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Canadians - What to do - Cruise from US or All Inclusive?


LuCruise
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On 8/25/2021 at 9:10 AM, LuCruise said:

We have a Royal cruise out of NJ in December and torn of what to do. Our final payment is coming up in September so need to make a decision soon.

 

I just returned from a week-long AI in the Caribbean (Punta Cana, DR), and, based on my very fresh experience,  I'm in a better position to comment on your AI vs. cruise question of a month ago. 

 

Though the AI resort I stayed at had social distancing and mask-wearing rules, there seemed to be very lax/timid enforcement. A fair number of Americans seemed to make a show of ignoring or challenging the rules in indoor settings. Resort staff neglected to rein them in -- in effect, enabling them. It was disconcerting.   

 

It's hard to imagine staff on major cruise ships letting these kinds of shenanigans go on.  Don't ships have strict enforcement of rules?  For those who have cruised in the last couple of months, what are your observations on passengers' behaviour when it comes to mask wearing and maintaining safe distances, and on enforcement?

 

Before my AI trip, I'd been thinking that cruise ships were floating Petri dishes because of closed HVAC systems and a higher density of people,  and that AIs would be safer because of bigger indoor  and outdoor spaces, and more opportunities to do things outdoors. 

 

But now, my experience of lax enforcement at the AI has upended my thinking.

 

 

Edited by lots-of-km2
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11 hours ago, lots-of-km2 said:

 

I just returned from a week-long AI in the Caribbean (Punta Cana, DR), and, based on my very fresh experience,  I'm in a better position to comment on your AI vs. cruise question of a month ago. 

 

Though the AI resort I stayed at had social distancing and mask-wearing rules, there seemed to be very lax/timid enforcement. A fair number of Americans seemed to make a show of ignoring or challenging the rules in indoor settings. Resort staff neglected to rein them in -- in effect, enabling them. It was disconcerting.   

 

It's hard to imagine staff on major cruise ships letting these kinds of shenanigans go on.  Don't ships have strict enforcement of rules?  For those who have cruised in the last couple of months, what are your observations on passengers' behaviour when it comes to mask wearing and maintaining safe distances, and on enforcement?

 

Before my AI trip, I'd been thinking that cruise ships were floating Petri dishes because of closed HVAC systems and a higher density of people,  and that AIs would be safer because of bigger indoor  and outdoor spaces, and more opportunities to do things outdoors. 

 

But now, my experience of lax enforcement at the AI has upended my thinking.

 

 

Thank you so much for your feedback.  I hope you still had a nice trip without being too stressed of the relaxed rules.

 

My original post was about a month ago.  Our cruise is Royal and they just recently changed their policy to move final payment from 90 days (which would have been 2 days ago) to 30 days before the cruise.  SO we have more time to decide. 

 

Unless anything changes, we are now leaning towards the cruise (and had planned on paying it off until they moved the final payment date)...for very much the reasons you state.  For AI, there is no test to arrive (unless your airline requires it), and as you say, they may not enforce rules as much.  With the cruise...they have very strict protocols....12+ must be vaccinated AND must show a negative covid test to get on the ship, under 12 must also show negative test...AND test again at the port... AND test again mid cruise for cruises more than 5 days.  Masks required indoors and at most times (our cruise is an indoor ship), etc.  If a positive occurs at any of those times, Royal will refund you, and will help with your travel home or quarantine.  We have also purchased refundable plane tickets as the borders are still closed (and we may fly anyways).  As a precaution...and I certainly hope it doesn't come to this, DH and I are thinking of bringing our work laptops in the worst case that one of us tests positive (but not sick), and maybe kids laptops too.  The ships take huge precautions and seem to handle it well when there is a positive case onboard.

 

We still have the AI booking but have until early Dec to cancel it for full refund.

Edited by LuCruise
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At the very end of the day this is your decision to make.  Based upon your personal preferences and your perceptions of the risk and the various trade offs.

 

If we travel it will be last minute.   Absolutely no interest in putting any money toward a trip that is, or could become questionable.

 

Everyone is promising full refunds.   Canadian airlines were supposed to give full refunds when flights were cancelled by the airline.  It took 12-18 months and a Canadian Gov't imposed condition for bail out funds to get those refunds flowing.

 

Edited by iancal
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3 hours ago, LuCruise said:

I hope you still had a nice trip without being too stressed of the relaxed rules.

 

Thanks! I did, on balance, though I was hyper-alert around mask-holes, touchers, get-in-your-face one-foot-away friendly drunks, and people doing unsanitary things in the buffet area that shouldn't even be done in normal times.    Multiple mojitos couldn't banish the fight-or-flight stuff  gurgling in my stomach.  And I'm not a fighter. 

 

The rules weren't actually relaxed -- their enforcement was. 

 

People need to comply with laws and be considerate (which is not such an onerous thing), and the management (of a hotel, or cruise ship, or grocery store, or whatever) needs to have the backbone to enforce the rules and/or laws.  Without that, the world won't get well soon.  And vacations will suck.

Edited by lots-of-km2
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3 hours ago, LuCruise said:

Unless anything changes, we are now leaning towards the cruise (and had planned on paying it off until they moved the final payment date)...for very much the reasons you state.

 

p.s.  I'm coming around to your way of thinking on the AI vs cruise question.

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4 hours ago, lots-of-km2 said:

 

Thanks! I did, on balance, though I was hyper-alert around mask-holes, touchers, get-in-your-face one-foot-away friendly drunks, and people doing unsanitary things in the buffet area that shouldn't even be done in normal times.    Multiple mojitos couldn't banish the fight-or-flight stuff  gurgling in my stomach.  And I'm not a fighter. 

 

The rules weren't actually relaxed -- their enforcement was. 

 

People need to comply with laws and be considerate (which is not such an onerous thing), and the management (of a hotel, or cruise ship, or grocery store, or whatever) needs to have the backbone to enforce the rules and/or laws.  Without that, the world won't get well soon.  And vacations will suck.

I'm a germophobic even before covid so can totally understand.  

Totally agree with your statement.  Sometimes it's just common courtesy...and we need to be able to get things better.  

 

Thanks again for sharing your experience.  Glad you still had a good vacation.

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On 8/25/2021 at 9:10 AM, LuCruise said:

We have a Royal cruise out of NJ in December and torn of what to do. Our final payment is coming up in September so need to make a decision soon.

 

Our family is fully vaccinated with same doses (kids got Pfizer, DH and I got Moderna).

 

From a cruise experience, we are fine with masks, glad that NJ will have 12+ vaccination rule.  A plus is that it most likely will not be a full ship. Minus is that some venues as of now are not running (one of the shows, rollerblading, escape room, etc), but that can change by December...and I know there is still lots to do.  The cruise has one stop at their private island so we would get off.  We would stay on the ship for the other two ports.

 

If we go, Dh would like to drive (...if border opens) as he feels it'll be easier to return in the chance that one of tests positive.  And perhaps it'll be safer being in our own car vs in an airport with lots of people (but there are rest stops, additional hotel, etc with driving). It's about an 8-10hr drive vs 1.5 hour flight (and I have issues with sitting for long periods of time).

 

But currently Royal is flying anyone back home that tests positive....so perhaps flying is better as our car would be stuck in NJ in the chance that this happens?

 

We also have a refundable booking at a reputable resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  The hotel tests for you to return to your home country.  But..if you test positive, then I believe you need to stay there for 10-14 days.

 

Option 1

Pay it off and decide closer to the date, leaning to Mexico but keeping cruise booking just in case.  If we pick the resort, the cruise money will go to FCC which we can use for March (same cruise booked - but Dec booking is about $500 more than March so we would lose money)

 

Option 2

Cancel the December cruise and go to the all inclusive

 

Option 3

Pay it off and continue with plan to go (drive or fly). 

 

It's a bit stressful though if one of us tests positive leading up to vacation.  We are all vaccinated and we would keep things low key leading up to the trip (no playdates or family get togethers), but kids go to school and DH and I could be back in the office by then.

 

What are other Canadians doing?  Are you planning on cruising, and if so, from where?  Or are you skipping cruising and doing all inclusive (or skipping vacation all together)?  In one sense, I almost feel like cruises are safer as they have strict protocols to board.  But the ship is indoors and so everyone together. And who knows if March will be any better.  Really torn....

We had an upcoming cruise this December out of Ft. Lauderdale and ended up cancelling it last week when our final payment was due.
 

Really sucks, but the whole situation in Florida is scary right now.
We are also looking into all inclusive and Airbnb places too. We are all fully vaccinated, but there’s always the what if lurking at the back of my mind.

 

I’m going to keep my eye on things and if Florida seems to be in a better place and the cruise still has rooms available at or around what I originally paid, then maybe I’ll rebook. 

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27 minutes ago, CamCan4 said:

We had an upcoming cruise this December out of Ft. Lauderdale and ended up cancelling it last week when our final payment was due.
 

Really sucks, but the whole situation in Florida is scary right now.
We are also looking into all inclusive and Airbnb places too. We are all fully vaccinated, but there’s always the what if lurking at the back of my mind.

 

I’m going to keep my eye on things and if Florida seems to be in a better place and the cruise still has rooms available at or around what I originally paid, then maybe I’ll rebook. 

Totally get that as things are extra bad in Florida at the moment. Our cruise is out of New Jersey so feel a bit better.  Hopefully things will improve soon. 

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If I was travelling right now, I'd do an All-Inclusive instead of a cruise.  Main reason for me is there is too much uncertainly with cruising.  A covid outbreak onboard could negatively impact my vacation and not all ports are allowing cruiseship passengers.  

 

Our preferred AI resorts are the Couples properties in Jamaica.  Smaller properties that are never crowded even at full capacity, plenty of a la carte meal options and very easy to social distance.  They offer free testing to fly home and if you happen to test positive they'll provide a free room for 14 days until you test negative.

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We have an AI booked for Punta Cana and Cuba in January.  Back in early summer Air Canada was offering  $50 refundable down payments so we figured why not.  We will choose whichever one is safer at the time.  We have a cruise booked for 2023 - hopefully testing is over with at least for vaccinated people by then!  We are kind of iffy on Punta Cana for the exact reason someone else stated - the Americans not following protocol and probably Canadians as well.  AIs are also a lot cheaper this year as we would have to fly out of Canada for our cruise whereas we usually fly out of the US.  We are healthy, middle aged and vaccinated, but it is still a scary time we are living in.  

Edited by jtdlmc
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54 minutes ago, jtdlmc said:

We have an AI booked for Punta Cana and Cuba in January.  Back in early summer Air Canada was offering  $50 refundable down payments so we figured why not.  We will choose whichever one is safer at the time.  We have a cruise booked for 2023 - hopefully testing is over with at least for vaccinated people by then!  We are kind of iffy on Punta Cana for the exact reason someone else stated - the Americans not following protocol and probably Canadians as well.  AIs are also a lot cheaper this year as we would have to fly out of Canada for our cruise whereas we usually fly out of the US.  We are healthy, middle aged and vaccinated, but it is still a scary time we are living in.  

My son is in Punta Cana right now. I'll ask how the protocol following was when he gets back. 

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11 hours ago, jtdlmc said:

We have an AI booked for Punta Cana and Cuba in January....  We are kind of iffy on Punta Cana for the exact reason someone else stated - the Americans not following protocol and probably Canadians as well. 

 

I had been looking at Cuba for that reason, to avoid Americans that are flouting the guidelines in Mexico or the DR.

 

What I have read on some recent Cuban reviews is that protocols are not being followed by the Russian tourists.

 

Can't win! 😭

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9 hours ago, AndyCapn said:

What I have read on some recent Cuban reviews is that protocols are not being followed by the Russian tourists.

 

At the AI I spent a week at in the DR, Russian nationals on the property rivalled the Americans in not following masking rules -- and the people I observed seemed to have a different (extremely reduced) standard for personal space and distancing. 30 cm away from a stranger without a mask?  They had no problem doing that at the AI. 

 

Not sure how much Spanish or English they spoke, but when staff or other guests signaled to them (without words) that they needed to mask up and step back,  they looked surprised. 

 

Insolent travelers are a wild card now. 

 

Maybe the best we can do at this point is identify AIs that are very serious about enforcement, and are not shy to keep errant guests in line. 

Edited by lots-of-km2
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Sad to here the utter disrespect they are ALL showing for the mask mandates.  I personally don't give a dam* if anyone is an antivaxxer or refuses to wear a mask for any reason in these times with the science and medical proof that emerges every day.  But I dearly wish they would respect the rights and personal space of those who do.  It's hard enough for us to be vigilant at all times without these clowns so freely ignoring the rules.   

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Well said. Those who flaunt rules and protocols which are in place to protect everyone also irk the majority. They have helped to give rise to Delta, have prolonged the pandemic, and caused untold suffering to thousands who have had long awaited surgeries cancelled. If they could only understand how selfish they truly are! If this new miracle pill is approved, the unvaxxed should have to pay to receive it. 

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57 minutes ago, gubby said:

Well said. Those who flaunt rules and protocols which are in place to protect everyone also irk the majority. They have helped to give rise to Delta, have prolonged the pandemic, and caused untold suffering to thousands who have had long awaited surgeries cancelled. If they could only understand how selfish they truly are! If this new miracle pill is approved, the unvaxxed should have to pay to receive it. 

They will have to pay for , I cannot see a drug plan approving any drug that quickly 

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On 9/25/2021 at 9:45 PM, lots-of-km2 said:

 

I just returned from a week-long AI in the Caribbean (Punta Cana, DR), and, based on my very fresh experience,  I'm in a better position to comment on your AI vs. cruise question of a month ago. 

 

Though the AI resort I stayed at had social distancing and mask-wearing rules, there seemed to be very lax/timid enforcement. A fair number of Americans seemed to make a show of ignoring or challenging the rules in indoor settings. Resort staff neglected to rein them in -- in effect, enabling them. It was disconcerting.   

 

It's hard to imagine staff on major cruise ships letting these kinds of shenanigans go on.  Don't ships have strict enforcement of rules?  For those who have cruised in the last couple of months, what are your observations on passengers' behaviour when it comes to mask wearing and maintaining safe distances, and on enforcement?

 

Before my AI trip, I'd been thinking that cruise ships were floating Petri dishes because of closed HVAC systems and a higher density of people,  and that AIs would be safer because of bigger indoor  and outdoor spaces, and more opportunities to do things outdoors. 

 

But now, my experience of lax enforcement at the AI has upended my thinking.

 

 

My husband and I just disembarked the Majestic Princess (Alaska) last Monday. I must say, I was incredibly impressed at the high percentage of people wearing masks around the ship when it wasn't required! Masks were only mandatory if in an elevator, in retail shops and the casino, and when going to/from your table in restaurants/bars/MDR. It was suggested that we wear a mask if in a crowded situation where we couldn't distance from others. The majority of passengers wore them when walking around the ship, both inside and out (my mask was handy on glacier viewing day to keep my nose warm when I was on deck!) and would remove them once they were seated to eat or drink. I saw many people wearing them in the theatre even though it wasn't required (and the ship was only about 65% full so we certainly weren't packed in sitting side by side like it used to be). I didn't once hear anyone complaining or arguing if they were asked to wear a mask (or to pull theirs up over their nose - how are people still not getting this?) on the ship. I heard one woman squawking to her friend on our whale watching excursion that she shouldn't have to wear her mask inside the boat. Her friend told her she could always go stand outside in the rain if she didn't want to wear it - I rather wanted to go over and high five that lady. 

 

Hubby and I agreed that we felt very safe on board knowing that everyone was vaccinated (or the majority at least - I didn't see any kids under 12) and that everyone had to present a negative test to board. The cruise director told us the staff are tested every other day, and of course, they are also vaccinated and had to wear masks. Knowing that Princess would provide a test for us if we did feel symptomatic, that our Medallions made contact tracing easier if we were exposed to someone who tested positive, and that they would cover our quarantine costs if we did test positive, just made me feel more secure. 

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11 minutes ago, Ginnyfyr said:

Hubby and I agreed that we felt very safe on board 

 

This is very encouraging.  Thanks for sharing your observations, and glad that you had a good trip, surrounded by considerate people. 

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5 minutes ago, lots-of-km2 said:

 

This is very encouraging.  Thanks for sharing your observations, and glad that you had a good trip, surrounded by considerate people. 

It was certainly a relief to know that we weren't in for a week of people arguing with the staff about such a silly thing as slapping on a mask! We are doing a 5 day with Virgin at month end and then a 6 day with Carnival a few days later so I'm hoping we have the same positive experiences on those lines. 

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53 minutes ago, Ginnyfyr said:

It was certainly a relief to know that we weren't in for a week of people arguing with the staff about such a silly thing as slapping on a mask! We are doing a 5 day with Virgin at month end and then a 6 day with Carnival a few days later so I'm hoping we have the same positive experiences on those lines. 

Thanks. Our next cruise is with Princess. Your positive comments have  convinced me that we made a great decision!

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5 hours ago, cnd crsr said:

Thanks. Our next cruise is with Princess. Your positive comments have  convinced me that we made a great decision!

Have a great time! We were very pleased with all their protocols and felt very safe!

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I am thinking about a month or more in Panama.  Probably a mix of independent and AI.  Their current covid numbers are very encouraging.   Would love to include Costa Rica IF they get covid under control.

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13 minutes ago, iancal said:

I am thinking about a month or more in Panama.  Probably a mix of independent and AI.  Their current covid numbers are very encouraging.   Would love to include Costa Rica IF they get covid under control.

Our daughter just book her family to a RIU resort in Playa Blanca in Panama, 

it has been almost 22 years since we were there last ,  were does the time go 😱

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On 9/30/2021 at 3:33 PM, lovemylab said:

If I was travelling right now, I'd do an All-Inclusive instead of a cruise.  Main reason for me is there is too much uncertainly with cruising.  A covid outbreak onboard could negatively impact my vacation and not all ports are allowing cruiseship passengers.  

 

Our preferred AI resorts are the Couples properties in Jamaica.  Smaller properties that are never crowded even at full capacity, plenty of a la carte meal options and very easy to social distance.  They offer free testing to fly home and if you happen to test positive they'll provide a free room for 14 days until you test negative.

I am the opposite, I am doing cruise vacations.

The cruise lines offer free testing to return to Canada and Princess and Celebrity will pay for a quarantine hotel and medical treatment if required.

These cruise lines are also serving in the buffet restaurants so you don't have to worry about other passengers handling things.

The main reason that I have chosen to cruise is everyone over the age of 12  has to be vaccinated and all staff are vaccinated, which is not the case in any of the resorts that I have looked at.

If you choose a longer cruise with Princess or Celebrity there will be very few children aboard, so 98% vaccinated travellers.

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