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Everything posted by Flying-Dragon

  1. In Feb 2021 we booked our first new cruise for June 2022 (Alaska), figuring that 16 months out was plenty for the pandemic to be over. Wrong! While things can change in the 4 months left before final payment, we are getting ready for having to cancel. While we are both fully vaccinated and are accustomed to masking anytime we are indoors, for us there are two issues: will we have to mask/distance etc on the ship, in which case it is not a holiday or relaxing - we can do that for free downtown in our own city. The other item, for us, is the destination itself and the high infection and case rate - not fun for going ashore. We're prepared to sit it out and keep ourselves safe for now.
  2. In 2009 on a Westerdam Panama cruise, we carried on 16 bottles of wine in a suitcase bought for the purpose. I had worked out the maximum weight, but then had to lift it onto the baggage belt for the security check. While the wine was okay and legal, my back wasn't for three days afterwards! 🙂
  3. Sounds fabulous. The two of us did a trans-Pacific a few years ago and loved it - key memory, the infinity pool at the Bora Bora Yacht Club with our ship in the background.
  4. My partner and I will be on the Nieuw Statendam from Quebec to Fort Lauderdale, 8 - 22 October 2022. Which cruise is yours?
  5. I got it yesterday and replied to it. I was impressed that they asked the very questions that have been going through my own mind as we plan for future cruises. We are 3-Star Mariners, and are booked with HAL in October 2022. We will cancel by final payment time if we're still having to mask, distance, temperature check, etc, because we want cruises to be relaxing and low-stress. We can afford to wait until "the coast is clear", but we think mid-2022 should be well beyond Covid concerns, and so we've also booked a June 2022 Cunard cruise.
  6. There are lawmakers and there are regulators. The politicians are the lawmakers, and the public service are the regulators. That maintains consistency in applying the law. My background was aviation regulation, so I think health regulation and marine regulation similarly all fall to the public servants to carry out. The politicians are at liberty to change the law because they have been given the electoral mandate, but they don't get to apply it, day to day.
  7. For 2019 in Vancouver, about 1 million passengers and over 800 million dollars to the local economy. The difference in the number of people in town this year is very noticeable. Cruise tourism is big here.
  8. I agree. We cruise Celebrity, HAL and last year our first Cunard (QE Alaska). We are in our 70s and have no interest in rock walls, water slides, and similar items - we steer clear of ships which have those. There are specific cruise lines that serve that demographic, but our demographic is elegance, fine craftsmanship, good service, good food, and dressing smartly in the evenings. I like that Cunard sees the importance of retaining its traditions, because not all cruise lines should be the same, since it's okay to have a different type of atmosphere.
  9. When we took Infinity in 2016 for a Pacific Coastal, they had split off the port side of the Sky Lounge in the same way as Reflection. I forget whether it was for suites or a children's area. It makes the room lopsided IMHO, and on Reflection (2018 for me), the Elite happy hour no longer had enough space and had to be spread across all other bars.
  10. We're finding that there are several issues that have us looking at late 2021 at the earliest or more likely 2022 for our next cruise. First is the risk of taking flights anywhere - currently 60-70 flights per month just here in our province with proven Covid cases on board, so until there's a vaccine we'll only consider ports we can drive to. Second is the lack of stability of schedules and fleets - too many ongoing cancellations, closed ports, sales of ships, juggling of cruise schedules etc.. After the length of time it took to get refunds this spring, we're not going to be paying any money to anyone with the current near-certainty that a booking will be cancelled. Third is the progress of the virus - I don't think we'll see a proven vaccine and be able to see new cases dropping dramatically until summer 2021 at the earliest, so little point in our going cruising before then. Fourth is masking all day on board, not being able to explore ports on our own, and along with the questionable distancing possible in the dining room, theatre, pool deck etc., it does not make for a low-stress holiday, especially given the cost. And finally, fifth, if we test positive at pier side, how do we get home again, and do we get a refund - no word from any cruise lines on that. So, driving holidays for now, saving plenty while not cruising, and we're just patiently waiting. Pandemics take a while to run their course.
  11. 76 days and counting here from a 30 March Hal-initiated cancellation for April and May cruises. Nothing yet.
  12. HAL's website is way out of date. They have cruises still scheduled as early as September, and several ships leaving/arriving in Vancouver and Victoria, despite the fact that Canadian ports, for several weeks now, have been closed to cruise ships until 31 October.
  13. We're finding in Vancouver that we drive to quiet neighbourhoods for a walk, just to avoid the stress of passing people on the sidewalk who simply will not distance themselves. There are too many places in a ship which can't allow for proper distancing, and we can do without that constant anxiety, especially when we're paying for the privilege. We're not looking at cruising until 2022.
  14. I'd love to know how one passes someone in a stateroom corridor staying 6 feet apart when the corridor is only 4 feet wide! One way corridors perhaps?
  15. Actually here in Vancouver they estimate about $2M per cruise ship in economic benefit. Things like hotels, taxes and employment are included, not just souvenirs. Here is a complete report done by the Port Authority - https://www.portvancouver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016-Port-of-Vancouver-Economic-Impact-Study.pdf
  16. Actually, on our recently cancelled two cruises, flights were with Delta, KLM and Air Transat, and none of them gave refunds, only future credit, time-limited. It's not a purely Canadian problem.
  17. Yes, that's quite true. Our plan is to check reviews for much of 2010 and not make a decision until near the end of the year.
  18. Late 2021 was my choice since it was the closest to our thinking. We will wait until spring 2021 before even thinking of another cruise, to give time for the virus cases to drop in most places, and to get past any second and third waves. About then we'll get a better read on the state of the cruise industry. While Cunard should be safe with only 3 ships, many of the others will end up mothballing half their fleets, in my opinion, and their sailing schedules will be a lot different from what they are proposing right now, plus there may be areas of the world they will not be allowed to cruise to or which are still unsafe. Finally I want to read reviews from early cruisers to see what their reaction is to distancing protocols on board - what worked, what didn't, whether the experience was indeed relaxing and enjoyable, and of course whether there are any virus cases emerging with the opening up of cruising. Our best guess is late 2021 and more likely 2022, but it's based on these reasons above.
  19. I think you are quite right. I found a useful Youtube post by Gary Bembridge which addressed some of my own thoughts and concerns. The state of the virus in the places one wants to go to, whether there will be second and third waves, what the industry will look like in a year's time, what sailings they will even have compared to what is currently offered on their website, how it will feel to be on a ship where distancing is needed, and of course what changes to pricing will happen. It's a good head's up.
  20. That is an interesting point. I guess they are reducing their future cost for the latest cancellations. My cruises were in the end-March announcement, and since I didn't care for the FCC idea anyway, I went for the cash refund. The bird in the hand in times like these is safer, in my view. Having then done a Visa charge-back, I got the deposits for both cruises back from HAL, and the final payments are temporary credits from Visa pending HAL handing over the cash.
  21. Same here for our April and May cruises. They appear to be letting the booking automatically drop off after sailing date, probably to save the extra work of going in and removing it from our individual accounts online.
  22. Several people have mentioned this - the bottom sentence on the announcement mentions cash refunds.
  23. Today, Sunday 3rd May, we would have been in Montréal having completed our Zaandam Canada-New England cruise. Then on Tuesday off to Amsterdam to board Nieuw Statendam next Sunday for a Baltics cruise, then home to Vancouver. We've been reminding each other of where we would have been, throughout the past week or two. Ahh well, there will be more cruises next year, and plenty to dream about. Now off to watch some of our old cruise movies again! 🙂
  24. We waited until HAL cancelled by ceasing operations for a second 30 days on 30 March. We were not going to be the ones who cancelled or we would not have been entitled to a cash refund. Our insurance would have covered us since a travel advisory had been issued in Canada for all cruise travel to all countries, but we didn't want to make insurance pay if HAL would refund.
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