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Everything posted by Rob_H

  1. We were on the Star back-to-back-to-back from Miami via west coast of South America to Buenos Aires at the end of 2018, including Christmas in Chile and New Year's Eve in the Falklands. We loved the Sun. Nice small ship, good entertainment as usual. Captain and crew were great, again as usual. Yes, it does visit glaciers, we had the Amalia glacier in Chile (not all itineraries do) as well as glacier alley further south. The ship visited Cape Horn on a wild and windy early morning. We had a good day and great weather in Stanley, Falklands, if any port gets cancelled due to weather that'll be the one as the tender access is tricky. The volcanic region behind Puerto Montt is a good excursion, nice little Germanic alpine towns in the region. We'd do this cruise again, it was fun. Remember, even in midsummer, this area can be very cold! It's not like a Caribbean cruise, don't expect to be using the pool much.
  2. We have a bunch of cruises booked for 2022(and 2023), been booking more recently as plans A, B, C etc. All with refundable deposits mostly paid for with Norwegian cruisenext or fcc. We're assuming the local AU/NZ cruises we booked long ago for February 2022 won't happen, nor the March r/t to Bali, nor the April transpacific. But not cancelling yet, just in case... As another option we have a changeable air ticket to LA for January, but don't know if that will happen until the "opening up" moves from the press release stage to some actual plans and rules. If that flight works (and we're sure we can get back, and there's travel insurance) we'll head off to the Americas for months and, apart from visiting family, we'll go on some cruises we have booked there. Main one is a 21 day Miami-Seattle on the NCL Encore in April which we'll combine with some Caribbean cruises before and some Alaska after, nearer the time. Another big cruise planned is five back to backs 56 days London-Mediteranean-Rio in October 2022, getting more optimistic that will actually happen. But, the main thing at the moment is to have lots of alternate plans, lots of flexibility, and everything changeable and cancellable.
  3. The current plan (which is still very vague) only covers Australian citizens and residents. There's no mention of when others will be allowed to travel to Australia. As you say, too late for the 21/22 cruise season for sure.
  4. I've always emailed it in, email address is on the form. Usually a cover email with two attachments: the completed form, and a brokerage statement. The time it took to process varied a lot, in the past I've had to chase it up a lot. As others have mentioned, even through the credit is shown for each person, if you have a joint account on board it'll come out of the same pool of money, doesn't matter who spends it. If you each have a separate credit card listed it might be different.
  5. Thanks Sewgood. Interesting video. Thanks for the useful information on the Princess/P&O overlap. We're booked, but anything could happen and the chances of these cruises going ahead as currently scheduled is quite low. Still, it might happen! (Yes, the refundable fare option did include the Go fares, according to customer service). Rob
  6. We're considering a couple of P&O Pacific Explorer cruises in June 2022 (fully realising they might not sail, but we can hope). We've cruised almost entirely on NCL (Norwegian) apart from a couple of Princess cruises. For those that have been on the smaller NCL ships (like the Sun) and Pacific Explorer (about the same size), what were the major differences for you? We did notice that Princess ships were generally older, and less well maintained than the NCL ships, probably even more so for the ex-Princess fleet at P&O Australia. I'll call customer service to check when they're open, but does anybody know if the current P&O booking assurance (full refund of deposit up to 75 days before sailing) applies also to the "Go" fares that have usually non-refundable deposits? We'd never book a cruise with a non-refundable deposit, especially over the next couple of years (exception is last minute deals where we'd pay in full anyway). Finally, I saw a mention here that P&O Australia sailings count towards Princess Capain's Circle. How does that work, do we need to do something to link them? Also, do Carnival shareholder discounts work with P&O Australia?
  7. We're booked on the NCL Spirit Apr 23 , 2022 Sydney to Tahiti, followed by the May 7, 2022 Tahiti to Honolulu. This would be to "try again" for our last cruise before Covid, which was the same route in March 2020 that had Tahiti cancelled and ended up wandering the Pacific . Unfortunately, we don't really expect the Apr/May 2022 Spirit cruises to sail. The NCL Spirit was scheduled to sail from Europe to Australia this November, then do a series of Australia and New Zealand cruises over January/Feb 2022 (the local summer), a roundtrip Sydney-Bali in April (which we're also booked on), then start repositioning across to Alaska with the Apr 23 and May 7 cruises. The journey to Australia in November has already been cancelled, as well as local sailings in Australia through to early Febuary (thus missing the main part of the summer season, the only reason to send a ship to Australia). It's really quite unlikely that the Spirit will now go to Australia - so there would be no reason for it to reposition across the Pacific. Australia and NZ are with few exceptions still closed to non-citizens/non-residents (Australians are not allowed to leave the country). In recent weeks it's become clear this is likely to continue well into the first half of next year, or longer. Maybe the Spirit will take another route to get to Tahiti and then do the May cruise before heading to Alaska. Seems more likely it'll sail elsewhere, sorry!
  8. We did the same, except booked nine back to back sailings till the ship got back to San Diego. It was already looking unlikely we'd be able to get to it anyway, but with the first cruise gone who knows what happen to it after that, so we'll cancel our additional eight cruises. Apart from the Jewel, five of our Spirit bookings were cancelled by NCL today (with four more very doubtful as the Spirit is very unlikely to be in Aus/Asia for 2021/22),
  9. The Spirit was cancelled today for sailings through and including Jan 28, 2022. So it confirms the expected, the Athens-Dubai-Singapore-Sydney won't sail (we were booked on it) nor will the initial local Aus-NZ summer season cruises. Safe to assume there will be no NCL cruises in Australia/NZ at all this coming southern summer. 😞 Quite likely no other large ship cruises either.
  10. Both were cancelled today, the email I got cancelled, among many others: Norwegian Escape with embarkation dates from October 22, 2021 through and including November 2, 2021
  11. The email I was sent has a subtle difference, it says embarkation dates through and including (not just through). I take this as meaning the last date specified doesn't sail either: Pride of America with embarkation dates from August 7, 2021 through and including October 31, 2021 Norwegian Bliss with embarkation on October 24, 2021 (one sailing) Norwegian Escape with embarkation dates from October 22, 2021 through and including November 2, 2021 · Norwegian Joy with embarkation dates from August 7, 2021 through and including October 9, 2021 · Norwegian Jewel with embarkation dates from November 18, 2021 through and including January 9, 2022 · Norwegian Pearl with embarkation on December 7, 2021 (one sailing) · Norwegian Spirit with embarkation dates from October 4, 2021 through and including January 28, 2022 · Norwegian Sun with embarkation dates from October 12, 2021 through January 18, 2022 So this says the Joy doesn't sail October 9.
  12. We took the Norwegian Jewel from Tokyo (Yokohama) to Vancouver in May 2019. 15 days, included a stop in Otaru in the north of Japan, Petropavlovsk in far east Russia, then four ports in Alaska. Lot more ports compared to some northern Transpacifics. There's a similar cruise scheduled for the Norwegian Sun, 19 Apr 2022, 16 days to Seattle. Norwegian are good for solo travellers, there's a meet up each night to meet similar travellers and eat together, have company for excursions, and so on. There's always plenty of live music on the ship, and shows every night, but Norwegian are not strong on educational lectures. We enjoyed it, it's a nice way to cross the Pacific and get an Alask cruise thrown in.
  13. A cruise in the Med, then transatlatic, then Caribbean, on the same ship, is sometimes possible. Back to Back on the same ship is great, for the second (or more!) cruise you know your way around, all the best places to be, and the crew get to know you better. Yes, you will get some entertainment repeated with back to back, but just the two or three company shows, the guest entertainers will usually vary. To your point about 21 day cruises, they are designed to have unique entertainment each day, not a 3x7 day sequence of events, they're fine. We've been on many 15+ day cruises and prefer them. It's a great idea to get a long cruise in before kids! With the additional information on your ages, you should stick to the big ships, Escape and above. We like the smaller ships for less crowds, but there aren't so many active activities. One thing you'll notice is the fellow passengers are often much older on long cruises (working people don't have the time) and repositioning cruises. This is especially noticable on transatlantic cruises. You get younger people and more kids (sometimes too many...) on short cruises that round trip back to the same port. On the good side, that means you get more access to the active onboard activities on the long cruises! But less people of a simiar age (not none, just less). Also, there tend to be better active tours on the mass-market cruise ports (like the Caribbean islands) rather than places that get irregular cruise visits, like central america. For the most fun, go where the crowds are. This is all from a pre-Covid viewpoint. Cruising could be very different when it fully resumes.
  14. Have a look at the cruises in my signature. We've done 4-5 cruises in a row several times, some back to back, some changing ship. It's great, we don't really like going to all the effort of getting to a ship just for a short cruise. Highly recommended. For example our November 2018 trip. Started as out as three cruises back-to-back on the Star, Miami, Cuba, Panama, South America to Buenos Aires. Then a couple of weeks before sailing we found a great deal on the Bliss from the west coast (where we were) to Miami, saved a flight. That left a ten day gap until the Star left. With a week to go we found a cheap Princess cruise that filled the gap exactly. Result was 65 days of cruising on three different ships, no hotels needed between cruises. This type of "serial cruising" is what we love! Worth the effort to plan it.
  15. We love long cruises, and often string 4-5 cruises together to have 2+ months of cruising. For exactly the same reason, why spend all that effort getting there for just 7 days on board? Having said that, 21 days is still rather long for a first cruise. Maybe you could grab a last minute deal in the Baltic (from Copenhagen!) or (better) eastern Caribbean from Athens later this year, 7-14 days, rather than planning too far ahead. The cruise you're looking at is a repositioning cruise, designed to get the ship in position for the Alaska season. With all the chaos around cruising now and for some time to come, there's a good chance it could change. The US ports are nice but deserve more time than a cruise day tour. The central American ports are OK but not as varied as some other parts of the world could be. If you're really looking for a long cruise, to make it worthwhile, consider back-to-back cruises on the same ship, or connecting between ships somewhere like Miami or Rome. No need to stick to whatever is offered as a long cruise, think about two or three cruises of 7-14 days. You could also break them up with a few days or more at the place where you change, for example a transatlantic, some time in NY or Miami, then a couple of Caribbean cruises. If seeing the Panama canal is important, the Panama round-trip cruises from places like Miami (that go just to Gatun Lake, through the old docks) are easy to combine with other Caribbean cruising.
  16. We're booked on the Spirit for Athens-Dubai-Singapore-Sydney but have been assuming for many months now that they'll be cancelled. Probably in the next batch of cancellations. It's a challenging cruise logistically at the best of times. We were on most of this route in late 2019, lots more paperwork and visas than normal cruises. So quite likely the Spirit won't make it to Aus/NZ for the 2021/22 summer season at all (even if the local governments allow cruising, which they're not in any hurry to do).
  17. We've been on Princess a couple of times, and Norwegian a lot, lot more - including Rome to Dubai on the Jade in November 2019 (and then staying on to Singapore). That cruise is great, we had two and half days in Israel, a couple of days in Egypt, and so on. One of our most memorable cruises. The second leg had the Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and more, again recommended. We find NCL more fun than Princess, great entertainment, more active, less stuffy. We also like the service better on Norwegian, more relaxed and friendly, but maybe we were just unlucky on the two Princess cruises. The tables (especially for 2) are mostly spaced better on NCL in the MDR, Princess seems very crowded (but does have better bread). (also, our Diamond Princess cruise in Japan only had set meal times, which didn't suit us at all). On all cruises, any company, it's easy to spend a lot if you drink a lot and go on all the ship's tours. On the other hand, if you don't drink much, and arrange tours yourself (when it's permitted again...) the final bill can be small, like ours is. The cabin tap water is perfectly good to refill water bottles with (especially if you then put it in the fridge overnight). We get a couple of free speciality meals each cruise (Platinum Plus) and sometimes the meal package on long cruises but really the main dining rooms are acceptable, quite varied, no need to spend more if you don't want to.
  18. Just placed an order, for delivery in the fourth quarter of the year, although they'll try to speed it up.
  19. Things were beginning to look good for a border opening in perhaps October but now with a complete new plan on vaccines in Australia, that's changed. Astra Zeneca vaccines are to be limited to those over 50, with Pfizer for others, but sufficient Pfizer orders are not likely to arrive until the 4th quarter of the year. The (already slow) target to vaccinate most with a first dose by October has been abandoned. Really I don't see the border opening (other than to NZ, maybe Singapore or another bubble country) until early next year now. Even local cruises (Australia to/from NZ) don't seem likely this Christmas. There's no political will in either country to help foreign cruise ships when the Ruby Princess debacle is still so fresh.
  20. We were on the Diamond Princess in Japan nearly a year before that "last cruise", enjoyed the bilingual entertainment. There's a good summary of the program at https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2021/mar/29/it-was-like-a-horror-film-inside-the-terror-of-the-covid-cruise-ship Not exactly the "last cruise" though, we were on one of the two last pre-pandemic NCL cruises carrying passengers (Jewel ending in Honolulu on March 22, same day as the Spirit ended in Capetown) and even after that there were other ships from other companies heading home for weeks.
  21. We normally book the sailaway rate, so don't get to choose a specific cabin. It's also possible to book a normal rate, with the "free" perks, and still not be shown a choice of cabin. That usually happens when booking very close to sail date (doesn't apply in this case) or booking a category that is close to selling out/reaching capacity. You'll see the cabin shown as "GTY" when that happens.
  22. Our "Personal Cruise Consulant" told us (in writing) we have seven of the 10% off coupons, to be used by the end of this year for cruises by the end of next year. Haven't tried applying any to bookings yet, as all our bookings are this stage are just "maybe", only a few might actually happen.
  23. Not until January 2022 to March 2022, unless that changes.
  24. Could well be something in the Caribbean. That "Exciting News is Coming Soon" form only appears on the US and Canadian websites, not the websites for other parts of the world. So possibly something local to North America (or they just forgot to roll it out across all the sites).
  25. If a coded announcement was made, leave balcony rooms and go to the corridors, and move away from the windows in public areas. Interior room people (like us) didn't have to do anything, except not leave the room. 😃 Nothing about lights, but the captain did keep us as far from both coasts as he could (and at a high speed). The extra guards were noticeable, big group of them onboard for just that section of the cruise. It's very unlikely pirates would pick on a large cruise ship, far too much trouble compared to an oil tanker with few crew. We felt safe.
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