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About papaflamingo

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    3,000+ Club

About Me

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  • Interests
    Grandkids, sports, cruising
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. I certainly understand the feelings of those who don't want to visit Cuba due to the govt. etc. I, on the other hand, want to visit Cuba. I also grew up in the 60's and clearly remember the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. I lived in San Diego, one of the largest Naval ports in the U.S. We knew we were "ground zero" for a nuke if the missiles ever started flying. In college I studied Cuba, the USSR, and Latin American politics. So I'd like to see what I studied. But I wonder. Many on this board visit Vietnam on cruise. The current Govt. of Vietnam was a result of the war that we lost and a military that killed over 58,000 U.S. Military, and I was right at the age. Some wounded or killed were friends of mine. The war in Vietnam fractured our country. Yet we've been "friends" with Vietnam for many years. We were in a Cold War with the USSR since the end of WW II. That finally came to an end in 1991 or so. I've visited St. Petersburg, and I know many here have also. How many Americans died during the Cold War? China has been one of the worst regimes in history. How many here have visited China on cruises? So, my point is simple. Castro was an evil dictator. But this has been going on over 60 years. If you don't want to visit Cuba, I certainly respect that. But for the U.S. Govt. to tell us we, as free Americans, can't visit Cuba and they cite Cuba's support for Venezuela as part of the reason is absurd. Putin has flown over a hundred Russian troops to Venezuela to bolster the rule of Madera. Why doesn't out Govt. also ban travel to Russia? Anyway, I hope saner minds prevail. The best way to get rid of Communism and Socialism like in Cuba is to expose the people to the benefits of our system and show them what they can have. Depriving Cuba of tourism deprives the Cuban people, not the Cuban govt. Just my Humble Opinion.
  2. We, too, have a cruise booked in 2020 to specifically spend the night in Havana. Guess I'll need to look for something else. We opted not to go last Feb. with friends. Guess we'll regret that decision.
  3. We are veterans of 37 cruises, most of them on Royal Caribbean. When I retired over 2 years ago, out "retirement cruise" was going to be Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. We wanted to fly one way and cruise the other, and wanted to fly business class. Well, last Nov-Dec. we did our first Regent cruise on the beautiful Mariner. We flew to Honolulu (I did that flight on my own), sailed for 44 nights through French Polynesia, Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, and Australia and spent 4 days in Sydney, and flew back via Regent Air in Business Class. I had this cruise booked for over a year and during that time I researched ALL my options. I checked Royal Caribbean, HAL, Celebrity, etc. Yes, we could have done it on Holland America (that was the closest to the itinerary). It would have still been over 40 days, but would have been 3 separate cruises. We would have had to purchase a fight to Sydney, then a 7 night Sydney round trip cruise, to Fiji, etc. Then a few days in Sydney, followed by another Sydney round trip around New Zealand, then the trans Pacific. Those 2 would have been b2b on the same ship. Anyway, comparing it to a similar size suite, it would have cost as much or actually a bit more than the Mariner cruise, PLUS tips, shore excursions, specialty dining, drinks, and air fare. So for that particular cruise, we were much better off on Regent and it was the most fantastic cruise ever. So yes, you can certainly do it cheaper on a mass market cruise line and small cabin. But on many exotic cruises where you want business air and a suite for comfort, Regent is often in the ballpark price wise and is certainly a much nicer and more luxurious experience.
  4. June 15, 2020, Seven Seas Navigator, New York to Dublin. Would love to have you join us. Won't be much snorkeling, but I bet the scenery will be spectacular. 😎
  5. Best not to try to understand it. I'm pretty sure Royal Caribbean is a believer in Common Core Math. Better to look at a cruise and say "yeah, that's worth the money," and book it, or "gee, it's not worth the money" and don't book it. How they arrived at the bottom line is irrelevant. Only the bottom line counts.
  6. As everyone has said, technically no. To hedge your bets, make sure you have a Main Dining Room time for dinner, either traditional or My Time Dining. If MTD, make reservations. Having said that, I bet that they'll let you bring them in for at least dinners. Probably depends on how crowded it is. But I bet you'll be able to get them in. Wouldn't try to get them into the Suite Lounge though. I would talk to the Concierge as soon as you either get an email from him or get on board.
  7. Is that including fees? But it really depends on itinerary and time of year.
  8. We did all of what you are asking about. Spent 4 days in Amsterdam. As you are planning, we took the bus from the Central Station to Zaanse Schans and absolutely loved it. We did 3 windmills, the Lumbermill is by far the most interesting. We went in and were the only two in there so the guide gave us a private tour and showed how the saws work, etc. Very interesting. Also the wooden shoe shop, cheese shop, did a canal cruise, and went into the museum. We were there around 5 hours. We also did Muiderslot. The castle is beautiful and the town is very quaint. Ate dinner at one of the restaurants and had a great dinner sitting on the canal watching the boats. You were so close you could talk to the boaters in the locks. We took the train to Amstel then on the bus to Muiden. As for learning any Dutch, not to worry. I think everyone in the Netherlands must speak English. We never met anyone who didn't speak it fluently. Anyway, to answer your question, yes it was worth it to us. But we had 4 days.
  9. When I read your original post I sensed this was what you were wondering. I couldn't agree more. I posted the pics to give you an idea how crowded the tours were. I really enjoyed them, but as you can see, there are a fair number of people on the tours. But I never felt crowded. They allowed us to snorkel anywhere within reasonable distance of the boats. I also never felt that there was any "slowing down' by anyone. I just headed into the water and snorkeled as I wished. I would get away from the crowds except when interacting with the sharks or stingrays as they were attracted by the guides. And the snorkeling was spectacular. For an included tour, I felt they were excellent. But if I was booking my own tours, I'd also look for smaller numbers like you suggest.
  10. We were on the same cruise as Wes and had a spectacular time! We snorkeled in Bora Bora, Raiatea, Moorea, Fakarava, and Suva, Fiji. The tours probably had 35 on the boat, but it was not crowded or any hassle. You can book your own tours if you prefer. In Fakarava, there were no tours, so we rented bikes at the port and just stopped on the road at the beautiful beach and snorkeled on our own. It was spectacular! People were able to book private tours on their own for diving and snorkeling, but we were quite happy with Regent's. Here's some pics. The first is a pic of Fakarava. The rest are random from the other islands.
  11. I have to agree with you on this. Since you had RCCL insurance, and RCCL cancelled the cruise and provided refunds to those who weren't insured, it seems you are being punished for doing your due diligence and purchasing insurance. Obviously if it was third party insurance, then no issue. Or if you were able to use it to get reimbursed for travel that non insured were not reimbursed for. But it seems unfair in your situation that they didn't refund the insurance premium too since you didn't cancel the cruise, they did.
  12. What's amazing isn't how complicated the schemes are, but how many are so freely willing to scheme in the first place. Whatever happened to integrity and honesty? Sad.
  13. Those look great! Thanks for the link. They seem perfect for traveling.
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