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CDR Benson

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  1. Here's been our experience with the sudden round of cancellations. My wife and I were booked on the 18 October 2020 cruise to Canada out of Boston. As soon as the cancellations were promulgated, our TA called my wife to notify us. My wife then called me at work. She wasn't able to pass on many of the details---I'm the one who handles the logistics for our cruises---but I got the gist: the 2020 cruise was off. My biggest concern at that moment: I had done a great deal of research and had booked that cruise almost two years ahead of the sailing date; I got a hell of a good fare and the precise suite I wanted on board Brilliance of the Seas; and I didn't want to have to pay more than that original fare, nor lose that particular suite, should we reschedule the cruise. That latter concerned me more because I knew every other person whose Canadian cruise had been canx would be looking to rebook. Fortunately, we have a head's-up TA. As soon as she got the word that our 2020 cruise was canx, she booked us on a 2021 cruise, same destination, same itinerary, same suite, in the same week in October, 2021. The TA and I had several phone calls and e-mails over the next couple of days. There have been some "teething pains" as Royal Caribbean has scrambled to adjust to this recent spate of cancellations, but here's what fell out for us: The original fare I paid has been preserved, under Royal Caribbean's "lift and shift" plan. All of the purchases for the 2020 cruise (excursions, shipboard events, beverage package) we made through the cruise planner are being refunded. As for our air tickets to Boston, I had purchased those myself---it was cheaper than going through the cruiseline: two first-class tickets from Charlotte to Boston and back, on American Airlines. I just finished talking to a rep at AA about the situation, and here's what happens there. They've cancelled our current air reservations and supplied us with a voucher for the amount we paid. At the end of November/start of December of this year, their October, 2021 flight schedules will be published. As long as I make new reservations before the end of March, 2021, the voucher will be applied to the new reservations. The AA rep candidly told me that we might have to pay for any increase in fare, but if the fare drops, then we will be refunded any amount left on the voucher. I figure that's about as good a deal as we're going to get. Obviously, the Good Mrs. Benson and I aren't crazy about adding another twelve months to the wait---a lot can happen in a year---but it appears that we've landed about as well as could be expected, given the situation.
  2. As long as he's home safe, everything else is small stuff. You'll all have a great time!
  3. Thank you for your courtesy. Actually, the Good Mrs. Benson and I are fairly familiar with Boston and Providence. Before we were married, she joined me in Newport for the graduation ceremonies when I received my master's degree from the Naval War College. That was her first trip to New England and she fell in love with the area, so for our honeymoon the next year, we simply toured the area, spending most of our time in Boston and Providence. Still, to be sure, probably some things have changed in almost three decades. Our only real logistical consideration for the area involves selecting accommodations that would best work for getting us to the port terminal the next day. Fortunately---unlike Vancouver---the port terminal in Boston is fairly close to Logan Airport, so that opens the range of possibilities.
  4. Thank you all for your gracious comments. I find worthwhile bits of information every time I visit this site. I'm especially enjoying your videos, Mr. Hochberg. Your enthusiasm for cruising, in general, and for Royal Caribbean is infectious. Moreover, there are some things which can be far better understood visually, than from all the description in the world. Marking the next 443 days.
  5. On the other hand, Navy insignia has always made perfect sense to me!
  6. Mr. Moran and WAAAYTOOO, When I started investigating Canada/New England cruises for 2020, the best two I had found were the one I eventually booked and, yes, the Canada/New England cruise, same ship, scheduled for the earlier week. Of course, this was before I found this blog or learnt of the group cruise. The 11-8 October cruise was inviting because that week encompassed the date of our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. However, I did some checking: suite locations, deck plans above and below Deck 10, and other pertinent data. While the grand suite that looked most advisable on the 11-8 October sailing was fine, the suite I had identified on the 18-25 October cruise looked to be a slightly better choice in terms of location, and the fare was slightly cheaper than the one for the 11-8 October cruise. Being an eminently wise man, I outlaid the situation to the Good Mrs. Benson and let her make the decision: do we sail on the week of our anniversary or wait a week and go with what I believed was a slightly better living situation? As ever, a practical woman, the GMB stated that we should go with what I thought would be better accommodations. It was the better idea, she said, to enjoy our cruise more than to adhere to a sentimental date. As much as we regret missing out on the opportunity to join the group cruise, I think we're better off staying with what we've got locked in, now.
  7. Last year, my wife and I embarked on our first cruise. (You may have inferred, correctly, from my username and icon that I am a U.S. Naval officer, retired now; so, yes, I have many cruises of the haze-grey underway kind under my belt, but not, until last year, a pleasure cruise.) For all we knew at the time, it would be the only cruise we would ever take, so we went as all out as we dared, a cruise to Alaska (the top destination on our list) in a Neptune suite on board Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam. (Never fear, this post will turn to Royal Caribbean quickly enough.) When you drop that kind of money, you want to make sure things go seamlessly. The Good Mrs. Benson will attest that I don't buy so much as a stapler without gathering as much intelligence as possible and doing research. After making a travel agent aware of our budget, preferences, and schedule, I spent a week vetting her three recommendations. And once she had booked our selection, scheduled for a year later, I spent that twelve months scouring every cruise-related web site I could find (you know the ones), with particular attention to any Holland America fora. The interesting thing was that I never had to post any questions in any of those fora or on any thread, for I discovered that all of the questions I had, and some I hadn't thought of, had already been asked by another poster and thoroughly answered by the experienced cruisers so willing to help. Thanks to them, during our Alaskan cruise, we suffered only one or two oh-so-minor glitches, and those had been things outside of our power to anticipate. All of my "homework" had paid off. We had a marvelous time! We had barely disembarked when we knew another cruise lied in our future. Next destination: Canada/New England. (O.K., now we get to Royal Caribbean. Thank you for your patience, folks.) We had gotten used to suite living. That would be the standard for our next cruise, and with our budget, that set the time to the autumn of 2020. Now, I hadn't intended to start seriously exploring our options until the fall of this year. (While we enjoyed Holland America, that didn't rule out the other lines for our next sailing.) However, four months ago, on a free morning, I decided, what the heck, let's see what's out there now for a fall, 2020 visit to Canada and New England. It turned out that there were quite a few, but the one which presented the best bang for the buck, with a ship that seemed to best fit our own personalities, was one offered by Royal Caribbean. That early, some nineteen months ahead of the sail date, the fare offered was too good to pass up. I called our TA and booked the 18-25 October 2020 cruise to Canada/New England, in a grand suite on Brilliance of the Seas. And that's why I'm here. From the moment our TA confirmed the booking, I've returned to the research mode and buried myself in Royal Caribbean-related fora. About a month ago, I discovered this site, and what a treasure trove it is. We've got Cruising 101 down pat. What I'm here to discover are the things intrinsic to Royal Caribbean and Brilliance of the Seas. From the short time I've spent prowling the various threads here, it's apparent that, just as before, I'm not going to have to ask any questions. I'm learning more with each visit here. By October of 2020, I'll probably know everything I need to know---thanks to you veteran Royal Caribbean cruisers. However, please don't let that dissuade any of you from posting your own nuggets of advice or helpful observations. We welcome any input. I have to say that, even with what little we've found so far, the Good Mrs. Benson and I are getting more excited about our 2020 voyage!
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