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Quest SouthAmerica/Antarctica Nov/Dec cancelled?


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Posted (edited)

The Seabourn Quest November and early December 2021 cruises have been removed from the Seabourn website. The first Quest cruise is now the December Holiday cruise in Antarctica. For those on these cruises, has Seabourn notified you that they have been cancelled? If so, what did they offer you?

Edited by alithecat
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  • alithecat changed the title to Quest SouthAmerica/Antarctica Nov/Dec cancelled?
Posted (edited)

I can still see this voyage the one we've booked, Nov. 29, 2021 Santiago-BA on the website but all suites are marked as unavailable and when I'm logged in it says: 105 days until departure. Some confusing info.

John

Edited by JK300
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Argentina is still listed on various information websites as closed to all foreign nationals for tourism  (even if vaccinated and tested)  through October, so there may be legitimate concern that come November it will still be closed and then there would be short notice cruise cancellations that would make pax very unhappy.  Since I want to go to Antarctica (though not yet decided on the cruise line),  I have been following postings by a guy who lives in Argentina (secrets of buenos aires travel update when will tourism resume etc) and he is worried it will not open for the holidays.  

Cruise and travel line Tauck, however,  has a list of all the countries they service in a chart, and acknowledges the closure, but indicates they are confident it will open.   They do not say what makes them confident (i.e., if it is inside travel company knowledge, or just a sales pitch). Most of the cruise lines advertising just aren't commenting on the existing  through October closure one way or the other (it would obviously discourage bookings)

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A travel agent who posts regularly on Facebook said recently: "Argentina has quietly announced that it is planning on opening its borders to tourists (not sure of the conditions...as I am sure it isn't either) in November 2021. Fingers Crossed!"  Additionally, Argentina previously announced that it would allow cruise ships to sail from Ushuaia this winter. A Silversea executive said they expected to have "clarity" about the winter season in Antarctica by late August or early September.

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All of the expedition cruises are forming contingency plans.  This includes leaving from Chile instead of Argentina.  Quest doing a circular route Santiago-BA and then BA -Santiago is more susceptible to the COVID issues in Buenos Aires.

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27 minutes ago, PaulMCO said:

All of the expedition cruises are forming contingency plans.  This includes leaving from Chile instead of Argentina.  Quest doing a circular route Santiago-BA and then BA -Santiago is more susceptible to the COVID issues in Buenos Aires.

However, what  alithecat posted in #6 about Chile also looks pretty onerous, if up to date, (embassy online information is not uncommonly out of date)  .  

Perhaps if the entry bans continue, there would be some way of semi-quarantining people arriving for cruises at the airport or airport hotels a day or two (until everyone has arrived), and then going straight to the ship after testing and showing proof of vaccination status?  This is all speculation, of course, but there seem to also be political trends in both Argentina and Chile to rally support amongs the populace by blaming foreign visitors for their Covid/economic problems (as opposed to blaming unvaccinated locals returning from travel), and backing it up with foreigner entry bans to show how tough they are.  But at the same time, the governments want and need the tourism money to avoid total economic collapse and revolution. Argentina has only a 20% vax status so far.

 

A few years ago a friend of mine was stuck in Argentina for two weeks due to some kind of public or airport strikes, amidst some of the recurrent political turmoil.  Every day she would have to go to the airport to see if her flight back to the U.S. was going, then go back to the hotel when she found out it was not, so she could not just go touring for the two week period. She has refused to return to Argentina since, though she loved Patagonia. This was of course not an identical situation, but I suspect many cruisers who are heavy planners, especially if they have health issues that would make getting stuck problematic, or people who do not deal with short notice changes well for whatever reason, are experiencing similar anxieties right now that something will happen that will mess up even contingency planning  (even if they are insured).

 

To compare, e.g., other South America countires: visitors flying into Peru currently need to double mask with fresh masks, AND wear a face shield flying in and on local transport and public areas, and maybe that's the way to go for Chile and Argentina, if it would be enough to allow cruisers to stay long enough in their countries to get on and off  a ship!   

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Posted (edited)

Chile's vaccination rate is very high 75% one dose (actually higher than the US) with over 50% fully vaccinated.   I have greater trust that Chile will fare better.

 

Argentina went the route of Sputnik vaccine and while 50% have one dose only 20% are fully vaccinated.  They do not have the second dose (which is a unique jab and not same as first)

 

I know Argentina is trying to create an Ushuaia bubble for their cruises, but you have to get to Ushuaia and only through BA. 

 

We are booked on Quark end of November -- mainly because of their itinerary (goes to view the full solar eclipse), so following the events closely

Edited by PaulMCO
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We're booked don a Silversea Antarctica cruise in December, so I've been monitoring everything posted about travel through South America for awhile. I'd note that a Silversea executive has described that they have at least four different plans for their three ships scheduled to to Antarctica trips this winter, and I'm sure among those are options to move travelers through Argentina without Chile (e.g Buenos Aires to Ushuaia) and Chile without Argentina (e.g. Santiago to Punta Arenas or Puerto Williams).

 

Seabourn's Antarctica trips on the Quest which start in Santiago, Chile and end in Buenos Aires, Argentina or visa versa are more problematic to re-route -- but there are ways it could be done. For instance, if Chile is open but Argentina is not, instead of starting in Buenos Aires, they could conceivably leave from Santiago, cross the Straight of Magellan, to the Falklands and/or South Georgia, and return to Santiago. Or been or end in Punta Arenas with a charter flight from Santiago.

 

The Silversea executive said they expect to have more clarity about what will and won't be open to them by early September, so I think we just have to wait to see what develops over the next few weeks.

 

Of course, if you are booked on the Quest holiday trip in December and face a final payment deadline next week, you have to make a decision about whether to complete final payment without knowing what will happen with the trip. (Assuming you booked prior to May 31, 2021, you will be able to cancel up until 30 days prior to the December 20 departure and receive a 100% future cruise credit; that credit must be used within 12 months for a cruise departing by December 31, 2022. But you won't be able to get a cash refund, and assuming Quest will not sail this itinerary next year -- anything may change, but as of now Quest is scheduled to be doing Central America cruises in December 2022 -- rebooking on the Venture will incur a significant step up in cost.)

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Yes, cruiseej, this is exactly the analysis we have done. Our payment is not due until 9/21 but we lose our deposit (it becomes a FCC) after 8/22. We want a cruise that includes South Georgia. In 2022/23, Seabourn has one Quest cruise that is identical to (the inverse of) this year's Holiday cruise. It starts Jan. 28, 2023, which I think is too late in the season. And might already be sold out. The Venture is much more expensive.

So, we booked the Silversea Silver Cloud cruise starting Dec. 17, 2022, that goes to South Georgia, and are about to cancel this year's Seabourn cruise.

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I just tried searching for the answer to my following question on the SB website and couldn’t find it. I’m sure it’s there somewhere. 
 

We are booked on the 24 day Antarctica cruise leaving out of BA on Dec 20, 2021. We PIF sometime late last year to get the 10% discount. If SB (and not us) cancels the cruise sometime in November well after the FPDD, will we be offered the option for a full refund as we have no desire to get our payment back in FCC? Other cruise lines have enacted a Cruise With Confidence program, but I can’t seem to find SB’s.

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5 minutes ago, alithecat said:

I can't find a general policy, but this is what they did when they cancelled the last round of cruises: https://www.seabourn.com/en_US/news/operational-pause-faq.html

Thanks! Hopefully this option would still be applicable:

 

 

Option #3: Guests may decline to transfer their booking and the bonus Future Cruise Credits, and request a 100% refund of all monies paid to Seabourn to be reimbursed to the original form of payment.

 

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7 hours ago, alithecat said:

So, we booked the Silversea Silver Cloud cruise starting Dec. 17, 2022, that goes to South Georgia, and are about to cancel this year's Seabourn cruise.

 

We'll be five days behind you on the Silver Wind, if all the pieces for travel through South America fall into place. Fingers crossed!

 

3 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

If SB (and not us) cancels the cruise sometime in November well after the FPDD, will we be offered the option for a full refund as we have no desire to get our payment back in FCC?

 

If the cruise lines cancels the cruise, and you booked with a cash payment (not a FCC from a previously-canceled cruise), then you have the option to get a cash refund. But if you accept a FCC for a canceled cruise, and use the FCC to book a new cruise, you can never get back your payment should that cruise be canceled. 

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6 hours ago, cruiseej said:

 

If the cruise lines cancels the cruise, and you booked with a cash payment (not a FCC from a previously-canceled cruise), then you have the option to get a cash refund. But if you accept a FCC for a canceled cruise, and use the FCC to book a new cruise, you can never get back your payment should that cruise be canceled. 

Thanks! We’re definitely hoping that’s the case as we have no desire for SB FCC and the likelihood they would offer a L&S to a similar cruise on the Venture the following year would be pretty slim.

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3 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

the likelihood they would offer a L&S to a similar cruise on the Venture the following year would be pretty slim.

🤞 😅

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20 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

I just tried searching for the answer to my following question on the SB website and couldn’t find it. I’m sure it’s there somewhere. 
 

We are booked on the 24 day Antarctica cruise leaving out of BA on Dec 20, 2021. We PIF sometime late last year to get the 10% discount. If SB (and not us) cancels the cruise sometime in November well after the FPDD, will we be offered the option for a full refund as we have no desire to get our payment back in FCC? Other cruise lines have enacted a Cruise With Confidence program, but I can’t seem to find SB’s.

We did the same and can't find SB's.

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PIF = paid in full.

FPDD = final payment due date.

L & S. not sure what this stands for, but what it means is that Seabourn would offer to transfer the booking to a new, comparable booking on the Venture next season for the same price, promotions and incentives as originally paid.

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12 minutes ago, alithecat said:

PIF = paid in full.

FPDD = final payment due date.

L & S. not sure what this stands for, but what it means is that Seabourn would offer to transfer the booking to a new, comparable booking on the Venture next season for the same price, promotions and incentives as originally paid.

Sorry, it’s a term I picked up from my experiences with Celebrity. L & S stands for Lift and Shift and your explanation is spot on.

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I am also booked on the holiday Quest cruise and have fully paid.  I hope it sails but I'm not holding my breath.  I was booked on an Ovation cruise from Athens that was canceled in late June.  Seabourn offered me either 1) a  FCC for 110% of the amount I had already paid (I had not yet made full payment), 2) a transfer to a comparable 2022 cruise at my current fare (or recalculated  by a per diem rate if it was a different length) or 3) a refund of all money I had already paid.  The first two options didn't suit me so I chose option 3.  The money was refunded within two weeks to my credit card.

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23 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Other cruise lines have enacted a Cruise With Confidence program, but I can’t seem to find SB’s.

 

Seabourn has its Worry Free Promise, which encompasses the Book with Confidence policy and Covid-19 Protection Program. The details of the Worry Free Promise are in the Terms & Conditions document. There is also a Book With Confidence FAQ.

 

 

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We're booked on the Quest over Christmas and NYE in Antarctica.  Given the remote destination and Seabourn's effective COVID policies (which we experienced on Ovation last month) we are hoping this trip is not going to be cancelled but the recent announcements and continued growth of Delta variant in South America do have us concerned.  The announcement of the Sojourn World Cruise being cancelled came as no big surprise given the current circumstances.  Any one have any new news on Quest itineraries?

 

Please vaccinate and wear a mask when required so we can get back to our normal travel routines!

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Posted (edited)

One question I have thought about and not found any answer to is whether cruise ships like the Quest will be able to land passengers on the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falklands.  Obviously many landings are in places without any human presence but the Quest also calls in at manned research stations - one Chilean station even has a museum and a shop.  So too does Grytviken in South Georgia which is subject to their own travel restrictions with ultimate power in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.  And so on.

 

It's worth thinking about, at least.  After all, way back in February I was thinking, well, in August everything will have changed.  And here we are and nothing really has changed.

Edited by Fletcher
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