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Spif Barwunkel

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About Spif Barwunkel

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Florida, at Mrs. Barwunkel's house

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  1. Thank you Dr. Pam. We can not be reminded enough about the mutual responsibility that we all have toward one another. Indeed, that obligation is in place at all times but should be especially evident in times of crisis.
  2. Enjoy alternating between cruising and land-based vacations. Have traveled for 65 years, including cruising the last 35. Do not enjoy all-inclusive destinations. Prefer having the opportunity to experience local restaurants where we are staying, for all meals. When out and about, no worry about getting back to the hotel in order to make our all-inclusive rate worthwhile. The non-inclusive vibe, ambience and experience works for us.
  3. I totally understand the process. My refunds showed up on July 4, 79 days after cancellation notification. I had no problem with that but many people did. It did not matter to me that others received reimbursement after 2 - 4 weeks. Still, more folks continue to wait after more than 100 days. Agreed, the process is slow. More future cancellations will add to the frustrations. Difficult for some folks to understand. At times, even the most understandable and straight forward situations need that little extra dollop of assurance and recognition. That has not been the case.
  4. The CNBC story dated July 7 sheds no new light on the return to cruising. We have heard it all several times over and should resign ourselves to the fact that, it ain't final 'til it's final. A Yogi-ism of sorts. We have been booked on a 1/17/21 Equinox cruise for over a year. Twelve nights in the southern Caribbean and seven nice ports-of-call. I have my doubts that it will go and if it does, will probably not look at all like it does now. There are choices still to be made.
  5. 12 hours ago, Spif Barwunkel said: Also, no specific communication as to how and why X is proceeding with it's method of operation, only vague generalities which serve as an attempt at placation rather than an offer of substantive description. Might have been a bit vague on the above statement. I did not intend reference to how X will operate once cruising begins again. Rather, I would have liked to see an initial correspondence on how Celebrity planned to handle the reimbursement plan, and why. Obviously, business as usual would not be an option. Too many obstacles and a change of routine would encumber the daily order of things. Perhaps an explanation of such would have served to keep us all informed and therefore more patient and accepting of what's to come.
  6. Several weeks ago Part 1 was sent to the boneyard. Since then are we smarter, wiser, more ornery, less tolerant, no change? We've seen cruising go to "All Stop" and right along with it here we are relegated to landlubber status. Based on forthcoming guidelines and directives we may have to establish our sea-legs all over again and learn how to cruise. We have learned that in a serious crisis Celebrity is consistently inconsistent when it comes to refunds and FCC's. Also, no specific communication as to how and why X is proceeding with it's method of operation, only vague generalities which serve as an attempt at placation rather than an offer of substantive description. Some cruisers have had little or no problems, others continue to await resolution, feeling lost in the system, their brand loyalty unrecognized and unappreciated. I can only speak to X because I had four cruises on the books when the virus came. I'm sure that circumstances are the same with other cruise lines. Point here is, if we knew why things were happening the way they are, could we have better understood and accepted Celebrity's efforts? What have we learned about third party involvement in the booking process when things go awry? Will TA's be as sought after once cruising begins again? Or, will most folks look to do business directly with Celebrity? Or neither? There are other "lessons learned" out there. So What do you think?
  7. There are indeed discrepancies within the cruise community pertinent to refunds and FCC's. Why some cruisers experience problems, while others do not, cannot be explained but should be expected. An immediate crisis overload, due to C19, hit hard and fast. Certainly, between establishing new methods of operation and handling customer service, the challenges were, and continue to be, many. When the relationship becomes a threesome, cruise line, TA and passenger, no doubt the challenges become greater. No excuses, just fact. To those still awaiting a satisfactory solution, I wish you well and I am sorry for your dilemma. I guess FOR ME, until receiving a notice of insolvency and/or bankruptcy, I would still remain optimistic about receiving what I was due. And just to make things perfectly clear, my posts are mine alone. They judge no one, infer nothing not written, and, describe only what I did or didn't do, how I feel or don't feel. The occasional figurative flogging, "Black Sails" style really has no place here, especially when it's without merit or justification.
  8. Seventy-nine days from an X notification of cruise cancellation, we received our cruise fare and air fare refund. A nice Fourth Of July gift giving us our independence from monetary rule. We were also notified that our X excursions refunds are due to arrive shortly. No stress, no bothering X or the TA, no being a PITA. Just a calm, patient wait-and-see attitude gets the job done. Celebrity has reacted very professionally under the circumstances, despite the impatience and belligerence of some customers. Actually, our refunds arrived within 11 days of the 90 day window....nice!
  9. The capitals cruise is a great itinerary no matter what cruise line you choose to sail. The biggest difference, as I see it, between Celebrity and the other cruise lines you have sailed, is the customer demographic. For the most part, passengers range in age from the forties thru the seventies. Unlike the other lines mentioned, X ships offer no water slides, play areas, surfing venues etc. Those types of amenities are naturally more appealing to a much younger crowd. Celebrity ships offer a subdued robustness. Their overall presentation and routine creates an urbane yet enlivened environment. Stylish without being stuffy. Service and attention is first-rate and passengers do not lack for solicitude. Food is excellent but the entertainment could be better at times. The vastness of Europe and Canada offers an entirely different cruising experience when compared to the Caribbean and Mexico. With so much more to do and see in Europe and Canada, port days can be as busy as you want them to be. The Caribbean and Mexico provide a more relaxing pace. As to expectations on the ship, the number of excursions in particular ports will obviously determine how frantic the scramble is to get off the ship and begin the tour. No matter, it all works out. You will enjoy Celebrity. Have a good time.
  10. TR - They are not all-inclusive. There are many wonderful chefs in the Caribbean, including ex-pats who have brought their culinary excellence to many of the islands. When staying several days at a particular destination, part of that enjoyment involves eating at those restaurants. Therefore, all-inclusive resorts do not work for us.
  11. As residents of Florida we have easy access to the Caribbean. It is in the neighborhood, if you will. Over the last 30 years we have traveled to most of the islands, either cruising or flying. We are not beach people either but we find land trips to be relaxing and rejuvenating. We have stayed at some lovely hotels on the various islands, enjoying the ambience and the location. Here are four of our favorites. If you Google them that will provide you with more information than I could give you here. - The Inn At English Harbour - Antigua - Gallows Point - St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands - Coral Reef Club - Barbados - Anse Chastanet - St. Lucia I think you will enjoy browsing.
  12. There are some things to consider before sailing back-to-back- cruises. If you have only cruised a couple of times, consider the length of those cruises and whether or not additional days on a ship would be enjoyable to you at this time. I believe that this is the biggest consideration. Select the region where you want to cruise and pick the itineraries that are most attractive. Itineraries are important for us. Our first b2b fulfilled two items on our cruising bucket list. From Dublin, we sailed 8 days in Norway and 11 days in Iceland/Ireland. An overnight in Dublin between sailings gave us the opportunity to enjoy some sights in that great city. Previous to this b2b, our longest single cruise was 12 days. Because of the Norway/Iceland itineraries, we did not want to get off the ship after 19 days. In other words, we could have done these two cruises all over again. You will want to make sure that you select the right cruise line, one that fits your needs and desires. A ships atmosphere and environment is always important, more so the longer you are onboard. Heed what advice these experienced cruisers have to offer. Discern as best you can what seems to strike your fancy. Ask additional questions, if necessary. Most importantly, have no doubt when you are ready for your first back-to-back. When next you cruise, only the best of times.
  13. There will be no Galapagos sailings in 2020. The three X ships dedicated to that area will perhaps be cruising itineraries elsewhere until Equador is once again a viable tourist destination. Logically speaking, and considering the depth of information yet to be learned about the effects and spread from corona virus, the pristine waters of the Galapagos and its inhabitants need not be subject to possible tourist toxicity. When next you cruise, only the best of times.
  14. Stayed twice in Amsterdam, pre-cruise. Great, fun city with lots to do. If you opt for a hotel, The Movenpick is steps from the cruise terminal. When you awake on cruise day, there will be your cruise ship. Looks as if you can reach out and touch it. Getting into city center requires transportation unless you are up for a good walk. The Banks Mansion is a city center hotel I also recommend. Walking distance to many attractions, restaurants and clubs. We toured with "That Dam Guide" during one stay. Small, intimate group and wonderful tour. Used Viator the second stay for two days. A larger group but very enjoyable and informative tours. Lots to research and decide. One thing for certain, you will have fun.
  15. Certainly you do not justify using the term "riffraff" (post #22) in describing an ethnicity or a citizenry. And most certainly, your occasional unpleasant circumstance or "longing" - as well as that of anyone else's - be damned, when used as an excuse to besmirch a collective. Where I have been and what I have experienced is not what matters here. What matters is that we all should be aware of our destination and our destiny while there. You, obviously, have been to the Caribbean 29 times too many. Perhaps that qualifies you as a pseudo-pirate of sorts. Whatever the case, should you venture there again, remain on the ship no matter the port. You and the locals will be better off for it.
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