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Everything posted by kennystwin

  1. It looks like they are already beginning to shut them down. The 2021 Freedom cruises are still listed on the web site, but you can't book them. I've been watching a casino deal recognizing there was a high probability of cancellation (I would be happy with the $600 OBC), but that can't be booked now.
  2. As others have mentioned, Alaska is all about the itineraries. When I just looked them up, Eurodam includes a day in Sitka plus a stop at Icy Strait Point after Glacier Bay. Princess includes a stop at Skagway instead. All of these stops are great and each has its own culture and personality. Sitka and ISP are definitely 2 of my favorites, but Skagway offers an important glimpse into the Gold Rush. Note that Skagway routinely handles 4-5 ships at a time, including mega-ships, so the crowds will also play into the Skagway personality. Pay attention to the times in port as well. Both show Ketchikan stops from 7am - 1pm. All aboard will probably be 12:30. Not really enough time to appreciate the town. With respect to the Eurodam, I did this in 2019 an it was great. Yes, I am 69 years old and still in the younger half of a typical HAL cruise. But they don't roll up the sidewalks after dinner. B.B. King Blues Club has 3 sets of great live music every night and a DJ after that. My favorite cruise ship music venue, though your tastes may be different. Also, the trip into Glacier Bay had the 3 onboard rangers which added a lot to the trip. I think this is standard now by the park service for all ships calling in Glacier Bay. Although I haven't sailed Princess (on my wishlist), they have a great reputation in Alaska. But i would happily sail HAL and the Eurodam again
  3. I recommend you check out Sitka Wildlife Tours. I went with them last time I was in Sitka and had a great time. Locally owned and operated. Bruce, the owner, greeted me after I got off the bus from the ship and made some recommendations to spend my time before the tour. Our driver/guide was a Sitka native and seemed to know everyone in town as we went around. Besides the sights, a lot of colorful insight into life in Sitka.
  4. I certainly wouldn't be jumping through hoops to comply with CDC rules. They will have a new director in a couple of weeks there will likely be a lot of changes (if only for the sake of change). I hope/trust that Carnival Corp. or at least HAL are working on plans to vaccinate and redeploy their crews but they are likely far from setting any dates.
  5. Not usual with the financial call but definitely a business update: I would love to see them announce a corporate wide restart plan which includes vaccination and redeployment of crews. Definitely some operational good news to offset the financial bad news.
  6. The Denali Park Road is within Denali National Park well north of Anchorage and is now open. The road from Anchorage to Seward is the Seward Highway which is definitely open. It provides vital access to the Kenai peninsula. Alaska remains shuttered to interstate and international travellers, but the locals are having a blast this year enjoying the state tourist free. https://www.npr.org/2020/05/15/856171287/while-the-tourists-are-away-alaskans-will-play Also, the Alaska Railroad is planning to resume some operations July 1. https://www.alaskarailroad.com/passenger-information
  7. I was supposed to be boarding the Noordam in Seward today after spending a few days enjoying Seward and the Kenai Fjords National Park. (I lived in Alaska decades ago, still miss it terribly, and go back whenever I can.) Instead, this morning I listened to Governor Dunleavy's Friday COVID press conference so I could follow what's happening in the state. They extended the mandatory quarantine orders until June, but are reevaluating it daily as they gain experience opening up other parts of the state. I'll consider a land trip once it's safe to do it. Social distancing in Alaska isn't hard to do, but the long plane rides up may be another thing. BTW - it was refreshing to see a government press conference purely focused on informing and educating the people without political overtones and a press doing the same.
  8. The land tours definitely aren't happening. The providers are dependent on seasonal workers that won't be coming for the potentially shortened and shrunk season. With all the uncertainty, there is no way anyone could even offer them contracts right now. Princess and HAL (the 2 biggest Alaska land tour providers) cancelled all their land tours first and tried to maintain limited, late season Seattle round-trip cruises before abandoning them as well.
  9. It's finally official: https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/news/coronavirus-travel-advisory.html - All cruises through June 30 are cancelled. - All Alaska cruises on Maasdam, Westerdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, and Volendam are cancelled (leaves Eurodam and Konigsdam after July 1). - All Land+Sea is cancelled. Now we can plan accordingly and choose our refunds (cash or FCC).
  10. Amsterdam is doing Canada/New England this summer and N. Amsterdam is in the Mediterranean.
  11. That leaves only the Eurodam and Konigsdam doing the 7 day round trips this shortened season. These are the 2 largest ships planned for Alaska this season. Seems like a maximize revenue/minimize expenses strategy. I imagine they will be trying to move cruisers from the cancelled ships to these cruises. No northbound/southbound cruises so no Land+Sea journeys. I've been expecting problems with the land portions which are heavily dependent on seasonal workers who likely won't make the shortened season. It is still wait & see for the July cruises. Canada will be open (assuming they don't extend their port closures), but the CDC 100 day closure might impact them.
  12. You can certainly book it directly, but if there are any issues, they will force you to resolve them through your TA. FlightEase wouldn't let me fly from one airport and return to another, cross town airport (Actually it let me make both reservations, but it subsequently cancelled the first - a known FlightEase issue.) They forced me to go through my TA to fix things. Not a big deal, just another hoop to jump through.
  13. I'm booked on the 17th southbound from Seward as well. There is no way this is happening. They already cancelled the northbound from Vancouver on the 10th, so how are they going to have a ship there? Do you thing they will send an empty ship to Seward to pick up the handful of people still confirmed? My flight to Anchorage was cancelled as well so that is going to add another wrinkle to those who might still want to go. To those of you with land tours, who is going to be staffing those? They are largely dependent on seasonal workers, but Alaska is currently on lockdown and arriving travellers are subject to a 14 day quarantine, so I doubt anybody is heading up there for that. This just ain't happening. I'm waiting for HAL to cancel to bet the best compensation. If they give me up to 48 hours before, I can wait. If they don't have an empty ship on its way up earlier in the week, I know it's not happening.
  14. Nothing wrong. I think everyone should be able to enjoy GB. Just more competition for limited slots.
  15. Another good resource to check out is https://www.cruisedeckplans.com/ As noted above, all the cabins you're considering are "normal" verandahs with the same overhang, plexiglass rail panels, and standard baths+shower. The deck 8 cabins are underneath the spa which shouldn't generate too much noise, but the deck 7 cabin would definitely be quieter.
  16. It's not weather. Anyone who tries to predict Alaska weather a year out is fooling themselves. I was in Glacier Bay last May and the weather was spectacular. And no, Glacier Bay won't go out of business. It is a National Park and has the responsibility to both encourage its use as well as manage and protect it. This is likely just a scheduling challenge by Carnival corporate. They have a fixed number of permits and they are allocating them across their HAL, Princess, Cunard, and Seaborn brands (thankfully, Carnival doesn't do Glacier Bay). Your Noordam cruise just happened to get the short straw. If this is a once in a lifetime cruise, I'd be changing it to make sure you get to Glacier Bay. It IS that special.
  17. I'm on the Noordam from Seward as well on May 17th, but HAL has cancelled the northbound on May 10, so surely the southbound won't happen. I'm waiting for them to cancel and free up my cash so I can make other plans.
  18. Arrgh! I was hoping they would follow RCIs lead by addressing cruises impacted by the Canadian port closures. I'm on the Noordam Alaska southbound on 5/17 which I'm sure will be cancelled since they just cancelled the 5/10 northbound. I'm just waiting for it to be official to free up some of my cash tied up in taxes, flights, etc. Guess I just need to wait a little longer.
  19. Galveston would be a great option. Besides the cruise port, there is a large University of Texas Medical School there and there is a huge medical complex in Houston 60 miles away. Local hotels could likely be used to quarantine asymptomatic passengers, and, as you mention, Lackland AFB is not far away. Plus, our Texas culture would more likely lead to a compassionate welcome than some of the "not in my back yard" attitudes we hear from Florida (and yes, I know that isn't everyone). Regardless of where these ships wind up, I'm sure HAL and the various authorities are working feverishly to put lots of resources in place to handle the arrivals. My thoughts and prayers are with the passengers and crews on these ships as well as all those preparing for their arrival. (BTW, a selfish thought: if they decide to use a Texas port, maybe HAL would show their gratitude by home porting a ship in Galveston. I'd love to be able to drive to a HAL cruise!)
  20. Another option would be to dock at Corpus Christi and bus the passengers to Lackland AFB in San Antonio. Lackland already has facilities and experience caring for the Diamond Princess passengers and the San Antonio military hospitals are likely better prepared than civilian hospital for these emergency responses. Just an idea.
  21. A long tender ride, but a short helicopter flight to the Panama Pacifico Airport. I really hate to be speculating, but could the faster Rotterdam have the tests from the Zandaam? They could be choppered off to a chartered plane at the airport and be at any of a number of US labs this afternoon. Again, just speculating. I've been following this and am anxiously awaiting the facts. In the meantime, my crazy brain has been going through lots of crazy "what ifs". My heart and prayers go out to all involved.
  22. I'm not so sure Princess will be ready. Like most of the tour operators, they depend on part time workers from the lower 48 to staff their lodges, trains, busses, etc. Lots of college students and teachers. With the late start, I suspect a lot of them will pass on the truncated season putting all the Alaskan tourism suppliers in a real bind.
  23. That actually is a picture of him, but I do look just like him (before the bad eye job).
  24. I could see a waiver of PVSA for scheduled cruises impacted by the current port closures. But a repeal, No! Yes, it would allow HAL to cruise Seattle to Alaska bypassing Victoria, but it would also allow any foreign flagged vessel access to the US market with minimal regulation. We would be swamped with older ships doing cruises to nowhere/booze cruises/gambling junkets from any coastal city. I imagine they could even compete with US firms running passenger ferries. No thanks.
  25. Like RuthC said, anything is possible. I'm booked on the Noordam southbound to Vancouver on May 17, but I'm waiting before making any decisions. Lots can happen in 2 months: - The Noordam is currently docked in the South Pacific and may not even make it for the season. - The pandemic has been fast moving and we may be on the downward side in North America by May. Risk factors may be lowered or mitigated to make domestic travel safe by then. - I wouldn't be surprised if President Trump issue a temporary PVSA waiver while the Canadian ports are closed to throw a bone to the beleaguered cruise industry. I suspect this would only happen if it were deemed safe, so it's not something I expect to be announced soon. It would resurrect the Alaska cruise season for at least the Seattle round trips. So I'm patiently waiting to see what happens.My possibilities include: -The pandemic blows over enough that my scheduled cruise happens. Great. I'll go. -The pandemic remains in full swing and HAL cancels. OK. I'll get my money back. I can cancel by pre-trip Airbnb my May 1 with no penalty and the airlines have been waiving their cancellation fees. -HAL cancels for operational reasons but travel is deemed safe. Great. I'll take my flight up (free ticket with points that are recoverable; return is through FlightEase so HAL will cancel), rent a car, and have a great time on the Kenai peninsula for a week or so. As immortalized in large, friendly letters in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Don't Panic
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