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Everything posted by dcipjr

  1. We’re waiting until our daughter is fully-vaccinated before we book our next cruise. Sure, COVID has been less of a threat to kids, but we don’t want to be a statistic—especially if a vaccine is forthcoming in the next 6 months or so. We’re hoping for a cruise maybe next May, if she can get vaccinated during the winter. It’s hard to wait, but we made it this far, and we can make it another 9 months—the peace of mind will be worth it. That first cruise back is going to feel so good!
  2. I'm just going to wait it out, and live vicariously through the reviews of CruiseCritic members without kids who are able to go. I'm glad the cruises are starting up, and I think the vaccination requirement is a sensible one. I'd be willing to wager that by the end of 2022, cruises will look much like they did in 2019.
  3. In a way, this has always been the case—vaccines are required for certain ports and certain itineraries. The COVID vaccine will be required for all itineraries. I do wonder about kids, though. Little kids usually don't have a bad reaction to COVID, but they can still spread it, particularly teenagers. Will NCL be adults-only until pediatric vaccines are approved? As an aside, we have a 3-year old, and will be waiting to cruise until there's an approved vaccine for her—probably not until next year. We are hoping that sometime next year, the pandemic will be under sufficient worldwide control so that masks will no longer be necessary, recognizing that some may choose to wear them (particularly during cold and flu season—I haven't gotten a cold since the pandemic began).
  4. We were on this cruise with you—it was one of the best cruises we ever took. The itinerary was spectacular, and the weather was perfect. The Joy was a beautiful ship, too. We really got it in under the wire. My wife's family is near LA, so we visited them at the conclusion of the cruise, and arrived home just days before the lockdowns went into effect. In retrospect—wow, did we got lucky. The virus was already circulating by then. It was a nearer miss than we knew at the time.
  5. I think a lot will depend on whether the vaccines are proven to prevent transmission. Preliminary data suggests the Pfizer and Moderna ones do, but experts are still studying and gathering more data. We'll probably know for sure as the year goes on. It's important, because if the vaccines only prevent symptoms, a vaccinated person could theoretically spread the disease to others. Experts aren't sure whether this would actually happen, because vaccinated people would presumably be asymptomatic, so the chances of transmission theoretically would be less, but they're just not sure. Let's say the vaccines can prevent transmission, so vaccinated people can't spread the virus at all. This would mean it's much safer to cruise, provided the cruise line requires some proof of vaccination—even if it were just a paper certificate. Could/would people fake that proof? Possibly, but if the vast majority don't, the effect should be the same—no need to let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to vaccine proof. One important consideration: kids. Currently, only adults can be vaccinated. Until my three year-old is vaccinated, no way are we bringing her on a cruise; sure, most kids seem to have mild symptoms, if any, but there's enough reports of long-term damage to the lungs that I want to avoid her getting it, if at all possible. For us, certainly a cruise wouldn't be worth the risk until the chances of her getting COVID would be the same (or less) than any other circulating illness (like the flu) that one doesn't want to get. Once the three of us are vaccinated? Heck yeah, I'll cruise! I am not super optimistic about getting on a cruise this year, but that's less about the virus and more about how we have family abroad that we haven't seen in a while, and we'll have to visit them first before we sail off to a tropical island. I think by the end of the year it will be safe to cruise.
  6. This is wonderful news. It's still going to take some time, but the takeaway here is that there will be a vaccine and the pandemic will end and we will be cruising again! I have high hopes for 2021. That first sailaway post-pandemic is going to be extra amazing.
  7. I wouldn't get too worried about the news. Some people's immune systems may be prone to reinfection—it happens with other viruses, like chicken pox. The majority of people don't get it twice, but it's not impossible to get it twice, and we should expect that some people will get it twice. The pandemic has been ongoing for months. Up until now, we haven't seen evidence of reinfection, much less widespread reinfection, so that actually bodes well. Ultimately, more data is needed, and as time goes on, we'll learn. The biggest factor is a vaccine. Progress has been very promising for several vaccine candidates. If there's a vaccine circulating before the end of 2020, that bodes well for cruises in 2021: perhaps limited-capacity cruises in the spring, increasing throughout 2021. I could definitely see the cruise line requiring a vaccine certificate prior to boarding. This pandemic will end, it's just a matter of time. Don't worry, folks, we'll get there.
  8. Your videos are amazing! I've seen professionally-shot videos that weren't as well-made. NYC to Bermuda is one of our absolute favorite cruises. We live a couple hours outside New York, so we've done that itinerary 6 times, but sailaway from NYC has never gotten old, and neither has Bermuda. I'm missing it especially now, since we usually cruise in August. But you know, it's really just a matter of patience. Sooner or later, we'll be cruising again—and when we do, I bet that as we're climbing the boarding ramp, with a week of bliss ahead of us, it'll feel like we never left. 🙂
  9. I don't know for sure, of course, but I would wager that the suspension will be pushed out into 2021. One month ago, on July 6th, there were 2.936 million cases of COVID-19 in the US. As of yesterday, August 5th, there were 4.824 million cases. 39% of the total coronavirus cases have been in the past 30 days alone. Even Europe, which has a COVID-19 case count that's lower than the US, had a multitude of issues relaunching cruises. So it's not even just about reducing the numbers. 😩 Realistically, I just don't see cruises re-launching in earnest until there's a vaccine that has been widely disseminated. The good news is that vaccine is (hopefully) coming soon, and that makes me hopeful for 2021. I've written off 2020—and honestly, based on FDR's commentary, I think NCL has too. Let's stay healthy and negative (COVID-negative 😄) hopefully we'll be back on ships next year. I know I need a vacation already. Hang in there everyone. I can't wait until we're back cruising normally, and bickering over straws and lobster in the MDR.
  10. This brought back some wonderful memories...Bermuda is totally our happy place, and there's no better way to get there than by sailing down the Hudson River next to the Manhattan skyline, past the Statue of Liberty, and under the Verrazano Bridge. We're hopeful that we'll be walking under the Moongate in the Dockyard once more in 2021.
  11. I'd lean towards a "no" for February—but I think that things will be looking considerably better by then, given the positive progress of treatments and vaccines. A vaccine isn't going to end the pandemic overnight, though, even if it is effective, but if it starts getting distributed in the winter, we might be back to normal by the summer. My guess is that cruises may be sailing by around this time next year. Fall 2021 sounds reasonable.
  12. We were also lucky enough to cruise in February—16 days on the Joy, it was wonderful! That trip zeroed out my vacation balance, so right now I'm focusing on staying home, doing things around the house on weekends, and building my vacation balance back up again. I'm not counting on cruising in 2021, of course, but I'm hanging onto a little hope that a vaccine is forthcoming, and that we'll be able to cruise sometime soon afterwards, so maybe by late next year. By then I'll have 5 weeks of vacation time available! If it looks like cruising is out for the long-term, I would consider saving up to buy an RV or camper van, so we can travel around the country and spend a couple weeks at the beach, a couple weeks at the mountains, National Parks, etc. I want to save up for one anyway, but it'll happen sooner rather than later if final payments to NCL aren't happening. 😄
  13. Masks are part of the pandemic toolkit, and by themselves, they are limited in their effectiveness. In order of effectiveness: Stay-at-home orders: Everyone stays home unless there is an absolutely essential reason to be out (need food, need supplies, cannot work from home). Social distancing: When you have to go out, stay six feet away from others. Being six feet away is enough most of the time. Wear a mask: if you have to be near others, it may be hard to stay six feet away at all times, and the mask covers you if you accidentally become too close to someone else—or when six feet away isn't enough (sneezing, for example). These three tactics aren't going to solve the pandemic on their own, but they greatly slow the spread. Staying at home covers most of the cases, since person-to-person contact spreads the virus, but not everyone can stay home all the time. Social distancing helps mitigate spread that occurs because people can't stay home. But it's hard to stay six feet away from everyone at all times when you're out, and sometimes six feet isn't enough—so masking helps mitigate the cases that slip through the cracks of staying at home + social distancing. If you follow that stay-at-home + social distancing + masking recipe, it's very effective for stopping the virus: look at New Zealand, or New York City. The US as a whole did not follow the recipe consistently. So now you've got people are saying it's a bad recipe. And they're bored. And they're going to Disney World.
  14. I agree. I wish it weren't true, but wishing doesn't make the virus go away (plenty of people have tried). The idea of social distancing on a cruise ship is laughable at best. The cruise industry will get back to normal once the pandemic is over. Will there be cruises beforehand? Probably, on an extremely limited basis. But cruising as a whole isn't going to look like the cruising we know and love until the pandemic ends. And it will end, eventually, though it could be 2022 or later. "But the cruise industry won't survive like that until 2022," some will say. I agree. They probably won't survive. When the pandemic is over, though, cruises will go back to looking like a great way to vacation, and if the current crop of lines don't survive, investors will buy up the idled cruise ships for pennies on the dollar and new lines will emerge. Change. It's something we're going to have to get used to. Hopefully we can make it change for the better.
  15. We loved the Beatles Revolution on the Joy. Their performances in the Cavern Club were one of the highlights of the cruise. They packed so many people in, you'd think they were the real Beatles.
  16. Of these, I've been on the Epic, Breakaway, Escape, and Joy, and enjoyed them all. I'd sail on any of them again, though I'd take one of the Breakaway / Breakaway Plus ships over the Epic, because of the Waterfront. The Epic lacks a good outdoor walking space. I really liked the Joy—the Observation Lounge is a wonderful venue, and a great place to sit and read a book if the weather isn't conducive to sitting outdoors. The other ships without the Lounge lack such a space, unless you're in the Haven.
  17. A lot can change in 120 days. If you don't believe me, get your calendars out—120 days ago was March 9th. The WHO hadn't even declared the pandemic yet, and the stay-at-home orders in my state wouldn't go into effect for another 4 days. 120 days ago, I figured that coronavirus would be a problem for, eh, maybe 6 months or so. We'd be sailing again by Labor Day. Yeah. Right. So I will certainly not be making final payment 120 days out. Even before the pandemic, 120 days felt like a lot of time for my money to be tied up.. I remember when the deadline was 60 days, and that felt a lot more reasonable—that's when I would be making my plane reservations, etc. anyway. All of the deals I ever found on cruises were well after final payment, usually about 4-6 weeks before saildate. Once the ships start sailing again, that's when we'll book. As for when that will be, I had originally thought early 2021, but now I'm thinking it could even slip into 2022, or later. Given that the very idea of slightly inconveniencing oneself by putting on a mask seems inconceivable to many in the US ("you can't tell me what to do!"), it's going to take that much longer before we can safely cruise again. It's too bad. I'm going to need a vacation long before the next cruise ship sets sail.
  18. We have 2 cruise deposits with NCL but we’ve got a number of years to use them, so we’re going to wait. I have to figure that anyone booking a cruise now is going to pay a higher rate, as NCL is going to want to recover some of its losses once sailings resume—and who knows when that will be. Prices probably won’t drop until after final payment, either. No way would I make final payment right now on a cruise. When we sail again, we’ll book at the last minute, when we’re as certain as possible that the ship will sail.
  19. I’d be shocked if there were cruises out of the US in 2020. With the pandemic still raging out of control, it doesn’t feel like it will be safe to resume travel anytime soon—especially aboard cruise ships, which have the reputation for spreading germs even in the best of times. Even if the pandemic is brought under control, economic uncertainty is going to keep a lot of people from putting up big bucks for vacations. I hope that the picture looks better in 2021, but even that is far from certain. It’ll be a while longer, but eventually it will be safe to cruise again—and when it is, it’ll going to feel especially great to do so. I can’t wait to be standing there on deck, drink in hand, watching the ship release its moorings, watching the swirling water as the thrusters push us back from the pier. It’ll happen. We just have to be patient, be smart, wear our masks, and stay healthy.
  20. We loved the Joy when we were on her in February (before things got crazy in the US). No thermal suite was no biggie, as we aren't spa folks. We loved the Observation Lounge—it was a great venue. Le Bistro is on the Waterfront on the Bliss, as opposed to tucked away inside on Deck 6 (as it is on the Escape), so you have the outdoor seating option. Since we had a toddler in tow, we likely would not have tried it if outdoor seating wasn't an option, and we had a wonderful dinner there. The Concierge Family Inside suite was amazing. I did miss the balcony a bit, but I got a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom suite for less than the price of a standard balcony cabin, with the Concierge perks thrown in. The Joy is scheduled to do the Bermuda run from NYC next year, and I hope conditions will have improved to the point where we'll be able to go on her.
  21. NCL might go bankrupt, but I would imagine that some form of them will emerge from this crisis. They've got a decent brand, and some people are loyal to their cruise lines. We like the Freestyle cruising model, so we'll want to stick with that. We do have Platinum status, so if NCL reorganizes after bankruptcy, or someone else buys them and status-matches the Latitudes levels for existing members, that would come into consideration.
  22. I'm glad I didn't let the CruiseNext lady talk me into 4 deposits when we cruised back in February. Kinda wish I didn't get the 2 that I did, but hopefully I'll still get to use them. Someday.
  23. @cruiseagona, you mentioned moving across the country to be with your grandkids—I'm pretty sure that we did the same tour in Costa Rica, I remember talking with you. We were the crazy ones that decided to do a 16-day Panama Canal cruise with our 2-year old daughter. What a wonderful vacation it was. I feel so lucky that we got to do it before the pandemic was declared. For us, we'll travel again once the virus is no longer a threat, which will probably be once there's a readily-available vaccine or highly-effective treatment, which will bring the pandemic to an end. If I had to guess—maybe late 2021. It's hard, because we have family that's international, and we don't anticipate seeing them until next year—let alone cruising. We will miss traveling until then, but it's a conscious decision to stay home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We're trying to keep in mind that this is just for now—in the future, I'm sure we'll cruise again without a second thought. The more we work together to defeat COVID-19, the sooner that future will be.
  24. July will never happen. I seriously doubt that 2020 happens. I don't think cruising goes back to normal until the pandemic is over: either because the virus peters out, or a because a vaccine or highly-effective treatment is readily available. See y'all next year.
  25. No way would I make final payment on that.
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