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Everything posted by toolworker

  1. Well, that's a start. But it ought to download the day's Passages (and menus) automatically, without the pax having to do anything, and keep them until at least midnight. Otherwise it just replaces having to remember to photograph Passages with having to remember to do the download. The Google Play store allows leaving a review, but doesn't display them. So I guess it's finished enough to show that Regent has an app like all the other cruise lines, but not enough for user comments.
  2. Have I missed something? There's an app up now on Google Play. It loads, but says it requires ship wifi. I wonder if it's functional - there was one up last year that wasn't. Anyone tried it onboard? The home screen says "Once on board, use this app to explore daily Passages, dining menus and more." The screen shots show Passages and booked excursions. I hope that content stays viewable once disconnected from wifi. It'd save us the trouble of taking photos of Passages before leaving the ship. What'd really be useful would be the ability to book and change excursions with an app. That'd liberate us from the limited hours at the Destination Services counter They had that on Scenic river cruises a few years back. It was more of a distraction than a help. Wifi range was too limited and it kept disconnecting. Then it took a long time fiddling with it to reconnect. Viking uses Quietvoxes - easy to use, longer range and reliable. On our last Regent cruise, one of the guides brought his own Quietvoxes!
  3. I didn't cancel, so didn't file a CFAR claim. My other Travelguard claims were paid promptly, except for a Trip Interruption claim for which they needed documentation from the cruise line. They paid the cruise fare for the five days I was quarantined for Covid, as well as the medical bill.
  4. Insurers vary. I have had excellent experience with TravelGuard. Their definition of a pre-existing condition is: "Pre-Existing Medical Condition means an Injury, Sickness or other condition of the Insured, Traveling Companion, Family Member, Host at Destination, Business Partner, Pet or Service Animal for which care, testing or treatment was given or recommended by a Physician, within the 180 day period immediately preceding and including the purchase date of this plan." Nothing about stable - the word doesn't appear in their policy. This exclusion is waived if the policy is purchased within 14 days of first deposit or payment and if all trip costs are covered. You have to pay extra to include problems with your pet as a covered reason.
  5. I've had excellent experience with TravelGuard, and the increased premium for CFAR is not overwhelming IIRC. Two comments in addition to the 14 - 21 day window for purchasing: CFAR expires two days before departure, so if something comes up in the last couple of days it won't apply. And you'd have to cancel the entire trip - all arrangements. We were on a cruise out of New York, and I inquired about canceling the cruise and just going to New York to visit family. CFAR wouldn't pay off unless we canceled everything including the flights. (This is for TravelGuard - other companies may have similar restrictions.)
  6. We handled the problem, which was jury duty - a covered reason under both Trip Cancellation and Trip Delay. But there's a big Catch 22. If there's a covered reason that you expect is going to go away in a few days - like jury duty, or getting Covid a few days before leaving - you can cancel under Trip Cancellation. But if you want to catch up to the cruise once able (and the cruise line allows it), that would have to be under Trip Delay. And the effective date of that benefit in this policy is the date of departure. So it's a covered reason but not Unforseen, because it happened before the effective date of the benefit. So bottom line - if you are sick or for some other covered reason can't leave on your trip, you've got two choices: Cancel the entire trip and get a refund, or change the departure date on your policy, and eat the cost of the lost vacation days and changing the travel arrangements. I thought I understood all the ways something could fall through a loophole, but this one had me gobsmacked - and TravelGuard is a good company too. A TravelGuard agent confirmed this, but I'm not sure she understood the question - and they don't always give the right answer, or the same answer. But this is how I read the policy.
  7. Yeah. Regent just sent detailed instructions for Indonesia and Australia, for at least the second time, for the previous leg. Dunno why they aren't doing that for this leg, or why @Smbruner got a notice and I didn't. BTW on a recent Silversea cruise, Silversea just got Vietnam visas for everyone and charged us the same $25 as the government. Maybe Regent will do that too when they become a luxury cruise line - although to match Silversea they'd also have to cut prices by about 30%. But I digress.
  8. This was posted in the Roll Call for Regent Explorer sailing from Singapore on Feb. 7. I'm on the same sailing, but didn't get this. But a phone agent told me we could get the Vietnam and Singapore visas on board, or pre-order them.
  9. We have a TravelGuard Preferred policy (California) covering a cruise trip. Suppose one of us gets sick a few days before leaving, and our physician advises us not to travel. If we wait until they're able to travel, and then fly out to join the cruise ship, will TravelGuard cover (1) the increased cost of that flight, and (2) the cost of the missed cruise days?
  10. How much did Princess charge for the visa?
  11. Lucky you. Regent wants $99. Has anyone found any place to apply for a D visa? The U.S. Cambodian Embassy website lists several visa types but not D. I see nothing on the web. iVisa also says you can apply for a visa on arrival, but getting on a line for visas while trying to make a ship's tour doesn't sound appealing. I may be stuck with Regent's $99.
  12. Maybe gullible isn't the right word, but if I booked another Viking cruise today I would feel they were taking unreasonable advantage. It wouldn't have bothered me a couple of years ago, but with current interest rates it amounts to a substantial price increase. And it seems a bit smarmy of them to bury that effective increase in the prepayment date instead of just upping the price and having shorter final payment dates like other lines. But as @mariners indicates, you've got to evaluate the whole package and decide if it's worth it, including the bad taste that some of the terms leave in your mouth. Even with the stealth price increase from prepayment, Viking is a pretty good value.
  13. Looking at the Viking travel plan, their vouchers are non-refundable and non-transferrable, and must be used within 12 months. That said, if the alternative is to get nothing, they're better than that. But another alternative is to buy a better policy from another insurer, with cash CFAR. A Travel Guard agent told us that they would reimburse a voucher in cash (if otherwise covered) as long as we had originally paid cash that got turned into the voucher. Agents don't always give the correct answer. FWIW I heard this from several TG agents. Travel Guard IMO is one of the best insurers. I've had several claims and never had a problem. Compare the details of their policy - we get the Preferred - with other insurers'.
  14. Agents will say they put you on a waitlist for a cabin class change. Don't hold your breath. I've had success with several cruise lines by keeping an eye on the Suites listing on the web page. If your class suddenly becomes available, call quick. Many lines clear waitlists manually, even the waiters for bookings. On one cruise, all of a sudden a bunch of sold out classes became available. Maybe a block reservation cancelled or expired. We care about cabin location, not just class. If we're in a bad location, every so often I go through the online booking process to cabin selection, and sometimes get lucky. Calling an agent might be just as fast. And re total experiences - not naming lines, but one we sail on waitlists for shore excursions and almost always adds enough capacity to accommodate everyone. But it costs more than Viking. Everyone's got to find their balance of experience and value.
  15. Exactly what is the current policy? This blog post, dated April 6, 2022, says in part: Viking requires a 12 month advance final payment on every cruise booking. If a person is a past guest and has a sailing scheduled already within one year, and makes a request for payment delay, they can have a 6 month advance final payment. It also says deposit time may be longer on some special cruises, and shorter if a guest has a promo code. And Viking can change the policy at any time. Holding the booking for $25 or $100 may work if you don't need insurance or are willing to take Viking's. We're older, and always buy a superior TravelGuard policy with included pre-existing condition coverage and reasonably priced CFAR (cancel for any reason). To get either of these, the amount paid needs to be insured within 15 days of initial payment. So we pay about $1000, nonrefundable, to hold a booking.
  16. Wow - awesome! Unfortunately, those planes currently fly from Taipei only to Bali, Sapporo and Chicago. But I'll watch their Hello Kitty routes page in case that changes. BTW if you're interested in EVA Air - which is Star Alliance and rated 5* by Skytrax - booking online is easy, but to cancel or change call their Taipei Hotline during office hours Taipei time. They have excellent agents fluent in English. Don't bother with any U.S. numbers.
  17. Why I Hate Silversea Air (Spoiler alert: Price gouging) We're saving $2,900pp by booking our own refundable Business air. On our cruise to Asia, Silversea purports to offer "Business Class upgrade at reduced rates." Their idea of reduced rates is a $7,000pp supplement. I booked us on EVA Air for about $5,600pp, refundable less about $150pp, saving $2,900pp including the $1,500 Economy air allowance. We could have saved more if Silversea had offered Port-to-Port on our itinerary. But they don't.
  18. I've had excellent experiences with Travel Guard. They generally pay promptly and I've always gotten what I thought was due. And sometimes more. For several medical claims, despite telling them to hold off, they sent me a check for 100% of my medical expenses. Then when my primary insurance paid 80% I had to figure out how to pay Travel Guard back. That's the sort of problem I like. I was quarantined in the cabin one day for flu, and on another cruise five days for covid. In both cases they reimbursed the cruise fare for those days. As people have said, the devil is in the details. One devil is that all of these policies pay only for a list of events, and some insurers cover more events than others. And sometimes the devil is in the definition. For example, they all cover trip delay or cancelation because something happens to a Family Member or Traveling Companion. The definitions of "something," Family Member and Traveling Companion differ. Here's Travel Guard Preferred Policy (CA)'s definitions: Family Member means the Insured’s, or Traveling Companion’s spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, daughter/son-in-law, brother/sister-in-law, step-child/sister/brother/parent, parent-in-law, civil union partner, Domestic Partner, step-grandparent/grandchild, aunt, uncle, step-aunt/uncle, niece, nephew, legal guardian, Caregiver, foster child, ward, or legal ward; and the spouse, civil union partner, or Domestic Partner of any of the above. Family Member also includes these relations to the Insured’s or Traveling Companion’s spouse, civil union partner, or Domestic Partner. If the Name Your Family upgrade is elected and any required cost is paid, Family Member also includes the person listed on the application. Traveling Companion means a person or persons with whom the Insured has coordinated travel arrangements and intends to travel with during the Trip. A group or tour leader is not considered a traveling companion unless the Insured is sharing room accommodations with the group or tour leader. I've never seen another policy with such an extensive definition of Family Member. I've seen some where a Traveling Companion has to be on the same booking or ticket, or travel on the same dates; Travel Guard doesn't require that. I used to compare coverages and Travel Guard has always had the same or better coverage, definitely compared to the cruise line's insurance and also to other providers. I no longer bother comparing; I just buy Travel Guard.
  19. We've used ToursByLocals in the past. There are reviews of the guides, so you get an idea of who you're getting. Then once you book you're in direct touch. And always buy the Cancel for Any Reason so you can back out if you sense a problem. We did, and I just used the credits for our next tour - so you keep using the same CFAR payment over and over until you use it. But - the prices are through the roof - especially when you're just two people. There are two young guides in Halong Bay still looking for their first review, charging around $400 + $80pp for a half day private boat tour. I priced one guide in Taipei for half a day - $800! If we were a larger group it'd be more reasonable, but this trip's just the two of us. If you're more than two people the numbers work better, as @flygirl8 said, and otherwise ToursByLocals is a great experience.
  20. But it might not matter. See my post just above:
  21. One website (so far) posted today (May 30) that a new policy approved last week provides for a $5 landing slip issued on arrival on cruise ships. This was posted 7 hours ago on "a commercial website, NOT the official website of Vietnam government or affiliated with Vietnam Government." [Edit:] I don't see other mentions of the $5 landing slip so far, but news stories from last week report other tourist-friendly changes to Vietnam's visa policy. The post says that "cruise passengers will pay a US$5 visa fee each, instead of a staggering US$45, when they go ashore for a local tour." "Immigration officers would issue a landing slip for visitors upon arrival at a fee of US$5 if they want to go ashore for sightseeing."
  22. When Northern Lights were visible, did the ship turn off any outdoor lighting to provide dark viewing areas?
  23. We are first-time Seabourn cruisers and would much appreciate a referral. Please email voyager@toolworks.com. Thanks!
  24. Have you reduced the size of your file before sending it? Photos from my phone can be as large as 3.5 Mb, and from my camera 4.5 Mb. Those will take a while to send, and can time out before finishing. I right-click (in Windows) and resize the photo to 1920 x 1080. That's plenty of resolution for sharing, and reduces the file size down to a few hundred K, which will go out a lot faster. If you're sending out more than 5 or 6 photos, even downsized, break the batch into multiple emails.
  25. On most lines, the "upgrade" doesn't affect bandwidth/speed, just removes the block on streaming sites. Is that the case on Seabourn? And do they block Zoom on the free service? The other lines I'm aware of do not.
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