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cruisemom42

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  1. Keep in mind that at start-up of operations, those 3,000 passenger ships will probably only be at 50-60% occupancy. But still, I get what you are saying. It works in some of the European stops on these early cruises due to extensive tourism infrastructure. Not so sure how well it would work on a small Caribbean island...
  2. I would think that would fall into my mention of "provided you meet all requirements of entry into a specific country" -- yes? In other words, if the country requires that you take a ship tour, then you must meet the requirement. At any rate, do you know of any examples of this? I've never encountered it, but I certainly haven't cruised everywhere.... And no, I don't regard myself as 'special' in any way. Definitely a rule follower. However, I think the rules should be clear, and often with cruise lines, they aren't very transparent.
  3. Almost too many to list, but I'll try: Egypt: Cairo, Alexandria Turkey: Istanbul, Antalya, Kusadasi (for surrounding ruins) Greece: Athens, Crete Cyprus Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples (to be fair I'd already visited them before I cruised there) Spain: Barcelona Tunisia: Sousse, Tunis Suffice to say I love the Mediterranean!
  4. I'm not sure that your understanding of events is exactly correct, or maybe different ships handled this in different ways. I was on one of the early sailings to Cuba on Azamara. I think the confusion was regarding what the US restrictions actually require in Cuba. Some cruise lines tried to insist that passengers HAD to take a tour with them in order to fulfill the requirement of not spending money to support the Cuban regime. However, the truth of the matter is that the onus is on the individual and not on the cruise line to ensure this. If, as an individual, you wish to research and book a private tour in Cuba and you can ascertain that it fits within the "People to People" initiative (and I think there is one other category but my memory is hazy on that), you should theoretically be able to advise the cruise line of your plans and they should let you go ashore. To this end, Azamara actually gave us a form at check-in, and we could indicate whether we would fulfill the requirement by taking ship tours (strongly encouraged, of course, by the line) or we could mark that we had made our own arrangements and could check which box applied (e.g., "People to People" initiative). IF you choose to do this, then it is up to you to keep records of what you did and how you ensured that your tour fell within the required boundaries, if you were ever to be questioned about it. Also, by the way, the change that ended sailings to Cuba had nothing to do with cruises from the US being canceled -- it had everything to do with President Trump's agenda. Not related to Cuba, but there have also been sometimes heated discussions regarding what ships can and cannot do regarding allowing passengers off ship. As a cruiser who prefers sightseeing independently, I believe the cruise line should not be able to compel you to take a ship tour PROVIDED you meet all requirements for entry into a specific country -- for example, when visiting St. Petersburg you have a Russian visa or have contracted with a private company that extends a temporary visa to you. Cruise lines of course will do many things to make their tours appear preferable. For example, limiting access to tenders to those who have booked ship tours upon arrival in port. Or providing misinformation about private tours. Or saying that they will keep you safe in a COVID bubble.
  5. Pisa always seems to be a very polarizing place -- you either love it or don't. As a kid I was an odd duck. On a trip to Italy when I was 14, we were in Florence for several days. My parents took me to the Uffizi gallery one afternoon -- they practically had to drag me out. The next day my mom had planned for us to go to Pisa. I didn't want to go -- wanted to stay in Florence and go back to the Uffizi, but they insisted. We climbed the tower but I have to say there was no joy sparked and I actually still feel resentment about not being able to do what I wanted to do... A couple of years ago it was my turn to take my son to Florence. He of course wanted to go to Pisa. He climbed the tower and I know he really enjoyed the experience. He could not care less about going to the Uffizi... Go figure. Also -- I may be unduly influenced by knowing how very many leaning towers there are in Italy. The medieval and early Renaissance architects were not always as skilled as their ancient Roman predecessors in building... Here's an article that lists 10 of them that are worth seeing: http://slowitaly.yourguidetoitaly.com/2014/10/leaning-towers-of-italy/#:~:text=Italy counts at least 10,%2C Caorle%2C Burano and Rome.
  6. Problem is that I don't feel my home community is safe. High rates of infection, very laissez-faire attitude about mask wearing and social distancing, and I am willing to bet cleaning protocols in hotels are not what they should be. I have not dined out locally since February. I had a 4-day 'mini-break' scheduled at a beach destination in my state but I canceled a week before as I did not feel comfortable going.
  7. I think I understand what the OP is saying -- it's not a matter of not appreciating a city or place, it's just that it doesn't pull at your heartstrings. Sort of like having a lot of friends -- you may like all of them, but some are dearer to you than others. I can't think of too many places that I felt didn't really live up to my imagination. I'd have to say Singapore is one. Just too clean, too new, for the most part. I haven't been to Vienna in a long, long time but I can't say it lived up to what I was expecting -- however, I'll go back one of these days and give it a second chance.
  8. Yes! There is a difference between PTO and Vacation, as I am finding out this year when I have nowhere to go. A "staycation" at home does not de-stress me or clear my mind the way a vacation involving a trip to somewhere different does... Edited to add: To earlier points, however, I also understand that a vacation falls somewhere at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, well above food, shelter, and health. Those of us who can take vacations are lucky indeed to have that option.
  9. LOL, I was going to comment on that earlier. The usual script seems to be: Realtor: So, what are you looking for in a house? She says: I want an older house with some character, but one that is move in ready. And I want to be close to town/school district. He says: I want a contemporary, open-style concept. I don't care if it needs some work -- that's fine. I'm happy to do a few projects. And I'd rather be in the suburbs where we can get more for our budget. Realtor: And remind me, what IS your budget? She says: We have $450k, but we can go up a little if we find just the right house that is move-in ready. He says: Well, $450k would be my upper limit, definitely no more than that and I would prefer less, so that if we have to do some projects we have the funds. Realtor: Okay, well let me see what I can do.
  10. I can very much relate to your thoughts on deferring travel in future. If you've read any of my posts in the past, you may realize that I'm kind of a junkie/nerd about ancient history. For years I've wanted to visit an ancient Roman site in Libay (Leptis Magna), supposedly one of the best preserved sites outside of a Pompeii or Herculaneum. For about a decade after I started traveling seriously Libya was closed to US tourists as a result of the Pan Am 103/Lockerbie terrorism incident and the protracted wrangling/sanctions that followed. Finally in 2010 Libya opened again to US tourists. That same year, Voyages to Antiquity offered two cruises that stopped in Libya (two ports) and would have provided an opportunity for me to visit both Leptis Magna and another outstanding site, Sabratha. I was a bit nervous about committing to doing this in 2010. I figured I would give things a year or two to settle down, get organized, be ready for tourism. Big mistake! In 2011 the Libyan Civil war started... Who knows now if I will ever get there, given the mess that Libya has become. I live in fear that the militia gangs will destroy such sites, accidentally or on purpose, before I can ever see them. My personal credo now is to never defer travel if I have the means and time to do it now -- especially to somewhere that is a bucket list destination or activity.
  11. You may not like it, but CDC does in fact have that exact power and it is exercised (rightly or wrongly, depending on one's point of view) in order to achieve the following objectives -- which is clearly stated in the "No Sail" order: Preservation of human life; Preventing the further introduction, transmission, and spread of COVID-19 into and throughout the United States; Preserving the public health and other critical resources of Federal, State, and local governments; Preserving hospital, healthcare, and emergency response resources within the United States; and Maintaining the safety of shipping and harbor conditions, including safety of personnel. Their powers do not extend to things like opening/closing Disney World, so comparing the two things is kind of irrelevant. I suggest you start reading a few Italian newspapers (there are some in English). If you think the political situation in the US is laughable -- remember, this is the country that elected Silvio Berlusconi prime minister several times, he of the "bunga bunga" parties with prostitutes and many corruption scandals during his time in high office. (And he is still involved in politics...) I have spent a fair amount of time in Italy and also following it from afar -- they are a total mess when it comes to politics I can assure you. Also, it is at the moment impossible for US citizens to travel to Italy or to take a cruise from Italy. The cruises that have restarted are only for certain European nationalities. In my career I have worked with various researchers at the CDC and I have never met a more dedicated group of people nor one less likely to seek out the spotlight voluntarily. I really hate to see someone toss insults around based on representations of one or a few people at the top of an organization. It's kind of like saying that if you don't like what one doctor says you should fire the entire hospital staff.... Just my 2 cents....
  12. Thanks; I enjoyed reading your well-thought out plans and predictions. Let's hope that by March 2022 things are at the stage you propose. I personally think it could take a bit longer -- I'm targeting the second half of 2022. But slowly, things will start to normalize. Or at least I hope so!
  13. True. For me it would be continuing to only allow ship excursions. I strongly suspect I will be doing land tours, once things start to "open up" rather than cruises for a while.... Which is a shame because I had several bucket list cruises planned over the next couple of years.
  14. I'm also looking for an opportunity to try Viking. As a solo, though, I've seen some good deals on select Azamara cruises for solo travelers, whereas Viking doesn't seem to have many...
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