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Everything posted by Shorex

  1. And, in addition to the correct information about the necessity to have the ETA, you would not even be allowed to board your flight from the US to Australia without proof of having the correct documentation. The ETA is different from a visa, but it is a vital document to have when flying to Australia.
  2. Shorex

    Contract bridge

    Yes. On sea days there is a beginner and an intermediate lesson in the morning, and in the afternoon a duplicate game and, if I remember correctly, a social game. There is a pair of ACBL teachers on each cruise who present the bridge program.
  3. IMO, "hope" has no power. It's on the level of a contestant for Miss America who "hopes" for world peace. Sure, I can wish for something positive to happen, but all the while acknowledging that I have no power. However, I am prepared to deal with the uncertainly of the reality of the situation.
  4. IMO, it's too early to even hypothesize about the final itinerary for this cruise. The situation in the Red Sea may or may not be dire. We will be on this cruise and are beginning to look for the return flights from Mumbai. We are not worried, Crystal will handle the situation as it unfolds, and we will plan accordingly.
  5. Seatguru is no longer updated. The most accurate site for airline configuration (to the best of my knowledge) is aerolopa.com Here is the page for AA: https://www.aerolopa.com/aa and one config for AA 788: https://www.aerolopa.com/aa-788 Booking a bullkhead seat can be problematic as some airlines will displace you for a parent with a baby (if bulkhead is a bassinet location on a long haul aircraft.) Also bulkhead seats may be allocated at the gate to handicapped passengers. Booking an exit row will give you more legroom, assuming you meet the requirements. Personally, I'd choose premium economy, but it's your evaluation that matters.
  6. Autumn cruise to New England and onward to Quebec. The foliage is gorgeous.
  7. Ugh to the new format. Seems to have created with all the maturity and wisdom of tik-toc.
  8. Silversea is an "all-inclusive"* luxury line. No, do NOT tip your butler on arrival. I suggest you post this question on the Silversea board, but in a different format. Perhaps ask the frequent Silversea cruisers to explain what is included and what is expected of the staff. The "all-inclusive" lines do adjust the salary of the staff to compensate for gratuities that would have been paid on a mass market or premium line. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/108-silversea/ On a recent Silversea cruise we did receive "above and beyond" service in a very special circumstance and we did choose to tip. Otherwise, nope. And, as mentioned previously, a positive review means a great deal to the individuals serving you. *The asterisk is because nothing is totally ALL inclusive.
  9. Thank you for posting this affirmation of the quality of medical care on Crystal. Also very impressive professional care from the paramedics and immigration staff. Best wishes to your wife for a complete recovery and a safe trip home.
  10. While a TA might book air just to satisfy a client, this is no longer in their wheelhouse. They have no more expertise than anyone who can use the internet. There is no commission from the airlines and hasn't been for about 30 years.
  11. What Flatbush Flyer said. Is the $6,574 per person or for both? Makes a difference. We would never use a "one person" operation as a TA. TA's that are part of an established agency with a record of building a successful client base have more clout with cruise lines they sell. And our TA's clout has resulted in her quickly and efficiently resolving some issues with the cruise line.
  12. Shorex

    White Night

    Looks like a deck party on other ships I've sailed that merely added the "white party" element. Very nice experience but obviously Crystal's conception of "white party" is different. Different, but also one that affords a very entertaining and enjoyable evening. Personally, I consider the event quite the success.
  13. Obviously, the risk of Norovirus increases when numerous people touch items such as serving utensils. All it takes is one person who has not sufficiently washed/sanitized their hands, and the virus spreads quickly. Anecdotal reports are just that, anecdotal. FWIW, I enjoy the beautiful display of a Grand Buffet, and I enjoy partaking. However, I am aware of the risk. On some occasions, on any open buffet anywhere, the virus can be contracted and spread.
  14. The Silver Spirit recently had a port stop in Oman (December 1, 2023). I suggest you post on the Silversea board: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/108-silversea/ Posters on that board should be able to give you the details about a port stop in Oman.
  15. We are also leaving the disembarkation port, Cape Town, one day early (December 27 instead of 28). The ship will have been in South Africa for several days so no immigration issues would apply. The process for Silversea is that we needed to fill out an "early departure form". The request was approved. We will finalize our account on the 27th and the butler and room attendant will assist with luggage. We've arranged our transport to the airport. Procedures on other cruise lines may vary, and circumstances may vary. I concur with the comments from Don and John Bull. Make no assumptions and coordinate with the cruise line in advance.
  16. With zero information on budget or available time frames, I would recommend all-inclusive luxury lines that provide personal attention and a very high end experience. I concur with the recommendations of Bruce Muzz, and would add Seabourn and Crystal to the mix. Paul Gauguin (mostly sails in South Pacific) and Windstar are in niches of their own and provide adventure and great enjoyment. In the luxury lines you don't need a "ship within a ship".
  17. Most likely the airline delivery service acts through the port agent -- just makes sense. We travel internationally and domestically a great deal -- delayed bag situations have been few and far between. We don't worry in advance about the possibility of delayed bags -- we just handle it. Our travel insurance covers expenses attributed to delayed and truly lost bags. Never had to use it -- even for the African experience.
  18. Explora had an Iceland to NYC in September, as did Crystal, both using the Manhattan cruise terminal.
  19. None of our luggage has ever been "lost", but we have had bags delayed getting to the final destination. Once we had a connection in Atlanta en route to Rio and the plane sat on the tarmac waiting for the gate to clear. Sat there so long we had to race through the airport to the next gate. They had just closed the plane door and we thought we were stuck -- the alternative flight would have been a very inconvenient routing through Sao Paulo. They actually opened the plane door for us - that never happens. It was a better situation for the airline to re-open the door rather than send us on the re-route. Bags didn't make the plane, in Rio we filed a claim and the bags were sent to our first port, Salvador -- waiting for us on the dock. Another time we were traveling from the Seychelles through Nairobi and Amsterdam to the states. Major snowstorm in Europe and all flights there cancelled - including the one headed to Nairobi for the turn around. We waited it out, finally got to Amsterdam (thank goodness we had Delta status and could wait again in the lounge). Even there the line for re-routes was incredibly long. One bag didn't make it home for about four months -- but it did find its way. The cruise line has no power to expedite locating or delivering strayed bags. All you can do is file a claim at the arrival airport with your missing bag description, itinerary, including hotel, future cruise port information, etc. It is the airline's responsibility to locate and send your bag where you want it go -- the missing bag from Africa was delivered to our home about 35 miles from the nearest airport. Bags that are truly "lost" -- i.e. bags that have no identification and are unclaimed, end up in the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama.
  20. https://www.silversea.com/about-silversea/press-releases/2023/august/silversea-reveals-line-up-senior-officers-silver-nova-maiden-voyage.html https://vickivantassel.com/about Looking forward to meeting her. Welcome Vicki.
  21. Let's all go with the assumption you are right, totally right, 100% right. But situations change over the decades, and it makes sense to accept the reality of what is, rather than yearn for what was.
  22. We are working the same issue. First we found this: https://www.msccruises.com/int/-/media/global-contents/visa-and-documents-pdf/english/winter/document-visa-red-sea.pdf Note that MSC is the cruise line that published the information. It's not the line we'll be on -- but the Saudi Arabia visa info for US passport holders is correct. After clicking on the link MSC provided, we noticed the language on that site was not in English. However, just click on the E near the top of the page and voila, English. Then follow the yellow brick road to Services for Visitors, then to Electronic Visa waiver, then to Login of Individual Visitors to Saudi Arabia, then set up an account. Then continue.....eventually it all works. Also, if problems with the first site, have a look at https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ another site listed by MSC.
  23. Whatever the exact ratio is at any specific moment on any specific cruise, you won't be left wanting of service. And the service will be outstanding, or should we say "exceptional." 😊
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