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Departure times changed twice now


DuaneG
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Cruising on the Freedom of the Seas November 29-December3 and about a month ago they changed the departure time from 4 to 5. Now today I get an email saying it has changed again from 5 to 6 because of new CDC guidelines. Are they getting that backed up at the pier with asking you if you are vaccinated 100 times or are they just being super cautious?

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12 hours ago, DuaneG said:

Cruising on the Freedom of the Seas November 29-December3 and about a month ago they changed the departure time from 4 to 5. Now today I get an email saying it has changed again from 5 to 6 because of new CDC guidelines. Are they getting that backed up at the pier with asking you if you are vaccinated 100 times or are they just being super cautious?

I recived the same email for my Athem of the sea sailing in a few days. previously. 

 

My gut feeling is that they are increasing capacity on the ships. So now instead of being at around 50%, i think ships will be at around 65% which means there will be additional guests trying to board. They have to spread them out and need some more time. 

 

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2 hours ago, Jacqui said:

In addition to spreading people out during the check in process, we noticed on our Symphony cruise out of Miami last month that we were the last ship to leave port.  We watched the ships from other cruise lines go before us, so the overall schedule out of the port likely plays a role too.

That's exactly what this is about. It's not about increased numbers of guests needing more time. That's not a problem now, even with the requirement to arrive only at your scheduled arrival time and won't be a problem going forward. My take is, once you've boarded, who cares whether your departure time is at 4, 5, 6 or whatever. More over, what's driving how many guests can be accommodated is crew staffing. Many Asian crews have been vaccinated in their home country but not with the approved vaccines required for entry to the US.  Sinopharm is popular in Asia but it's not approved in the US. I'm told that laid off crew in the South East Asian region, e.g. Thailand, Philippines, can't get AZ, Pfizer, Moderna or J&J  vaccines because the Chinese demanded sole rights to distribute in delivery contracts.  

Apparently this is a pretty big problem for the lines - getting crew legally into the US. That's not going to end anytime soon. There are a lot of frustrated and laid off crew who are itching to get back to work and shipboard duty save for having been vaccinated with US approved vaccines. The processes, for example, to obtain waivers (seems sensible), bring crew in, administer appropriate vaccines, accomplish the quarantine and testing routines is complicated by politics and varying PH protocols in the countries involved. I'm told by experienced staff that what seems as the simplest solution - take the approved vaccines to the crew you want back -  isn't going to happen because corporate is taking the position they won't do that.  It's not a cost or logistics issue, it's conflicting medical standards between countries, vaccine politics and the costly red tape to get something like that off the ground. 

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22 hours ago, DunwoodyDad said:

At the end of the day, does it really matter other than maybe the casino opening?  To me, once I’m onboard I sort of don’t care when it actually leaves port. I just got an 1130 boarding time for Freedom (12/27) so am pretty excited about that. 

To an extent, I agree with this.  However, it was kind of annoying having a 7pm sail away, which ended up slightly delayed, and then the only nighttime broadway show being night 1 at 7:45pm.  We didn't get to fully enjoy sail away because we had to run to the show.  The show was great, but it was poor planning on Royal's part in my opinion.

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Testing children at the pier can be problematic.  Squirming children who won’t hold still can lead to inconclusive tests so it has to be repeated. 

As numbers of cruisers go up but the CDC protocols don’t change they need more time.  

The ship will still sail, you’ll still reach your destination on time.  In the bigger picture it’s inconsequential.  

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