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    Cruising, classical music
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    New Zealand

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  1. Yes sign me up - for both the Chez Darth and the Rebel Alliance. But if I don't see verification of Chewbacca's full vaccination and indoor masking then I am afraid I will have to cancel.
  2. Oops correction below October 15 New York R/T Bermuda mskatiemae (Catherine/Alex)
  3. Please remove the above and add for Symphony 2021: October 15 Bermuda R/T mskatiemae (Catherine/Alex) Thank you Keith!
  4. Recent article in "The Hill": "Lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation on Thursday that would require the Biden administration to submit a plan to eliminate the massive U.S. passport backlog. The Passport Backlog Elimination Act was introduced by Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly (Va.) and Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) and GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Tim Burchett (Tenn.). The bill focuses on staffing shortages at the State Department that have caused the passport backlog, requiring the agency to ensure processing time is six to eight weeks for applications and two to three weeks for expedited applications. The State Department said in a briefing last week that processing could take up to 18 weeks. The backlog now numbers as many as 2 million passport applications, including new ones and renewals, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services Rachel Arndt told reporters. The legislation would give the State Department a 30-day deadline to submit a plan, which must then be implemented within one month. The State Department inspector general would also have to submit an audit on the effectiveness of the plan within six months of the bill's enactment. "Too many of our constituents are left in limbo, not sure if they will receive their passport in time," Connolly said. "Some don't even know the status of their application, and others have been forced to forego travel altogether. While I appreciate the efforts of State Department employees as they work to reduce this backlog, the need for substantial improvement remains." The bipartisan group of lawmakers had introduced the same legislation in July 2020. The State Department's reduced in-person workforce, leading to the long delays, was a result from COVID-19 restrictions." I'll be okay up to 18 weeks but not much beyond that. New legislation and funding won't be in time to help me but seems like it could fix some things.
  5. I hope they will still provide the online feedback option onboard. It was useful to me. Once I used it to give positive feedback for someone who went well above and beyond and on another three separate times used it to ask for help to resolve an issue that wasn't clearly a responsibility of one person and it required management to help me and I explained exactly what was the issue and how it impacted me and how I wanted it resolved. I am sure also one could go directly to onboard managers, whether the hotel director or restaurant managers or the shore excursions manager or the food & beverage director or the cruise director (who manages entertainers) or even the spa manager or shops managers who are not working directly for Crystal. I find these people are very understanding if you can present them with the information that helps them respond. It also helps if you deliver the feedback with some empathy to their situation and not as an attack. If you are not sure where to start you can ask the concierge and can either ask for a phone call or drop off a written note.
  6. I don't have a WS Champ shirt for my team (MN Twins 1991) however I just put in an order for a couple of shirts from the "Bimini Shark Lab". You can also get yourself a shirt or cap from the BSL bonfire.com site online (just search).
  7. Like many I have peeves but not many are clothing related. I do my best then just enjoy seeing those who can pull off some really nice attire! Hard line is drawn on bathrobes in public venues (aside from the spa). Apparently that is a thing on some other lines. Saw that once and was flabbergasted. I don't know, it should have an exception for someone who is infirm, however that one crosses a line if general practice.
  8. I see that change in my pcpc for mid-October also. Some potential upside to a weekly stop in Miami is that the ship will have access for any Covid cases (passenger or crew) to disembark, get any new crew arrivals fully vaccinated, and also weekly fresh provisions (such as Nobu sushi?).
  9. Also for a very reasonable fee you can have mending done by onboard tailors! I think still you will get one of the little sewing kits in your Stateroom if you wish to do it yourself. I have used the mending service and it was done well with a quick turnaround.
  10. We went on my first Crystal cruise nine years ago, and with 12 segments I guess I am an experienced customer. My first cruise was really great overall and I kept coming back each year. I did have some issues with certain services and yet over time was able to find my needs met by searching for solutions. What is funny to me is that this first-time cruise was lightly booked (only about 250 on Serenity) and one new CC person onboard reviewed the cruise really poorly because they didn't find any friends onboard due to "not enough passengers". They really and truly blamed Crystal for this. I remember them at our meet & mingle party and from an excursion and they were just not ready to interact with other people. I tried to interact but they really weren't prepared to do it. So the passenger fully blamed Crystal for their own lack of socializing skills. I agree with Keith that most of any "bad" experience you have is about how you approach it and it is extremely critical to try learning to modify your approach to new situations.
  11. Ah, the vaunted Gremlin! In 1974 it was the first car I ever drove. At my high school in State College PA we had a driving range on campus with a tower and the instructor gave directions to us over radio. Backing into a parking spot is what I remember. The gas cap was not something I was aware of, as they did not have us gas up these cars! In those days in PA there also were not any self service gas stations. I figured out self service gas (and other new urban driving skills) when I was driving in Chicago during my college years. Circling back to Coors beer, I had my first taste in 1978 while on a chartered bus in the SW high desert area for two weeks for a graduate level field plant ecology course. I remember thinking it had very little flavor but was exquisitely refreshing (just like the tap water in our Boulder hotel was so clear and fresh).
  12. Oh what excellent advice! Thanks very much.
  13. Oh MayB that grouper Reubens sounds delicious! Yes we are very fortunate. Now Mr Chez, I do just opt for pastrami from the get-go on my Reubens. I also had delicious Reubens on the Mozart where they managed to make them for me with gluten-free rye bread and goat cheese (due to celiac and allergies).
  14. I mailed my passport renewal on June 1, and received an email June 27 to confirm it was received and is being processed. There is a place on the application to state the date of your trip. I wish now I had paid the extra $60 for expedited service, as the 12-18 week turnaround time is longer than usual. I do expect it will show up in time, which will be one week before my cruise since I will need it for the PCPC and one week prior the PCPC is locked! Worst case scenario I suppose it might be necessary to get the new number from them before the mailing arrives. I also need it to update Global Entry.
  15. I have used squaremouth.com for my insurance for about 9 years. Travelex, Berkshire, Seven Corners, Tin Leg, etc. For the Bahamas trip I chose Trawick International (Nationwide) Safe Travel Jouneys for cancellation coverage: RetrieveCustomBrochure (1).pdf Crossing fingers, never had to use it!
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