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Posts posted by Shorex

  1. Some useful information is here:




    What is interesting is that the French Pacific Franc (XPF or CPF) is fixed against the euro. We will be taking some euros left over from another trip -- however, if a business accepts euros we expect to receive change in CPF. The exchange rate with the euro is constant at 100 CFP = .838 Euros (or 1 Euro = 119.33 CFP.) Of course the exchange rate with other currencies fluctuates.



  2. Starting with #3:

    "3) Looking at travel insurance, what happens if husband or wife tests positive for COVID?  Is only that person's coverage invoked?  Or can one actually get the entire price of the cruise and airfare paid by the insurance?  (I've never had to deal with travel insurance before)"


    For all of our many insured cruises, and two were expeditions to Antarctica, the terms and conditions of the insurance would provide coverage if one of the couple became injured or ill pre-cruise and thus canceled the cruise. There was no expectation that the healthy partner would cruise. Covid was treated as any other illness that would preclude travel. Be aware that the insurance usually does not cover 100% of costs incurred. Recommend you visit the travel insurance board on CC:


    and that you pay a visit to https://tripinsurancestore.com/

    for specific answers to your questions.


    "2) Are we fools to book at all with a cruise line offering no consideration for Covid risks, while forcing us to be exposed to a greater risk of possible infection via a forced night's stay in Buenos Aries?"


    No. Prepare for covid risks by purchasing a travel insurance policy that meets your needs and covers other potential risks. The burden is on the traveler to protect their financial interests.


    "1) Are we fools for paying so much, when we could seemingly go twice for this price in a less elegant ship, and with less-esteemed naturalists?  Absolutely everything is included, down to "open bar" and all gratuities, but still... pricey. "


    No. It's so easy to compare numerous cruise lines that do expeditions to Antarctica. Do the research, put together a spreadsheet, and figure out the best expedition for you. Our first expedition was on the Marco Polo (now defunct), an old ship with a fantastic expedition staff that was led by Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund. Second expedition was on Seabourn, a luxury experience and great in a different way.


    One thing to note: the expedition leaders from all the cruise lines tend to know each other and support each other. They share info between cruise lines about ice conditions and weather.


    Antarctica can be the adventure of a lifetime. If you go.



  3. Have not been on both -- however, the primary difference is that the Paul Gauguin is a luxury cruise ship and the Aranui 5 is half passenger ship, half cargo ship. Recommend you check out the review here on CC: https://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=1234

    Click through all 6 headings.

    Youtube is another great resource. Here are two on the PG:






    Here's one about the Aranui 5:


    My opinion is that the PG would be more kid friendly, but either way your family will have a great adventure.

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  4. If medical coverage is important, then definitely look at buying your own insurance. An important factor for us is that the medical coverage is primary, not secondary. With secondary coverage you must first submit all medical bills to your insurer at home, wait for a ruling (almost always denied if you received treatment outside of the US), and only then submit to the travel insurance company. It's important to read the fine print of policy, not just the overview.

  5. 19 hours ago, SLSD said:

    The jackets are excellent--but we did take layers for underneath.  I had a down sweater for example which I almost always wore.  And, it all depends on the weather while you are there.  You do not need to bring another cold weather jacket.  

    Thank you!

  6. I know of cruisers who have used both Luggage Forward and Luggage Free successfully - from home to cruise port or hotel and cruise port to home. The service is not inexpensive. I would recommend studying the website for each service and then giving them a call. Ask about pricing, tracking, insurance, etc. There may be other similar companies.

  7. Every now and then, someone asks about packing cubes. The discussion always goes the same way. Those who utilize them and are happy with them express their opinion. Those who have no interest or need for them express their opinion. The OP who asked for information, receives information and subsequently makes an independent decision. In the end, no one really cares how anyone else packs.

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  8. Cruise lines are very reluctant to provide visa advice, especially when the traveler does not hold a US/Canadian/UK/EU passport. They want to avoid liability if their advice is incorrect or even simply misunderstood.


    Personally, if I held a Taiwan passport  I would go to a Mexican embassy or consulate to discuss the necessary documentation. And I would have plenty of backup proof to show RC personnel who will be doing the doc check at the pier.


    One thing experienced cruisers know is that not getting off the ship at a particular port does not excuse them from having all the necessary paperwork. The ship will be in Mexican waters and subject to all the laws of Mexico.



  9. Have a look at tripinsurancestore.com for a master class in travel insurance.

    If you still have questions,  "Call Steve, Deanna or Kim at 888-407-3854 or 816-282-6858, or email us for the right Travel Insurance advice from the most recommended travel insurance website."


    Steve is an insurance broker, but you will never pay anything extra for their advice or guidance. There is another travel insurance website that has been recommended: https://www.insuremytrip.com/


    Between the two resources, you will find the right plan for you.


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  10. Windstar does have numerous cruises focusing on Japan in 2023. Just click "Asia" on the "Find a cruise" link on the home page and they all appear. Just scroll past the cruises that spotlight other areas. We do have one booked for late 2023 but we are not committing any non-refundable funds until there is virtual certainty.


    Opinions of a few posters on cruise critic will not mean anything. As to when Japan will open to tourism, everyone is guessing.

  11. Azamara requires a booster:


    "As of March 1, 2022, all guests must be fully vaccinated and boosted. Azamara will require vaccine eligible guests to be fully vaccinated with all initial doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. We also require that fully vaccinated guests get a booster dose when they become eligible to do."


    The only answer to the OP's question is to be found on the website of the relevant cruise line. Even then, protocols can change on short notice.

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  12. My answer to the original question is very port specific. Yesterday we docked at Gibraltar. Weather was pleasantly cool and dry - no need to drag along rain gear. You are never more than a few miles from the ship, facilities are modern and clean, probably one of the easiest ports to visit.


    Sun screen and insect spray for Brazil. The right shoes. Some ladies wore fancy flip flops on Komodo Island. Bad mistake when a sudden downpour turned the dirt path to mud. Common sense.


    A port call in a third world country such as Angola requires more thought and planning. Yes, a stop there will be on our December cruise. The guides will be locals without training or certification, and the bus might be an old school bus. Still worth the experience.


    Over more than two decades of travel and cruising, and visiting more than 100 countries, maybe two countries required passports to be on our person at all times. When that is the case, the cruise line takes great care to inform the guests.

  13. Obviously, if the stock is publicly traded, as for example, Carnival Corporation, the annual report to shareholders as well as the 10-K holds a wealth of information about the subsidiary cruise lines. Strategic reports and financial statements are also publicly available.


    However, it seems that much of the information you seek would be proprietary. Employee rosters?

    Why would any company make that information public? Are you writing a term paper?


  14. Yes, the situation is in flux and can change without notice. However, there are two websites to follow that will give you a pretty good idea of what is happening around the world. Note Kayak's latest update is today. (You can increase the size of the map.)




    And, when you check in for an international flight, the agent behind the desk checks IATA (International Air Transport Association) to verify your docs (passport, visa, vaccinations, etc.)  IATA is the definitive source for airlines. Check your countries here:




    Lots of other useful information there too.


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  15. YVR has preclearance into the US. The same US immigration and customs inspections of international passengers are performed before departure at YVR. So do allow some extra time in YVR for check-in. You will arrive in DFW as though it was a domestic flight.


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  16. To expand a bit on janetcbl's answer: usually once you are through immigration, the process is relatively simple and easy. Follow the signage to the baggage claim area reserved for international arrivals, grab a cart if needed, load your bags (perhaps after a short wait for them to tumble down to the carousel). Get into the line to be (hopefully) waved through customs. Follow the signage to the drop off belt for on-going bags, follow the signage to go through security line, and find your gate. You should have a couple of hours to spare.


    That being said, there can be annoying delays -- multiple international flights arriving at the same time creating long lines at immigration, long lines at security, etc. Personally we think 4.5 hours at JFK creates just the right safety margin for international to domestic connections, even with global entry and TSA pre-check.



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