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Everything posted by Neuhoftraveler

  1. Cartagena (Spain) was one of our most enjoyable port calls. Very easy to DIY. You don't need a tour, ship's or otherwise. Don't miss the Maritime Museum down on the waterfront, which includes a lot of marine archeology. Part way up the hill from the waterfront is an unearthed Roman villa with lovely mosaic floors and walls. A good book to read for local color is a mystery novel whose name I can't remember but which is set in and around Cartagena, about the search (in modern times) for a sunken 17th/18th-century Spanish treasure ship. I'm sure a little Googling will bring up the name of the book.
  2. Sevilla is a terrific city to visit. Well worth the travel time from Cadiz. My near neighbor MSKaufman lists the highlights. I'd add only that the Santa Cruz barrio is the oldest (or one of the oldest) parts of the city, with narrow streets, charming/quaint historic architecture, attractive little shops, etc, etc. If your alternative is a day in Cadiz, don't even think twice. Cadiz is attractively sited, but doesn't have a lot of character, and there isn't much if anything to see there. If you're a sherry aficionado you might try to arrange a visit to the Osborne (or some other) sherry winery (bodega), across the water in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Be very cautious about a ship's excursion to Jerez de la Frontera. Find out exactly what the tour timetable is. Ours was poorly planned, lots of idle time waiting around for things to open. But if you haven't seen it, you really shouldn't miss Sevilla.
  3. We were in 9047 in December 2018 (TA westbound). I'm not sure we even noticed the connecting door. In any case, there was no noise whatsoever from the connecting cabin. Beyond that, the cabin was absolutely lovely in every respect. Mrs. N especially liked the little dressing table just inside the large walk-in closet. We expected to appreciate being very close to an elevator bank, but soon realized that, in practice, you have to traverse the same length of corridor to get to any particular destination no matter whether the elevator is next to your cabin, next to the destination, or anywhere in between. So that alleged "advantage" is illusory. The big (and only) downside of traveling in QG is that it hooks you for life. As the famous WWI-era song goes, "How're you going to keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" This was our first time on QM2. We'd booked PG. When the PG price went substantially down, we decided to re-book the same cabin at the lower fare. Cunard counter-offered to upgrade us to Q5 if we stuck with the superseded fare. We took it in a heartbeat, and have never looked back. Unfortunately our 2020 TA in QG was cancelled, and though we have high hopes for our October 2022 roundtrip TA in QG, we have low expectations that it will actually happen.
  4. Forgive this post if it's just old news that I missed until now, but I notice that in Cunard's latest promotional emails, the (oxymoronic) "required gratuities" have been re-christened "Hotel and Dining Service Charges." At least this will put an end to the perennial question on this board, "Do I have to pay the gratuities?"
  5. We are considering the classical-music-themed crossing in 2022, but the Cunard website gives no details on the number or nature of performances to be offered. Has anyone on this board ever taken one of those voyages, and can you provide any information and comments? If you still have the daily program sheets, it would be wonderful if you could post them. Thanks in advance for any information and advice.
  6. Yes. That's why I said "Maybe even." And that's why it occurred to me that if the Major could get someone like her to contact Cunard and tell them, "This is really too much," they might actually do something. In the US, some of the (surviving) newspapers run a weekly consumer-oriented travel column, and people will sometimes bring their complaints to those columnists who then contact the travel supplier with a view to writing up how successfully they solved the problem. If one of the major UK dailies has such a column, it might be something for the Major to try.
  7. This is beyond absurd. Bank transfers cost money (at least in the US they do.) Are they authorizing you to deduct that cost? And why Is an additional amount requested? Changes in exchange rates? If so, I can't imagine why Cunard shouldn't be made to eat the difference. This would make a great article for a syndicated travel journalist. You might consider finding one that tends to side with consumers. That often gets vendors' attention. Maybe even the editor of Cruise Critic?
  8. For those keepiing score: Full refund finally credited to our cc account for 31 May Norway cruise. Booking cancelled by us on 3 April after getting assurances from Cunard on "hardship" grounds (planned TA travel to UK already cancelled by Cunard, plus a lockdown order here at home) that a full refund would be made (no FCC), and then cruise totally cancelled by Cunard a few days later. Elapsed time: 76 calendar days. Better late than never. This included return air fare booked through Cunard. Good luck to all still waiting.
  9. My understanding is that EU law continues to apply in the UK until 31 December 2020 (the "transition period"). Is that incorrect?
  10. For those keeping score and/or counting the days, today my US credit card issuer notified me that on June 6 my account was credited with a full refund on our cancelled May 13 TA. Both the cancellation and the refund request were on March 30, so the interval was 68 days. The booking was made through a US travel agent, who submitted the refund request on my behalf. Still waiting for the refund on our May 31 QV Norway cruise, which we cancelled April 3 on the basis of a promised full refund, in anticipation of Cunard eventually pulling the plug (as it did just a few days later).
  11. My understanding is that those who cancelled because of the pandemic before Cunard pulled the plug are getting their deposits and any other payments refunded. I haven't been tabulating the posts here or on the predecessor thread, but has anyone cancelling since the official pandemic declaration been denied (I don't mean delayed) a full refund? At my request, my TA managed to get through to Cunard (US) today. She was told that the promised 60 days will be up to 90 days. For those keeping score, our sailings were to be May 13 and May 31. Cunard cancelled the first on March 30, and on April 3 I cancelled the second, after Cunard promised me a full refund.
  12. Your trip insurance probably includes coverage for being "quarantined." You might talk to your insurance agent/issuer and ask whether being excluded from the country or port of departure would be a covered risk.
  13. If Cunard cancel the cruise, they have no legal basis for keeping your money. If all else fails (or maybe even if it doesn't) your credit card agreement probably obligates the card issuer to reverse the charge. The passage of time since you put down the deposit should not be an issue. Any time limit stated for disputing charges is meant for the typical case of a goods purchase for immediate delivery, not for something in the distant future. The only effect of the stated time limit is to require review and approval of your claim by a human being rather than automatic clearance by a computer program.
  14. If it's any consolation, I assure you that you would not want to be in New York today.
  15. It seems to me that both of the points made above are correct -- paying current expenses out of current cash flow is the way business often if not usually or always is done, but that doesn't make it morally OK. If what Cunard was promising in return for the current cash flow was using future cash flow to pay future "investment profits" rather than future cruise operating expenses, it would be called a Ponzi scheme. As to trust accounts or escrow accounts, the only businesses I know of that use them (much less required by law to use them) to hold customer prepayments for future services are lawyers and real estate brokers.
  16. My understanding has been that Cunard do not actually ticket return flights until 45 days prior to cruise departure (if not flight departure). So I'm puzzled by the idea of air cancellation fees for return flights following an August 2020 cruise. FWIW, my own cancellation notification from Cunard for a late May cruise, which I cancelled more than 45 days prior to scheduled sailing (shortly before Cunard cancelled the cruise), shows no cancellation fees of any kind.
  17. On a different aspect than the most recent posts: Would someone kindly update me on the current UK rules and restrictions on US tourists entering the UK?
  18. Would you mind telling us the name of your insurance company? That might be helpful to others trying to get premiums refunded.
  19. All competent and respected reporters ask for comment from the subject of their upcoming story. Most competent and respected press advisers tell their clients to decline to comment when asked. The exception is when the adviser has developed a press strategy for her client and thinks the opportunity to comment can usefully be worked into the strategy. That's been my experience.
  20. If the polar ice keeps melting, there's always the Northwest Passage. I don't mean to make light of the situation. It's very sad..
  21. Apparently Cunard still claims it will be sailing out of Southampton as soon as May 16, despite (among other things) the UK lock-down of indefinite duration that in theory would preclude anyone from even getting to the pier: There once was a cruise line called Cunard Whose managers found it so hard To be honest with passengers that one day the managers Just gave up and renamed it Canard. Please forgive me. (Editorial improvements welcomed.)
  22. As I understand the standard US travel insurance policy, it does not cover what's going on today. If anyone has a contrary understanding, please explain the basis for that interpretation.
  23. That is indeed another way to put my 2d question. When I asked it, I had overlooked the impact of the UK lockdown mentioned by another poster. It now seems to me that unless and until that lockdown ends, Cunard and every other line will have to cancel departures from any UK port. I don't recall seeing any information on non-UK (or non-EU) persons entering the UK (via any route, but especially by air). If the Norway cruise were not cancelled, could we, as US persons, even get to Southampton? (Our plan had been to arrive on 20 May on QM2, which now is conclusively foreclosed.) It does seem inevitable that the Norway and all other sailings from UK ports will be cancelled, so I suppose we just have to call Cunard's bluff and wait it out. And thank you for your comments on Foreign Office Advisories. In the US, government actions are treated as binding only when they are explicitly compulsory and enforceable.
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