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Joanne G.

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Everything posted by Joanne G.

  1. I have a British Isles cruise in May 2022 on another line. My choice is if the situation is as unpredictable as it is now and testing and masking requirements are still in place at the time I have to make final payment in January, I will cancel. I don't want to have money tied up for several months while wondering if Americans will be welcome in the ports or if I will be quarantined due to a positive test before being able to return home. And I don't want to wear a mask all day. I wear them all day at my office, and I find them uncomfortable for extended hours, not to mention that a mask requirement means we are still in the pandemic. Same for my other European cruises scheduled in late summer and fall of 2022 - if I have concerns at the time of final payment, I cancel. Sadly, this is looking more and more likely. But, I am already thinking of other ways of enjoying my vacation time with less pre-trip stress than a overseas flight and cruise.
  2. Nadia, that's good news that it got straightened out. I almost made the same mistake. When I recently went to pay a deposit, the default choice was to pay in full. It's easy to see how someone could be moving too fast and miss that. Clearly, it is Princess' choice to make "pay in full" the default option. Apparently the extra funds they get early from those who let it go makes it worth the time their customer service reps spend on the phone reversing the payment for those who didn't intend to pay in full. 🤔 Pay attention everyone when paying a deposit!
  3. That is my biggest concern - meals, especially dinner. I have several solo cruises booked in 2022, so I better figure out what I want to do for meals. A couple of the cruises are on NCL, which has no fixed dining times. And my most recent experience on NCL is that they no longer ask if you want to share a table. Even if I said I would like to share, that would only work if others coming to eat at the same time also made that request. The last thing I would want would be to be put at a table with a group who did not request others to join them. I would rather eat alone in my cabin than feel like I was unwelcome in a group. The other couple cruises are on Carnival. My travel agent put me down for anytime dining, as that's what my sister and I have done for years. For my solo cruises, now I think I should change that and request a big table, though I never liked the too-early or too-late choice for fixed dining. My cruises are next year, so I have time to think about it - and perhaps to make some connections on the roll calls.
  4. A friend and I spent a couple days in London before a cruise in 2019, and we loved it so much that we planned a one-week land vacation there in 2020 - canceled due to covid, of course. We had everything planned out - big touristy sights in the city and nearby, as well as simply taking walks and exploring neighborhoods. 😥 We still have our airline credit for that trip, good though the end of this year. if the quarantine requirements are lifted, we hope to do that trip yet this year. But for sure, I will include time in London before and after my long cruise adventure in 2022. You are so right that none of us know what is around the corner. Covid certainly made that clear. I have worked and saved for retirement, and I intend to enjoy it, solo or otherwise. Thanks for the good wishes.
  5. Thank you all for your comments about my - and your own - long solo adventure. I like that I can reserve these cruises with only a down payment while I think through my plans and get use to the idea of that much time alone. By the time final payments start coming due next May, I expect to be all fired up and ready to go. And ready to retire! The more I think about it, a cruise - or cruises, plural - seems like the best way for me to see a lot of Europe on one trip. It's so much easier to plan than a long land vacation to multiple cities, and so much more relaxing than unpacking and repacking and spending hours on buses with a tour group. And I know my family will worry less about me on a being on a couple of ships for that length of time compared to if I were bopping around Europe on my own. Now I have to decide how and where to spend those 5 days between returning to Rome on Carnival and departing from Copenhagen on NCL. I thought taking the train might be interesting, but it didn't take much research for me to realize that could be more complicated and would take much longer than I expected. So, I will likely fly to Copenhagen after a couple days exploring - or relaxing - in Rome. The relaxing is important, as others have said!
  6. Due to covid-related re-scheduling, I ended up with a Carnival cruise in early September of 2022 and an NCL cruise late that same month - both in Europe. I have been thinking about when to retire, and I have come to think August of 2022 may be a good time. 😉 I recently booked a 2nd Carnival cruise for a back-to-back experience. The first cruise is London to Rome with stops in Spain and Portugal, and the 2nd cruise is round-trip Rome to Greece, Turkey, Naples, and Messina. If I continue my adventure, I will then have 5 days to get from Rome to Copenhagen for the NCL cruise to northern European cities in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. The entire trip will total about 5-6 weeks, depending on whether I spend any time in London, where the first one starts and the last one ends. There are enough sea days on all the cruises to give me some time to rest, which I will probably need! I have been on many cruises, mostly in the Caribbean, also a couple in Europe and one in Hawaii, mostly with my sister but a few with friends. Never solo. My first two planned solo cruises were canceled due to covid, so this will be a new experience to me. I do a lot by myself - day trips, go to shows, a beach vacation - but never anything this long nor out of the country. I feel cruises are inherently social, so I hope to meet people, but I am introverted, so this will have me out of my comfort zone a bit. I have wanted for years to see more of Europe, and when it didn't work out to have a companion, I decided to go it alone. All the cruises have refundable or transferable deposits, so I have some flexibility while I get used to the idea of this long solo adventure. If and when I get comfortable with the idea of doing this, then I will start thinking of the practical issues of packing for temperatures ranging from late summer in the Mediterranean to early fall in Oslo! What do you experienced - or newbie - solo cruisers think? Be honest! Thanks.
  7. Good to know! Thank you. I have always made my own flight arrangements, but this may be the time to try something different.
  8. I am waiting to book excursions for my 2022 cruises until I feel reasonably confident that the ships will sail. I don't want any money besides my deposits tied up in these uncertain times. My cruises are in Europe, and I want to see other cruises sail those itineraries first, with minimal or manageable restrictions and no incidents of virus breakouts that lead to extended onboard quarantining or ships being turned away at ports. I am not booking flights either until that point, whenever it may come. My decision has cost me the usual happy planning and anticipation period prior to my vacation, but it's what I feel comfortable with now.
  9. Here's a tip I learned on these boards that worked well for me. If you have a post-cruise hotel stay which you planned to put on a credit card, consider using leftover currency at the end of your vacation to pay all or part of the hotel bill. It's a convenient way to avoid carrying home currency if you don't want to save it for a future trip.
  10. Good point. Though I chuckled at the memory of a tour guide in Denmark who told us he was a retired banker. His pension was probably more than my salary LOL! I was less concerned about tipping in Northern Europe than I am in the Caribbean. But, tipping is generally appreciated, and small bills or euro coins are about the only way to do that. To the OP, you can see that people have different habits and preferences. No right or wrong way to do it. Ultimately, decide what you are comfortable doing. Have a great cruise!
  11. Besides your personal spending habits, another factor in your decision is if you plan on exploring the ports on your own or taking ship-sponsored excursions. We typically take ship-sponsored excursions, and we have found that access to ATM's may be limited or non-existent at some stops. Our personal preference is to have enough currency that we don't have to use valuable port time looking for an ATM. Contrary to many on these boards, we get our currency before leaving home. For the small quantity we get from our local bank, whatever difference in the exchange rate compared to using ATM's after arrival is not significant to us. Again, it's just our personal preference to know that we can purchase a cup of coffee upon landing and get a cab without needing to stop at an ATM in the airport. Yes, I know I could use a credit card for a cab and probably the coffee, too. But I feel more comfortable having some currency, even though we do use a credit card for most purchases.
  12. We have been on a couple of cruises from New York with the first stop being San Juan, and both times the arrival was mid-afternoon, exactly as scheduled. I don't think there is any way for the cruise line to try to arrive earlier. I am sure they would if they could, but the distance from NYC seems to make the late arrival inevitable. We had been to San Juan several times on other cruises (from Florida) when the arrival was a more typical morning time. So, the first time we had the late arrival, we were OK just walking around the Old Town and returning to the ship after a couple hours. It didn't mean anything to us that the departure was late at night, as we had no desire to walk around after dark and no interest in nightlife. You might want to Google sunset time in San Juan at the time of your cruise, so you have an idea of how much daylight you will have. It won't be much! The 2nd time we had a late arrival, we intended to do the same thing - no big plans, just walk around a bit. But for some reason - size of the ship, maybe? - the mobs in the stairwells to disembark were so huge that we gave up after nearly an hour feeling like the crowd wasn't moving at all. We decided to enjoy the ship's facilities that day and never disembarked. If you have a strong desire to see a lot of San Juan during daytime hours, I suggest avoiding an itinerary with the mid-to-late afternoon arrival. Good luck in your search for something more to your liking.
  13. My sister and I, senior citizen ladies, take along our Carnival mascot dolls. I probably shouldn't mention that we sometimes talk to them and can get as silly as we did as little girls growing up together. 😁
  14. Carnival recently canceled the entire European season for the Legend. I was offered the $600 OBC in order to transfer the deposit from my August 2021 cruise to a future cruise. I chose the same itinerary on the Pride in 2022. Final payment would have have been due until May. I also could have taken a refund, as I booked with a refundable deposit. So, yes, sometimes they do cancel before final payment and in my case, the OBC was offered.
  15. For me, it is not just about the mask. I interpret a mask requirement as an indication that a potentially deadly virus is circulating around the world. It's the related restrictions and requirements that could make cruising unappealing to me - cruise line or port restrictions on activities in the ports, covid tests before returning to the U.S. or even before being allowed to re-board in port, with the risk of a positive test causing me to be stranded overseas for a quarantine period, the risk of being quarantined in my cabin due to an outbreak onboard, and what I perceive as the impossibility of any cruise line to consistently enforce social distancing in the terminal, on board, in the lines to re-board from the ports, etc. unless they sail at about 25% capacity, which seems unlikely for economic reasons. My choice will not be to sit around home grumbling about my masks. (I may be grumbling about a pandemic that seems nowhere near ending, however.) I will consider vacations that will provide pleasure and relaxation despite a likely mask requirement - a beach or lake rental within the U.S. to which I can drive and with facilities for simple meal preparation in order to avoid restaurants. And this is only after I am fully vaccinated. I have cruises in Europe booked in 2022. If a mask requirement is the only change from my 2019 cruises, then I will be going. It's the rest of the cruise and European travel experience that I will be monitoring before making my final payment or booking airfare.
  16. This morning I started looking at beach rentals in the panhandle of Florida. If I don't feel comfortable flying, I can drive. I used to go there regularly when my sons were growing up, and we loved the beautiful beaches and the protected National Seashore. A closer alternative is Door County, WI, the "thumb" that juts into Lake Michigan. There are beaches, waves, lighthouses, and state parks. Lake Michigan is too big to see across, so it can feel like the ocean. The water is darn cold even in mid-summer, but it is a pretty place and only a few hours away.
  17. I was in the same situation last year with a canceled NCL cruise. The refund was credited to the card that replaced the compromised one. I asked the credit card company (Chase) in advance, and they assured me it would be a smooth process, and it was. Now, if the account was closed rather than being replaced with a new card, that's a different situation, and I don't know what would happen then.
  18. I don't believe it matters which side you choose. As the previous poster said, it's impossible to know in advance in which direction the ship will dock. And when at sea, you are too far out to see land for the most part. I would make your balcony choice based on your preference for forward, mid-ship, or aft, and which deck would be suitable, and which areas of the ship you want to be close to or far from rather than deciding between port or starboard. Whichever side you choose, at some point you may need to go to a public space for the best viewing. On a one-way cruise, which I have on the Pride next year in September, you may have a preference on whether you have sun on your balcony in the morning or afternoon. But on a round trip cruise, you will get both. Have a great time. I also wanted an aft balcony but missed out. But I am still beyond excited about this cruise and hoping against hope that cruising will have approached some level of normalcy by fall next year.
  19. I don't think there is a simple answer. From what I can tell (in normal pre-pandemic times), the cruise lines constantly adjust prices and promotions based on demand. Ship not filling up as expected? Prices go down. Ship filling up quickly? Prices go up. And it's based on information the customer doesn't have. Just like the airlines. Some people say checking right after the final payment date can be a good time to check prices, as as certain number of passengers will cancel at that point, and the cruise line wants to fill the ship. I have never personally tested that theory. I have been on many cruises, and I have a rough per-day cost that I am comfortable with. If a cruise I want is around that price or less, I book it. I tend to book far in advance in order to have the best choice of cabins. If you aren't particular about location and type of cabin, you are in a better position to take advantage of a last minute deal. If you have to fly to the port, any last-minute savings can be offset by high last minute flights. Enjoy your retirement! I am not there yet, but close enough to envision being able to cruise without regard to a work schedule. 😄
  20. I find those restrictions unappealing - except the new muster plan. NCL canceled my 2020 European cruise, and Carnival just canceled their entire summer 2021 season in Europe, so my long-planned (booked pre-pandemic) August cruise isn't happening. I have my eye on a fall, 2021 itinerary in Europe on Royal Caribbean, with the hope that I will be vaccinated by then (likely) and Europe will be open to cruising (less likely). But as badly as I want to cruise, I am not making any plans until the major cruise lines start up again, particularly in Europe, and I can read reports about the onboard and on shore experiences. I shake my head at the description of a mask as a "tiny" piece of cloth. To me, a band-aid is tiny, not something that covers half my face. The fact that I have been wearing one for 10 months whenever I leave the house doesn't mean I want to wear one on vacation. To those willing to go under whatever requirements in place, I wish you all a great time, and please let us know what it was like. If restrictions are still in place for my re-scheduled 2022 cruises, by then I may be ready to suck it up and deal with them in order to get onboard!
  21. I was disappointed, but not surprised, to get the email about the cancelation of my August Legend cruise. I was actually a little relieved, as I wasn't sure I would feel comfortable traveling then, particularly when I would have had to pay in full in May. I appreciate that the notice came far in advance of my cruise. I just rebooked for the same itinerary in early Sep 2022 on the Pride. Lost my aft-facing balcony as none were available on my new cruise, but I have $600 OBC as consolation. 🍷🍸
  22. I have two cruises booked for 2022, one in May and one in August. I took advantage of a low deposit special on NCL, in order to have as little money as possible tied up in these uncertain times. My August 2021 Carnival cruise, booked before the pandemic, just got canceled, and I am currently debating between a refund and re-booking for 2022, which would mean moving one of the 2022 ones to 2023. Even if I can get the vaccine soon, I worry about the situation in Europe, where my 2022 cruises are, whether or not the port cities want cruise passengers, how the onboard experience will be changed, whether the cruise lines will keep juggling ships and itineraries to meet the unknown demand, and how the major cruise lines will weather the economic devastation they must be enduring. I like having cruises to look forward to, but I am balancing that against how much money I want tied up in deposits. And I only book with refundable deposits.
  23. Me, too! In November, I was aimlessly browsing on the NCL site, found two 2022 itineraries I liked, couldn't decide between them, so I booked both. British Isles in May similar to my canceled 2020 cruise, and Northern European cities in Sep. NCL is good at what they do by having 2022 European itineraries available before the other major cruise lines and by having low deposit requirements - at least that was the special at the time, which made it easier for me to book 2 cruises so far out. Now, I see 2023 itineraries are available for booking.. . . 😁
  24. I haven't canceled my August 2021 cruise in Europe (booked before the pandemic), but I am concerned. I will make my decision based on conditions in May, when I have to make final payment. I don't again want to deal with the stress of wondering if a fully paid cruise will be canceled or if conditions in Europe or onboard will make the experience less enjoyable, plus dealing with cancelations of flights, hotels, ground transportation, and private excursions. I went through that this year, and it wasn't pleasant. If I have doubts in May, I will cancel and get my refundable deposit back. If I do that, and it turns out I am vaccinated and European ports are welcoming tourists by August, I will book something last minute, maybe a cruise, maybe a land vacation.
  25. You are probably right, but recurring outbreaks in the countries on my itinerary could result in attractions being closed or local officials rejecting cruise ships on general principle. Cruise ships do get a lot of negative publicity. I have time to make a decision, but that time is being spent adjusting to the idea of going in 2022 instead of 2021. Sadly.
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