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cruiseej

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  1. This is something that's bugged me in the past about Seabourn, and where I think Silversea seems to have hit a home run with their newest ships. I've always enjoyed the food and drink on Seabourn cruises, but I almost always comment that I wished the menus in the restaurant, as well as the wines and beers, would somewhat reflect the area we're sailing in. Aside from perhaps one dish at lunch, this is rarely the case. Silversea has brought out its S.A.L.T. -- Sea and Land Taste -- program to directly address this. There's a restaurant with menus from the ship's current location in the world, as well as a bar featuring local-inspired drinks. The reviews from passengers on their Greece cruises this summer have been outstanding. I wish Seabourn would adopt at least some of this thinking; it doesn't need to be an entire restaurant devoted to locale, but one or two items on each day's menu, along with local wines and beers, where appropriate, would be a nice step up in my opinion.
  2. It seems like Seabourn is continuing to do these surveys on a somewhat regular basis, to judge how the views of the customers may be changing over time. And it's good that they are doing so! I just hope management is actually listening to what customers are telling them. --- P.S. To try to head off the flurry of posts saying "I didn't get the survey, and I'm Etherium level in Seabourn Club!" 😉 , everyone should understand that the purpose of such surveys is to hit a sample of the customer base, not every customer nor all top-level customer. Any time they send out a survey, some people get them and some don't.
  3. Whaaaaaat?? If this is true, it's a complete change in longstanding policy. Om my upcoming Barbados cruise, I have ended up with a significant amount of onboard credit. Secure in the knowledge that excursions I pre-booked could be refunded and charged against my onboard credits, I have booked excursions in each port. I guess I will go to Seabourn Square as soon as we board and ask to do the swap; if they say no, I will ask to cancel all my excursions for a refund, and then I'll try to rebook them and hope there is space available. If they will not refund my pre-booked excursions to my credit card and allow me to use up the onboard credits, I will be a most unhappy cruiser. Such a change would significantly affect our choice of Seabourn versus Silversea in the future, as SS simply doesn't charge you for excursions until the end of your cruise, using up onboard credits first before charging your credit card.
  4. @Borna Thanks so much for posting the daily Heralds. It's not quite like being there, but it's the next best thing! It certainly heightens my anticipation for next month. ----- For upcoming Odyssey travelers: I thought I'd note that Seabourn has added a number of excursions in some ports. We had looked at the excursions and booked a few last month. Then we got notifications that two of the excursions we had booked were canceled, so we reviewed the updated list and found it underwhelming. When it was reported yesterday that Odyssey will skip Granada and instead visit Bequia in the Grenadines, I logged into my account to see if our cruise had changed. (It hasn't, at least as of now.) But when I checked excursions again, I was pleasantly surprised to see several new excursions had been added in Antigua and Grenada, and the post-cruise Barbados tour enroute to the airport was modified and now fits our flight timing. As these may vary from one cruise to another, I'm just pointing this out so you can check to see if there's any new excursions of interest on your upcoming cruise.
  5. And we're booked own the Wind in December, after having rolled over from our originally-planned trip in December 2020. And we really hope to not have to push back for another year... but we'll see. Silversea's Barbara Muckermann has been pretty optimistic about the planned winter season in Antarctica. They have a variety of contingency plans in place, and the government of Argentina has approved cruise ship sailing from Ushuaia for this winter. She indicated they expected to have clarity about the likelihood of the cruises going ahead by early September, so until then we just have to keep our fingers crossed and wait.
  6. Yes, the Wind is in a shipyard in Gdansk, Poland undergoing the renovations for an ice-class hull and other modernizations. She arrived on June 2. There is another long-running thread on the Wind, and you might want to pop in starting on this post and the couple which follow, which provide god details about what is happening with the Wind. The original renovation at a shipyard in Malta was scheduled to last two months, but after being moved to this yard in Poland, it might take a bit longer due to Covid's impact on workforces, global supply chain issues and being a job this shipyard has never done before. There haven't been any updates about the ship in the past two months, but I wouldn't expect anything until the port and Silversea put out press releases announcing the completion of the renovation project. The first sailing of the Wind isn't scheduled until November 20. After sea trials, it will take close to a month to sail from Gdansk to Buenos Aires, so they really have about two more months to finish all the work, provision the ship, get a staff onboard, and set sail for the winter season. Silversea has said they fully expect the ship to be ready for this winter, and the timing seems to support that. The big question still looming over everything is whether anyone will be allowed to travel to Argentina and/or Chile in a few months.
  7. And now the latest wrinkle: the CDC today added Greece to a list of countries it labels as "Level 4: Covid-19 Very High" -- its category of highest risk for COVID-19 -- and advises Americans not to travel there. It's non-binding, like the UK restrictions, so fully-vaccinated Seabourn passengers from the US may not be deterred or significantly affected, but it's just the latest wrinkle in the ever-changing ebb-and-flow of "re-opening" and "returning to normal." Wasn't it just a month ago that we were marveling at how well Greece had done with speeding up vaccines in order to re-open to tourism? Sigh.
  8. And now the latest wrinkle: the CDC today added Greece to a list of countries it labels as "Level 4: Covid-19 Very High" -- its category of highest risk for COVID-19 -- and advises Americans not to travel there. It's non-binding, like the UK restrictions, so fully-vaccinated Seabourn passengers may not be deterred or significantly affected, but it' just the latest wrinkle in the ever-changing ebb-and-flow of "re-opening" and "returning to normal." Wasn't it just a month ago that we were marveling at how well Greece had done with speeding up vaccines in order to re-open to tourism? Sigh.
  9. Yet, interestingly, it doesn't appear they are offering these paid upgrades on the current 7-day cruises in the Caribbean, even though they are very lightly sold. (There were about 130 people on the first two cruises, and under 100 on the current cruise.) They clearly have premium category inventory which is unsold, but reports from everyone here on CC and on the Facebook Seabourn forums indicates that no one has received an upgrade offer. Perhaps their staff is so overwhelmed with rebooking canceled and changed cruises that they don't have time to send out upgrade offers? On the other hand, it's 100% profit for Seabourn if they get any takers, so you'd think they would be trying not to leave behind easy money.
  10. For better or worse, Adriatic trips which start or end in Venice require a bus ride into the city now, and perhaps a long bus ride. The thread linked above has a lot of explanation about the situation and why there aren't easy solutions. It seems the short-term plan is to create several new berths for cruise ships in the Marghera industrial port on the mainland just across from central Venice. It won't be a fancy, pretty, modern cruise terminal, but they will at least create infrastructure to handle passenger check-in, luggage handling, and moving people and buses. I've read different reports which say (a) they had already started on this, but aren't yet far enough along to take cruise ships, to (b) they hope to have two berths ready by next spring, and up to 5 eventually, to (c) nothing has started and money hasn't been provided to even start that process. Still waiting for clarity on that. Assuming they get that set up, it's a short bus ride (~15 minutes) from the port to the central Venice cruise port/train station, from where you can hop on a vaporetto to get where you want in the city. And an easy bus ride (~20 minutes) to/from the airport. In the immediate short term, and probably for the foreseeable future, some cruise lines will move their embarkation/disembarkation outside Venice. MSC has moved their August sailings from Venice to Monfalcone, about 90 minutes from Venice. Because there isn't a large cruise port facility in Monfalcone, passengers still go to the Venice cruise terminal, drop their luggage, go through health screening, and are then bused to Monfalcone for immediate boarding. Trieste (two hours east) and Ravenna (2+ hours south) have cruise terminals which can handle passenger check-ins and luggage, and I'd expect some 2022 and 2023 Venice cruises will be diverted to those ports, with cruise lines providing bus transportation to/from Venice because most passengers will travel through the Venice airport. But those ports probably can't handle the cruises they did previously plus all the traffic from Venice. So there's probably some jockeying going on among the cruise lines and ports to get berthing reservations in the next few years. If the owners that be can get the Marghera industrial port adjoining Venice up and running by next year, that will be the preferred location because it's close to Venice and the airport. But cruise line sneed to plan months and years ahead, and nothing is more at odds with that than uncertainty about availability. Some in Italy don't want to spend money or allow this "temporary" solution to come into being, because it will keep large cruise ships in the ecologically-sensitive Venice lagoon for years to come, and because it increases chances of a problem which could block cruise ships and commercial goods if a ship blocks the long, narrow commercial channel. (Picture the Suez canal debacle.) On the other hand, there are a lot of Italians' jobs on the line -- all the people who handled the infrastructure of cruise ships (from porters to longshoremen to fuel and provision suppliers) -- and there is pressure not to lose all those jobs. The government passed the cruise ship ban without working out the details of how to get Marghera set up to become an interim cruise port for Venice, so exactly what happens and how quickly is something we'll only know with the passage of time. Barcelona - France - Sardinia - Italy might be more of a sure thing to look at until the future plans for Venice cruises get worked out! 😉
  11. I think the difference between your past experience and what might be the "new normal" next year and for several years to come is that Marghera is not set up to handle cruise ships now. When you had to go there, it was something unusual that caused it. Perhaps too many ships in Venice that day? (That would have meant the shore staff handling luggage and passenger movement was over-extended to start with, before the added strain of busing to and from Marghera.) The plan is to create several new berths for cruise ships in Marghera as the temporary (e.g. for the new half dozen years, maybe more) resolution to cruise ships in Venice. It won't be a fancy, pretty, modern cruise terminal, but they will at least create infrastructure to handle passenger check-in, luggage handling, and moving many people and buses. Assuming they get that set up, it should take no longer to get from ship to airport as it did when ships docked on the island of Venice. Of course, as you note, there's the issue of money and will-power to get Marghera set up for cruise ships. Some in Italy don't want to spend money or allow this "temporary" solution to come into being, because it will keep large cruise ships in the ecologically-senstive Venice lagoon for years to come, and because it increases chances of a problem which could block cruise ships and commercial good if a ship blocks the long, narrow commercial channel. On the other hand, there are a lot of Italians' jobs on the line -- all the people who handled the infrastructure of cruise ships (from porters to longshoremen to fuel and provision suppliers) -- and there is pressure not to lose all those jobs. the government passed the cruise ship ban without working out the details of how to get Marghera set up to become the new/interim cruise port for Venice, so exactly what happens and how quickly is something we'll only know with the passage of time.
  12. All the current itineraries were developed before the Italian government's recent surprise decision to ban cruise ships immediately. Silversea expected there not to be a ban prior to an alternative port being developed and/or to only affect the truly giant cruise ships. They -- and most of the cruise industry -- were taken by surprise. MSC has moved their August sailings from Venice to Monfalcone, about 90 minutes from Venice and 30 minutes closer than Trieste. Because there isn't a large cruise port facility in Monfalcone, passengers still go to the Venice cruise terminal, drop their luggage, go through health screening, and are then bused to Monfalcone for immediate boarding. Trieste and Ravenna have cruise terminals which can handle passenger check-ins and luggage, and I'm guessing some 2022 and 2023 Venice cruises will be diverted to those ports, with cruise lines to providing bus transportation to/from Venice because most passengers will travel through the Venice airport. (Cruise lines can easily charter buses, but probably not trains.) Others will likely still sail from Venice using the Marghera industrial port. What the capacity will be there -- and how much capacity the other cities can absorb -- is what I'm sure all the cruise lines are trying to sort out. It may take a couple months until there's some clarity about the 2022 season and beyond.
  13. @Lvshack Here's what it shows on the US website: As you can see, there's no mention of business class air as an offer for this cruise. At least we've clearly established that it's definitely showing different offers on the US and the UK website. I don't know if it's normal for US and UK have different air offers (other than price) for the same cruise. Since the £99 price for an upgrade is clearly a mistake, I'm guessing this is placeholder text and the whole mention of business class air is a mistake.
  14. I'm looking at my booking confirmation, and there's nothing about dining or format nights that I can see. Page 1 has pricing and guest info; page 2 has cancellation fees and notices, page 3 has additional included amenities, page 4 has our itinerary and flight notice legalese, and page 5 has Seabourn Club information. I would think it might be denoted on the itinerary page, which lists each day's port, arrival and departure -- but it's not. Where is it in your booking confirmation?
  15. So are you going to just remain on the ship that day? If you can't do either of the two excursions offered, you still can't do anything on your own, right? If you have a chance to ask any Seabourn folks: do they think this switch from Grenada to Bequia is likely to remain for future itineraries, or do they think this is a short-term issue which they expect will be resolved and they'll go to Grenada on future cruises? Thanks. I had just found that the excursions offered in Grenada on our cruise had expanded from two that we weren't interested in to seven options, several of which would be of interest. So it would be of interest to know if they think we will be going there or not. 😉
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