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About karatemom2

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    3,000+ Club

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  • Location
    Southern California
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  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska, Hawaii

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  1. It may be hyperbole but there are some valid and thoughtful points being made here. I love cruising and have taken over 30 Princess Cruises in the past 15 years. But we have cancelled our cruises for the remainder of the year - the next one up was supposed to be on the Grand. Personally for us it is not worth the risk of getting stuck in an extended quarantine - I have a job and my husband is self employed. We have grown children traveling with us who have their own jobs and college demands. We have pets at home that require care. And we have elderly family members who I would prefer to protect. While we are in this new, unknown and critical phase with this illness I’m going to be cautious and thoughtful in my approach. There will be other vacations in the future. This is our personal decision but one I believe many other cruisers are sharing. Here is the biggest problem - once one person brings it onboard it spreads freely. No amount of cleaning or hand washing will slow it down - especially once it hits the crew who live packed together like sardines. A cruise ship is a perfect storm for viral spread and even screening passengers as they board will not help as the incubation time allows a seemingly healthy person to be fine one day and running a fever several days later. Then when these passengers leave the boat they take it home and spread it in their communities while the crew continues to spread it onboard to new passengers. It becomes a vicious cycle -exactly what we are seeing with the Grand. This is not the flu, there is no preventive shot or treatment like Tamifu to help mitigate it. Most people seem to do just fine, but the older you are the greater the risk and when you look at the average demographic of a cruise passenger many would fall into a high risk zone. These are just the hard facts. Everyone has to make their own decision, but it does appear the cruise industry will be bearing the fallout from this epidemic for some time, as will the entire travel industry.
  2. Not that far on a cruise ship - they can get there within less than a day.
  3. From what I read some of them aren't just getting sick now, they have been ill for many days but didn't make the connection until the news started coming out in the past few days about the Grand. The patient here who was just identified has been feeling unwell since coming home and thankfully stayed home, just going out to get tested when the news came out the she might have been exposed on the ship.
  4. Just reported in our Ventura County news that a local resident who was on the previous Grand sailing has tested positive - first person here in this County. The spouse is being tested as well as two other local residents who were also on that sailing so it could end up being more. The count from the prior cruise just keeps going up it appears.
  5. The crew has had more time to be exposed compared to the passengers onboard currently. The spread likely started during the prior cruise and has now had more time to pass among the crew who live in very tight quarters, some of them four to a cabin. There is no way to adequately quarantine or control the spread of a something like this in that type of environment. Most crew are young and healthy and not likely to get very ill based on what we know about this - some may be positive and not even showing any symptoms. Yet they are still able to to pass it to each other and ultimately the passengers. I think it's likely that is why it continued to spread on the Diamond even though the passengers were confined to their cabins. That isn't really a quarantine really when there are crew serving them multiple times a day who are not undergoing the same levels of isolation. My heart goes out to all onboard and those on the previous cruise who are now turning up with the virus. Dealing with this and potential future outbreaks aboard cruise ships is going to prove a difficult problem for the industry I'm afraid. There isn't really an easy answer since even screening at boarding doesn't help if someone is not symptomatic at that exact moment. It really is going to be a challenge.
  6. Thank you for sharing this. I was the person who found the locket and shared the story here. It still breaks my heart to this day the I did the “right” thing by turning it in to Guest Services only to discover it had mysteriously disappeared when by chance I found the owner through a note she left in the game room. She had been to Guest Services numerous times looking for it only to be told nothing like it had been turned in. We went to the desk together and the very man I personally handed it to denied that I had done so or that he had ever even laid eyes on me. The portion of the desk where I walked up happened to be just outside camera range so a Security investigation turned up nothing. The locket belonged to the lady’s recently deceased Mother and it was a treasured sentimental possession. It slipped off her neck during sail away and my husband found it on the deck. It should be around her neck today if it had not been stolen. Here is what you need to do if you find an item to turn in: 1. Photograph the item so there is a visual record. 2. When you turn it in, ask that it be taken by two representatives and get both of their names. 3. Ask to see it logged into the lost and found book and take a photo. 4. Make sure this all happens under one of the cameras positioned over the guest services desk. 5. Check back to see if someone has claimed it and ask to see it was recorded. I hate to seem so jaded but I regret to this day the blind faith I placed in the idea that the person I gave it to was honest.
  7. You will need to specify which cruise line, ship and itinerary you are inquiring about. Every ship is different.
  8. There is also a Christmas store in Skagway as well - Alaska Christmas Store.
  9. Well it depends on the ship, your itinerary and the type of cabin you are choosing. If you are doing an inside cabin, I would suggest positioning it near the closest and easiest exit to an observation area where you can quickly get out for the views. If you are doing a balcony, we like to be higher up and close to the bow. That is just our personal preference - you may experience more movement there, but we like that. If you are doing a one way trip take a look at the map of your course and it might help you determine which side will be facing land more of the time - it can be tricky guessing. Really either side will yield great scenery, especially if you are going through the true inside passage out of Vancouver. Maybe once you narrow down your ship, cabin type and itinerary you can share a little more info for some more specific advice from people who have actually cruised Alaska on that vessel.
  10. Exactly! And really that’s true of pretty much all similar types of coffee houses. Let’s face it - in all the years of watching “Friends” when they were hanging out at “Central Perk” for hours, how often were they actually drinking/eating? Haha! I know that’s a silly reference - but seriously, all areas of the Piazza including those adjacent to the IC and the bar/coffee service are gathering places for people to enjoy and visit. It’s nothing to get so worked up about.
  11. Boy do I understand the frustration. Many a time have my DH and I wandered aimlessly through the Piazza, food in hand, seeking a place to sit. It is frustrating. On the other hand, the Piazza is a gathering place and offers ongoing entertainment that people come to watch. They want seats as well, even if they aren’t eating. Many times I see people just sitting and enjoying the music, reading, chatting and yes, even playing games. I can’t really begrudge them as Princess has not just designated this an eating area - it is an open lounge, bar, coffee shop, cafe and entertainment venue all in one small area. And in the evening it becomes a waiting area for those Anytime Diners with buzzers waiting for a table. I guess my point is, it is a multipurpose space and it is just going to be crowded. Some people probably do abuse the privilege of planting themselves there for hours, but most seem to come and go. If we can’t find a seat we usually sit on the edge of a planter by the staircase or head to another area to eat - sometimes even back to our room to sit on the balcony. But more often than not, if we are a bit patient, something opens up. I agree with others taking the live and let live approach - it’s not the best set up but I’m not going to let it make me cranky.
  12. This link contains all the pertinent info. https://book.princess.com/captaincircle/membershipBenefits.page
  13. The options in Hawaii are vast so I would recommend you take some time to research the Hawaii Board under the Ports of Call section here. But that being said I will share some of our top choices from our four Hawaii cruises. Honolulu Pearl Harbor is a great place to visit. The Arizona Memorial has been closed for repairs, but it will be open by the time you visit. Also located there is the USS Missouri which is very interesting to tour. The Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery is also very moving. Diamond Head - if you are in good physical shape you can hike to the top Waikiki Beach - a famous spot to visit, although crowded, but fun for a beach day if you like and lined with hotels where you can dine and drink while people watching. Royal Hawaiian Luau - Depending on your port time, this is a great place to schedule a luau. http://www.royal-hawaiianluau.com/ Kualoa Ranch where Jurassic Park was filmed has some amazing tours and can be combined with a tour of the North Shore of Oahu. Iolani Palace is also worth a visit if you are interested in the history of Hawaii. Hilo Volcanoes National Park - a great place to visit if the current volcanic activity allows and it is open when you visit. Panaewa Rainforest Zoo - A fun little zoo in Hilo with a tropical park like setting and lots of cool animals to see Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden - A beautifulplace to spend some time - you will feel like you are lost in a tropical forest walking through the paths. Hawaiian Vanilla Company - A cool place to visit, have their special lunch and tour and learn all about how they grow vanilla. Lahaina Lahaina is a great place to just spend the day walking around and exploring the town - it was a whaling village at one time and there is a lot to see and a lot of history there. It's also a good port to book a snorkeling or whale watching excursion if either interests you. Check out what is offered through Princess and then compare by doing a search of private vendors - there are many that go out of Lahaina and you can check out their ratings on TripAdvisor. We snorkeled and whale watched with Trilogy on one if their catamarans. Kauai We generally rent a car in Kauai and that is my best recommendation if you are comfortable with driving here. It is a small island with basically one main road so you can see a lot in one day with a car. We like to travel North to the end of the road to Hanalei Beach - one of the most beautiful places. You can also visit the Fern Grotto and other scenic spots on the way in that direction. Heading south you can go to Poipu Beach and spend time there. Again, check out the tours offered by Princess and then do some checking on your own and you may find private vendors who can tailor something of specific interest for you. in fact, renting a car is really a great thing to do at every port. We love the freedom it gives to create your own adventure. Just do some research and you will find plenty of options for scenic drives, beaches, points of interest to visit, etc.
  14. Our family did the Christmas/New Years cruise out of LA to Hawaii four years in a row beginning when our kids were 8 and 13. At that time it was on the Golden which is a sister ship of the Star. We live just north of LA and loved being able to vacation in Hawaii without flying. The sea days are heavenly and filled with lots of great Hawaiian cultural activities like lei making, hula dancing and ukulele lessons. There are lots of families onboard and the ship is decorated and so festive. Santa visits on Christmas Day and they have tons of activities for the kids including cookie decorating and a gingerbread house contest. On a few of our trips Christmas Day fell on a port day and you do have to keep in mind some things will be closed, especially state or national parks, but Hawaii is a vacation destination and much is still open as many people travel there at the holidays. We usually would rent a car in ports and head off on our own adventures. On all other days beside Christmas it is business as usual at each port. New Year’s Eve is super fun - usually a formal night and just one giant party throughout the ship. Honestly those were some of our best family cruises and now that my kids are grown and in college I cherish those memories!!
  15. In a word, yes, that is exactly how it works. It is either by reaching the required number of cruises or days, whichever come first. You can make it with a high number of short cruises, and many people do just that. Or add in a few short cruises along the way to kick up their total cruise numbers. Others take fewer cruises but take long cruises or book suites and get double credit. It doesn’t really matter how you get there as long as you meet the requirements set by Princess which are exactly as you have stated.
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