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  1. Thank you. My working premise is that there's a LOT of pent-up travel demand from people not being able to travel over the last year - and that once the vaccines take root that people are going to start booking/spending at a brisk pace. I presume that would push prices up, but you're right that it could instead play out with airlines adding more flights. I rarely see flights get cheaper as we get closer, although I've never booked a flight this far in advance - so this is new ground for me.
  2. We're doing the Danube Explorer with Emerald. Very excited - my wife and I have been talking about a Danube river cruise for quite a few years. Hopefully Covid doesn't delay our plans.
  3. I thought people might be interested in where I came out on this. I ended up passing on the 10% discount. As a result, we have "only" our $500 (for two people) deposit at-risk. I bought trip insurance, including 75% CAFR. We're just about exactly one year out from our trip at this point, so I'll probably go ahead and book our flights on that assumption that they're more likely to go up in price in the coming months than come down in price.
  4. This isn't specific to river cruising, but I would assume (with all the associated dangers) that river cruising is experiencing the same type of resurgence. Now that vaccines are ramping up, people are eager to begin to book cruises. Royal Caribbean's stock is up 30% over the last week (thankfully, as I'm a shareholder) amidst news that bookings are up significantly - and many other publicly-traded cruise operators are surging in the same manner. Certainly all of this is very early, but I think it bodes well for those of us hoping for both vacations and the financial health of the cruise industry. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. rose to its highest in nearly a year in New York after the company said bookings continue to improve, lifting the shares of competitors as well. Since the beginning of the year, reservations are running 30% higher than in November and December, Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty said Monday on a quarterly conference call with investors. Shares of Royal Caribbean, the second-largest cruise operator, rose as much as 13% to $88.75, their highest since Feb. 26, 2020. Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. also jumped. The vaccinations of millions of Americans against coronavirus has been a significant help, Liberty said in a phone interview, along with the accompanying decline in Covid-19 cases across the country. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-22/royal-caribbean-leads-cruise-stocks-higher-with-gain-in-bookings
  5. I guess the real question is: what does it look like between now and 2024. Is he (or others) thinking that quarantine will be required for the next 3 years? Or just that we might be required to wear masks? Or just that people are slow to adopt a mindset that it's safe to travel and so it takes time for travel to return to pre-pandemic levels? It seems to me that we face a fork in the road here in 2021 and nobody can really know which direction things go. The good path is that vaccines become more widely available and used, cases and deaths go down, and life starts to get closer to normal - although I think it will be a new normal. The bad path is that vaccines aren't as effective as we hoped, vaccine-resistant strains begin to develop and grow, and safe/healthy travel simply isn't possible. Under that scenario, I could see that 2024 forecast being realistic. Boy, I sure hope not though.
  6. Not at all - you're projecting that onto me. I think it would be more accurate to say that I hadn't given supplier default any thought but, based on concerns voiced on this forum, I've decided to explore it a bit. I'm still booked (for April 2022) but I want to consider whether I make full payment in April 2021 and avail myself of the discount, or wait until January 2022 and pay the normal fare.
  7. Yeah, I was worried about that. I tried looking for information on Scenic (the owner of Emerald, with whom I've booked a trip) and all I could find is some nonrated debt they issued in 2018 - but no details that would say anything about creditworthiness.
  8. I'm new here, so if this is out of bounds, please forgive me, chastise me, and moderate my post as needed 😉 My first post yesterday dealt with paying for my cruise well in advance (1 year) in order to get a discount. Several folks expressed reservations about that. I was appreciative of that perspective/advice and I'm currently thinking (I have until early April) about whether I want to pay early and get that early-pay discount or not. In addition, I saw a post in another thread that speculated upon whether a certain cruise operator would remain a going concern over the next year or so. I'm hoping we can walk a responsible tightrope here. I would personally find it interesting to hear people's concerns about various cruise operators (I don't think that's out of bounds, since people have posted these opinions in other threads) - but would find it MORE helpful if people posted why the feel that way and, even better, point us to articles if they exist about what gives them pause about certain cruise providers. Is there an article you've read that gives concern? Something you've heard? In the case of my previous thread, a comment from a TA? I'm not trying to start a trash-talking thread here by any means. But I also thought it might be useful to have a thread that provides some information (even if that blends a bit too readily into gossip) about why people might be concerned about certain cruise providers.
  9. With Emerald, I've already confirmed that I can pay via credit card so I have no issue in that regard. The sole issue at this point seems to be whether my cc provider will cover a default by the provider and how long that look-back is.
  10. Yes he is, and a super nice guy. We spoke for a full hour today and he helped me sort through a ton of information and options. I have a few more pieces to figure out (such as my credit card coverage, for whom I'm on hold now), but I'll certainly be using Steve's services to buy a policy.
  11. Thank you, Coral. I've reached out (to Steve, a sponsor on this forum) about Supplier Default coverage - we've exchanged emails and are scheduled to speak by phone today. This issue is my new #1 priority and I very much appreciate everybody highlighting it for me. As it is now, all we have down is the relatively small $500 deposit for the two of us.
  12. Thank you for the comments and for a few other things to consider. I hadn't thought of the risk that a company goes under. I think the first thing to do would be to contact my credit card provider that I'll be using to pay for the cruise - they might provide protection. Jazzbeau - does your TA have those concerns about all cruises, or just Scenic/Emerald in particular? I'm a little less worried about the Covid thing. Even if we find we're uncomfortable in April 2022, we can cancel 90+ days ahead and use what we've paid towards a trip anytime in the following 24 months. Since this is a trip we KNOW we want to take, I feel comfortable that sometime in the next 3 years we'll be able to do it. But I appreciate the food for thought from both of you. Chris
  13. Hello everyone- First time poster, and looking forward to our first river cruise. My wife and I will be celebrating our 35th anniversary in 2022 and we've been talking about a European river cruise for years. With some big incentive pricing from Emerald (Super Earlybird pricing) we finally decided to go ahead and book. We put our deposit down and intend to pay in advance to save the additional 10%. One item that I asked about specifically is the guarantee mentioned in the article on this site: https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=2256 In 2017, Emerald Waterways also introduced a guarantee that provides a refund of up to $475 per day for up to seven days, or $3,325 per person, for issues that include the ship being unable to sail due to high or low water levels, mechanical breakdowns or industrial action affecting the sailing. The guarantee is valid, regardless of what country you book in. I noticed there was no mention of this in our Terms and Conditions so I called to inquire - and was told that that must be an outdated policy at this point. So this is just a heads-up to others who might be thinking of booking on Emerald that the information in that article is dated. I've asked some detailed questions and will provide information about what, to my cruising-newbie status, seems to be an outstanding value of the Super Earlybird pricing for 2022 sailings. You can essentially choose from one of two deals: 1) $1000 per person off the cruise fare or 2) $295 airfare. Note, however, that their airfare is capped at $1200 (if it's more than that, you pay the difference) so that airfare benefit is capped at $905. We grabbed the $1000 per person and figured we would book our own airfare. An additional 10% off if paid in full more than 12 months before you sail. We opted for a more luxurious cabin so this was a pretty good chunk of money. Free Deposit Protection Plan ($125 per person value). It took me quite a few questions to get to the point where I understood the Deposit Protection Plan and the Flexible Booking program and how they work together. I wanted to make sure I understood everything in detail because that will let me know my "gaps" that need to be covered by trip insurance. I haven't yet decided whether I'll just play it safe and get CFAR insurance or whether I'll rely on the pretty good benefits embedded in the combination of Deposit Protection Plan and Flexible Booking. Since I just booked two days ago, I still have a few days to decide. But with Covid and the fact that I'd still have risk inside 60 days even with the above plans, I think I'm likely to do CFAR.
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