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Huntingdon1701

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Everything posted by Huntingdon1701

  1. Not sure whether MSC will check you have it, but the Malta Government does require it: https://deputyprimeminister.gov.mt/en/health-promotion/covid-19/Pages/digital-passenger-locator-form.aspx "Flight, cruise liner and passenger ferry operators are directed not to allow anyone without all the requirements for travel to Malta, including a completed PLF, to board." But the good news is that it's part of the EU form which is pretty straightforward to complete.
  2. Their press release says they're expecting to do so, so I think this change will be quite a quick one.
  3. No longer the case - http://www.mscpressarea.com/en_INT/press-releases/4369 Astrazeneca is expected to be accepted according to this press release from MSC.
  4. Actually, that's just changed. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/10/17/cdc-guidance-mixed-vaccine-dose-international-travel/
  5. Ah, that's not such a surprise. But if the overall cruise is still going ahead, that's a good sign for South Africa. I suspect the repositioning cruise may also lose some of the islands along the way, but that the cruise line will consider that a better option than cancelling the whole season.
  6. Had a similar experience, although between Virtuosa in June and Splendida last week. My butler on Virtuosa was absolutely amazing and led me to book the Splendida. In contrast, the Splendida butler offered virtually nothing - no escort anywhere, very infrequent snacks in the room (which the steward may have left). I interacted more often with the steward, who showed more concern for me. It's left me less eager to return to MSC - it wasn't a bad experience, but it wasn't a special one either, unlike the trip on the Virtuosa. I had nothing from him that I wouldn't have got in a regular cabin from the steward on another line (although of course you get the topsail lounge and private restaurant which are very significant).
  7. Not in Italy, where it's a Government requirement to do a ship-run excursion. But it's true other cruise lines are allowing independent excursions for other countries, although apparently that means you have to fill in the passenger locator form again, so personally I'm happy to skip that for now. In comparison to NCL, I thought the available excursions were very reasonably priced, if a little unexciting for the most part. Would absolutely agree that the ship is spotless and in excellent condition. I was very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed walking about. Food was good, at least in yacht club, although I heard several people complaining bitterly about the buffet. I also had a disappointing experience at Butchers Cut and wouldn't go back - not even close to NCL's Cagneys in terms of quality of steak. However, the Sea Pavillion did an excellent sushi experience menu which I loved. The Yacht club experience meant I skipped all the queues on boarding, so that might have been me cutting ahead - sorry! I was on board in about 20 minutes, although there was then a backlog with the concierge which was a bit frustrating. I gave them some feedback about how Virtuosa handled it better. Absolutely no-one in the Yacht Club restaurant for breakfast, so I got my pick of tables and the entire restaurant team trying to serve me. Lunch was also much less busy than in the evening. Didn't see a single show advertised that tempted me down to the main theatre, but some of the individual performers were quite good - the saxophonist in particular. Agree with you about the PCR tests, and the lack of an insurance check. Bit annoying. The testing at the end of the cruise was also very badly screwed up, and scheduled in the middle of the time that everyone was doing an excursion. No excuse for that, since they knew far ahead who would be in that position. I did notice on changeover days that staff were very, very stretched and they didn't seem to have a workable process in place to manage that. The main change over days on this trip were Rome and Genoa, so boarding at those ports might mean you minimise the disruption to your cruise - although I suppose you then run the risk of the delays. Barcelona had a decent number of people boarding but less than those other two ports. Overall, a less wonderful experience than I had on the Virtuosa, but still decent. However, not one that would encourage me to rush back to MSC over my preferred line, which is NCL.
  8. There's clearly been behind the scenes confirmation of it, given what Azamara and MSC have put it out. They're far too confident for it to just be an expectation based on a lower alert level. It all mirrors what happened in the UK and US where there were bans in place but which were leaked as being removed by the cruise companies before the official announcement. https://cruise-adviser.com/azamara-to-return-to-south-africa-this-winter/ What was the change to the 1st cruise? I haven't seen any posts about it.
  9. That's how I interpreted it. Interesting to see the NCL letter - that wasn't required for Spanish excursions on MSC (or apparently by the Spanish authorities in those ports - perhaps because MSC doesn't allow private excursions). Different cruiselines are applying these regulations quite differently.
  10. Yes. I burned through a couple of levels quite quickly due to double points offers.
  11. I've had them automatically do it on one cruise, and then wait until questioned on another, so best to ask at the shore exrusion desk or ring ahead of departure. It's become a lot easier now they've built it into online bookings though, so going forward you don't need to think about it.
  12. I put the cruise port address and that also worked. I think to use the 'in transit' option you have to declare you're staying within the airport perimeter, which you won't be by travelling to the cruise port. It's a slight loophole with their form, but overall it's the easiest one I've completed so far (out of 5).
  13. Just come off MSC in Barcelona and straight to airport. Literally no point at which they could check the Spanish form. You do the need to show the UK one at airport check-in though.
  14. They absolutely should, and if they hadn't changed their minds about five times in as many days, I would say you could take it at face value. I'm just saying what I think is an absolute safeguard against unexpected hitches. Hopefully the tests you've booked work fine - and they do meet what MSC has publicly said.
  15. I'd say in-person or on-screen antigen test, given the new requirements. I'd avoid a simple at home test without the video call - just in case MSC prove difficult over that. Some cruise lines are rejecting home tests that aren't overseen by an independent person (via video call). MSC haven't said it's an issue for them, but haven't said otherwise either.
  16. I used rapidtravel home test to get into Italy. The certificate had all the required details but did note it was provided remotely. There is a video call option for a few pounds extra that would let a medical professional confirm the test was done right, which should suffice. Or again, you could do it when flying in at the airport test centre which they would definitely accept. At this point, I feel they change the rules so much that it's worth doing the gold plated option just for peace of mind.
  17. They were making no other efforts at speed so I think more likely they weren't ever going to be checking it. The YC desk only had me at it, so it's not like they were under a time pressure.
  18. Mine wasn't either. They did before letting me on board Virtuosa in June. It's all a bit erratic. Customer services had taken some insurance details ahead of boarding, but they couldn't know about the Covid cover.
  19. Yes, they arrived about 3 hours late to Barcelona because of it. Not sure it accounts for all the issues, but surely a factor.
  20. They're boarding all ships a lot later to allow for the extra covid-related cleaning. Trust me, the ships are not so empty that you'll get on without a queue. On Splendida at the moment and she's about 80% full.
  21. Hello from the same ship. 👍 YC embarkation was faster but still chaotic and poorly organised. I'm finding on board crew a bit variable. My last two cruises were among the first sailings for those ships, so the crew were very fresh and excited - can't decide if it's given me unreasonable expectations. Looking forward to Butchers Cut. Not been there yet.
  22. Yes, although it depends where they fall in the cruise. If it's a 14 day cruise and DR/Cuba is days 1-4 then you won't need to quarantine.
  23. Airport sites are open everyday fortunately. I got mine on a Sunday, and the same company does Naples. Now they've confirmed antigen is acceptable though, your best bet is to buy a cheap UK kit and fly it over with you for doing in your hotel room.
  24. The good thing about antigen tests is the quick results they give. If necessary, you'd have time to get one done on the day of sailing. It would be medically pointless, but meet the criteria. Seems like the best outcome has been decided on, although there's no way it should have been that painful or complicated. Hope you can all relax and look forward to your cruises!
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