I had an Alaska cruise booked and I knew it would be cancelled as soon as the port of Vancouver was closed until July 1, and that was done before final payment was due. I went ahead and made final payment at the last hour, and when C got around to cancelling it, took the 125% FCC, which is only on the cruise fare portion of your payment, but it still will amount to just short of $700 per person more than what I paid. Of course my money is now tied up until next cruise, which won't be until 2021. Unless you are not planning on cruising again, or not with C anyway, I don't know why anyone would not take the FCC. The FCC is 125% of what you have paid. An FCC of $5250 (125% of 4200) on a $25 deposit would indeed be a windfall!
  21. Thanks for keeping up with your review, Mare. You have many who still follow, but don't always comment. The weather has been nice for the last 3 days here too, so we're getting out and doing 'spring cleanup' of a very large lawn. As far as swimming in the pools, I make a point of going in all of them and the hot tubs too, every trip. Looking forward to your Grand Cayman and disembarkation comments. Bet you were glad that your cruise went ahead, even though the end was certainly stressful. This will be our first year in several without any cruise at all.
  22. Your unabashedly provocative thread starter has certainly led to a great deal of good discussion and thoughtful commentary. I have enjoyed it. When I read #10 on your list I thought to myself that we Canadians really ARE foreigners although we share a continent. I'll leave it to all individuals to decide if this is a good thing or not. There will be a new normal when we get back to cruising, but I haven't given up on it yet and am looking forward to 2021.
  23. If anyone is really not going to cruise until there are no Covid-19 cases left in the world, then you are not going to cruise again for sure. This virus is going to be endemic in the world for longer than our lifetimes, just as influenza, measles, smallpox, and even the plague are still around somewhere. The difference will be that we will vaccinate against this strain just as we now do for influenza and the others. Influenza and the common cold are both forms of the corona virus and we have developed treatment for them. Back to the topic, I cruise for the experience of visiting the ports of the world, and that has nothing to do with "tiers" or perks. I'm not worried about bankruptcy.
  24. Reading your posts is helping with my cabin fever, especially as a cruise similar to yours is the next one I will be on next March. Our Alaska was cancelled of course, but I found Air Canada and the hotels in Vancouver were fine with giving credit for the flight and the hotels which I had paid for already. A rainy day here too on the north shore of Lake Erie. I am enjoying all your photos and planning things I will do next year. Looking forward to the rest of your review. Thanks, Maris.
  25. I don't know what other travel agents are doing, but Celebrity is upfront in explaining on the phone that the FCC is 125% of your cruise fare only, and that the taxes and fees are being refunded automatically to your credit card. No trickery or mistake was evident. The friendly person I spoke to calculated exactly the numbers in CDN dollars that I should expect to see on my card in 3-4 weeks, and the amount that I would get in an e-mail for FCC in 4-5 weeks. Time lines I wouldn't bet on, but I really think that they are trying to conduct business properly.
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