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Trying Cunard


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1 minute ago, Doubt It said:

 

Hank, thank you. Like you said, I believe we are rather out of step with those desperate to cruise again. And yes, the cruise lines believe the many with the FCC's will do and pay anything. 

 

The "value proposition" will be fundamentally changed post covid, so the concept that cruisers will be able to get the previous product, is I believe, naïve. 

 

What this virus has done to cruising is to essentially break the "habit" of cruising. My habit is totally broken and destroyed. I have moved on to planning land vacations to have a real experience in the location I choose. This includes having customized car, driver and guide who efficiently gets us to where I want to go, bypass lines, confirm our reservations at the local restaurants we want and they wait until we finish eating. In many locations, this is not expensive, but what an amazing way to see the world.

 

It is no longer the ship experience or even looking at the ocean - been there and done that. It is about really experiencing a location. 

 

No one I ever talk to in a store, restaurant etc, will even consider a cruise - so I do not know where all these so called bookings are - other than those with FCC's.

 

In the end, to each their own. But people should really put themselves first and the for profit company second. 

Those of us who follow the industry have all read the reports (put out by the cruise lines) of record future bookings.  But like you said, many of those are likely using generous FCCs and in most ways are a liability (in accounting terms an account payable) to the cruise industry.  I share your skepticism of some of the reports.  Yesterday I received an interesting e-mail from a major cruise line offering a 2 for 1 deal which was unlike anything I have ever seen.  Basically it said book one decent balcony or suite cabin and get a 2nd Inside cabin for free!  Really?  That sure does not sound like a promotion from a company that has record future bookings.  

 

Your comment about breaking the cruise "habit" really hit home.  Until I read your post I never gave this any thought but you have a great point.  When DW and I had our first cruise cancelled last February (this was a 30 day Asian cruise with another 10 day on our own land trip) we were somewhat heartbroken and depressed.  Since that time we have had 4 other cruises cancelled (by the cruise lines) and each subsequent cancelation hurt a lot less.  The most recent (another long Asian trip for April 2021) generated some relief on our part rather then heartbreak.  To be very honest, all this talk about resuming short 7 day cruises does nothing for me since that is not the kind of cruise that we would normally consider.  

 

Are we totally lost to cruising?  Not yet but we are sure getting to that point.  We have previously had some fantastic trips where we rented apartments in France and we still spend 10 weeks a year in Mexico where we rent a Condo.  We love those trips and are now looking at some future options to expand those kind of trips.   A 2 month driving trip in Europe involving a few rental properties is a very attractive option.  Those kind of trip do involve some planning (finding the right rental property can be a challenge) but we are up to the task :).  I ask myself do I want to be walking through the Piazza Navona (a favorite spot in Rome) as part of a tour group or would I prefer to be sitting at one of our favorite cafes with some food, wine, and entertaining ourselves by watching the miserable looking tour groups  who are being told, "this is the Piazza Navona...but we must now move on before you get too close to a local." )?   You can guess the answer :).

 

So here is a thought.  For those of us who enjoy independent travel the post COVID world is just one more challenge.  But that independent travel means we can use some mitigation measures such as social distancing, carefully choosing our restaurants, visiting museums at quieter times, etc.  In some ways COVID mitigation favors the independent traveler while causing some very difficult problems for larger tour groups.   We just (last week) returned from a 9 day trip to Florida (Key West and Ft Myers Beach) where we had a terrific time.  By carefully choosing our hotels and restaurants we were able to social distance (most of the time) and still have a lot of fun.  In our favorite Key West piano/small group bar/restaurant we were able to be seated at a table for 2 far from any other table..where we had excellent food and some decent entertainment (the small group was on stage behind a Plexiglass shield.  At Ft Myers beach our room opened right onto the beach where we had loungers and were generally not within 50 feet of the nearest person.  

 

Once Europe reopens we will certainly return to Paris (DW's favorite city) where we can rent an apartment in a small building and eat in local restaurants without a lot of  crowding.  Instead of using trains for intercity travel we will likely opt for rental cars (a safer option in this COVID world).  While we will likely make adjustments due to the lessons of COVID, those adjustments will be relatively minimal.  But this is nothing like the latest protocols published (yesterday) by Cunard for their future cruises.   We are soon off for our winter home in Mexico where there is a major COVID problem.  But we will do our best to make COVID related adjustments.  In our Condo we will be safe (and do a lot less entertaining) and our usual spot on the beach (where we take our own loungers) will continue to be distant from other folks.  We will favor more restaurants that have outdoor dining (this is easy in Puerto Vallarta) and might even make more dinners at home.  But we will be traveling with only a few changes and trying to stay safe.  None of this is anything like the restrictions that are likely to be imposed by the cruise lines in the near future.

 

Travel will survive COVID.  But if the cruise lines do not go the mandatory vaccination route I have little hope for their future.  At one time the cruise industry was run by pioneers who truly understood the cruise industry and what made it work.  But many of these top managers are gone and some companies have been taken over by marketing folks, bean counters, and others who have spent very little time learning their own industry.  So far I have not heard a lot to give me confidence in the ability of the cruise industry to successfully navigate this COVID mess.  I sure hope I am wrong and the cruise world soon thrives, but we are not going to gamble our future on waiting for cruising to return to what we find acceptable.  My message to Mr. Fein, Mr. del Rio, and Mr. Donald is do not gamble your industry on testing and social distancing (neither of which worked in Europe).  If there is an alternative to mandatory vaccinations then we are all ears....but at the moment we can think of no other viable alternative.

 

Hank

 

 

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 Makes me think of that old saying that in crisis there is opportunity.   We have always done mostly independent travel with a few cruises.  I love being on the water and the ease of travel with cruising so will definitely miss that.   We are glad we have done so much already. 
 

But we have always been perplexed by those who fly in just prior to the cruise and leave immediately afterwards.  We find cruising gives a great experience and a nice overview.   But we would not choose to cruise in Hawaii,  we see the hordes descend on our favourite snorkelling beach,  which we just avoid that day.  It is not the same relaxing experience.  We also love renting an apartment in Venice or Tuscany and living like a local without the crowds.  
 

So perhaps a few others will be encouraged to try a more local experience.  There is a wonderful feeling of serendipity in discovering beautiful spots whether in Japan or in Europe that are far from the madding crowd.  I pity those who only want to see the “sights” and miss out on the essence as they rush about crossing items off the list.    

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7 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Those of us who follow the industry have all read the reports (put out by the cruise lines) of record future bookings.  But like you said, many of those are likely using generous FCCs and in most ways are a liability (in accounting terms an account payable) to the cruise industry.  I share your skepticism of some of the reports.  Yesterday I received an interesting e-mail from a major cruise line offering a 2 for 1 deal which was unlike anything I have ever seen.  Basically it said book one decent balcony or suite cabin and get a 2nd Inside cabin for free!  Really?  That sure does not sound like a promotion from a company that has record future bookings.  

 

Your comment about breaking the cruise "habit" really hit home.  Until I read your post I never gave this any thought but you have a great point.  When DW and I had our first cruise cancelled last February (this was a 30 day Asian cruise with another 10 day on our own land trip) we were somewhat heartbroken and depressed.  Since that time we have had 4 other cruises cancelled (by the cruise lines) and each subsequent cancelation hurt a lot less.  The most recent (another long Asian trip for April 2021) generated some relief on our part rather then heartbreak.  To be very honest, all this talk about resuming short 7 day cruises does nothing for me since that is not the kind of cruise that we would normally consider.  

 

Are we totally lost to cruising?  Not yet but we are sure getting to that point.  We have previously had some fantastic trips where we rented apartments in France and we still spend 10 weeks a year in Mexico where we rent a Condo.  We love those trips and are now looking at some future options to expand those kind of trips.   A 2 month driving trip in Europe involving a few rental properties is a very attractive option.  Those kind of trip do involve some planning (finding the right rental property can be a challenge) but we are up to the task :).  I ask myself do I want to be walking through the Piazza Navona (a favorite spot in Rome) as part of a tour group or would I prefer to be sitting at one of our favorite cafes with some food, wine, and entertaining ourselves by watching the miserable looking tour groups  who are being told, "this is the Piazza Navona...but we must now move on before you get too close to a local." )?   You can guess the answer :).

 

So here is a thought.  For those of us who enjoy independent travel the post COVID world is just one more challenge.  But that independent travel means we can use some mitigation measures such as social distancing, carefully choosing our restaurants, visiting museums at quieter times, etc.  In some ways COVID mitigation favors the independent traveler while causing some very difficult problems for larger tour groups.   We just (last week) returned from a 9 day trip to Florida (Key West and Ft Myers Beach) where we had a terrific time.  By carefully choosing our hotels and restaurants we were able to social distance (most of the time) and still have a lot of fun.  In our favorite Key West piano/small group bar/restaurant we were able to be seated at a table for 2 far from any other table..where we had excellent food and some decent entertainment (the small group was on stage behind a Plexiglass shield.  At Ft Myers beach our room opened right onto the beach where we had loungers and were generally not within 50 feet of the nearest person.  

 

Once Europe reopens we will certainly return to Paris (DW's favorite city) where we can rent an apartment in a small building and eat in local restaurants without a lot of  crowding.  Instead of using trains for intercity travel we will likely opt for rental cars (a safer option in this COVID world).  While we will likely make adjustments due to the lessons of COVID, those adjustments will be relatively minimal.  But this is nothing like the latest protocols published (yesterday) by Cunard for their future cruises.   We are soon off for our winter home in Mexico where there is a major COVID problem.  But we will do our best to make COVID related adjustments.  In our Condo we will be safe (and do a lot less entertaining) and our usual spot on the beach (where we take our own loungers) will continue to be distant from other folks.  We will favor more restaurants that have outdoor dining (this is easy in Puerto Vallarta) and might even make more dinners at home.  But we will be traveling with only a few changes and trying to stay safe.  None of this is anything like the restrictions that are likely to be imposed by the cruise lines in the near future.

 

Travel will survive COVID.  But if the cruise lines do not go the mandatory vaccination route I have little hope for their future.  At one time the cruise industry was run by pioneers who truly understood the cruise industry and what made it work.  But many of these top managers are gone and some companies have been taken over by marketing folks, bean counters, and others who have spent very little time learning their own industry.  So far I have not heard a lot to give me confidence in the ability of the cruise industry to successfully navigate this COVID mess.  I sure hope I am wrong and the cruise world soon thrives, but we are not going to gamble our future on waiting for cruising to return to what we find acceptable.  My message to Mr. Fein, Mr. del Rio, and Mr. Donald is do not gamble your industry on testing and social distancing (neither of which worked in Europe).  If there is an alternative to mandatory vaccinations then we are all ears....but at the moment we can think of no other viable alternative.

 

Hank

 

 

People still think in Doomsday scenario’s where Covid19 social distancing, facemasks etc. Are permanent...they are NOT.

this is all temporary and we WILL get back to pre-Covid times, AND people are hungry for travel. Very hungry indeed.

 

I am planning now our son’s first vacation trip, which will be DisneyWorld and then a 7 day Disney Cruise .

I will not let Covid, China or other Criminal acts rule my future.

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19 minutes ago, Despegue said:

People still think in Doomsday scenario’s where Covid19 social distancing, facemasks etc. Are permanent...they are NOT.

this is all temporary and we WILL get back to pre-Covid times, AND people are hungry for travel. Very hungry indeed.

 

I am planning now our son’s first vacation trip, which will be DisneyWorld and then a 7 day Disney Cruise .

I will not let Covid, China or other Criminal acts rule my future.

When 9/11 happened and the airlines/airports implemented all kinds of security precautions I do not think anyone thought they were permanent.  In our country the "experts" told us that all the shutdowns done last spring/summer were temporary until we could "flatten the curve" because of healthcare facility concerns.  Now, about 6 months later we still have those "temporary" restrictions and even more!  Just this week our most respected public health physician said that even after folks get vaccinated they will have to wear masks until 70-80% of the population is vaccinated.  The problem with that scenario is that in our country it would be unusual to ever have 70% vaccinated since many have no interest.

 

Perhaps you should plan your son's first vacation trip to Disneyland Paris :(.   Doomsday no!  But politicians overplaying their hands....Yes.  And once politicians get the feel for new powers they do not go quietly.

 

Hank

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10 hours ago, Hlitner said:

When 9/11 happened and the airlines/airports implemented all kinds of security precautions I do not think anyone thought they were permanent.  In our country the "experts" told us that all the shutdowns done last spring/summer were temporary until we could "flatten the curve" because of healthcare facility concerns.  Now, about 6 months later we still have those "temporary" restrictions and even more!  Just this week our most respected public health physician said that even after folks get vaccinated they will have to wear masks until 70-80% of the population is vaccinated.  The problem with that scenario is that in our country it would be unusual to ever have 70% vaccinated since many have no interest.

 

Perhaps you should plan your son's first vacation trip to Disneyland Paris :(.   Doomsday no!  But politicians overplaying their hands....Yes.  And once politicians get the feel for new powers they do not go quietly.

 

Hank

 

Hank, you also make a great point above, in the world response to 9/11, the world is far more shut down, tracked and costly than it was before hand.

I agree with you that government imposed restrictions and control will remain in some fashion - many governments will refuse to give up their control on people. They will be aided by a compliant media who will continue to create hysterics designed to scare people into submission.

 

I lived through SARS in Toronto in 2003 and that was almost as bad as this virus - Toronto was the epicenter of SARS and the Province of Ontario and Canada learned nothing from it. 

 

Cruise ships are the "petri" dish to many consumers, they were the first face of this virus. It will take a very long time to get cruising "back to normal" as many posters on CC want. I doubt it will ever be the same on board experience.

 

In the interim, consumers have found new travel options like RV's, cottages, condos in palm tree locations, land tours etc - that is likely to take permanent $ away from cruising.

 

 

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