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About GeorgeCharlie

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Alberta, Canada
  • Interests
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    HAL, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Getting one's 'house in order' will require having a good understanding of where the presence of COVID-19 is and having adequate procedures in place limit its spread. Until there is a full understanding of the presence of COVID-19 in the population, it is going to be difficult to move toward a 'new-normal'. Here in Alberta anyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19 can be, regardless of whether they have symptoms. There is no limit on the number of times people can be tested. The tests are free. In addition, although wearing a mask in public is not mandatory - it is recommended when a two-metre distance cannot be maintained - such as public transit. As such, the Alberta government is providing all residents with four three-layer non-medical face masks. They have partnered with A&W, McDonald's and Tim Hortons to distribute the masks at the restaurants' drive-thru locations. This distribution method is expected to reach 95 per cent of Albertans, with the province using other methods to get the masks to the remaining five per cent.
  2. We have a 37 day repositioning cruise to SA booked for this fall. Have already arranged tours for 18 of the days we're in various ports and have decided to just do self walk-about tours in the other 3 ports.
  3. 😎Congratulations on your first anniversary - your work is very much appreciated.
  4. How Does the PVSA Apply to Back-to-Back Cruises? Closed-circuit round trip itineraries done back-to-back will not trigger a violation even when the two itineraries vary. Point-to-point back-to-back trips are another issue, however. If two or more trips, when combined into one trip, transport a passenger between two U.S. ports without stopping at a distant foreign port, then the passenger triggers a violation -- even though the ship's itineraries are within the law because the two trips are separate and distinct. Here's an example: Passenger Z books two cruises that are back-to-back on the same ship. The first is a repositioning from San Diego to Vancouver. The second is a one-way Alaskan cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage. That passenger is essentially being transported from San Diego to Anchorage by way of Vancouver, which is not a distant foreign port since it is in North America. A violation would be triggered. Again, the cruise line is not likely to allow you to knowingly create a violation and would not allow the booking in the first place. If the booking slips through, Passenger Z would likely be denied re-boarding in Vancouver. Passenger Z's remedies are to book the Alaskan portion of the trip on a different ship or by including a third segment that ends at a foreign port as the final destination. Simply booking the return from Anchorage to Vancouver works because now Z's trip began in San Diego and ended in Vancouver, even though that port was on the itinerary twice.
  5. New update from Holland America Line on Facebook: Quoted from Facebook UPDATE - March 27, 9:45AM PT/12:45PM ET: Zaandam is currently off the coast of Panama and rendezvoused with sister ship Rotterdam at 7:30 p.m. local time yesterday, March 26. We received approval from Panamanian authorities to conduct ship-to-ship operations at anchor between the two vessels. Medical supplies and additional medical staff were transferred to Zaandam. Today we announced a plan to transfer groups of healthy Zaandam guests to Rotterdam, with strict protocols for this process developed in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only those who have not been ill will be moved, and health screenings will be conducted before transferring. Priority for the first guests to transfer will be given to those on Zaandam with inside staterooms and who are over 70. Once aboard Rotterdam, all guests will continue to remain in their staterooms until disembarkation. Any guests who are currently ill, or in isolation as a close contact, and all crew will remain on Zaandam. While the onward plan for both ships is still being finalized, we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Yesterday a number of patients with respiratory symptoms were tested for COVID-19 and two individuals tested positive. Out of an abundance of caution, on March 22 when Zaandam first saw a number of guests reporting to the medical center with influenza-like illness symptoms, we took immediate protective measures, including asking all guests to self-isolate in their staterooms and implementing all other appropriate precautions that have been developed in coordination with the CDC. All guests and crew received face masks yesterday and were provided with instructions on when and how to wear them. Currently, 53 guests (4%) and 85 crew (14%) have reported to Zaandam’s medical center with influenza-like illness symptoms. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board. On Zaandam there are four doctors and four nurses. On Rotterdam there are two doctors and four nurses. Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time. Complimentary telephone counseling services from our care partner, Empathia, have been made available to guests and crew if they would like extra support during this time. For those with family members on board, they can call the following numbers for information: 877-425-2231 or 206-626-7398. Zaandam was sailing a South America cruise that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end at San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. Due to global health concerns, Holland America Line made the decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible so guests could return home. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.
  6. This may help to explain why cruise lines are now using San Antonio. https://www.whatsinport.com/San-Antonio.htm
  7. 🙂One of our favorite cruises was a transatlantic, which visited Iceland & Greenland. Our review of that cruise is here.
  8. From the article, I don't see where you came up with the statement "Ports are closed"?? All the article mentions is that the Japanese cruise operator NYK Cruises has cancelled their world cruise and therefore would no longer be stopping in Costa Rica - along with all the other ports it was planning on stopping at. The second ship mentioned has also cancelled its sailing and will not be going to Costa Rica for the same reason. I see no mention that Costa Rica ports are closed to cruise ships!
  9. We are also on the Westerdam's October SA sailing (the 37-day version) and have a veranda cabin booked. Last summer we did a 24-day cruise on the Zuiderdam (same class as the Westerdam) and were offered a very reasonable upgrade to a SS, which we took. We were very happy with the extra space with the SS cabin and looked at booking one for the upcoming SA cruise, but felt the additional CA$2,500 per person cost was not worth it. But if we were offered an upgrade to a SS at a reasonable cost, we'd jump at it!
  10. A Cruise Critic article on gratuities - updated Jan 08, 2020. https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=261 A couple of years ago I had a conversation with a cabin attendant (different cruise line) and he said he had turned down an opportunity to work on with one of the premium cruise lines. Although he would receive a higher salary in lieu of tips, he would actually end up taking home less money - this was because tips were not taxable !!
  11. A Cruise Critic article on gratuities. https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=261 A couple of years ago I had a conversation with a cabin attendant (different cruise line) and he said he had turned down an opportunity to work on with one of the premium cruise lines. Although he would receive a higher salary in lieu of tips, he would actually end up taking home less money - this was because tips were not taxable !!
  12. 😋Most likely, as I notice Feb 25th is also listed as National Chocolate Covered Nut Day, but July 8th is also listed as National Chocolate With Almonds Day - so you can celebrate twice !! https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-chocolate-with-almonds-day-july-8/
  13. Yes it was - especially considering we were able to keep the cabin level bonuses of pre-paid gratuities and $600 OBC, plus a $25 beverage card each !!
  14. On our 24-day European cruise last summer we took a $199/pp upgrade from VE to SS. We were able to chose a cabin (i.e. not a guarantee) and we received double days. 😎We both agreed the upgrade was well worth the extra money we paid.
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