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Posts posted by denny1700

  1. I paid in full for the Cannes - Lisbon cruise after months of preparation.  I spoke over the phone and sent emails back and forth over months.


    Cruise Critic refused to let me post a review of my experience as a customer, saying that they only allowed reviews from those who had actually sailed.   I was prevented from doing, not through any choice of decision of my own, but because Star Clippers decided not to let my board.  (The

    ostensible reason is that I did not have proof of a 72-hour PCR test (though I did and passed the on-site antigenic test. 


    This doesn't align with EU guidelines or laws.  I entered France, Portugal and returned to the U.S. with an antigenic test.  Star Clippers passengers are overwhelmingly in their 50's and beyond.  In phone conversations I specifically asked about Covid requirements and was told about the necessity of wearing a mask in all public areas except when sunbathing.  No one mentioned a PCR test, the most major hurdle to getting on this cruise.


    Most Americans don't realize, as I did not, that there are two different Covid tests.  Star Clippers did not explain this or the logic behind requiring both, which no country in the Developed World, to my knowledge, requires in addition to double vaccination.


    The only mention of a PCR test was one sentence buried in one of three long attachments in an email one month before sailing.  I received messages to furnish proof of travel insurance, CDC card, etc. and eventually told that these would be acceptable for boarding.  


    Suddenly I started reading all the emails I had been getting from Cruise Critic in the past but had never noticed or read.  They all were pitches to buy a particular cruise package on a specific date.


    It occurs to me only now that Cruise Critic;s revenue comes directly from the cruise lines, the very ones it ostensibly welcomes customers to review.



  2. For months, I was worried about being able to enter the EU and back to the U.S.  I got daily informational emails from Schengen Visa,  Never did he imagine it would be Star Clippers, not France, Spain, U.S., Portugal, that refused entry.

    I got to within 200 yards of the cruise ship after months of preparation, payment, jumping through hoops, flying from Seattle to Nice.

    Taking advantage of Covid 19 to bilk their passengers is very wrong.


    There is no legal requirement that cruise companies require both kinds of Covid tests.


    I thought I would commemorate my having survived a double heart surgery, prostate cancer radiation, and Covid-19 by going on a cruise with this sailing vessel company which promised a luxury experience in the Western Mediterranean in the fall of 2021.


    In fact, I paid over $4,000 for a cruise from Cannes to Lisbon.  The company refused to answer my email in which I questioned why the trip director flatly refused to let me board because I couldn't furnish proof a PCR test.  

    Days before the trip began, I had emailed the requested documents (CDC card, travel insurance, etc.) to them.  Thereupon I was  given clearance.   "The documents you have submitted are acceptable for boarding," they said.

    No one bothered to mention a PCR test.

    In the first hour of embarkation they had already refused boarding to 6passengers.

    Why was the PCR test requirement BURIED in a long email attachment a month before sailing and NEVER mentioned in the body of an email or in a telephone conversation with staff?  

    Why was there no printed material ever sent, no letter expressly stating the absolute requirement on their part and the reasons for their divergence from EU protocol?

    Passengers from North America have a gazillion things on their mind as they prepare for an almost 2 week cruise on another continent.

    Surely one email several days before the start of the cruise would have saved stranded passengers like myself much heartache and not squandered months of planning and packing, as well as life savings!

    In fact, going to France required only a EU digital Covid certificate and double Covid vaccination.  Why the company is not in alignment with EU protocol is baffling.  

    In fact, the United States, France, Portugal do not require the PCR.   An antigenic test suffices.

    On the Star Clippers ships, everyone, anyway,  was to be wearing masks on board except on the decks, just as is the case in the US or France.

    In fact,  he didn't even suggest an alternative, how I could meet up in the next port, etc.  All he insisted on was that "since I [he] had turned away 6 passengers before me, why should he let me on board?"

    Obviously, he had the discretion to let me board if he had really wanted to.  The two Filipino workers were just putting check-mar next to the names of passengers who had just taken the antigenic PCR test, had documentation of a double vaccination, etc.

    Ten minutes later, another employee, a nurse advised to meet the cruise ship the next day in Corsica and wrote instructions down on what to do.  I rushed in a taxi to the airport to do the PCR, went back into Nice to find a hotel to stay overnight ($160) made air reservation ($500) to fly the next day to the port (Calvi) she said the ship would dock at during the day.

    I shelled out an additional $1,600 to stay in Nice and Corsica when my lodgings had already been covered by Star Clippers.

    The port she told me to fly to was NOT the one listed on the latest itinerary.  

    I went straight to the dock the next day after flying to Corsica.  The taxi driver said he hadn't seen any such sailing vessel all day.

    That same morning I had hours trying to figure out how to SMS, telephone, email, leave a message on their site in order to ascertain which city in Corsica the ship would stop at and for how long.

    There was no way to do this.   I trusted what the nurse (standing 10 yards from the trip director)  told me.   She at least showed compassion.   The trip director was totally indifferent to my plight and was of no help whatsoever.   He was dismissive and acted as if I were asking for a refund on a $5 trinket.  "No way.  Now scram.  I'm  not interested in your problem.  Do whatever you want.  Why should I be concerned?"

    I feel totally ripped off and treated with near total indifference by star Clippers.   "We got your money, now we don't owe you a thing.  Go hang yourself" is their attitude.  


    My hunch is that they overbooked the cruise intentionally, knowing and even hoping that the insistence on the PCR would throw some passengers off.   Thus, they counted on turning away a certain percentage of already paid up passengers so they could overbook, including passengers whose cruises had been postponed since the shutdown.

    In any case, they are completely indifferent to the (plight of the) very people whose existence they financially depend on.  "I've taken your money, I no longer need you."

    The owners threw in the extra requirement to make for lost profits from the 18 months or so there were no sailings due to the Covid shutdown.



  3. I'm also concerned.  I've been on Azamara (750 passengers) in the Eastern Mediterranean.  On the 5th date I began to felt dizzy.  I finished the cruise (7 days total), getting medication from the commissary.  I don't remember much about it.  I'm just wondering how sick people can become and wehther they have to in that case interrupt their cruise and go to port.

  4. Hi

    I'm torn between Tin Leg Gold and Seven Corners Round Trip Elite for a 22-day trip to France, Spain and Portugal, with 12 days on a Star Clippers cruise.   I have a pre-existing medical condition and would like the Cancel for Any Reason option (due to Covid).  The Tin Leg has a better overall consumer satisfaction and is primary insurer, while Seven Corners has a better Forbes rating but is a secondary insurer.  I have Medicare.


    Any experience or recommendations?

  5. I'm surely Sydney wouldn't be bad at all; I was probably exaggerating my lack of interest.  At least it would be similar enough to N. America so that I would have an easy time of "navigating" in and from the airport, etc.


    You're certainly in my neck of the woods (Lynnwood, can't be closer than that to Seattle), and it's clear to you as well as me now that you can't really get from Seattle to anywhere but Alaska on a cruise line.   The ones you're doing aren't repositioning cruises, are they?


  6. >>  Royal Caribbean Ovation of the seas does 2 a year, April and September and it has solo cabins.  10 nights Vancouver to Honolulu, 2nd leg 18 nights Honolulu to Sydney, does the reverse trip in April.  


    Thanks for the information.  It's not that easy finding information as one can lost in Google searches and/or assume one has come to a dead end when one really hasn't.  I'm just going to wrap my head around going up to Vancouver, which I haven't been to in probably at least 40 years.  Also winding up in Sydney, which I really don't have much interest in seeing.      Actually, the reverse in April sounds like it would be doable.

  7. https://www.cruisecritic.com/cruiseto/cruiseitineraries.cfm?depcity=200&page=3



    I actually did find the cruisecritic.com webpages that list apparently all cruises out of San Francisco.  It does appear that Vancouver would be the best departure port.


    I think either a repositioning or freight ship would be the best bet for me, but there don't appear to be any solo discounts for the former, and I still haven't figured out how to find the latter.



  8. In fact, I wonder if there ARE any trans-Pacific cruises that leave from S.F.


    Also, I'd be a solo traveler...I understand there are freighters that also can accommodate travelers, granted with few frills.


    I did an Aegean 7-day cruise two years ago...it was too short.  I just enjoy relaxing on a ship, reading, watching the sunrise, etc.   The discos and shopping, and even the daily land excursions I could do without.

  9. >> We have T Mobile in large part because of their international plan. When I need to make a phone call, I use Skype, which I can access through the T Mobile data plan or via Wifi. It's free to another Skype user and pennies per minute (like 3 or 5) to non-Skype users.




    This sounds good, as the international plan is $25 per month additionally and allows for unlimited texting. Will that work even being out at sea though or on an island?

  10. >> There will be a local guide for each of the ports who will set up a desk near Guest Relations on deck 4 and they will have maps and information so go and see them if you plan to go out on your own. As I said it's easily done in all of the ports except Kusadasi. You really need to take a tour there. The Turkish people are great, but very pushy to sell you something.



    That's really helpful to know. I will probably strike out on my own in Mykonos, as being a tourist amid a lot of other tourists--I'm assuming Mykonos will be the most tourist-y and flashy--is not my cup of tea, especially as the tender drops you right in the center of town rather than at the dock. And Kusadasi I will join a group tour for the reason(s) you described.

  11. Yes, I found it and will be following it in the three weeks to come. Also, I'm reading about the six ports. I'm wondering which ones would be O.K. for a solo excursion: just walking/wandering about town and admiring the views, cats, buildings. Sometimes I do look to strike out on my own. But at the same time I don't want to get lost! My smartphone is an older Samsung and the GPS did not work well in Paris last September. I understand the Azamara Journey doesn't always stop in the port itself but further out and that a smaller boat has to be taken to actually get on shore.

  12. Could someone comment on the quality and stability of Azamara Internet and Wifi? Normally when I travel I have wifi wherever I am staying so that I can listen to Internet streaming radio as well as Google Play, Amazon Music, etc. instead of having to load part of my Music Library onto my I-pad. But as this is a ship cruise, I'm guessing that the wifi may be unstable and cut out some or much of the time. I also take it that the Internet (as at the stations) is not wifi and vice versa.


    I listen to music a lot to relax...and am not much of a party person...That and reading, relaxing in quiet are up there for me.


  13. Thanks -- I didn't want to be locked in to a bunch of shore excursions of which I knew only from the Azamara description. Besides which, I didn't understand how 700 passengers all could go on a particular excursion, as the numbers seemed to be limited to a few dozen. My worry would be that I would miss getting back onto the ship. This is the first cruise I'll ever have been on. I don't even know what "a roll call" is.

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