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About iancal

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  1. This is exactly why most of our cruises post retirement are last minute cruises...booking inside the final payment window. If our price hits, then fine we buy. If not we do something else. We never, ever get our hearts set on one cruise or one cruise line.
  2. Although it may seem counterintuitive, cruise line reps and PCC's are more limited in what they can say to customers than are independent TA's. Cruise line employees are given drawer statements. Canned answers regarding current cruise line issues that are top of mind for customers. They are limited to what the cruise line tells them they can say or divulge. Independent TA's have no such constraints. Moreover, by the nature of their jobs they get feedback on many cruise ships, many cruise lines. If you asks the right questions of a good, knowledgeable TA you have a
  3. It is all about cash flow. FCC conversions to lock in customers instead of cash refunds, reservation churn, etc. Not just HAL, even though HAL may appear to be a day late and a dollar short from time to time compared to their competitors and their sister cruise lines. They are all doing the same in one form or another.
  4. When we emailed our TA to book a last minute ship several years ago she asked me to call her. I did, and her comments were essentially along these lines..... . I have had a steady stream of complaints about this ship for the past two months-so have the other other agents in our office.. Everything from AC/plumbing to services,,,yata yata yata. I have a similar offer on another ship that you might prefer. Do you think that the cruise line rep would have said this had we called the cruise line to book???
  5. No. Expect to fly to Greece in late Sept/early Oct. Plan to buy our tickets 7-10 days prior to departure. Covid situation is always changing so we will wait until we know for certain that it is a go.
  6. It really depends on how much FX you need. The tellers at our bank go across the street to the FX store. They get better rates and better denomination selection. We use ATM's. We go for two months at a time. Often take $1500 and exhange at an in country FX store. For Thailand, the delta is 5-7 percent. We are always on the lookout for DCC. Last time we were in Florida a number of stores were notorious for this, as were some hotels (our currency is cad). The question is often so innocuous...'do you want to be billed in your home currency? Some do not even ask-t
  7. Depends on the ship. Depends on the itinerary. Happy in a balcony cabin. Happier in a mini suite. But...it is all good.
  8. I think the bottom line is that cruise ships go to Venice because people who buy Med cruises want to go there. Venice will remain the draw. Just as Florence or Rome is a draw for cruisers. I hardly think that banning large ships will have any appreciable impact on tourism in Venice. This is not some small island in the Caribbean that is dependent on cruise business. Just as well....when one looks at what has happened to St. Thomas. Nor a Dubrovnik, Santorini, or Mykonos. IMHO cruise lines will continue to operate as many itineraries into Venice because that it
  9. Our experience is that luggage is somewhat like mattresses. There is always a 50-70 percent off sale. We had occasion to visit a luggage repair store. One that did work for the airlines. The owner also told us that quality varies between the big name brands. Some make products specifically to sell to dept. stores that market with 50 percent or more discounts and to the so called factory outlet stores. The other thing we discovered when shopping for a light weight international carry on roller was that the luggage labels are meaningless. Some
  10. Seems to me that understanding the terms port, starboard, etc. is not such a mentally challenging exercise that one has to make up dittos to remember it.
  11. No interest. Nor would be have any interest in travelling to FLA at this time given the spike in covid D cases and the low vax rates in the southern states.
  12. Absolutely agree. We have done a number of Med cruises that include Italy. We have also done numerous independent land trips to Italy. Reflecting on this we feel so sorry for those people who only get to Florence for a part of a day. Same for Cinq Terre, Rome, Amalfi, Venice etc. These are completely different cities at night. And in the day when one is not rushing from one place to another. Not time to sit in Campo di Fiori or Piaza Navono over a few glasses of local grape. Or do the same for a few hours at sunset in Florence or a late dinner in Fiesole. Dinn
  13. enjoy walking down a beach 3km which is 300m wide which you have all to yourself... That is precisely why we like Southern Thailand and parts of Vietnam away from the tourist areas. Miles and miles of fabulous beaches with a beautiful backdrop. Wonderful people, fabulous local food, and the varied environment. All at a fraction of cost of what we would pay in Florida, Hawaii, etc. Those lower costs, plus the higher costs of those incredible Australian Gold Coast beaches average out. The inconvenience of three flight sections seem to disa
  14. We really do not care if a complete stranger cruises again or does not cruise again. We are not mind readers nor do we understand others preferences when it comes to international travel. Zero impact on us. Nor do we judge or question how or why someone else travels. No point to it. We spend 20 hours or so flying to one of our preferred snowbird destinations. Sure we could zip down to Florida in 7 or Hawaii in 9. We think nothing of doing 10 hours in an economy seat to a favorite southern Europe destination. For us it is a doddle. And changing our land plans mid trip
  15. We used to go to Florida prior to retiring. Cruises,, etc. SInce retiring 9 winters ago we have only been once. And that was because we did a last minute TA from Europe. Florida has lost a great deal of it's appeal to us. More so with recent events and political machinations. It is a fine state, it is just that we have found other snowbird areas more enjoyable and varied for our tastes. Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia. The only issue for Oz and SE Asia is the flight times but we go for several months so we grin and bear it.
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