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Smerelda 29/2-7/3. The eventful one.


alicat58
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This cruise is still in the balance. Corona virus has the world in it's nasty little grip and the press is putting out stories at the rate of knots.

 

We are supposed to board on Saturday Leap year day. I don't know whether that is a bad omen. I have learnt that getting to Savona can be a little hazardous to say the least. Flying into and out of Genoa is hit and miss. Not many flights and at odd hours. The surrounding mountains certainly do not help. We can many delayed flights. Our next usual options is flying into Milan and getting a transfer to Savona.

 

We live 40 minutes drive from Stansted so it's mostly Ryanair. The morning flight to Malpensa arrives a few minutes before the Costa transfer departs. Now, we have done that and as age creeps up on me, I find it far too stressful to take the chance. We really like Milan so we usually fly in the day before, have a nice lunch and even nicer supper and then leave by transfer a little after 9 am. Perfect! So we were all booked. Flights, hotel and evening restaurant. Pesky virus landed in Lombardy.

 

I started looking at our options on 23/2. We have used a Costa transfer when Nice the very first time we cruised years ago. I checked flights and hotels in Nice and gave DH orders to call Costa on 24/2 to check whether a transfer was available. Yes it is but you need to book this by 25/2  please. 

 

We now have flights to Nice, a hotel in Nice and a Costa transfer to Savona. Interestingly the restaurant in Milan emailed me yesterday to cancel our booking because they are now closed. It looks as if Milan is heading towards shutdown. At this stage it looks as if flights to Malpensa is still going but who knows what will happen over the next week.

 

Our suitcase is hopefully in or near Savona already as it left home by Bag express on 21/2! Pussycat is going to the cat hotel tomorrow morning.

 

Lets hope that we finally get on the Smerelda AND back home a week later. I will post bits and pieces as I go along.

 

Riana

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Hi Maryann

 

I hope so too.

 

The Canadian health notice looks pretty much the same as the one I got from work yesterday(NHS for medical personnel). The most daft thing is that people who think they might be infected are actually despite all advice still going to emergency departments and doctors surgeries(suppose you might call them medical centers). One just outside Colchester had to close till the culprit was swabbed and I think they still wait for the results before they are allowed to open. My biggest worry is actually whether I will be able to go back to work when I get back. 

 

Anyway, at the moment I am taking things a day at a time. If we get to cruise it will be great, if Costa cancels when we get to Savona we'll hopefully be able to get home easily and get refunded or have insurance pay outs.

 

Riana

Edited by alicat58
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Hi Alicat58 - what would the cancellation fee be at this stage.  Will Costa let you transfer?

 

We were due to sail on the Costa Smeralda last week but changed the cruise, back in December to this Easter.  We thought it would be better as our 10yr old son is off for 2 weeks over Easter compared to the half-term.  Subsequently we cancelled the Easter cruise as for us, it is just not worth the stress of it all.  We have lost about 220 euros (we booked through a German website) for the cruise and we have to add in the cost of unused Ryanair flights (fingers crossed they cancel the flights and that will be refunded!)

 

We are not timid travellers but I just can't imagine the cruise having the same vibe.  For instance, will you want to go for a swim, use the hot-tubs, put kids in the kids club......?  What will the ports be like - open or closed stores, panicky/angry locals, food shortages.......?!!

 

We have come to terms with it mentally and will just spend a little less/change to a cheaper grade of cabin for the subsequent cruises we have booked for later on this year and next year.  Is this something you might consider?

 

Added to the above, say something did transpire do you want to be in quarantine for 2 weeks or more?!!

 

As I type this, on the news France have had a couple more cases and Greece.

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Hi Riana,

               From speaking to friends just off a cruise all precautions are being taken with ports being stopped & full inspections when boarding & entering dining rooms.

 

I think that given the severity of this virus full re-funds must be given to anyone cancelling forth coming cruises. There is no point in going if you cannot enjoy it.

Thankfully we could still cancel without to much loss if it comes to that.

 

Take care.

Edited by tenpin
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I have cancelled my cruise ( Diadema from Abu Dhabi to Rome March 13th).

The amount I paid will be applied to another cruise of my choice in 2020 or 2021.

Seems I was able to do it because of the Canada travel advisory to Italy.

 

My hotel was refundable and because I booked using miles, my airline miles have been reinstated and the fees waived.  (United and Alaskair )

 

I was more concerned with the outbreak in Iran and possibly the whole Middle East.

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Quick response before I go to bed. Need to get up soon.

 

Bob: I lost my sweet Baz about 18mnths ago. He developed heart failure. He was a little pedigreed cat. Never had one before. No idea whether in breeding gave him a heart condition. He developed heart failure and  despite medication went down so fart that after 3 mnths on meds we had to put him to sleep. Kip is left now. He is a rescue ginger an white neutered Tom. Very loving and loves to b with us, hates to be away sadly but comes home after a holiday needing a diet.

 

MarAnn: Lucky that you could cancel. Must say I would have if I had middle east itinerary.

 

Panamanpd: No grandkids. Don't go in hot tubs. I think you misunderstood me. I was brought up to go to school/work unless you were on a slab(dead). My concern was not being able to go back to work. If you look at Costa website you will see we would have lost between 90 and 100% of our fee. 

 

Guys I am off to bed. Up at sparrows farts to go to airport. Maybe my last comment will be moderated because it is rude.😁😇

 

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8 hours ago, maryann2 said:

I have cancelled my cruise ( Diadema from Abu Dhabi to Rome March 13th).

The amount I paid will be applied to another cruise of my choice in 2020 or 2021.

Seems I was able to do it because of the Canada travel advisory to Italy.

 

 

 

i called costa to see if i could cancel my cruise on smeralda march 16 and get a credit for a future cruise.  said US has a travel advisory to italy. 

 

they pretty much said F U, no dice, we want our penalty money, thanks very much.

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Just now, dethman said:

 

i called costa to see if i could cancel my cruise on smeralda march 16 and get a credit for a future cruise.  said US has a travel advisory to italy. 

 

they pretty much said F U, no dice, we want our penalty money, thanks very much.

I am sorry to hear this.

I booked through Costa UK and possibly they have different criteria.

I am a senior and could be because of that. Also have a chronic medical condition.

 

Copied from the USA site

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to Italy, however, the State Department advises older adults and anyone with chronic medical conditions to consider postponing non-essential travel.

 

 

 

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Just returned from Smeralda. Everything was quite much as normal. There was additional health questionnaire and temperature check when embarking. In addition, all quests were required to wash or disinfect hands before entering dining rooms. That’s it. In case you have questions, I am happy to help. 

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I have only ever been on one ship, the Ocean Village, where we were not allowed into dining room without gelling our hands, staff stood at doorway every meal ensuring this was done.

 

Just for our information more people die from flu, accidents, suicide & murder each & every day than this present virus has killed. The 2% is much lower than our annual colds & flu outbreaks.

 

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6 hours ago, Bobbingbob said:

Were they actually checking that everyone washed and disinfected their hands? Also, how did you feel about the overall precautions if you don’t mind me asking! Did you feel reassured? 
 

Yes they were. We always do this this, but those who did’t, were not allowed to enter the dr. There was one staff member to check this. I think this was implemented only towards the end of our cruise (Feb 26 maybe). I was not very convinced about the precautions. At least it is better than nothing. 

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Thanks for that info. We have never noticed on Costa that they are not often very interested in hygiene regarding hand sanitising on entering the restaurants but perhaps given the present serious situation, they will be enforcing this. People just need to be reminded every time they enter the restaurants.

 

Tenpin, I hear what you are saying and I agree with you. However, cruise ships are definitely a breeding ground for germs. We often cruise in the winter months and in spite of all our care and precautions, we inevitable come back with a sore throat and/or a cold. The thought, however, of being in a similar quarantine situation to those poor passengers on the Diamond Princess gives me nightmares. I don’t think this would have happened with an outbreak of influenza onboard so these are early days in the fight against the corona virus, early worrying days and the choice is ours, whether to even take the minuscule risk of putting oneself in the highly unlikely scenario or not. 

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11 hours ago, tenpin said:

 

 

Just for our information more people die from flu, accidents, suicide & murder each & every day than this present virus has killed. The 2% is much lower than our annual colds & flu outbreaks.

 

Last year the CDC estimates that 35.5 million US residents caught the flu. It was a moderately severe season. Of those folks, 34,200 died from the flu. That is a death rate of about 1/10th of 1%.  COVID19 is currently estimated to have a death rate between 1 and 2%*, or 10-20 times worse than the flu. (*I'm excluding China since the Wuhan-area cases have had a much worse fatality rate that we thankfully have not seen elsewhere.)

 

To put it in different terms, if we had 35.5 million people in the US infected with COVID19, a 1% death rate would imply 350,000 deaths. The actual death rate would likely be significantly higher than that because our hospital critical care facilities are not scaled to treat patient volumes of that magnitude. Some years we have a hard time finding enough high level care for those with severe flu.

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On board now. Ship is huge. Temperature scanned in terminal. Had to use hand sanitizer getting onto ship. Walked through the buffet. Guy asking people to use sanitizer one end but not the other. Serving food not self serve. Looks pretty good. We're in Arlecchino first sitting. Cabin is stunning. Deck 12 aft. 

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12 hours ago, arabrab said:

Last year the CDC estimates that 35.5 million US residents caught the flu. It was a moderately severe season. Of those folks, 34,200 died from the flu. That is a death rate of about 1/10th of 1%.  COVID19 is currently estimated to have a death rate between 1 and 2%*, or 10-20 times worse than the flu. (*I'm excluding China since the Wuhan-area cases have had a much worse fatality rate that we thankfully have not seen elsewhere.)

 

To put it in different terms, if we had 35.5 million people in the US infected with COVID19, a 1% death rate would imply 350,000 deaths. The actual death rate would likely be significantly higher than that because our hospital critical care facilities are not scaled to treat patient volumes of that magnitude. Some years we have a hard time finding enough high level care for those with severe flu.

Maybe in the US. but reports here in the UK said differently percentage's given by WHO  

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Riana, so glad you made it onboard and hope your journey went well. Thought you would be pleased with your cabin, we had aft deck 14 and loved it. Huge balcony. DW was very happy with the little vanity desk and mirror. We missed the minibar though as it is handy for keeping your water cool.

 

Vald 78 has just returned from a cruise on Smeralda and posted some comments. Sounds as if the food has actually got better with lobster being on offer (there were lots of grilled prawns on various days, too) in the MDRs so would hope you’ll see the same in Club/Arlecchino.  Also, 2 tenor nights in theatre plus more live music than on our cruise so hope you’ll be better entertained than we were.

 

Glad to hear about the hand sanitizers, just hope people remember to use them. Surprised not more face masks, though. Have a great cruise.

 

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PS forgot to say I am so sorry about Baz. It is really hard saying goodbye to our much loved moggies. I think certain breeds are more prone to heart problems. We lost our beautiful Turkish angora puss (rescue) very suddenly and we felt sure it was her heart. Kip must miss Baz.

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Hi Bob 

 

Food is like you said. All the stuff previously included for diamond pearl is extra charge. Food is OK but not great. 

 

The entertainment is at really odd times in the theatre and colosseo. Jazz bar and grand bar okish. 

 

Kip rules the roost. He is very happy being an only cat. He's so spoilt. We do get so attached to them. 

 

Riana 

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