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Posts posted by Robisan

  1. Carnival corporate hedging, bobbing and weaving:


    Carnival Corp., which oversees Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Cunard and other lines, would make the call for whether or not it would require vaccines in the U.S.  


    “We are not taking a position on mandating vaccines at this time,” reads a statement from Carnival Corp. “We continue to closely monitor the evolving situation with vaccines globally and the issue has many complexities – including issues such as who has access to vaccines; children and vaccines; varying degrees of vaccine protection; vaccine efficacy against the emerging variants; legal and individual rights issues; and, when combined with other mitigation practices, what percent of a given population needs to be vaccinated to effect adequate protection for a group. As the situation continues to evolve, our decisions will be informed by our global medical and science experts and the requirements of the places we visit.” (reported April 7)


    Hard to see Seabourn establish policy before Carnival corporate sorts itself out first.

  2. 9 hours ago, Rambo_Trout said:

    Plus this from 'The Motley Fool'



    Considering all of the above, it might now be an excellent time to buy Carnival shares.


    This was published March 15th and may only reflect the view of the author (a Carnival shareholder) at this time, but it appears Motley Fool has changed their view.


    Will Carnival Survive the COVID-19 Crash?

    Mar 27, 2020 at 9:57AM




    Based on the obligations Carnival has ahead, it has a challenging future, and investors buying now may simply be buying a sinking ship. They should be on the lookout for better-positioned companies in the market.


    More from the article:


    Here are Carnival's debt maturities by year as of Nov. 30, 2019.  

    Year -- Annual Debt Maturities

    2020 -- $1.83 billion

    2021 -- $1.92 billion

    2022 -- $1.35 billion  

    2023 -- $2.23 billion

    2024 -- $680 million

    Thereafter -- $3.63 billion

    Total -- $11.63 billion


    Since that November date, Carnival withdrew the remaining $2.8 billion of its $3.0 billion revolving credit facility, which expires in 2024, to bolster the $518 million in cash it had on the balance sheet.   What investors will want to note is the debt that's coming due in the next year while this crisis will be in effect.




    According to its 2019 10-K, Carnival has committed $4.81 billion in 2020 to new ships, $3.62 billion in 2021, and a total of $14.53 billion in future orders. Management recently said there's $2.8 billion of liquidity available to fund ships this year and $5.9 billion for deliveries in 2021 and beyond. But there will still be a shortfall of about $2 billion this year alone.  


    These new ships will not only result in cash outflows to complete and deliver, but they'll also increase operating costs just to keep them afloat. This is not a time when Carnival needs an expanding fleet.




    Let's now focus on Carnival's cash situation in 2020 because ... the company is already in a difficult position.  

    Item  -- Available (Obligations)

    Cash (Nov. 30, 2019) -- $518 million

    March 13, 2020, revolving credit drawdown -- $2.8 billion

    New ship commitments -- ($4.8 billion)

    New ship liquidity -- $2.8 billion

    2020 debt maturities -- ($1.83 billion)

    Total -- ($512 million)


    That last line best explains why cash refunds haven't been forthcoming in a timely manner. The whole article is worth a read.


    I think the niche Seabourn business unit is small enough (just five ships) and well positioned to be sold or spun off if Carnival doesn't survive, though it's also possible another line could acquire the ships for use under their brand.


    Looking at the cruise industry at large, I just don't see how it resumes until there is a vaccine that has been fully implemented worldwide, which is unlikely to occur before mid-2021 at best. Testing alone won't solve the problem. Even if you can assure pax and crew are 100% negative at embarkation, every port call is an opportunity for infection. From the port's POV, every ship not tested immediately prior to arrival is a potential carrier. Finally, of course, you need pax willing to resume travel without fear of being stuck on a floating petri dish of disease. Absent near eradication it's hard to see how cruising as usual can resume.


  3. 6 hours ago, Jayayeff said:

    Baseball caps indoors anywhere other than the gym, etc.. is even higher up my list of pet peeves than balloons!!!


    Those of us fortunate enough to still have enough occasionally unruly hair, particularly in combination with bald spots needing sun protection, find caps/hats extremely useful and frankly preferable in appearance to the alternative (sweaty hat hair? yuck!) when returning indoors on a hot and/or windy day. That something so trifling causes offense sufficient for complaint is really quite sad.


    Relatedly, I've never understood why resort quality shorts in the evening, outside of the dining rooms, when traveling in the tropics is inappropriate. If it's appropriate for say a Four Seasons hotel in the South Pacific, why not a cruise ship in the same locale?


    (Sorry for the interruption. Please carry on.)

  4. Seabourn comedy stylings, July 2019...


    "While every bartender on board is well-versed in the art of classic and contemporary cocktail-making, the line’s mixology program created through a partnership with world-renowned mixologist Brian Van Flandern keeps recipes fluid and intriguing, with local spirits – limoncello from Sorrento, for instance, or single malt Scotch from micro-distillers in Scotland – often fashioned into drinks that are reflective of the regions guests are traveling through.  


    Whatever the beverage, Seabourn’s service staff are kept at the top of their game..."


    "Keeps recipes fluid" may be the bad pun, Freudian slip of the year.

  5. On 12/29/2019 at 6:06 PM, TT1992 said:

    ...my husband ordered a top self margarita, and it was delicious, when he ordered a 2nd one, Anthony gave him a totally different drink, so he made another margarita, and got it wrong again, it wasn't top shelf, so had to make it yet again, finally.


    On 1/1/2020 at 9:53 AM, wripro said:

    A quick word with the Beverage Manager should solve the problem of having to wait for service. I find in general one can solve most issues by talking to the appropriate person in charge, even going to the hotman if necessary. That way you get what you want while still on the cruise instead of waiting and complaining on CC.


    If they're putting people who can't properly make a top shelf margarita (not a complicated drink) behind the bar, perhaps the Beverage Manager is part of the problem, rather than a solution.

  6. 4 hours ago, wripro said:

    Perhaps a seven day jaunt on Royal Caribbean will show how good Seabourn really is.


    I suspect that RC, where bar service is a revenue generator instead of a cost center, has more competent, attentive bar staffing. Evidently, basic competence (let alone attentiveness) is now an unreasonable ask on SB.

  7. 2 hours ago, rljan said:

    If you haven't booked your airfare yet.  Long Beach Airport (LGB) is serviced by JetBlue and Southwest.  I avoid LAX if at all possible.


    Concur. Lately we've been avoiding LAX even if it means taking one-stop flights. If the layover time is reasonable it's much less stressful than getting to and dealing with LAX.


    Another option is John Wayne Airport about 25 miles south of the LA/LB cruise terminals. American, Delta and United all have service there and adjacent Newport Beach / Costa Mesa is a much nicer area to stay for a day or two if you're flying in early.

  8. On 12/4/2019 at 9:18 AM, SLSD said:

    I agree that the website is not in line with the quality of the product Seabourn is selling.  Surely someone in the administration offices knows that the website is poorly done?  


    In fairness, there's not a lot of tech talent in the Seattle area. :classic_rolleyes:

  9. Thanks everyone for your comments. I'm happy to provide generous gratuities for good and/or extraordinary service whenever it's customary, usual and appropriate. Indeed, my chief concern here is at least the appearance of blurring the lines of what's expected and appropriate on Crystal such that guests must concern themselves with not being inappropriate when making special requests. I do think, however, that on a luxury all-inclusive line, management should be concerned that staff accepting gratuities in advance of and as impetus for extraordinary service is a slippery slope.

  10. On 9/24/2019 at 10:14 AM, deadlock said:

    And in spite of being advertised as "all-inclusive", we consistently found that as a group, certain strategic gift-giving handshakes placed with certain staff made special requests happen a lot more smoothly than they did for staff which we did not appreciate in the same way.


    This is a disappointing anecdote made a bit more disturbing by the fact that there's been no comment or concern expressed about it here. Is this now "consistently" a customary, usual and expected practice aboard Crystal?

  11. 3 hours ago, raphael360 said:

    Kind of beating a dead horse here but regarding what's really "free"...


    Just to be clear because several people have rebutted my quote with pricing, my Crystal comment was about the quality and "capability" of their Internet, not about it being included in the price.

  12. 5 hours ago, SLSD said:

    But, he made no mention of internet service being included in the SB cruise fare.  


    Yes, I just factor it into the cruise fare. That said, the limitation of one device at a time per paid access is annoying, so the overall convenience of included Internet for all wins out if the adjusted pricing is comparable. However, overarching all of that is paying extra for very low bandwidth, limited utility, dodgy Internet. IMO the overall SB Internet offering is falling behind its competitors and the expectations of next generation, well-heeled travelers heading into the 2020s.


    Bottom line is I'll pay extra (factor into cruise fare) for Internet but it needs to be reliable*, usable quality for a reasonable number of devices per suite.


    * Good wifi connectivity throughout the ship, but also understanding that satellite Internet can be problematic in some sea locations.

  13. 3 hours ago, SLSD said:

    My husband just reminded me of something else the SB VP for Exploration said in the presentation aboard Sojourn in June 2019.  He said (and I am paraphrasing) that in about 2 years internet service will greatly improve on all ships.  He said that there will be specific service geared toward ship service--perhaps a new satellite?  This is all from my husband's recollection of what was said.  


    That is good to hear and much needed. 

  14. 12 minutes ago, raphael360 said:

    I would chose SB 100% of the time because the internet  is a nonissue issue for us. As a once famous American might say: “this is a nothing burger”. Besides what’s our choices? Viking? Yuck. 


    But it that’s just me. This is a fun discussion.  It won’t come up again for 30 days. 


    I've spent some time lurking over on the Crystal board, particularly reading 'Live from' threads and there don't seem to be any complaints about the included Internet capability on their ships. The other thing Seabourn ought to consider is each successive generation that reaches SB age is going to have greater connectivity expectations.

  15. On 7/24/2019 at 5:55 AM, SLSD said:

    A question was asked to the VP about the internet on board.  Specifically the question was, "Will the new ships have internet included?"  (Meaning will it be included in the cruise fare.) The VP, without skipping a beat said, "If it was, would that make you book the cruise?"


    This is the wrong question and the wrong answer. The far more important question than cost included or not is whether the Internet capability on the new ship will be markedly better (and corollary, when will current ships be retrofitted with better capability). I'm not nearly as concerned with paying an additional $400 than I am about the very limited utility of the Internet service itself. It doesn't have to be streaming quality, but there needs be enough reliable bandwidth for VOIP and photo uploading/backup. If it can be done for 5,000 people on a megaship, it can be done for 500 people on a Seabourn ship.


    As to the answer, the better reply question is 'are you more likely to look at or favor cruises/lines where it's included (or in answer to my question, cruises/lines with better quality Internet)'.  Certainly on the latter it's something I would factor, particularly on longer cruises with many consecutive sea days. A world cruise itinerary ship like Sojourn really needs better capability - I couldn't imagine 100+ days with Sojourn's limited capabilities. 

  16. 4 hours ago, calliopecruiser said:

    Excursions by the ship are always more expensive, because the extra middleman always needs to make a profit.


    Bear in mind the tour operators are likely discounting their tour fees since the cruise carriers are delivering customers at no marketing cost to the operators. Don't know the industry, but I'd guess tour ops spend at least +/-25% of self-generated revenue on marketing, so they can offer a like amount discount to cruise lines hand-delivering customers to them.


    On the other side of the transaction, pax are paying a premium (also usually +/-25%) for the convenience of having the cruise line vet and warrant the tour ops, and make all the arrangements, including door-to-door handling with a guarantee the ship will not sail without them. I personally have no problem paying a reasonable premium for that service. However, the nearly 100% cruise line premium on the tour mentioned in the OP is grossly excessive IMO. 

  17. 4 hours ago, BEAV said:

    Then there's what I consider the British Columbia inside passage, that being the more narrow waters between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island.  Of the two, the most scenic to me is the British Columbia Inside Passage. 


    There can be tidal issues in the narrow passage. Last summer on Sojourn they had to adjust passage time to account for tides, resulting in a dash to make arrival time in Vancouver. 

  18. 1 hour ago, ctjon said:

    Lecturer General Nick Halley presents "The Life and Death Struggle for World Order! Radical Islam Fights for World”.


    A number of days back I noted this in the June 2 Reflections from this cruise:


    World Affairs Lecturer Dr. Glenn Robinson


    Glenn E. Robinson is an award-winning teacher and expert on Middle East security and political issues. A professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and affiliated faculty member at the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Robinson has published and lectured widely on Islamic fundamentalism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and related challenges facing the Middle East. On three occasions he has been recognized for his outstanding teaching, twice by the Naval Postgraduate School and once by Berkeley.


    Dr. Robinson has an impressive CV and most likely gave an interesting presentation, however I wondered about the wisdom of offering a lecture presumably touching on hot-button topics like "Islamic fundamentalism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and related challenges facing the Middle East" where, no matter what is said, some PAX are bound to strongly held beliefs that could be disturbed and/or offended by the lecture content. There is a time and place to hear from distinguished lecturers like Dr. Robinson on these topics. I'm not sure a cruise for people on holiday from daily life and stress is the place.


    Also, too, multiple lectures touching on Islamic fundamentalism on a Tokyo to SF via Alaska cruise? Why? 

  19. 2 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

    On many sailings Crystal will hold the passports as they are needed as part of the clearance process in many ports.  If this is not the case Crystal does not hold them.


    There are other situations where Crystal holds the passports but in a port immigrations requires a face to face meeting either on or off the ship.  In that case you pick up your passport and go through the face to face.  If you don't have to carry the passport on land then Crystal collects them.

    Thanks Keith and others for responding. I've been through a number of immigration inspections where pax have been required to appear and show passports, but have never been asked or required to surrender my passport. Perhaps I'm overly cautious about privacy and other concerns, but I'd be reluctant to do so.


    A passport contains unique personal identification data and, importantly, is a document conveying the negotiated international rights, privileges and interests etc. of the issuing country unto the citizen holder. In short, a passport is every bit a vital document for the holder's needs and protection as it is one for other countries to identify the holder.


    I understand the need for the carrier to attest or affirm they've inspected all pax passports as part of port clearance and/or the desire/need of the port country to implement a customary and usual passport inspection before allowing exit from the ship. However, I'd be wary of any country that affirmatively required me to surrender and/or prohibited me from having my passport on my person while visiting and there are certainly places where I'd be reluctant to leave the ship without my passport on my person, regardless of whether the country requires I carry it. (Also worth noting that a passport may be the only state issued identification some people carry while abroad.)


    Sorry for the interruption - I enjoy these travelog threads and they help identify itineraries of interest. Please carry on, as I look forward to dispatches from the rest of this journey.

  20. 12 hours ago, goblue said:

    ...Crystal will take all passengers' passports away after the immigration visit (they said we will get it back the day after tomorrow).


    Hmm, is this customary and usual? I've never heard of a private entity effectively seizing people's passports (I assume at the direction of, and as agent for, the Japanese government?) and I'm not sure I'd happily yield mine.

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