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Everything posted by AFNavigator

  1. We've only been on Carnival over the Christmas holidays. A lot of passengers decorated their cabin doors. It's fun walking the halls and looking at how creative some people can get with a door. Do a lot of passengers decorate their doors on HAL too?
  2. Even those abiding by wearing a mask correctly can unintentionally spread COVID. Those cheap "surgical" masks leak far too much air to be effective. I normally telework but was in my office the Thurs before last for a few hours for a meeting. A co-worker of mine had contracted COVID from a family gathering the weekend prior--he didn't know it at that time though. He was coughing lightly during our meeting but I never thought much about that because he often coughs a lot in the fall due to allergies stirred up by local crop harvesting machines. Both of us are fully vaccinated and were wearing those cheap masks. Long story short, I started coughing 3 days later. I was notified the following morning that he had tested positive. I got a rapid test at a local urgent care clinic and tested positive too. Luckily, both of our cases haven't progressed beyond the symptoms of a common cold...hopefully we can thank the Pfizer vaccine for that. Both of us have total loss of taste and smell senses though. Hope that comes back soon. Will be able to stop quarantining later this week. Now I need to shop for more effective masks....to protect against the well intended, as well as the unscrupulous ones like the lady on your cruise.
  3. ATC would have been in control if the pilot was operating on an IFR clearance. Considering the low altitude the aircraft was being operated at though, it is almost certain the pilot was operating under visual rules in weather far below VFR minimum visibility requirements. No information has been stated in this forum whether the ceiling and visibility was above VFR minimums when the flight departed but it certainly appears to not have been on the return leg. Unless some sort of mechanical issue occurred in flight, this tragic accident was totally preventable. This type of accident is often the result of the "gotta get there itis" mindset where unacceptable risks are taken to try to make flights work. There is hesitancy from the company to cancel and lose revenue and hesitancy to tell the customer they can't fly. Picture the Kobe Bryant accident. Same story--the mindset of "gotta get there no matter what", with the same tragic results as this flight. So sad.
  4. HAL didn't help their internet situation by including internet in the "Have it all" package and in many of the previous promotion packages. So many more users trying to squeeze through the limited bandwidth pipe almost guarantees super slow or no service for all. HAL should have hugely upgraded their satellite and onboard WiFi bandwidths before including internet in the "Have it all" and other packages. Maybe HAL should have asterisked its internet bandwidth, "*on port days with most passengers ashore".
  5. I would rate those conditions as extremely poor for what was supposed to be a visual sightseeing flight. Those conditions don't even meet Marginal Visual Flight Rules (MVFR) minimums, they fall solidly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions. Category Ceiling Visibility VFR >3,000 AGL and > 5 mi MVFR 1,000 to 3,000 AGL and/or 3 to 5 mi IFR 500 to 999 AGL and/or 1 mi to <3 mi LIFR <500 AGL and/or <1 mi VFR - Visual Flight Rules MVFR - Marginal VFR IFR - Instrument Flight Rules LIFR - Low IFR AGL - Above Ground Level If the pilot was not IFR rated, and didn't file for an IFR clearance (no information given in this forum as to the pilot's qualifications or filing status), then this flight should never have happened. There are countless aviation accidents resulting from pilots entering weather without the training nor qualifications to do so. They experience spatial disorientation (your brain doesn't know which way is up) after entering the clouds and lose control of the aircraft, often without even knowing it.
  6. We booked the same Free Inside promo just before it ended in January. Our son is booked in the comped cabin. We called HAL a few days later to upgrade the inside to a verandah. Before we booked the upgrade, we asked the agent if we could add anyone to the room. He said we could add up until full payment date. The additional passenger would just add the cost of port fees and room gratuities. That said, we went ahead and upgraded his inside to a verandah cabin adjacent to ours. It isn't an adjoining room but we'll ask the steward if he can arrange to open the balcony divider. Our sailing is Dec 15 so we have up until Sept 16th to add, assuming what the agent told us was, and still is, correct. I've made all but $10 of the payment to keep the payment window open. I was uncertain if we would still be able to add an extra person if we had completed our full payment. Now pushing son to ask which of his friends is interested, vaccinated, has a passport, and is available for the cruise...
  7. Keep in mind the "Have It All" package and many promotional offers over the last year include internet. "Have It All" includes the mid-grade "Surf" package but some of the earlier offers included HAL's fastest "Premium" package. The result of all the included internet packages is an almost certainty that more cruisers will be trying to use the onboard internet pipe than was the case pre-COVID. Unless HAL upgraded onboard bandwidth during the cruising stoppage (I don't recall seeing any HAL announcements of that happening), that larger number of internet users likely will clog the bandwidth resulting in slower service for all. I believe HAL may have upgraded speeds somewhat pre-COVID but the larger number of internet users, because of those packages, may more than offset those speed gains. If that turns out not to be the case, everyone can treat it as a pleasant surprise.
  8. The US government may not mandate vaccines for adults going on leisure travel, but it does mandate an extensive list of vaccinations for US immigrants. At the state level, there are countless vaccine mandates for preschool/school age children, college/university students, food service workers and, as stated, healthcare workers. Being former military, I can certainly say we had more than our fair share of mandatory vaccinations. I think five different shots--of which some were multiple vaccines per shot--in one sitting was my record. I guess those mandated vaccinations could be considered voluntary though because we all knew getting an array of vaccines was a condition of joining the military. IMO, it is probably unlikely any mandates for COVID-19 vaccines will be issued at any government level until at least the time that the vaccine's approval status progresses beyond Emergency Use Authorization. At that point, the vaccines probably will be added to the existing list of vaccinations mandatory for the categories listed above, but likely not for the general population.
  9. If you're going with a 50/50 chance, I'll shoot for a 51/49 chance. We're booked 10 days after you on Caribbean cruise December 15th. With the vaccine program picking up speed, and the likelihood many cruise lines will require at least their crew to be vaccinated, many of the small island ports will re-open....they are starving for cash. It won't be cruising as normal though, especially that early into restart. There will probably be the cruise-line-only shore excursions like in Italy where you get denied boarding if you deviate from the excursion. No walking around town on your own. There also likely will be testing required before boarding and probably at least once during the cruise too to prove you are still OK when you get to your disembarkation port. You can also just about guarantee mask wear will be required in all common areas unless you are eating, swimming, or sitting having a drink. Even with those restrictions or more, I'm in!
  10. My remaining balance isn't due until mid September. I just took advantage of this now because both offers expire soon. This doesn't commit you to a set installment payment schedule.
  11. I did both. I bought a $500 gift card and received the bonus $50 card. I called and applied the $500 GC as an installment payment and received $125 Onboard Credit. Combined 35% bonus on $500...not bad. The catch is the GCs are non-refundable and obligate more of your money. Watch the cutoff dates...the GC deal ends Feb 14th and the Pay Early promotion ends Feb 28th.
  12. Thanks for the update. It will be interesting to see the efficacy of J&J's two dose trials. In the mean time, getting approval now for their single dose regimen will allow tens of millions more to get vaccinated while the two dose trials are ongoing. Millions more with 60-70% immunity is better than the same millions with no immunity. They probably will be able to get a booster if the two dose trials are successful...maybe a tweaked South Africa-focused booster they said they may develop.
  13. I don't recall J&J saying they tested a two dose series yet. J&J's Jan 29 press release states their single dose vaccine is 66% effective overall (72% in US testing, 66% in Latin America, 57% in South Africa) in "preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 and 85% effective in preventing severe disease and demonstrated complete protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization and death." Nothing is stated in the press release about a 2-dose regiment other than they are exploring developing a booster to address the South Africa variant. If I'm offered the J&J vaccine before the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you can bet I won't turn it away. 72% efficacy is considered outstanding compared to typical flu shots or to the 50-60% rate the government was hoping these vaccines would provide just a few months ago.
  14. I plan to do both. I owe $650 remaining on cabin. I plan to buy a $500 gift card, and get the $50 bonus card. Then I'll use the $500 GC to make a $500 payment on their installment promotion and get $125 OBC.
  15. The gift cards are considered cash. You can use them immediately. I bought a $500 GC during last summer's promotion and got a bonus $100 card. I just used both towards down payments on two cabins. By the way, if you use the electronic GC option, instead of them sending a plastic card, they send you an e-mail with redemption code. Two, one for the card you bought, the other for the bonus card. Look for the e-mails as soon as you buy your GC.--mine went straight to my junk mail folder. Had those auto-deleted, it probably would have been a hassle to get them replaced.
  16. Hmmm, couldn't your room steward have just have opened up the balcony partition to give you access to the forward wrap-around balcony section? Opening up that section probably triples the balcony space for that cabin. At 1:36 into this Koningsdam video clip, there is a photo of Neptune Suite 11005's balcony partition open, giving access to the forward balcony. That area certainly would be windy on sea days but would give outstanding forward views. The view would be obstructed sitting in a deck chair as the forward portion is steel versus glass but the night sky view would be spectacular.
  17. I don't have any intel on whether HAL will continue the promotion but my guess is yes based on some other recent extensions: - "Save now, Cruise Later, Have it All Sale" promotion's expiration was just extended from June 30th to September 30th. - Cruise With Confidence (can cancel for any reason up to 30 days of cruise start and receive FCC) was extended from October 31, 2020 to Dec 31 2021. Need to book by August 31 2020--I think that used to be by July 31st. Also consider that HAL needs cash NOW to cover costs during shutdown. You are basically floating HAL a $500 loan at 20% one-time interest for each $500 gift card purchased (limit of 2 per transaction as noted in another post). Oh, also notice about two weeks ago that they quietly dropped the cost for a 3rd person in a cabin to $0!. We're considering pulling the trigger on a Dec 13th 10-day on Nieuw Statendam and this change lowered the cost by about $500.
  18. If you are choosing between "V" category cabins 5094 and 6169, 6169 looks like the better choice. - 5094 is a connecting cabin with is a greater chance of noise coming through the connecting door than through a solid wall. - 6169 is one cabin further back from the end of a lifeboat than would be 5094 so you should have a slightly better view down past the end of the lifeboats. Here's a video view from handicap cabin 5175 directly below 6169: https://cruisedeckplans.com/DP/deckplans/youtube.php?id=10516. - 6169's balcony is angled so it will be a bit wider than 5094's and will give a nice side view of the ship. The negative is the forward angled balcony will be more exposed to the wind and others can see your balcony more easily, as you can theirs. - 6169 is a slightly larger cabin due to the angle wedge near the balcony. That wedge probably gives the room an extra 30 or so square feet. Here are some photos of similar cabin 7058: https://cruisedeckplans.com/DP/deckplans/stateroom-details.php?ship=Nieuw-Statendam&cabin=7058 With the angle, they move the desk to beside the sofa instead of across from it. If you will be using the sofa as a bed, not having the desk in front of the sofa bed provides room to walk around the sofa when it is open. If downward view is your primary concern, and these three cabins are the only ones you are considering, then 5177 may be the better choice. - 5177 is clear of the lifeboats. You can see them from the left but not directly below you. 5177 will still not have a totally clear view straight down into the water though. Deck 4's VB cabins with extended balcony are directly below 5177 so you will be looking down on the outer 3-4 feet of of 4169's balcony. - From a cost standpoint, 5177, a "C" category balcony, is less expensive than the two "V" category balcony cabins--typically about $100 less on a 7 day cruise. Hope this helps.
  19. Sailing around South America must have been a financial decision or canal availability. The new Panama Canal locks, completed in 2016, can easily fit the Koningsdam with more than 50' in width and 200' in length to spare. Even the largest cruise ship in the world, RCL's Symphony of the Seas, could fit through those locks. It couldn't make the canal transit through because it is too tall to fit under the bridge on the west end of the canal.
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