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About Tapi

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    4 hours and 38 minutes from the closest cruise terminal

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  1. I’m an airline pilot. Flying today is very different than it was just a month ago (which feels like it was a year ago). Today, most people flying are doing so for essential reasons, which is the main reason why airlines are still flying. There are no crowds. Airports and airplanes are very empty. No lines anywhere. Most businesses are closed, and there’s plenty of space to spread out and maintain “social distancing”. On the airplane, with very low load factors, it’s also easy to maintain distance. Recently, I’ve seen one passenger every 2 or 3 rows. Sarcastically speaking, we say that there’s no better place to social distance and isolate now than at the airport. As far as airplane cleanliness goes, we joke that the airplanes haven’t been this clean since the came out of the factory. Frequently throughout the day, the entire airplane is fogged with Matrix-3. Then a cleaning crew comes onboard, with Matrix-3 in spray form and they wipe every surface, seat, tray table, lavatories, etc. I’ve watched them in action, and they are doing a thorough job. And most passengers now, when they come onboard, they wipe their seat with their own wipes as well. Many are wearing masks and gloves. Passengers are in the most part solo travelers. Nobody seems to be traveling for leisure. Service is limited. No drinks, ice, cups, selection of snacks, meals in first class, items or purchase, etc. Now everybody just gets a pre-packaged bag containing a bottle of water, cookies, and Purell wipes. Interaction with flight attendants is kept to a minimum. The welcome aboard/safety video now contains information on how to stay healthy when you travel, as well as all the safety measures that the airline is taking to address any concerns as one travels. In flight, the aircraft’s air conditioning system recycles and filters the air in the cabin every couple of minutes. Long story, short, the airlines are taking measures to ensure safe travel once the crowds do return. Just like during 9/11, some measures will be kept, while others will be abandoned or replaced with more effective ones as time goes by and facts are gained. The cruise lines will need to create their own measures as well. I do agree that certain protocols will need to be in place with local authorities should there be an outbreak onboard, not only for COVID, but for any disease. COVID most likely provided the shake up that has been needed for a long time. Personally, having had to deal with Norovirus on two separate cruises, I’ll be glad to see any new measures that may come out of the current situation to deal with onboard illnesses. The last thing that I’ll say is that I am confident that once cases start leveling off, we gather better information and data, hysteria and fear is replaced with facts analysis, and we have time to breathe, the travel industry will come up with new and acceptable measures to make travel the safest it’s probably ever been. As awful as this situation is, I believe that we will greatly benefit from what will come out of it.
  2. I already see some NCL cruises to Hawaii listed for the summer of 2022, so hopefully it won’t be much longer before you see more ships and regions listed as well. Not all of them are released at the same time, so you can expect majority of them to be loaded in the system 18-24 months out, with some even closer to departure. I know it’s probably not the accurate answer that you’re looking for. I know that you have a credit that you need to use, but we have a Panama Canal Cruise on Carnival booked for Spring 2022. Those sailings have been in the system for several months now.
  3. Hi. It’s such an unprecedented situation that it’s hard to predict what will happen based on past data. It can go different ways. In one scenario, demand drops dramatically and as a result, prices drop as well as we get closer to sailing. In another scenario, because there will be so many sailing cancelations during the next few months, that will create a much smaller supply of cabins available for the rest of the year . If a large percentage of people who are unable to sail during the next few months rush to book whatever cruises are available once cruising ramps up again, you’ll expect fares to sky rocket. But if people choose to stay home, even after cruises resume, then prices may drop, even considerably, as we get closer to sailing. People are already rebooking their canceled cruises for dates later in the year. What will happen from now until then is pure speculation, so don’t put too much weight on anybody’s prediction of the future, which right now varies from gloom and doom to positive and bright. Since you’re probably still a few months out before having to make your final payment, you can upgrade now to your desired balcony stateroom without having to pay extra up front, and then monitor your sailing for price drops until your final payment date. If you see a price drop, you can have your cruise fare adjusted, but once you’re past your final payment, you won’t be able to adjust your price anymore. Or you can hope that cruisers don’t return as quickly, wait to upgrade until close to sailing inside final payment, and hopefully take advantage of some last minute price drops. Keep in mind that sometimes when the cruise line offers some insane price drops at the last minute, they will only offer these fares to new bookings and not to people who are already booked and who wish to upgrade (happened to us, We tried to upgrade to a mini suite at the last minute because price was within $50 of what we’d paid for an ocean view, but the cruise line wouldn’t honor that fare because it was for new bookings and wanted considerably more money instead for us to upgrade). With that said, cruise lines have been adjusting their policies to make them more generous and attractive to traverse this situation, so who knows if policies will change as well concerning these scenarios. Whatever you choose, I hope that you have a wonderful cruise, and that by September, we are all enjoying cruising again! 😀
  4. Supply and demand. With so many sailing cancelations, the supply will be considerably less. The cruise lines are most likely hoping that it will translate into higher demand for the fewer cruises available. If it doesn’t happen, expect prices to drop considerably as sailing date approaches.
  5. Last week, I booked a Princess Cruise for February 2021. I wasn’t planning on it, but it was an absolutely fantastic price for our family. I don’t know if we will actually go, but I couldn’t pass it up. So there are some good deals out there. We also have a Royal Caribbean cruise for November 2020 booked (which I’m 50/50 about canceling) and I’ve been checking prices for drops, but so far, rates are considerably higher than what we booked. My theory is that the cruise lines are assuming that the reduced capacity created by all the cancelations will allow them to charge increased fares (the good ol’ rule of supply and demand). But if passengers don’t return the way that the cruise lines may be expecting, then we’ll see prices drop as we get closer to sailing date.
  6. Yikes! 😂 That mistype aside, I think that we will see some killer deals as cruising starts ramping up again. Yes, there are a lot of unknowns at the present time, but I’m truly looking forward to the day when we are able start cruising again, hopefully at great fares.
  7. I’m an airline crew member, and as much as the impact of this pandemic worries me about the future of my industry, and as much as I look forward to the day when flights are full again, I have to admit that it’s been nice to enjoy the quiet around the airports and aboard airplanes. Without long lines, crowds, and the rush normally associated with air travel, things have really slowed down to a very pleasant pace. It almost feels like a throwback to the golden days of flying. Boarding and deplaning is relaxed and takes just a few minutes. Even with the social distancing, everybody seems much more pleasant, kinder, courteous, and warm. Airplanes are the cleanest they’ve been in years, with fogging and deep cleaning performed frequently. I was concerned about going to work when this pandemic started, but now I feel less at risk on an airplane than at my local grocery store. I think that this experience is making all of us more human and less robotic. I can only hope that the lessons we are learning now are lessons that we can maintain long term, and that we won’t forget them too quickly.
  8. I just booked a cruise for 2021 (a 5 night Princess Cruise to Cabo) with a refundable $200 deposit. It’s nothing fancy, but I wanted to secure a specific stateroom. Whether the cruise happens or not, it gives me something to look forward to and to be excited about. In these times of uncertainty, it’s a diversion from what’s currently happening. As we get close to that date and things become clearer (not only with the cruise industry but with my company and job), I will then decide what I’ll do. At this point in time, we can only speculate what the cruise industry will look like 6, 12, 18+ months from now. But I personally don’t think that we should become prey to the current situation and stop looking forward to the future. A big part of getting through these tough times is having hope, and for me, having cruise plans is a good way to accomplish that. When we cruised to Alaska for the first time a few years ago, I started planning over a year in advance, researching ports of call, ships, itineraries, etc. Starting your research now for an Alaska cruise during the summer of 2021 gives you plenty of time to get yourself familiarized with what will most likely be one of the most wonderful vacations of your lifetime. I wouldn’t plunk thousands of dollars on a cruise reservation this far out (with or without the current situation), but if you do pinpoint a specific ship and stateroom that you want, and you can secure it with a low, refundable deposit, I would say to go ahead and book it. About your wish for a larger bathroom with a larger shower/tub, no matter what ship you select, you will not get that in a standard balcony stateroom so you’ll have to go the “suite” route. And even then, you need to check out the actual facilities because even suites can have small bathrooms. Should you splurge on a suite? How much is the luxury of having a larger bathroom worth to you? If the number in your head matches what the difference in price is, then go for it. If not, then pass on the suite. A few years back, my wife and I celebrated an anniversary at a time when I was about to begin a new job. We didn’t have a lot of money and all we could afford was a short, 4 night Pacific Coastal cruise in an ocean view stateroom with a partially blocked view. But it was an amazing, memorable vacation, which we will always cherish. Yes, it wasn’t the most luxurious vacation, but we loved it simply because we were together. I’m positive that no matter what you and your spouse choose, you will be making wonderful memories.
  9. Several airlines are still operating flights between the US and Europe, although on a very reduced schedule. Delta is currently operating flights to London and Amsterdam (where they code share with KLM). American just announced that several routes are returning in June. Others won’t be returning until October, while some won’t operate at all until 2021. https://news.delta.com/where-delta-flying-outside-us-april-updated
  10. I’m truly hopeful that there have been enough advances in medicine during the last 100 years to prevent a repeat of the 1918 pandemic. 🤞🏼
  11. We have the Freedom booked for Nov 2020. I haven’t made a decision to cancel it, but I will make a decision close to final payment. I’m not concerned about the virus, and I feel hopeful that by then things will have returned to a sense of normalcy, but right now I’m feeling that the responsible thing to do would be to skip that cruise and leave that money in savings until things stabilize a bit. We already cruised in 2020 and have cruises booked for 2021 and 2022, so I’ll “survive” if I skip the Freedom in November.
  12. Of course I’ll cruise again! I have two already booked, but the next one isn’t until February 2021. It just worked out that way, but I’m glad that I have 10 months to go to give the current situation some time to rectify itself. In my opinion, you’re not going to get objective answers to your question right now. A lot of people are currently negatively biased because we are in the middle of this pandemic. They will say “I’ll never cruise again, fly again, go to a restaurant again, stay at a hotel again, go anywhere again, etc”. But I believe that as soon as we are on the other side of the curve, businesses start opening up again, and people start returning to a sense of normalcy, the “never again” thoughts will gradually fade away. It’s human nature. As an example, I caught Norovirus on a Carnival cruise back in 2011. At the time, while I sat in my cabin curled up in pain, I categorically said I would never ever cruise again and expose myself to getting sick like that. By the time I started feeling better and the memories of my illness started fading away, I was already planning my next cruise. 😂
  13. I’m an essential worker who continues to travel during this pandemic. I’m spending a few nights a week at hotels. At several, they’ve issued letters stating the extra steps that they are taking to clean the rooms to give guests some peace of mind. But I don’t rely on that and I‘ve started carrying medical grade cleaning supplies with me and I wipe commonly used surfaces down (table tops, counter tops, remote, light switches, toilet handle, etc) as soon as I walk into the room. Long story short, even with the “deeper cleaning” that the hotels are supposedly performing, the wipes are usually black and grimy by the time I’m done cleaning, so I’m positive that the new steps that they have supposedly adopted are not really being enforced by the cleaning crew. And this experience has repeated itself no matter what hotel chain I stay at (most recently Hyatt Regency, Marriott, and Hilton). Long story short, until this pandemic passes (and even going forward from this point), don’t rely on the cruise lines or hotels to clean your room to your standards. The practice of bringing your own wipes or disinfectant, which not too long ago was attributed to germaphobes only, should perhaps becomes a standard practice for all guests. Or maybe cruise lines should clean the rooms as they currently do, but then place in each room a small pack of wipes and sanitizer for guests to use during their stay. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned during the last few weeks is how poorly cleaned rooms are and that I shouldn’t rely on anybody to keep me safe. I do feel a bit better on airplanes though because I have witnessed the fogging process and individual seat and tray cleaning process with Matrix 3 cleaner. If anything, it seems like airplanes haven’t been this clean since they came out of the factory. 😂
  14. My kids are 8 and 10 years old, and we have sailed mostly family friendly cruise lines because of them (Carnival, Royal, Disney, MSC). But our last cruise (reference on my last post) was on Holland America. I was very concerned that the kids would be bored to tears on an “old folks” ship, but it turns out that they absolutely loved it. In fact my 10 year old son said that it was one of his most fun cruises that he’s ever taken. The best part about it was that the cruise was actually cheaper than Carnival. With a “kids sail free promotion, and a special deal on a balcony stateroom, it was $1.4K cheaper than Carnival.
  15. I’m also platinum on Carnival, and I thought that I would miss the perks once I decided to branch out to other cruise lines. I haven’t. In fact, many times I’ve received better treatment as a first timer on other cruise lines than as platinum on Carnival. The one perk that I do miss when I sail on other cruise lines is the free laundry, so I just purchase it. On our last Holland America cruise, an unlimited laundry package was $49, so $7 per day. As Platinum on Carnival, I get 2 free bags of laundry, so that perk is worth $14. Doesn’t make sense to stay loyal to one cruise line over $14.
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