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About cynalan

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Photography - particularly landscape and architecture, Piano, Hockey and living life to the fullest!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Oceania, Azamara
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. My wife and I live in Burlington, Ontario... about 40 km west of Toronto. The Canadian response to the pandemic has been mostly one of compliance. Our provincial and municipal governments have declared that masks must be worn indoors and most are doing so without incident. Of course there will always be a few alt right deniers who complain that there rights are being infringed upon but fortunately, not nearly the proportion as we have been seeing in the US. Our infection and death numbers were decreasing considerably through the beginning of September, but now with kids going back to school, we have seen a small bump in the number of cases. Personally, we have been taking the pandemic very seriously. We pretty much kept to ourselves since the beginning venturing out only to the grocery store and pharmacy. Other than a few contractors for some home renovations, no one has been inside of our house since February. In June, we started entertaining one couple in a socially distanced manner on our backyard deck. We feel quite safe and have been streaming a lot of British murder mysteries and Scandinoir shows. In August, we felt safe enough to visit restaurant patios for dinner but kept our masks on constantly except when eating. My oh my how times have changed. In 2021, we are booked for a week in Jamaica in April, Oceania Baltic Sea cruise in July and lift and shifted our Mekong river cruise and trip to Australia, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Thailand to November. I am not overly optimistic about the first two going forward but have my fingers crossed that there will be a vaccine or at least instant screening to allow us to do our Asia trip.
  2. I am an avid cruiser and also own a home based travel agency. I can assure you that your assumption is wrong concerning cash flow. Any funds paid prior to a trip go into a trust. Travel agents are not paid their commission until after your cruise has been completed.
  3. Really? Having more than 50 cruises under my belt I can say without reservation the shows in the Broadway theatre were by far the best i have ever seen on a cruise. The lounge bands (excluding Kene), not so much.
  4. We just completed our first MSC cruise. What we liked... Best shows we have ever seen on a cruise ship (and we have taken nearly 50), beautiful ship (Meraviglia), excellent service, good shore ex options, international passengers. What needs improvement... Food in MDR is hit and miss (all meat way overcooked, boring menus and presentation), buffet options for lunch and dinner are terrible and food is really nit good (avoid other than breakfast which was excellent, desserts were like those you would find in a Chinese restaurant), hated the tiered beverage packages (Easy Drink Package pretty much limited to bar rail drinks), fancy cocktails were excellent but you have to pay full price, not incremental, lounge acts very similar (mostly light jazz and Latin), lots of nickel and diming (like Carnival and NCL), specialty dining packages have limited menu (need to upgrade for interesting menu items... Expensive and mediocre, tough to find a lounge chair on sea days. Bottom line... For its price MSC is an OK choice UNLESS food selection and quality is very important to you. If all the cruises we've done, only the Holland America Westerdam had worse food.
  5. Thanks for all of your comments. Everything everyone has said makes a lot of sense. My comment was concerning how far in advance the stop was cancelled, particularly how fluid weather patterns are. At home in Toronto they are always forecasting Snowmageddon which almost never arrives. A veteran of more than 50 cruises on nearly every major cruise line i have never had a stop at a private island cancelled before. It was very disappointing. Costa Maya IMHO is nothing more than a shopping stop, particularly if one has already seen the Mayan ruins. Oh well, at least I got a great massage at the Mayan Healing Rituals shop. I enjoy the Meraviglia, particularly the theatre shows... Best I have ever seen on any of our cruises.
  6. i am currently sailing on the MSC Meraviglia. This evening, around 6:00, we received notification from the Cruise Director that Ocean Cay (a day and a half away) was being cancelled due to bad weather and is being replaced by a stop at Costa Maya. Frankly, I find this hard to believe. The weather on our cruise has been perfect... the seas have been as smooth as glass and there has barely been a cloud in the sky for the whole cruise. I recognize that weather can change so I will report back in a couple of days to see if bad weather actually does materialize. My wife and I are very disappointed as we were really looking forward to the stop.
  7. My wife and I saw it last night. It was 40 minutes long. Excellent show. Strongly recommend it.
  8. Canadians are not allowed to book excursions through the US site. We are on the Meraviglia January 26, 2020 cruise. There are maybe 1 or 2 completely useless excursions posted for our whole cruise. Never in my life have I seen such a poorly executed website. Most of the time, I cannot even access my booking details. We leave in 9 days and I cannot print my boarding pass nor baggage tags. Definitely note impressed. i can only hope that the ship offers a better experience.
  9. The Canadian site has to be the worst cruise site I have ever seen. Completely useless.
  10. Actually, makes a lot of sense. We often book our next cruise onboard. We get an immediate OBC for the cruise we are on and a credit for the next one. The booking stays with our travel agent who then services our account. Win / Win!!!
  11. Everyone has different experiences. With your experience posted in the above quote, I probably would not use a TA either. Mine is fantastic. She is knowledgeable, has provided great advice, if we do not get through to her immediately a call is returned within minutes, always has additional perks for us, etc. We also have done nearly 40 cruises and travel at least 12 weeks a year... nearly 90% of which she arranges. We throw out an idea, she works on it and gets back to us with itinerary suggestions. Could never do this on my own. In Ontario, Canada, TAs must pass a provincial exam and be licensed. I know in the USA that is not the case everywhere. Don't know the professional requirements for a TA where you live, but with that kind of service (or lack thereof), a TA here would not last very long and I can understand why you feel the way you do.
  12. We always book with a travel agent. Whatever benefits that may be obtained by booking directly are also available through a travel agent. Plus, our agent takes care of all of the paperwork, books our flights, prepares a detailed itinerary and more. Finally, our agent can generally find us additional discounts or perks that we cannot get on our own, e.g. OBC. She always has a bottle of wine waiting in our stateroom when we arrive with her compliments. Once, we were stranded in Hong Kong due to a British Airways flight attendant strike. We were assigned another flight 4 days later which did not work for us. Our agent got us out on the same day we were supposed to leave. Frankly, I fail to understand why anyone doesn't use an agetn.
  13. Interesting, we have 2 MSC cruises coming up. 1. For the Caribbean cruise on the Meraviglia the upgrade from Easy drink to Premium is $189 USD per person for the week. 2. For our Mediterranean cruise on the Seaview, it is only $98 CAD per person per week. Huge difference!!!
  14. Changing a cruise from 8 days to 4 days is breaking the contract that the cruise line had with their client as it is a fundamental change to the expected deliverable through no fault of the client. The client has the right to a full refund if they are unhappy with the change. If your travel agent is not getting a satisfactory answer with the Celebrity rep they should escalate to their regional development manager for assistance. The OP said "big box travel agent". If that means somewhere like Costco... good luck, all bets are off. I am not sure where the OP is located but in Ontario, Canada there are very precise rules that cover a situation such as this.
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