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About cruiseej

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  1. The new Venture expedition ship was set to debut next summer and replace the Quest doing Antarctica trips next winter. So are they saying the Venture is likely to be delayed by 5 months? That gets dicey with the early portion of next winter's Antartica season. (We had hoped to be on a Venture trip next year that included South Georgia, but the prices were so high we opted for Silversea… and who knows what the cruising world will look like 15 months from now?)
  2. Like many of you, we'll likely wait for a vaccine before cruising again. But it's worth noting that a vaccine is not going to be a bulletproof preventative. Vaccines have varying rates of effectiveness, some as high as the upper 90% range, and some -- like the annual flu vaccine -- as low as 50-60%. Health experts have said that a COVID-19 vaccine that is 70-80% effective will be good enough for a mass rollout. What's worse, with many vaccine candidates under development, if billions are invested in mass production and distribution of one which turns out to be 75% effective, that may preclude or slow ongoing development of other vaccine candidates which could turn out to have a higher efficacy rate. (For example, the original vaccine for shingles, released in 2006, was only about 50-60% effective; it took 11 more years until the new vaccine, which is 97% effective, was released.) I'm not saying this to depress anyone, but to set realistic expectations somewhat lower than "wait for the vaccine, get the vaccine, everything is back the way it was again." There will still be some risks; how much so will take time to tell. But some of our "new normal" social distancing and masks may not disappear the moment a vaccine is available.
  3. No inside info here… the Wind is still docked in Marseille. The dry dock in Valletta, Malta was scheduled to begin August 21. Unless Silversea announces something sooner, we'll get some answers next month if we see it departing from Marseille. We are booked on a December Wind trip which we aren't going to go on, should it actually sail. We asked out travel agent to move us to the same cruise next year, and she said after talking to her contacts at Silversea that we should stay put a little longer pending some additional word from Silversea. I don't know if that's a hint that they'll be canceling this year's Wind cruises, or that nest year's pricing will be reduced, or something else... we're waiting to see what develops before we get to 120 days out.
  4. ...and is this end of Caviar in the Surf? 😞 There certainly doesn't seem to be a way to do that and socially distance.
  5. Is that 62% "too hopeful" that the cruise will happen, or 62% likely that the cruise will actually happen? 😉
  6. Just curious: Why wasn't the trip from Europe to Ecuador offered to passengers? Of course, it would have been canceled under current circumstances, but I don't believe it was originally supposed to be open to passengers for this journey. Just wondering why? Too slow, or not stabilized enough for a TA crossing?
  7. @QueSeraSera In my opinion, there's really only one major question you need to confront: do you think Silversea will still be in business in 8 months? If yes, then you can book the cruise and see what the world situation looks like by early February 2021, at which time you can cancel for a full refund (less a $200 fee which can be applied to a future cruise, assuming there is future cruising). If you fear for the viability of the company, though, you might want to hold onto your money for awhile to see how things play out. There are lots of other considerations, but they're lesser in comparison. For instance, might prices go down if you wait? Will some cruises be full (at whatever capacity they will be sailing) if you decide to wait to book, due to so many people needing to use their FCCs? Will it still feel like the luxury experience we all crave once we start hearing about the first cruises in the COVID era?
  8. One line in the Ponant article caught my eye: Re-boarding after shore excursions will only be permitted after temperature check and disinfection procedures (individuals and personal belongings). Wow! Can you imagine waking up, feeling great, having breakfast, going off for an excursion, and coming back to the ship for lunch to find that you're registering a temperature and can't reboard? So will they have crew members rush to your room, throw everything in your suitcases and toss them off to join you on on pier in a foreign country with no place to go, maybe or maybe not sick? Now that makes me concerned about traveling!
  9. I real the article linked in the original post in this thread, but it doesn't seem to bear much resemblance to cruising on Silversea (or any of the luxury cruise lines). And let’s be honest… many people love the thought of a cruise because they get to indulge in a bottomless buffet feast. Passengers could no longer serve themselves and pile their plates high with their favorite food. Maybe on Carnival, but that doesn't describe most Silversea passengers! A Germany cruise line tested the waters and departed a single river vessel cruise and showed the world the bleak future of cruise lines. Spas and fitness centers were closed. Pools were shutdown. River cruise ships are smaller than most oceangoing ships. "Pools were shut down"? How many pools on this river cruise? (Most don't even have a pool, and those that do are more like hot tubs, which are too small for distancing.) If pools on land are open with appropriate distancing and capacity controls, there's no reason to think they won't be open similarly on a cruise ship. All the doubting in this article seems to be based on a single river cruise trip. This and other dubious statements from a website which on its About Us page declares, "Despite the elites’ obsession with diversity, homogenous societies usually have fewer crimes." Yikes. I think I'll look to other sites for information about my travel plans. 😉
  10. Of course, no one can accurately predict the state of the world and the cruise industry for next year. To me, the later you can plan to sail, the better the chances of things being better. If there's a vaccine that makes it through trials by the end of the year -- and that's still a big if -- how many people will have had a chance to get it by April versus by September? And the longer ships have been sailing, the more we'll know about whether they're remaining completely virus-free, and how much distancing and masks and myriad changes for the sake of safety affect the joy of the luxury cruising experience. So all other things being equal, I'd pick September over April to cruise next year. Of course, everything else isn't equal with different cruise lines, ships, offers, etc. -- so only you can decide which factors outweigh others.
  11. Unfortunately, the view of the CDC seems to be changing. The Washington Post had a story yesterday about international experts' concerns about the growing number of cases in large parts of the US. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/06/19/countries-keeping-coronavirus-bay-experts-watch-us-case-numbers-with-alarm/ The most damning quote about the CDC was from a New Zealand infectious diseases specialist who said: “I’ve always thought of the CDC as a reliable and trusted source of information. Not anymore.” A few other excerpts here: "As coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. South and West, health experts in countries with falling case numbers are watching with a growing sense of alarm and disbelief, with many wondering why virus-stricken U.S. states continue to reopen and why the advice of scientists is often ignored. “It really does feel like the U.S. has given up,” said Siouxsie Wiles, an infectious-diseases specialist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand — a country that has confirmed only three new cases over the past three weeks and where citizens have now largely returned to their pre-coronavirus routines." “I can’t imagine what it must be like having to go to work knowing it’s unsafe,” Wiles said of the U.S.-wide economic reopening. “It’s hard to see how this ends. There are just going to be more and more people infected, and more and more deaths. It’s heartbreaking.” "Commentators and experts in Europe, where cases have continued to decline, voiced concerns over the state of the U.S. response. A headline on the website of Germany’s public broadcaster read: “Has the U.S. given up its fight against coronavirus?” Switzerland’s conservative Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper concluded, “U.S. increasingly accepts rising covid-19 numbers.” "Some European health experts fear that the rising U.S. caseloads are rooted in a White House response that has at times deviated from the conclusions of leading scientists." “Like many other aspects of our country, the CDC’s ability to function well is being severely handicapped by the interference coming from the White House,” said Harvard epidemiologist Lipsitch. “All of us in public health very much hope that this is not a permanent condition of the CDC.” Some observers, like Wiles, the New Zealand specialist, fear the damage will be difficult to reverse.
  12. Yup, that's indeed better! ;) Viking, in particular, has seemed to have done better than the other cruise lines, from reading post son the Viking forum -- although most people didn't get their refunds as quickly as 2 days! (Between 30 and 60 seemed the norm from my informal perusal of posts.) I'd note that Viking, with 80+ ships (mostly in their river cruise division) is actually a much bigger operation than Seabourn, and I'd assume has a larger staff who can be processing refunds. And their operations center is in Switzerland, so they may be much less adversely impacted than Seabourn's staff in Seattle. That all said, I'm not able to rank how well/poorly Seabourn is doing relative to dozens of other cruise lines; I was only noting that there are very similar complaints about delays upon delays in the forums of other cruise lines, particularly Silversea and Regent (where there's an almost identical 14-page thread tracking who does and doesn't have refunds -- and very few people do).
  13. @Paulchili I'm not sure why you're saying you disagree with me. You are stating why people have chosen to dispute through their credit card rather than continuing to wait for Seabourn to process the promised refunds. I fully understand that. All I was doing is explaining that as more and more people file credit card disputes which require the company to respond quickly, it means others who are waiting for refunds have been delayed further because their limited staff has to jump to deal with the credit card disputes. @rallydave Please don't put words in my mouth. If you re-read my original post, I absolutely and explicitly said I was not criticizing anyone for doing what they deemed to be the best action for them. I was only explaining to people who are still waiting for refunds that the growing number of credit card disputes are the latest of many reasons why processing pending refunds is taking longer than they said it would. I think this is a good illustration that it's not as easy as it might seem to process the refunds. Each case is different and requires checking multiple sources and systems. They need to identify all the charges and credits for each customer and I identify where they came from, which often span multiple credit cards over multiple years, document FCC amounts and dates to be restored, deal with air and ground and excursion add-on purchases, and properly credit travel agents for the proper commissionable amount (which is different than the amount paid or refunded). I would imagine processing some bookings might take 30 minutes or an hour to piece together, document, and process through various systems. And let's remember that the ones they were dealing with first were the customers who had trips truncated or aborted, who submitted additional out-of-pocket air and hotel bills to be reimbursed, which undoubtedly took considerable time to sift through. And I'd guess a small cruise line like Seabourn had only a handful of people who dealt with the complexity of processing refunds prior to this explosion of work. Am I suggesting Seabourn should get a free pass because the delays are reasonable under the circumstances? Absolutely not! One thing they could have done so much better is sending out communications to their customers, to apologize and to be transparent about why it was taking so long. (That work could have been done by people other than the few who could process the refunds.) From what I've seen reading multiple forums, none of the luxury lines gets a passing grade in this regard, nor have the others been significantly faster in completing refunds, either.
  14. I've been following this thread and would note that the increasing number of people who have filed disputes with credit card companies have likely contributed to refunds for others being further delayed. That's not a criticism of anyone, just an observation. When a credit card dispute is filed, the company gets notified and has a limited amount of time to respond. So the people dealing with refunds get increasingly diverted to handling the credit card disputes -- either approving them and clearing them off their books, or disputing them if the amounts differ, but lots of paperwork and documentation in any case. The effect is that the people who dispute via credit card are jumped to the head of the line, and everyone else experiences longer delays. People on the thread have criticized "lies" from the cruise line, but the longer-than-promised times are likely because the circumstances keep changing. Now that some refunds have been coming through, hopefully they have now hit their stride with a processing system and the delays won't stretch out even longer.
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