Thank you for your post. It has made my day! I think being part of the TROPICAL PARTY is great idea! Lots of umbrella drinks, the sound of the ocean and laughter, and the smell of sunscreen (cause skin cancer sucks).
I was getting caught up in the serious topic of COVID vaccines, reliable sources, CDC, statistics, etc.... Lots of emotions..
Reading the posts, I almost passed this one up from Ms. Thomas, "I don't care what side of the political isle they are on." How appropriate for a Royal Caribbean Blog post...??? Made me smile. 🙂
How about some demographics for those people in the hospital? The mainstream media doesn't tell us how many of those people have underlying conditions that cause ANY sickness to be a big deal. According to the statistics that I found the is percentage is at least 90%. Also, when you have governors purposely putting sick people into nursing homes, that number is going to go way up. I agree that this sickness will never go away. It is the new flu in the idea that there will always be someone who has it at some point. People get the flu all the time, even if they get a vaccine. I'm not saying ignore it. I'm saying that people are acting like this is the black death and it isn't. Politicians are trying to use it to control people. People are easy to control when they are afraid.
@RCIfan1912 No, I really trust politicians or greedy pharmaceutical companies. I also know the rigors of what it takes to make a trusted vaccine and making it in only a few months doesn't cut it for me. However, I also believe in the human body. It was created to learn how to fight off most sicknesses. If you are relatively healthy, then according to what we have seen, you should have no problem getting over having COVID. I know multiple people, myself and children included, that had it and kicked it within one or two weeks (it differed for each person). My biggest issue with the vaccine is that it is rushed. People should NOT be taking or even being part of trials yet until the scientists have had a lot more time. It took decades to perfect the flu vaccine.
Have just had some good news...
We are booked to travel with another family on a 12 night Southern Caribbean sailing on Anthem in December 2021. For a long time the family in question were (just like me when I didn't know better - shame on me! 😟) refusing to consider a cruise, saying it's just not for them.
Anyway, fast forward to just before the COVID-19 bomb dropped and they finally relented and agreed to join us. Not only are they now excited about going on their very first cruise despite all that is currently going on but, with the help of Michelle at MEI, they have just bagged a $1,400 reduction on their fare by re-pricing in this weekend's sale. 🙂
I am taking it as a good omen! 😇
Hey I feel for you, we have had 5 cruises cancelled since April and two more For this year are not looking good at this time, however, my TA, Michelle at MEI has been right on it every time. Realizing the burden all this has put on all TA’s I’ve been amazed that she always replies to my requests within a couple of hours or less. She is amazing and I highly recommend her if you want quick, accurate and up to date information. Although this situation is hard on everyone it’s sure nice to have someone like her in your corner.
They will not know the cabana number on board, at least they did not know when we did it last yr. We were told that because they can have 2 ships at 1 time at Coco Cay, but departing ports on different days thus, they no longer allow you to select the cabana, and corporate just sends the list to Coco Cay directly. Makes sense if you think about it. IE Anthem leaves on Sat., but will not get to Coco Cay until Tues. Mariner leaves on Sunday, and will get there Tues. also. If they allowed you to select on embarkation day, Anthem cruisers would get the 1st pick and Mariner passengers would get what is left over.
What will occur is they will leave a letter in your cabin the night before. You than make your way to the cabana area. There will be a hostess/host to greet you. That is when you will tell them the names of your guests for each cabana. You don't have to all show up at 1x, only the people that purchase the cabana need to be there 1st because that is when they take the names of everyone allowed in the cabana. At the welcome station they will also give you the wrist band. It is a waterproof paper type. You basically would have to cut it off to take it off....no ability to switch it on and off so you can get other people in. They will than get your specific cabana attendant to walk you to your exact cabana. They have little chalk boards on the cabana that says your last name.
We did Chill, it is 2 rows. I suggest you look at the South Beach layout. At chill only cabana 10 and 11 would be an issue for you. 10 is front row and 11 is 2nd row right behind 10.
I would also say if you cancel and rebook due to a price decrease BEWARE. On our cruise we met a very angry passenger at the Solarium pool. He purchased a cabana on line, but when the price dropped, he canceled and TRIED to rebook at the lower price. However, between the time he canceled and tried to re-book it sold out. If you do re-pricing my suggestion would be purchase two new ones, and than go back and cancel. However, I am not sure since both you and your wife both purchase them that you can do that. My advice would be for you to call RCL directly and explain the situation. It would be horrible for you if you were able to get 1 and while booking the 2nd somebody popped up online in front of you and took the last cabana
Rebooking will also move your cabana placement because it is tied to your purchase date. IE you are the 1st to purchase when it is released on the planner. You will be cabana #1 front row. 6 months later the price drops. You cancel and rebook. Now you are cabana # 18 2nd row. The reason why is they see it as a new purchase. See above about the angry passenger.
@crisgold52 I'm so sorry your agent has put you through this, I too am a control freak and the vacation planner (I joke that's why my wife married me, outsource her vacation planning). I've mentioned this before, but my wife and I planned a group cruise for our wedding in 2016. I was the group contact. Never again. I had to direct my family and friends through the groups department to pay (with restricted hours), nothing could be done online, I received 5 different answers to the same question from 3 different group "specialist" and had to manage the entire thing. Way more stress than a groom needed.
When we decided to do another group cruise for my wife's bday, I immediately hit the affiliate link here as everyone raves about MEI. I was randomly assigned an agent and she's been great. She has been invaluable. I knew immediately I wanted to be #teamtravelagent and passed along another booking I made (not group related).
Due to COVID-19 both sailings are being cancelled and sorta combined into one for next September. She's handling it all. I get one correct answer with possible ideas / solutions I never even thought about.
Hopefully, some day you'll give the travel agent route another try.
Oasis class is big. No matter where you pick your cabin there will be some walking to get somewhere. In that sense it doesn't matter where your cabin is.
Deck 14 is convenient to the pool deck (up one flight of stairs) and the Windjammer but you may hear the music and activities that happen during the day from your balcony.
Deck 9 is convenient to Central Park (down one flight of stairs). I enjoy Central Park and use it to transit forward or aft when needed as well as enjoying Central Park at night.
Other than that it's hard to go wrong with any deck.
I was checking pricing on some of my short term cruises and noticed that some of them have a nice, big military discount. It seems that they are showing up only on the really short term ones, but if you wanted to book now, get the military discount and L&S....well...could work.
My Dec 6 Oasis cruise has a $675 military discount but the one the very next week (second half of my B2B) does not. Go figure. BTW, it seems that they are allowing the military discount AND the C&A balcony discount so that's a nice discount when stacked together.
I believe that most of us avid cruisers who have developed an insatiable taste for it are letting the media’s view on COVID and the chaos in America's cities create a reality that is quite different from that of the cruise industry - especially RCL and its brands. I want to change your view to coincide more closely to how I think RCL sees things.
Warning: This is a long post but nevertheless something to consider. Apologies in advance. if TLTR then stop here and don't.
I'm a retired USMC pilot and later an EM Physician Assistant with 22 years of practice, now retired. I'm a consumer of abundant COVID (C-19) data, medical journals and scientific research. I live in Fort Lauderdale so I am being constantly bombarded by very negative C-19 national and local news that often fails to include context. It's hard to remain positive in light of that. But the medical and scientific facts paint a more hopeful circumstance for this C-19 pandemic than the social, print, and broadcast media paint. I’m an optimist!
Certainly, reopening is causing more social contact and more new C-19 cases; that was anticipated by FL's public health and other government officials including Governor Desantis. I suspect that's the case in other regions and states. Despite the hand-wringing of Governor Desantis' political opponents, such hand-wringing being augmented by a politically hostile FL press, It's pretty clear that FL officials have decided that the benefits of getting residents of this state back to work outweigh the risks (so far) of more C-19 infections. State and local officials have apparently also decided that they can deflect the "blood on your hands" harangue from the press over reopening too soon or too fast. Other states are following similar paths in reopening and suffering similar backlash and doubts. Don't get me wrong. SARS-CoV-2 and the illness it produces, C-19, is serious stuff. But here are some things we've learned about it:
It's a virus with the same natural pathogenesis (the way it evolves in terms of what we see in a human host with no immunity) as past pandemics like the 1918 Spanish Flu.
It has a steep growth rate, plateaus then declines (the shape and length of plateaus and slope of the decrease will vary by region and be affected by controllable factors).
It’s highly transmissible and therefore hard to contain – more so than anything virologists have seen in the past.
COVID-19 deaths are dropping as states protect vulnerable populations and those that are vulnerable to serious illness alter their behaviors. See chart of FL's COVID deaths below. Global death rates are declining. Death rates tend to be one of the best indicators of the severity and decline or accelerations of a pandemic.
The proportion of new infections since US reopening is dominated by the under 45 age cohort. This cohort, on balance, suffers only minor symptoms.
Despite alarm bells being sounded in press rooms about hospital capacity "close to or at limits,” the facts don't support that headline. See your own state’s Public Health Dashboards
US testing and contact tracing have improved over time, esp. in FL. It is likely that this will have a salutary effect on the spread of the disease in states that were early adapters.
While the medical community won't categorically state that masks and social distancing reduce the spread of the virus because of a lack of controlled studies to confirm that hypothesis, the anecdotal evidence that these simple mitigation measures work v. the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is overwhelming.
With that as a back-drop, back to my point - RCL is a business that depends on income and profits to survive. They unemotionally assess risks to their business model all the time and the impact of C-19, while unprecedented, is just one of them. There are things that are in their control - operating expenses v. income - and things that aren't - CDC's No Sail Order, Home Port and Port of Call openings, the pathogenesis of C-19 in regions where RCL has operating interests.
Nevertheless, the need to generate income is going to be a primary driver in decisions to start operating. In my view, sooner rather than later. I also believe that the various ports that RCL and CLIA have to deal with will do the same kind or risk/benefit analysis our states are doing and conclude that for the sake of their economies, esp. the tourism industries, they have to open to cruise ships and deal with the downside potentials if and when they happen. To that end, Port Everglades is open and, according to an update on their web page yesterday is, "ready to welcome the cruise industry back and are prepared to welcome back guests with enhanced sanitation and social distancing measures in our terminals."
Certainly, early returning cruisers are going to find potentially inconvenient mitigation measures in place, for example, strictly enforced and widely separated boarding times, proof of recent RT-PCR (swabs) negative testing before embarking or debarking from certain ports among many others that you have heard about (masks, limited capacity in the ships and in ships venues, etc.). Early return to cruising passengers are going to have to plan for and to be flexible enough to accommodate those likely mitigation measures along with itinerary changes, the possibility of being denied entry to a port of call or even home port if a crew member or passenger comes down with C-19, ship swap outs and changes in transportation to and from embarkation/debarkation points.
If you are an early cruiser, you can also expect strict control measures for preventing C-19 or dealing with single or multiple C-19 infections on board should that occur. There will most likely be protocols for cruise lines for covering the costs of disembarking/transferring and quarantining C-19 positive passengers and crew both onboard and once ashore acceptable to home ports and ports of call - a huge task but one that cruise lines will figure out. Could they require passengers to carry travel insurance? I think that is entirely possible and even likely. If you get C-19 while aboard, you'll be quarantined, and I'd expect you will be required to debark at the next port of call at your expense/covered by your travel insurance. All of this is going to affect your experience in potentially negative ways. Get your mind wrapped around these if you plan on jumping in early.
Some won't want to deal with any of this and if you don't think you can, now is the time to re-think taking at risk cruises and those are probably the ones through the end of 2020 and into the 1st and second quarter of 2021 - assuming decreasing risk of having to deal with the various inconveniences over time. My take is that "normalcy" - and even then it won't be like cruising pre-C-19 - will return in the 3rd quarter of 2021 (July - a year from now) and then only if a SARS-CoV-2 preventative vaccine - or at least one that has shown to protect against the most serious complications of C-19 - is available and scalable.
That's the bad news ................OTH, I believe there's good news too. I believe the CDC's release of it's color coding system that applies to the ships involved in the cruise industries repatriation efforts is a harbinger of a color-coding system for ships that will have passengers aboard. I also think the CDC is closer to green-lighting cruise ship operations out of US ports than we think, and I use the no news is good news slogan as a basis for that view. I have no doubt that CLIA and other industry lobby groups are putting polite pressure on the CDC and the Trump administration to lift the no-sail order. They must be. There are more factors and benefits weighing for restarting RCL operations, as soon as things RCL doesn't have control over start moving favorably in their direction, than the factors against or risks of a C-19 infection occurring on one of their ships.
From a corporate standpoint it is a choice between insolvency or solvency; bankruptcy or operational viability. The cruise industry, in varying degrees and based on a company's cash position, is getting absolutely hammered - probably worse than any and they have a right to bitch about it and haven’t at least not publicly. Behind the scenes? Absolutely. Carnival announced today it is selling or scraping 6 of its 8 Fantasy class ships in the next 90 days - that's a big chunk of change and as the vessels are actually sold or scrapped a sizable reduction in operating costs. We'll see these kinds of measures characterizing the cruise industries attempts to remain solvent while trumpeting such actions as injurious to any US agency holding the keys to restarting the gas turbines that will listen. My view is that across the industry generating income through sailings, even on a limited basis and as soon as possible, will be at the forefront and parallel any kind of cost shedding measures like Carnival just took.
What about the risk of bad PR - something that popped up very early in the pandemic and was also highly damaging to the industry's rep and continues to be damaging? Dealing with bad PR if a cruise ship is found to have even one C-19 positive passenger or crew - something you have to believe RCL is planning on even now - is small potatoes compared to dealing with insolvency and bankruptcy. Think about that for a moment. Put yourself in the shoes of RCLs' CEO, Richard Fain. Corporations, especially one with the potential to generate 10s of billions in annual revenues, tend to survive. RCL will put its survival at the top of its list of short term corporate goals.
I'm an optimist, I think RCL will sail, all things out of their control assumed to trend favorably, in August and on a limited basis. I think an early, limited start in the Caribbean has potential; I think the med, again on a limited/selected basis, has potential. We already know what regions are out for an August restart. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess..... you have mine. If Fain is to be believed, when RCL starts sailing again, while the experience will be different, it's likely to be as good as RCL can make it and I have no doubt it will still be overwhelmingly good. I'll enthusiastically jump right in with my mind and travel plans adjusted appropriately - Celebrity Equinox, 8n S. Caribbean, departs Fort Lauderdale August 1st, 2020..... a west bound translant out of Barcelona in October and a Holiday Cruise at the end of December.
Not sure how any of these lines will survive if we go 10 months without sailing. I know they have loans and what not but they have got to be scared. I heard books for 2021 are up past their normal numbers but still can't help but think some major things may happen for them to survive.
Wonder whatever happened to politicians supporting the cruiseliners...now would be a good time for someone to start telling the CDC to back off
Cant believe I can book a Disney trip eat outside go to a movie theater get my hair done and fly on a plane but cruising is still the end all be all enemy.