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Everything posted by GeezerCouple

  1. Interesting issue! I don't think this is customary in the US, but of course, there could be specialized policies. However, more and more employers are adding a perk of some legal assistance, along with medical/etc. The legal assistance is through a network of attorneys who have agreed to participate, such as "MetLife Legal" or "Hyatt Legal" (our plan changed from the latter to the former this past year). Mostly, it's for a specified list of uses, such as for wills/trusts, real estate closings, etc. But starting in 2024, they added an extra specified amount for "other". It wouldn't go very far, but it would probably cover a meeting (or two?) and some sort of "warning letter". (The recipient wouldn't know that the covered legal services have just about run out, right? 😉 ) I guess IF one had that type of employee benefit, one could see if it might be useful. GC
  2. I don't think Elliot "sues" anyone. His is a "consumer help" site. That can include just about any "issue", not just cruise lines, and not just travel, either. Recently, there have been some vacation rental issues mentioned. But it can also be just purchases of <something>. They apparently can make a huge difference. That's part of the good news. What we don't/can't know is what percentage they even help with, or, importantly, help with *successfully*. But I'd certainly give them a try! GC
  3. Bow thruster? Isn't that ... forward? On the Riviera, the Owners Suites are aft. Did you mean the Vista Suites? GC
  4. Welcome to CruiseCritic! And SO sorry that this is your "introduction to cruising"! Hopefully, you will indeed have a chance to take a cruise in the future (maybe next year?) all together. And please do ask here, step by step, if you have ANY concerns or questions, given your experience. It would make sense for you to be extra cautious, given your unfortunate experience. None of this sounds okay; you are right to be concerned. It's hard to keep track of everything you wrote, and all of the "warning signs". I'm not sure why you relied upon Reddit. My understanding is that there is a lot of sketchy "things" that go on there (on Reddit). (We do not ever use Reddit; I am relying only upon what I've read in several places, which is why we don't deal with them. At all. And one part of DH's work involves considerable "social media", but *not* Reddit. This is a "bit late" (as in, "too late", unfortunately), but especially given that she did accept regular credit cards, why did you use something like Venmo? It's probably good to learn from this just "don't use Venmo", and especially not when it is possible to use a regular charge card. Also, if you were checking that she was licensed, was she *really* licensed or did you just accept her statement that she was? (Current licensing can be verified through the appropriate licensing agency/etc.) Please note: I am NOT trying to "dump" on you here. This is a very important learning experience for others, too. And perhaps you'll also become aware of other ways fraudsters can operate. It's very unfortunate that this happens, but... it does... And it's far too easy for some people to think "this would never happen to me", until something like this *does* happen. Honest people aren't constantly thinking, "What kind of scam could be hidden here!?" And whenever doing something new - cruising for all of you - it isn't always obvious what the "regular routines" are, etc. [See below; I'm hoping there will be a way for you to get your money back... maybe.] For one thing, what/who is a "host"? If that is a legitimate travel AGENCY where this so-called TA works, then you should be in touch with them... yesterday... And what is this about *previous* agency? She's worked with two of them recently? Note that the TA is continuing to engage in those "shenanigans". IF everything truly is fine, and the reservations are still "safe", then why in the world would she need to involve her E&O insurance, which I assume is "errors and omissions". She's claiming there are NOT any "errors" or "omissions"! A HUGE red flag (well, one of them, alas) is the statement that "the Princess app is new and they have asked her not to let all of us into the app at once". Say what? Princess is a very, very large company. If their website or app can't handle your family group, how in the world are they dealing with tens of thousands of passengers who sail on their many ships every day, every week, every month..., with each ship holding thousands of passengers!? What evidence do you have, still, that the TA really does have a "legitimate business"? That would actually be encouraging, given some protections that might be involved. Do you know that she *really* works for an "agency"? If so, again, there should be some protections there, but not if she was only masquerading as being affiliated there. This amount of money is probably well beyond small claims court. I'd suggest a single, quick meeting with an attorney, to find out how you can go after this "TA". The amount of money you mention may put this into a serious legal category. (IANAL, so I won't speculate about categories or names of crimes, etc.) It is possible (maybe not probable, but *possible*) that a letter from an attorney will get her to take action that will at least make your family whole, even if it doesn't help others who may have been scammed. And you all SHOULD file complaints with assorted regulatory agencies, including her state's Attorney General's office. There may be other victims, but the AG/etc., can't see a pattern if victims don't report. Good luck, and we hope that you all do end up spending special time with Grandmother! And a cruise, eventually. 🙂 GC
  5. [emphasis added] Hmmm... This must be something specific to the UK? Or at least, not necessarily done for/by USA-based passengers. Or perhaps it is the specific cruise line or travel vendor that might not do business in the USA? I don't think we've ever provided any cruise line about our travel insurance, or even whether we had any (we always have, since joining CruiseCritic!). Yes, it's possible that we did provide such information but I've forgotten about it... However, I think that for some of the more intensive expedition-type cruises/trips we considered or read about, the vendor does require evidence of some level of coverage. But we have not actually signed up for any of those expedition type trips, and by now, very unfortunately, at our ages/conditions, we suspect we probably won't. GC
  6. Welcome to CC (or, your first post, anyway!). When you repost this query in the France Port section of CC, as suggested, try putting the specifics in your TITLE, such as: "Transfer from CDG Paris to Le Havre" instead of "Airport to Cruiseport Transfers". You want to attract the most eyes, and the eyes that are most familiar with *your* specific issue, from the list of topics. The general header could sound like someone is asking about general transfer strategies (e.g., cruise line vs private, or whatever). And what you want to know is about a very specific route, from one airport to one cruiseport. It tends to help if the header jumps off the page with a few key words for those who are most familiar with the specifics. Enjoy your cruise! GC
  7. Welcome to CruiseCritic (or your first post, anyway)! That's a very interesting question. Others will chime in here, but in this situation, I would definitely want something IN WRITING that "the food allergy is not a pre-existing condition", or *preferably* get a policy that does not exclude pre-existing conditions. We always get that waiver, so if there were something like this lurking that we hadn't thought about, it would still be covered. We have a few other mild conditions, but we worry that IF something major happened, it could be linked back to some mild condition. It's just easier not to worry about it. And most of our claims *have* been based upon medical emergency (although the claims themselves were mostly for cancelled/interrupted trip costs). As I've mentioned elsewhere, given that we do have possible pre-existing conditions, and some definite ones, we want the guaranteed coverage for the SWAN effect: Sleep Well At Night! 😉 Another likely advantage of having that waiver, although probably not worth the extra cost if this were to be the only reason (it isn't, for us) is that it may expedite some claims payments. That is, when we've had claims that were based upon some medical situation, the insurer didn't need to comb through old medical records to see if there was indeed some pre-existing condition that might have been involved. That could probably take considerably time in some cases. I don't think we'd have had the claims, including large ones, paid within about 2 weeks if that had been necessary. GC
  8. How long a drive is it, in hours/miles, approximately? Depending upon how many people, you might want to consider, or at least get an estimate so you know *whether* it's worth considering, hiring a vehicle and driver. Then they just drive the vehicle back, without you, while you continue on your adventures. The more people sharing, the less "per person", for any vehicle type, etc. You might contact an "executive car service" type of company for starters. Or a "limo" company. Those aren't always technically "limousines" anymore; they can use sedans, SUVs, classic "stretch limo" types, or vans. You'd want a larger company so they actively are using a variety, plus professional drivers who are accustomed to the vehicles. Does Uber offer the larger vehicles? I'm wary of Uber, but DH uses it occasionally. However, he's been using their "black" or "luxe" (?) service/vehicles, and I've now joined him on a few. Most recently, when we were traveling, we unexpectedly needed to pick up two young grandsons and bring them back to our hotel for the weekend, and it wasn't a short drive. We got a VERY nice large SUV, the type with three full rows. The driver was just as good as "back in the day" and had a very late-model [very clean!] vehicle, like when I occasionally took car services for business purposes. We ended up talking and laughing and having a great time during the drive back with the boys. We could have rented a regular SUV, but it was a *vacation*, and I didn't think DH should be dealing with driving and traffic, and he agreed pretty quickly. It was a major metro area we had never driven in before, and it wouldn't have been a fun drive, to put in mildly! In our case, it obviously did not save money, but if it had been a larger group, it may have, etc. At least check prices and compare with other choices. GC
  9. Welcome to CruiseCritic! Here is a link to the Princess section: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/119-princess-cruises/ You'll get lots of answers there. And here is the full TOC (Table of Contents) for other topics: https://boards.cruisecritic.com Enjoy!! GC
  10. Heh! We more often sandwich a cruise between some sort of land trip before and after. Often we have a larger "trip" after the cruise, while having a shorter <something> prior to the cruise. And we also use those pre-cruise days as a buffer in case we end up delayed in our arrival. We'd rather miss a few days near the port than to miss the ship! GC
  11. So true; it's not only for "cruising"! Several (many?) of the topics on CC can be very useful to those not cruising, or not even interested at all in cruising. And who knows, by doing some browsing, maybe an occasional person not previous thinking about cruising... will decide it might sound interesting after all. But if not, that doesn't matter, of course. On another forum, I sometimes recommend that the person asking a question also read or post on CC (and give a link, etc.) about that topic, mentioning something like "a lot of the issues are not cruise specific". This is especially true of air travel, travel insurance, traveling with a disability, and local sightseeing/tours in various locations (ports of call). The latter can be useful for local guides or local hotels, or even suggestions for before/after cruises. CruiseCritic is an incredible resource! GC
  12. Thanks. You are the "real deal" here! When you wrote: "...we follow the requirements for the various countries that the ship will visit or end up in." Where do you/you associates/etc., get this information? And is that source (or sources) available to the general public? Thanks again! GC
  13. Welcome to CruiseCritic! Here is a link to the section about NCL: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/64-norwegian-cruise-line/ There will be many there who are knowledgeable about the assorted amenties. You should also give the specific ship, as the amenities can vary from ship to ship, sometimes significant differences, so keep that in mind when reading. Enjoy! GC
  14. This doesn't make sense either. I still wonder if there is some other circumstance that is affecting their (her?) statements. Keep in mind that we here on CC are very unlikely to have all the information you would have given TIS or any other insurance agent/broker. GC
  15. That makes sense. However, if that's what you meant, then what did "take my chances on the rest" mean? GC
  16. I'm surprised that TIS simply said to insure the full cost far in advance. That's who we use, and we ALWAYS start with insuring just the deposit, or whatever payment we've needed to make at the time. And then we up the coverage as we up the *non* refundable costs. Why pay for the insurance for the full cost of the trip so far in advance? There may be some good reason(s) they suggested that, so please ask them directly. I don't know what you mean by "I'm inclined to just insure the cruise since it's so far away and take my chances on the rest." If it's "so far" in the future, why pay the insurance premiums now... unless there is something specific that is affecting this? And WHY take your chances with the rest of the costs, unless those are negligible. Or refundable, of course. GC
  17. You didn't mention which insurer or agent you used, but this doesn't seem to be the most efficient approach. Why not call www.TripInsuranceStore.com but CALL, don't rely upon the short policy summaries on line. For most policies, they'll probably suggest that you insure only what you have paid to date. That not only avoids the "how much will the total be", but also avoids having you possibly pay more/buy more insurance than you need, due to needing to estimate. You'd probably insure the deposit first, and then, as more and non-refundable costs are added, pay the extra insurance for those amounts. Note that for some types of coverage one needs to start the insurance for the covered amount within 10-20 days of the FIRST payment (varies by state of residence). GC
  18. Welcome to CruiseCritic! Um, which side is going to be "pier side"?? The ships can dock in either direction. It's not predictable. You'll have an interesting view either way. Or get two small cabins, one on each side! 😉 GC
  19. Yes, if you can book this with a refundable deposit, you might as well. Maybe (?) Cunard will come to their senses and change the schedule at least a bit. Or if not, you could find some other place/way to see it? Are there any ships that day/time off the coast of ... Spain? Or ?? I'd think being at sea, for the sense there, would also be amazing. NOTHING in the way to interfere with the view. Where we were, in a park, there were a few trees, with bare branches from winter, and during the changes before totality, it was a bit annoying, but still didn't interefer with what we were watching. But at totality, that amazing GLOWING CORONA was *so* bright, that we weren't aware of anything at all in the way if viewing. We didn't realize it at the time, but shortly after, we both agreed that at totality, it was as if all of the thin branches just vanished. We didn't even think about them untl after totality. Enjoy, no matter where! GC
  20. About the "Cruise Critic discussions can get out of hand from time to time, but this is rare, and only if people are being really disrespectful are things shut down"... I think CC is *so* much better in this regard than when we started, mid-2013. Back then, there tended to be more, er, disagreements, and by that, I mean "disagreeable disagreements". Too many were of the ad hominem type, which is just not appropriate. I was getting a bit tired of some of these (there were "the usual suspects" plus occasional others, etc.), so I participated less and less. But we were sort of cruise newbies; DH was about to take his first cruise, and I hadn't cruised for far too many years (those two facts are, er, related! 😉 ). Thus, we were still benefitting a *lot*, so we didn't leave entirely. And then, almost suddenly (??), it seemed that things were SO much more pleasant! HUGE difference. It was really a nice change. I have no idea if I'm alone in this opinion, or if others noticed a change several years ago, too...? I give the moderators a huge amount of credit for this, and thank them! 🙂 Anyway, it is a pleasure now. The collective knowledge here has been invaluable! THANK YOU, ALL! GC
  21. Yes. as asked above, which ship? We've had PH suites on the Riviera (and also on larger suites on other cruise lines/ships). However, I have a bit of a mobility problem, so we tend to spend more time in our suite than we would have when younger. So the extra space and services do make a real difference (although we would do quite fine without these extras, and have done just that on some other ships and still had wonderful trips!). We have a big breakfast delivered almost every morning. There's not much better on vacation than waking up to the aroma of coffee and bacon, and perhaps a few gentle clinks of china. NOTE: We tell our butler to IGNORE any "privacy" sign, that if we really don't want anyone else, we'll bolt the door. That is, if they are bringing us something, knock (or ring bell), wait a short time, and then just come right in. They are professionals. They can be very unobtrusive when that's what's called for, and very friendly when *that* is what is called for, etc. And we do enjoy extra specialty restaurant meals, so we tend to get those en suite, given the limitations on "in restaurant". We ALWAYS tell our butler that we are usually *very* flexible about timing (and if we aren't, we'll make that clear). So IF we have requested service at what ends up being a busy time, just give us a quick call about a better time and do it that way. One thing we REALLY enjoy/prefer is a forward view, and we prefer that a lot! But not all ships have cabins/suites with forward views that work well for us, so we are flexible with that, too. (Or they are limited and we just can't get those...) But we can make do and enjoy quite a variety of "amenities", or lack thereof. We've been places that didn't even have simple room service, and we had wonderful times, there, too. 🙂 Until now, we have been somewhat time limited on taking vacations, so we don't mind spending a bit more (on land or at sea). If we start doing more traveling, we may cut back a bit on some of the luxe if that seems prudent. There hasn't yet been a single trip where we didn't have a *wonderful* time! GC
  22. A few comments about this exciting possibility. First, and less encouraging, it seems that the ships will be docked at Totality? That means they can't move around if there are clouds "here" and fewer clouds "there"... And are they all going to be in totality? Totality vs 99.99% is like, literally, Night and Day. Different things entirely. Yes, seeing a solar eclipse with "a lot of coverage" is special, no question. But it is NOT "almost as good" as being IN Totality! There were some ships off Mazatlan last Monday, and apparently they moved a bit to get better views (not sure if it was specifically cloud-related??). https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/3001696-eclipse-april-8-which-ships-will-be-watching-off-the-coast-of-mexico/#comment-67217270 We flew to Nashville for the August, 2017 solar ecliplse, for Totality. There was a nice crowd gathered in a downtown "square". Lots of open space. Clear sky! ... until "that cloud over there" started heading... our way! 😞 The eclipse started... and then... that cloud! The crowd groaned. At least we had planned other activities in Nashville, so it wasn't a complete bust, but we wouldn't have gone (or not then, anyway) except for the total solar eclipse. A week ago today, we flew to Montreal to give it another chance on Monday. SUCCESS! 😁 It was awesome. No... it was a complete and true sense of AWE with TOTALITY. There is no way we can find the words to describe what we saw, with the "black sun", the GLOWING corona (it was SO bright... just stunning!), the darkness, the drop in temperature. Everyone in the park where we were (just a block from our hotel - convenient!) gasped; some screamed words like, "OH WOW!!!!!" Or the obvious, "Look at THAT!" 😉 If you can get to totality, do it! Montreal was on the edge of totality, but it was still TOTALITY. That just meant that we had 1.5 minutes of totality instead of 2 or 3.5 minutes. Sure, we'd rather have had more time, but we *experienced" totality and we will NEVER forget it. DH reported that he almost cried (that's apparently a somewhat common report). Usually *I* am the "emotional one". If we knew we'd actually see a total eclipse in the future and not have clouds interfere, we'd go again, and almost regardless of price (within vague reason). It was that special! GC
  23. Welcome to CruiseCritic! Also please see the "Family Cruising" section for more specific discussions: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/28-family-cruises/ What is often suggested is to get two INTERNALLY CONNECTING cabins (so one does *not* need to go into the hallway to move between rooms - this is important!). Register with one adult and one child in each cabin. Once you are on board, you can keep the connecting door open all the time (especially with younger children, etc.), and do what is usually done at home... 2 adults in one bedroom, 2 children in the other. I'd also suggest bringing a bell of some sort and put it on the children's cabin door to the hallway. Then, IF they try to open it (perhaps in error, perhaps out of curiousity, or ...? 😉 ) you'll hear it, and can go check promptly. There are also some suites where there are either 2 bedrooms (often one very small one for children) plus a real Living Room space, or where the LR can be made up with beds (e.g., sleep sofa). Enjoy! GC
  24. Welcome to CruiseCritic! Here are some links you might find helpful as you wander around this forum: Cunard Cruise Line: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/32-cunard-line/ Queen Victoria Roll Calls: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/469-queen-victoria/ And the Roll Call for your specific sailing: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2901883-09-september-2024-barcelona-to-rome/ Hopefully, the Roll Call will become more active as others start planning some excursions or other get-togethers. Enjoy! GC
  25. I'm not sure what your specific point is, so perhaps you could clarify...? First, is your "cruise agent" a travel insurance agent or broker? If not, they may well not understand all of the "fine print", which can matter a LOT. Second, "to take the insurance..." does not necessarily imply "the insurance" includes CFAR coverage. There are other types of coverage, more common ones, that work as you describe it, "by final payment". Many of us book years in advance, with the deposit only. There is nothing special about that. However, IF we want CFAR coverage, we then also must start the travel insurance with "CFAR" within 10-20 days of the FIRST PAYMENT (e.g., that deposit). The reason for the range of days is that it varies by state of residence. The rest of the insurance can be added in stages if desired, as additional cruise payments are added. GC
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