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About msmayor

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Jersey
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Half Moon Cay

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  1. HAL ships that we've been on have a large box with actual sod grass inside for the animals...it appeared each morning that someone cleaned and 'rinsed' the grass daily. For anyone interested in the training for a service dog and access to Disney+, check out "Pick of the Litter". It's a wonderful six-part series that follows pups through the process of becoming seeing eye dogs, and matching with owners.
  2. It won't be the paying public or the cruise lines that decide - it is the port cities. Unless hundreds of people are willing to pay for cruises to nowhere, cruise lines will have a tough sell unless they can put together itineraries with actual stops to places people want to visit. Now granted, the Seychelles are not on every itinerary but I read this morning they won't be permitting any ships to stop there until 2022. I don't read about too many other more common places wanting the ships to return. Think about popular places like St. Thomas that often has 6-7 ships in port...20,000 strangers in one day...may be a risk these small islands are not willing to take, despite the tourist dollars lost.
  3. I gave some serious thought to booking a March or April 2021 trip, but after reading of the layoffs I decided to pause. IMO this puts a big question mark on HAL (or any cruise line's) ability to get things up and running reasonably soon so I can see what to expect in less than a year. It's a good deal, but not so good that I'm willing to risk it with this many unknowns right now.
  4. When we started cruising, it was only insides due to cost. In 2014, after booking a guarantee inside last minute and then taking an upsell for just $50 for a balcony guarantee ($549 for 7 nights) we were assigned a deep-balcony aft and I haven't turned back. Husband and I were on Eurodam last fall and had a Lido Cabana, and we talked about how nice this was and that perhaps we'd consider booking an ocean view and just getting a cabana for our 'outside' time, but after this pandemic we've decided that we will now only book balcony or better. If I have to get restricted to my stateroom, I want the ability to step outside and get fresh air when I want, not when it is my 'turn' to walk around the deck.
  5. I received the offer the other day, and posted about it. While it 'is' a free stateroom, when you book you must pay $200pp which is returned to you as OBC when you sail. We routinely received casino offers with free staterooms but this is the first time they require $200 up front, returned later. My guess is this is to help improve cash flow and provide the refunds to those whose sailings now have been cancelled. Husband and I are considering one of the cruises for next spring - the pricing on the Neptune suite is wonderful and nice casino perks as well.
  6. People should be very careful going forward now with respect to purchasing insurance they hope will cover financial default where NCL is involved. Even though they seem to have secured some funding, the 8K was filed and the statements regarding 'going concern' are out in public. It is entirely possible that insurance companies choose to exclude NCL for policies purchased going forward as a result of the filing. Buyer beware - ask questions first...don't wait until you might actually need the policy to find out what is (or isn't) covered.
  7. I booked my family on NCL Escape for a New Year's holiday at the end of this year - three mini-suite staterooms for a family trip that we've been dreaming about with our kids for years. Final payment isn't due until August, and I haven't pulled the trigger to cancel yet, though it is highly likely. I'm feeling very lucky that we booked under a special $50pp deposit promo so right now, only $250 at risk. We haven'd paid anything else towards the trip, and when this whole COVID thing started up I told my kids not to book and pay for anything at all. My 'loss' right now would be less than the cost of a travel insurance policy. I can't see cruising being a realistic vacation for another year. We'll probably cancel, and just rent a beach house somewhere in FL for the holiday instead.
  8. They are all jpegs - they show up without issue on my computer...apologies to those who cannot see them; not sure why. If someone knows what I can try to re-post, I'm happy to give it a shot so others can see.
  9. My very first balcony stateroom was a VB on deck 5 of the Westerdam...it was truly a wonderful stateroom and my husband and I just loved the extra space. Room enough for two loungers, plus there were two regular chairs and a small table. First two pictures you can get a sense of the size from the inside of the stateroom, the others are outside. The view to the side, you can see the overhang and how covered deck 5 is. You can also see down to deck 4 where those verandas have a lot more exposure:
  10. I posted similar on another thread, but it appears at least with the Casino program they are working to generate more cash to use now. The offer we received the other day was for a 'free interior stateroom' with modest upgrade costs to go all the way up to a Neptune, on a laundry list of itineraries through spring 2021. There was an itinerary I was interested in, so I reached out to my PCC to get pricing. The 'free' interior stateroom requires a $200pp payment up front. This will then show up as OBC at the time of the sailing...so if two people take advantage of the free stateroom the cost is $200pp now, plus the taxes and port fees (always have to pay those for a free trip)...then a total of $400 OBC ($200pp) when you sail. Reserving a verandah or suite (the categories I was more interested in) also have the $200pp 'deposit now' requirement, but the same OBC at time of sailing. Essentially, this helps give them cash flow now. It's me, a future passenger, funding my OBC account now.
  11. I received a casino offer today that indicates to me HAL is being a bit creative in attempting to raise operating cash. The offer was for a free interior stateroom (options to upgrade all the way to Neptune suite, and must pay taxes/port fees as usual) on a laundry list of cruises from fall 2020 through April 2021, including some casino credit and free drinks while gambling. The interesting part? Even though the interior stateroom is advertised as being free, we would pay $200pp up front to secure the reservation. Once the cruise embarks, we'd have $200pp OBC to use during the cruise. In effect, they are asking us to 'buy' OBC now, which gives them additional cash today. I thought it was an interesting strategy.
  12. msmayor


    We definitely cleared US Customs in Vancouver - went through as we entered the terminal at Canada Place. First port stop was Santa Barbara, CA and then to San Diego. I guess I didn't think about the real reason to get to that 'zero count' - that's it is for Customs purposes. We did get off the ship in San Diego but only to walk to a CVS and pick up a few sundries. We re-entered the terminal and went through the security lines with all the new passengers, but once we were beyond the scanners there was a separate line for us to re-board the ship immediately while the others had to check in and wait to be cleared to board. For us, it felt just like a normal port day in the middle of a single voyage.
  13. msmayor


    I guess what we went on in October wasn't truly a B2B then? We sailed from Vancouver to SD (four nights), then R/T to the Mexican Riviera (seven nights) on Eurodam. We purchased it as one cruise but it was sold as two separate trips. When we arrived in San Diego, we were free to leave the ship and return as we wished, or could have stayed on board without any need to completely empty the ship. What I found more odd is that it was announced to us that those who were staying on board after the four-night did NOT need to attend muster in San Diego. It felt almost criminal to be sitting at the pool while it was going on.
  14. I would have no trouble saying No. I've already warned all my employees that last-minute vacations may not be possible and they need to be prepared for the inability to take last-minute time off. If I've already got the maximum number of people with an approved vacation on a specific week, I have no room to approve any more. I'd tell the employee who has this awesome last-minute deal to talk to the others who already have approved time. If one of them wants to switch, fine...but if those with already-approved time can't or won't switch, I don't care how good of a deal the employee looking for time off has.
  15. Let me clarify - I'm not saying denial without the opportunity to take vacation. I'm saying denial of the specific week or period of time, and telling employees "Sorry, but there are already enough employees out that week...you need to choose another time". There are many, many employers who have a limit on the number of people who can have an approved vacation at any given time. Businesses generally need a minimum number of employees in-house to operate effectively. I have a staff of four, and the most that can be out at any given time to operate effectively is two. If I've already approved a week's vacation for two of the four and a third comes to me wanting a last-minute week off at the same time, I'm saying no...choose another week.
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