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About bbwex

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Sailing, scuba diving, photography
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  1. Sadly, it is unlikely that an American shipyard will ever again build a large cruise ship. Not that we don't have the yards or the theoretical capabilities, but our yards are not very competitive cost-wise.
  2. I guess it is not too late to toss in my two cents, as cruising seems still to be a ways off. Some have mentioned Oceania, and I would second that thought. Oceania is a little more than many of the mass market lines, but its itineraries and style seem to favor a somewhat older crowd. They don't have a formal rule against children, but we have only had four or five children on board in all of our cruises with them. Another thing to consider is to not travel when schools are out-of-session. If schools are in session, parents have to stay home, so the cruising crowd tends to be a bit older. Not that older necessarily means quieter, but it does tend to work out that way.
  3. Well, a lot of people have commented, and I might as well throw in my two cents. We had a cruise booked for late October and were leaving our deposit with O until closer to final payment to see what, if anything, they might do to entice us to switch our deposit to another cruise. The news that NCL might not survive convinced us to request the refund of our deposit now rather than hold out and face the chance of losing it in a bankruptcy, should that happen. There are a lot of headwinds for the entire travel industry, and the cruise industry is the one facing the most turbulent waters if you will pardon the expression. Looking ahead, the virus could well come back in the fall if it ever leaves in the first place. Such a recurrence would put a real damper on travel and everything else. Would you feel safe getting on a plane right now? Do you know how you will feel about that in the fall or late summer? As someone has pointed out, it just takes one person to bring it on board and there could be an outbreak on the ship. Not that it necessarily would be an O ship, but any outbreak on any ship, and a re-run of the passengers trapped for weeks on a ship would put the cruise industry back in a tailspin. And do you feel comfortable planning to get on a cruise ship in four months, six months, a year? And will all countries let cruise ships dock, and particularly those with a lot of American passengers where we have been slow to adequately fight the outbreak -- we have become pariahs in the international community no matter which side of the divide you are on in this country. There is some optimistic talk about a vaccine being available in 2021, but many scientists say that that will require every single thing to go right, otherwise it could be 2022. I suspect that the cruise industry will still exist, and I suspect that O will try to continue to cater to its many customers. Perhaps costs will go up to maintain the quality of the line, but most O passengers could absorb some additional costs. Perhaps the R ships will disappear sooner than planned, though they have all been refurbished recently, so there will be some attempt, I would think, to keep them going. When the dust settles, and many have been making their own guesses in this long thread, we will start to book again -- I have my eye on a cruise or two for 2022. And I realize that the cruise lines need people like me to hang in there, but I will hang in there as a prospective return cruiser, and not leave my money with them until we see what shakes out.
  4. Zoom is easy to set up, and then you can really see who you are talking to as more than one person can fit into the camera's lens around a computer. You do need a computer with a camera and hopefully a microphone, though the latter can be easily obtained and does not have to be anything special. They have a free account available, though your sessions are limited in time and scope of number of people online. We are in Pittsburgh, PA and have been under an essential business only order for over two weeks. The number of cases is rapidly increasing here, though most people seem to be going along with the limited going out. The hoarding seems to have passed, and a trip to Costco yesterday was easy -- the place was restocked and not very busy, at least when we were there. If you do go out, the streets are eerily quiet.
  5. Whether we are ahead of the curve or not is not a discussion for this board. However there are other considerations that might not be clear, i.e. getting into the other countries that we hope to visit, what will the economic picture look like in various countries after every country's economy has all but come to a dead stop in the near term, etc.
  6. It would be a good idea to delay the due dates for final payments for any cruises. NCL did it, but Oceania and Regent have not done so and are just offering cruise credits once you pay. It is not as if there will not be any spaces on future cruises! Our final payment is due the end of May for a late October cruise. I have a feeling that we won't know enough to be sure of anything by the end of May, and we are more likely to cancel when the time comes.
  7. On a related topic, NCL reduced the time period between the sailing date and final payment -- I am pretty sure that they went from 120 days down to 90. Oceania and Regent have not followed suit. Final payment for our cruise in late October is going to be due May 31st. Then our choice will be to either pay in full and hope to be able to cancel without penalty later, or simply cancel since so much in unknown at this point and likely at the end of May. Obviously I am not sure that I will know that much more by the end of July, but the chances that we can make a fully informed decision in May is looking pretty remote. As everyone has noted, the industry is struggling to figure all of this out, and they are struggling to stay financially afloat (sorry about that pun), and they are going to want to see money coming in, and then hold onto it as long as they can. That is not in my interest however.
  8. No extra charge for that!!! BTW we do need to keep our act clean for CC!
  9. Well, Costa Concordia is unquestionably weird. I have taught a course on cruise ship incidents, and I put this case is a class of its own. The list of bad decisions by Schettino is long and awful, and not worth going into here. I was using the case simply to point out that some people had not had a muster drill at all in an effort to make them less onerous. Whether that contributed to any specific loss of life or injury is unknown. The point I was trying to make was that we never know what is going to happen. Train for the worst, hope for the best.
  10. To navybankerteacher and chengkp75: are we glad we never had to board the rafts way out to sea! To chengkp75, where are you in Maine when you are there. We are on our way to Kennebunkport in a few days, and will be back there all summer.
  11. In most cases, I think there are rafts that almost double the 100% of the solid liferafts. As for all of the complaints, bear in mind that the muster drill, as chengkp75 has amply pointed out, is there for a reason. If the worst does happen, time really is of the essence. While the Titanic had time to get its passengers into lifeboats, if they had had them, sometimes time is much shorter, i.e. MV Estonia or, more recently, the Costa Concordia. Odds are that nothing is going to happen, but if it does you will be very glad that you had the drill. Past incidents have created the laws that are on the books. The international community has tried to learn from each disaster. Most recently, Costa Concordia taught us that skipping the muster drill for a day until the next partial load of passengers embarked was a bad decision, and they tightened up the rules. It had been too inconvenient to do them so often! Folks, when all things are going well, life is easy. When the fertilizer hits the ventilator, training and experience are crucial. You don't train and drill for the normal daily activities. You train and drill for the emergencies and just hope that you never need that training.
  12. While cruise lines try to fill every cabin, nobody likely knows what the minimum number of passengers is for them to start considering a cancellation of the entire cruise. I agree with Noxequifans that we are in unusual times, and the cruise industry is going to have to adapt at least for the short term. Viking just advertised some Alaska sailings where you can postpone your cruise up to a year as late as 24 hours before departure. NCL, O's parent, has reduced the number of days before sailing for final payment. Other lines, O included, will start to adapt. Our making guesses doesn't really add much, but wait and see. Things are developing rapidly.
  13. Viking came out with a message today that some cruises to Alaska will allow postponement of your cruise for a year and this can be done up to 24 hours before departure. So far it seems to apply only to some Alaska cruises, but those are coming up quickly.
  14. I have never heard of anyone's negotiating with a cruise line for a one-off price reduction. It cannot hurt to try, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. Even if you are lucky enough to get a slight upgrade, the chances of going from an inside cabin all of the way to a suite would be almost unimaginable. IMHO I would go for the suite all other things being equal. (The slight difference in air challenges would not offset much -- you relax on the ship to get over that sort of thing.)
  15. I think they are hoping that, like the flu, Covid-19 will diminish with warmer weather (in the north). It could obviously get more widespread in the winter parts of the southern latitudes. Health people in the U.S., China, and other places where it has been widespread are, I think, talking about the lessening of spread once the weather gets warmer. Of course, if it isn't like the flu, then that bet is off.
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