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Everything posted by Balsam

  1. Bingo. My partner and I play regularly at home, but Royal's version we found to be a waste of time, and very expensive. Four games in an hour, so your chances of actually winning a prize are minimal. Granted, the prizes are decent, but we're used to a game taking about 3 minutes, not 15, so were expecting about 15 games in the hour.
  2. I agree that our governments would not trust the testing and quarantine procedures in another country. The flipside of this is that neither would any of the major cruise lines.... Let's pick a random country where many of the ships currently sit, and that also provides a high percentage of crew... the Philippines. Crew quarantine on land for 14 days. They then board the ship after testing negative, and sail to Australia. Let's say they take their time, or simply anchor close to Australia until the crew have been aboard for another 14 days. They are then subjected to testing by Australian and or New Zealand authorities. If everything is clear, they can then take passengers, as after 28 days of quarantine, we could be confident the ship is clean. If just one crew member tests positive, that entire ship will have to go back to step one and start all over again. Personally, I think the cruise lines will be even more stringent in their testing regime than our governments in this scenario. The last thing they need is to be paying crew for a month (or two weeks as they probably wouldn't pay them for the land based quarantine), and then have to start over from the beginning. If they are going to all that trouble, they need it to work first time. This takes the originating country's testing out of the equation, as the cruise line would conduct extremely thorough testing to ensure their efforts don't go to waste.
  3. Getting crew cleared initially is the easy bit. Put them in land based quarantine for 14 days before boarding a ship, and then it is generally a week or so to sail to Australia, so you have 21 days or longer. The issue is what happens if there are any cases brought on board by passengers. You would then need to quarantine all passengers AND the crew for 14 days. I don't know where that would be able to happen... if cruises are allowed from Australia, that would also mean our state borders are open, and everyone that has been crying out to go interstate to visit family/do business/have a holiday etc would have filled up all the hotels. I'm pretty sure the government wouldn't permit everyone to just stay on the ship for 14 days either. The only possibility I see is that the testing when boarding the ship is both fast enough and accurate enough to ensure Covid never gets on the ship in the first place. The added benefit of this would be that if we are sure there's no covid on board, there's no need for masks/social distancing/reduced capacity etc.
  4. Haven't actually used The Key. Did have it purchased for two cruises that have since been cancelled. It could be very handy when we restart, depending on how boarding works. The boarding process could become very long and tedious, so if priority boarding with the Key gets you onboard quickly, the value is more. Time will tell...
  5. Thanks folks. We've actually decided to go for a refund now. Too much doubt over a March 2021 sailing, and we have another cruise booked for October 2021 with a different cruise line, so will use the refund toward that one. Cheers
  6. Just wondering if anyone knows what will happen here? We had a March Radiance sailing cancelled due to Covid. We opted for the 125% FCC, and booked a December Ovation sailing. We paid a $400 cash deposit for this, then applied our full $4882 FCC toward that cruise, leaving an outstanding $1386. Final payment is due 7 October, so we have not paid this yet. RC has today announced the cancellation of all Australian sailings through December 31. We are now considering a March 2021 Serenade sailing, which will only cost us $3348 in total. If we take FCC for the cancelled Ovation sailing and then use that to pay for the Serenade sailing, what happens to the balance of the FCC? Can we take that as a refund, or will it have to remain as a new FCC? I've searched these boards as well as Googled, but can't seem to find an answer. Cheers
  7. I'm not seeing this problem on the Australian website. I too just completed my daily check of prices, and the DBP I purchased previously is still showing in the CP. Unfortunately, at a higher price than I paid ?
  8. Maybe they just put it on every sailing, so that you get so used to seeing it that you simply click to get rid of it without actually reading. Then when they do actually slip a change of port or something important in there, nobody takes any notice and just carries on with their booking. Sort of a reverse psychology version of the boy who cried wolf?
  9. @Aslan, can you please explain your use of the word "optics" several times in this thread? As far as I understand the word, I don't understand your use of it in this context?
  10. Our March 27 Radiance sailing was cancelled on 14 March. The cruise planner was actually still open, so I went in and cancelled everything. Refunds went back into our bank on 23 April. We received our FCC certificates on 11 April. As of today, still no sign of the port fees and taxes. 74 days since the sail date and 87 days since the cruise was cancelled.
  11. The point that is conveniently missed by this article is that the crew members are on the ships by choice. They choose to take these jobs because the pay and conditions are significantly better that what they could get at home, plus they get to travel and see parts of the world they would otherwise never see. Many of the crew have been there for years. If they were being exploited as badly as the article makes out, they would not return after their first contract. I have worked on cruise ships, and generally, the crew are very happy. It's certainly not a job that suits everyone, and you definitely work long hours, but I'm very glad I did it. The story originates from Australian worker's unions. Their interest is purely to look after their own members. If they can keep cruise ships away for a bit longer, Australians are more likely to travel within Australia, thus creating and securing jobs for Australian workers. They don't actually care about anyone else except themselves and their members. Anything they say about cruise ships is simply to try and keep them out of Australia a bit longer, or to discourage Australians from cruising.
  12. We had our March 27 Radiance sailing cancelled on 14 March. We received the FCC on April 11, and our Cruise Planner refunds hit our bank account on 21 and 22 April. The only thing we are now waiting on is the refund is the port taxes and fees.
  13. Thanks for those menus. Very handy as we have Ovation booked over Xmas and New Year (fingers crossed). You mention the app, however I don't seem to be able to do anything with it. Our last two cruises were on Voyager before it was added to the app, and the Radiance which was also not on the app (and was cancelled). Our Ovation cruise shows up , but all I get is a message "We're working on the fun", and "Check back later". I thought we could make cruise planner purchases, MTD reservations etc using the app? Am I incorrect, or does that functionality show up closer to sailing? Cheers
  14. Maybe I didn't word that particularly well.... There is obviously plenty of information here for Non-US people, otherwise I wouldn't be here in the first place. There is definitely a US bias here, but this just comes from having the majority of the people from the US. This becomes evident when you look at things like menus. Not one menu from Ovation, Radiance or Voyager. I don't believe that not a single person would post a menu from one of those ships. Apologies if I offended anyone.
  15. I wouldn't go as far as to say the workers are all liars. Most of the call centre staff probably know as much about what is happening as we do. They are given some "information" from management and told to pass that on to customers. They look at their computer and say "your refund has been processed" because that's what they see. What is actually happening behind the scenes is hidden from them because if they really knew, there is a chance they would actually tell customers what is happening. That's the last thing Royal Caribbean want at this point. Are Royal Caribbean as a company telling lies? Undoubtedly, but I don't put that on the employees.
  16. You must remember... this is a US biased forum, and anything non US is frowned upon as inferior....
  17. Our Christmas Ovation has dropped to AUD 72 (about USD 45). Would love to buy at that price, however we are yet to receive refunds on Cruise Planner purchases for our March Radiance sailing that was cancelled. The money we are waiting on is money that we class as "already spent", but we won't be giving them any extra money until we see some refunds. BTW, most of the Voom pricing also dropped for our sailing as well as the beverage pricing.
  18. Which cruise is that for? Our Ovation 15 night on 22 December would currently cost us $2172 ($83.57 per person/day) I just looked at my spreadsheet for our cancelled Radiance cruise, and we originally paid exactly the same daily rate at 7 months out. We cancelled and repurchased four times, eventually getting it at $65.76 in Early December.
  19. One major difference with Australia is how isolated our population is to start with. This is one of the few times it is good to live in one of the most isolated cities in the world (Perth). Western Australia has closed it's borders to the rest of the country, and other states are doing the same. With a bit of luck, this could mean that Australia can actually get ahead of the virus very quickly. New Zealand was even quicker to act, and also has a good chance to get on top of it as well. Once we have a period where there are no cases of Covid 19 in either country, cruises may well start up again. If other parts of the world are not allowing cruises, but Australia and NZ are, it won't take long for ships to get here. Considering how long it takes a ship to reach places like Sydney or Melbourne from another part of the world, a 14 day quarantine period for the crew is simple. Obviously the cruises would only be for people already in Australia or NZ, but at least there could be a chance.
  20. So the passenger carries the tongs around with them? So we have no idea where they have been? Nope. Edit... it would also mean passengers using the same set of tongs for all types of food, which would lead to cross contamination. I use my tongs to pick up something containing nuts, then move over to another area and pick up some salad, dropping some nuts in the process. The next passenger is allergic to nuts.
  21. Yep... might not work on an Oasis or Quantum class size ship, but on smaller ones, it definitely does. Add to that, if there was a 20 minute line at breakfast, I would be finding somewhere else to eat anyway...
  22. P and O Australia have been doing away with buffets over the past couple of years. They now have "The Pantry", which is somewhat akin to a shopping centre food court. About 10 small outlets, all serving different types of food which are cooked/prepared on order. It solves two issues... passengers are not handling anything, and the food is not sitting on a buffet for unknown periods of time. I have not sailed on a ship with this, but all the reviews have been very positive.
  23. Not to be funny, but if the person in the video only booked and paid for an Oceanview cabin, and was then upgraded to a balcony at no cost (they didn't say if this was free or a Royal Up), then all they need to do is keep the balcony door closed. They have a cabin that is larger than their Oceanview, and a much bigger window. I do understand the frustration of having a balcony and not really being able to use it, but if they still have better than they paid for.
  24. As I see it, when we booked, there was a cancellation policy that we basically agreed to. Royal have now announced a much more flexible policy, but will only refund in the for of FCC. At the end of the day, they don't even have to do this. On the other hand, if they actually cancel a cruise, the refund will depend on where you purchased the cruise. I can only speak for Australia, and if they cancel your cruise, under Australian consumer law, they must refund in full based on the method of payment. They cannot just offer FCC. One would hope they made an offer off 100% refund, or FCC for 100%+, but at this stage we don't know. Yes, other cruise lines are making better offers, but at this point, I just want to go on the cruise I booked...
  25. Sailing 27th out of Sydney on Radiance. If the ship sails, we will be on board.
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