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  1. And yet despite all your evident pride in having achieved simultaneous ambulation and mastication the simple challenge of securely carrying a passport is firmly beyond your grasp.
  2. I don't have to keep track of which countries require visitors to carry their passport and which ones do not. It is a lesser benefit of always carrying my passport when in foreign countries (U.S.A excepted.)
  3. Precisely. It is the same advice given to all official visitors. It is rote advice meant for the lowest common denominator. Perhaps it's an American trait to be overly fearful of far and distant lands. I've had interactions with Canadian embassies and ambassadors in Serbia, Switzerland, Japan, America, UK and South Africa and never received the same advice. In Japan our delegation was specifically told to have our passport on us at all times. When complications arose in my travel I was grateful to have my passport with me instead of miles away in safe.
  4. Consular advice of this nature is meant for the lowest common denominator specifically the people who are absent minded or the wide-eyed innocents that wander through high-risk areas of foreign countries with no regard for securing their possessions. It need not apply to those of us who can and have traveled through many foreign countries with our documents securely and safely in our possession and have always had them when we needed them regardless of circumstance.
  5. Are the ones who still want it American credit card issuers? They remain well behind the rest of the world in adopting the pin and chip technology.
  6. I've seen the same impact in Key West when the tsunami of cruisers swept on to Duval street from the docks. Everything returned to normal when the wave receded back on to the boats later in the day. Equally obnoxious was when the buses from the ships pulled up at the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
  7. I worked in the service industry in my younger years too and could not agree more. With some regional exceptions the accepted social convention is to tip servers. Cruise lines offer automatic gratuities as a convenience to passengers. No worries about who to tip and in what amount. Anyone who removes the automatic gratuities on a cruise is no different from the low life creep who demands attentive service, rings up an expensive dinner tab, demands attentive service and doesn't leave a tip. Incidentally if you don't tip in places where it is the accepted social convention it's quite ill-advised to eat there again. Servers have long memories.
  8. I hold 5 credit cards from 4 Canadian banks. Each says not to notify so I don't. Years ago I had a credit card suspended while on a foreign trip which created a somewhat awkward moment at a business dinner. They'd already approved a hotel and car rental in the same country. When I contacted the card company I was quite snottily told it was my fault because I hadn't informed them. When I got home a request to immediately cancel all my accounts (credit cards, savings, chequing, line of credit, business, investment) because of the poor treatment resulted in profuse apologies from the bank manager and a large number of loyalty points to retain my business. 🙂
  9. I have no interest in dining with strangers. Shared tables and the ensuing gaiety might have had a place in the long-ago days of sea voyages as a means to relieve boredom but they are of no particular benefit on a modern mass cruise. The expansion of anytime dining and two-tops are a welcome improvement.
  10. Another method would be to implement a hefty cleaning fee, say $500, for passengers who festtoon their cabin doors with decorations.
  11. The contact details are of little value if he/she does not answer the phone, is unavailable or you can't get to where he or she is. The obligations of the port agent to return your passport is far from ironclad. You can either have confidence in yourself to manage your documents or put your trust in complete strangers who likely will get your passport from your cabin to the port agent. Maybe. Perhaps. Hope so. I have more faith in myself. YMMV.
  12. Auto gratuities relieve one of the social obligation to tip. Pay them and don't think twice about it. The auto gratuities do not however preclude you from tipping directly in appreciation of extra or special service or as incentive to provide additional service above and beyond the expected during the course of the cruise.
  13. Combined with the "low risk" of your passport not being there is you having to locate the port agent and retrieve it. So IF the ship's crew does deliver the passport and IF you can locate the port agent and IF you can arrange to meet him/her you can get your passport. My risk of losing my passport is very low and I don't have to hope that the ship's crew and port agent live up to their claims they will get my passport back to me. If I miss the boat, have an accident, etc. and need my passport while ashore I will have it. If you miss the boat, have an accident, etc. and need your passport while ashore you might get it eventually, maybe.
  14. I would suggest you read the posts in this thread from Heidi13, a former cruise line captain, to ascertain the full facts regarding the obligations of the cruise company, the priority they put on rummaging around your cabin to retrieve your passport if you miss the ship and reality of the "soothing reassurances."
  15. I've worked in high-travel positions, still do moderate international business travel and the above corresponds with my experience. In fairness however it doesn't make us smarter just more experienced and confident of being able to manage the vagaries of traveling. It also makes us more aware of the potential for disruptions, builds a greater sense of self-reliance and a instills skepticism about soothing reassurances offered by anyone. We shouldn't be too hard on those travelers for whom the appeal of cruising and organized land tours is having most things done for them including all of the planning and much of the thinking. Once they step off the ship however they are in a foreign country and on their own. If they are like the tourists you see in Washington and I see in Toronto perhaps it is better they leave their passports on the ship. The odds are in their favor they will return without an incident but if not they may be in for a very hard lesson.
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