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About CruiseRookieSteve

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Vancouver, Washington
  • Interests
    Rail Travel, Jazz, Wine, Tesla Touring
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Sydney, Australia
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  1. We were on the inaugural Carnival Horizon Transatlantic cruise. We enjoyed that so much, and it is so rare that Carnival has a brand new ship do an inaugural Transatlantic, that we decided we'd try to do every future one. That didn't work out so well. Carnival decided to deliver the Carnival Panorama to Los Angeles without any passengers. Then the Carnival Mardi Gras construction was delayed, they cancelled the inaugural Transatlantic, and then decided they would deliver it without passengers to the US, as they did with the Panorama. I wonder if there is a chance that Carnival might change their mind and decide to do an inaugural Transatlantic on the Mardi Gras with passengers. It is the biggest ship that Carnival will have when it launches and could hold a lot of passengers even if they want to sail without a full ship. It could even sail with few or no port stops from the UK or Europe to US having few ports to worry about if they will be open. It also minimizes the risk of any passengers catching Covid-19 or any sickness on a shore excursion and bringing it back onto the ship. Seems an ideal cruise considering the circumstances of the times. My wife and I did get a chance to do a 7 Day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Carnival Panorama in January this year. We had another one scheduled for November, but I think that is now out the window. I heard that Carnival has cancelled all Carnival Panorama cruises until December 2020. That maybe makes sense since right now it is still near Manila, Philippines, still trying to get their crew home. There is something like a couple of dozen ships from many cruise lines just off Manila. Evidently they are requiring crew to quarantine for 14 days on shore before allowing them to go home. Thus they can only take so many crew off each ship at a time. It sounds to me like with this method it will take forever for each set of crew to quarantine for 14 days before they can take the next set of crew off the ships.
  2. I am currently on a 28 Day Round Australia Cruise on the Sea Princess that started March 10, 2020. As you have probably heard, all new Princess Cruises have been cancelled and ongoing cruises will terminate early by March 18, 2020. They let us make 2 more port stop before we'll be heading back to our starting point and disembarking in Sydney, Australia, on March 18, 2020. We were thinking of taking another cruise as long as we are already in Australia, but it does appear that all the options have been cancelled. Carnival had a 12 day Pacific Islands cruise on the Carnival Splendor scheduled for March 22, 2020 out of Sydney. I would have loved to have taken that cruise as I did 3 cruises on it in 2019 for 44 days including the 24 Transpacific cruise from Los Angeles to Singapore for refurbishing before it was sent to its new home port in Australia. I would love to have seen it after the refurbishment. I was able to go all the way through the booking process on the website, saw there were a lot of cabins available and able to pick a cabin, but the reservation process failed when it got to the final payment page. It would not allow me to make the final step to book a cabin. After that I called a travel agent. All they could find out on their system is that there are no rooms available on the cruise even though I had just checked myself and found that many, but not all, cabins were available. The travel agency then told me that all Carnival Cruises had been cancelled, she believed, but that she had no official word from Carnival yet. I then asked about booking one of the 3 alternative Royal Caribbean Cruises that we could take while we were in Sydney, Australia. The travel agent then told me that Royal Caribbean along with most other cruise lines have stopped all operations also.
  3. We have non-cancellable airfare and hotel also, or at least the cancellation fee is so high as to not make it worth cancelling. I did get my Carnival charges credited back to my credit card a couple of weeks ago or so. I would have missed seeing that if I hadn't searched through my credit card charges to find it. Since we really like London and usually visit there once or twice each year (my wife's best friend has lived near London for like the last 40 years or so), we just decided to keep our flight to and hotel in London and then just fly back home on the date we would have been boarding the ship. I suspected a lot of people would be having trouble getting refunded on non-refundable airfare and hotel payments.
  4. We got our deposit and our the only shore excursion we had booked refunded on December 21, 2019. I think the only shore excursion we had booked was a transfer from the ship to the airport once we arrived into New York. I was starting to get a bit suspicious about the ship being ready on time when I noticed how long it was taking Carnival to post almost any shore excursions for the cruise. I already have most of my shore excursions booked for other cruises all the way up through May 2021, more than a year from now. We kept our flight and hotel plans for London. We usually go to London once or twice a year anyway and figured it was easier to keep the reservations than change them. Both the flight and hotel reservations are not cancellable without huge penalty or complete forfeiture of deposit. I know Carnival offered to cover some of that and my travel insurance might cover the rest, but I figured it would be more hassle than it is worth and decided to just make this one of our regular visits to London. I still have to figure out what to do with my flight from New York. I might need to work with Carnival or my travel insurance company to get that refund as the cancel fee is almost as much as the entire cost of the flight.
  5. Disappointed here too. This would have been our 3rd Transatlantic after an east Queen Mary 2 about a decade ago and a west Carnival Horizon a bit more than a year ago. We enjoyed our Carnival Horizon Transatlantic cruise so much that we decided to try to book all future deliveries of new Carnival ships from Europe/UK to the USA. This has not worked out too well so far as the Carnival Horizon came across with no passengers and it looks like the Carnival Mardi Gras will also now come across with no passengers. We generally spend a week or more somewhere in the UK once or twice every year so we've decided to just go ahead and keep that portion of our trip. To take advantage of significantly lower hotel prices we had booked a non-refundable hotel stay in London months ago and also used points on United Airlines that can't be redeposited without a $75 per person redeposit fee for each flight segment. Though Carnival said they'd refund some portion of non-refundable fees, and maybe my non-Carnival travel insurance would refund all of it, it just seemed simpler to keep our flight to London on Sep 1, 2020, keep our 7 day hotel reservation, and just add a new return flight from London to the U.S. on Sep 9, 2020. My wife and I will work with Carnival and our travel insurance company to see what we can get refunded for our $150 United Airlines mileage redeposit fee. We purchase annual travel insurance rather than per trip so I'm not concerned about any refund of travel insurance purchase. My wife and I already have a 7 day Mexican Riviera Cruise for January 2020 booked on the new Carnival Panorama. Hopefully Carnival will honor the 25% FCC and $100 per person onboard credit for this cruise. We've recently fallen in love with Princess, another Carnival brand, and were not planning on booking any future cruises beyond this January 2020 on Carnival. Too bad Carnival doesn't allow one to use credits from one of their brands on a different one of their brands. We've already booked a 28 day Round Australia cruise for March 2020 and a 111 day World Cruise for January 2021, both on Princess.
  6. We have flown many times Norwegian Air Shuttle non-stop from Los Angeles to London economy class in a Boeing Dreamliner for under $300 which includes 1 checked luggage per person, 2 hot meals, and you pick your seats. Without those 3 amenities the price is under $200 per person. We've had relatives join us coming from New York and their price was almost $100 less than ours each way. This time we are going to use our United Airlines mileage rewards. Often UA doesn't have reasonable prices (or points value) for non-stop between Los Angeles and London but they do this time. Plus we get to take two 50 pound bags for free with United unlike the one 44 pound bag each on Norwegian, and we get use of the United Club Lounges. We can use the United Club Lounges even when flying Norwegian, but then we are usually in the wrong terminal and can't get from one to the other.
  7. I am almost surprised to find that you could find anything less expensive than Norwegian Air Shuttle. Are you flying economy or something more upgraded? We've flown many times between Los Angeles to London, Paris and Barcelona and have never been able to find anything close to Norwegian Air Shuttle: Non-Stop economy class in a Boeing Dreamliner for under $200 per person each way from / to Los Angeles. We always add the extra $100 per person so that we get to pick our seats, get 2 hot meals, and 1 checked baggage per person. Still a great deal at under $300 per person. But, if you don't live in a city in the U.S. directly served by Norwegian Air Shuttle the connecting flight costs can add up fast.
  8. My wife and I love London and visit there every year for at least a week or two. We love jazz and London has a lot of jazz clubs, some which are open until the wee hours of the morning every night. We usually get everywhere using the underground, trains, and sometimes buses. The traffic is so bad in London that it is usually a lot faster to use the underground than a taxi or uber, and a lot cheaper too. We always stay at a hotel that is near an underground station and don't try to book one in the heart of the city. Hotels further from the popular areas are less expensive and it only takes a few minutes by underground to get wherever you want. The only problem is there is a lot of stairs in most of the underground stations. The new stations are ADA friendly and they are trying to retrofit the old stations as fast as they can, but it is a huge and old system and it is going to be a long time before they get to make all the stations ADA friendly. If anyone wants a list of the jazz places we visit in London, let me know and I'll post the list here. We are also into wine. England does not have the best wines, but they are making an effort and tours and tastings are available at a couple of wineries. Whenever we select a cruise that starts from Southampton we always stay a week or two in London before the cruise, but we fly for a stay in London pretty much every year even if we don't have a cruise out of England that year.
  9. 20kg equals 44 pounds, so it is only 6 pounds less than the standard 50lb allowance. The non-stop price from Los Angels to London and most places in Europe is usually $199. But, they have a package for an additional $100 that includes one 44lb checked bag, 2 hot meals, priority boarding, and you get to pick your seat. We always pay that extra $100. If purchased separately those items would add up to about $150. All of their long haul planes are Dreamlines so they have really nice interiors with enough leg room for my wife and I. But we are both under 5'7" so don't have the leg room problems that some others find in regular coach. Norwegian has non-stop seatback live video with a huge library of free movies. You can also all sorts of snacks and beverages right on the screen at your seat by swiping your credit card. But order early in the flight as they run out of the best snack selections early. Just be prepared for chaos at boarding time. At some locations they seem to forget that some people have priority boarding and it is just one big mess. But you can get to the front if you have priority boarding and ask about it. We like Norwegian mostly because we can get non-stop to the UK and Europe at a very reasonable price. Getting a non-stop on most other airlines out of Los Angeles costs hundreds, and sometimes thousands more, even in regular coach. If you want to pay about $1000, Norwegian does have a Premium Class with better seats and more benefits. People that have opted for that on Norwegian said it was really nice and as good as Business Class on other airlines they've flown.
  10. We got $300 from Los Angeles to London with picking our seats, one checked bag and 2 hot meals on Norwegian in regular coach plus priority boarding.
  11. I don't believe there are any laws against not using the rest of your ticket, but have you really fond a round-trip ticket that is cheaper than a one-way ticket? I can understand that you might find a round-trip ticket where if you divide the price in half, that each half is cheaper than just a one way ticket. But is the entire round-trip ticket cheaper than the one way ticket? None of the airlines I use price round-trip cheaper than two one-way tickets. I'll be flying in on Norwegian airlines for this cruise if they are still in business then. They have one way flights from Los Angeles for under $200 per person. I think from New York they have flights even cheaper, maybe closer to $100 per person. If you have found some other airline that has very inexpensive round-trip tickets, let us know what that airline is. I'd give a shot at going for a round-trip ticket and throwing away the return trip. Actually, if I could book the round-trip out far enough I might use it. My wife and I usually go to London at least once each year.
  12. We've flown Norwegian Air Shuttle a number of times over the last couple of years. We always just fly steerage (regular coach) and have been happy with that. We've done round-trip and one-way trips to London, Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen. On each trip they offered one-way for under $200 per passenger. We have always paid an extra $100 to get to pick our seats, get 2 meals, and one free checked bag per person. So each of our trips from LAX to Europe has been under $300 per person each way. I always compare the prices to United as we have enough points on United to go anywhere but they often do not fly non-stop from LAX to Europe unless I were to use an astronomical number of points. I'm happy with regular coach seats in Norwegian. I just hope they stay in business as they've been having financial troubles and have cancelled a lot of routes.
  13. Same here! My wife and I were on the Carnival Horizon TA and will be on the Mardi Gras TA. I'm so disappointed that they are not booking passengers on the Panorama TA but I've heard they might take that on a Transpacific route to get to Los Angeles, still with no passengers. It may depend on the weather at sea when it is ready to make the transit as to which way the ship will go to Los Angeles.
  14. That doesn't look so bad. I was afraid it would be solid metal. That would be very undesirable for me. But just a few pipes is no problem. It looks like there is still plenty of view through the above photo. But why did someone else say it offers complete privacy on the balcony? It looks to me that anyone on the dock while in port can still see you, though they may have a partially "obstructed view". We have cabin R310 on the Sea Princess on a future cruise with a "Metal Balcony".
  15. That is what we are doing. We are already booked on the 111 Day cruise around the world in January 2021, but have booked a 6 day cruise in September this year to try it out. We tried to book a balcony stateroom as close to the cabin we have for the 111 day cruise, but Princess upgraded us for free to a Mini-Suite just today! How could I turn down the upgrade? I'll get to learn the ship on my 6 day cruise, but not learn much about the balcony cabin that we have for the 111 day cruise.
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