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Required to take a HAL excursion to leave the ship in future?


TomBeckCruise
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8 minutes ago, Roz said:

 

As I said, it was "only" 25 euros.  It was disturbing, though, especially the way I was treated by the others on the tours.  Made me feel like there was something I did to make myself a target or victim.  Like @idiebabesaid, these are professionals.  

Of course it’s upsetting but it wouldn’t ruin your trip like losing your passports.  It can happen to anyone.  But some are targets with flashy jewelry and easy wallets.  
Saw a young woman in Rome airport who had her entire wallet lifted. What a mess. She discovered it at the car rental counter. 

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34 minutes ago, Roz said:

 

As I said, it was "only" 25 euros.  It was disturbing, though, especially the way I was treated by the others on the tours.  Made me feel like there was something I did to make myself a target or victim.  Like @idiebabesaid, these are professionals.  

 

There will always be a few who have to make themselves feel superior at the expense of making others feel bad.

 

Since I tend to do things independently (e.g., take public transportation) and also since I often travel alone, I have had ample opportunity to watch the behavior of both tourists and the pickpocketers. As such, I never underestimate the skills of the latter and would never want to pit my vigilance against them on a crowded bus in Rome, metro in Paris, or just walking down Las Ramblas. 

 

Many, many years ago when I was in Barcelona on my own for three days before the start of a conference, I thought I was the epitome of watchfulness and caution. Yet the thieves made off with my wallet even from a zipped shoulderbag that was held under my arm. I think it happened when boarding a bus but to this day I am not absolutely sure as I never felt a thing. Within moments they had used a ring of confederates in local restaurants to ring up thousands of euros in charges against my (one) credit card before it was frozen. 

 

Luckily I minimized my losses by doing just what others have said -- I only had a small amount of cash and one credit card on me. I had left my passport and a different credit card in my room safe, along with extra cash. Of course I was not liable for the charges, but I did have to waste most of the afternoon going down to the police station to make a report. I chalk it up to a lesson learned.

 

On this same trip, after the conference started, one of the afternoons featured a walking tour in Barcelona, including Park Guell. Not less than three of my male associates (out of a group of about 50) lost their passports and/or wallets to pickpockets during that tour. What exactly they were doing carrying their passports with them (most had them in back pockets) is open to question...

 

 

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1 hour ago, Roz said:

 

As I said, it was "only" 25 euros.  It was disturbing, though, especially the way I was treated by the others on the tours.  Made me feel like there was something I did to make myself a target or victim.  Like @idiebabesaid, these are professionals.  

 

It is disturbing and can be very stressful and definitely not your fault!  They are very good at what they do!  We no longer take Public Transportation and opt to take Taxi's compared to years ago when we didn't think twice of it.  We were in Barcelona several years ago and six passengers from our Hotel who were on our Cruise had their wallets stolen on Public Transportation.  The worst though was last Fall when we were on the Nieuw Statendam TA from Rome.  The day we boarded we bumped into a dear Customer/Friend of ours on Lido.  We had no idea he was on the same Cruise so quite a pleasant surprise.  He was on the Leg before us and told us how he had their Passports and $2000 USD stolen on the train in Rome (they liked using cash in the Casino) .  They only went two stops to go to a Restaurant that they liked and had been to on prior trips.  He didn't care for the Hotel (first time booking it) and it had no Safe in the room so they felt it was safer to bring it with them.  His Wife had it in a Zippered Cross Body bag but these Thieves don't always work alone and will have someone cause a "distraction" which causes people to let down their guard.  That's exactly what happened and they discovered it missing at the Restaurant.  They didn't get their Wallets just the USD which was tucked with their Passports.   We had talked with others on that Cruise that also were victims of Wallets and Passports stolen.

 

They had a private tour booked the next day and lost the money on that because of cancelling and going to the US Embassy for Emergency Passports.  He seemed to take it all very well when he was telling us but the fifth night of the Cruise we heard a Medical Response call and he passed away from a Heart Attack.  I often wondered if all the stress of the way they started out the trip added to it. 

 

He was a very experienced Traveller and would often joke that if we didn't see him, we'd know he was sailing and vice versa.  

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If it takes going on a ship-sponsored excursion to tour the port of call, I'll probably do it if that's the only way. I understand the reasons why to do that.  For all the trouble and expense a cruise line will go thru to have the most disease-free cruisers possible I don't see the point in blowing that at a port.  For the most part I've always done my own excursions. Most agree they are generally better overall and generally last longer.  I've also had some excellent ship-sponsored tours for sure! For me the primary gripes is most cruise line excursions are too crowded and usually cut short on time. But if this is what it takes to cruise, I'm all in.  

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4 hours ago, TomBeckCruise said:

 

Yep, the saying is "They give masters degrees in pickpocketing in Barcelona.  PHDs in Rome."

You are so right. On one cruise a long ago, HAL had a lecturer from Barcelona who explained how professional and slick these guys were. We had a table mate who tried to get his pocket picked, but we were at the very end of the cruising season, late November. The pick-pocketeers  were all on vacation.

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Don’t assume all the “bad guys” are in Europe.

 

When we in the United States (San Francisco ) and DH was on conference, our credit card was counterfeited.  I am very careful with them so it had only been used at the hotel and one major Department Store.

 

The credit card never left my possession other than being in a safe.

Long story short I wasted a day at our hotel waiting for the my replacement card and the police.  Turned out it was at the U.S. point where the credit card charges go through.  Apparently back then, they didn’t go straight through to Canada but had to be routed and there was a crooked person or two selling the numbers.  They did catch that “gang” of counterfeiters.

 

It can happen anywhere and even when you are careful and do all the right things.

 

All we can do is our best to guard our valuables, not take anymore than we need and always have back up cards 😉.  

 

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I have a set of little bells attached to my purse,  which if someone tries to lift my purse they jingle, so alerting you.  You can buy them off amazon, not expensive.  But I also don’t take much out with me, usually only enough money for a meal/coffee and a souvenir, and always try to be aware of my surroundings (leave valuables excess money/bank cards on the ship).  

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Another thing I was told is send yourself an email with passport numbers/bank card numbers(making sure if hacked people don’t know who your card is with) As it makes it easier if you ever lose or have them stolen to contact the banks/passport office etc

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we were so lucky that in all our travel, domestic and international, only  time we were hit by pickpocket was in Madrid in crazy, crowded busy plaza Mayor  at  a fabulous chocolate shop  😉

Dh had a small amount of cash in side pants pocket  His wallet was in an inside  pocket of his zipped closed bomber style jacket

 

   Dh never felt the cash being removed from his pa nts.  Thankfully the jerk only got about $50    in small  bills.  I was very happy it did no t spoil our enjoyment of those amazing chocolates. 😎

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9 hours ago, Roz said:

So if you want to buy something you take off your clothes to get to the money belt?  Isn't that advertising to everyone that you have valuables on you?  I left my "valuables" in the ship's safe and just had 25 euros on me for spending money.  Does everyone except me put their money under their clothes in a neck pouch or money belt?

When I'm off the ship on a cruise, I take a minimal amount of cash for what I think are the needs of the day. And it will be in small denominations bills and coins. I'll have some US and local currency. Also I'll have id (DL and reduced laminated passport info) and one or two credit cards. I'll carry all this in my front pockets of the pants/shorts I have on. 

 

7 hours ago, idiebabe said:

 

A friend did have his Wallet stolen out of his front pocket with velcro in Rome several years ago.  These thieves are "Professionals" and very talented at what they do!  

On the subway in Rome once, I felt something in my front pocket and when I put my hand in it, I pulled out another hand which was attached to a small girl (8-12?). There was a small pack of them on the train with us and the Italian police quickly rounded them up and got them off the train. 

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3 hours ago, Storylady said:

We had a table mate who tried to get his pocket picked, but we were at the very end of the cruising season, late November. The pick-pocketeers  were all on vacation.

 

I do as much of my land travels as I can during the off-season in Europe. It does seem true that there are many fewer pickpockets around from November through March...

 

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3 hours ago, kazu said:

Don’t assume all the “bad guys” are in Europe.

 

When we in the United States (San Francisco ) and DH was on conference, our credit card was counterfeited.  I am very careful with them so it had only been used at the hotel and one major Department Store.

 

The credit card never left my possession other than being in a safe.

Long story short I wasted a day at our hotel waiting for the my replacement card and the police.  Turned out it was at the U.S. point where the credit card charges go through.  Apparently back then, they didn’t go straight through to Canada but had to be routed and there was a crooked person or two selling the numbers.  They did catch that “gang” of counterfeiters.

 

It can happen anywhere and even when you are careful and do all the right things.

 

All we can do is our best to guard our valuables, not take anymore than we need and always have back up cards 😉.  

 

 

 

You don’t even have to leave home  to have your card compromised.  We’ve had this happen several times.   Thieves generate different numbers and try them out on small amounts and if these work away they go!   

 

But while away losing one’s passport and cash can be devastating.  So please use a money belt or keep your valuables under your clothes.   Ladies I was told to use your bra, one side for cash and one for credit👀😂

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4 hours ago, Storylady said:

You are so right. On one cruise a long ago, HAL had a lecturer from Barcelona who explained how professional and slick these guys were. We had a table mate who tried to get his pocket picked, but we were at the very end of the cruising season, late November. The pick-pocketeers  were all on vacation.

 

We had a similar one who demonstrated how he could remove a belt, a watch  or even eyeglasses without the victim noticing.   Then there’s the infamous bird poop in Barcelona where helpful young women help clean you up and remove extremely valuable jewelry.    Our hotel in Barcelona  gave us a list with the current scams.   

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Barcelona seems to be a pick pockets haven.  Someone in our group was targeted but luckily eagle eyed DH was able to warn him.   We saw it again in St Petersburg - a group affair.  Luckily our tour guide steered us away from the area.  

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One thing is certain:  The rules on this original topic  will change by August 2021 (our cruise).  Look how much our personal worlds have changed in the last year.   Here are two things which will likely cause a change in our favor.

 

   1.  We'll get vaccinated. When we are vaccinated we will get a shot card  (like in the sixties Army) which will say what vaccine and when.  Show that for freedom to roam in most countries.

 

   2.  An instant Covid-19 test is developed.  No shot card ? line up for a test if you want to roam the destination.  Bon Voyage

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For anyone who is curious about the types of excursions that MSC is currently doing, you can see a list of them on the MSC board, a post titled "Live from MSC Grandiosa..."  There is a lot of variety, including walking, biking, and e-bike tours, as well as motor vehicle options.

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59 minutes ago, shipgeeks said:

For anyone who is curious about the types of excursions that MSC is currently doing, you can see a list of them on the MSC board, a post titled "Live from MSC Grandiosa..."  There is a lot of variety, including walking, biking, and e-bike tours, as well as motor vehicle options.

 

Thanks for that heads up. Interesting reading. Although I have no idea how any excursion that is going to visit the Vatican museum and St. Peter's square could possibly be considered a way of keeping people in a bubble...!   On the plus side, it gave me a pleasant sense of normalcy to read them. Here's hoping we can get back to a time, sooner rather than later, when our biggest dilemma is whether to take a ship tour or go off on our own.

 

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On 9/4/2020 at 8:46 AM, CherryCupcake said:

Sorry I voiced my opinion.  Put downs are never appreciated.  But as a little old lady pushing 80 who has also traveled the world for many, many years (more than 3000 days at sea, various cruise lines) I am no longer charging forth and unwilling to take risks. As a small woman, over the years enough questionable situations have happened that would probably never be an issue for a man.    From now on I will keep my opinions to myself, and will enjoy to the fullest every cruise I book in these trying times.  I'm so happy cruise opportunities are resuming, even with strict protocol, which is not as everyone would like it to be.  It is time to make your choices.  For many it will be to not cruise because of strict protocols as there are plenty of other travel modes out there.  But I am grateful and very happy to be returning to the sea for the holidays after we return home from a long RV road trip in the US, departing in a few days.  Yes, from now on I will keep opinions to myself.  We all have our preferences. 

 

Hey Cherrycupcake; please continue posting your opinions! Just because some feel/think that they have never been the potential victim of a crime does not mean they were never targeted. It just means the crime was never carried out for whatever reason. I can tell you stories about crimes, ranging from pickpockets (theft) to street robberies, to extortions through force or fear ("you're not leaving this fine establishment unless you pay up" - Shanghai, PRC, Amsterdam Grand Asia Pacific 2014) involving passengers and crew at port calls throughout the world. It happens abroad, just like it happens in North America. Just not everyone onboard the ship gets to know about it after it happened unless the victim(s) choose to tell their experience at the dinner table that night. 

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Back to the topic:  Has HAL given any indication that they will require us to take their shore excursions if we want to leave the ship in port?  I just noticed an interesting 20 day cruise on the Eurodam this April from FLL to Seattle.  I will sign up for it only if I can be sure that the current MSC plan will not be in effect.

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4 hours ago, USN59-79 said:

Back to the topic:  Has HAL given any indication that they will require us to take their shore excursions if we want to leave the ship in port?  I just noticed an interesting 20 day cruise on the Eurodam this April from FLL to Seattle.  I will sign up for it only if I can be sure that the current MSC plan will not be in effect.

No, this is all speculation.  To my knowledge, since they are not sailing in the US, they have not proposed any guidelines yet.  Perhaps check the Aida and Costa boards because those are sailing this year. Both are CCL properties

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3 hours ago, Mary229 said:

No, this is all speculation.  To my knowledge, since they are not sailing in the US, they have not proposed any guidelines yet.  Perhaps check the Aida and Costa boards because those are sailing this year. Both are CCL properties

And even though they too are owned by Carnival Corporation, that does not guarantee that HAL will follow the same policy.

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1 hour ago, ontheweb said:

And even though they too are owned by Carnival Corporation, that does not guarantee that HAL will follow the same policy.

Absolutely. Those cruises are in accordance with local rules not CDC rules which don’t yet exist 

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OK, back to pickpockets.  A few years ago we were staying a couple of days in Beijing waiting to board a ship.  Either our hotel safe didn't work or I wasn't clever enough to make it work.  Somehow a thief got my wallet from the front pocket of my trousers.  I didn't notice it until I was making a purchase in the Silk Market.  We went back to the hotel to phone the credit card companies and cancel them, then to the subway police office to report the theft.  The police wanted to know the amount of cash lost (about $1500) and the amount of credit available on the cards (about $25,000).  I could just imagine they were thinking ("Dumb American tourists")  Anyway, there were no charges on the cards and the DW had enough cash and a separate card so the upcoming cruise was still OK.  At the time I thought China was safe from pickpockets, but not now.  I now use an inside-my-shirt wallet on a string that I received as a pillow gift whenever I travel in dangerous areas.

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