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About cachouonacruise

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Châteauguay, Qc. Canada
  • Interests
    Exploring new worlds
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity - Holland America - Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. In Quebec, primary and secondary schools have to be attended in person. CEGEP and Universities may have a different protocol. I am not sure. As a retired air traffic controller and now active school bus driver, I can attest to the following: school buses are filled at less than 50% capacity. Seats in the school bus are assigned. Grade 5 and above have to wear masks in school bus. (As it turns out, my kindergarten kids also wear masks, at least in the morning.) In high school, kids spend their whole day in the classroom. This said, on some Quebec schools, sports have been authorized. We have had some kids testing positive for Covid in a significant number of schools. (They may have been infected at home). So far, only (thank God) a few schools have reported within school community spread.) All things considered, so far in our province, the situation is still under control. What really increases the risk is the attitude of some people thinking that Covid is a hoax, a government exaggeration to make money etc... which results in too many people not wearing the mask or not wearing properly. For example, below their nose or just around the neck.
  2. What’s wrong with people: That’s easy! We live in an era where the motto is: Me, myself and I. Unfortunately, elements such as social graces, social responsibilities seem to have melted away, in the minds of too many people.
  3. In Quebec ( Canada), unfortunately our numbers seems to be going back up a bit again. After a busy spring, we were doing fairly well, to the point of considering the pandemic under control. The province has divided itself in regions, which are assessed in different coded colors, green, yellow, orange and red, depending on the status of the pandemic in each region. The objective is to avoid a new complete provincial lockdown. Last I saw, we had four regions in yellow, while the rest of the regions were coded green. But, unfortunately, this could change quickly. The province has also introduced hefty fines to be given to people refusing to respect Covid guidelines. For example, to people refusing to wear a mask indoors in public areas. It is my understanding that the amount of the fine will increase, in function of the coded regional severity status. Everything is open, with Covid restrictions, with the exception of karaoke bars who were recently instructed to close again. I really can’t wait for an effective and safe vaccine and a return to what used to be called a normal life!
  4. Hi OP, just a word to say that I really enjoyed reading your cruise trip preparation process, which follows closely what I used to do. It’s so much fun to read and learn about cruises. In my opinion, a trip has 3 phases: the dreaming phase (preparation), the living phase ( while experiencing the trip) and the souvenir phase. After having worked hard in 2018, 2019 and 2020, to plan and dream about an Asia cruise, which involved two changes of itinerary followed by a cancellation, and then an Hawaii cruise which was also cancelled. In both cases, all associated flights, hotels, transfers and excursions also had to be cancelled. I have become more shy about working too hard in planning our next trips. We have a Northern Europe cruise booked for May 2021, along with Flights by Celebrity.... but that’s as far as I’m going to go until final payment and final decision to go or not. Similarly, our following cruise booked for September 2022, will leave from a port that will not require a flight. Therefore, no further planning at this time... It’s kind of sad for me, to not feel like involving more energy on these trips, but once bit, twice shy. I am still wishing so much to be able to return to the world of discovering news countries, meeting new people, and tasting different food.... Keeping my fingers crossed!
  5. Despite the fact that cruise passengers on board Grandiosa will be submitted to inconveniences that did not exist before Covid, it’s so nice to finally hear news about cruises starting again! It provides hope for a slow return to cruising life and reopening of the tourism industry! I wish passengers of Grandiosa, a beautiful trip, with only good memories to bring home and may be a few funny anecdotes. Thank you OP for posting!
  6. Thanks Grandgeezer for the information, but in our situation, it did not quite work. Pricing was not at issue. Leaving from Montreal to Hong-Kong in March, Celebrity wanted to book us on a flight leaving Montreal at 07h AM, leaving us only a one hour gap to catch our connecting flight in Toronto. March in Montreal involves a significant risk of weather delay, due to snowstorms, aircraft deicing etc. Being a frequent traveller, I knew and verified on line on the airline website, that the airline had flights departing Montreal every half hour from 5h30 AM. Seats were available at the same price, on the earliest flights. Concerned to miss our connecting flight in Toronto, due to weather, I would have preferred booking the 05h30 or 06h AM departure from Montreal. So, I did call Flights by Celebrity to book an earlier flight, and the best they could see in their system was the 06h30 AM flight. ( Which we booked). Not a big deal, however, it did not make sense to me. I was trying to minimize the risk of missing a connecting flight due to weather at the same price, willing to wait a bit in Toronto, if the flight was on time; thus reducing the risk to Flights by Celebrity of having to reroute us last minute. The answer was no. The earliest flights were not showing in the system of Flights by Celebrity. This is what, in my experience, I was referring to, when I mentioned « fewer departing options ». But, Covid came, and our flights itineraries had to be completely changed since our cruise departure and arrival ports were modified. Than the cruise was cancelled and ...so were the flights. Flights by Celebrity handled the change and subsequent cancellation very professionally, at no additional cost for the change and a full refund for the cancellation, which occurred one month prior to cruising time.
  7. I agree with the above posters. In one case, Flights by Celebrity had fewr departure time options than the airline had. However, in my opinion, advantages of Flights by Celebrity far outweigh the inconvenience, especially, in the event of cruise itinerary change or cancellation.
  8. Thank-you so much Germancruiser for taking the time to share your experiences on this first cruise since the pandemic shutdown. Like our fellow Cruise Critics members, we too are so looking forward to cruise again. Your live report is a ray of hope and sunshine that keeps the dream alive. Thank-you once more for your feedback and enjoy your trip!
  9. Thank-you hvbaskey for sharing this article and this ray of hope! We have a Northern Europe cruise booked for May 2021 and I keep my fingers crossed, to be able to sail it; however, I’m quite doubtful since quite a few changes are needed prior to final payment date, in February 2021. I have heard promising news about vaccination; however no clear timeline yet. I have heard about borders beginning to re-open, but it is still fragile or with stringent conditions, such as a 14 day quarantine upon arrival. Meanwhile, the Canadian government official recommandations are still : « Avoid non essential travel » and « avoid cruise travel ».... I have not heard anything regarding a timeline for these recommandations to change. Furthermore, to my knowledge, there is no travel insurance regarding Covid.... I believe this is possibly linked to our government’s recommandations. However, information on these two important issues are not yet fore coming or discussed. I’m assuming nobody really knows yet. The absence of news .... as time flies... makes me very concerned to have to cancel third cruise.
  10. The heat wave was so intense that it even reached us up north, in the Belle Province of Quebec! Hi Hi! In that context, pretty much everything is open in the province; however Covid is stil present! Masks are now required everywhere indoors: bars, restaurants, malls, shops, religious gatherings etc. Other social distancing measures are still in place, such as 2 meters, washing of hands everywhere you enter, and reduced capacity for any public indoor gathering. Dancing and standing in bars is not allowed. Private home gathering are reduced to a maximum of 10 people. Our Covid numbers are not that bad, yet not that great, showing a sense of fragility. The trend of people in hospital is steadily going down with only 247 hospitalisations throughout the province, including 15 people in ICU. The rate of new cases is stable at 2% amongst tested people. Since testing has increased recently to reach up to 15000 tests on a daily basis.... our number of new cases in the last 24 hours has increased to 180 ( we had numbers below 100 per day, a week ago, however, close to 1000 per day, earlier this year. ) Sadly, we also had one deceased person in the last 24 hours. Peculiar issues we have encountered: one youth party was held in a small town near my home, and unfortunately, Covid was amongst the guests.... Guests who then proceeded to go to other businesses, bars, restaurants, grocery stores etc... This explains in part, our most recent increase in new cases. Some younger people did not seem to take Covid seriously, unfortunately. The obligation of wearing masks was generally very well received and is largely followed. This said, a minority of people were involved in small demonstrations against wearing a mask and one man was arrested for entering a donut shop, while refusing to wear a mask. The police intervention was even shown on TV.... Lastly, last night, hope was highlighted in the news bulletin, in the shape of a very promising Oxford vaccination against Covid. Keeping my fingers crosssed!
  11. On our very first cruise, in 1992, we met a few experienced cruisers that spent a significant amount of time, comparing the on-going cruise to their previous experiences... often in a very negative fashion. In my opinion, their time spent in comparing cruises, unfortunately negatively impacted their enjoyment on our cruise. Meanwhile, we were just blown away by the beautiful world of cruising... and wondering if we would become « grumpy » cruisers if we pursued the experience. A few cruises later, we’re still in awe, despite changes in the cruise industry. Reading on these Boards, I am surprised and challenged to understand why people keep spending so much money and time.... for a list of experiences they are saying they won’t miss. Nothing is perfect. Cruising is not perfect either. However, cruising has offered us some of the most magical vacation moment and experiences, while discovering new people and new worlds. If and when the cruise industry start again, the only thing I will not miss, is having had to cancel too many cruises due to Covid. I really hope and look forward to the privilege of boarding a cruise ship again!
  12. We sailed Infinity in 2018, and in my opinion, she was ship shape! This said, it all depends on your level of expectations. For us, we did not experience anything on Infinity that prevented us from enjoying our experience. On the contrary! We had an absolutely beautiful Alaska cruise. If the price, timing and itinerary were right again, I would book her once more with great pleasure. No hesitation! We love M Class cruise ship. The only thing missing in my opinion, is the Murano Experience.
  13. From a distance, the United States of America has been for many years a bastion of defense for civil rights, freedom and democracy. Thank you so much to America! More recently, from a distance, what I perceive from that wonderful nation, is a stronger and stronger current of extreme opposites: Left versus right, Democrats versus Republicans, Cultural differences based on race, religion or sexuality, pro-scientific respect regarding Covid versus tenants of conspiracy issues on the same topic etc. I don’t want to turn this thread into a political debate. I just wanted to express my concern for America so strongly impacted by Covid and riots. Moreover, I am concerned that the combat between all these extremes, could eventually weakened the Nation and present a tactical advantage for potential foes. In my opinion, the world still need a strong and unified America to be ready to continue its unifying mandate amongst the chorus of nations. My best and more sincere wishes to America for a prompt return to social peace and health.
  14. We have a few wipes left, but we keep them for specific use such as cleaning door handles etc. This said, we also wash each grocery item in soapy water, including fruits and vegetables. A lot more work each week, but we try our best to stay virus free.
  15. In the province of Quebec, we were hit pretty hard by the virus (worst hit province in Canada). This said, the trend these past few days is constantly improving. Keeping my fingers crossed. People in hospital down from almost 2000 to approx 650. People in ICU down from about 200 to 65. Daily death report down from more than 100 a day, to about 10 a day.... Although social distancing measures and other precautions are being recommended to people and business owners, between now and the end of the month of June, the following are either open or have received the green light to open: Shopping centers, restaurants, shops, hair dressers, dentists and other health professionals, gyms, arenas, pools, beaches private and public, movie theatres, daycare, zoos, gardens, museums etc. Gatherings indoors and outdoors to a maximum of 10 people and 3 different addresses...while still maintaining social distancing. Masks are recommended to be worn when the two meters distance cannot be maintained. Masked are required in Canadian airports and during flights. Social distance required for 16 years old and younger reduced to 1.5 meter and no longer required for children in primary/secondary schools or daycare. The plan for now is to anticipate a full normal reopeining of primary/secondary schools in September, while CEGEPs and Universities are expected to provide a mixed curriculum with presence in class and virtual classes. Strangely, cult gatherings such as churches, mosques, synagogues are not yet allowed to open. Casinos are also still closed. The feeling for the most part is that we’re reaching the end of wave 1 in Quebec. However, our National Health Director is unfortunately expecting and planning for a second wave to hit is in the fall....
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