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  1. JP, It seems so long ago that we were mulling over a move from virtual Cooler to real cooler here with you and Chris and some others for a pizza and a real go at serious day of drinking etc. Perhaps one day. I subscribe to the notion that it is better to be optimisitic than pessimistic but also much better to be realistic than optimistic and as you might recall me saying a year or so back all of this is existential. I believe that you are where you are rather than simply where you'd like to be. So I'm for the very first time in my life happy to be older with having done stuff I needed to rather than be younger and frustrated that I've done not enough. Jeff
  2. TrulyBlonde from TrulyGreylyBaldish. I'm so happy that you found a new p-lace at this old established bar for lost souls and the hungry and thirsty. Don't hold back. Imbibe. 🙂
  3. Good Grief. 🙂 I haven't eaten properly in over a year and have lost nearly a stone. My body says "don't eat" so I don't. However my body has yet to say "don't drink Absolut" so I continue. That works for me. 🙂
  4. Good afternoon Coolers A few have been lovely to remember me and ask that I return sometimes for odds and sods in particular about food and nostalgia and so I guess nostalgia not being what it was I presume that both in one post is better …. Over the last few weeks under the continued effects of lockdown yearnings I had today some Cypriot Keftico (“Thieves Lamb”) in order to take wifey back to her memories of the wonderful visits we had to Cyprus in those days when it was what it was and before it made so called progress and is as it is today and has been for some time. For that read if you are sensible - “never go back” and instead simply savour memories rather than have them destroyed by current reality. One of wifey's most memorable meals was completely by chance and was Kleftico at the Stroumbi Wine Festival some time in the early 80's during a lovely lower light month of September with the mayor of the town having earlier in the day invited myself and others with me into what we eventually realised was his front garden but us thinking it was a taverna because of the Keo umbrellas and enjoying ordering his lovely mum around to provide us with his beer, coffee and cake without any complaint from him other than a kind smile and an odd chortle. He invited us to join his table that evening to eat with his family and witness him awarding shiney scythes and hoes to various winners of awards from the small local family vinyards. They were a lovely rustic welcoming tender bunch who all proudly shared their wine with everyone. You bought or borrowed a glass tumbler and they kept it full for hours. For those at a loose end and wanting distraction here are some pictures of today's five hour slow baked kleftico with Mediterranean stuff and links to the Cooler discussion way back in 2014 about Cyprus, and some on Vienna where I posting from in that bit of thread and then backwards and forwards from that page for other stuff including Atlanta and unrelated meanderings. Anyway only for those with absolutely nothing better to do …. below a link to the middle of the the very first Cooler thread from 2013 which gives an idea of earlier Cooler and you can page forward and back before this page for the readings of the then square route of bugger all. So to over clarify page down and up and backwards and forwards if you are exceptionally and embarrassingly bored. If I recall … I was starting the Cooler whilst wifey and I were on an extended trip to Singapore and possibly Sydney and I think we were chatting about Cyprus whilst in Vienna in March? I became obsessed with Singapore hawker food going back for upto three times a year for many years having realised that it was't fast food but slow food cooked individually for each customer by families who'd been cooking the same thing for several generations. I'd gone there simply because I wanted to extend my eating and therefore cooking repertoire and so we wandered around for a long trip. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/1818374-silversea-water-cooler-welcome/page/19/?tab=comments But first the very rustic peasant food of today - and then the linkings above if bored. As you can see I remain a peasant and have no concept of food presentation. Jeff
  5. Hi All, Just a short one to thank all those who thought of me. It was thoughtful and appreciated. It's really gratifying that the Cooler has become a meeting place for many to congregate and keep cheerful in these troubling times. It is really satisfying to see it has both survived and become a friendly and welcoming environment. Keep safe all and I hope that each and all can find a peaceful and optimum path through this bewildering world. Jeff x
  6. Good luck with your surgery .... it must be a stressful time for you. It’s lovely of you to respect the heritage, and it saddens me that I see more and more differences in our two cultures rather than elements we share, but I do so hope your country finds unity and peace. Jeff
  7. Your point is perfectly correct, but with respect your point has nothing at all to do with this situation and is irrelavent because you are simply saying that the dispute might finally be closed on the bank's/credit card's books later than if the cruiseline finally would have paid out which is as I clearly said - "inconsequential" to the customer because the customer has been refunded immediately with no chance of the decision ever being reversed. Cruiselines will do anything to dissaude customers from filing disputes because once this route is understood by customers and repeated in places like this and social media generally then the game is pretty much up for many of them. They have already spent that cash a long time ago and must borrow to pay back customers. And it is extremely bad news for agents because they have to try and get the cash back from the lines rather than make their customers wait. Put in it's simplest terms, as I said, there is absolutely no downside whatsoever for the customer if they raise a dispute because they feel unsafe leaving their cash with the cruiseline and want it back immediately. Quite the reverse. For example, if the cruiseline does go bust after the dispute has been opened then the customers cash has an additional safeguard. If however they haven't opened the dispute then the additional layer of safeguard is removed and they become an unsecured creditor. This idea or "fudge" was originally posted around forums as a result of customers being told that filing a dispute causes a delay in them being refunded "because they go the back of the queue" and the time for the refund "starts again" and has been repeated very often and many who do not understand will therefore be scared off. But it sn't true. What most customers could really do with at the moment is more clarity and encouragement to file disputes if they want to safeguard their money and prefer not to wait for and risk their cash rather than be misled by any confusing implication that there might be some disadvantage to them which I think arguments like yours unintentionally perhaps tend to fuel. Jeff
  8. Poor Carol has received a fair amount of bewildering attention. A few observations and corrections. 1. Filing a dispute with a credit company doesn't delay it's resolution. The credit card company will ask for the customer to try and resolve the dispute, but the customer is not obligated to accept an unacceptable delay in refund as an acceptable resolution. Opening a dispute might delay contact between the merchant and customer either directly or through an agent, and that is the deception that cruise companies are using to blackmail and stop customers opening disputes. But that delay is of no practical consequence. This is because the credit card company will immediately a dispute is opened promptly contact the company and send them a "request for information". It will ask the merchant (a) if they dispute the transaction and (b) if they do that what documents they must provide and when is the final deadline that they must be provided. This time is days rather than months. If they agree that the dispute is valid - and in the case of promised delayed refunds they have no option other than to agree, or if they fail to repond within time the dispute is marked as being resolved in the customers favour. All credit card companies follow similar approaches. So as a generality anyone opening a dispute with a cruise company the moment that the crusie company states that they must wait longer than the "legal" refund time will have the reversal on their account and a speedy resolution. Amex also refunds automatically and without consultation with the merchant if that merchant has received what Amex call "a lot of disputes". Cruise lines not offering prompt refunds might find themselves in this situation. 2. I'm not clear that Carol sought lifestyle advice or financial advice from anyone, but I think it perfectly rational for people to decide to book a "cruise of a lifetime" later in life as she has done. Her cruise cost her $38,000 and to suggest that she was foolish to do so because of the situation she found herself in seems to ignore what actually happened to her, and it was a set of cicrumstances most people could not have handled financially from liquid assets. To remind you all, when Carol booked this cruise, she didn't know that her house would burn down and that she would be without shelter and food and clothes; she didn't know at the same time that her husband's cancer would need urgent expensive treatment and more importantly she didn't know of the pandemic or could she have known that cruises would be cancelled and that cruise lines would refuse immedicate refunds and that she wouldn't get her $38,000 back when she asked for it and needed it. I'm not certain how much multiples of $38,000 other people posting advice here keep in liquid form for emergencies but I doubt many or perhaps any could have dealt with her problems and better than her. For what it's worth, I think Carol should be congratulated for how she dealt with this terrible issue. She resolved it and got her refund much more quickly than many others have managed and I'd love to see a bit more sympathy and empathy rather than judgements. Jeff
  9. Perhaps it is much simpler than that. For each month we move forward there are very few fresh bookings but the number of people on cruises that are being left to be cancelled diminish. So the candidates for FCC is also reducing. At the same time as uncertainties increase (the virus; how much is the FCC loading actually going to be worth on cruises that have increased in price etc ....) then the percentage of those on cancelled cruises likely to take FCC instead of a refund also diminishes. Also, when planning a restart you want your customers to believe that you anticipate high demand to justify high initial prices rather than you showing that you lack confidence and anticipate low demand and will offer discounts. So overall there is a point where the advantages of not offering FCC loadings is outwheighed by the advantages of not offering them. As the future survival seems more and more challenging. you need to signal more and more confidence for all sorts of reasons. Jeff 🙂
  10. Quite right. Those old kosher birds grew slowly and had fat. Sadly the fast breeding birds that get to adult in a few weeks have pretty much no fat hence butter. As you are in a nostalgic mood you will like the chopped herring I made today. It will look like nothing to non-chopped herring people but I suspect that you will be able to taste it ....
  11. Thanks. It's all a matter of sound judgement and no one envies the decisions that have to be taken when in these unchartered waters where cruise line senior managers finds themselves. These are really difficult management issues where no one has experience to call on. But as the crisis moves forward so does those increasing numbers of grey areas of seemingly conflicting choices that need to be made. Often small decisions have enormous unforseen consequences. This is where sound mature and sensible judgement is critical. At the moment the managers of cruise lines are not on the bridge navigating waters they know well and in bright sunshine that are clearly marked on a chart. They are navigating places they have not been before and are in the dark and without any charts. So now they not only have to navigate survival but also how to manage the fastest of recoveries if as they hope - it happens. This implies reconciling tough conflicts between over-harvesting for short-term cash-flow and customer loyalty retention. They have claimed they have enough cash to see them through. If this claim is genuine then it means that this should be enable them to focus on the fastest of recoveries and on loyalty retention. Having all those loyal customers who you have spent very large sums of cash finding should be the imperative. If they do not make that an imperative it calls into question their claims of having enough cash to survive. You have to be either desperate or dumb to cheat your loyalest of customers. On this topic I think they have made the wrong call.
  12. There is pate and there is chopped liver. There is nothing nicer than old-fashioned Jewish chopped liver. It should be seen as a dish eaten within a day or so - because it quickly goes grey and looks terrible - and should be thought of not as pate but as a dish made with simple ingredients in Grandma judged unwheighed imprecise quantities. The second time you make it it will be perfect. Take a pack of chicken livers and cut out the nasty central sinew. Fry them slowly in a lot of butter until if you cut a random liver in half it is pink and cooked and feels firm rather than wobbly. Slowly braise and caramelise sweet onions - roughly same starting volume more or less of the livers. Grandma couldn't cheat but if you chop the onions and put them in a covered dish and microwave for a few minutes until transluscent it will save effort. Hard boil eggs to the same quatity of the liver. Put all the cooked liver and cooked onions and the eggs into a processor with a lot of pepper and some salt. Pepper and salt is the only spice needed. Once blitzed put in a cling-film lined dish and then pour melted butter on top to seal. If you are eating it all on the same day Grandma wouldn't drizzle the butter but top it with finely chopped hard boiled egg. Once cool cover then with the cling film and put in the fridge. You have to remember that the origin of this was simply to use and pad out the single liver that came with a large old kosher chicken to avoid waste. The chicken was first boiled to make chicken soup and then either served boiled with the carrot and potatos and onions boiled with the chicken and served as a main course stew - or taken out baked until almost inedible for the main course. The liver was padded out with the onion to sweeten and the egg to bulk. And so from a chicken you had matza ball soup. chopped liver and main chicken course. If you are a French you will eat this scopped onto a buttered torn up piece of baguette and if you are from anywhere else it has to be a matzo. Or thickly cut toasted and over buttered sourdough. Jeff 🙂
  13. Hi, What you both say is both true and reasonable when applied to all customers booking a cruise without an FCC. However those that have trusted and supported Silversea should be treated differently from those paying new cash. Those with FCC are locked in. Unless there is some recognition that the risk they loyally took by leaving their cash with SS has placed them in a situation where they are obligated to take a future cruise and that their extra credit as reward for trust and risk has effectively been neutralised. That is a breach of at the very least the spirit of the FCC and is self-harm when SS needs to be trusted by their existing customers. Those with FCC will see it as nasty and exploitative and very unfair and SS are in danger of losing those who are the most loyal of their customers for good. If those customers had listened to the warning and taken a refund they may not have decided to pay these new prices now with fresh cash if they had that choice now. Many will not unreasonably feel duped. I have stated regularly that 15 or 25% of unknown future prices isn't a real discount and makes choosing FCC bewildering and unwise, locks customers in to unknown experiences and unknown prices and acceptance of an avoidable and pointless unrewarded risk. It is therefore also self defeating because as SS continue to cancel cruises less people in future will trust them and take FCC in favour of a refund. This is extremely short-sighted, self-harming and will be seen as a breach of trust however much SS want more of their cash, because as time progresses they need more and more people to take more FCC rather than less and less to extend their operating runway. On this we disagree but I'm sure many will understand that those imprisoned with FCC should be treated differently from those who many say and claim are the latent pent-up demand for future cruises with new cash. Jeff 🙂
  14. Your thanks and peace of mind are more than enough! You may find this difficult to believe, but in fact you did exactly the right thing and could not have done anything whatsoever better. You put this on an Amex card who are probably the safest in these circumstances and you got the cash back for you to use now by opening the dispute. You could not have taken wiser steps. You needed the cash now and clearly in your unique circumstances could not wait for the credit to simply arrive. For what it's worth, forget about your anger with SS. Just focus on your husband's treatment and looking after him. Every one of my instincts wants to reassure you that you need have no worry over this all sorting itself out. As hard as I try, I am unable to think of any set of circumstances where your Amex credit will not stand. In time it will all sort out. So stop worrying. The best of luck and wishes to you both. Onwards and upwards! Please let us know how thing go for you both as I'm sure many will be thinking of you both and have their fingers crossed. . Jeff 🙂
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