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  1. I agree with the possibility of bad days ahead. Preventive measures in the USA have been sidetracked by politics. Meanwhile, the Delta strain is currently wreaking havoc by facilitating new infections, and the longer this epidemic continues, the greater the likelihood of another mutation that is even more effective at spreading or more resistant to current vaccines.
  2. I still don't get it. By putting "coincidence" in quotes, I assume you are saying the two actions were somehow not coincidences of time, but instead were related? I gather you are criticizing the CDC for something "political" but I don't understand what you think was political--they shouldn't have issued a travel advisory? Or they only issued the travel advisory because Regent changed an itinerary? Or what? I feel like I just read the lede of a mystery story?
  3. There is no single right decision whether to go with Regent or stay elsewhere, IMO. A number of factors come into play. Regent's nightly hotel rates are usually quite high compared to what you might be able to book for yourself. But if it is only a one night stay, it sometimes is just more convenient to let Regent handle the whole itinerary from airport transfers to the hotel and then to the ship. Some transfers from airport to hotel or hotel to ship may not be provided if you don't stay at the Regent packaged hotel. If the transfer is likely to be a long trip, I would usually default to Regent. If it is a short ride, I might stay at the Regent hotel and just take a taxi to the ship to avoid long check-in lines or I might stay elsewhere. If I plan more than one overnight before boarding, I would seriously consider booking something other than the Regent hotel. Or you may be able to book a hotel room at a lower rate for some prior nights at the Regent hotel apart from the Regent booking. (You might even be able to stay in the same room for the Regent booked night if the hotel agrees.) I have also moved from another hotel to the Regent hotel for a single night simply because the transfer to the ship was long or complicated. So bottom line, explore your options and choose what best fits for you--that's my observation.
  4. I don't think a single example of a social media response confirms much of anything about how Regent monitors or responds to social media. I would instead look at Regent's history on this forum. CC threads have frequently been filled with questions or comments that Regent just doesn't address despite Regent having been contacted directly and despite the ongoing CC thread discussion. There have been lengthy threads with complaints such as long-standing malfunctions of the website, or onboard internet, or changes in itineraries that occur without an explanation that makes sense, or inaccurate and misleading statements on the website or in marketing materials. Rarely has someone from Regent responded on CC to pages of posts that leave customers in a quandary. Because Regent didn't respond, the threads would go on and on, fostered by one or more posters who seemed compelled to defend Regent with generalities that tried to deflect responsibility from Regent or often to blame the customer. We had pages of explanations of why Regent couldn't fix something or how all cruise lines have the same problems, or Regent is always doing the best it can, or it is really the customer's fault for having the wrong travel agent or not contacting the proper person, etc. Many of these tortuous threads highlighting problems could have been ended promptly if Regent simply posted a response or addressed the issue on its website. My take is that Regent's communication, in general, is poor for a company that tries to portray its image as a luxury experience. I have yet to see evidence of management's ocommitment to improve its communications with customers.
  5. The Hotel Arts is worth looking into for a stay in Barcelona. We've stayed there twice on the Club level. The Club lounge is casual, relaxed, has very good food and drinks all included. It is on a high floor with a view looking out on the sea. It was a great place to unwind when we flew into Barcelona once and excellent to just relax after getting off a Regent cruise another time. Given Covid restrictions, I don"t know whether or how the lounge operates these days, but presumably it will return to normal one of these months. The location is about a 20 minute walk or a very short taxi ride to the Las Ramblas area. Since it is on the Mediterranean there are restaurants along the walkways in the area. I preferred the location to being in a hotel in the center of tourist area which is constantly very hectic. Others may prefer a location more in the heart of things.
  6. There is a link to a thread from late 2019 about internet connectivity on Regent https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2709374-connectivity-on-regent/page/5/ Regent has a long history of promising far more than it provides with regard to internet functionality. Search for the terms "fiber optic speed" on this forum and you will find lots of older posts about Regent's history of advertising. My experience with many Regent cruises is simply that the internet sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. When it works (which in my experience is most of the time) its quality is unpredictable though. And typically download and upload speeds are slow. I have old speed test results that are still on my phone showing download speeds of about 5 MBPS to less than 1 MBPS on Regent Explorer in Sept 2019. Many times the speed was less than 1 MBPS--and Ping was often 600ms or longer. And at times it can unpredictably simply stop working. My experience is that email usually works, but downloading and uploading files is slow and inconsistent. Another consideration is whether you want to use more devices simultaneously than you get with "free" included internet. Paying for minutes of use is extremely frustrating because there are inevitably times when the internet is so slow that something that should take 30 seconds will take minutes to do. It is possible that Regent upgraded its bandwidth after the thread I posted above, but I wouldn't count on it.
  7. When we were in Barcelona we booked tours with Context Travel--small group tours that had only between 2 and about a half dozen guests. The tour guides were excellent and you avoid all the long lines for admission to the various venues. I just googled Context Travel and it shows no availability for small group tours in Barcelona. I assume this is related to Covid. Presumably this will change and they will become available again at some point.
  8. It is a shame that major longstanding problems having to do with the internet, from the website functionality to onboard internet service, just don't seem to get fixed. Maybe Frank Del Rio's salary should be tied to internet functionality. Bet the problems would be prioritized and taken care of in a hurry. And maybe Regent could hold back a few million dollars of executive compensation and use that to pay some experts to fix the problems.
  9. Sailing with non-vaccinated passengers may carry little additional risk for those of us who are vaccinated. But what will happen when one of the unvaccinated persons comes down with vague symptoms and maybe a fever. What limits on activities, etc., will be imposed on everyone until there is 100%% certainty that the passenger doesn't have Covid. And what if an unvaccinated passenger actually comes down with Covid? Imagine the chaos that will result with schedules, ports, disembarkation, etc. I also can't imagine why a cruise company or its passengers would want to risk any of these events happening. Political games in this instance are at odds with public health safety and confidence.
  10. "The science demonstrates that if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected," Walensky said according to news reports today. Blinks first?? FDR wins??? No doubt the CDC really updated their guidance on mask-wearing for vaccinated people because they were in a battle with FDR and couldn't take the heat. And FDR now deserves even more millions in compensation for his tremendous win.
  11. Some of the CDC recommendations make little sense in terms of the reality of daily life on a ship. For example, he reality is that social distancing is virtually impossible. On Regent ships, the stairs are barely wide enough or may not be wide enough to enable social distancing if one person is on one side of the stairs and another person is on the opposite side. And can you imagine how long it would take an unrelated group to go up stairs if guests would also have to be spaced 6 feet apart as they ascend a flight of stairs. And how can one possibly socially distance in the corridors that lead to suites and public places? And suggested "wearables" that offer social distancing alerts will be giving alerts so frequently that they will be meaningless and annoying. If everyone is vaccinated CDC needs to explain the rationale for many of the recommendations. CDC is going to have to further revise the guidelines otherwise cruising will be impossible.
  12. I haven't flown since this epidemic started and given your experience I don't want to. The point I was trying to make in a prior post was that airline travel and cruising carry different risks. And I don't think that decisions about cruise travel safety should be made based on approval of air travel any more than I think that air travel should be approved because travel via Uber is approved. On cruises, the exposure to people outside the ships is considerable. Most people fly to or from cruise ports so they may be exposed to others in all the ways your post detailed. In addition there are local buses for transportation, local tour guides, boat transfers, etc. So cruising multiplies the possibility of exposure to Covid far beyond just air travel. What should make cruising safer is the requirement for vaccination if it is enforced. A requirement for vaccination for air travel would make air travel much safer. I disagree about ample room to socially distance on Regent. Corridors, elevators, stairs, etc., are really not wide enough to handle distancing especially during busy times. Nevertheless, if everyone is vaccinated on board, distancing may be of much less importance
  13. Sitting in an airplane for an hour or even a few hours with a mask on is not the same as living in close quarters 24-hour a day on a ship of several hundred passengers for multiple days if not weeks. And yes, there has been some criticism that the airlines should have stricter distancing requirements, etc. Public health decisions can always be second-guessed. Hindsight is one way to decide what could have been handled better. But that applies to all businesses and to our personal lives. At this point the CDC has approved cruise travel, so I'm not sure what the current criticism is about. On which earlier day or week should they have given their okay? What plan should they have put forth on that chosen date? My preference is to wait and see how this plays out. I have no interest in cruising with required masks and other onboard limitations or port restrictions. If the vaccine truly works to quell the epidemic worldwide and cruising as well as other activities can get back to close to normal, then I'll be in line to cruise again. And I'm fully aware that the line may be long.
  14. It is an easy task to criticize the CDC. It is much more difficult to set up guidelines for cruising that are reasonably scientifically based rather than hunches that things should be okay. Cruise ships are unique little crowded-city islands. They have restaurants, bars, theaters, casinos, spas, swimming pools, shops, guest rooms, etc., all bunched together in very tight quarters. There is no realistic way to maintain appropriate social distancing on ships. In addition some of them, at least, have many guests who might be a medically vulnerable population. Cruise ships stop in ports that cannot guarantee that passengers will mingle with only vaccinated persons. We only have a bit over 4 months of real-world experience with the efficacy of vaccination. There are break-through cases of Covid among the vaccinated. The virus is raging out of control in many parts of the world and new variants are likely. We don't know the extent to which new variants of the virus might become immune to the vaccine. Theoretically, all it would take would be one new variant that is immune or mostly immune to the vaccine to recreate the havoc of the past. I would be surprised if the CDC or any major medical organization would support anything other than a cautious re-opening of an industry that is potentially fertile ground for the spread of infection.
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