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iancal

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  1. The only way that I do is to look at the fare code on the ticket. Then look google the fare codes for that specific airline. The airline will list the conditions attached to each fare code. Our experience is that those fare codes are typically at the far end of the alphabet. So if we get, say an ‘m’ fare code it is an indication that we are at the back of the line when it comes to flight cancelation re-schedules. The first time we travelled to Bangkok a number of years ago we had the choice of two airlines. Delta or United. Same price. We selected Delta. Their ticket had a fare code that allowed for changes (with a fee). The United ticket did not. As luck would have it we did have to make a change. We learned of this fare code issue from a contributor on the cruise air forum. Prior to that we always thought a ticket was a ticket and everyone in, say economy, had the same priority and privileges. Not so. We have booked low cost highly restrictive/ low priority tickets direct through the airline, through on line TA’s and through cruise air. The issue is that sometimes the fare code is not provided until after one hits the buy button. This was certainly the case on our last cruise air buy from RCI. Fortunately it did not matter.
  2. We used consolidator tickets to get to a cruise. The ticket was a consolidator fare code on BA. Not much risk. There were three flights to London a day from Toronto, and then another four flights a day from Heathrow to Istanbul. We picked the first flight. Plus we arrived a day early. I believe the issue is to only select certain carriers and to understand what the back up options are if things go sideways. Would be buy a consolidator ticket on Benny Hill airlines? No. Nor on an airline that just had one or two flights a week to our destination, or a ticket that had us connecting to a second air carrier. . A certain amount of common sense and judgement needs to be exercised. We would not, as an example, ever select a consolidator class fare code ticket from a cruise line if we were headed to FLL for a winter cruise. We are well aware of the potential weather issues. There is a very good chance that the fare code on the cruise air ticket at the same time, for the same flights would have been exactly the same as the ticket and fare code that we obtained from the on line TA. The cruise air cost for the same airline and routing was an extra $200. on a $500 (CAD ticket). The following year came back from BCN on a BA consolidator fare ticket from cruise air. It was perfect. The fare codes were identical.
  3. I was 67 when I we had to cancel for medical reasons. DW was 65. No issues with our credit card insurance. I cannot remember them even asking for her age. Had we been making a claim for medical rather than cancellation it may have been different. The credit card insurance company did require a picture of the credit card account statement. They do no have access to any credit card account holders's data...including the statement where the travel charge is listed. Canadian MC Aspire cards. We were astonished that the insurance company made payments within 10 business days of claim submission with no requests for additional data.
  4. It would depend on the tips!
  5. I think that luggage choice comes down to how you travel, where you travel, and how much you pack along with you. We have seen the bags piled up outside cabins on final night. We cannot believe the amount of stuff that some people drag along. But it is of no concern to us. Everyone has to do their own thing. Larger suitcases with spinners would be useless to us. Our Eagle Creek 20"expanse wheeled duffle is perfect for us but would not be for many others. We cannot imagine travelling with two or three large suitcases or suitbags. Others could not imagine traveling with only our carry ons.
  6. We have done four Med cruises and countless Eurpean land trips. Agree with Ducklite. But if you really want to cruise the Greek Islands don't bother with the big, mainline cruise lines. You will get to go to Santorini and Mykonos and chances are it will be very crowded. Shop for a small Greek or Turkish cruise line/ship that actually spends a week around the islands. Then get off and spend some time in Athens or.....hop on a ferry and visit a few island on your own. There is absolutley no comparison between doing the above vs a cruise that makes two stops at an overcrowded tourist destination for a very short time. We looked at Med cruises for this Sept/Oct. All of about ten minutes. Prices were high, DW said forget it. We plan to island hop on our own. We can travel for a month or more on the what we would pay for a ten or fourteen day cruise. Plus....we would get to see and experience a great deal more.
  7. We never bothered with them. When we checked bags we simply filled out a tag at the dock. It took all of 30 seconds. We do not even bother with that now that we travel with carry on only.
  8. We would never buy cancel for any reason insurance. We can self insure for that. Retired so no employment issues. Medical reasons cancellation is part of our credit card benefits. In the last ten years of very frequent travel we changed plans three times. Twice we simply paid the airline change fee. Once we canceled a China trip for medical reasons. Our credit card insurance paid our claim in full. The ability to change tickets, even for a fee, is just one of the reasons why we pay close attention the fare codes when buying air tickets. We sometimes do buy non refundable, non changeable tickets. It just depends on how far out the flight is and the price deltas. It becomes a math exercise more than anything.
  9. The cruise lines will keep lowering the price until the cabins are full. Sometimes it does not happen but they do try their best. This is inventory that has zero value once the ship sails.
  10. We typically book our own. We have booked one way air for transatlantic and transpacific flights several times. Only once has cruise air been advantageous. We have always been able to find one way tickets at a fair price. It does take some work but those tickets are out there. You need to be aware that they may be consolidator fare code tickets....but there is a very good chance that the cruise air tickets will be issued under the same fare code.
  11. Much of our travel is spontaneous. So far, with the exception of one safari, it has all been independent. We just last week booked a flight to Athens in Sept, and a flight home from London in late Oct. The only thing we know for certain is that we will fly to Ioannina from Athens, spend a few days and then go to Corfu. Then travel down the Ionian islands. Nothing booked other than a hotel the night we arrive and the night before we fly home from Gatwick. We have been to Greece a number of times. We may stop on some islands on the way to Crete. Then to Cyprus. After that, depending on how much time is left, if any, we may fly to Israel, Morocco, or France for a few days prior to going to London to catch our ride home. It may depend on religious holidays in Israel, what flights are attractive, or what the weather f'cast is. Or....we could score a last minute cruise with on a Greek or Turkish ship and bounce around for a week or two. Crazy, but that is how we do it since retirement. We are doing this at least twice a year now-mostly for 7-9 weeks at a time. Also looking at options for a winter trip. Looks like back either to Thailand, etc, or the Pacific coast of Mexico for a month and then Costa Rica and Panama. Maybe. We won't decide until November/December.
  12. We felt very safe. Five nights in town, lots of walking about. We never travel with expensive jewelry. Does not matter where we are going. Cruises or otherwise. I have a 'travel' watch. DW only takes a small amount of costume jewelry.
  13. I think that those who travel frequently, and only with carry on, eventually get to point where they have what they pack and how they do it almost rote. It is very individual. My spouse and I both do carry on only however our packing methods are very different. Neither of us use packing cubes but we still have different ways of getting it done and getting out of the house. I think don't think there is a generic right answer. As long as you can pack what you need/want according to your volume and weight restrictions it is all good. DW has a list and starts well ahead of me. I am more last minute. Neither of us pack the extraneous items or the just in case items.
  14. Our favourite would be the owners suite. Alas, we always book a balcony cabin. And quite often a last minute gty at that.
  15. Really. What is there to get upset about? Someone wearing a Speedo. Life must be pretty good if this is all that someone has to worry about. Reminds me of the lady on one of our past cruises complaining about the topless beach in France that she visited. What did she expect....France to forbid topless bathing because some puritan from another country did not like it? The world is a big place. Unfortunately there are a lot of small minded people about. Clearly, some might be better off just staying home in East Rubber Boot.
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