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About iancal

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  1. You might want to try an escorted tour of some sort. Cruising is certainly not the be all and end all of travel products.
  2. We avoid older HAL ships for this very reason. We are not willing to take a chance when there are so many other great ships out there-within HAL's fleet and within other cruise lines. Most especially older ships that the cruise line has been trying to unload for years. Maintenance cutbacks are one thing. Maintenance cutbacks on a old ship that has been for sale for an extended period are quite another.
  3. iancal

    Mexico Travel Advisory

    I think the trick is to read and fully comprehend the travel advisories. Don't stop after the first two paragraphs. When you travel be aware of your surroundings and stick to well trodden paths. There is far too much hysteria out there because people stop reading after a few minutes or take the say so of someone who has. An OP posted some data about the most dangerous countries statisically-Thailand and the Philippines being at or close to the top.. We are spending our fourth winter winter in Thailand. If anything, we feel safer there than in some other North American cities. But we exercise caution. We spent time in the Philippines last winter but did not feel the same level of personal safety. We cut our visit short and returned to Thailand. We do the same in Mexico-exercise common sense. This year we decided against a cruise or an AI and opted for two weeks of independent travel in the Yukatan. There was a fair amount of police presence in Cancun, Playa, Isla, etc. Never once did we feel at risk. In Puerto Morales we were typically walking around the town after a late dinner. We enjoyed it so much that we plan to return for three weeks next Oct/Nov. We certainly would not be concerned about spending time in Mazatlan. Other parts of Sinola are a completely different story.
  4. iancal

    Dress Code Question

    We believe that HAL's Gala attire guidelines are much more reflective of their customers' changing wishes. We switched to casual mid cruise one evening a number of years ago and never went back. HAL's current guidelines provide choice.
  5. iancal

    Medallion Events on Board

    Based on what I have read and seen, I cannot imagine HAL saving more that fifty cents by having someone decline a medallion. Really, they are hardly the stuff of precious metals....notwithstanding the increase in the world price of copper. Fortunately the world price of tin is fairly stable. Mind you, with the threatened tariffs on imported goods from China, they may in fact increase in value. Every so slightly. I do agree with the OP...I think they would make nice Christmas tree ornaments.
  6. iancal

    Mexico Travel Advisory

    It might be better to stay home. Double lock all the doors. Close the blinds. Whatever happens do not open the door.
  7. iancal

    Mexico Travel Advisory

    Simply make your own decision as to whether to go or not to go. Why on earth try to justify your decision to others or attempt to persuade them one way or another?
  8. iancal

    Celebrity Edge- Major Ship Envy!

    This choice is like any others. SImply select the ship and the price point of your preference. Why on earth would anyone care what ship or cruise line someone else decides to try, or what price they pay. MYOB? Besides, opinions are simply that. Someone's opinion can never be wrong because that is their perception. After all, it is just a ship. No different than any other purchase one makes. Do people feel the same intensity about automobile make/model, airline, ketchup or cereal brand?
  9. iancal

    Shared shuttle From Barcelona Airport to Hotel

    We have done taxi, bus, and train. Bus was simple. You can buy your ticket on the bus (at least you could when we took it). Bus area is well signed. We only have carry on luggage. If you have a fair amount of luggage simply grab a taxi.
  10. iancal

    Mexico Travel Advisory

    I believe that you need to read the warnings in their entirety and have an basic understanding of the geography of the area in question. Pull out, or pull up a map of the area. Then apply some common sense and do a little independent checking on your own. In the case of Thailand, Turkey, and Athens warnings we turned to some long term expats who lived in those areas and who posted/answered questions. Most times the on site information and advice posted was at variance in terms of degree with the cable news outlet reports and to a degree with the State Dept. warnings -especially if one had not read those warnings in their entirely.
  11. iancal

    Celebrity Edge- Major Ship Envy!

    Our first trip on a Solstice class ship was eight months or so after Equinox was launched. Prices fell to the point where they were in line with other ships/cruise lines. It may take a little longer, but certainly not years.
  12. iancal

    Mexico Travel Advisory

    We do not place much stock in State Dept. travel warnings. We suspect that they are as much CYA as they are real warnings. It would be interesting to apply the same parameters that the State Dept uses to report out on some US cities.
  13. iancal

    Celebrity Edge- Major Ship Envy!

    This is the reason why we often book inside the final payment window.
  14. iancal

    Celebrity Edge- Major Ship Envy!

    The price is a meaningless target. Demand/competition will determine price. Just as it has done n Zandams's Alaska runs over the past few years where late booking insides have sold for as low as $399 and $499. And a few times as low as $299.
  15. iancal

    Cost of a Turkish rug??

    Very much like buying jewelry. If you really do not know what you are buying the chances or being ripped off are very high.