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jondfk

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About jondfk

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Bay area, California
  • Interests
    Golf, Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, RCCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Panama Canal

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  1. I'd like to cruise in January as we planned on release day nearly two years ago, but I just don't see it happening. Perhaps more important, our final payment is due in almost exactly one month, there's no way I'll give Princess thousands of dollars more if we're still as in the dark as we are today. It took 116 days to get refunded our phase one cancelled cruise, not doing that again. Ours is a full transit Panama Canal and i fully expect it will be cancelled in the next announcement. Hoping our July Alaska still has a chance.
  2. There's another option Princess may employ (other than cancelling), namely resetting the final payment date to a still shorter interval prior to sailing - maybe 30 or even 15 days. After all, the likelihood of reselling cancelled cabins for these voyages is next to nil in current circumstances, so why not keep booked passengers engaged until more facts are known? We're booked on Emerald, trans canal, in late January. There's zero chance it will happen, but we haven't cancelled yet, there's no great reason to. On the other hand, when the final payment is due next month there's zero chance I'll give Princess my money before even a single ship has sailed. If they change our due date to late December, and show some progress getting ships away from the pier before hand . . . maybe. Do realize we're Grand / Travis survivors and those experiences will forever color how we measure risks. Still, we're eager to sail and have 5 bookings through mid '22, looking forward to going when the time is right.
  3. Yes, let me clarify a bit further. In Cabo, Royal was assisted by something like 10 shore side tenders in addition to a number of ships boats. There were at peak times, 4 tenders loading from the ship, 4 en route to the tender pier, 4 en route back to the ship and a further 4 empty boats waiting nearby for any opportunity to grab a boatload (one has the impression the shoreside tenders may be paid by Princess per head - they are VERY eager to get passengers aboard). In Loreto, there are no shoreside tenders. Only the ships boats were used, and only about 6. The tender pier in Loreto can handle 2 boats at a time, but that's the max. 2 boats loading from the ship, 2 inbound, 2 outbound - about 8 in total or well less than half the capacity deployed in Cabo. It's a lovely little town and I'd like to visit it again anytime - just not on a Royal class ship.
  4. I've had two different experiences: For a cancelled cruise in April, I received a check from a 3rd party company on Princess behalf. Sorry I don't recall the name. This came about 60 days after the cancellation date. For a second cancelled cruise, I received a credit back to the original credit card. This came about 100 days after cancellation and could have easily been missed. Nothing from Princess, just a few misc. credits on the card from Princess Cruises.
  5. We've done the 10 day out of San Francisco 4 times (on Dawn (long ago), Star and Grand). We've been mostly fortunate with the weather, little rain. It does tend to be cool for the first full and last full day at sea so outdoor activities aren't so appealing though we're not deterred. One cruise made a stop in San Diego which was a lovely port for walking around - recent sailings haven't made this stop - a pity. We've also done the 10 day out of San Pedro twice, on Ruby (I think) and most recently on Royal. We love the stop in Loreto but honestly Royal was too large for the tender ports of Cabo and Loreto. Tendering in Loreto went on forever, the ship didn't call "open tender" until nearly 3:00 in the afternoon, sail away being 5:00PM. Hundreds of people never managed to get ashore. Cabo was an overnight stay, the secret to getting ashore there was to skip day one and instead go ashore early the second day. Tenders ran all night (albeit only once an hour or so during the wee hours). Both sailings can be rough northbound as the famously rough pacific swell batters the port side. This doesn't deter us but does have us packing appropriate meds - and not delaying taking them as we turn for home. As some have noted, San Francisco is probably the better choice for an extended vacation, I however so enjoyed Loreto that our next 10 day Mexico sailing will be aboard Grand from San Pedro in February of '22.
  6. I'll add a further comment about the "first night complimentary specialty dining". As several have said, you'll have no trouble reserving this when you board. I'd add that we've never actually used this benefit on the first night. We're usually wrung out by the travel, embarkation and unpacking process. A long (albeit very nice) meal is the last thing on our minds. That being the case, we've used the benefit on a night of our choosing with nothing more than a wink to the Maitre'd upon our arrival. More often than not after we do a few suite breakfasts he or she will ask us when we'll be coming for dinner, take care of the booking and make certain we are not charged. Recognize that the breakfast team alternates with the Sabatini's (or Crown Grill or Share or Bayou) team working one voyage and the other specialty team working the next. Breakfast has never been anything less than spectacular whichever team happens to be working that voyage. Breakfast is by far our favorite suite amenity and it's a rare morning indeed that we don't partake.
  7. I'm happy to see Princess (more likely CCL Corporation) submit their proposed plans. At this stage they have no choice but to start with what RCL & NCL have already submitted and proposed something additional. The problem with being last (to submit) is that you've let someone else define the minimum expectations, there's no point arguing you're going to do less than the competition have already signed up for. Still, nothing will happen until the plan is approved, and that can't happen until there is a 'plan'.
  8. I expect the next update before October 15, before final payment deadlines for the as yet uncancelled cruises. Princess has already earned much bad press for delayed refunds, it would be completely idiotic to wait for final payment deadlines to pass before an update. Personally, I expect to see CCL corporation sail Carnival branded ships, with their younger average demographics, for some weeks before expanding to other brands, perhaps Princess second and HAL later still. I expect the first many sailings will be RT's from Florida, limited to Florida residents. There are 17 of these scheduled for December / January on 5 different ships. Cut that down to about two ships and I think you'll be in the ballpark of the relaunch plan that might be expected. All speculation of course, but that's what this thread is for, right?
  9. We're booked on a Panama Canal full crossing in January, I think there's 0% chance this will happen. Why? - I very much doubt such open jaw cruises will be amongst the first to sail. - I very much doubt the handful of Caribbean and central American countries will have opened to large cruise ships by then (personally I wouldn't mind a no ports cruise, but I think I'm in the minority on this point). - I can't see the U.S. opening for transit of foreign crew by year end which is what would be required to onboard staff / quarantine prior to our voyage. Still, we've not cancelled and are holding plane tickets to get to Florida. I'm not so much expecting a "sweetener" from Princess when they cancel as holding onto the booking as a show of support. Actually, I put the probability of our July Alaska cruise at something just above 50%.
  10. I have a absolute preference for Grand and have two cruises booked on her from Los Angeles even though my home port is San Francisco to which I'm closer by something like 6 hours. Why? Most notably, one less passenger deck, so less crowding everywhere. Historically, I would have said WINDOW SUITES. After Travis however, I'm not seeing these as a great advantage at the moment. Absolutely LOVE Alfredo's. Rarely every more than a minute wait to be seated, somehow the staff here always seems to be having the best time of anyone on the ship. On the other hand, we're booked on Ruby in July, from her new homeport of San Francisco. We've sailed her and sisters Crown and Emerald previously. They are fine ships with some nice cabin upgrades (closets). We do like Adagio and frequently use it as an alternative to the less desirable Crooners. Both are fine ships and I recognize many might not (literally) go as far as we do to get to Grand. I don't think there's a bad choice hopefully the input here helps you refine your decision.
  11. FlyerTalk is the CruiseCritic of aviation. Organized much the same way, mainly by airlines. A few years back when United Airlines was clearly spiraling towards bankruptcy their board was filled with worry and strife. Would they go chapter 11 or not, could they survive, what will happen to my frequent flyer miles, etc, etc, etc. The same sorts of worries we all feel now regarding cruises and cruise lines. Ultimately, United did go bankrupt and did emerge from the process and ultimately was forced (by the creditors) to merge with Continental. Here's what we learned in those processes. - The loyal customers are a genuine asset. While we customers fretted about losing our hard earned frequent flyer miles, in fact our loyalty, represented by those miles were financially valuable to the airline. In fact, they were (and are) so valuable that they can and have been leveraged for emergency capital. There's really no equivalent in the cruise industry, our earned status yields us zero cost benefits (a better place in the boarding line, first dibs on tenders, "free" nibbles when we buy a cocktail) still the loyalty of Princess customers is undeniably an asset, one that is likely to be preserved and even leveraged to survive this situation. - The future won't necessarily be like the past, but that's okay. The United Airlines of today is really Continental Airlines rebranded with the better recognized United brand. As a long time, heavy flyer of "United" I could tick off a long list of what changed with the bankruptcies and with the final Continental ownership - guess what over time much more has remained the same than has changed. The route network is broadly the same, the basic mechanics of operating the airline is broadly the same, perks and rewards ebb and flow regardless of owner depending mostly on competition. I expect the same from Princess, even if there are forced changes such as, for example, a forced union with, say HAL. No doubt Princess will remain upper middle market. No doubt it will cruise world wide. No doubt it will target the same late middle age demographic. Could there be changes around the edges, sure, but the fat part of the service profile will remain about the same. - Will cruising and key brand assets survive? Without a doubt. Before the pandemic cruising had penetrated into only about 10% of the U.S. public, there is enormous room for growth. Marquee brands like Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean will undoubtedly lead the way out. Will there be carnage - no doubt - those 3rd tier brands that relied on cheap end of life hardware and lowest daily cost passengers have been hurt - even here however these is just no doubt that upstarts will emerge making use of cheap ships saved from the breakers and no frills traveller who just want a few days away, some strong drinks and a lively casino. In fact, I expect Princess to emerge in better operational shape than she was entering the crisis, ships that were moderately profitable will be jettisoned, home ports that never really performed as expected, likewise. The emergent line is likely to be far more fit financially though that may mean higher fares and few choices (just like the airlines). Oh, and to directly answer OP's question. Carnival has cash reserves as of today, sufficient to fund operations with zero new cruise revenue for about a year. Long before that cash hoard runs dry, they'll go back to the lending community for more cash if needed. Right or wrong the U.S. treasury has made it clear that they will stand behind any level of large company debt related to the pandemic. I'm uninterested in the politics of the situation just simply stating the fact that corporate debt is presently being assured, without limit, by the treasury - a situation that is unlikely to change regardless of who leads the next administration. Shareholders are at some risk of being liquidated (fancy words meaning taken to $0) if the situation drags on deep into '21, even then, Carnival would undoubtedly survive under management of the debt holders who can best get repaid by sailing. After all, there's not much market for foreclosed 100,000grt cruise ships just now. I apologize for the verbosity but the question is an interesting one and I couldn't help but draw what I think are some relevant parallels.
  12. I hope Princess will: - Remember the Diamond and Grand and learn from those experiences. Cabin confinement wasn't any fun, but could have been much better. Since there are likely to be reasons to isolate again in the future please sincerely learn from these events and apply those learnings for the future. - Modify (at least temporarily) cancellation policies so that those who are feeling "iffy" don't feel they have to board to avoid a personal financial loss. This might mean making trip insurance a requirement rather than an option, it might also mean processing medically required cancellations swiftly. - Be clear in advance and tough onboard regarding new procedures and protocols. Tell us what is expected of us as passengers and UNIFORMLY do what has been announced. All here know that Princess and uniformity are frequently mutually exclusive, but coming out of this situation we can't have the rules made up or applied ship by ship or worse yet sailing by sailing. - Ramp the fleet up quickly, but ramp occupancy rates slowly. Start off sailing at 30 / 40 or 50% of cabins. Be slow to get back to 100%. If this means refunding folks with existing bookings do so swiftly and generously. I hope we passengers will: - Never again sail without the voyage plus 2 weeks of medications. Princess utterly failed getting medications for all but those in life saving situations. DW was fully prepared with 5 weeks of everything, I was more cavalier bringing only a week (beyond the cruise) of some items. Never again will I leave scrip bottles at home - bring everything - if the cabin looks like a pharmacy so be it. - Give more consideration to whether you're up to the "worst case" scenario. We saw folks who were barely ambulatory (and in one case, absolutely not ambulatory) traveling solo. Princess made some attempts to assist such folks, but really once the wheels came off and we ended destined for Travis we were to the very greatest extent on our own. Fellow passengers were, as a group, really kind and helpful. Honestly though, if you've reached your mid 90's, can't maneuver on your own and have serious health issues, perhaps it's time to give up solo travel. You'll think I'm joking but we met not 1 but 3 such folks at Travis and if not for the generous help of complete strangers I shudder to think what might have been. Notice that I listed this in the "what we passengers do different section" I don't like the idea of health checks or doctors notes, nor do I like the idea of capping cruising by age, but yes a little self reflection and knowing when to say when (or when to say, I'm bringing help along) would be good. - Be good examples for society. Be first in line for vaccines when available. Follow the rules and guidelines prepared for the good of all of us. Realize that this is a moment in time, that will, in the greater scheme of things pass rather quickly. Do what we must to return to some sort of normal realizing that the future normal will probably never look like the past normal - hopefully it will end up being even better!
  13. Others have given good suggestions into particular cabins, I'll take this from a different angle. You didn't mention which panama cruise your considering. Assuming however it's a full transit I'll point out the following: The sail up the west coast is far longer than the sail from the canal to Ft Lauderdale. That being the case, realize your balcony will face directly into the setting sun (or not, depending on side & direction). We made the mistake of choosing a port side cabin on a FLL - SFO run once. Basically the balcony was unusable after say, 1:00 in the afternoon, for about half of the cruise. I have chosen more carefully since. Those who enjoy full sun might have a very different opinion, but that's mine.
  14. I would add that Grand had a fairly thorough dry dock in March of '19 which spiffed things up considerably (we were on the last sailing before and the second sailing after - the differences were striking). S7 Window Suites were always our favorites, but likely no more post Travis. Alfredo's is perhaps the most distinctive difference - and it's a very nice addition that Star simply can't match. Grand remains our 2nd favorite in the entire fleet, trailing only Coral. We like Star too and make good use of Skywalkers.
  15. I've not stayed in F315 but have stayed in all of the other WS cabins on Grand at one time or another. I've been in F315 visiting friends on a few occasions. The room is largely similar to the other WS (F301 is the outlier of the bunch, that's another thread). As noted, access to sink and shower are modified to accommodate a chair or scooter, otherwise largely the same. Should suit the needs of the OP. Lots of grab rails which is what she's after. I too would caution about possible noise intrusion. The amount of usage this "secret" corridor gets varies greatly cruise to cruise. The heavy door to the atrium (adjacent to F315) can't be avoided and does close firmly (it's a fire door after all). This would bother some folks greatly and others not at all, OP should have judge this for yourself. Smoke intrusion can be an issue for F301 as the cigar bar is a few paces away from this cabin. Stewards occasionally prop this door open though this hasn't happened our last 3 cruises on Grand. I should note that we've never detected smoke smell inside these cabins, but the hallway, yes at times has suffered. As did someone else, I would recommend any of the other S7 cabins (aside from F301). They don't have the grab rails, but are very spacious and easy to navigate. I will say, we find the marble entry and bath tiles quite slick with even the slightest bit of moisture. Something for those with mobility challenges to consider.
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