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sayanne

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  1. FWIW on refunds - I got in just under the wire on qualifying for a refund on an April cruise. It happened to be a river cruise but my TA tells me all of them are working agonizingly slowly. I got a piece of paper from the company saying I would get a refund and giving amounts inside of a few days. But the actual refunds have been tortuous. Over a month to get mail from the credit card company that something was coming back. 10 business days after that before it actually made it back into the cc account. Just saw them (two involved) in the two thru in the last five days. Another smaller amount that cannot be refunded to the cc because of how early I made those deposits - I don't get it but the bottom line is they have to send me a check. I have not gotten it yet and figure I will be calling for another few weeks on that.
  2. There is another quote above that alludes to such a similar issue, age related, that longer term the prospect for insuring travelers over 70 may change. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is the speed at which a situation can go from risky to truly life threatening when people are away from their home resources. I ran the posts in this thread from three weeks ago to today and it could easily not be the same thread. There are personal considerations due to age/physical well-being that may play out. I asked for a refund rather than an FCC for my April trip entirely due to issues of aging. I have two years left to do a couple of trips which require more physicality. Unfortunately that is also the rebooking window for the river cruise deal if I had taken the FCC. The next river cruise has to wait. There are serious health considerations for cruising as well. Some more elderly passengers, like those on Holland America's Amsterdam, were cruising because their health precluded flying. I am failing to understand all of it - one report says it is going on to the states with a full crew and the passengers' luggage. Regardless, they are not carrying the people so those folks have to fly home in the face of risks. And there are all kinds of places that people have gotten stuck which are far worse than Australia, with zero flights still running even if someone can take a difficult flight. None of these considerations apply for younger people, they have lots of time for things to recover and frankly take bigger risks. But for the older portion of travelers, even those like me still a bit under 70, this thing has been a real wake up call for what level of risks are tolerable. I expect going forward cruise lines will have to enunciate a lot more about what they will do if things go bad. And that costs money, for the cruise lines as well as trip insurers for extraction.
  3. Totally agree with tallnthensome. I just got a river cruise vendor to honor their reimbursement offer (at least they seem to be) by the skin of my teeth. They had a reimburse option, but withdrew that and reclassified the cruise the evening after I called them directly to ask for reimbursement. I had what they apparently recorded as a memorable discussion about having to go thru my TA when all of the agency's travel staff got sent home and are on a very skinny rotation due to the virus. And a reminder of whose money it was. Even if I could use the FCC in the window they gave - 2 years is too tight with the rest of my wish list - I was seriously concerned that this company could not survive the virus shutdowns and any return of an FCC would be cents on the dollar.
  4. This is a caution to people in the midst of making decisions about upcoming cruises where the vendor has offered a choice including full reimbursement. And you are carrying the usual "for cause" travel insurance. I just was able to act on a reimburse option for a trip solely because I happened to have called the vendor 8 hours before they removed that option and changed the status of cruises so they were FCC only. And have very good travel agent. Whatever policy you see on a Wednesday may not be the same the next morning.
  5. Not sure who is talking to who here, but Silverseas has a range in their ship size. Obviously the smaller ones do not have spare space for rock climbing walls. From their web site, and I know people who have been on their smaller ones and reported excellent food. I have not tried one of these yet myself but my friends have done a ton of cruising and are reliable. "Our ships range in size from 50 to 304 suites to ensure each of our guests finds the perfect balance between choice and intimacy."
  6. I am aware of those smaller ships geared for bigger water. Road Scholar built and launched their own coastal explorer not so long ago. I think Viking has sub-500 passenger ships for coastal trips. Silver Seas has a couple, in fact I believe it is one of theirs that my friends are on right now. They just scored a dock away from a big ship that was turned away due to contamination risk. They are small enough to have stayed clean. But even that trip cancelled an extension due to all the concerns. I was just out trying to buy stuff for my friends for when I pick them up at the airport. Those ships absolutely intrigue me. To me they have many of the advantages of the river cruisers including tighter focus, educational tilt and personalized service. And fantastic food - that is by itself a standout aspect of the river cruises. Sigh - I was looking forward to doing this trip with 3 nights in Barcelona then spend a week going up the Rhone as my last straight river cruise before going to other types of trips. But oh well.
  7. I intensely dislike crowd scenes, would rather spend the majority of my time on land learning about an area than in diversions on the ship and have zero interest in many of the amenities of a big ship like huge parties and unlimited drinks. Much prefer a quiet time sipping good wine or beer (unlimited wine and beer with meals, so plenty of opportunity to get drunk if that is the goal) and talking about the neat little places we visited during the day where we had a small group and got to learn a lot about a particular UNESCO sites, historic cathedral, local shopping district or sites of historic importance like Nuremberg. Plus you have to look twice at the costs to get it right. On the river trips, all excursions are included as a matter of course, as I said beer and wine at meals and at receptions and a bunch of smaller things that I could find if I looked at them head to head. For what you actually get, some of the diff is simply that they are included in the river cruise and you have to pay extra for them on the big ship. Basically, on the river trips you are choosing some amount of education over a focus on partying.
  8. Update re little boats - as of this morning AMA Waterways finally joined their kin in the business. All European river cruises cancelled until Apr 20, possible updates further on. Some weirdness in the terms I am reading for the last week before but it might just be a lack of coffee to understand. Thru 7 days before the trip it looks similar to Viking has done. Link here if interested - https://www.amawaterways.com/travel-updates
  9. Have to give Viking a lot of credit for being proactive. If any of the river cruise companies can survive this, it'll be them.
  10. Annnd more check-your-arrangements stuff. People often take a shuttle from the nearest airport to get to JFK, La Guardia or Newark. The shuttle service that my TA has used for years, and I have taken, this morning instituted a no refund policy. For years now they have refunded on 72 hours notice. My TA called this service today to ask what conditions might cause their drivers to not pick up from international terminals at JFK. (And leave me stranded down there upon return.) The answer was a government order, details of what that meant terribly lacking. But it is unnerving since we already have a statewide state of emergency declared, a containment zone downstate being managed by the National Guard, and every indication that more of this will be happening before it is all over. I am going to book a second way of coming north and cross my fingers I can pull it off.
  11. BTW, I picked up my packet today. My travel agent was handling one of a two week long stream of incoming phone calls from someone wanting to cancel in a roughly SOL situation between for cause insurance and late cancellation penalties. Some of these folks are losing the money. She has not booked a new trip in nearly a month. Have to agree that much of the economic damage is already here.
  12. I can conclude that. I was skipping years for a long while and got the flu every other year. Got the shot every year and had it once in 7 years. As to mass producing a serum to cover all strains, they can't. There are were four strains covered in the 2019 shot, H1N1, H3N2, Influenza A, and Influenza B. A as the one that comes back each season and has 16 subtypes. The subtypes are classified by the number of certain proteins that are attached to them: H, for hemagglutinin protein and N, for neuraminidase protein Beyond that, the H and N subtypes contain different strains, which are referred to by number. The H subtype has 16 different strains. The N subtype has 9 different strains. When the proteins on a specific virus are identified, you end up with names such as "H1N1" (one hemagglutinin, one neuraminidase) or "H3N2" (three hemagglutinin, two neuraminidase.)1 https://www.verywellhealth.com/learn-about-different-types-of-flu-770509 They can't put more than 4 strains worth of vaccine in the under-65 shot, or 3 strains worth in the over-65 shot, because that would represent too hard a hit on the person receiving the shot. This limits the strains they can cover in the over-65 shot to 3, because they make the doses stronger to generate more of an immune response. I am probably not the only person who noticed being tired for a couple of days after getting the senior shot. Which was never a reaction I had from the other. Theoretically they could come up with multiple shots that, if you took them all, could cover every variation. But I doubt anyone could talk insurance into paying for it. China is probably reliable here and there - they have verified a second strain of COVID-19 already. I am sure there are more to come.
  13. The vaccine for common/seasonal flu has a built-in weakness, that the decision on what strains to protect against has to be made long enough ahead of time that a given year's mutations can turn well sideways from what the vaccine was intended to handle. COVID-19 is also a virus with proof already that it mutates, so the same vulnerability is built in. That said, I have regularly gotten flu shots for several years now and am in constant contact with crowds because I play or sing in four different community orchestras or choruses. Where people who had been sitting next to me got knocked down by the flu. I haven't had but one bout that was actually flu in 7 years. And I am in my later 60's, so officially more vulnerable. If one actual experience matters, the flu vaccine has been very effective. That said, I am not interested in being an early tester for any vaccine they develop for coronavirus. Perfectly happy to let a few others try it first.
  14. Your post is a bit flippant so I m not sure how serious. But we do have examples of what happens when something is acted on like a pandemic even if WHO doesn't want to use the word. Italy has reduced travel and all activities to nil and is in the process of figuring out how to get food etc to people. Gov Cuomo in NY has set up a one mile containment zone around New Rochelle, a clear hot spot. The National Guard is being deployed to bring in food etc as needed to households and all activities have been shut down. You may as well call it martial law. Locally we are not that extreme, but pretty much all the colleges have shut down in person classes for a month and along with prep schools have cancelled activities that involve a number of community members coming in. That has shut down one concert series and a town/gown orchestra in am involved in. I fully expect my other two such engagements to go away in the next couple of weeks. My stepmother's nursing home is on restricted access and I think just one more local case away from barring all visitors. If it'll reduce the spread, I am fine with all of these measures.
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