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Everything posted by Catlover54

  1. I feel for all the Canadians here trying to figure out how to prove to a cruise line or foreign border bureaucrats what they know is true, i.e., that the pax are truly, fully vaxxed, scout's honor. I booked a special music cruise on the German Hapag Lloyd line a couple years ago, coming up this spring, and I would really like to go. As of January 1, foreigners will once again in theory be allowed to board again ( they had been banned during Covid). However, the vax proof requirements to board demand electronically scannable vax proof (which most Americans do not have, much less one Germans can reliably scan) AND ( not or) a WHO card showing proof of vax ( I am trying to figure out what that is, never saw one, have no clue how to get one). It will likely be several years before countries integrate scannable Covid up to date vax proofs the same way they have with almost 200 different kinds of passports at airports, and meanwhile some travelers will have great stress and headaches, be viewed with suspicion and risk being turned away, or just stay home.
  2. And getting a QR functional is still a battle anyway for many Californians ( I got mine after initial rejection, and redoing it, but DH is still struggling 4 months after starting the process and going back and forth with website and bureaucrat phone call confusion -- and he's the ultratechie, not me, so it is not a UE issue). We applied for a QR in an identical manner at the same time ( vaxxed in a rural vax center unaffiliated with any big health complex like Kaiser), but got different results. My upcoming cruise e-paperwork says they want the original vax record, not a "copy" ( presumably not an iphone picture), and I like that, because then I don't have to worry the QR code will not scan. But if someone only has a QR, like Canadians??
  3. The business seats I was in on commercial flights in that era definitely had more recline and pitch than current coach, though certainly were not as nice or flat as most current business. Heck, even coach had more pitch and recline than coach now ( and more stuffing) except on sardine charters. I stretched out in semi-empty coach sections many times in my 20's and 30's when in good health and flying back and forth many times to Europe ( I used my down coat folded up as an extra pillow over a tote). The smoking section in back almost always had room and fortunately the smoke did not bother me. But back then there were frequently reliably totally empty rows, unlike now when commercial coach is consistenly packed, especially at holidays. Most airlines won't even let you *buy* three advance coach seats for just one person without reserving the right to take them away ( I think some Australia or NZ airline had a special family plan)). My guess is you were also quite a bit younger back then too.:) In any event, we all age differently, and I envy people who can still fly long flights in coach well into retirement.
  4. Thanks, Keith, I had seen the Jan and Feb 23 cruises, but thought of them in my head as "next year" season for Antarctica, rather than by calendar year. I misunderstood what you meant by "not for this year/next year." There is a separate Antarctica forum on CC that reviews the pros and cons of each month, and off CC there are many Antarctica discussions by hardcore expedition cruisers worth reading in detail. Of course, one can get unlucky any month and get two weeks of solid fog, as a friend did, and totally freeze with icy wind, and see nothing except an occasional half-icycled penguin, but I'm old enough to take that risk at this point, and am also retired so if the weather doesn't measure up -- I will go right back as soon s possible! We were very lucky to have outstanding Iceland weather, so I hope that is not the last of my lucky streak. But with my anatomy and physiology I physically can't do a coach charter that far (e.g., as is offered this year) or I would have to take up residence in the infirmary for a few days. I also do not want a "bubble" , though it is a good solution for the circumstances. Premium economy with a 38" pitch and a recliner would be fine even if it won't lie flat, but not regular coach wiith 32" and almost no recline.
  5. "We loved it so much have two other bookings and one is Antarctica but not for this year/next year." As you know I loved the Endeavor despite some new-ship glitches ( and rated it 5/5 in the CC "member reviews") , and it is in the running for taking us to Antarctica. But I do not see any Endeavor booking options for Antarctica past next year on their website, so how can you have a booking for beyond that?
  6. Hoping to be able to sail in May for Ocean Sun ( if not sooner after Jan 1 on a new booking), I now see the English description of pre-boarding Covid safety requirements on the HL website , and unfortunately I see new barriers: " In order to embark, you must have these things alongside the usual documents and identification: Completed health questionnaire: there will be an extensive health questionnaire prior to departure which you must bring with you when you embark. A machine-readable vaccination certificate (e.g. the EU Digital COVID Certificate) and the international WHO vaccination passport showing that you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Negative Covid-19 test results obtained within predetermined time frames. Country-specific regulations that exempt people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 from the obligation to take a test may apply. Guests will receive more detailed information about the testing strategy for their cruise along with their travel documents." It is the second section that is a problem: my vax cert is not "machine-readable" ( it is just a little card with key identifying info, issued by the CDC, and has my three vax dates written in by hand and lot numbers, which worked fine for Iceland cruising on the Endeavor recently, the personnel just physically studied it). I also have no clue how to get an "international WHO vaccination passport".No one here has anything from WHO. Both are required per these instructions as it says "and". And I can also imagine showing up and the German scanning machine not being able to read an American QR code, even if I got the CA electronic system to finally register by vaxxes. This is designed for Germans and maybe EU people, not Americans, most of whom ( dual nationals excluded) will have neither of these in the near future. New Yorkers have a digital system for their vax records and in theory CA is also implementing one but it is a hot steaming bureaucratic mess, and people in most states have nothing electronic except their hospital medical records. And we absolutely have no "WHO" record. It is not a translation error either. English Voyager, do UK pax routinely have a WHO passport along with electronically readable vax certa? Vistaman, do you have a WHO passport? Steamboats, do you know anything about this?
  7. Some people ( men and women) pay extra for designer holes in their jeans.
  8. But not everyone on the bubble charter who wants a business class seat will be able to get one, per my TA. She has clients who postponed their bookings to next year because of this.
  9. Does one absolutely need a functioning app to know what is going on on one's cruise? Is the idea that it is more real time on events than the daily paper schedule you get? What can you do with it that you cannot do in your cabin with a paper schedule and/or TV list of menus ( which I assume there is)? My first X cruise is coming up soon. I am not anti-app, ( have an iphone) but on other lines, the in-room ipad offerings were typically next to useless, e.g., out of date, wrong, or in conflict with other info.
  10. I actually like a lot about the SS website ( e.g., it is nice to see what kind of ship excursions will be offered at each port in some detail to help me decide what if anything I might do there), so there is some "consumer facing technology" ( at least way more than on the awful SB website). They used to have almost nothing, so there is progress.
  11. The local regulations may also require mask wearing on indoor (bus) excursions organized by a ship and most Caribbean ports require them inside any public building. Also they can change rules on short notice as to whether or not you can tour on your own or must take a ship excursion, Most pax who posted live recently showed themselves maskless on Celebrity, even in groups closer than six feet, sometimes even posing for group photos with crew who take off masks for the photo. Some at risk folks or those who see themselves as such, choose to wear them. I am booked on Celebrity for the first time very soon in part because masks are not yet routinely required on board, but being vaxxed and recently tested is. (I would also be fine with documented natural immunity and recently tested pax and crew, but that is not a considered option yet). I will endure the masks where and when required ( like on a plane to FLL, boarding, sudden mandates, etc.) but like you, don't want them on a vacation as they are very uncomfortable and hot.
  12. I don't always use a TA, and like being able to see suite a availability and location real time online. Several cruise lines offer this ( which, if done well, includes the benefit of facilitating impulse booking by me because it helps me make efficient decisions, complete with deposit, and sans human interaction which requires struggling with difficult spellings of my name etc. to agents on the phone. I cannot find such a feature on SS, it always says "request a quote." I also cannot tell what a solo supplement will be, which ranges from low to 100%. I don't want someone calling if the only cabin left in a category and price is one I would not consider. Am I missing a hidden self-pricing and self-booking option?
  13. And there is at least one American on these forums who considers it a major disadvantage if a suite does not have a tub ( and for whom tub absence used to even be a deal breaker). 🙂 As someone said, for those of us prone to sore muscles, especially after exercise, it is very nice to soak them in a bubble bath after busy excursions, especially if the weather is cool ( though I don't want a butler setting it up). It also helps get me going in the mornings. The Crystal Endeavor only has showers in base suites, very nice huge ones with waterfall, with a big seat, and hot tubs, but I still missed having a tub in the room. I know I am in the minority and will change my mind once getting in and out becomes too treacherous.
  14. I am glad it was helpful, Fighterone! I suspect a few things have changed in the meantime due to Covid, of course, both on SB and in the Caribbean, but not necessarily for the worse. I definitely won't book SB in the Caribbean again during Xmas holidays, for my personal preference reasons mentioned, but I am booked on SB again later in 2022 ( but also on 3 other luxury lines, so far, soon to be 4 -- variety is good to have, especially during Covid).
  15. Cruising itself, of any kind, is of course a first world luxury, but this is a first world forum, not Bangladesh! Pax have actually postponed their cruises to next year due to the inability to get business seats, it is that important to them. It has nothing to do with nice drinks, cool IFE, or less odds of screaming babies. It is an issue of actual physical contortion for some, sleep for others, space where they can put all their essential meds and CPAP in a carryon, etc. Healthier and/or shorter people, even frequent flyers, often do not understand the great difficulty some of us have with many coach configurations, especially for very long flights. DH simply won't fly such distances in modern day coach for a vacation, because then to him, it is not a vacation. My brother-in-law is 6'6", and has legs to match. He does not know where to put them when there is a full recline passenger in front of him on a flight. Others have back and other major musuloskeletal problems where only certain positions are tolerated, especially for many hours at a time. When many get older and distorting arthritides set in, ( or obesity, the flyertalk "Person of size " POS), the choice for some becomes either do not vacation with long times of flying at all if you must go coach ( the choice many seniors, disabled, and of limited means make on the optional luxury of travel) , or go and then be ill and literally require PT for days or even weeks later. It would be nice for us all to be healthy enough to do middle seats in coach (perhaps in the back row, as on a reroute I had from Europe?) for combined 20 hour trips, as I could thing of a lot of things I would rather do with the extra money saved by not buying business seats. I have already resigned myself to not flying anywhere when I get older and/or my cancer comes back. Another potential benefit these days ( though only a small one) is maybe more Covid avoidance in business if you are only sitting next to your spouse and not a stranger, even if he tested negative pre-embarkation and is vaxxed, and even if the general air is generally shared. Certain positions in relation to where you sit pose more risk to you if someone has hidden Covid, for the fortunately relatively rare airline transmission cases there have been, and one of those is the guy next to you.
  16. Turtle, I am just quoting what was in my package insert on a leaflet.
  17. Good guess, except pax who sailed/sail with Celebrity on ships from the U.S. which stopped in Nassau and got on and off, not a private island, and did not need a visa. It seems to be an issue specific to Crystal, as others pointed out on other threads.
  18. This is a cruising forum, so that is our focus ( which is obviously in the context of being in the world of Covid and what is happening with it overall). I think you missed the key points, but that is ok., not worth pursuing and I don't want this thread shut down for crossing an absolutely direct relevance line. I ordered the mail order kits from Optum Celebrity suggested, they came quickly, and though they expired 9/28, the insert says we can still use them another three months due to the shortage. I cruise in Novemeber. I do have to wonder in what, if any, direction a truly expired kit would go -- false positive, false negative, or just no result. I have both a lab antigen appointment set up a day before I fly out , on a Friday (two days before the Sunday cruise, though more than 48 hours which is ok), and Optum kits in case something goes wrong with the appointment. I will also use one for self-testing at home two days before the official test but without the call-in. This all costs me more but it provides security and is just part of the extra price of cruising in a pandemic.
  19. How many were hospitalized due to severe disease, if any? How many died, if any? Out of how many total vaxxed pax? And compared with people getting sick pre-Covid with viruses? More and more medical experts are talking about Covid becoming endemic, like flu. Some people get it, a handful of fragile people were hospitalized. We still traveled. Vaxes ( with boosters) help lower risks of bad outcomes. And Merck is close to getting an oral drug approved for early rx -- docs on ships will likely have it. The world cannot wait for a Covid free world. How long will it take politicians and their appointed health people to recognize this so cruise lines and travel industry etc can survive?
  20. I am not booked on this but while talking to my TA about Antarctica options today she said Crystal is chartering a jet to take pax from Miami directly to Ushuaia, to maintain a bubble for the ship, but not everyone is getting the business class they want so there are some concerns. Have you heard about a charter?
  21. I had this problem with some Endeavor excursions in Iceland a couple months ago -- no facilities, not even a primitive portapotty, much less a bush, for 3.5 hours ( and no warnings this would be the case). The young healthy people running the zodiaks brushed it off with a twinkle in their eyes. In a pinch, ( apart from no morning coffee, no hydrating, and no eating), remember you are lucky, because you are a man.
  22. So Crystal has caught up with Celebrity, and other lines that have not required it for vaccinated pax embarking in the U.S. for Bahamas cruises for quite some time now. I wonder what took so long.
  23. Are Aussies and Kiwis now allowed to leave the country for tourist travel and come back in? Or is there a future date certain though not here yet? And are foreign tourists allowed in, or will be? I saw the luxury German line Hapag Lloyd has a bilingual cruise, an expedition ship (Inspiration) through Dunedin/Antarctica this season, presumably to cater to Aussies, and wondered if it could actually sail. When cruise lines leave cruises they know they will cancel or change up on their websites a long time it makes planning confusing. They all seem to do this.
  24. As I noted in post 9, they do not accept Americans since Covid, even if vaxed and tested. EDIT: the latest update email I got from HL is that Americans and other foreigners who are vaxxed and tested pre-cruise, and who are not from countries with Covid "variants" , will be welcome after 1/1/22. What they call "variants" is not delta. So the luxury Berlitz six star bilingual Europa 2 ( no tie or jacket required) and the expedition ship Inspiration could be in the running if you do not care about being surrounded by mainly German speakers, many of whom tend to be a bit more standoffish even when they speak English. One American I encountered on Europa 2 said she loved it primarily because she did not have to make chit chat with other Americans and could just enjoy the luxury cruise with her husband.
  25. Thank you for the RKI link, steamboats. In US all the jargon in medical journals and media is still about the "delta variant" ( even though it is not much of a variant anymore and is mainstream). Your link makes clear that the definition of "variant" is different in Germany than here, ( i.e., there are now no "variants" of concern for Germany, at least not yet) . So with that context, there is no contradiction in the info I got in the email, and that is good news. I know things can change, but this is a good start. I am also happy with HL's new requirement for pax and crew to be fully vaxxed, and tested within 72 hours of boarding, wherever the boarding is ( mine will not be in Germany). I am aware it is not a 100% guarantee that everyone on board will be Covid free, but that is a risk I am comfortable with ( despite being officially "high risk" for doing poorly if I get Covid). I am also happy that as of 11/8, vaxxed and tested Europeans can finally fly to the U.S. for visits ( at least officially -- we will see how it works in practice). Banning you this long was getting ridiculous, especially since tens of thousands of people coming by car or foot through our southern border have been let in without vax or testing requirements. Our travel industry needs European tourists, and European residents with friends and family in the U.S. need to be able to see their loved ones physically, not just on Facetime.
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