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About Mercruiser

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA and the Netherlands
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara, Celebrity, Princess
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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  1. I've got a Windstar cruise booked in Feb and a 5 day Bora Bora stay booked at the Conrad on Hilton frequent guest points. Bora Bora is like the Holy Trail of frequent guest point bookings. I hope I'm able to use the booking. French Polynesia is opening up to international travel on July 15. The Paul Gauguin cruise ship is planning to restart in July with local cruises that only operate in FP territory. At least that's the announced plan now. Nothing is for certain. Windstar also operates cruises that stay in FP the whole time. This has the advantage that only one government is involved in the decision making.
  2. We went on a two week car trip in NZ about 30 years ago. One of our best vacations ever. We later went back on a Soltice cruise. I actually liked the car trip better. It was a lot better immersion into NZ than a series of 6 hour port stops.
  3. Brasserie Four. Best bouillabaisse I've ever had. And I've tried it all over the world.
  4. More choices are better. Glad to hear that Windstar might be increasing their presence in FP. I would be happy to try PG some day, but their prices are beyond what I am willing to pay. The recent Windstar sale was enough to get me to book. Glad that PG is restarting cruises in PG. Not glad to hear about the new owner's recent behaviors.
  5. A lot of discussion here has veered into the relevant topic of "Place an imaginary bet here , When will vaccines be available to ordinary people?" I am very skeptical that I will have access to a vaccine before 2022. I'm not that certain that one will be developed at all. There are lots of viruses that have no vaccine despite decades of trying. Here is a related news article from AP https://apnews.com/c62c6376cc0a7c1801dcec5bd42c4995 "Vaccine experts say it’s time to set public expectations. Many scientists don’t expect a coronavirus vaccine to be nearly as protective as the measles shot. If the best COVID-19 vaccine is only 50% effective, “that’s still to me a great vaccine,” said Dr. Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania. “We need to start having this conversation now,” so people won’t be surprised, he added. And for all the government promises of stockpiling doses in hopes of starting vaccinations by year’s end, here’s the catch: Even if a shot pans out -- and it’s one that your country stockpied -- only some high-risk people, such as essential workers, go to the front of a very long line. “Will you and I get vaccinated this year? No way,” said Duke University health economist David Ridley."
  6. There are two places I went on a land vacation, after first discovering it on a cruise: Malta (in the Meditteranean) - Amazing combination of history, culture, natural attractions, great weather, and architecture. Went there for a week, a couple years after discovering it on a port call. Sicily - Went on a port call to Taormina and Syracuse. Went in February (right before Covid) and spent a week with a rental car driving around the island. It's Italy without all the crowds (at least in February). The Greek architecture was amazing. Copenhagen - Went there first on a Baltic cruise port call. Went back for a weekend in December to see Tivoli Gardens all decorated for Christmas. It is one of my favorite Christmas experiences in Europe. BTW - I've been on a temporary job assignment in Europe. We loved visiting the normally crowded cities off season (Berlin, London, Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, Cinque Terra, Madrid, Prague, Rhine and Moselle rivers, Cologne, Budapest, Milan, Granada, Seville, Istanbul, Vienna, Krakow, Dublin, Lisbon). We were very fortunate to get this opportunity before Covid.
  7. I want to give a shout out to the medical professionals on this board. We appreciate the work you do and the battle you are fighting to protect and treat everyone during this pandemic. If it were not for nurses and doctors, I would have died in my 40s due to a ruptured appendix. My wife would have died in her 50s due to a failed mitral valve. I am sure thankful for our medical professionals.
  8. Seems pretty obvious that there will be some cruise line (and hotel, airline, etc.) bankruptcies. But Chapter 11 bankruptcies don't necessarily mean the company ceases operations. A prominent example is American Airlines. They went through bankruptcy post 9/11. Delta, United, US Airways, Air Canada, and a bunch of others all went through bankruptcy and continued operations. But even if the cruise line ceases operations, the cruise ships will survive, even if their owners do not. We got the 8 R-Class ships through the bankruptcy of Renaissance during the Gulf War. Renaissance is gone, but their ships have been sailing on as Azamara, Oceania, Princess, etc. To me, the situation actually seems worse now than what I was anticipating in April. I hadn't anticipated that two months later we would still be waiting for South America, Mexico, India, Africa, etc to reach peak infection rates. Add to that, the resurgence that is happening in the USA. This does not bode well for a return to international travel (and cruising) any time soon. My guess is that Celebrity's first cruise will be mid December, for a Florida round trip to whatever Caribbean ports are open. But general cruising to lots of countries will not start to ramp up until April 2021. I expect the Celebrity Australia and South America 2020-21 cruise seasons will be cancelled because the governments involved will not have opened international tourist travel in time for cruises to be committed. That's my prediction. And I guarantee that I am wrong, because "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." - Yogi Berra.
  9. Glad you enjoyed it. It was a great cruise. I'm sure you will have a wonderful time.
  10. We have been living in the Netherlands for the last 18 months. As a general rule, European hotel rooms only sleep two people. A room with two queens is very unusual. There are very few bargains to be had in Amsterdam. It is an extremely expensive city. Ignoring the budget, my two favorite picks for a pre cruise hotel are the DoubleTree and the Movenpick. The Movenpick is in the same building as the cruise terminal. It you are more budget sensitive, look at the CitizenM. I stay there a lot for business trips. It's lots cheaper than the big chains. Rooms are very small. I'll describe them as "hipster meets Star Trek." Schiphol location is at the airport. Amstel location is in a very good neighborhood with excellent public transit. https://www.citizenm.com/hotels/europe/amsterdam/amstel-amsterdam-hotel
  11. We went on a Baltic cruise last summer. My wife wrote this blog. I took most of the photos. It should give you lots of ideas. https://teristravels.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/schwerin-castle/ Scroll to the bottom to see the other blog posts. We were living in Netherlands so there lots of ideas for dutch travel.
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