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Everything posted by SWFLAOK

  1. We were actually offered a "fam" upgrade on our first Regent cruise, and didn't know it until now. It was a cruise from Vancouver to Seward Alaska. It was offered through our TA on the morning that we were to embark. We had a Veranda Suite, and were offered a Penthouse Suite. We had already paid for our transfer to our hotel, which we also had paid for, and our luggage had already been taken by the hotel to the ship, with our room number tags on every piece. The location of the new suite was not available to us. We turned it down, and have never been offered an upgrade again. Now we know why. But, it we had been offered this in advance, we would have taken it.
  2. If you have a Sunday at sea, there will be caviar and champagne at breakfast, and there's no additional charge. We aren't caviar experts, but it seemed fine to me. And the champagne was good.
  3. Well that's definitely an advertising site for insurance.
  4. I wasn't sure if it was an oceanic white tip or a whitetip reef shark, based on what I had read. From someone onboard the cruise ship, they weren't far outside the reef, and reef sharks do follow small boats outside of the reef, associating small boats with fish.
  5. The cabins on Deck 8 are definitely nice. I wouldn't turn one down if offered that for the price of the aft cabins on Deck 7. We normally don't make much use of our butler on Paul Gauguin, but they can get you additional dinner reservations, and they can also help with other things that come up unexpectedly. On our first PG cruise, my husband had a latent back injury that was made much worse by a bumpy excursion at our first stop in the Marquesas. Our butler and room stewardess made that experience much better for both of us while he was bed ridden for several days. Deck 8 is quiet, and convenient to the Pool area, the Pool Bar, and breakfast in the morning. We hope to be in our Deck 8 cabin for the 4th time on the Fiji to Bali cruise on April 11th, but who knows what will happen between now and then.
  6. I am spouse of SWFLAOK and lurk here LOL. I think the closer one is to the Equator, the less likely the virus is to spread because the virus is sensitive to higher temperatures and humidity. Both Fiji and Bali, are humid and 90 at this point. So hopefully this virus does not explode in those areas close to the Equator and that spares cruises within that area as long as they take preventative measures.
  7. Which cruise are you on that's affected by this? I'm more worried about flying through LAX than taking the Fiji to Bali cruise on PG. In fact, I'm more worried about our neighbors coming back from Hong Kong after several months there since we live in the same building, and touch the same handles and buttons. The South Korea and Japan cases have come from China. I don't know if Indonesia has cut off flights and cruises from China. But having just been in Indonesia on a cruise back in December, there were not a lot of Chinese tourists as there were in Viet Nam, Thailand, and Singapore, or even Australia. The same was true for Malaysia which has had minimal cases. Who knows how many Chinese visitors have come to the US during this time, and just disappeared into our country.
  8. I hate seeing sharks while I snorkel, but I've been able to tolerate the smaller sharks in shallow water. They're fed, along with the rays, and all are happy. In deeper water, I never want to see them, and hated the Faka Rava snorkeling with very large black tips following me 5 feet under and 10 feet back. Last October, a woman was decimated by a white tip reef shark off Moorea. I believe this was outside of the reef on a whale encounter. So be careful about the sharks you want to see.
  9. The tables on Regent are something I have a problem with. At the Coffee Connection, the table is not wiped between customers. I complained about this onboard, and nothing was done about it. I made a show of wiping the table with a Clorox wipe each time I arrived, and still nothing was done. We were onboard for 32 nights . At the restaurants, most of the time, the table cloth is not changed between seatings. We had people with pneumonia onboard (confirmed by those they sat with), who coughed excessively on the table cloth while eating. We saw some of the waiters change the table cloth between seatings, but others did not. We complemented the waiters that did, but we started purposely leaving food stains on the table cloth to make sure they were always changed. I agree with everything that Floridiana said about what I will do going forward. I have tried to be discrete, but next time, I will say something to the passenger.
  10. It was an elderly American heading home, with 175 other passengers from the Westerdam on the same flight. I guess all of the ports that turned down the Westerdam knew something that HAL wasn't acknowledging. We did one HAL cruise a few years ago, and would never do another since our captain made a number of decisions on our 2 week cruise that we found questionable. But, what the Westerdam did is very bad for the rest of us who have cruises over the next few months, whether they're in Asia, heading toward Asia, or heading elsewhere after going through Asia. The Westerdam left from Hong Kong and stopped at a port in China a few days later. Obviously, at least one passenger onboard picked up corona virus before boarding, or at their only stop. They should have been quarantined in Sianoukville before disembarking since so many ports denied them entry, but they all went quickly on their way, taking their virus with them.
  11. Thank you so much TBK, this is what we were hoping to hear.
  12. At this point, we will try to stop worrying and see what happens. It's too expensive to cancel. We have insurance, but it doesn't cover cancelling the trip for fear of catching a virus, or for a lack of ports to stop in. And the reason we booked this cruise is to celebrate a milestone Birthday, with a cruise that stops in many small ports that we've never stopped at before, and will soon be too old to stop at in the future. If it was just the usual FP cruise, we would have chosen something other then the Paul Gauguin cruise since we've already done all of the other itineraries within the past 3 years.
  13. I read about Tonga on the Regent board on CC. The March 28th PG cruise from Papeete to Fiji is supposed to stop in Tonga, as it did in September when we took that cruise. We're supposed to board in Fiji on April 11th and sail to Bali. PG had booked us on a return flight through Hong Kong back to LAX, and few weeks ago, we cancelled that and booked a flight back through Sydney. We are much happier with that, but if we can't stop anywhere from Fiji to Bali, that would not be good. Our excursion booking just opened, and the excursions that were just added to our itinerary a few weeks ago, did not all become available. None of the excursions on Vanuatu have been confirmed by the local tour representative. I suspect that Vanuatu is considering banning the ship from their port. I think that the ports are looking at what the cruise line requires for those who are boarding. Regent just cracked down big time, with no one with a passport from China, Hong Kong or Macau will be allowed to board, no matter what their country of residency. And anyone who has traveled to, transited through, or passed through the airport of China, Hong Kong or Macau in the last 30 days will not be allowed to board, and are asked not to come to the port. Full health screening will be done before boarding Regent ships, and those with a fever and/or respiratory symptoms will be subjected to additional tests, and possible denial of boarding, or quarantine onboard. I haven't seen anything like this policy for Paul Gauguin. Many Chinese tourists fly into Papeete, and while most of them head to Moorea, or stay on Tahiti for their vacations, everyone boarding the Paul Gauguin should be subject to the same criteria as Regent is imposing.
  14. The water between Tahiti and the Cook Islands can be pretty rough. The ship cannot dock at either of the Cook Islands, and anchors in an unprotected area to tender passengers through an opening in the reef to get to the dock. We tendered into Atutaki in December a few years ago. On the way back to the ship, the waves were going completely over the tender. It wasn't as bad this past September, but it still required a slow, careful process to get on and off the tender. Sometimes the Cook Island ports aren't accessible by tender so the 2 days at sea result in just a sail by.
  15. There are people waiting for 3 days so far to board RCL Anthem of the Seas. They won't be boarding until tomorrow, and haven't been offered a full cash refund, or any assistance, monetary or otherwise, with finding a place to stay in New Jersey while they wait. They were told to go to the ship yesterday morning, and after waiting half a day, were told to come back on Monday. All of the passengers on the previous cruise have left, including the large group of Chinese Nationals that boarded with what turned out to be the flu. I'm sure those on the Princess cruise with over 60 positive corona virus cases so far will be offered something eventually, but a cash refund seems too little compensation for them since Princess let someone onboard that had corona virus, and didn't clean sufficiently after he was removed from the ship before the next cruise began.
  16. I read something by a British tourist onboard that said that everyone was allowed out of their cabins. Those in cabins without windows are allowed out at all times since that's the only way they get fresh air, and are not confined to their small cabins. All others are allowed out for exercise everyday. They were told to wear paper masks, not to stop to talk in groups, and to keep at least a meter between each other. This is obviously not working since the number of cases has sky rocketed on the Princess. The original contaminator (the 80 year old from Hong Kong), boarded on the cruise from Japan to Hong Kong, and got off in HK before the ship headed back to Japan, with his virus left behind. I would stay in my cabin (which will never be one without an opening window), where I have more control over the viruses I'm exposed to, and I would not complain that I had to keep my own cabin clean, as those onboard are complaining about.
  17. On our September cruise from Papeete to Fiji, we had better Wi-Fi than we had on 2 Regent cruises last year (Med cruise in July, Singapore to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney in December and early January). Maybe it's due to having way more people using the internet on a ship with 650 to 725 passengers instead of 300 people. Being close to ports in the Med seemed to give no better response than being at sea. Being in port on the SE Asia/Australia cruise had better access than at sea, but still bogged down at peak times. The cost of Wi-Fi isn't significant to us compared to the price of the cruise. But when paying extra gets you nothing better (as on Regent) that's annoying. We're on the cruise toward drydock, and we're more worried about whether it will happen than whether the Wi-Fi will be upgraded.
  18. This has bee our experience as well. On our last Regent back to back cruise in December and January, Singapore to Singapore, followed by Singapore to Sydney, the excursions were mostly bad, and that included one we paid a large amount extra for. It was all about going slow, taking bathroom breaks, and shopping. A number of times we were delayed for half an hour or more because some on our tour did not return to the bus - sorry, they were shopping and the buys were so good. We also had long stops added at a pottery factory and an embroidery factory, which were very long, and gave us very little time at the more interesting stops at temples and museums that we had looked forward to. Most excursions left 45 minutes to an hour late due to bus loading and unloading time, and a few times, Regent kept the restaurants open late for lunch since the morning excursions didn't start returning to the ship until after 2 PM. A few times, when given a chance, those on the excursion were consulted about stops, and their length. The majority did not want lengthy shopping stops, but if just one asked for it, we had at least a moderate shopping stop. We also had people asking for bathroom stops as soon as the bus left the cruise terminal, and we quickly stopped at a place with a bathroom, and the rest of us were told we could get off and shop while waiting. How do we stop this and get real excursions? I don't know. It seems that too many of those onboard are just looking for a comfortable Air Conditioned bus ride, with some shopping and bathroom stops and a chance to stop for coffee and a snack ... probably the same thing they enjoy at home. We had one paid excursion that we was over 300 dollars for the 2 of us. The excursion that we had signed up for was cancelled at the last minute for unknown reasons. This one was added at the last minute, and though it cost slightly more, it sounded enjoyable, with a catamaran sail to a reef, a BBQ lunch and snorkeling. It was a cattle boat, with more guests (just over 60) than seats, and a very cheap lunch (salad, cake, and hamburgers, hot dogs and a limited amount of chicken and fish, cooked on a home size gas grill that was next to where the dinghy was loading and unloading snorkelers, making for a few minor burns). There was beer onboard, but those that snorkeled had to wait until the sail back to have any. Nearly everyone onboard snorkeled, although many had no experience, and snorkeling from a dinghy (transporting only 8 to 10 at a time) in an area with current isn't easy for a novice. The snorkeling was nothing special, and the safety of those in the water was suspect since there was only 1 person watching all of the snorkelers while they were in the water. We've done many trips like this in the South Pacific and the Caribbean, and they were all better, and less expensive. Some of them were on our own from land-based vacations, but some were cruise excursions that we paid for on cruise lines that don't include any included excursions.
  19. Was this a private tour that you arranged. If so, I would love to know how to arrange this. We already embarked in Barcelona last July with Regent, and took their paid excursion and it was just a panoramic bus tour. We saw more on our arrival day when we had a bus to drop us off in town, but since we had no tickets to go inside any point of interest, we could only walk around the outside. I am also a Gaudi fanatic, and would love to take the tour that you just did. We have a Splendor cruise in September 2021 that ends in Barcelona, with an early arrival and a night in port. I want to do that tour while we're there. I suspect Regent will offer the same panoramic bus tour that we took last time, and the post cruise add-ons were not appealing. Thanks in advance.
  20. It's not at all fair to other passengers. I completely agree with BarbarianPaul. I thought this suggestion from the OP was not sarcastic at all, and was totally inappropriate. Mrlevin is suggesting that people who are sick should try to get onboard, even if they know they are ill, by avoiding detection of their illness. We saw someone do this on a cruise. On the bus from the airport to the ship, a woman was so sick that she needed to ask the bus driver to pull over so she could run off the bus and vomit. On arriving at the port 10 minutes later, she was headed right onboard, having filled out her form and handing it to the nurse saying she had no health problems that day. We were right behind her in line, and "told" on her. Two other couples behind us agreed with what we said. They sent someone to track her down, but we don't know what happened. Could have been norovirus, or just food poisoning, but I'm sure there's plenty who will try what Mrlevin suggested to get onboard with corona virus. A few days ago, I read a suggestion on another website from someone leaving China to a destination that was screening for fever that included Mrlevin's suggestions, as well as taking a large does of fever lowering medication. We should all be taking this seriously, and jokes or sarcasm are not good responses.
  21. We're booked on the Fiji to Bali cruise in April, on the way to dry dock. We're hoping that all goes well, and the worst is over by then for corona virus. But PG had booked us on Cathy Pacific through Hong Kong on the way back to LAX. We contacted our TA last Sunday, and she found a flight through Sydney to LAX on the way back, and we booked that. She also arranged for a refund from PG, which we haven't seen on our credit card yet. We stop twice in Papua New Guinea on our cruise, and they've already stopped ships from Asia from stopping in their ports. So those that come back on the PG from the dry dock may not be able to stop there if the epidemic isn't resolved by late May. We don't stop in Tahiti this time, but if France isn't stopping Chinese tourists coming into Papeete, they could have cases coming into the Papeete airport, and I'm not sure how well they would handle them. But, on our 3 PG cruises, we have never seen any Chinese tourists on the Paul Gauguin. We have seen them on Moorea as tourists in places that we went on PG excursions. I would be cautious when you land in Papeete about touching anything, more so than from the LAX flight to PPT. I always bring Lysol wipes on planes, and wipe everything that I might touch, since I assume the last person sitting there touched all of them, and nothing was cleaned between flights.
  22. We loved our Silver Suite on Whisper when we cruised from Barbados to Manaus and back to Barbados in November of 2018. My brother was also onboard in a Veranda Suite, and neither of the men wanted to dress up, so the Silver Suite allowed the 3 of us to eat dinner in our suite with the excellent food from The Restaurant being served to us for dinner by our butler. La Dame definitely does require an advance reservation, and it also costs 60 dollars per person. We booked one reservation in advance of the cruise for the 3 of us. My brother thought he would not like it, but at the end of our first dinner at La Dame, he wanted more, and we booked a second dinner for the 3 of us, again at 60 dollars each. I don't think the Italian restaurant required reservations before boarding, and there was no additional cost, but we preferred The Restaurant. The hot rocks grill didn't appeal to us at all. We had made a second reservation before we ate there the first time, and we cancelled it the day after we ate there. Cooking our own food at the table, with the resulting smoke and heat wasn't for us. We're booked for Fort Lauderdale to Auckland in January 2021. My brother isn't joining us for this cruise, we're in a Veranda Suite since it's enough room for the 2 of us. We have the clothes to dress for dinner in The Restaurant, so we'll be eating there most of the time. We'll be paying for a reservation at La Dame since we love French cuisine, and hoping we can get an additional reservation. While we're not in a Silver Suite, we're on back-to-back cruises, and should be able to get a reservation on each leg. We did a Sea Dream cruise to the Caribbean, and enjoyed it. It's much more of a small boat experience than Silver Whisper. We've done 3 Paul Gauguin cruises (now owned by Ponant), and it's closer to the size of Silver Whisper, but it's still much more casual, with suites being modest in size. We found the service to be exceptional on Silver Whisper, as we found it on Sea Dream and Paul Gauguin. We also cruise on Regent, and while still enjoyable, is definitely a bigger boat experience. We would never consider a ship with more than 1000 passengers.
  23. And that 55% mortality rate for those over 60 could be a deal breaker for us, cruising to Bali, and flying back through Sydney if they haven't completely closed down their China flights by then. If the Chinese are still boarding in China and fleeing to other countries where they can board US bound flights with us, then it's not safe to go. I'll be checking to see if the 2.2% goes up, and if it gets broken down by age before April.
  24. The mortality rate that I saw for SARS was 9.5 percent, which is still a scary percentage. The 2.1 to 2.2 percent mortality rate seems to be holding steady for a number of days now. But the number of infected this time is already more than SARS, and it seems to be escalating. An expert from the SARS epidemic in China said that he expects the peak to be 7 to 10 days from now, which I assume is based on the Wuhan quarantine having started a week ago. I hope that the WHO declaration shuts down flights to the rest of the world from the affected areas. If China keeps sending flights to other countries, it's going to continue to spread. The husband of the Chicago woman in the US now tests positive as well. They're saying that he contracted if from her, so I assume that means that he did not accompany here to Wuhan, and stayed in close contact with her even though she was sick on arrival and diagnosed quickly. That doesn't give me a good feeling about how it will go in the US as more cases arrive. As for us, our TA spoke to PG and worked some of her magic, and we ended up with a flight on Qantas through Sydney to LAX, which leaves later from Bali, but takes less time, and lines up well with our JetBlue flight from LAX to FLL. It was slightly cheaper, and PG will be refunding our return flight expense, but we are now on our own for that return flight. I'm hoping that this is all over by April.
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