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Russ Lomas

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Everything posted by Russ Lomas

  1. People seem to say look at what the Delta variant has done to the UK, and it is just a matter of time before it does the same to Canada. You raise a good point that the UK were in a different place when Delta arrived there (those less than 40 not having vaccine access yet). I always point out that those 12-17 are not getting vaccinated in the UK (I hear they just permitted this in the past week for some at risk in that group) and also the main vaccine the UK is using they say is about 65% effective vs Delta vs the main ones Canada is using is about 90% effective against Delta. For these reasons, I do not think Delta will hit Canada as hard as in the UK. That said, with many in the US refusing to get vaccinated, their numbers will likely go very high once again. Our numbers in Canada may rise in the fall when schools open again, but who knows. As for the title of the thread, I was really peeved when I was told that we may no longer be considered vaccinated all of a sudden after being considered fully vaccinated 24 hours ago due to a different interpretation of a policy by a RCCL supervisor. Coming up with a thread title to try to get others to read the thread and possibly enlisting their assistance to have RCCL review their policy in a timely manner and state their policy in a way that cannot be interpreted differently by their different supervisors working for them is something I hope we can achieve.
  2. Not true. Canadians can and always have been able to travel across the US border for leisure purposes during the pandemic. They just have to fly because the land border is still closed to us to enter the US. We think the same way, but it would be agonizing to get to the port and then have them ask for dates of both vaccines from separate documents. I could only imagine the mess at the port if the agents had to pull out a calendar to try and count the number of days between doses for every passenger to see if they fell in the less than 42 day category. People working in a grocery store need a calculator to figure out how much change they should give if an item costs $4.25 and I give them $5.25. They are baffled why I gave them the extra quarter. Not trying to shame the cruise line at all. Their printed policy can be interpreted in 2 entirely distinct ways depending on how you read it. Calls to supervisors at RCCL made by different people speaking to different supervisors get totally contradictory interpretations of the printed guidelines. I am hoping for the print to be clearly changed and not be so difficult to understand. That said, I hope the print copy if changed does favour all of us who got our vaccines as quick as supplies permitted us to do so. Thank you. You get entirely what I am saying. I forgot about that Broadway show incident, but great example. Just like the Canadian couple who had mixed vaccines and were told they could not honeymoon in Barbados. The story was picked up by the media and the Barbados government changed their policy within days.
  3. We tried asking them but they have to run it up the flagpole to an appropriate person who does not work weekends. I agree that this will change, but what about those of us who have flights booked in a couple of days for a cruise next week and have had this sprung on us at the last minute? We met all of RCCL's policy requirements as of Friday morning and then Friday afternoon they add this one on. If RCCL only has one or two people questioning this decision, they will not feel any urgency to address the policy. If people realize it may affect them, then standing together to write a short email may get their attention faster and help those of us (hopefully) cruising soon. I too read it that way but my travel agent, who follows these board closely, referred me to a post of an individual who called RCCL and spoke to a supervisor. That individual posted on CruiseCritic that the supervisor told them that it not only refers to those with mixed vaccinations but to ALL individuals who received their 2nd dose outside of the 2 week window. Please see my comment above for my concerns why this will affect those of us who got the same vaccine twice outside of the 42 day window. Please see my comment above for my concerns why this will affect those of us who got the same vaccine twice outside of the 42 day window.
  4. I certainly hope you are correct. We sail in 20 days. A buddy sails in 6 days. Just imagine if you were all set for your cruise and this was thrown at you 3 days prior to flying to Florida for your cruise. If you have a cruise booked months from now, it is easier to sit back and wait for change. For those of us booked in the next couple of weeks, the timelines are crucial. Very few countries in the world were able to have enough vaccines for their residents to get the shots in a timely fashion to protect them like the US did. Many in the US are unwilling to get vaccinated. The decision to only consider those who received a 2nd dose in the 2 week time allotment means all those in many of countries around the world will not be considered vaccinated to sail from the US. Agreed that as Canadians, we were frustrated with the initial rollout of vaccines here. That is long past now and Canada has greatly surpassed the number of vaccinated Americans (by a bit for 2 doses and by a lot for their first doses). Unfortunately, due to this rule which RCCL just posted a day ago, none of us are considered vaccinated, whereas RCCL considered us fully vaccinated on Thursday. That is what is frustrating. We jump over a hundred hurdles to get to our cruise and then days before it sails, RCCL tosses a new policy at us and moves the finish line. I am not sure what misinformation you are referring to on Social Media. Someone posted they talked to a supervisor at RCCL who informed them that those who received the same vaccines for both shots (like we did with Pfizer) will be considered unvaccinated in the eyes of RCCL if they did not receive their 2nd shot within a 2 week span after receiving their first dose. Unless that individual is lying, then the RCCL supervisor either is misinforming guests or RCCL has added a new layer to being considered "vaccinated" that did not exist a couple of days ago. I read the policy the same as you did. What has us concerned is the comment I made above where the RCCL supervisor said this also applies to those of us who received two doses of the same vaccine. If that is in fact true, many of us are S.O.L. for cruising in the near future.
  5. I just posted this in the Canadian group, but I would also like it here as well since I know that all members do not read that other group. This information was shared with me from another thread here but may get overlooked by many. Based on what is now posted on the RCCL website, you must have both of your vaccines (regardless of type) less than 42 days apart, otherwise you are considered unvaccinated by RCCL rules. I do not think there are any (or VERY few Canadians) who were vaccinated less than 42 days apart due to supply shortages. From the RCCL website below: The U.S. CDC advises that a vaccine series should be completed with products from the same manufacturer, as the safety of a mixed-product series has not been fully evaluated. However, Royal Caribbean will accommodate guests who are vaccinated with mixed mRNA vaccines, such as 1 shot of Pfizer and 1 shot of Moderna. The doses must be separated by at least 28 days and not more than 42 days. If you look at the CDC website, this is their recommendation: You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 4-week interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary. You should not get the second dose early. There is currently limited information on the effectiveness of receiving your second shot earlier than recommended or later than 6 weeks after the first shot. That will basically mean all Canadians are now considered UNVACCINATED according to the new info on the RCCL site. This really screws us fully vaccinated Canadians who got two of the same vaccine as quick as our government permitted us to do so. Our travel agent has reached out to RCCL for clarification, but I think Mr. Bayley's email needs to be flooded to get them to reverse this decision. mbayley@rccl.com
  6. I think we will all need to flood Michael Bayley's email to have them QUICKLY reverse this decision. Based on what is now posted on the RCCL website, you must have both of your vaccines (regardless of type) less than 42 days apart, otherwise you are considered unvaccinated by RCCL rules. I do not think there are any (or VERY few Canadians) who were vaccinated less than 42 days apart due to supply shortages. From the RCCL website below: The U.S. CDC advises that a vaccine series should be completed with products from the same manufacturer, as the safety of a mixed-product series has not been fully evaluated. However, Royal Caribbean will accommodate guests who are vaccinated with mixed mRNA vaccines, such as 1 shot of Pfizer and 1 shot of Moderna. The doses must be separated by at least 28 days and not more than 42 days. If you look at the CDC website, this is their recommendation: You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 4-week interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary. You should not get the second dose early. There is currently limited information on the effectiveness of receiving your second shot earlier than recommended or later than 6 weeks after the first shot. That will basically mean all Canadians are now considered UNVACCINATED according to the new info on the RCCL site. This really screws us fully vaccinated Canadians who got two of the same vaccine. Our travel agent has reached out to RCCL for clarification, but I think Mr. Bayley's email needs to be flooded to get them to reverse this decision. mbayley@rccl.com
  7. I am not a medical doctor, so when I read that mumbo-jumbo, I called the US border patrol and Air Canada. They both confirmed a valid rapid antigen test (like the $40 one at Shoppers) will suffice if done within 72 hours before your flight departure from Canada.
  8. Puts my mind more at ease. I was in near meltdown mode (again) when I saw that post you commented on earlier. I have learned to not believe every comment posted here but to listen to all comments and then follow up myself to confirm or deny if they are in fact true. I fully understand how the poster believed you could not get the ship to do a PCR test and then drive over the border because that is how the statement was worded, but I guess they never thought about cruising when writing those words.
  9. It sounds like it may if you were flying to the US and driving across the border but not if you were flying into Canada. You can call them at 1-833-784-4397 between 7 am and midnight to ask them specifically for you case if you like. (Public Health Canada number)
  10. Congratulations on the offer John. I assume you will be accepting it. Have a wonderful cruise (you will beat us back to a ship by a couple of weeks (but we are paying for our cruise). Looks like you get free admission to Thrill Waterpark. We want photos of you on the slides. Have fun
  11. Everything I hear says the Shoppers Drug Mart rapid antigen test for $40 is totally fine for flying to the US (according to the Air Canada rep. I spoke with). Please let us know how your flight goes on August 1st. Have a wonderful cruise.
  12. Just you let you know, and others, especially Magicat, I called the toll free number today and talked to Public Health Canada directly. They said that PCR tests administered by the cruise lines are totally acceptable for those returning to the USA via cruise ship to use if they fly back into Canada OR drive back into Canada across the border. This confirms we can fly to Detroit and then drive across the border with the PCR test conducted by RCCL during the cruise. The only issue she said, her example, is that you cannot get a test done in a foreign country like China, land in a US airport and then drive across the border into Canada. She said cruising is fine since they understand that people will be disembarking and then flying home or to airports near their home after the cruise is complete.
  13. The short answer is yes. We were set to sail on the NCL Dawn after hurricane Irma and Maria punished the Caribbean in 2017. Our ports were changed many times. We had St. Marteen removed and replaced with St. Croix, but St. Marteen replaced St. Croix about a week before we set sail. That said, what the other posters said here about not being able to accommodate the Symphony in Antigua would likely mean it would not be switched back. Strange RCCL did not know that when they originally scheduled the Symphony to port there originally.
  14. Ensure your dining times are arranged and the table you have is what you wish. You can stop by the dining room and request any changes if what you have been allotted is not to your liking. You cannot pre-book shows on the Odyssey at this point in time. Will be first come, first served in August.
  15. Now you have me very worried. I live near Windsor and have air tickets booked after our cruise to fly to Detroit and get a lift across the border. From what you are saying, Canada will not accept the PCR test that the cruiseline did 24 hours prior. I need to get clarification on this. Any idea of a phone number to call. I looked at the link you posted and see the wording of it but would like to call and ask questions. This was also posted prior to July 5th, when cruise ships were not running. I do not even know what department of the Canadian government to call about this one... Can you link the GOC Travel website you are referring to directly? As I posted just above, Magicat has me very concerned now that when I step off the ship with a PCR test done in the past 24 hours by the cruise line and fly to Detroit, it will not be accepted. I need to find the answer to this ASAP since our cruise is very soon.
  16. I know it is not listed as any of your 3 choices, but have you considered sailing on the Odyssey? You would get all 3 things you listed - it does an 8 night itinerary, it is THE brand new ship (newer than Symphony), and it goes to Coco Cay. Why not check off all 3 of your options with one cruise?
  17. That FAQ page on the RCCL website has now been taken down. I do not know if it is an IT glitch or if they received so much backlash about it and they are rethinking their policy. Only time will tell. Canadians who did the "right" thing by mixing vaccines at the urging of our health authorities and government in order to help protect others should not be punished for making this decision.
  18. You are correct. Now I know what you were referring to as the 3rd test. From what I read, if you are flying back into Canada, they do the test at the arrival airport (I do not believe there is a charge for this service). We are flying back into Detroit and getting a cab back across the border. From what they say, they provide us with a home testing kit, and we do the test ourselves and then return it to them
  19. I was a Junior Purser (now called Guest Services). I only completed one contract before I got married and took a management job in a local hotel for 3 years (before becoming a teacher) that I was hired for based on my work for Princess Cruises. It was an absolutely fabulous experience for me and I only wish I had done it earlier and seen more of the world that way. 8 more years until I retire. I would love to retire and be that old guy working for RCCL Activity Staff working the flowrider and iFly (I can't get enough of those things).
  20. https://switchhealth.ca/en/travel/pearson-departures/ $140 plus tax done right at the Pearson airport and results in 12-24 hours
  21. One other person mentioned this above, but I can confirm. We plan to cruise on the Odyssey in August 2021. I contacted RCCL directly via an e-mail to Michael Bayley's office and received a response saying that they would provide me with either a rapid antigen test or a PCR test free of charge so I could reenter Canada. Now, that said, if you are consider unvaccinated (which many Canadians now are since they took two different vaccines), then you will have to pay for this test unless RCCL changes their policy before you cruise (hopefully so). I guess however that those scheduled on the Adventure will not be permitted on the ship if they have mixed doses, where as out of Florida you can pay for the testing and still board.
  22. If you are active online during your cruise, I would love to hear back in this thread from you regarding your experience boarding the Edge on the 7th. We are scheduled to fly Toronto-FLL on the 11th and board the Odyssey on the 14th, just as you are disembarking your ship. Why do you have to take a test 3 times if sailing out of Florida in January? Currently you just need a test to enter the US via plane and then RCCL will provide you with a free test onboard before you disembark if you require one to enter your own country.
  23. I have the same questions you have since we live in Ontario. I contacted RCCL and was told by an agent, Anna, that the documentation we in Ontario have received is fine as proof of vaccination. I also received an email from Michael Bayley's office a few days after regarding this (included below). Good Afternoon,Thank you for contacting the Executive Office of Royal Caribbean Group. On behalf of Mr. Bayley, I welcome the opportunity to respond to your e-mail.I genuinely apologize for the delay in this response. Unfortunately, given the COVID-19 circumstances and the influx of communications coming in due to this situation, we are drastically backed up and affected in our response times. Nevertheless, I am happy to see that you spoke with our representative Anne yesterday and were assisted with your concerns. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns, and I will be happy to assist.I hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend.Thank you again for contacting us.Best Regards,Mike BermudezExecutive OfficeRoyal Guest Experience Management
  24. I am just starting to read this thread, so I apologize if you have got the answer to this before me, but I too had the same question. RCCL replied with the email below saying they would provide us with free PCR tests to get us back into Canada if we require them (we are fully vaccinated). I would assume that they would offer you a PCR test as well if you require it to re-enter Canada. Good Evening,I hope this e-mail finds you well.Regarding your question about the PCR test:Vaccinated guests who require an antigen or PCR test for entry into their destination country may receive one onboard at no charge. Registration details will be provided during your cruise.Best Regards,Mike BermudezExecutive OfficeRoyal Guest Experience Management
  25. Thanks for sharing the video. I worked for Princess Cruises about 30 years ago, so this brings back some great memories. My daughter is thinking of working for RCCL for a few years after she finishes University (which I highly recommend her to do). I shared the link with her.
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