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Everything posted by Candlesmith

  1. Thank you for that, Roz! I haven’t found a soul who is on our cruise and only a few others who have taken it, several years ago. We’re excited about going, apprehensive about whether it actually will, and curious about how the two experiences compare. I can imagine the difference in logistics between handling a medical emergency from a river as opposed to the middle of, even not very far out in, the sea! And I can appreciate the caution the industry might feel toward an oxygen-dependent passenger. But we’re discussing altitude intolerant people who need O2 to fly, have no underlying pulmonary (or cardiac) disease and want to stash their unneeded O2 while aboard! As is so widely and often obvious where Covid is concerned, somebody at the top needs to read the s-c-i-e-n-c-e!
  2. I’m So Sorry, MightyCruiseQueen, I didn’t think there was anything objectionable in the quote in the first place, or anything rude or particularly argumentative in my response. I actually didn’t check the thread closely because it was late, I was tired, & I posted with one foot in bed because my travel advisor asked me to Please dispel any inaccurate notions about this policy before rumors spread like wildfire. Doing so was my only goal; It is not the policy of Viking Cruises (Ocean or River) to deny POC users access to their cruises at this time. Thus it is not “industry-wide”. I do apologize for any offense!
  3. It isn’t “the cruise industry”, at least not at this point. A frantic phone call to my TA after reading this thread produced the reliable information that Viking has no such restriction on passengers who travel with a POC. (Whew!). Hopefully that will remain their policy through the fall when we are booked on their Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise…..and beyond as we have three more cruises in the hopper. (There was no problem on our recent Micato Safari through Kenya, Tanzania & Zimbabwe & that actually required dragging my POC along for internal flights.) And, in defense of those who use a POC for flying; in my own case, I have absolutely no physical condition making me any more susceptible to a medical problem on a cruise than anyone else (& I have been exhaustively tested). I am merely altitude intolerant, possibly as a result of having lived at 7,500’ for over a decade & skied at high elevations since college.
  4. 😅😂 Except Baltimore....or maybe Minneapolis....or . . . . Life us tough for Conservatives these days. All over. Sign me, 35 years a Baltimorian
  5. “The CDC makes clear that it expects guests and crew, as well as port personnel, to wear masks in indoor and outdoor areas except for brief periods while eating and drinking and says that ‘removal of the mask for extended meal service or beverage consumption would constitute a violation of this Order.’ “ The implication is quite clear; you may not sit around a table - or bar, for that matter - enjoying food or drink at your leisure. You may grab a bite, take a sip, then mask up again. Anything else “would constitute a violation of this Order”! Oh.....and they’ll be watching, either in person or “remotely”! 🎶 Dum de dum dum 🎶
  6. I hope this pertains only to cruises which touch US ports? Assuming so....and why would our now utterly ridiculous, unscientific, full of itself, CDC have jurisdiction anywhere else....this merely means, at least to me, that US ports should be avoided at all costs! Have we hidden our vaccinated children away for the last fifty years lest they catch measles, mumps, diphtheria or whooping cough? Have we sent them to schools in masks to sit surrounded by plexiglass? NO! Vaccines are protective, you fools; that’s the point! The game is up; you are using the guise of a “deadly pandemic” (1.67% mortality rate in the US, I believe) to rule over and control a (heretofore) free American citizenry. People are starting to catch on and there’s rebellion in the air; removal of a mask for “extended eating” is a violation but you “don’t have to wear a mask in your own stateroom” ?! How much more of this nonsense do they really think educated adults - and that includes most of the cruising population - will stand for? If this country - or its leaders - continue to act like complete morons, the world will just go on around and without it/them. I certainly plan to!
  7. You can add my voice to the chorus of those royally . . . worked . . . over by PG/Ponant and their greedy, customer-unfriendly practices. We reserved a Category B stateroom on the March 28 Papeete-Fiji cruise that fell victim to Covid & was cancelled by PG Cruises. They refused us a refund though refunds were “being considered on a case by case basis”, and even though the cruise docs sent to us stated that it was their responsibility to REFUND in the event that THEY CANCELLED a cruise. No matter. Like Poolechick, we waited patiently until months had passed (the difference being that our travel advisor was wonderful!). Our fear that the company would go under, taking our money with it, finally drove us to file a dispute with our credit card company. I have written before about how PG lied to our card company, stating that they had already issued us a refund, knowing full well that the $540 PARTIAL REFUND on a $666 single post-cruise hotel night was not the refund in question! (! We cancelled the minute they revealed the outrageous price, but they kept $126 for their “trouble”.) The credit card company cancelled the credit on the basis of the....misinformation. We explained and they reinstated it. There was then another 90 day wait until our dispute, finally, was honored. Another $500, our original booking deposit, has never been disputed....or refunded. We had our travel advisor request that refund but, while PG had originally stated that they couldn’t refund our money only because we had filed a dispute, she was now told that, “NOTHING associated with that booking number will be considered for refund!” Such liars. We had a glorious time on our first Paul Gauguin cruise. HOWEVER.....it was no MORE glorious than our experience aboard VIKING, REGENT, or any other luxury line! Yes, there’s the French Polynesia vibe. But, merci beaucoup, I’ll get mine on any other cruise line - without the side dish of merde!
  8. Like America.....and the world. Be glad because you didn’t lose your shirts to a company that won’t refund your money after cancelling your cruise!! I’m happy you had fun.
  9. Losing $20,000 and having folks say, “Oh well” and continue to sing the praises of the miscreant cruise line does make one feel like a target and inclined to fire back. Sorry to offend, I believe I’ll take a break as well, likely a long one..
  10. Excellent on all points, Surfskier. Here is the language you refer to from PG’s ‘Passenger Carriage Contract’: ”Upon cancellation of a cruise the “Company’s only liability will be to refund to the Passenger the amount it has received for the ticket/Contract.“ Both ideas, contacting one’s Representatives in Congress, and bringing a class action lawsuit, are valid options in response to the company’s withholding of refunds. Not only should these actions be taken, but the six+ months interest that PG has earned demanded as well. While it may be insignificant on a case by case basis, Paul Gauguin/Ponant is making a veritable fortune from their unethical/illegal practices. Covid has, indeed brought out the very best, and the absolute worst of human behavior, uncovering what is at the very soul of each of us. A third possibility is contacting CLIO regarding this ongoing situation. While they are doubtless aware, a loud & vigorous outcry from multiple defrauded clients, and their travel advisors, might spur that body to exert some pressure on the miscreants.
  11. International tourists (alarabiya.net) Dubai will allow entry of international tourists starting from July 7. International tourists travelling by air to Dubai must ensure they meet all requirements for entry to the UAE. They should download the COVID-19 DXB app and register their details on it, since it facilitates easy coordination and communication with health authorities if they experience COVID-19 symptoms. They must fill a “Health Declaration Form” before travelling to confirm they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. They should also ensure to have valid health insurance in order to be allowed to enter the country. *The airline has the right to refuse boarding if passengers display any coronavirus symptoms. International tourists must do a PCR test with a maximum validity of four days (96 hours) ahead of the date of departure. *They will be required to show proof of not being infected with the virus on arrival at Dubai airports. *If they cannot provide proof, they will undergo a PCR test at the airport. All arrivals will be subject to thermal screenings. If a traveler is suspected to have coronavirus symptoms, Dubai airports have the right to re-test to ensure the tourist is free of the virus. It is mandatory for tourists who test positive for coronavirus to register their details on the COVID-19 DXB app and isolate themselves at an institutional facility provided by the government for 14 days at their own expense. All positive COVID-19 cases should strictly adhere to the measures outlined by the COVID-19 Command and Control Centre. Actually, incoming visitors TO Dubai MUST have a PCR test within 96 hours of departure for Dubai. If they can’t prove a negative result they THEN get a rapid test at the airport as well. Interesting that they quarantine in a government facility at the travelers’ expense. SMART! Dubai doesn’t demand testing of any departing passengers.
  12. This is true. Another hitch, however, is the fact that there are still states that will not test because “I want to go to Tahiti” (or Hawai’i); Minnesota, California, by report. (I’m sure there are others that only test symptomatic individuals or contacts of known cases.) Not to terrify anyone with an upcoming trip (or get scolded, again, for drawing parallels between the islands of FP and Hawai’i) but Hawai’i is presently reconsidering it’s decision to waive the 14 day quarantine on August 1st if visitors have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure. The spikes on the mainland US and the fact that just waiving the quarantine for inter island travel caused our numbers to skyrocket (from the 800’s to 1135 in under a month) have everyone here weighing the economic damage against the medical risks.
  13. In Hawai’i the language reads, “a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving”. That would seem to say, to me at least, that the test must be administered within 72 hours of arrival in Hawaï’i. My understanding is that (at present, at least) if (negative) test results haven’t yet been received on arrival, the visitors will have to quarantine until they are. Another test will be given at the airport as well and testing may be done on a random basis doing the stay. Since it’s testing 72 hours before arrival, it’s a moot point where the departure city is.
  14. Hawai’i, starting 1 August, will also require a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure to avoid a 14 day quarantine after arrival in the islands. However, we were speaking with friends in Minnesota today who also reported that it was impossible to get a test in that state without symptoms. “I want to go to Hawai’i” (or Alaska, or Tahiti) just won’t cut it. I’m not certain how many other states have this policy, but it certainly would be something you’d want to investigate before making travel plans . . . . especially on the likes of a cruise company as Ponant/Paul Gauguin which refuses to give refunds!
  15. Of course, though no one has mentioned it, we now know there WAS no May, 2020 dry dock. So, one assumes, those aft cabins remain untouched. Now you have to get accustomed to losing your butler again....albeit recovering your aft staterooms! What are the chances PG will bother to inform you, one way or the other?
  16. Wow, Petoonya! It sounds like Windstar is poised to take over PG/Ponant’s dissatisfied (and that’s extremely dissatisfied) customer base! Of course some will hang in no matter how badly they - or others - are treated, but I suspect that hearing of your experience, and just being treated like honored guests will reap huge rewards for Windstar. I will certainly consider them for a return to French Polynesia, and we’re likely to return a lot since it’s so convenient to where we live.
  17. Perhaps you should consider asking for a refund since they cancelled your cruise. If/when they refuse, file a dispute with your credit card company (as are so many others). Unless you can really afford to take the financial hit, and it doesn’t sound like it, you should be proactive about this. Just my unsolicited opinion, of course.
  18. When it is, “ultimately” $25,000, it’s a bad enough position, thank you! There is nothing PG can do, in the way of service or amenities to make up for theft if that magnitude!
  19. All this may be true, and certainly the service aboard PG, at least in October, 2018, was delightful. HOWEVER....no matter how good the service or how many ships; Of what use is this when the company itself is so arrogant, so greedy, and so unethical that, although it’s own passenger carriage contract (written 2018 and sent to us only weeks before our scheduled cruise, March, 2020) states that they may cancel a cruise for any reason, however, “Company’s only liability will be to refund to the Passenger the amount it has received for the ticket” Yet they refuse to do so? We are still waiting, indeed we are waiting in the face of Paul Gauguin/Ponant’s adamant refusal to refund the price we paid for our suite. They are offering “FCC” future cruise certificates at 120%....when this cruise we had booked is NEVER offered at a time we are able to take it and the only other cruise of equal value is one we have already taken! But evidently this does not constitute one of the “rare exceptions” they are willing to consider. When you add this to the completely unreasonable, and unnecessary, silence and runaround that passengers awaiting information about their impending cruise/no cruise received from Paul Gauguin in the weeks leading up to their imminent non-departure . . . (We learned from watching port after port - Cook Islands, Tonga, and finally French Polynesia itself - close to cruise ships that our cruise wasn’t going to happen) . . . and you begin to understand why the majority of us never want to set foot on a Paul Gauguin/Ponant managed vessel again! Now add in the fact that Paul Gauguin was pretty desperately in need of an overhaul and was actually on her way to dry dock after her April 11 sailing, but that was cancelled and never occurred, and you have a far less than appealing scenario for booking a cruise! Sorry if this rains on your sweet little group booking set up, Kahunababy, but.......people are asking and have the right to know. Simply put, at a time when the vast majority of the cruise industry is doing its level best to treat people fairly, Paul Gauguin ripped people off, and is continuing to rip people off! Pretty short sighted; cruisers are smart people with long memories and there are LOTS of choices!
  20. Wow, Tom, And this with no reference to your previous doomsday prediction or the potential harm or distress it might have brought to....whomever. And not even a thank you. Consider Paul Gauguin/Ponant refusing to refund a damned penny of the money they have taken from thousands of trusting souls for cruises they cancelled. This after weeks of leaving people hanging with absolutely no information right up until days before their cruise was to depart. So terrible is their greed that they even refused to refund the price of gifts from family & friends, (purchased on their own credit cards!), stating they were, “now part of the original cruise package”! Forgive me if I think a little gratitude is in order to Viking for stepping up with a $20,000 refund - as they promised all along - even if there was a slight delay. After all, YOU caused the panic here, for everyone, not Viking. I’m sure the victims of Paul Gaulguin/Ponant wish they could say the same!
  21. Hubris is not a French trait. Arrogance, however, would seem to be, along with greed and perhaps blindness to the effects of spitting in the eye of public opinion. Ponant and Paul Gauguin Cruises are playing a coy, crude and cruel game of ping pong with their responses to customers...and TA’s....and a possibly illegal game of keep-away with their money. Bad enough that they are refusing to refund money on the cruise YOU cancelled, Jared, Ponant/Paul Gauguin also REFUSE TO REFUND PAYMENTS ON CRUISES THEY THEMSELVES HAVE CANCELLED! This despite the fact that their own passenger carriage contract states that they MUST DO SO IF THEY CANCEL A CRUISE. French Law also calls for them to make customers whole. Offering a voucher for a cruise in the future, when one may or may not be able to take it, and at a time when it, and the associated costs of flights and hotels, may be priced considerably higher, is not the same thing. Nor is it in any way the industry standard! Look around and compare the treatment by this shabby outfit to what is being offered by virtually any other; Viking, Regent, Crystal, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival....and I’m well out of the “luxury” class Ponant/Paul Gauguin likes to/imagines Itself to be a member. And perhaps is was. No more. Ponant/Paul Gauguin has removed itself from the good company of high class cruise lines forever with their reaction to the Covid crisis and their decision to sacrifice their customers on the alter of corporate greed. There will always be those willing to suck up to the bullies, Jared, to scold you for your absolutely justifiable outrage when, it reality, neither Paul Gauguin or Ponant may be around when Mr. Jazzbeau prepares to board next January.
  22. “Even washing hands when entering the buffet is an occasional experience. On out 2019 October Trade Routes trip, I doubt that over 25% of people entering the buffet area washed up.” On our recent South America & the Chilean Fjords trip aboard Viking Jupiter the percentage of people “washing up” was virtually 100% because, if they didn’t do it in their stateroom or a washroom on their way to meals, a crew member was stationed by the door to each dining room - and the hand sanitizer dispenser - to make quite certain everyone at least sanitized their hands before entering! This was a common theme throughout the ship, at the gangway, for example, but nowhere were they as insistent as at the entrance to every meal venue.
  23. There has been a great deal of discussion along these lines (See the title of this thread). It has been an reasonable exchange of opinions, for the most part, but, it only takes one voice yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater to cause a stampede. So, to answer your question, given the rhetoric, I think “one guy” can do a lot of harm, yes.
  24. And, so saying, you create an atmosphere in which people may panic and demand refunds immediately instead of being willing to sit this out. Your prediction therefore runs the very real risk of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thanks, Tom, those of us who are willing to give Viking a chance, and may have thousands of dollars in multiple bookings in the balance, appreciate your careless behavior in our behalf!
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