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About GeezerCouple

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  1. I'd suggest double checking if there are any pre-existing medical conditions (defined in very specific ways for travel insurance, and sometimes differing from policy to policy). In some cases, certain coverage are ONLY available if one insures for the *full* amount of all non-refundable pre-paid costs. GC
  2. Thank you for mentioning other comments. Because all of this is still quite new for us, we hadn't been paying attention to this particular food issue at Oceania. GC
  3. I can't speak about "gluten sensitivity" (or being "gluten intolerant", etc.). However, "celiac disease" is definitely a real medical condition, as we found out recently. DH was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, much to our astonishment. During a procedure for something else entirely, the surgeon observed the very characteristic intestinal damage. The subsequent blood test confirmed the cause. (He had had minor symptoms that we had pretty much dismissed, quite in error!) Once the blood test came back, he was immediately put on a strict gluten free diet. Surprisingly, his "minor symptoms" soon resolved, which was the reason we realized they were probably linked. (There is a medical reason they *would* be linked.) His blood tests are now *much* closer to normal already (having been totally "off the charts" before). Now, regarding "gluten free food", we have found a dramatic variability in the taste and texture, in many places. It has ranged from a sandwich that was truly inedible (gag us!) to some dinner rolls at a place where we used to LOVE the regular dinner rolls, not knowing there were any choices... and we *both* prefer the "gluten free"! We were worried about our recent trip to Italy (Italy EQUALS pasta, right!?). Turns out there is *wonderful* gluten free pasta, and in some cases, gluten free choices are even mandated in restaurants there. What a surprise! (We had traveled with a lot of "snack bars" in case he couldn't find anything good to eat. Ha!) The GF rolls in one of our hotels in Italy clearly had to be micro-waved (or otherwise heated quickly), but they were SO good! He can get packaged bread here, at the local grocer, and it is quite good. It's all we keep on hand now, as I like it too (although we aren't "crazy about it" like we are those dinner rolls at the nearby restaurant). We've found some yummy cookies (more than one brand)... So... IF *packaged* bread can taste so good, and if dinner rolls can be SO TASTY... why ever is Oceania unable to provide good "gluten free" food? Sure, there is lousy GF food. But at Oceania?? We were on the Riviera last fall, and his initial test was scheduled for right after the cruise, so we didn't yet know he had this medical problem. We love the ship! And we love the food. Now I'm trying to think... how much of what he enjoyed likely contained gluten... We'll still give them another try, given how much we both love the ship, but the food was a nice part of that..... GC
  4. You might check with your Cruise line to see if, for a possibly modest charge, they will allow you to select your own flights/dates. Some do. GC
  5. Not sure if you've found a 2BR "accessible* suite. If not, then double check about the narrowest part of any door opening, or dividers between rooms, and check that your scooter will work with that. It sounds like he can walk, so presumably you don't need an "accessible" bathroom, or bathroom with out any threshold? Discuss all of this with the Special Needs dept. Good luck! GC
  6. Definitely some truth to this about "younger grandparents". Despite our UserID, we aren't [yet] that old. HOWEVER... we are older than we used to be! [Quite a surprise, eh?] Point is: With some grands about 15 years ago, we were fine watching them. However, with some newer grands, much as we'd have liked to do the same, I had to tell the parents that I just didn't feel it was safe for us to be fully in charge outside/in public places. I felt that if the little guy suddenly dashed off, I might have trouble keeping up/getting to him in time, before he maybe got in trouble. Fifteen years ago? I had no difficulty dashing off after a little one and apprehending them FAST, even when wearing heels, and indeed, I had to do that a few times! Not so sure now, even not in "heels". (Chances are, with an adrenaline surge, I'd be lightning fast... but it's not an experiment I want to take!) But as mentioned, when we took a little one on a cruise, there were 2 parents and 2 grandparents, and there were ALWAYS *two* adults specifically agreeing to keep an eye on the little one, until there was a specific, official "change in oversight". It was just too much of a new and unusual place, with too many potential risks. Even the heavy doors to outside decks could do quite some damage to assorted body parts, etc. Just not worth it! And IF we had felt that it would be too onerous of a burden, we shouldn't have invited the little one. As it was, there were usually all 4 of us with him, as that was part of the enjoyment of being together. I simply cannot imagine lifting a little one high like that. IF there was "something special to see", then lifting them to maybe chin level to "see" should be more than enough! The entire body doesn't need to "see"! GC
  7. You'll probably get more responses (and more knowledgeable responses) if you post this on the Celebrity section of CC. And Welcome to CC! GC
  8. Now that's what I call a "bribe"! We had an offer for our PH, for a longer cruise, but where we didn't want to go, and worse, at a time we absolutely couldn't go. IF we could have gone, we might have. But there was no category change. I think we'd "follow a Vista suite upgrade anywhere" ! GC
  9. These photos say it all, at least for us. We LOVE forward facing views on cruises. LOVE them! We've had a similar wonderful suite on a different line/ship, and it was our favorite ever. And we had it for a cruise to Alaska. Better yet, it was Northbound, and we were able to get the starboard side. So the day from Glacier Bay to Hubbard Glacier, with a clear sky and snow covered mountains... we were almost mesmerized. Ditto the final day. In that case, the bed also faced a big window, which was perfect. We wish Oceania had a few PH suites that are forward-facing, but they don't. At some point, we might try to get one of those forward balcony cabins instead of a PH, just for the views. The Vista suites are a bit pricey for us, although there are a couple of itineraries where we might spring for it, given the views. We've found that just sitting down on the forward balcony is quite fine under most conditions. We also kept the lights out in at least one room at night so we could sit there with the curtains open and still "see where we are going". We almost never left our suite on that Alaska cruise. It was just perfect. We had a large OS on another line/ship, a suite that was aft, and although others rave about that aft location, we found ourselves most of the time at a forward observation lounge, rather than our suite. But... different strokes, etc.! GC
  10. We found (a bit to our surprise) that even though we used a TA, we were able to "talk with Oceania", etc. There's even a prompt for those who use a TA on the early "voice menu". A suggestion from a totally different company where we also didn't just want a "phone call", although in many cases the calls are indeed recorded, etc. (Getting copies of the recordings, however.... probably involves legal. But they know there *are* recordings if it comes to that. It did once, but with a financial institution, so that's for a different forum entirely!) My situation involved our first experience with travel insurance, so I didn't yet know whether the company was going to give us all sorts of nonsense (they did not, and we've used them repeatedly, no surprise). Anyway, after not getting responses to the emails sent to the equivalent of "MainUnmonitoredInbox@Vendor.com", I called. I asked for someone who could discuss our recent claim. Once I got a person who was indeed able to "see" our claim docs, I merely asked if she had a separate phone extension and email. She DID. Good! After that, I used email almost exclusively to contact her. Perhaps you could try that approach? GC
  11. I think there is considerable overlap in the policies they sell, but TIS may sell fewer, because they "vet" the insurers, so one isn't likely to get a policy and then have trouble getting paid (or need to go through all sorts of nonsense). And... in one case, Steve (the owner) actually pointed out why for one specific trip, we probably did NOT even need a special travel insurance policy. This was after we'd discussed our travel and insurance needs/plans/etc., on quite a few occasions, so he sort of "knew" us. He asked some key questions, and I realized that indeed, we did NOT need a special policy. I'm totally forgetting the details, but I was pretty astonished... that part I remember! They'll also help with claims if one needs help. He/they have a lot of satisfied customers here. The main thing is to look for reports from people who have HAD CLAIMS, and not just those who had an easy time buying the insurance. It's getting paid when there is a valid claim that matters, after all! They are also very patient about just answering questions. We learned so much from asking things like, "Well, what if X happens? If Z happens?" Etc. GC
  12. Oh, come on now... IF NCL (or any vendor!) gave refunds to ANYONE WHO ASKED, for the assorted claimed reasons that would be used, pretty soon so many would be asking that.... there would be no more vendor. You are just being disingenuous. Just think about it! Or are you so involved in your own "poor me" story that you cannot see the bigger picture? GC
  13. I'm guessing the older-looking site might be (we can name names here for travel insurance, just not for travel *agents*) might be www.TripInsuranceStore.com We use them! And I ALWAYS recommend *calling*, and NOT relying upon the online summaries. If ever there is a time when the "fine print" matters, it's insurance! So let them discuss with you what your insurance concerns are, and suggest a few possible policies that might "fit", with pros and cons. We've purchased through them policies from Travel Insured, and they PAY their claims, and in a very timely fashion. One other thing... the policies may differ from state to state. The "same name" policy might have different terms in State A vs in State B. GC
  14. Wasn't the father (not Grandfather) a local Police Officer? No surprise the other officers are rallying around the *family* vs. the cruise line... GC
  15. This exactly. The agency will know what to do (IF it is even possible) to get the proper visa(s), other docs, AND things like parental permissions if those are needed. This won't be the first time this request has been made. Whether it is possible will depend upon the specifics of this particular student placement. And it's possible that some medical or vaccination records will be needed, so as with the rest of it, allow a LOT of time, and don't make non-refundable plans until you find out if it will be possible... and then you'll still need to make sure that you actually DO get everything needed. GC
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