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Everything posted by vswan

  1. I was supposed to be on one in February which was cancelled. Had paid the non-refundable deposit and had gotten the cancel for any reason insurance through HAL. Called before final payment - had upgraded to a balcony - and was told it couldn't be moved, but if cancelled would refund at twice what I had into it. Would have doubled my deposit and insurance total as FCC. I opted for the refund. Have since gotten another offer and am trying again. Difference this time was they charged upfront for taxes and port fees rather than having those at final payment. Upgrade to balcony was also significant
  2. Not sure what Club 21 is, but think it must be a casino offer. I received an email last week with free inside rooms, $75 casino play and free drinks in the casino. Booked for a 10 day partial transit of the panama canal leaving the day before Thanksgiving. Asked about upgrading to balcony, but the additional pp was a lot - can't remember exactly, but think it was $700 pp or so. Since have no idea if things will be going by then and was not interested in loaning money to HAL, just booked the free room, figuring I can possibly upgrade later. The offers started late October and ended in early Dec
  3. We have cruised on HAL, Royal, NCL, Celebrity, Princess, MSC and more. For us it's not so much which line, but which itinerary on the dates we want to go at the best value. Our rating system is Celebrity, followed by HAL and Princess in a close tie for second. We put all the rest in the next tier. All have some good and some not. This really depends on when we went, what ship we were on, etc. Have been on the same line two years in a row and have had very different experiences. The last time we were on HAL the food was great. Have had some pretty bad MDR food on many lines. We generally do n
  4. One year we booked an NCL cruise very last minute and were assigned a handicap room. It was the largest room we have ever had but the room and bathroom were obviously set up for a wheelchair. Lot of wide open space. Since we didn't choose the cabin am sure if they needed it for someone we would have been moved. Just the luck of the draw with last minute booking.
  5. I am one of those who feel vaccines should be mandatory. Not interested in being quarentined to my cabin or the cruise returned to port because someone not vaccinated tests positive onboard. Of course vaccines aren't 100%, but better than 0%.
  6. Our first cruise was booked as an inside and we were given an upgrade to an OV. As a relatively young couple with two kids we booked several more inside cabins and kind of got used to them. When paying cruise and airfare for 4, not to mention taxis and shore expenses, inside was our budget. As we began cruising just the two of us we gravitated toward the OV, just wanted some light in the cabin. This became our norm for about 20 years, taking one or two cruises per year. Several years ago we were offered an upgrade to a balcony on a 10 day panama canal cruise for a ridiculously low
  7. When Biden said there was no plan to get the shots into arms, I rolled my eyes and thought that was being a little ridiculous. Now I'm seeing how the lack of a universal plan is a big problem. It's frustrating to hear about all of the vaccine sitting on shelves and not getting distributed. Think one of the big issues is that states are trying to follow the CDC guidelines of who gets the vaccines first instead of making sure they are getting out as much vaccine as possible in the shortest time frame. Know that the guidelines probably make sense on who is most in need, but the vaccin
  8. We did the 10 day version so missed Cartegena, but this cruise was fabulous. We entered the locks in one area and took a ship tour into Panama City which included a stop at the other locks to watch a ship pass through. If you wanted to leave the ship, needed to take a shore excursion. Those not taking an excursion exited the locks and went to the point where the excursions ended. If you want to see the canal but have time/cost limitations this is a good option.
  9. At one time there was talk about having all returning passengers needing to take and have a negative covid test. Who knows what the debarking process may be like. Wouldn't book any return flight that can't be changed at this point.
  10. When I booked my replacement cruise with FCC the last time the promo included OBC, my PCC told me that it could not be used for excursions or gratuities. Needed to be spent for things on the ship once I was on board. Not sure if this is the case with this promo or not.
  11. One hint I picked up on the Hawaii boards was to rent a car in each port if you want to explore on your own. Could see more of the islands that way and weren't part of a group. This worked out well for us. Went from beach to beach at many stops and if we wanted snacks or drinks on shore could stop at a grocery store. Drove up to the volcano and followed the route that a lava flow would take. Could do and see whatever we wanted. On the other hand if there is a port where you want more historical info that is offered by an organized tour or to do a boat trip there is no need for a car. If you ar
  12. After my Jan. 2021 was canceled, thought I would just look and book for 2022. Don't have the option of a refund since this was booked with FCC from a March 2020 cruise. Looking at the options available things have increased in price dramatically. From what I'm seeing I can get the balcony cabin for about the same rate as I got the cabin, port fees and taxes and gratuities on some of the promo items - not to mention the OBC which was part of my rebooking deal. Considering booking knowing I can always cancel and rebook at a better deal, but having a hard time doing that at these new
  13. Several family members had covid very early on - Feb, early March. Displayed many of the known symptoms but were not tested for covid because tests were so limited. Some had coworkers with positive tests and were told to stay home if they displayed symptoms. Just not enough tests to test them all. One had the antibody test done in late August. He still hadn't gotten back his taste and smell, but the antibody test showed no antibodies. Does this mean that he didn't have covid in the first place? Unlikely since his symptoms were so standard, and he also had tests for regular flu and
  14. I see vaccines as the light at the end of the tunnel. In my opinion once they become widely available they will be required for many things from work to travel. I understand some people will not want to get one for a variety of reasons, but I think that will limit any number of options for them - international travel, cruising, theme parks, certain jobs will require, etc. I am in favor of it being mandatory for both passengers and crew to board a cruise ship. Those choosing not to vaccinate could cause a full cruise ship to go on quarantine. If you choose not to vaccinate that is your choice.
  15. I've gone on 3 alaskan cruises. One on Celebrity, one princess and one HAL. We did not do the land portion on any of them so can't talk to that. Two were north or south routes, the HAL was a round trip Seattle. We enjoyed all three for different reasons, but that was our first celebrity cruise and it is still at the top of our list of favorite cruise lines - followed closely by HAL and princess which I would consider tied. I bunch NCL, royal, and the rest of them together below these three. All have things I like and don't like, and there is no such thing as a bad cruise. It seems
  16. The kitchen would be busy all the time, the casino is not open on sea days so on those mornings you would have no noise. Evenings they would be busy, but after a certain hour they do not have that many people in them. Kitchen could be non-stop.
  17. I am one of those waiting for January cancellations. Yes, they will come, but wish they would just announce already. Have an alternative option (family vacation property in CA) for a January break from MN weather, but am even questioning that with the closures and high numbers across the country. Some have suggested they are waiting to finish the current promotion, which may be the case. My cruise was booked with FCC from another canceled cruise. With 2 already canceled cruises, and this one to be the third, I'm just going to wait and see what happens before rebooking. I'm like a l
  18. I'm not sure if things have changed, but I was able to use mine for the gratuities on the drink and dining packages. From the questions asked, I think I could have used for the daily service charge also, but didn't have enough for that.
  19. We booked the ships transfers and were one of the last flights to arrive. The bus was waiting for us. We had just completed an aprox. 5 hour flight and planned to grab a bite to eat at the airport before finding the transfer. Didn't work. LOL Had no idea that the bus trip was 3 hours. Another year we had the reverse itinerary. Took the train from the cruise terminal to Anchorage. Seemed like a long haul, but was very beautiful once the sun was up so we could see the surroundings. They had a chow car on the train serving reindeer sausage. If you have a choice, do the train.
  20. Just submitted my refund form for the Feb. 2021 cruise that HAL canceled. It said at the bottom of the instructions that only to include one name per booking number. Is that correct or do I need to submit a second claim under the same booking number with the other name on the reservation? Just FYI, I still hadn't gotten the official cancellation notice from HAL. Just went online and found the form to submit.
  21. The sad thing is that this back and forth and sharing of "facts" is happening all over in regards to this virus that is now totally out of control in the US and some other parts of the world. It seems that "experts" and "facts" can be found almost anywhere to prove your point of view. One need only watch the "news" programs to realize that we are all consuming very different points of view. What one shows as facts, the next doesn't even cover or has a different set of "facts." No one is going to convince someone that their facts are wrong on a CC board.
  22. Is this a rebook using FCC from a canceled cruise. If it is you are are only going to get FCC back, not a refund. I have heard of isolated cases getting the refund after FCC, but it is rare. If they cancel and it was not an FCC cruise they offer a cash refund - seems you have to search for it in the fine print. LOL
  23. My nephew used to own a restaurant. He would occasionally put a coupon in the local paper for a meal for a specific price - think burger basket for $5.99. People would clip that coupon and pack the restaurant. Funny thing was, the everyday menu price was the same as the coupon.
  24. One other thing. You can make specialty dining reservations online before you go. This opens up prior to the cruise and in the past the reservations for the most popular places go quickly. Think it's 90 days prior. Not sure if this will be an issue with reduced capacity, but I would book as early as you're allowed. I am booked for specialty dining on my Jan.2021 cruise which I assume - sadly - will be canceled.
  25. Been a couple of years since I've been on ncl, but I think that a lot of this varies by ship. Older ships do not have as many specialty restaurants as the newer ships. I remember taking the same ship two years in a row and the third free MDR had been converted to a specialty restaurant. So these things do change. I believe the MDRs offer the same menu. There are generally 2 or 3 main entrees that are available every night in addition to the nightly specials. I think these change occasionally but I remember there being a steak, chicken and salmon choice. Have always been okay with t
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