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I got an e-mail this morning from a volunteer guide we had engaged to show us around one of the Japanese ports (distant from Yokohama). We have had good communication with her about logistics, our interests, what to see and so on.

 

She wrote, "I'm concerned about the coronavirus spreading in Japan. The situation is getting worse day by day in Japan. So I suggest that I suspend my guiding for your tour in (Port), since the security or possibility of spreading coronavirus is not secured. If things get better, it might be possible. What do you think about it?"

 

I suppose I am going to tell her that we pose no risk, but we will not press her to guide us if she is fearful.

 

But the larger point is this: It indicates to me that the Diamond Princess situation has poisoned any conversation regarding the Westerdam. The government must be wary of the political implications of lifting the ban, particularly with the Olympics drawing near in a nation that wants to present its best face to the world.

 

Apparently the Westerdam is the "last ship standing" with a plan to visit Japan, and at this point it would be not cause a big ripple in the tourism sector to exclude us.

 

I am less hopeful today that we will visit.

 

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11 hours ago, DaveSJ711 said:

 

I was in Sihanoukville last November.  Physically speaking, it is a dump.  Every review I've read agrees.  Every person on our ship agreed.  You can't sugarcoat the place.

 

Now, this description isn't directed at the Cambodian people.  They were lovely and hospitable when we were there.  That's why I wasn't surprised when Cambodia stepped up and allowed the Westerdam to dock.  Kudos to all.  

I am sure the Passengers of the Westerdam did not view the shores of Sihanoukville as a 'Dump" when they were the only country to view this as a Humanitarian act to give these poor people a place to land and get to their homes - They should be lauded for this act, and your timing and assessment of this port is ill timed and unnecessary .

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, dado123456 said:

 

I'm not a cruiser actually, just an interested party.

I have someone in WDM tech. dept. to care for 😌

 

I hope you get to see your person soon. I hope the next cruises for the Westerdam are not in the least newsworthy. Thank you for posting the pictures!

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8 hours ago, mcrcruiser said:

We are doing a B2B cruises in April on Royal Princess from San Pedro  .The 1st cruise is a 7 night Mexican riviera cruise followed by the 7 night Coastal California cruise  .Thus you would only leave the USA for the first leg or you can just do the coastal Calif cruise which must also stop in Ensenada .just some ideas to replace your China trip 

 

thanks for the suggestion as we are in socal too.

we have done that mexican riviera cruise too many times though.

maybe a land trip through the southern usa??

or exploring all the parks and monuments in utah?

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dh read in usa today online that japan will be closing all its ports to cruise ships.

if that is true (??), the next few westerdam voyages will not be happening. 

and hope all current pasengers get home safe and healthy.

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5 minutes ago, Viv0828 said:

dh read in usa today online that japan will be closing all its ports to cruise ships.

if that is true (??), the next few westerdam voyages will not be happening. 

and hope all current pasengers get home safe and healthy.

Thank you for this information. I had read that Prime Minister Abe closed the Japan ports to international cruise ships on around February 4th or 5th after Westerdam was booted from Taiwan.  Is this a new news story that dh saw--if so I'd sure like to see it. Can you send a link?  Thanks!

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2 hours ago, Forecheck said:

I am sure the Passengers of the Westerdam did not view the shores of Sihanoukville as a 'Dump" when they were the only country to view this as a Humanitarian act to give these poor people a place to land and get to their homes - They should be lauded for this act, and your timing and assessment of this port is ill timed and unnecessary .

 

 

 

 

I did laud Cambodia for allowing the passengers to disembark -- that's why I said "kudos to all."  But my physical description of Sihanoukville is completely accurate -- see the reasons in my post #735.  Sorry you're offended by the facts.

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21 minutes ago, Mandalay1903 said:

I had read that Prime Minister Abe closed the Japan ports to international cruise ships on around February 4th or 5th after Westerdam was booted from Taiwan.  Is this a new news story that dh saw--if so I'd sure like to see it. Can you send a link?  Thanks!

 

dh reads usa today on twitter. no idea how to find it - sorry. if it is true, i am sureit will be all over the media soon.

and btw, cnbc has been having a series of corona virus reports at 4pm pst daily for half an hour. very interesting.

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Again, thanks to God and thanks to Cambodia.  This will be remembered.

 

Maybe someone with cabin fever could design a memorable certificate for this Westerdam cruise?  It could be posted here.

 

Good health and safe travels home for everyone.

 

Barbara

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4 hours ago, Dr.Dobro said:

 

 

Apparently the Westerdam is the "last ship standing" with a plan to visit Japan, and at this point it would be not cause a big ripple in the tourism sector to exclude us.

 

I am less hopeful today that we will visit.

 

Oceania Nautica has cruises visiting Japan in March and April. Regent Seven seas is going there as well as QE 2. Sapphire Princess is doing all Japan sailings in May.

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46 minutes ago, DaveSJ711 said:

 

I did laud Cambodia for allowing the passengers to disembark -- that's why I said "kudos to all."  But my physical description of Sihanoukville is completely accurate -- see the reasons in my post #735.  Sorry you're offended by the facts.

You are absolutely correct. When I visited last year, I thought the people were wonderful but the city was among the worst ports I'd ever visited. And, yes, had I been on the Westerdam it would looked like Tahiti to me.

 

This is from the New York Times "52 Places to Visit in 2018" series --
see https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/26/travel/luang-prabang-cambodia-coast.html?searchResultPosition=1


Cambodia’s changing coast

 

No streetlights, no signs of human life were visible as my taxi inched in the dark toward Sihanoukville. This seaside city is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations on the Cambodian coast, and I had braced myself for an onslaught of neon. Instead, at 9:30 p.m., all I could see was dust billowing behind us, on a highway where pavement was more of an idea than a reality. 

 

That eeriness was enveloping as I settled into my sleek, all-white hotel, Naia Resort, with diagonal outdoor walkways stacked one on top of another, like gills. It felt as if I were in a “Miami Vice”-type building that had been dropped onto the set of “Lost.” Outside, barking dogs cased the sandy road. At the only open restaurant — which was right on the beach, with waves lapping at my table — a bat flew into my arm.

 

When morning broke, the nothingness revealed itself to be a landscape of construction sites. Three high-rises were going up next to, across from, and cater-corner to Naia. Piles of trash adorned those dusty roads. 

 

I had, quite by accident, chosen to stay on Sihanoukville’s Otres 2 Beach, where it is still possible to take a lazy walk, sun yourself and take a paddleboard lesson without feeling like you’re in a tourist hot spot. But you can see the end of all that on the horizon.

 

Eighteen months ago, I’d heard, the area 10 minutes down the coast, where Sihanoukville’s Otres 1 and Occheuteal Beaches now sit, had been all beach shacks and fishermen selling their catches from baskets on top of their heads. Now the place — called “the new Macau” by its developers — is blanketed in Chinese-built casinos and high-rises. A Chinatown is being built between Otres 1 and Otres 2.

 

Infrastructure, especially roads, hasn’t kept pace with development. Growth is so rapid, one expat told me, that he went looking for a crab shack he’d visited three months earlier and found a brand-new neighborhood in its place.

 

Taxi drivers and hotel workers I spoke with sounded dismayed, commonly using the word “sad” to describe the state of their city. They told me about drunken fights and a rampant sex trade. Real estate prices have tripled, and the Chinese bring in their own labor rather than hire Cambodians, they said. Villagers no longer have beaches to go to, and the worry is that pretty soon they’ll no longer have villages.

 

The Cambodian coast, but particularly this western portion, had earned a spot on the Times’s 52 Places to Go in 2018 list because increased direct flights (some originating in China) to the Sihanoukville airport were making beach getaways more accessible. 

 

This year, too, Six Senses and Alila Hotels were supposed to open new resorts on two private islands, Krabey and Koh Russey, with jetties 10 minutes from the Sihanoukville airport. Neither will fully open until 2019, but I visited them both and was impressed, not only by the facilities, but also by their commitment to hire Cambodians and keep their environmental footprint light.

 

Sometimes you have to know when a place is not for you. That night, I opted to move on to Kep, a quiet coastal town far to the east of Sihanoukville, even if it wasn’t technically on the 52 Places list and involved a four-hour, bumpy nighttime drive. As the sun set, I felt like I was seeing Cambodia for the first time, as I passed villagers carting bundles of hay on their motorbikes while chatting on cellphones.

 

(The article continues with a discussion about Kep.)

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13 hours ago, cruiserchuck said:

 

I suspect a large amount of money was paid.  As others have mentioned, I hope the testing was thorough and accurate.  

 

There is also China-Combodia relations factor involved.

But it all worked out for WD pax.

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Cambodia is indeed changing.  We have spent a number of winters travelling independently through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.  We suspect that the latter two are changing so quickly that they will hardly be recognizable in five years.  Most especially the later two.  
 

If anyone wants to truly experience these countries do it soon before change overtakes their charm.  By far, the best way to experience them is a pre or post land trip.

Edited by iancal

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How can you make rude remarks about a place that has an Irish pub? 😎P1050980.thumb.jpeg.c5fdab54701adf8384f1b846cd45ef7a.jpeg

 

Even if it is painted purple!

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Here's some info regarding Westerdam passengers flights from Cambodia, coming from airliners forum:

 

https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1441111&p=22018775

 

"MS Westerdam, a cruise ship with more than 2000 passengers aboard were denied in several harbours - finally Cambodia accepted the vessel.

Now, a rescue operation started as the port city of Sihanoukville doesn't offer international transport. An air-bridge with charter flights will bring the 2000+ passengers to Phnom Penh to connect them to international flights.

Any idea which airlines will provide the task?"


 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, iancal said:

Cambodia is indeed changing.  We have spent a number of winters travelling independently through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.  We suspect that the latter two are changing so quickly that they will hardly be recognizable in five years.  Most especially the later two.  
 

If anyone wants to truly experience these countries do it soon before change overtakes their charm.  By far, the best way to experience them is a pre or post land trip.

 

We have just come back last week from 2 weeks in Thailand.  We spent 3+ 1/2 weeks in Cambodia and Vietnam in  Feb 2011.  When I mentioned this to a Thailand tour leader, he said, Wow!  Both countries have changed so much since that time.  So I agree with above post that the sooner you visit, the more you will experience of authentic Cambodia.

 

Our experience in both those countries was amazing, probably one of our favorite trips ever.   The Cambodians are such humble, gracious and quiet people, and the stories you hear of what their  relatives and parents  endured through the Khmer Rouge years is heartbreaking,  We spent a few days in Phnom Penh, and visited the killing fields and the prison.

 

We recently took a boat ride along the Golden Triangle while in Thailand and most of that area is starting to expand with Chinese hotels and casinos..    Nothing like along the Mekong river further down, where you can still experience and see rural life and fishing villages.

 

Carol

Edited by CJcruzer

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15 hours ago, Mandalay1903 said:

Princess canceled the 2/13 cruise from Singapore on the Sapphire with about 24 hours notice. Passengers joining the 2/13 cruise had already flown to Singapore by the time the line canceled the cruise. Unconscionable!

 

For those wondering what Princess is covering for passengers on these two abruptly (especially the 2/13 one) canceled cruises, this was posted on the Princess forum.  See paragraphs 4 and 5 specifically:

86353398_10159508759214778_2763910247813742592_n.jpg

 

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It is great the ship was accommodated to enable passengers to travel home.

We have travelled in south east asia many times over the years but not to Cambodia.

Yes many areas have and are changing rapidly and arguable if it is always to the benefit of locals.

Research is important in travel and we thank those who have posted on this forum among other travel forums.

We all like different places and have different interests and thankfully we have choices in travel products.

We prefer less crowded places and casinos have zero interest for us, but each to their own. Many challenges with travel at present. Safe cruising to all.  

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Hello from the Westerdam

 

Rumours say we are among the last 190 passengers on the ship. I can tell you it is quiet!
 

The last buses for todays charter flights left some hours ago.

 

The dining room will not be very crowded today

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47 minutes ago, AllureOfVacation said:

Hello from the Westerdam

 

Rumours say we are among the last 190 passengers on the ship. I can tell you it is quiet!
 

The last buses for todays charter flights left some hours ago.

 

The dining room will not be very crowded today

Try to enjoy this special day you will always remember.  I wish you a perfect voyage home.

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55 minutes ago, AllureOfVacation said:

Hello from the Westerdam

 

Rumours say we are among the last 190 passengers on the ship. I can tell you it is quiet!
 

The last buses for todays charter flights left some hours ago.

 

The dining room will not be very crowded today

You are better off than my parents! They departed Westerdam at 6am or so and are still in the Phnom Pehn airport. They’ve had all of their flights to Kula Lumpur get canceled. My dad tried going rouge and booking his own tickets in Korean air home but he can’t get to a ticketing agent to talk to someone. Someone local from HAL told him that he will likely be sleeping in the airport tonight. 

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1 hour ago, AllureOfVacation said:

Hello from the Westerdam

 

Rumours say we are among the last 190 passengers on the ship. I can tell you it is quiet!
 

The last buses for todays charter flights left some hours ago.

 

The dining room will not be very crowded today

 

You should have wonderful service today, I think 😉 

Enjoy your last day and all the space on the Westerdam 🙂 

 

Have a safe and smooth trip home.

 

13 minutes ago, Moparop said:

You are better off than my parents! They departed Westerdam at 6am or so and are still in the Phnom Pehn airport. They’ve had all of their flights to Kula Lumpur get canceled. My dad tried going rouge and booking his own tickets in Korean air home but he can’t get to a ticketing agent to talk to someone. Someone local from HAL told him that he will likely be sleeping in the airport tonight. 

 

Oh dear!  Your poor parents and the others who are scheduled to be on that flight 😞 

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20 hours ago, Viv0828 said:

 

dh reads usa today on twitter. no idea how to find it - sorry. if it is true, i am sureit will be all over the media soon.

and btw, cnbc has been having a series of corona virus reports at 4pm pst daily for half an hour. very interesting.

The Japanese ports have been closed to cruiseships for a couple of weeks and remain closed.  Thanks for the info but this is old information

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2 hours ago, Moparop said:

You are better off than my parents! They departed Westerdam at 6am or so and are still in the Phnom Pehn airport. They’ve had all of their flights to Kula Lumpur get canceled. My dad tried going rouge and booking his own tickets in Korean air home but he can’t get to a ticketing agent to talk to someone. Someone local from HAL told him that he will likely be sleeping in the airport tonight. 

 

Oh no.  That is very sad to hear.  Would you be able to do it for them and communicate the information?

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Posted 7 hours ago on the HAL Facebook page:

For those traveling from the Westerdam - If you are a Westerdam guest and have an issue with flight ticketing, home city gateway or a cancelled flight, please call 206-286-3294. Please note: due to the volume of travel we are arranging for guests in such a short period, we regret that we are unable to accept any change requests such as class of service, seat assignments, airline, flight times or dates for these flights. We apologize for any inconvenience and know that your journey has been challenging. We greatly appreciate your understanding as we are working to get everyone home as quickly as possible.

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