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Everything posted by Bowen

  1. Same. I do miss cruising, but the most important thing is to be able to vacation with friends and family, that means doing something that welcomes everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Thankfully there are loads of places. Actually I think cruises might be the last to let it go. It's a shame, it's going to cost them a lot of money.
  2. I can't say for sure since I haven't been through it, but I think you get cash back and not a new FCC. I think they're trying very hard right now not to issue anymore FCCs.
  3. This isn't at all true. The Cruise Lines are even now asking the CDC to reconsider the pre cruise COVID testing. Of course it's a CDC requirement. Go read the post on the board today where CLIA specifically says they hope the CDC will reconsider.
  4. I think it is? Like it's voluntary ("Voluntary") as far as the cruise lines opting in, but if they want to claim to be "highly vaccinated" and all that goes with it then they have to meet a vaccination and testing threshold? Seems like if testing weren't required by the "opt in" then they could just take vaccinated customers and leave the testing alone unless you're not vaccinated? There's got to be some rhyme or reason to that.
  5. Yes! I just read about it and was coming here to post, awesome!!!
  6. I've only had them from airlines so far. Same, we've been spending all of our vacation money locally, or in states that are the same as our state in regards to protocols. Hopefully by the beginning of the year the US will drop these requirements. I would love to take those international trips we skipped in the last two years.
  7. I think travel services are catching on to how much this is affecting things. I am starting to get survey's from places basically wanting to know why I'm not traveling. The latest one was from British Airways. It's very obvious from the questions that they know people are just (mostly) not going to spend money in places that require them to do COVID tests/vaccines. I've heard that it's really killing American tourism as well, the requirement to test to get into the states. Hopefully they can all get back to normal sooner rather than later, surely they need the money.
  8. I'm not sure when the 11th circuit will issue the decision, but I honestly don't think it will matter much. I think the cruise lines (being entwined with their ports of call) will have a valid reason to keep mandates on board as long as their ports of call require it. It would be cool to have an end to the mandates, but I think if any courts were going to step in they'd have done it already. Just my two cents.
  9. Nope, like Waaay said, you just have to tell them that your party won't be in compliance with the vaccine. When I called to cancel they actually stopped and asked me if I had tried to get a religious exemption, like they wanted me to know this was an option. I guess there are a lot of people cancelling, so if they can fill that 10% unvaccinated (which only includes those eligible, so not very young children) then that's extra income for them. We're still waiting for any word back, but they did ask for 15 working days, so I'll probably hear something toward the end of this week or next week. I am 100% not expecting to get it, but I'm 100% okay with that outcome. Either way, you'll get all of your money and your FCCs back, so it's a win. Hopefully the vaccine requirement will go away in the next round, or at least by the start of 2023. I'm really looking forward to cruising again!
  10. You also get a ton of repositioning cruises, right? Any that you can take one way and then take another ship back? I think Florida is the place to be for cruising.
  11. No limit for me. Before COVID we had cruises set to go out of New Zealand (I think that was a solid 17 hour flight), Italy, and Spain. I truly hope we're able to do these one day, I would love to see those places.
  12. Just be flexible. Hurricane season cruising means you might miss a port, get diverted, have an extra sea day, etc. We usually cruise during hurricane season, it's always fine, just sometimes things change last minute. There was one time though, coming back in to Galveston as a storm was coming in, that boat rocked so hard that even the sturdiest passenger was lurching through the halls like a drunken sailor. I think every single person in my party got sea sick. That was the worst one.
  13. This makes me think of my early days of cruising, back when I was a young twenty something. We rinsed out some scope bottles and filled them with Vodka. Even after cleaning those bottles super well before hand we still had mint vodka drinks all week. I don't drink much anymore (no more than one drink a day on a cruise normally, and then maybe twice a year aside from cruising), but I do remember those smuggling days fondly. Not that I'm equating bringing liquor on board legally with what we did, it just made me think of it.
  14. Very good to know. We should have word on our exemption request in the next week or so. We're "meh" either way, but at least if we don't get the exemption then we will have no trouble getting back all of our money and FCCs, so that's great! As to there not being any religions that tell you not to take the vaccine, that's not what a religious exemption means. Interestingly enough this very thing was decided on by SCOTUS years and years ago in another context. So basically everyone has a religion, it's just your set of moral values by which you live your life. It doesn't have to be a recognized religion or anything like that, so definitely no one should feel like they have to provide a piece of paper from a clergy or anything like that. And since the cruise lines are allowing 10% of the ship to be unvaccinated you can pretty much guarantee you are cruising with people who are not vaccinated. I'm glad to hear there's no way to tell them apart from anyone else, that's great news and was definitely something I was concerned about. As to taking a religious exemption for not stopping at a red light, you could sure try, stranger things have happened.
  15. The only one I've had was back in December of 2020 and wasn't covered, but maybe the rules changed once testing became more widespread. If they accept the exemption I'll definitely let everyone know.
  16. I don't think the PCR testing that I would have to get is free. I could be wrong, but I think there's some cost with it, around $50 per person, unless it's covered by insurance. As to the multiple tests RC has some verbiage in the exemption request about having to take another test after 4 days on the ship and a final test before leaving, so nights 4 and 6, as well as the PCR pre cruise, all at the customers expense.
  17. I've had to get tested once for a surgery I had to have back in 2020 (the very end of the year), I've never done another, and (unless this cruise goes through) I never will. I am willing to do it only because they've had my money for so long that I am worried I won't get it back or I'll have to stress even more in order to jump through the hoops. I'm hoping they do not give me the exemption now that I know I can get the full FCC/money back. My reason for not wanting to mess with the tests is the cost. You can tell that they're trying to make you not want to sail, take a PCR test three days before, take another test day of, take another test before you leave. If it felt like it had rhyme or reason then I'd be okay with it, but after two years....it's just discouragement, that's the only way I can view it. That said, I'll be on the ship, I'll be paying for the tests, all of that, because it's thousands of dollars.
  18. Update: I realized today that the need to take a PCR test (assuming we'd just be following unvaccinated child protocols) 3 days in advance would mean that the test date would interfere with my son's summer camp. I can move the camp, but he had some friends who would be going at the same time so I really didn't want to if I didn't have to. I called RC to try and push the cruise a couple of weeks but they told me that since final payment had passed they were not able to do it. They did also tell me that if the religious exemption is denied then we will be receiving FULL refunds of all money AND FCCs applied toward the booking. This was a HUGE relief, I can't even express that enough. He said it does take 10-15 days to get either accepted or denied the exemption, so we probably won't know for another couple of weeks, but just knowing I can get that refund is a load off. I'm so tired of dealing with all of this, it's been an enormous amount of stress added to an already incredibly stressful couple of years.
  19. I get that, 100%. We have about 20 different FCCs tied up in this and I'm very worried about not being able to get that money back without jumping through even more hoops, so I'm willing to test, but I more than understand not even wanting to mess with it. If I knew for certain they would refund everything and not try to push more FCCs on me I'd drop it entirely. It might come down to that, we'll see. Like I said, we're out if we have to mask, display status, or take a room that's less than what we booked. It's frustrating to the max, but yeah, maybe it will help someone. I hope it does. I've been following your stuff a bit, have you been able to get refunds on the FCCs?
  20. Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right place to post, but hopefully it is. After seeing the update on the blog last night about protocols being extended through the end of September I decided to go ahead and cancel our two cruises. We've been pushing them back for more than two years, and RC has had our money for almost three years, so I'd really rather just have it back instead of having it in limbo. While I was on the phone doing the cancellation the representative told me that they are leaving room on their ships now for people who have either medical or religious exemptions from the COVID vaccine. He was very clear to say that this was not a guarantee, the space is limited, it might involve changing rooms to a specific section of the ship (it basically sounded like you'd be placed with the rest of the great unwashed, lol). I don't see us doing this for a couple of reasons, but if RC can make the accommodation without a few things happening: (1) No masks, (2) No enforcement of constantly displaying anything that would indicate my or my kid's vaccination status (Arm bands, stickers on clothes, etc.), and (3) if they want me to change rooms, it's got to be a comparable room. We'd certainly love to cruise again, so I took the information from him and sent the email. The email had to go to [email protected] and had to include the following information: INCLUDE IN YOUR REQUEST:- The full name of the person who needs the accommodation, as the name appears on their reservation- Ship Name- Date of Sailing- Reservation Number- Best phone number to reach the requesting guest (or their legal guardian if they are a minor)- Best email to reach the requesting guest or their guardian, should it be different than the one you are emailing fromReligious Requests:For religious accommodation, please provide details regarding the specific nature of the religious objection to the vaccination. Your request will be evaluated by a panel to ensure that we are in compliance with all requirements related to such requests.Medical RequestsFor your request to be considered by our medical team, a letter from a physician is required. Please see the specific requirements for the letter below:- The letter must come from a Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).- The letter must include the full name and date of birth for the guest requesting the accommodation.- The letter must clearly indicate the pre-existing, non-COVID medical condition or disability that is contraindicated for vaccination.- The letter should include a note that the guest is medically fit to travel.- The letter must be signed by the MD or DO. **** I did get a response saying that they had received the request, they made sure to note a few things at the bottom: AFTER YOUR REQUEST IS APPROVED or DENIED:Approvals:- Approvals apply only to the sailing for which they were granted and need to be renewed for each new sailing as protocols and operational needs change frequently.- Approvals do not imply or guarantee an approval for any future sailings.- Please note that vaccination accommodated guests must adhere to all health protocols and travel requirements for unvaccinated guests as required by the cruise line and at the local, state and national level. Denials:If we are unable to approve your request, you can:- Change the ship/sail date and submit a new request, if your denial was based on operational capacity.- Cancel only the unvaccinated guest(s) from the booking, if the remainder of the traveling party still wishes to sail. The unvaccinated guest will receive a full refund after cancellation.- Cancel the booking that includes the unvaccinated guest and receive a full refund for the booking. Only those guests in the impacted booking are eligible to receive a full refund. Related bookings (family, friends, etc. traveling on another booking) remain subject to the standard cancellation penalty schedule. **** I'll try to remember to post and say what happens from here. I was wondering when I saw that they lowered their vaccinated threshold if that would mean they would start accepting religious/medical exemption requests.
  21. Awesome news! And as to the person saying OP should basically be kinder to those who want to mask, they were kind, exceedingly so. Wear a mask if you want to. Those of us who have been against violating people's rights for two years (because 0.0% of these mandates have ever been voted on) have had to develop very thick skin. We don't get to make posts like this, we don't get to point out basic science that's been proven time and again over the last decade, we get to remain silent or get cancelled. So, our skin is thick. And yet we're still absolutely happy to let you wear a mask, it's your right, remember that, remember that we're not the ones trying to force things on you. Try to be kind enough to do the same.
  22. We just moved our end of the year cruises on her to August and September of next year. Can’t wait!
  23. I just want to mention that the “by September 30 or one year from the original sail date” isn’t what they allowed me when I rebooked. I moved a Dec 2021 cruise and an April 2022 cruise, the furthest I could push either was Sep 2022. Maybe it’s because the original sail date from the first time I had to change it because of COVID was a year ago, not sure.
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