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About GottaKnowWhen

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  1. We were scheduled for a cruise starting 11-20-2020. That was cancelled when Windstar announced a general shutdown through the rest of the year. Today we heard from our TA, she sent a copy of the FCC notice she received on our booking. Don’t know how long a Refund would have taken, but the FCC turnaround was quite swift. And they applied the 125% calculation to everything we had paid, no exclusion for taxes etc. Unlike other companies.
  2. Thanks for the info! I have not used the shareholder perk but plan to. From what I saw on the website I had assumed that one needed to apply close to the sail date. And after all, what if they give me credit now, and then I sell the stock? Anyway, I’ll file the request for a few 2021 cruises and see what happens...
  3. Deck 3 or 4 depending. Depending on proportion of Select vs. Fixed. Wine service always has been good with Fixed, we’ve never done select. With Fixed we would often have the Sommalier waiting with open bottle of our preferred tipple.
  4. As one who has always traveled Concierge on Celebrity, I value that MDR lunch. The alternative is to join the mass feeding in the Oceanview, never pleasant, an even worse idea in today’s Social Distancing environment. The issue is not clean ship vs. lunch, the issue is that we are offered a perk, and so the assigned check in should allow us time to use that perk. The airline can figure out that their revised schedule has us arriving in ATL 30 minutes after our connecting flight leaves. Celebrity should be able to figure out when to board us so as to allow us time to enjoy the promised lunch. Stan
  5. You mention the train from Venice to Rome. Trains! A European reality that must be experienced! I remember a train north out of Cardiff on a Saturday afternoon, in a compartment with a drunk Welshman who spent the entire three hour journey ranting about the British, with occasional breaks to ask “You are not Bloody Brits are you!?!” The high speed train from Madrid to Barcelona, watching the speed indicator at the front of the compartment approaching 300/kph. But the real gem was the early morning train from Stockholm to Oslo. We had a stop about an hour into the trip, small town. Five couples boarded, came to our area, broke out the champagne, the party was on! Turns out ‘‘twas a tradition among this group of friends; when someone turned 50, they would all pitch in for a special weekend. Birthday girl had no idea where they were going, what was planned, she just knew to pack for three days with maybe some fancy dress clothes. The group welcomed us into their gathering and we did what we could to help celebrate. General advice: don’t be afraid to take local transportation or to mingle with the locals. Stan
  6. I totally agree. What you can see from a cruise stop is at best a sampler. I have nothing against the big cities, I've spent a week in Rome, 10 days in Naples, 2 weeks ± in/around Venice, 4 days in Florence (followed by a leisurely drive down to Civitavecchia for a cruise), 7-10 days in Paris, etc. I wouldn't recommend that anybody go to New York City or Miami or D.C. or San Francisco for a quick stop any more than I would recommend the big cities in Europe as a quick drive through. But the first timer needs to start somewhere! Reading travel books, and travel guide books, is one way to get a sense of what is there and what seems intriguing. Travel videos are useful as well. But ultimately my advice is to just do it. One cruise or one week in any given city or some combination of these will help the first-timer learn what to see and do the next times they are back. One great benefit of cruising is that you can see multiple places in a short period, but unlike on a land tour your hotel moves with you. No need to unpack and pack and unpack and pack and ... The downside is that the hotel moves whether you are ready to move on or not. So the visits will be a quick taste, but hopefully enough to let you know where you want to focus your attention the next time. Back in the late 80s-early 90s I was living in the Kansas City area. A counterpart from a lab in England I had been collaborating with wanted to travel to the U.S. with his family for a 3-week vacation and asked me for suggestions. Joe had already spent time with me in D.C. and in K.C. and I had stayed with him and his family on my several trips to the London area. So I thought I knew them, and I knew the trip was about Joe's wife and two young teenage boys, not about Joe. I sketched out a three week itinerary that started in D.C., included stops in the South (Disney World), the West (Yosemite, Grand Canyon...), in Chicago, in NYC. And a few days with us in K.C. There is no way they or I or any mortal could have survived the driving and flying and route finding and all of the other stuff that goes with a complicated itinerary like that. Nor could they have enjoyed themselves. Instead Joe and his family spent a few days in D.C. coming and going, the rest of the time they stayed with us in K.C. We explored the town, we drove to Branson for a long weekend, we visited the Amish region north of K.C., we spent a day in the Tallgrass region, but mostly we stayed in K.C. They got to experience a very small slice of our very large and complicated country and I learned something about planning for leisure travel. In short, don't try to do too much. If you see many places in a short period (like with cruising) don't expect too much. Treat it as a scouting trip in preparation for the next time. Stan
  7. I greatly appreciate your occasional posting here, particularly the insights you have provided about the recent COVID-19 drama on Hurtigruten. I selfishly hope the situation will evolve in a way that allows me and my friends to take a planned trip on Hurtigruten in 2022, and I look forward to more of your reporting. I don’t believe the cruise industry nor any company within the industry is “evil”, but clearly every company has decision makers setting policy and directing operations, and some such individuals are motivated more by greed than by concern for clients. That sort of business model will quickly be shown to be fatally flawed. Stan Sent from my iPad using Forums
  8. You want to “do” Europe. Why? Seriously, why do you want to go there? Think ahead to the time you are back home with friends/family/workplace colleagues and you are talking about your Europe trip. Do you think you’ll be happiest, most pleased to share, your memories and stories of the people you met? The sidewalk cafes? The museums? The architecture? The topless beaches? The farmhouses? The street markets? The rip-off fashion-bag-clone sales deals at every corner? The ancient sites and sights? You really can’t do Europe any more than you can do any country within Europe or any State in the U.S. So, focus and prioritize. When I came back from my first extended personal travel in Europe after some time away, back home I was trying to sort my pictures from the trip. It was all a jumble. Some churches, some street scenes, some landmarks etc etc. But no coherent story. Since they I have tried to decide first Why I am going, What I want to see and do and experience, Why I am going. If you don’t have enough knowledge oof the region to be able to do that sort of planning, then two choices: a, just pick something, go and learn, and find out what you really want to do next time. Or: b, read a few books about travel in Europe. Mark Twain, Rick Steves, Anna Leopold, etc. See what grabs your imagination... I’ve traveled in Europe, Scandinavia and England for work and for leisure, land and sea. My favorite countries are England and Italy but have a fondness also for Greece where I lived as a young child. I could live in Spain. We have upcoming TAs to England, will spend time there with friends and relatives. But our next extended trip to Europe, God willing and the creek don’t rise, will be for a Greek Island cruise out of Venice, then over to Civitavecchia, then a TA back home. We’ve been to most of the ports before, look forward to a revisit. Definitely will spend time in Venice and vicinity before the cruise. I just saw new ports announced for 2021 in the Med, it would take too many changes for me to do that in 21 but am hoping they’ll repeat the Salonika stop in ‘22 so I can visit my one-time home... I’ve spent time in Lithuania , Sweden, Norway, Denmark. Hope to get back to Norway to get out of the urban areas to the coastal sights. Really, any travel is good, any new experience is good, don’t try to do the “best “ trip, just do a trip, experience and enjoy and learn. Stan Sent from my iPad using Forums
  9. I had booked a b2b for Jan-Feb 2020, but I had already switched that reservation to something else long before COVID just because of airfare cost. We have had some time in Australia adjunct to work trips. So my notion was to fly to NZ, a few days there for initial exploration and time-zone adjustments, then cruise to Australia and then back, stay another 7-10 days in NZ before flying home. The b2b, among other advantages, would have had two shots at good weather for the sail-by days in southern NZ. Plus of course some good sea days which we enjoy. I hope to revisit this plan in another year or two.
  10. It has always bugged me, slightly, that there are people who make multiple reservations, then just walk away at the last minute. Whether it is restaurants or cruise cabins, it seems that they care little about others who might be looking for that scarce resource. To say nothing about the impact on the businesses. Another example closer to the cruising topic would be those who “reserve” poolside chairs just in case they might want to go there sometime later. As you may gather, I am in favor of non refundable deposits.
  11. I haven’t yet sailed on Azamara but 20 or so cruises on Celebrity, a couple on Royal. With all of the cancellations and changes to our plans, I’ve been browsing around, looking at smaller ships like with Azamara, Windstar, Hurtigruten... I was curious to see how the Cancellation/Refund discussion was going here. Hmmm. Just as a reference point, it took forever and several phone calls to get the FCC promised for a cancelled Celebrity April 2020 transatlantic . Our October Celebrity New England and Canada trip was cancelled in July(?), today I received the FCC vouchers. So, a month or so. They are smoothing their process, speeding up. So sad that they have had so much experience to learn from. Stan
  12. The replacements were mostly (all?) prior Corning employees who had moved on to their own small shops. If you visit Corning and the surround (eg Ithaca, Watkins Glen, Elmira...) you will see quite a few such establishments. I did prefer the Corning shows but the replacement wasn’t that much of a downgrade.
  13. I enjoy sea days, have done 3 transatlantic cruises, have three more booked. It is nice to be in port occasionally, particularly in places rich in history or natural beauty. But the primary reason I would totally reject a 3-5-7 day cruise to nowhere (or to an RCL private island which amounts to the same thing) is that the hassle and expense of travel to embarkation and then back home is just too much - it is worth it for a decent length cruise (12 day minimum) but not for a quickie. Stan
  14. My October cruise to Canada was cancelled some time ago. I have gone to the Celebrity app on my phone a few times, always see this...
  15. If I understood my CVP as he was outlying my choices and $$$implications for several transactions we were working on, in my case yes, I would owe more to cover Deposit, but the money wouldn’t be due until Final Payment date. Unless I cancelled and needed to cover all of my NRD.
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