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We were wondering about Istanbul....

 

 

 

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On 10/9/2019 at 8:23 AM, ChappChapp said:

Regarding Hong Kong, we have just cancelled our Voyager cruise out of Hong Kong on March 1. Have been monitoring the media for months and felt we did not want to put ourselves into the chaos. We were suppose to go in a week early as we have never been there before. However the situation seems to grow worse by the day. Even if they, the government, get the upper hand, there will be a definite pall over the citizens. Just don't want to deal with it. As to Cabo we go there every year as we live in LA and have never felt unsafe. The people are great and we just are careful where we go especially at night. Finally as Americans don't you think it's dangerous in this country with all the mass killings? Just my opinions.

We go to Cabo twice a year, and have never felt unsafe either.  We stay at Breathless and their security seems very tight.  We do walk to town and love it.  Never dress up, no jewelry and jeans or jeans shorts.  Never encountered any problems.

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2 hours ago, Fogfog said:

Helpful thread

We were wondering about Istanbul....

 

 

 

 

Despite a few issues that I've read on CC, I would not hesitate to visit Istanbul again.  

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Nor would I - but only staying in a decent hotel and not visiting any "dubious" areas!  Which, actually, is what we do when we visit the USA.  (And yes ChappChapp - hearing so often about mass killings in the US is very off-putting for us over here).

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Day by day the entire area is getting more unstable.  We are scheduled to stop in Istanbul and Israel on our World Cruise.  Having toured the Golan Heights several years ago and hearing the gunfire on the Syrian side during a time when the area was considered "peaceful", we plan to be even more vigilant to world events now that the area is unstable again.

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15 minutes ago, Ladys Mom said:

Day by day the entire area is getting more unstable.  We are scheduled to stop in Istanbul and Israel on our World Cruise.  Having toured the Golan Heights several years ago and hearing the gunfire on the Syrian side during a time when the area was considered "peaceful", we plan to be even more vigilant to world events now that the area is unstable again.

 

Agree with you, however, it is not affecting our travel.  Actually, what seems to be affecting which ports can be visited is, "overtourism" which seems to be a larger issue.  We will be returning to the Middle East next year and know that security is higher in Israel, Egypt, etc. than in the rest of the world.  If there were the slightest  thought of their being pirates or other threats to the ship/passengers, Regent would bring onboard the Israeli army/police(?) that were onboard when we sailed the Gulf of Aden a few years ago.  

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gb58 is in Hong Kong now touring, so I asked him about the situation.  Here is his reply:

The folks we've talked to here say the protests are very overblown by the media (what a shock!!) but they may be downplaying it for the tourists. We haven't seen anything yet but we'll be around the island & Kowloon today. Will let you know...

 

And here is his update from yesterday's travels:

 

Spent early part of Sat. travelling round Central HK & the rest of the island. They stopped the HoHo buses early (3.45pm instead of 6pm) due to "public activities"... We were at Ground Zero, so to speak, at 2 pm & saw some young people who could have been demonstrators, & a bunch of oldies on a sit-down protest in front of a police station. Will post some pics. later of graffiti we saw. Otherwise, much ado about nothing...

Edited by 2012_Alaska_bound

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Question:

 

Regent has an Oct 2020 cruise starting in Istanbul, ending in Venice. If Regent cancels Istanbul due to security concerns, what is done since it is where we would board the ship for the start of our cruise? And Istanbul would be the ONLY port we are actually interested in going to? (looking to arrive a few days early and explore, etc.)

 

Thoughts? Would they refund our $$$ if they decide to say start the cruise in Athens and skip Istanbul all together?

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2 hours ago, newcruzer said:

Question:

 

Regent has an Oct 2020 cruise starting in Istanbul, ending in Venice. If Regent cancels Istanbul due to security concerns, what is done since it is where we would board the ship for the start of our cruise? And Istanbul would be the ONLY port we are actually interested in going to? (looking to arrive a few days early and explore, etc.)

 

Thoughts? Would they refund our $$$ if they decide to say start the cruise in Athens and skip Istanbul all together?

 

It depends upon when/if Regent decides to cancel the port.  Generally speaking, Regent has the right to change ports without notice.  If this happens months before your final payment,  you could certainly change to another cruise.  If you are within the 'penalty phase",  you would not be able to change cruises without penalty.

 

Keep in mind that Turkey is a large country.  The issues that you read about in the news is basically many miles away from Istanbul.  IMHO, Istanbul is definitely worth visiting.  If Regent did not feel that Istanbul was safe, they would change ports (but this does not mean that you would receive a refund).

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I am not very good at providing links, but there is a topic on the AZAMARA Board, entitled "Almost Live, First Time AZAMARA to Southeast Asia, written by someone who is sailing on the QUEST from Hong Kong tomorrow.  They really give a good first hand perspective of the situation there.

 

We are not cancelling our  March 1 Voyager Sailing unless Regent decides not to sail there.

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All:  So sad having reviewed the latest world-wide situations.   Specifically, Barcelona. 

 

We have had positive experiences within the last 15 years at Barcelona while aboard either Seabourn, Silversea, or most-recently Regent.  That is history; this is current reality.  

 

However, on each previous Barcelona trip, there was that overhanging concern as to civil unrest and violence.  This area of Spain has been epicenter of continuing efforts by the Catalonia element--specifically since Franco's Fascist coup in 1939--to carve out a separate entity.  Yes, this goes back to the Spanish Civil War.  Still waters run deep.   

 

An example:  when last at Barcelona, along Ras Rambles,  the fronts of two Bank buildings had been blown up by bombs left overnight on the street.  So--no overt risk to tourists.  Yet, the message was clear. 

 

As I compose this--violence throughout that city over the last three days.  

 

We just need to pay attention to current world situations which directly impact whether to excursion ashore at a particular port.  In any event, based on numerous cruising experiences, that particular Ship's Captain--based on guidance--will exercise the option to cancel a shore visit.   That's reality in the other-world while cruising on a 5+ star ship.    

 

This current Barcelona matter seems to have gone beyond the boiling point.    

 

GOARMY!

 

 

 

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We join Voyager in Barcelona  late next week. My DH was reading this morning that some cruise ships have canceled visiting the port and some that have docked have canceled their shore excursions.  We are staying overnight in Barcelona at the hotel Regent is providing so i feel confident that we will be well taken care of. 

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I have also been following the situation in Barcelona recently with some concerns.  We are hoping things calm down by the time we embark on the Explorer in November. 

Found this site https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/spain/infox-situation-in-barcelona-october-2019 which has been very informative on the situation and with suggestions.  Our big concern is the cancellation of flights into the airport which has already happened on a couple of days.  

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On 10/19/2019 at 12:29 PM, 1982CruzStart said:

We join Voyager in Barcelona  late next week. My DH was reading this morning that some cruise ships have canceled visiting the port and some that have docked have canceled their shore excursions.  We are staying overnight in Barcelona at the hotel Regent is providing so i feel confident that we will be well taken care of. 

What hotel will you be staying at?  You need to be very vigilant and stay inside your hotel the whole time  if need be. The current situation is very explosive ( I have two good friends that live in Spain, one of them in Barcelona and keep me appraised) , and unfortunately you may get caught in the epicenter of one of these "demonstrations". Even if Regent decides that its "safe" to depart from there as planned, doesnt mean that violence might not break out at a moment's notice. These demonstartions and violence is occurring in the center of the city.

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On 10/14/2019 at 8:05 PM, Travelcat2 said:

It depends upon when/if Regent decides to cancel the port.  Generally speaking, Regent has the right to change ports without notice.  If this happens months before your final payment,  you could certainly change to another cruise.  If you are within the 'penalty phase",  you would not be able to change cruises without penalty.

Newcruzer said that their cruise starts in Istanbul, and are wondering what would happen if they start elsewhere. That's different than Regent changing ports along the way. If you book your own airfare, pre and/or post hotels, and/or excursions,  you'll have to change those as well, and chances are there will be a penalty, especially on the airfare. It will definitely be more work.

Our second cruise on Regent was changed entirely, and we were not happy with the entirely new itinerary which we didn't like. We cancelled and rebooked since we were (not very long) before the penalty period, and we try not to book anything outside of the cruise line we're traveling on.

We have an upcoming Regent cruise on Voyager, and the ship is scheduled to stop in Dubai before it heads to Singapore where we board. We also fly through Dubai on a flight that  Regent selected for us. We have no reservations that were not made through Regent. If they cancelled our cruise and let us rebook, that would be OK.

But, if Regent changed the entire itinerary of our cruise, and we ended up with a Med cruise in winter for the price we paid for our cruise because of problems in the middle east, we would definitely expect to be able to cancel that cruise and change to another cruise in the future without a penalty.

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21 hours ago, cruiseluv said:

What hotel will you be staying at?

We are staying at the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos 1. It is the Regent hotel and we are taking all their transfers. 

Once we get to the hotel we will just hang out there. We originally wanted to do a tour of the Cathedral but have since decided to just stay put. 

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53 minutes ago, 1982CruzStart said:

We are staying at the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos 1. It is the Regent hotel and we are taking all their transfers. 

Once we get to the hotel we will just hang out there. We originally wanted to do a tour of the Cathedral but have since decided to just stay put. 

Surprised Regent uses this hotel, its way out from the city center. Certainly not walking distance to any of the sights. Well, I guess the positive is that if something breaks out you will not be in the middle of it!

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1 hour ago, 1982CruzStart said:

We are staying at the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos 1. It is the Regent hotel and we are taking all their transfers. 

Once we get to the hotel we will just hang out there. We originally wanted to do a tour of the Cathedral but have since decided to just stay put. 

 

56 minutes ago, cruiseluv said:

Surprised Regent uses this hotel, its way out from the city center. Certainly not walking distance to any of the sights. Well, I guess the positive is that if something breaks out you will not be in the middle of it!

I was going to say that, yeah, the Juan Carlos is out in the boonies, sightseeing-wise.  The only thing really walking distance is a gas station/convenience store by the main road (Avinguda Diagonal).  As an example, Sagrada Familia is about 3.5 or 4 miles away.  It’s an easy cab ride, though, but not convenient.

 

On the plus side, it’s close to the airport.   😁

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7 hours ago, 1982CruzStart said:

We are staying at the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos 1. It is the Regent hotel and we are taking all their transfers. 

Once we get to the hotel we will just hang out there. We originally wanted to do a tour of the Cathedral but have since decided to just stay put. 

That's where Regent booked us for our precruise stay. We were perfectly happy with it for a hotel. It was quiet, and outside of town. It was close to the airport, and we were given a ride in a Mercedes cab to the hotel. There are 2 very large pools, and we ate tapas and drank wine at the happy hour instead of having dinner, and it was all good. The buffet breakfast in the morning was good, and included. We took the free bus ride to town and back the afternoon we arrived, and there were no problems with protestors back in July.

Entrance to the Sagrada Familia needs to be booked well in advance, and we didn't do that. We walked around the outside by paying for the Regent panoramic bus trip from the Fairmont to the ship the next morning. The lines to get in for those who had tickets (mostly Chinese and Russian tourists) were extremely long. I spoke to someone onboard Regent who had bought a ticket to tour inside. She purchased it  a little over a month in advance, and had toured it in the afternoon while on the free bus from the Fairmont. She highly recommended buying the indoor tour ticket in advance. Our next chance is in 2021, and it that cruise works out, we'll be buying Sagrada Familia tickets on our own.

The area around the hotel didn't look like a place we wanted to walk. The old part of the city that they took us to by bus felt safe back at the beginning of July. I don't know how it is now.

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Frankly, I'm shocked Regent uses this hotel. It might be very nice, but you could be anywhere in the world, certainly not in walking distance of anything you want to see in Barcelona. Being close to the airport is really not a great perk, as the airport itself is about 15 mins by taxi from the city center. Maybe now , with the upheaval in the city, its a good option. I would find it depressing.

 

The inside of the Sagrada Familia is a must. I had been in 2006, and then again in 2016 ,and was floored by it! Magnificent!

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4 hours ago, cruiseluv said:

Frankly, I'm shocked Regent uses this hotel.

If you do not like the hotel that Regent offers, you do have the option of taking a credit and booking your own choice.

Being slightly out of the centre of Barcelona will probably be good this coming weekend in case there are further protest marches

 

4 hours ago, cruiseluv said:

The inside of the Sagrada Familia is a must.

+1 but as others have advised it is best to book your timed tickets on line in advance; a very simple process.

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On 10/21/2019 at 7:46 PM, SWFLAOK said:

That's where Regent booked us for our precruise stay. We were perfectly happy with it for a hotel. It was quiet, and outside of town. It was close to the airport, and we were given a ride in a Mercedes cab to the hotel.

When we stayed there, our ride to the airport was a Porsche Panamera.  Not a Turbo or even an S, but still...

 

And no, the driver wouldn’t let me drive.  And yes, I asked.   🤪

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The Juan Carlos I Hotel is a fairly typical international style 4/5 star hotel.

Given recent events in Barcelona it is slightly ironic that the hotel, well out of the centre of the city, is actually close to two symbols of Catalan nationalism; the Camp Nou, the soccer ground of Barcelona FC, as well as the main campus area of the main university of Barcelona.

i am not aware of specific violent events in or around the hotel over the last week or so, and the good news is that the overall picture seems a lot calmer now. It may be worth pointing out that none of the violence has been directed at tourists, although with the effective closure of the airport and city transportation last week, I can imagine that many tourists were impacted. Having said that most of the main tourist sites such as the Sagrada Familia remained open last week, and yes, advance booking is essential and you should expect to take 15-20 minutes to get through security, but very definitely worth it. Over the last 15 years, I have visited it almost every single year, but now that the main roof is on, the transformation in the last couple of years is truly amazing. My personal favourite time is later in the day, when the impact of the sunlight is just a bit more subtle and special. Towards sunset on a nice day is very spectacular.

Anyway I digress. More good news is that Hong Kong is also quieter, although weekends still appear to have their moments in certain parts of the city. Again it is worth saying that tourists are not the “target”. 

Finally some people have mentioned Istanbul as a worry due to recent events on the border with Syria. There is a great distance between these two locations and not just in mileage terms. I am not aware of any current issues in Istanbul itself. Indeed, as others have suggested I would be more worried about the traffic than violence.

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11 hours ago, UUNetBill said:

When we stayed there, our ride to the airport was a Porsche Panamera.  Not a Turbo or even an S, but still...

 

And no, the driver wouldn’t let me drive.  And yes, I asked.   🤪

When we arrived at the Fairmont, they were having a McLaren event at the hotel. There were 2 in the lobby, and 3 or 4 outside on the circle where we were dropped off. They were all beautiful. We asked the Regent rep in the lobby if we could take a test drive since we would love to have one if we could fit comfortably inside (we're both tall). He said he didn't have the ability to authorize that, but he could probably arrange it. We told him we were just kidding because we would rather spend our money going on cruises than sitting at home in Florida with a really nice car in a narrow parking space on the ground floor of our condo tower. He laughed, and was obviously relieved that we were not serious. But we're still wondering if we can fit in that McLaren, and yes, we did try the doors on the ones outside everytime we entered or exited the hotel. They were locked.

Edited by SWFLAOK
typo

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