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About Catlover54

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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  • Interests
    science, history, oceans, wine, fine dining, people-watching, politics, plinking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Seabourn, Hapag-Lloyd

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  1. https://news784.com/caribbean/more-cruise-lines-have-cancelled-calls-to-antigua/ I suspect the real reason for the switch is behind the scenes any of us will see. It makes little sense for officials of an island that relies on tourism for a huge part of its revenue to malign cruise ships, unless the Global Port Holdings deal will somehow be better for them.
  2. The port talks on the Odyssey a couple months ago when DH and I were on board were easygoing and polite in style, but very short and superficial. Pax asked some basic questions and the guy did not know answers, so I stopped going. I assume SB can save money this way, just like they do with their amateurish website, and will hopefully route the saved money to better food and service costs.🙄
  3. EV, congrats on finally getting confirmed on at least one upcoming E2 cruise! Did you get confirmed August 2020 on Cannes to Majorca or Majorca to Venice? The latter looks like a lovely ( though warm) itinerary. If you are waitlisted as only accepting the lowest category suite, even if third on the list, chances are likely low it will clear. But if you would also accept a veranda or ocean suite a little pricier, ( you can place such a request) chances would be better. Also, HL Germany told me if you make a binding commitment to accept the cruise ( and pay deposit for it, if offered), you move up the waiting list ahead of others that do not want to commit.
  4. 1. Note for airdropping, both devices must have Bluetooth on. Formal help: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204144 2. Jackie, when I first looked at your kitty picture, I thought it was just one big cat, then did a doubletake. The tuxedo cat looks like “Pierre, the existential cat” ( he made some funny Youtube videos) Thank you, Jackie and Master Echo, for all your reports.
  5. Venice to Venice round trip is not common. Venice to Athens or elsewhere is. Or do two cruises! I enjoyed both Regent and Seabourn small luxury lines in the eastern Med. Silver Sea and Crystal are other “luxury” lines where the primary language on board is English. They all have different pros and cons. Viking and Azamara are upper premium.
  6. Lincslady, was the problem with boarding assistance at LHR just that you had to climb the stairs to get on, or something else? A few years ago I needed to use boarding assistance for a few necessary flights when I was unable to walk the long airport connectors due to illness and compounding injuries from a European land trip, and at least in U.S. the worst of it was the deboarding delay ( last off) leading to inability to make a tight connection. It did not help that there was a reckless Chicago O’ Hare employee who wheeled me while distractedly chatting on his cell phone with buddies, not paying attention to the fact that his high cornering speeds and tight turns seemed more appropriate for the Indy500 than my wheelchair transport. I fell out of the wheelchair due to my momentum with gravity assist at one of his downhill turns before the final straight, sustaining another injury, though minor. I refused to fly anywhere for three years afterwards until I was fit to walk the distance for connections unassisted My problem now is the standing in hot lines, the barking and pushy security personnel, and the loud, careless and jostling fellow pax who are younger and aren’t paying attention to more frail people around them who stand while young dudes sit in the disability seats at crowded gates before boarding.
  7. A two to three week cruise every three months, with a few days of activities on land before and after, will probably hold me after I retire this coming year. I am going to do two cruises that look good on HL, back to back on the same ship, and same suite, solo, for 28 days in 2020, and two other two weekers, including with DH, and that will be a good start to answering if I will not see it as special anymore if I do it a bit more than now. As I almost always do not want to get off the ship at the end of a 14-17 day cruise, I doubt I will have a problem staying on roughly one quarter of the year. Antarctica is now also on my bucket list as an ASAP. But I must periodically get off a luxury ship so I have just enough time to focus on losing the weight I gained ( it inevitably happens I gain several lb. as I cannot resist all the temptations) , and to see the doctors I need to see whom I cannot bring with me on the cruise. What might limit my cruising in the future is not just further health worsening that requires I be home, but if the dreaded airline experiences which are getting worse each year get so bad even in business or first class that I could not physicially tolerate it. I am not yet at the point where I request wheelchair assistance at airports, though with all my problems I could justify it, but that would only solve part of the flying from western U.S. nightmare.This is where money issues comes in: the only way around a lot of the long distance flying headaches with its constant delays and cancellations and discomforts is to have a private jet, and that is out of our price range.
  8. A few months ago when I started bypassing my American TA for HL bookings, I started using XETransfer to pay HL deposits electronically by bank transfer, as I believe catthana or someone on the first E2 thread had suggested, no fee, is easy once an account is set up, and I can do it from home instead of wasting time going to a bank, but it is very slow. I barely have more than one or two days from time of receipt of the actual bill with trip confirmation until I have to get organized to send it, as it can take a full ten business days for money to arrive in the HL bank account. With a higher deposit now ( which I think makes good business sense for HL) you have more money you may need to temporarily duplicate to meet a deadline if there is an unexpected electronic delay. I am not sure how strict HL is about their written statement that the deposit receipt date is binding, e.g., if they would automatically cancel your booking if a day late. When I sent my confirmed Ocean Sun confirmation ( I decided to fire the TA on that one too, as she was too slow to keep me informed, too slow to act, and distracted with other things and not adding value) I asked HL Germany if I could just pay the deposit now, as I know what 20% will be, and not wait until the tight deadline official deposit due bill comes.
  9. Moderators always ignore our queries on this, i.e., respond with sealed electronic lips, so there is more going on here than number of pax interested. I guess the one benefit is that so few non-Germans know about HL now that given the shortage of cabin availability, it may make it easier to get the bookings we want as long as we know to pounce early.
  10. Geezercouple, I did my 2021 Ocean Sun booking Limassol to civitavecchia a few days ago on the German website online, including cabin selection. I got a confirming email they would send me an invoice in a few days indicating deposit amount to send and by when. Then I will pay with either bank money transfer or credit card. If your TA speaks German, he could either 1. walk you through the quick booking process on the German online site, for which cruise you are interested in, and book there with notation he will be the organizing TA, or 2. have him call , e.g., ask for Lisa Schroedter at HL Germany, +49 40307030-871, or customerservice@hl- cruises.com attn to her, she understands and writes English ( as do others) to set up a booking. However, in the past they have been unable to commit to which performers will be on board until a few months before, and which speak English, and then they can still change it right up to boarding if someone has an emergency. Performers’ schedules are in constant flux. I have not been disappointed in any of the classical performers who ultimately appeared. I can go locally to San Francisco to hear performers, but it is not the same as on a ship with a small venue, in a package with travel and fine dining. It looks like an unthinking bot had taken over the inquiry you did, and it should not have happened. It reminds me of when I contacted SS a couple years ago on email with a specific question about separation wall details in a suite and instead, three weeks later, they blindly quoted from their website about the suite square feet, late, and not answering my question. As I said in my reviews, one has to be ready to do things outside of one’s usual comfort zone to sail on an atypical line and try something different. It is not for everyone. I would not try to sail on a Chinese cruise line, where I could understand and read nothing at all, and perceive no benefits ( am drowning in already too much Chinese food near me, dislike the sound of the language, and dislike the music even more) nor on Ponant, due to Ponant’s periodic anti-American bias even though I love French food and language and they advertise as bilingual. Scenic also turned me off due to a snippy agent, and the nonrefundable big advance deposit ( not to mention double charges for solos) made it worse. First impressions are indeed important if there are choices, and I understand gun jumping. I have walked out of highly rated new restaurants and settled on a hamburger at Applebee’s instead if we were not given a menu or drink offer within a reasonable time, or a “be right with you” friendly acknowledgment, i.e., awareness that we would soon be shelling out a lot of money. If you know of other classical music cruises, I would love to hear about them.
  11. Lovely! EV, unless you have another cruise or other commitments for this June you might still be able to get on board. If you ask to be put on a "binding commitment" wait list through HL Germany you get priority over people who are on the wait list but have no commitment to pay if space is approved. This was explained to me in email from HL in Germany when I inquired about waitlisting for the Stella Maris voice competition cruise this September (before I got confirmation I would be on Ocean Sun 2020). You can pick what categories of suite (i.e., prices) you would accept if spaces opens off the wait list based on the online published prices (though there is unavailable space right now, things happen). I will probably not set the Stella Maris cruise as a binding commitment because it covers almost the same route to St. Petersburg as the Ocean Sun in 2020 and I am already having a major cruising blow-out this spring and summer with the Hanseatic Nature and DDay cruises I have planned.
  12. I understand visas are required for all who put their toe on the holy Russian motherland's soil, but I thought that these days westerners could get a personal visa off of a cruise ship as long as they have a government approved individual guide? I read on a couple other cruise sites that Americans used certain guides in St. Petersburg who had good reputations, spoke English, and were approved by authorities. Or is there something specific about being Belgian that is a problem?
  13. I have done Ocean Sun twice, EV has missed it so far despite best efforts ( when you travel solo, availability is more restricted). I am missing it this year only because it coincides with my 75th DDay anniversary cruise in Normandy. There were several performers or performing groups on board each time, and at least one performance was done daily, about an hour duration, usually in the evening after a luxury dinner, sometimes late afternoon. A couple times they had two in a day, different times so I could hear both. The timing was such that there was no conflict with time in port, so people could go tour the port city and still have time to see the concerts. They typically had a couple star performers on board a few days then they would disembark and new ones got on. There were also other performances ( on my cruises a Spanish dance group, Istacion). Once on each cruise we had a special complimentary land performance in a special location, about two hours, almost everyone went to those and got dressed up. For Sunday service one of the voice performers sang. As there are only 400 pax on board ( counting performers) and not everyone is on board for the music, the concerts were in intimate venues. I was able to sit up close and there was also easy opportunity to talk to the performers, most of whom can speak English . Where English speakers miss out is that the intro chat to the history of the pieces is only in German, and it may go on a few minutes and typically had interesting information.
  14. So far on CC English Voyager, and myself are booked, Geezercouple is interested. Maybe if enough English speakers sign up HL will assign someone to do English menus and programs, which performers who do not speak German could also use? I also signed up for the 2021 Ocean Sun Festival, fixed booking, Limassol to Civittavecchia, EUR2017. EV alerted me to that, thank you.
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