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Got Out There

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  1. I can see this happening.....and there may be a few ships that will used solely to quarantine returning crew. They can test them before they board, isolate them individually to guest cabins with balconies for a few weeks, test them again and then transfer them to other ships via ship or flights if available. Whatever way they end up going it will be a logistical nightmare and take many weeks to staff up ships.
  2. Yes and No, as far as if we miss cruising... We typically cruise 3-5 times per year, all booked relatively last minute (two weeks out), so typically we are not looking forward to our next booked cruise since we book last minute. Last month we travelled to Cancun and stayed at Excellence (PM) AI resort, we generally try not to stay at AI resorts unless they are 5 star rated. This was first time at an Excellence resort and we completely enjoyed it, outstanding service (best we have ever had on any vacation) and the report was impeccable. We are already looking to squeeze another trip back within the next 60 days, it was that good! Felt very safe with Covid protocols in general......with two exceptions, the flights and other quests at resort. We were in fist class, however both flights were oversold and the thought of all of us on a plane (with masks) for 2+ hours was not comforting. Additionally, at the resort pretty much all gusts did not wear masks. Fortunately the resort occupancy was capped at 30% (I think it was actually closer to 50%), so we were able to social distance. We sat on the beach all day and were socially distanced from others. We missed having drinks at the bar with others, but felt it would be safer to stay clear of the crowds. We both agreed it was an excellent vacation and we were able to leave everything behind and just relax and enjoy each other. While we were at Excellence we discussed how we really were not missing cruising as much as we thought we would. However, this changed when I read a post here on Cruise Critic that there were rumors of staff and crew being called back to re-staff the ships! I guess this stoked the idea that cruising would be possible again in the near future...this lead us to begin to miss cruising again! It will be interesting to see what happens when they actually do start sailing again.
  3. We have done several; Sandals, Secrets and most recently Excellence. Last month we went to the Excellence in Cancun (PM), was the best AI that we have stayed at so far. Highly recommend that Excellence property. Service was outstanding, best we have ever experienced in any vacation. Food was very good, better than most RCCL food. Resort was impeccable! Cost was comparable to 7n balcony with drink package. We are already trying to figure out when we can go back in the next 60 days.
  4. There is no way cruises will begin before next year, in fact I would guess at least a year from now...….The need for a vaccine is paramount, without it cases will continue to happen, period. The new normal a month or more after we come down from the peak will continue to include social distancing at a minimum. This will last until a vaccine is readily available. One year minimum. Until then, as you said above, RCCL will continue to take your new reservations and your payments, fully knowing that the cruise will not happen for many months. I saw book on for those of you that want to provide RCCL with interest free loans.....
  5. This is very true....RCCL is happy to take payment (deposit/final) on cruises that are not going to happen, when they cancel most people take the FCC, RCCL keep the cash...… Not really free cash, but none the less cash to keep the afloat.
  6. I saw the latest video from Richard Fain...he does a nice job with these quick little videos. For some reason I got to thinking about Adam Goldstein, his former right hand person. I had the chance to meet both of them several years ago and they surely, in my opinion, could not be much more different then they are from one another. RF, seemed more passionate about the business and less about the details, on the other hand AG seemed far more engaged with the financial aspects of the business and came off not as passionate as RF. I could have them both wrong, to be honest it was a 10-15 minute chat with the two of them, separately at different times. Both appeared to be very competent leaders and very driven. So with AG's departure in early March, makes me wonder if the early stages of Covid-19 accelerated his departure. Not from a cost perspective, but perhaps a disagreement with the outlook and strategy. His departure did seem to somewhat come out of nowhere. Regardless of all of this, the potential startup of the cruise industry seems to not be right around the corner or perhaps even this year. I find it odd that everyone is focused on "when is the peak" of Covid-19 will occur, and then assume that perhaps a month or two later all will be back to normal. The reality is that the virus is not going away and one of three things needs to happen for cruising to start.... A vaccine is developed and readily available. A magic pill is created that quickly and effectively treats the virus. Or some sort of quick result test becomes readily available and passengers can be screened quickly before boarding. I have thought about this some, with the incentive being that my wife and I would like to cruise again soon, if it is safe. There are probably other options that I have not considered, but the bottom line is we are looking forward to sailing again soon and hope that Royal is still there flying her own colors and the drinks are flowing..... One can hope right?
  7. Based on current market value if anyone does this it will likely be out of desperation. You know the old saying you never want to sell at the bottom. We have seen this in the airline industry, they start selling off assets towards the end out of desperation. I happen to have a front row seat to this about 30 years ago.... cash flow was so bad at the airline I worked for, no one would give us credit. Watched an operations team member count out $2k in small bills from cash collected on the plane from drinks. Handed it over to an airplane mechanic who went to a vendor to buy a part for a plane!!! Essentially we were bankrupt but somehow another airline bought us a few weeks later.....
  8. Thanks. I need refresh my reading list and I will add this..... somehow I have more time in my hands lately 😀
  9. One thing you can’t speculate is when the cash runs out then something has to give. Not sure what the cruise lines cash burn rate are, but whatever it is it is not sustainable. I guarantee beyond what has been in the press with regards to cash infusions (credit or otherwise)....there are a small group of top executives at each line that are searching for all options to survive. And yes I do believe they are or will be fighting for their survival.
  10. Interesting to see if there will be consolidation ...... who will buy who? Not many big players out there beyond the big four (carnival, Royal, NCL, MSC) .... From a RCCL perspective, I recall years ago Carnival tried to buy them, but the Pritzker family came in and saved the day..... later RCCL tried to buy Princess but Carnival out bid them. Been sometime since any significant merger or buyout. Interesting to see what happens going forward .
  11. Thanks for the great idea. On our return flight one bag was over 6lbs , glad we checked in with outside skycap. A quick twenty to him and problem solved.
  12. The ship. Hard to believe the Allure is headed for its amplification...the ship was in outstanding shape and actually seemed new to us. There is so much to do on this class of ship and not enough days to see/do it all. Out doors we only used the pool area and CP/BW area. We did not even see the sports deck area (flow riders/basketball/rock wall/ min golf). really enjoyed the CP area and grabbing a class of wine at vintages. In the evenings always seemed to be some sort of live entertainment in CP. The two story lounge (Dazzles?) was nice in the evening that had a great cover band and dancing. Attended most of the shows and they were all good to great. Enjoyed Momma Mia, great performers, great music and singing. Thought the lighting was a little off but that was a minor detail. The aqua show was entertaining as were the production shows. We had a JS cabin on the hump, with an extra large balcony. There was a small table and two chairs along with two lounge chairs. We typically sat on the balcony late in the afternoon for sunset. The room was plenty big and there was more than enough storage. Only issue we had was it was on deck 14 under the pool area. There was a strange clicking noise when the ship was moving that kept me up at night. I for what ever reason can not tolerate ear plugs, makes me feel claustrophobic, yeah I know its weird. But we are on a ship and when it moves there are generally sounds to be heard. Overall this was a great trip. Glad to answer any questions that have not been previously asked.
  13. Ports... We enjoy sailing from PE which is very close to the FLL airport. Not sure there is a port and airport that are closer than these two. Our stops were St. Thomas, San Juan, and Labadee (substituted for Coco Cay). St. Thomas we debated to either take the ferry to St. John or go to Magens Bay. It looked like it might rain on and off so we opted for Magens Bay. We have been here many times over the years and it is simply one of the nice beaches period. What we had not factored into our decision making was the number of other cruise ships in port that day. We were off the ship within in 30 minutes of the ship clearance and headed to Magens Bay. I think it was $8 per person each way plus a $5 fee to enter the national park. We rented a couple of chairs and were ready to enjoy the day....or should I say the crowd! by noon it became difficult to navigate from the beach chairs to the water......we have never seen it this crowded before. There is only one restaurant and one bar on the beach, the line for drinks was at least twenty minutes and the take out at the restaurant lines were ten deep. We were miserable, not sure if they cap the number allowed in the park, perhaps they should. It was wall to wall people. We did walk the entire length of the beach on both directions and it did thin out at the very ends of the beach. A little after noon we left and took a taxi into town to grab a bite to eat at the Green House restaurant in Charlotte Amalie. It is open air and we had a table with a direct view of the water. Nice drinks and some fresh seafood, we highly recommend this place. I have made this comment in the past, these ports are being smothered by too many cruise ship passengers and it simply is not sustainable. After lunch we roamed around the downtown shopping area, not sure of it was because of the last hurricane but it actually seemed rundown not what we remembered. Perhaps with all of the shopping at the cruise ship piers, the downtown is not the attraction it once was for shopping. We were back on board around 4pm. The San Juan stop was only fro 7:30 to 12:30. We did not get off because of the short port time. I have worked in San Juan over the years on business and to me it is not a vacation destination, always reminds me of work. Beautiful island and old town but just not enough time to head out to a beach to make it worth while. Our last stop was Labadee. We were scheduled for Coco Cay however due to weather they switched to Labadee. We arrived around 10:00 and we were some of the first off the ship. We headed to Nellie's Beach. Quickly secured beach chairs close tot he water and rented and umbrella for the day ($10). It was really windy and this beach protects you from the wind. All activities in the water were cancelled as was the zip line due to the high winds. Funny little story... mid-afternoon a man came up to me in my chair and asked if he could put a chair between myself and the next group of people along side of me, I said sure no problem. There was not enough room for two chairs but there was plenty of room for one. To my surprise he put a chair immediately next to mine, like touching my chair. He was apparently looking find some shade and wanted to get under the umbrella with me. Now I consider myself a very friendly person but this was uncomfortable at best. I shared with him that the umbrellas are for rent and where he could go to rent one. His response was that he wasn't planning on stay too long so it would not be worth it for him to rent an umbrella. My wife was sitting in the sun and wanted to get in the water to cool off, I joined her and we both did not know to be stunned or to laugh. We ended up laughing about it and true to his word he was gone in about an hour. We really enjoyed the beach time at Labadee and the food at the buffet was good. We ended up staying at the beach until the sun started to set. Great day!
  14. Drink package thoughts..... this was the first cruise after the NYE cruise and we felt that the bar staff was a little under par the first two days. We chalked this up to they probably worked real hard with the NYE cruise where the crowds typically drank more and stayed out later than on typical cruises. We sailed the prior two years on a NYE cruise and that was our experience. We enjoy martinis before dinner and generally will order something pretty simply...like vodka martini with a twist. For whatever reason, the bartenders kept offering a "twist" on the martini, how about some sour apple or other flavor. I would restate that I wanted a simple vodka martini up with a "lemon twist"....often they had no lemons or they would put a lime wedge on the rim of the glass. It took me several orders over the first two days to get it correct, although I did drink whatever they gave me. This whole lemon issue we have experienced multiple times on RCCL....not sure why???/ After the first two days things settle down and bar service was very good with the exception of the pool bars. I miss the roaming bar waiters from the old days when they were what seemed to be constantly around. Now it seems rare to find one wondering around the pool deck taking drink orders. Generally we sit in the same location throughout the cruise and get 'adopted' by a bar waiter.....this cruise we did not. We tip $5 per round for the two of us and could not find a server to take our order until the last sea day. Perhaps it is just the size of the ship and fewer waiters per person. The lines at the pool bars were often five or more deep....I hate to wait in lines like that for a drink and generally will not. Overall I am sure that my wife did not come close to breakeven on the package but it was worth it for me. more to come on ports and the ship....
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