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  1. We cruised with my then-16-year-old on Brilliance in 2019. No wristbands required. Brilliance lacks many of the fancy on-board activities of the larger ships, so if you can convince your child to go to the teen club on the first night, it may be the difference between a fun cruise for them and a somewhat boring one. Also depends on your kid - my oldest LOVED the kids/teen clubs but once my younger daughter reached her teens, she was content to sit poolside with me or read on the balcony. Bring a deck of cards or easy to pack games - lots of people playing cards/games during sea days on Brilliance.
  2. We cruised over Christmas in 2019 on a smaller ship and I enjoyed it! We've done our share of Christmas destination trips (Disney several times, skiing, NYC) so it doesn't bother me to be away from home on the actual day, as long as my kids are with us wherever we are. My FIL generously treated all of us to this trip and it was great to have a big group to celebrate with. I've always been a little envious of family groups cruising together. I loved the decorations, seeing the excitement of the kids, being in a tropical environment on Christmas and the overall festive mood of everyone on board. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again as long as my kids come with us.
  3. Big price jump to step up to the Haven. We've sailed in almost every suite catagory on NCL prior to the introduction of the Haven product, so sailing in the Haven and seeing what the fuss is about is a bucket list item for me but after checking on some 2022 cruises and seeing the prices across several NCL ships, I've decided that it would have to be an itinerary with minimal port stops - so I could maximize my time in my room and the Haven area!
  4. I was just Miami last week and saw it too (along with the Navigator and 2 MSC ships).
  5. I was in Miami last week and saw the Navigator, NCL Gem and 2 MSC ships docked in the cruise port. I assume they were getting provisions.
  6. Thanks everyone for the responses! Lots of great info! Now I just have to decide where I want to go 😊 very excited to have flexibility!
  7. Hello- With school-aged kids, we've always been locked into cruising during peak weeks. With the last one flying the nest next year, I'm looking forward to being flexible with travel dates. When are the cheapest times of the year to cruise? Looking at 2022 - either the Caribbean or even the Mediterranean (if I can do it when it's not 150 degrees there). Would love to try Celebrity but would do Royal Caribbean or NCL as well. Thanks!
  8. We only cruised about every other year, and while I'm not home pining away about not being able to cruise, I WAS looking forward to cruising more often with just my husband (last kid going off to college next fall), trying new ships, itineraries and finally being able to be flexible and not pay spring break week premiums! Like others, I love the planning process almost as much as the cruise - but we won't be back until masks aren't required and I'm confident that we won't held prisoner in our cabin.
  9. Wondering how those who use TA's find a good one? In the good ole days there used to be plenty of brick & mortar TA's but now most are online. Is it a 'stab in the dark' approach?
  10. I'm not willing to cruise again until I am reassured that I won't be stranded onboard for weeks in a small cabin because someone has tested positive.
  11. I'm gonna go ahead and stoke the fires of hope with the OP. If the Christmas cruises sail, it means my daughter will still be in school (in the building, I mean) and will be on the way to having a normal senior year with a prom and a graduation ceremony...And it means that she'll be able to have a normal freshman year in college next fall...And it means that my older daughter will be able to have her wedding that she had to postpone to next fall. Cheers to hope!
  12. I think it's likely more of the latter scenario - after all, they are a business. I am in complete agreement with screening before boarding at the very least, and testing (assuming a reliable, on-the-spot test can be obtained in the quantities that cruise lines would require), and certainly shorter cruises would help to lessen the chances of rampant virus spread (realizing of course that the rampant spread will happen at the airport and on their flights home). My "new normal" is similar to yours where I follow masking mandates and limit my time being exposed to people outside of those living under my roof. That said, I also accept the risk that if I do go to the grocery store or to a doctor's office (or if I hug my daughter who goes to work each day (masked) and comes into contact with many people) I may be exposed and get the virus - and anyone who goes on a cruise again, regardless of pre-screening & pre-testing, will also have to accept that risk.
  13. You realize that a negative COVID test result is only valid for a very limited window, right? Once you re-expose yourself to the masses, it's really a moot point. And if you get it too soon after being exposed, your negative may be a false one. To answer your question though, no - I would not pay extra for a test that essentially invalidates itself once I'm back in a group of people.
  14. Many universities have set up their own rapid testing centers to test students arriving on campus, so I'm sure cruise lines could do the same. Problem is "positives" may not show up for a few days on someone who has been recently exposed (my doctor suggested I get tested after being exposed to my daughter, who tested positive. She recommended I wait 2-3 days after the exposure - self quarantining in the meantime, to eliminate the possibility of a false negative).
  15. Many universities here in the U.S. have set up quick testing centers to test students arriving on campus, so I believe it's doable for the cruise lines as well. Nonetheless, I agree that without an effective vaccine that everyone is required to get, it will be impossible to keep Covid off the cruise ships. Cruise lines, like schools & universities, will have to learn to manage positive cases - because they will be inevitable. The problem with cruises is that a significant percentage of their demographic falls into the high risk category for Covid. We're not talking about a big group of 20-somethings who are more likely to be asymptomatic or get mild symptoms. Sick people stuck on the "cruises to nowhere" back in Feb/March have sued the lines so I can only imagine the heavily revised legal disclaimers and waivers in cruise contracts going forward. Travel insurance that covers Covid (and specifically treatment of Covid in another country) will be at a premium.
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