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  1. Dockman, While I liked the folders, I too would certainly prefer the wide, beautiful teak walking decks.
  2. I am is very sorry to hear about Barbara. We were on many cruises with her and we always found her very knowledgeable about ports throughout the world and so very friendly and helpful. The only Port Lecturer I have traveled with that could top Barbara on my list would be Frank Buckingham. I could listen to him talk about our ports for hours! When Barbara took-over Frank's lecture slots when he retired - (Grand Cruises, including the World) I was concerned but she was also terrific - although I did miss Frank's British humor and his honest and worldly perspective on things. Barbara was retiring after or soon the 2019 WC. I hope she had time for her life and family which she was so looking forward to spending more time with than cruising allowed.
  3. If the itineraries you list are accurate - I would select the HAL cruise! Overall I prefer the ports and there is one more with HAL - which for very active folks like you describe yourselves that would be a preference for me - plus I like more of the ports for interest.
  4. I live in Washington and from what I hear where you live can make a difference in the ease of getting your shot. The first week of Feb. I had the opportunity to get shots at three different places within 1 mile of my home - a Major Hospital, through Kaiser and through our residential community (62+). I felt like I actually had won a major lottery!.. I went with the MAJOR hospital and all went 100% smoothly for both shots. Friends who use either Kaiser or our facility were thrilled with their experiences as well. In all cases the shots were given outside of a Hospital. HOWEVER, for those who say - "I would never go to a hospital" - some die because of that - I definitely would have died last April IF I had said and acted accordingly. I knew my problem needed immediate attention and my MD arranged for admission by phone. Once there I of course was tested for COVID-19 but at that time test results took several days so I spent my first two nights on an active COVID ward. I must say I never felt safer in a hospital as I was treated as a COVID patient. Boring, but safe and bed bound. The second morning I was sent by ambulance to another hospital with a specialist who could and would perform the procedure I urgently needed. Another COVID test, (they wanted a different test than Hospital 1 used) and another night on the COVID ward. That afternoon they had to do the surgery - or my liver should have "died". When done with the surgery they did move me to a non-COVID ward on another floor for two more nights. These were the worst 2 hospital days/nights I have experienced as I basically felt pretty good but I was confined to my room - no visitors, no walking even with a walker or staff assistance - just laid in bed. I did have a spectacular (mountains and water) view from my 10 floor room, so that was my entertainment. IF YOU NEED TO GO TO A HOSPITAL - PLEASE GO! NOT WORTH THE RISK. (And yes, most of my working career was in Hospitals - one the wards and in offices. I know what incubators they can be - but we only hear of the bad problems - not the thousands of patients discharged from hospitals every day without the kinds of problems folks (including newspapers) love to talk/right about.
  5. Well, as we have learned before and had "pounded into our heads" the past years, we cannot always what we read in newspapers and hear on the TV or radio, but- on the evening news in Seattle, WA they had a picture of a HAL ship and a story of the pending economic loss to the Pacific NW with Alaska cruises being cancelled or put in great doubt. They did say however that at this time there were intense negotiations in process over the potential suspension of the Passenger Services Act (or whatever the correct wording is) requirements for the summer of 2021.
  6. vicd 1969, I hope you were not referencing my comments when you say "I agree adding a second person placeholder------". That is a whole different process than what I described and would cause you problems - as mentioned by a previous writer. That, at least in my experience, would require a major change in the whole reservation and perks lost - which is why I had to pay for a single supplement so it was a new, additional passenger - NOT a replacement passenger. Wander
  7. I have done this 4 times since 2016. One for the full WC, twice for the Asia-Pacific Grand Voyage and once for a back-to-=back cruise that went from Calif then through the South Pacific and around first New Zealand and then Australia and back to So. Calif. While this was not a true Grand Voyage, many amenities were similar. I wanted to do the whole cruises while my husband tires of cruising after about 40 days. The first time I did this my TA researched our options carefully!!!! Looking into the best way I could get all of the extra amenities available for GV if you reserved early and reserved a cabin above a certain "level". (Like about 18 months before the cruise, getting shipping of luggage both ways, gratuities paid for us, a certain amount of no extra charge booze, and a number of other perks.) Anyhow, in order to secure my cabin choice I had to reserved as a solo and pay any money due accordingly (200%). Thankfully my TA who is in Seattle - home of HAL was very familiar with HAL, in those days usually having 250+ passengers on the HAL World Cruise). This was necessary for several reasons including would assure that he would have a bed since they could not "sell" his bed to anyone else and I was assured he could be added as I "owned" the second reservation. Once he decided what dates he wanted to sail she simply made his reservation and we paid for his true fare and then I was refunded the 100% extra I had paid for the single supplement. All went 100% smoothly for each of the cruises. It was extra work for our TA but she made enough for our travels that she was most willing to do the extra work. So, it is doable (or at least was doable pre-Covid) . We explored alternative ways of making the reservations but this worked the very best for all of us. The only perk he did not get since he boarded in a foreign port was the free luggage service from home to ship to home. But, since I had unlimited "free" luggage transport from our home to the port of departure and then home after the cruise I simply included a extra suitcase of his cruise clothes with my luggage. (I still had far, far less luggage shopped than most of the Full cruisers.) Wow, some really brought an unbelievable amount of luggage. I would assume that this same procedure is still available - or perhaps some other way to accomplish the same ends.
  8. Just a thought from a past experience. Perhaps they are waiting to assign specific cabins until more is known about what the "requirements" will be for the sailing. For example what percent of capacity can sail? We have been "fortunate" to have a cruise planned very time some sort of health issue as in the works - for example Swine Flu, Bird Flu, etc. While in each case the ship did sail, they were far from full and folks were spread around the ship in a meaningful manner, primarily for staffing purposes. The extreme example was when a cruise was sailing just over 50% full, rooms already assigned. When we got to the ship many of us got new assignments. For example the entire lowest deck was emptied of passengers and those folks moved up a deck. For others already assigned those cabins they were moved up a deck to make room for the lower deck folks, and so it went. Other decks were condensed so that occupied cabins were in certain areas and empty cabins in certain areas. This was to make the assignment of passenger cabins for the cabin attendants into more concentrated areas, making the assignment of cabin attendants more efficient. Just a thought. We were told that those stewards (cabin and dining) who were excess to need were reassigned to ships sailing with more normal occupancy passenger loads. (Our cruise was primarily in Asian waters where the disease was concentrated. Europe, South America, etc cruises were running as usual. Fun thing - it was a fairly long cruise (like 30+ days) and the two Penthouse units were unoccupied. The ship held a series of drawings where the winners could stay in a Penthouse unit for either 2 or 3 nights (forgot which). It was a very well received "vacation within a vacation" idea and wildly popular. (I did not get lucky so had to stay in my own cabin.)
  9. 1. Mailings from HAL. I have received several future cruise "deals" since COVID appeared. 2. Re: - Food and Wine. Yes, I have received it at no additional fee every year since the option first occurred. However, I too get an"offer" from Food and Wine directly to get my own subscription just before the "expiration" of my free Hal year. I never return the information but each year the magazine starts up very soon. I get the "free" subscription year after year this way.
  10. Capt. Alberts sent out an e-mail about this earlier today. I suspect it is on his Blog (or whatever it is properly called) with some additional information and thoughts.
  11. Regarding the "Far East" (and I might add many Asian countries) - yes probably less personal space is available BUT MASKS are very common in public places - on the streets or simply outdoors, for several reasons years and years before the COVID-19 invasion. So, wearing a mask does not have the same implications for many compared to our folks. Also, in at least some "Far East" countries if the leaders say "You shall wear a mask when in public" - folks do. It is treated as an order with teeth, NOT as a suggestion.
  12. also on Meds - about 2 weeks before leaving home I check on my prescription meds - do I have enough for my cruise plus about a week after it. I start early as sometimes I have to renew my prescription which may add a few days for my mail delivery. On longer cruises (say 2 - 4 months), I also may need a few more days as the Pharm. has to check with my physician to give me "extra" pills (or an early renewal). Much of this depends on your insurance company and specific meds you may take. I want to get this all sorted out early so that the last few days before leaving home I am not madly trying to get enough meds for the trip. After many cruises I must say except for one time (when I had not thought things out well enough) all has worked smoothly for each trip.I just do not like last minute "panic" situations.
  13. Edit note - typed but not sent last evening - in the interim npcl wrote useful further information but I decided to send this in case it further helps folks understand the topic. (I write from the perspective of my background which includes serving 12 years on the Medical Research review Board for a Major medical University and 3 years for a non-university affiliated review board.) One does not need to be a MD let alone Dr. Fauci to come up with npcl's explanation. An MBA and some knowledge of how "Big Pharma" works would perhaps be as helpful, as would an understanding of what really goes into the work required to have drugs approved for human use. At the "Big Pharma" Corporate level it is usually only the Bottom Line that counts, i.e. how much profit can we generate by developing a drug (or drugs) to prevent or cure a medical illness/condition. If viewed strictly from a Corporate financial perspective - this is a critical question for the Corporation to survive, attract investors, etc. They are not "Not for Profit" companies and the various levels(phases) of drug research are usually VERY expensive. They do need to cover the costs, but we also see cases of "greed" on the part of these same corporations. (I write from the perspective of my background which includes serving 12 years on the Medical Research review Board for a Major medical University and 3 years for a non-university affiliated review board.)
  14. About a week ago I read in a news article that Carnival (Big C Carnival - not the individual cruise line) that when cruising resumed that several of their cruise lines would have reduced ship numbers. The release mentioned that 7 (or was it 8 😎had already been identified (not listed) but that more would probably be added to the list. Sorry that I have no idea where I read this but it seemed to be a decent source from what I remember. It was not on a private or little read source - but I simply do not remember the details.
  15. Petunia 1950 I understand your feelings. As a long time, very fortunate cruiser (close to 2,000 nights just on cruise ships) I am dismayed at the "Me first" attitude I read into many of the entries on CC. While this is the worst travel disaster because of the extent of the issues, for us this is only the latest in a string of travel related disruptions. We have had cruises cancelled and major itinerary changes a number of times (SARS - land and sea trip to Asia, West Nile, Bird Flu altered trips (land and sea) and (9-11 when we were planning to cruise from Barcelona to India through the Med., Red Sea and travel to Oman, etc en route). Not all the cruises were with HAL, but many of the sea days were with HAL. My what mashing of teeth, threats of various sorts, dire predictions of the cruise world coming to an end, etc. In each case those of us fortunate enough to be able to take care of the new alternatives offered to us in each case, such as retired folks) the outcomes were WONDERFUL. NOW, I realize that this time the extent of the issues effected far exceeds those of our other trips, but my real message is that while everyone wants their money NOW - I suggest we cool things a bit. Can you imagine the MESS that HAL and other cruise lines are facing with all the cancellations? If past experiences of myself and our friends mean anything - it will work out - and as happened one time - our "cruise line" did not survive but we still got our money paid back AND the line "sold" our frequent cruiser names AND MILES TO CUNARD so they were not even lost. No one likes to have a corporation hold our money when we want it back, but we have done very well when cruise lines have done so. Just our experiences. Rather than expect the worst (they have stolen my money), have some faith - we have benefited in the situation 100% of the time in the cruise world.
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