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aheape1979

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About Me

  • Location
    South Carolina, USA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Disney

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  1. "Do or do not. There is no try." ~Yoda I promised information on our vendors/ tours, and I'm delivering on that promise! Yes, Princess took a while to refund us, as did some vendors. I was patient, knowing that we weren't planning a vacation this summer anyway with the pandemic. We did not completely settle with all vendors and insurance until the beginning of September! Great Vendors- I plan to rebook with them • Guernsey: Walking Tour with Annette Henry- Annette was great and cancelled with no issues. • Dublin: Early entry to the Book of Kells and Dublin Castle- booked through Viator- refunded • Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland: Private tour- Kilted Piper Tours. Graeme was great and issued us a refund of our deposit due to the circumstances. • Invergordon, Scotland: Private tour- Highland Tours Inverness. Issued refund of deposit • Edinburgh, Scotland: Holyrood House tickets refunded • Le Havre, France: Private driver. Did not have a deposit paid yet, so no problem to cancel. • Cruise transfers- Smiths for Airports. They were great to work with and cancelled with no penalty. • St. Ermin’s Hotel- Hotel closed: Points refunded • Windsor Castle- Tickets refunded • Secret Garden Tour in the Cotswolds- Offered a credit for future tour or refund. This is a small business and she was extremely pleasant to deal with. I will likely rebook with these vendors...unless I find a tour I like better. Belfast, Northern Ireland: Giants Causeway Extra Legroom Tour- Odyssey Coach Tours (small group)- Issued refund, but took a while Private airport transfer and Windsor- Five Star Windsor. Took a while but issued refund. The “not so great to work with” vendors… Cork (Cobh), Ireland: Small Group Shore Tour- Elegant Irish Tours. Would not give refund and were difficult to contact. They offered to reschedule only. We took this up with our insurance. Dublin: An Evening of Food, Folklore, and Fairies- O’Shea’s Pub- refused to refund without us providing our bank routing/account information. Uh…no thanks! We were able to claim through our insurance. Private VIP tour with London Magical Tours- no refund and were quite snarky at one point. Considering this was our most expensive tour, I would have thought they would be a little more customer friendly. I understand that there is a pandemic and it affects everyone, but don’t be snarky! We had to take this one to our travel insurance policy.
  2. We are sailing earlier in the season, so I guess that helps us. Our cost is down $800 from what we originally booked back in 2018, but that fare had gone down a total of $1300 by last March. So we are paying $500 over what we would have in 2020. HOWEVER...we were able to snag one of the two window suites. We don't have a balcony, but have over 700 sq. feet and full suite benefits. For $500 more....I'll take it! We were in a mini for 2020. We've sailed the Regal before, and the Sky is very similar. So I think we will be happy. Now I get to hope and pray that we are able to sail in less than 5 months!
  3. That was our 2nd potential date, but it didn't work with one of the girls' events this summer. I wish we were able to sail together. Our roll call group was great! 😞
  4. We are back!!! We were finally able to work out refunds with Princess and our additional travel insurance. I'll work on posting that information AND.... We are booked for May 14, 2021!!! I don't want to get my hopes too high, but am excited that we found an alternate date that works for our work/school/childrens' schedules. We won't have a Regal Experience, but will enjoy the new Sky Princess!
  5. Everyone hold tight.... I will be posting information about which businesses/tours have been amazing to work with...and some that haven't. No need for those of you planning a future trip to risk getting stuck with poor customer service too!
  6. After much deliberation, we have decided to cancel our June 9 sailing. Our pre-cruise hotel has closed through June 14, and I just don't see things calming down enough for international travel by then. We have a backup date for July 27, but I have begun to seriously doubt that any cruises will be sailing by then either. Oh well, we just have to trust that everything happens for a reason, and if need be, we will wait and cruise in 2021!
  7. “Hope is the thing with feathersThat perches in the soulAnd sings the tune without the wordsAnd never stops at all.”― Emily Dickinson Finding Positivity in the Unknown There is so much unknown right now with the Corona virus, including whether ships will even be sailing in June. I haven't cancelled tours, hotel reservations, dining plans, or air yet. There will be time for that later. I probably won't begin that process until we are about 30 days out. I hope all of you following this thread are staying healthy, practicing safe social distancing, and loving your friends/neighbors who may need you. I work in the healthcare industry, specifically skilled nursing facilities. Please don't forget your elderly family and friends. Send a positive message, picture your kids have drawn, or encouraging verse to #CaringCards or email to CaringCards@PruittHealth.com. (This is a skilled nursing facility chain in the southeastern United States.) Or, do something like this locally where you live. We will get through this together!
  8. I'm still planning on going in June, but I also have a room booked in July on the Regal just in case cruises aren't sailing by June. Overkill? Probably...but it makes me much happier to have a backup plan!
  9. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide The new Princess Plus program! When we originally booked, we had the basic fare. As time passed, we were able to upgrade that with free gratuities and an OBC. When Princess announced its all-inclusive deals a few months ago, we looked at the cost, but determined that it wasn’t worth it for us. THEN, Princess Plus was announced. Of course, I had to compare prices. Here are the extras I was already purchasing: Internet- $75 for one device (but we could really use two!) Coffee Cards- around $75 for two (We love GOOD coffee!) Soda- Canned soda package- $12 (ginger ale for if DH gets hiccups), PLUS two per day for DH out of pocket $5 per day: $60. We thought about stopping and getting some on the way in but having to lug those on board would be tough. Bottled water to take on excursions- around $15 for 2 packages Neither of us are heavy drinkers (I may have a glass of wine with dinner and a cocktail per day. Ok…3 max including wine). DH may have one per day. Let’s average 3 per day…at least $20 plus gratuities…let’s round to $25. Total for it all: $537 Then, a great CC’er posted this online: S o, to upgrade to the unlimited drinks and wifi (we already had gratuities), it was $600. In my mind…that’s a no-brainer for $60 extra…because: We can have up to 4 devices on wifi (this means we can Facetime or Skype with the kids on wifi, not having to pay our $10 per day Verizon upcharge for international!) If I want to have a second coffee, or 2 different glasses of wine with my dinner courses, no problem! If I want to try a new wine or cocktail, I can do it without fearing that I won’t like it and will be wasting my money. I may want champagne for our anniversary, but I won’t feel bad if I get one and don’t like it. Plus…I don’t have to worry about how much I’m spending onboard, other than at the spa. Has anyone else done the upgrade to Princess Plus?
  10. I have the magnetic hooks, but haven't gotten a clothesline yet. Thanks for the advice.
  11. Thanks for the input! We are supposed to take some time in Cobh too. We are taking a small group tour (paid for), so I'm glad it includes Cobh. We live in a small town, so I love the charm of them!
  12. “They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” ~Tom Bodett The 3-month mark is here! In just 3 short months, we plan to sail on our BI cruise! We are still booked, and Easy Air is still set up. I’m hopeful that the Covid-19 crazy will have calmed down by then. We are both in our 40s, with no major health issues to deter us. My hope is that a month from now, we will see that the incidence numbers have settled/turned downward, and people will not be afraid to travel again. So many people’s livelihood depends on the tourism or cruise industries, and I would hate to see people out of work for longer than absolutely necessary. But their safety is paramount, and I want those people to be healthy too. So for now, I have all 3 things to be truly happy on this trip…my amazing DH of almost 20 years, a great itinerary to plan for, and a hope that we will all be healthy and traveling in 3 months!
  13. A few latex gloves and Imodium are in my first aid/medicine kit too. Good ideas.
  14. “I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty.I've got whozits and whatzits galore. You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty.” ~Ariel Another Amazon Box? I admit it…I may have a problem! When going away for almost 3 weeks, I want to be prepared! I want to be organized! I don’t want to have to spend $10 for a package of bandaids. When we went to Hawaii a few years ago, I did the same thing. We used almost everything and didn’t have to make any crazy purchases while we were there. A cruise environment (especially in another country) makes me want to be sure I have what we need! Here are some of my purchases (or items I already had) that should come in handy on this trip. (I have no financial or advertising interest here…just showing you what I have!) Health: Medical grade sanitizing wipes, bandages, homeopathic cold and flu medicine, and Rhinease (I often get nosebleeds after flying and when in dry environments). Bags: Reusable shopping bag on a carabiner clip for my backpack, waterproof bag, the bags that came with my Tieks- great for putting shoes in to make sure you don’t dirty up your suitcase, a laundry bag (we will have to do laundry at some point), and a foldable duffle bag that is heavy duty (to act as an extra checked bag if needed.) Travel gadgets: Bag bungee (if you’ve ever carried a tote bag with your suitcase, you know what this is for! Plus, I think I will need it when we self-disembark!), Bose noise cancelling headphones (I’ve owned these for around 5 years, and they are lifesavers!), collapsible water bottle, luggage scale (to make sure we get right to that 70 pound limit!), and travel compression socks (I found these at TJ Maxx). For the cruise cabin: Hanging shoe organizer (over the door), motion activated night light, non-surge power outlet, and a travel alarm clock For tech: Power bank for phones/tablets, gear ties (we use these around our cords), and a case that organizes all of our cords, but folds up compactly For packing: (I found these all at TJ Max on clearance!) 2 sets of compression bags and an inflatable bottle pouch (to bring home French wine, Scotch, or something awesome like that What are your favorite travel accessories?
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