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  1. So with the news of high case counts in FL AZ AND TX on Thursday one really has to be realistic here in how this relates to cruising. What we essentially have is asymptomatic spread from people who don't know they are carriers. And one really also has to wonder like I've said before...if the three major players want to undertake a risk of a startup even in October then risk a case or two thereby blowing up for them and causing a ton of negative publicity. Which is why I'm now as a Canadian looking in at the cases. Will we really see a decline in cases by September or even October. We have a fraction of the cases here in Canada compared to the US. SO With marathons being cancelled, classes in some states being moved online and no at capacity fans at sporting events for the foreseeable future despite pro sports resuming technically in a month... (which is also up in the air at this point) and word that the Canada US land border will probably extent closure thru summer and into September realistically (double standard as the air border remains open etween us though most infrequent travelers do not know about this loophole)... its hard to fathom how any cruise lines would even undertake the risk. Cruise capital South Florida will continue to have cases and with cruise makers flying in from various states it's all realistically going to probably be an additional global suspension. A travel agent source I called to inquire about booking some additional cabins for guests to come with me on the MARINER sailing in Nov (apparently TA's get group rates at a better discount) advised it's best to hold off booking anything with a departure date before APR 2021. So at this point as a realistic Canadian looking at this... I'm leaning towards the big three players not starting up or at least willing to take the risks to go out to sea in this climate. What do others think? And even then I'm sure the same goes for the US guests as well... all travel insurance carriers will not insure for anything related to covid as part of the medical premium. Its classified as a known event. I'd be very surprised if my mid NOV MARINER goes ahead. Much less the impending second wave which technically already seems to be working it's way across the south.
  2. From my weekly call this evening with the post-cruise team... and using my mid NOV sailing with a final payment of AUG 30 as an example... If the global suspension is extended or even after my final payment date of AUG 30, as long as the booking is fully paid for by a FCC, and is changed from a 'active' state to a ' cancelled state' regardless of whether its under the cruise with confidence policy, changing of ship and sail date prior to final payment, OR extension of the global pause... as long as the entire booking is covered by a FCC, it can simply be un-applied at any time. So one doesn't Gain or Lose anything, its neutral. So in theory at this point one could make as many changes they wanted even after final payment. Me being me, I have two refundable deposits and two bookings of the same itinerary at any given time in the current global situation...so I shift priority between the MAIN and BACKUP bookings each time based on how long the global suspension goes on for. Of course if the FCC doesn't fully cover the pre-tax fare... then it gets a bit more technical and in that situation a FUNDS MAINTENANCE TRANSFER is done on top of removing and re-applying the FCC in a fully paid state. Their advice, do not go through regular reservations to un-apply and re-apply FCC's if shifting FCC's between bookings as regular reservations is not generally cross-trained in removing and re-applying an FCC from one booking to another. In fact, general reservations will insist that one cannot actually do this and that an FCC takes up to 30 days to be re-instated. So to avoid this just bypass that line altogether. What general reservations CAN do is apply an unused FCC to a new booking when they create a new booking... but anything short of that, has to go through the post-cruise team at 1-800-256-6649. Hope this gave some clarity to any guests here who have a pre-tax cruise fare that's fully covered by an FCC. The above in theory does not apply to a Lift & Shift since a lift and shift can only be done once over the course of the life of a booking... HOWEVER depending who one gets on the phone, a 'friendly' RSS agent can usually waive this policy as well.
  3. Just on the local Seattle Affiliate KOMO TV - they just did a package on a cruise worker returning home with the CDC no sail order lifted as of today July 7 ahead of schedule. Not entirely sure if there's any merit to this, has anyone heard anything different? If accurate then its actually ahead of schedule.... I just cross referenced a bunch of sites but couldn't find anything to support this news package that just aired. I personally couldn't find anything and haven't seen any other reports since.... perhaps it was just the fact that crew were repatriated? **Update** - KOMO was referencing this story from another affiliate in Vegas. https://news3lv.com/news/local/ill-never-go-back-on-a-cruise-ship-las-vegas-entertainer-back-home-after-stuck-at-sea
  4. So I thought I'd vent a bit about the experience I had with HAL here. I normally book RCL by default but my first time with HAL supposed to be this year has been anything but pleasant. Five cancelled cruises, while dealing with FCC's and Refunds also. They have a similar Lift & Shift policy like RCL does and I was advised I could easily transfer my Alaska sailing to 2021 around the same time with a one week difference to be price protected with all promotions I had this year. Secondly, I opted for an FCC with HAL for the May sailing (while opting for refunds of the other four) and it was issued after a 2 month wait and I am still waiting on taxes on the May sailing. So I decide to make a booking for 2021 today and guess what, everything went 180. The HAL equivalent of a Lift & Shift does not apply to all sailings, only certain premium rates not the regular fares - so I guess their personal vacation planner was misinformed as were their front line sales agents. Fair enough I will let this one slide as the policies change and everyone has to be up to date. Then I was told my FCC issued for the cancelled May sailing was about $500 extra incorrect based on an accounting team mistake - which I don't see why I should have to be responsible for considering I had followed up when they were first issued and was assured the Math was correct by three seperate agents. This is where I start to get frustrated because the FCC amount was completely inflated and HAL reassuring it was correct on three separate occasions... until when it came time to apply them to booking today. And to cap it all off, my taxes are not refundable by HAL at almost $800 as I apparently forfeited them when opting for an FCC and for all the May sailings apparently due to some internal AL accounting issue, tax amounts were rolled into FCC's and could no longer be dispersed. So basically I lose what I paid in taxes which were rolled into the FCC, and then the FCC was incorrectly inflated by $500 so I forfeit the FCC by $500 / each for myself and my partner, and then I can't price protect my sailing this year to next using their equivalent of a Lift & Shift. So wow, I was fuming - to be told everything was right until I start making a booking with the call center then a 180 on all three of the above aspects. This is why I prefer a family friendly line like RCL, HAL is more mature and has a more mature crowd and I didn't expect this level of service from them with five cancelled bookings this year due to the global pause.
  5. I'd be more leaning towards a November start date in all likelihood as we all know Sept 15 is a moving target. October might be hit and miss depending how things go. Both NCL and CCL while set for Oct 1 are non committed either. And with cases spiking in southern florida I'd be surprised if anything resumed promptly on Sept 15. Even if HYPOTHETICALLY they resumed Sept 15 it obviously would be a phased start meaning there'd be more inevitable cancellations down the road by late summer for ships that are not part of this phased start. So there WILL be more cancellations I'm assuming by August though unsure if it will be fleet wide or certain ships. I myself am on MARINER in mid November. so its not a matter of if but WHEN RCL will announce its next set of cancellations whether it be fleet wide or due to a phased restart. Probably by early August I hope.
  6. Just a heads up but on the carnival site. Nothing is bookable till October. Has anyone tried Royal yet? Only a matter of time
  7. As a rule of thumb regarding NON-REF vs REF bookings, its always best to book a REFUNDABLE deposit as this allows one to change their dates up to final payment date. Even in regular times, a NON-REF deposit would incur a $100 fee to simply shift sail date and ship. Just note that whether its NON-REF or REF - booking is 'locked in' after final payment. This means the LIFT & SHIFT or CRUISE WITH CONFIDENCE apply at that point. Also **very important** - a REFUNDABLE booking can always be downgraded to NON-REFUNDABLE before final payment. However one CANNOT upgrade from NON-REF to REFUNDABLE. For flexibility as most tend to book cruises several months out, anything can happen so its good to have the refundable deposit up to final payment to allow for any changes in plans. A REFUNDABLE deposit also allows one to re-price their cruise before final payment in regular times. What I have usually done is kept a REFUNDABLE deposit until an hour before final payment is due then downgraded to NON-REF... though in that case, sometimes NON-REF costs more than REF if its the day of final payment 🙂 Before I forget... if an FCC was used to cover the pre-tax voyage fare less taxes of course, in the event RCL cancels the sailing (its a hassle as RCL as to re-generate an already existent FCC which can take up to 30 days). whereas the weird thing is, if one makes any changes before final payment (assuming RCL doesn't scrap the sailing) - the existing FCC can be 'ported' from one booking to another without a waiting period. 🙂 🙂 🙂
  8. Wait! don't kick me out!😅😅 My mom and I want to take a late 2020 cruise but we have to get a lot of things in line first and our preferences (room category, embarkation port, ports of call, length of trip, sea day to port day ratio, ship class) mean options get slimmer each month. So, just in case our RCCL options run out before we book, I was hoping you nice people might be able to help us decide on an NCL ship class that will give us a (diet) Royal feel. So far we've only done Freedom and Vision class ship and found we much prefer Freedom class.What we liked: Royal Promenade: we like the way it opens up the ship so doesn't feel like we're on a ship. Types of Shows: The quality of performance shows on Freedom class were AMAZING (ice and stage) MDR: Dat French Onion Soup though.... It's my cruise staple! but of course we also love the super attentive and knowledgeable waitstaff, the variety of food, and the very formal table settings every night Observation Deck/Helipad: Being able to watch as we sail in or away from the front of the ship was something we SORELY missed on Enchantment. I look forward to your help! And if you're wondering about the aforementioned preferences: Room category: Grand Suite Embarkation Port: Nothing more than 15 minutes from the airport (so Miami, Boston, New Jersey, Ft. Lauderdale are fine) Ports of Call: Really looking into the Southern or Eastern Caribbean Length of Trip: We fly in from Chicago, so no less than 7 night Sea to Port Ratio: No more than 3 back-to-back ports, at least 3 sea days, ideally with one before debarkation day Ship Class: Voyager, Freedom, Oasis, Quantum for sure. Could be convinced to do Radiance. Price (per person): $2200 or less
  9. Hello All, The wife and I have picked a cruise for our winter 2021 family escape from the Minnesota winters. I know royal runs "sales" all through out the year but just wonder when the best time or promotion to look for when booking? We are looking at February 2021 with a family of 4, kids being 5 and 7.
  10. You veteran cruisers, do you book through RCI or a local travel agent or an online booking agency? This being my first time, I went through Cruises Only (online) and I don't know whether that was the best way to go. The cabin selection seemed awfully scarce for so far in advance.
  11. I've got 2 cruises I'd like to book... 12 day fall of 2020 and 7 day spring of 2021 (with family 3rd/4th but maybe no under 12 free kids) Current promo is over Thursday and we are sailing on Saturday. What would you do?
  12. Just curious;when is the best time to pay off a booked cruise? Is it better to pay off your cruise right away/ASAP, or wait until you get close to the final payment date? Please explain.
  13. Hmmm... Wish I had found this gem before I booked my next 5 day Royal cruise out of Tampa. So here it is... (Tada!) https://www.cruisetimetables.com/ Yes, this little gold mine has the port schedules for nearly every port around the world that services cruise ships. Concerned about your next cruise having too many tourists in port from a large number of cruise ports? Want to get an idea of how far out to book that third party excursion? Yes, there will be some changes from time to time, especially during hurricane season when ships re rerouted to other ports (Saw this for Mariner and Enchantment in September on our trip. Enchantment was originally slated to be the only vessel in port, then Mariner when Francis was close, then back), but it appears to be fairly accurate and decently updated. For those that still book through RCCL website, or just want to do some pre-scouting before calling your TA, this is a good tool.
  14. Hi All I have just been on my first Royal Caribbean cruise and loved it. I had an amazing deal around the Med which included a free deluxe drinks package, free wifi, all gratuities and a BOGO deal, booked 9 months before cruise date! Was a steal! I am now looking at my next cruise to Bermuda and Bahamas on the Grandure of the Seas in May 2018. However, when i phoned for a quote there were no inclusions just the standard 20% off deal which seams to be on most of the time anyway. So to seasoned Royal Caribbean customers my question is how much sway do the agents have? If i push them will they give me freebies or am i best to wait for a better promotion to pop up? Thanks
  15. I am looking at booking a room and Grandure of the Seas for 1 person. Does anyone have any tips on keeping the price down, at present i am looking at a full 2 person price with just port taxes reduced?
  16. Has anyone booked their next cruise while cruising? They advertise incentives, but are they worth it? We are sailing in one month and want to sail again in 2018. Is it smart to book while onboard or can I find a better deal elsewhere? :D
  17. Is it really a better deal to book your next cruise while on board your current cruise???
  18. What does RCCL consider to be a big enough Group for a Group booking discount. We have 9 Balcony cabins with 21 Adult Family Guests booked for sailing on Ovation of the Seas 30th December 2016. I have been advised by the Travel Agent that we are not eligible for any discount or benefit? Would this be based on the fare paid?
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