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travelberlin

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  1. I have just returned from a cruise in Greece and Greece did not require a PCR test. The cruise line required an antigen test, and the Greek authorities at the end of the cruise before disembarking another antigen test. Ivi
  2. Sunrise in Heraklion on October 8th as seen from Mein Schiff 5
  3. I understand very well how you feel. I was booked on the Serenity for November this year but I have cancelled it because of the uncertainties involved with those itineraries which touch different countries, with different regulations each. I guess that the rules are not on Crystal’s hands. As long as the Pandemic is still around, I think it is better to book cruises, which visit one or two countries at the most. I have been cruising and having a good time in Europe visiting one country at the time. For example the Greek Islands or the Canary Islands. Entry requirements were easy to manage and the cruise line had a check list which was very helpful. But this is quite easy to do for one country. As long as the small Caribbean countries do not coordinate their regulations for cruise passengers, it will be difficult to know with certainty what is going to happen during the cruise. Crystal is not the only cruise line which has a contact tracing method. And the German cruise line I have taken during this year has also the policy of disembarking in the next port, passengers who are positive and the close contacts. But it is a different story to be disembarked in Europe than to be disembarked in a small Caribbean Island. I agree with you that final payment shall not be enforced until there is a clarity in the final itinerary, and conditions of travel. Unfortunately Crystal takes a long time to refund the money if the cruise is cancelled. So here we have a combination of two things: one, the uncertainty of the conditions to travel and two, the uncertainty of getting our money back if we cancel. The first thing is not on Crystal’s hands but the second one should be. Ivi
  4. Thanks Terry and Trueeden for the clarification. My mistake 😔 Ivi
  5. I was not aware those posts in FB were deleted. Hiding information does not help to improve the reputation right now. Ivi
  6. As far I know, all cruise lines are close tracking now. Not all of them use the wristbands to do it, but they ask the cabin number of passengers in public spaces. For example in bars, in restaurants, theaters and gym. It is something that makes sense in order to react inmediatly and avoid a major outbreak on ships. Unfortunately, this will remain for a while. I think that what cruiselines are lacking is to letting know passengers in advance what would happen in case passengers are identified as close contacts. The situation with the Symphony has shown us what could happen. For some of the passengers this is a risk they do not want or can take. For other passengers the risk might be acceptable. The most important thing for me is that it reminds us that we, the passengers, have a responsibility in trying to avoid the disease and its spread. The disease does not disappear when we board a ship. We have to be careful because of ourselves and because of others. This is the situation while cruising now. On a way it has a positive aspect because we are being forced to be more considerate to others. I remember Noro outbreaks before COVID and people still trying to shake hands. I remember being on the theater and people coughing on my neck with some kind of respiratory disease. There are many reasons why people cruise. Many do to avoid the winter in the North at this time of the year. For them cruising is still a good option. Others cruise because they want to socialize. For them, cruising now is a disappointment but probably every other activity is a disappointment now if you want to socialize. Ivi
  7. In February, was my first cruise in this Pandemic. It was two weeks to the Canary Islands with Mein Schiff 2. A ship with a capacity for about 2000 passengers, sailing at less than 50% its capacity at that time. None of the passengers was vaccinated but all with PCR tests and chartered flights just for passengers of the cruiseline. I had happily planned my cruise as I had usually planned my cruises previous COVID, booking shore excursions, specialty restaurants and other activities. One week before embarking there were two positive cases reported on the ship and 20 other people were identified as close contacts. The 22 of them were all disembarked in Las Palmas. The positive cases taken to the hospital. The close contacts taken to a hotel that the Spanish authorities had allocated for that purpose. Those passengers were apparently monitored by shore personnel from Mein Schiff Cruises. My thoughts at that moment were similar to the thoughts of many posters now. I decided not to cancel my cruise but to cancel all activities that implied me being in close contact to other people. For example shore excursions. I cancelled all my shore excursions. I was extremely careful also at the restaurants to be seated in areas in which no others would come close to me. I have always arrived early and I had a choice of places. I explained to the waiters that it was important for me to be far away from others and that I did not really care for the best view. This strategy worked well. Only once another couple was seated close to me and the man had already been drinking and was loud. I requested to be moved to another table. At the theater we all had to wear masks and our seats were allocated by the crew, who also during the show were there taking care that no one takes his mas off or wears it under the nose. I went to a couple of shows but then decided that the theaters were a greater risk to be identified as a close contact, so I decided not to go anymore. Being the ship a large ship, sailing with few passengers I have never had a problem of finding a place were no other people were around me. I did not stayed just in my cabin, which by the way was lovely. I went everywhere, wore my mask, kept my distance and practice all the hygienic measures. I had a great time and I have even spontaneously extended my cruise one more week. No positive cases were reported during my cruise. After that cruise, my husband and me did another cruise to the Baltic. Similar situation and similar behavior. Only this time about 50% of the passengers were vaccinated. Only organized shore excursions were possible so we did not take any. It was again a great cruise. Next Friday I am going on a cruise to Greece. Solo again. This time all adults are fully vaccinated and have to provide a test 24 hours before boarding. Children have to provide two tests before boarding. This time we can visit the ports on our own, no organized tours needed. Two days before the end of the cruise we have to make a test because this is required by the Greek authorities not the German. If someone test positive will have to remain in Greece until it tests negative. Close contact who are negative will most probably be able to fly to Germany, but this is not specified or written anywhere. So I really do not know what will happen with close contacts. The Crystal experience with the Symphony has put an alarm again in my plans. But I am not canceling my cruise. If I do no not test positive before the cruise, I would be in Heraklion on Friday, enjoying the great service, the excellent food and the nice weather in Greece and going ashore on my own. BUT I would try by all means to be a close contact to someone. That is the risk now. I am not afraid anymore of COVID since the vaccines protect me and the probabilities of getting very sick even if I get COVID, are low. Now, in the unfortunate case that despite being careful, I somehow become identified as a close contact to someone positive, I would not stress myself and do whatever is required for me to do. I am aware that the costs will have to be covered by myself. In the mean time I will try to have a good time, doing one of the things I like the most which is cruising. Maybe this experience can help others to decide if they go ahead or cancel their cruises. Ivi
  8. A morning in Kitzbühel, Tirol. The mountain Hahnenkamm in the back.
  9. As someone who has been cruising during this Pandemic, I can say, it is possible to cruise if you keep your distance to others, wear masks also when others are not wearing it or the cruiseline does not enforce them, and I will not go on organized shore excursions. There is a rest risk yes. But one day Governments and Cruiselines will not require for asymptomatic, vaccinated positive or negative to disembark. We used to live with the flu or a cold without having to leave the ship immediately. At the moment this is what is going on unfortunately. I am going this Friday on a cruise to Greece. Living in Europe, this is what I can do now. I would not risk yet a cruise to the Caribbean. But if I were in USA, I would take a Crystal cruise and like I have said before, practice all the measures which still make sense. I agree that Crystal should pay attention that people follow those rules. Ivi
  10. I am sorry to hear about this Julia. Wishing you a not too stressful time in Bermuda. Keep posting to let us know your experiences if you can. Ivi
  11. Thanks Keith and Roland! You are most helpful. One of the reasons I am no satisfied with the TA of my original cruises which have been cancelled, is because she does not use my whole paid money, which was FCP to pay in full for another booking. She is forcing me to pay in addition to complete that booking and wants to give me an FCC in return for the amount I am paying in addition now. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it now. But new bookings with that TA are not going to happen. Ivi
  12. Thanks. Can only your TA have access to the FCCs or can any other TA access it if you change TAs? Can you use the whole amount of the FCC to completely pay for another cruise? Also for taxes and fees? Ivi
  13. I have also cruised many times with Celebrity and I like the experience. Having said that, I think you will love Crystal. Give it a try and make up your mind for yourself. The onboard experience at a Crystal cruise is excellent. Ivi
  14. Thanks Karen, yes I am very happy to hear about vaccinated Europeans being able to enter USA. If this is so I might book a cruise in January with Crystal. But it is so difficult to make plans several months in advance now. We used to plan years in advance.😔 Ivi
  15. I do not know about NCL but on our last cruise to the Baltic with Mein Schiff, which had limited the capacity to 60%, they were sailing at 60%. We know because a friend wanted to book the cruise and the company refused that booking saying it was fully booked. Ivi
  16. SusieQft, unfortunately due to the uncertainties for international passengers like me in cruises touching several countries with different entry requirements each, I had to cancel my 23 nights cruise in November with the Serenity. I was going solo on that cruise. I have received the confirmation of cancellation on September 9th. I have requested that part of the money shall be used to complete a payment on a cruise that I have next year and another part of the money to be refunded to me. I will let you know when I receive my refund. Ivi
  17. I am happy to report that we have received a part of our refund for the cancelled WC 2022 yesterday, September 20th. The confirmation of cancellation was on August 3rd. This corresponds to a deposit done by credit card. Thanks Crystal 🙏🏼 Another part of our refund for that cruise is still pending. That deposit was done using wire transfer. Crystal will refund also using wire transfer and has already asked for our bank details. I will let you know when we receive the money. Ivi
  18. Have a wonderful time Keith and Anne Marie. You are inspiring me to book a cruise, although it might not be Crystal for me right now. Thanks for that beautiful song Sailing from Christopher Cross. It is one of my favorites. Ivi
  19. Yes Keith, we were so much looking forward to do the WC 2022 and meet you and Anne Marie and all those friends we knew they were also sailing. COVID has changed our lives so much! Trying to do the best out of it. Thanks for following my trips. Today is raining in Tirol, so we were not able to hike but we have visited Innsbruck instead. Lovely. Ivi
  20. Thanks very much Terry and Keith for your answers. I know how important it is to have a good TA 😉😔. Ivi
  21. Crystal cancelled my cruise that was supposed to take place last year to the Holly Land. Instead of applying for a refund, I had accepted a FCP combined with a discount on a future cruise. I understand I have to use this FCP until 2023. I have the following questions: 1) has anybody received a certificate or some kind of document about the FCP or how can we show that we have that credit? 2) is this FCP fully refundable if for any reason we are unable to book a cruise before the end of 2023? Ivi
  22. Thanks for your thoughts Keith. You are right on many things. I have answered before with a long answer but unfortunately my post has disappeared and it has not been posted. Maybe next year I will be able to go onboard a Crystal ship again. Until then enjoying other undertakings. Regards from a 2 weeks hiking trip to Tirol, Austria.
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