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Everything posted by GeezerCouple

  1. This is a question we've never been quite clear on. But we've always had private excursions who *would* refund if the ship didn't dock (but not if we were just no-shows, of course). @iamtrustworthy Steve, could you help out here? I suspect many would like to know (and maybe it depends upon the specific insurer and policy...?) This is only if the ship doesn't dock and there is a 3rd party excursion non-refundable. Not for the "missed port" situation. Thanks! GC
  2. Welcome to CruiseCritic! Please keep in mind that arriving a day early is strongly recommended by many! That ship will leave... with you or without you. So IF there are any airline delays... you could miss the ship if you plan to arrive several hours before the ship sails. (And don't forget to make sure you understand when you *must* be checked-in/on-board before sailing time, regardless of which day you arrive "in town".) We prefer smaller ships, but there are sizes and amenities for everyone it seems! GC
  3. I'd strongly suggest that in addition to a photo/screen shot of the local port agent, one writes it down the old-fashioned way, and puts it in a pocket... someplace where it isn't likely to get left behind or stolen... just in case... GC
  4. We phrase this as: "The hotel follows us around at night!" 😁 GC
  5. "Best" can be very subjective, for anything. I'd suggest calling a travel insurance broker, someone who works with several different insurers. That way, you and they can discuss a variety of choices and try to find the one that "best" matches what you have in mind... or that you decide after hearing about the various choices. We are among those who recommend www.TripInsuranceStore.com But CALL them; don't rely upon the short online policy summaries. Those just cannot capture all of the details (positive or negative) that might be important for *you*. (There is no extra charge to use an agent or broker.) GC
  6. One other thing,,, waiting a couple of days for an antibiotic that is needed... can be a mistake. Of course, non-physician types may not know whether an antibiotic is actually needed. So seeing a physician (or dentist, of course) is advisable anyway, not just for "getting that visit with a doctor" documented. But also to make sure that any necessary treatment is started in a timely fashion. And because any such expenses are probably covered by the travel insurance, there's no reason to hesitate or postpone being seen. BTW, this has been one of the ways that travel medical insurance is different from our "regular home insurance". Unless it's some extreme situation, the insurer is just going to cover the costs. There isn't a requirement to get any sort of "pre-approval" or any [reasonable!?] limit on the charge. The cost could be more or less than what one would pay at home. Indeed, when I was in hospital overseas, there was NO attempt to get any insurance or billing information. When I left, we tried to pay, and they refused. We tried to insist (we used their services, we weren't local taxpayers, and we had insurance!), but they in turn insisted that they had NO way even to collect any money! Contrast that when DH was taken to an ER in a different country. While they took him to a room, I was escorted to "Billing". Fortunately, we always travel with several charge cards with high limits, so I just handed one over rather than wasting time until I could get back to DH. (As an aside, there were signs on the walls in Billing that they would only accept payment arrangements from a list of several specific travel insurers. Ours was one of them, but I wanted that treatment to start asap, and *not* wait for communications with some corporate office back in the USA. IF something bad was happening, we could take care of "additional expenses" over our credit limits after DH's condition was better understood and any true emergency was handled...) GC
  7. If the policy states that a physician must be seen... then a physician must be seen. Full stop. We've had this happen out of the country a couple of times. In both cases, the hotel sent for a physician to come to the hotel to see the patient. Note that this cost was *covered* by the travel insurance, so there is zero reason not to do it. In one case, a trip to the ER was required, but in others, it was not. However, in all cases, the insurance covered all of the claimed costs. Note that similarly, if the insurance policy specificies that a *receipt* must be submitted, then... a receipt must be submitted. Full stop. There is a reason that the policy describes the terms and conditions of coverage. They aren't trying to hide these requirements. Also, travel insurance companies tend to be available 24/7 (all? most??) so calling them to ask "what to do" is another possibility. And at least for our policies, that choice is also stated in the T&Cs. (Our insurer accepts collect calls from overseas. However, we handled this by email with our travel insurance agent, who gave us advice about how to proceed in the more complicated case, which also resulted in some changes to the remainder of our itinerary. If we didn't have an agent or couldn't reach them [that was Steve, at www.TripInsuranceStore.com], we'd have called the travel insurer directly. Or done that if directed to by the agent, obviously.) ETA: We've had quite a few travel insurance claims, totalling in the tens of thousands of dollars. Everything was paid in a very timely fashion with no arguments except for one very small item for which we had no receipt. Yes, we could have gotten a receipt, but didn't think of it at the time. We might have been able to request reconsideration, but it was less than $10, and not worth our time. GC
  8. Yes... a real surprise to us was that Japan ABSOLUTELY prohibits the regular, original formulation of Sudafed tablets. In the USA, this is now available "sort of" OTC, but one needs to ask for it to be given to you from BTC ("Behind The Counter" πŸ˜‰ ) even though there is no Rx needed. However, in at least some (all?) states, there is a limit on how much one can purchase per day, and they take personal ID information. There is a true OTC version of "Sudafed" called "Sudafed PE". We never thought it worked at all for us, so we'd always keep some old-fashioned Sudafed in the house and with us when we traveled [until that trip to Japan!]. I wondered how the "PE" version could have been approved. (I have a background in clinical trials and policy.) And surprise: Very recently, they decided that the Sudafed PE tablets won't continue to be sold. However, apparently that formulation IS effective when used as a nasal spray, so that will still be available. NOTE: My info about the availability of the two formulations may not be completely up to date. In any event, we got permission to bring our personal mini-pharmacy with us to Japan (two different types of approvals were needed overall), including for controlled substances and injectables (not controlled)... except for that original formulation Sudafed! We always go to the official website of the country we plan to visit for specific information. That also usually includes how to request permissions, when needed. And when in doubt, we just email that agency in that country to ask about overall permission or quantity restrictions. GC
  9. When is your cruise? We have had very good luck arranging private tours, but we do it in advance and to get it "right" means good back and forth communication about what we want, what they suggest, etc. And part of our need is because I can't always keep up with a group... need to rest occasionally, so we make that clear as well. That helps the guide know how to arrange things... walking? taxi? some of each? etc. GC
  10. I probably should have added above (too late to edit now) that we also ALWAYS get 3rd party travel insurance. For one thing, those companies are very familiar with how foreign health care and billing work. They aren't trying to fit square records into round claims requirements, etc. Working with claims for "foreign losses or medical care" is precisely what they do. (Also claims for domestic travel if appropriate, but there's usually much less need for separate coverage for that.) We get our travel insurance from www.TripInsuranceStore.com - as do many here. They are a broker, but there is no extra cost. CALL them so they can discuss what your specific needs would likely be. (They don't try to upsell.) Our policy is from Travel Insured, the actual insurance company, and they have always paid very promptly, with no nonsense. GC
  11. Sorry you had this problem, and so glad you are recovered! I'm not 100% sure when it is a MA (Medicare Advantage) plan. But ordinarily, I'd suggest contacting your State Insurance Commissioner's Office, and include how they said there was no appeal. Of course, they could deny that if it was just verbal. Some of the calls may be recorded. You can't get those, but the IC's office could IF it ever came to that. And IF this company has had other "reports" like this and they've been found to be, er, negligent with claims handling, that might make it easier for you now. (??) Or tell the insurer, once, that if they do not help you with the claim, you'll file a complaint with the IC's office. Then do it, if still needed. GC
  12. See the subforum title: Oceania Cruises If many CC members started commenting on each or many topics within each subforum about related issues *elsewhere*, it would quickly become quite difficult to find the *relevant* information... ... and that could also easily moot the entire purpose of the various sub-categories of forums/subforums/etc. GC
  13. Any suggestions about luxury hotels in Tokyo (in town, not the outskirts/etc.) that are *not* on high floors? We found that many of those hotels are on the top floors of multi-purpose buildings. Suffice it to say that I have a dreadful fear of heights. While others may find the higher/highest floors most desirable, that does *not* include us (er, me). The hotel section doesn't need to be on the ground level or such, but "not high"! We had more difficulty with this in Tokyo than I remember having anyplace else. Thanks. GC
  14. I think in the USA, the travel insurance policies are regulated by the states (hence the occasional coverage differences by state of residence), and the final price to traveler is the same regardless of whether purchased from insurer or an agent (travel agent or travel insurance agent) -->> FOR THE SAME POLICY. If the prices are different, chances are good that there is at least some difference in the coverage. [This assumes you are purchasing actual travel *insurance* and not some sort of sound-similar "cruise protection plan" or such. Those latter types are not regulated, so in addition to there being "any kind of pricing", there is also likely to be "any kind of coverage", especially when reading the fine print... or when comparing to actual "insurance".] Importantly, we prefer to buy travel insurance from a travel insurance specialist (an agent or broker) and *not* from someone who specializes in "travel planning" rather than "travel insurance". Given how complicated some of the insurance issues can get, we want someone who fully understands the choices. And that's important, too: The choices! It's definitely NOT a "one size fits all!" And, very importantly, someone who could assist with a claim... or help with any type of problem. Some travelers may worry about non-traveling family members. Some, pets. Some, work responsibilities. Some only/mostly care about the medical coverage. Others want the trip costs covered. And then there is the CFAR choice (Cancel For Any Reason)... And then there is: purchasing a policy from an insurer who is indeed going to pay a claim smoothly, without endless hoops..... (assuming, of course, that one submits all of the required documentation, which is essential). We had a large claim with the *first* travel insurance policy we got. We learned about it all here on CC, and thank goodness! And that first claim was paid within about 2 weeks from the time we submitted all of the documentation. That was with Travel Insured, through Steve and TripInsuranceStore.com. In this case (with true insurance), there is no extra charge for using a broker, and similarly, no savings for not using a broker or agent... We stick with that combination, and we've had several other claims, all paid promptly as well. But "Travel Insured" may not have the "right" policy for others. There are other travel insurers and types of policies. choochella: Make sure you double check what the coverage really is for annual policies. We found the total package potentially falling short if there were more than one claim in the year, and by that point, it would have been *too late* for us to get the type of insurance we needed for remaining trips. That may or may not be a problem for the types/costs of trips you take, but do double check. GC
  15. Thanks. Alas, it seems Beryl has morphed into Category 5 hurricane. (WIth all of the weather changes - and not just in the Caribbean - I'm guessing it won't be too long before the powers that be decide that there needs to be a "Category 6" for hurricanes... unfortunately.) GC
  16. What are the conditions (now and near future forecast) for Curaçao? We have family there for a one-week land trip. (They don't tend to monitor "communications" unless it's an emergency, and I don't want to call and perhaps alarm them, etc.) I think they are supposed to fly back to the USA on Thursday (04 July). Thanks! And we were both so sad to learn where the trajectory of this really powerful storm was heading. IIRC, it's not that common for major hurricanes to be so far south as, say, Barbados...?? GC
  17. That's great! We'll all benefit, even those who don't ask the questions. We often learn by reading the Q&A with others. So... thanks for all of it! GC
  18. Yeah, that was the problem. It was VERY isolated. We couldn't even see each other. And the walls were pretty high. You had to get up, go out into the hallway, and then walk over to the door to peer in. That was no imposition of course; it was the "not really being together" that we didn't like, not being able to talk spontaneously, etc. But it was extraordinarily comfortable! There's a footrest that can become a "companion seat" for "Dinner for Two", etc. (JAL had that also, even though we could chat when in our regular seats. But on JAL, that companion seat had the TV screen as a backrest, at least on that model of plane. Someone goofed on that design... VERY uncomfortable!) GC
  19. Not quite. The "pods" are much more separated. Hope this link works: https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&sca_esv=3dde2fcdc36845ac&rls=en&sxsrf=ADLYWIKm3saQo8YaBJFQt8kyv8RcYa-Ftg:1719853431520&q=cathay+pacific+first+class&udm=2&fbs=AEQNm0Aa4sjWe7Rqy32pFwRj0UkWd8nbOJfsBGGB5IQQO6L3J_86uWOeqwdnV0yaSF-x2jrJh7Dt5wV71ckxEPe_0GQyc61_Jkg5ZI9z4zNW20fWd52E8UO95Fa_VxoakS9zyCiAT-lUw9SqXLpdCTRHyZ2TB397CTLvedOJGxV_D_7JRzn827oY3wzpySThiJ8JihGoKqQR2_EkH-yaVIj8nLqyaR61pA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi5ouemqYaHAxUnK1kFHfk0BFMQtKgLegQIFRAB&biw=1187&bih=729&dpr=2 [Yikes - that link, when pasted in, is, er, looooong!] For us, sometimes the "pods" are actually "too private", although for a solo traveler, that would obviously be great. Our first experience with this was on Cathay Pacific, in F (thanks to awards; the cash price of those tickets was absurd; but it wasn't very many extra points above Business class, so it was a no-brainer when available). The pods were almost fully enclosed, although quite spacious. The bed, when in sleeping position, was about 33 inches wide, almost like a regular twin bed. Now, *that* was nice! However, no one could see anyone else, except for flight attendants, of course. To talk with DH, I had to get up and walk out of my pod and peer in the door of his... just to find out he was sleeping peacefully, out cold... so back to my pod I went. It was The Most Comfortable Flight Ever, without question. I would have been quite happy to stay on for the return to HKG, and then back to the USA again, truly! It was comfy, peaceful, and luxurious. πŸ™‚ In part because we were so "separated", at one point I asked one of the flight attendants that "when [DH] wakes up, would you bring him the [specialty beverage] and say: The lady in seat X asked if I would bring this drink to the gentleman in seat Y". The flight attendant cracked up, and soon, so did DH! FUN! But we do prefer to be "side by side" so we can at least lean forward to look over the separator or such to talk. We still prefer to "be together"... We joked that in the CX pod, we could almost both have slept in that bed! On some other airlines/planes/routes, the "pods" are more like mini "rooms". Look for Singapore airlines new Singapore Suites! GC
  20. Uh oh... is this going to become the "My age is bigger than your age" thread!? 🀣 GC
  21. I may have missed it, but which port was closed? Thanks. GC
  22. Thanks so much for this information... and for all of the other information and background, etc., that you share with those of us who are mere civilians. πŸ˜‰ It's all very interesting. GC
  23. Good to know! DH is getting a new iPhone, so will check what version. I doubt mine is recent enough. (And it's smaller than any new one, so I really don't want to let it go. I still dearly miss my little Blackberry with it's tiny but real keypad! Yup, I'm a bit of a dinosaur...) Thanks very much for mentioning this. GC
  24. AND the numbers of emergency services wherever we'll be, whether on land during a cruise, or as we take an entirely land trip. "911" isn't necessarily what one wants when not in the USA. GC
  25. This is the solution, and by the way, not just for dining in the Specialties... for *anything* while on board. They can't read your mind (alas!), so they don't know if you "don't care" about time, want to eat and run, or want to have that special and loong dinner together... Also, given that reservations are limited and highly coveted, there's probably a general but slight tendency to, er, err on the side of speed to clear those reservations. And with dinner (and some other requests), it might help to make your preference known in advance. The way we put it: Give them the best chance to help you with what you prefer! GC
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