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Everything posted by bbwex

  1. On behalf of the rest of my countrymen, I would like to apologize for the incitement of violence against members of the Asian community that may have been sparked, instigated, approved and/or encouraged by our former president. That being said, I would think that if you take tours with groups of other people, you are unlikely to be singled out and suffer any "crimes of opportunity." Most of the people who commit these cowardly and thoughtless acts are unwilling to do so if there are witnesses and others around the potential victims. Also you would not be in an area where some de
  2. I would echo much of what has been said before. As for the Roll Call, I don't know how active they get for transatlantic crossings having never done one myself, but I always join the Roll Call. Also look at the cruise line under the "Cruise Lines" headings and get a feel for what the line is like in general. You can also post general questions about the line there rather than the Roll Call. I agree also about not accepting every comment at face value. There will always be someone who has a gripe, and many who feel that they have to tout the line. Look at the general tenor of t
  3. We have done both, and I would strongly suggest doing the land tour first. That way, you have time to relax afterwards and not be exhausted before you have to fly home. Having done the land tour after once, I would really try not to do that again. Of course, where you are, etc., comes into play, but if that is not a factor, and the only question is whether to do it before or after the cruise, I would definitely do the cruise after the land tour.
  4. Well, we did in fact have a couple of non-PH people join us for a meal one time. It is cramped, that is for sure, but we did do it one time. I certainly wouldn't make a habit of it, but the one time we did it, nothing was said. I would think that if you did it often, you might hear about it.
  5. I have to agree with the suggestion to sail with Oceania if it fits into your "moderate" definition. On other lines, you would be better off sailing with the more upscale ships in the mass market, as each step up seems to reduce the partying and attract a more laid back passenger group. I am hearing good things about Viking, but still have concerns about their ships since the incident in Norway, and there has not been, to the best of my knowledge, an adequate response as to why they were maintaining too little oil in the engines and generators. The investigation so far points to
  6. I would agree with the idea of getting a waterproof daypack, and then wearing a good raincoat. We have both a short, waterproof jacket for when there is just a little rain, and long raincoats that we got from LL Bean for when the weather is bad.
  7. Well this this discussion has gone all over the place. Hlitner has it right that if a lawsuit is filed, it will be much longer before it is resolved than it will take for cruising to get back to normal. And the comment that the PVSA is unlikely to be found unconstitutional is also correct. While DW and I have both had both of our shots, we are still cautious about getting into big groups, and I am sure that the cruise lines have concerns about an outbreak on one of their ships. The new operations out of the Bahamas and elsewhere will tell the tale as we see how things go.
  8. As a further reply, I was able to see blowups of NAUTICA as it was being refurbed, and it is clear that there is a full wall at the forward end of the veranda, so you won't see the lifeboats, and will the same view as any other veranda.
  9. While I agree with the comments made above, I would just note that sometimes, at least, it is interesting to join others, though I agree an 8-top is a bit too much. We have always joined the Roll Call, and you will get to meet some of the members at the Meet and Greet. The first cruise on Regatta, we were amazed how many times we ended up at tables with members of the Roll Call who we had gotten to know at least a little, and we had several very enjoyable dinners with one or two other couples. That being said, if you want to eat alone, the previous comments pretty well lay out the situation
  10. I have to agree with LHT28 that this is a veranda cabin. You might be able to see the lifeboats if you can look forward -- I don't know if the wall at the forward end of the balcony is closed off, but it should be, I just don't know for sure. Deck 6 is generally a good location, and as Pearl64 said, it is about amidships, so the pitching motion (bow and stern going up and down in those kind of seas) would be minimized. While there might be noise if they lower one of the adjacent lifeboats, that would be brief.
  11. Just to catch up a little, DW and I both got the Pfizer vaccine. I had no reaction at all to the first shot, DW had a sore arm for a day or two. DW had no reaction to the second shot except a sore arm for just a day. My arm got very sore shot 12 hours after I got the second shot, but the pain lessened markedly after about six hours, and I just had a slightly sore arm for a day after that. No big deal. I have friends that developed flu/like symptoms for about 12 hours starting about 12 hours after the second shot. Regardless that is a whale of a lot better than.getting covid.
  12. You can find many variations of this sort of itinerary. Not knowing your ages or what you are looking for adds some complexity to trying to help. As for air fares, it is too far out to know what your options might be, but I agree that there are more flights and therefore more competition into Rome. We had good luck finding fares through Air Canada when we took that trip, but I had to keep checking. We were are to fly to Rome and then back from Venice. There are lots of different cruise lines, some cater to a younger set, some to an older set. Some with more luxury,
  13. chengkp75: I wonder if the shudder/shake on the video was snubbing on the anchor or simply the fracture of the ship, whatever the cause of the fracture. I would think that repeated snubbing might have been the cause, but you would think that each time it snubbed, the ship would have shuddered a bit, and that too would have been caught on the video. It will be interesting to see the investigative report when and if it comes out.
  14. While I am the trip planner for different folks that we travel with, I have to agree with the OP that Alaska is, to say the least, overwhelming. There is so much to do across a mammoth state, that it is hard to figure out where to start. What we ended up doing was a cruisetour. We took a tour for six or seven days, and then got on a ship and did the cruise part. First of all, do the tour part first, so you can relax afterwards on the ship. I agree with one of the previous posters about Princess but would include Holland America as well. They are both the same compa
  15. A lot of the comments on this thread are interesting, but I have to agree with those that feel that a small town has the right to limit sudden influxes of visitors. Much as we all spend a good bit to go on a cruise, the truth is that cruise passengers spend very little when visiting towns -- generally less than $20 if my memory serves. On the other hand, bus passengers spend much more money. We spend our summers in southern Maine, and while ships coming into Portland may send 25 or 30 buses to our small town square, they just make the place congested and don't add to the economy -- if they
  16. Our local VA hospital (Pittsburgh) had a vaccination clinic or open house today for veterans over 75 who already get VA health care in some form, or who qualify for it. While there are income limits that might stop some people who are out cruising the world (around $55,000 a year plus or minus), there are exceptions for those who served in Vietnam of the Persian Gulf war between 90 and 98, and some more recent gulf war veterans within certain time periods. If you think you might qualify, you might try to get in touch with your local VA hospital. By the time you see this, the lower age limit
  17. I know that some people are able to get their vaccinations already in some parts of the country, but I wanted to pass along that the VA, at least here in Pittsburgh, had a vaccination open house today for qualified veterans. That would be people already in VA care in one form or another, or others who qualify. There is an income limit to qualify, but there are exceptions for people who were in Vietnam, veterans of the Persian Gulf war between 90 and 98, and some more recent vets. If you qualify, you might want to get in touch with your local VA hospital to see if they offer anything.
  18. We booked a private company tour as well, and I have to agree that it is the way to go. You will cover much more ground and get much more done in a day. We had three days, so we did take the trip to Catherine's Palace, etc., but there is much to see in St. Petersburg if you cannot. If you can, I would ask them to add a quick visit to a subway station. Our guide took us from one station to another and back, and they are incredible. No photography allowed, but they are indeed beautiful. Just watch for pickpockets in the subway system.
  19. We went back in 2012 and were on the MS Eclipse which I understand is not the Celebrity Xperience. We had originally planned to go on a smaller catamaran, but a few weeks before the trip, the company called and begged us to switch -- offering us a cabin upgrade of sorts -- so that they could charter the entire catamaran to some exclusive group. I had carefully picked out the catamaran, but having had a boat in charter service, I agreed. As it turned out, I made the right choice. When we were aboard, one of the naturalists said that though catamarans were inherently more stable, the 32 pass
  20. Welcome Truckcop. Though I am unsure of the accuracy of the prediction, I heard that those over 75 will be getting shots in February. How that is going to actually play out is anyone's guess. Just producing the vaccine, manufacturing the vials, stoppers for the tops of the vials, getting them to the vaccine manufacturers, etc., is a daunting task, and the numbers are so large you have to wonder if it can be done that quickly. We shall all have to wait and see, but I hope you get to take your cruise. Big ships, by which I mean regular cruise ships, are a bit different than the r
  21. Though we had a good experience in St. Thomas years ago at the H. Stern store (they are the Tiffany's of South America), I would still strongly recommend going to a gemologist in your home city, and preferably one that you know or have been assured that you can trust. As I said, I had a good experience with H. Stern & Co., but traveled with another couple that bought a diamond, tennis bracelet from a store touted by someone who gave a port lecture on a cruise. When they got home, it turned out that the bracelet was not a fraction of what was promised, and though they got their money back
  22. We can go to Russia, China, and Vietnam because they don't have a big expatriate population here that holds candidates hostage to their nostalgia for a day long gone by. Yes property was taken, but that happened in other countries where we can go visit. And I agree with the other comment that the United States need to establish better relations with Central and South America. We have always treated them poorly and assumed that they were our friends regardless. We should help them develop better (we should have been doing that for years), and their populations would have better standards of
  23. I still have one of the old vaccination yellow cards. I can imagine that they could easily be brought back. As I recall, they are endorsed by the medical facility that gave the inoculation. That would certainly be a solution to determining who has received the vaccine. I am a bit concerned about the various time frames being bandied about for how quickly how much of the population will get the vaccine. They want 70% of the population to be vaccinated. That means 232 million people. That's 464 million doses, 464 million vials, 464 million syringes and 464 million needles. Th
  24. 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.
  25. 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
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