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cruisemom42

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  1. Maybe so, but that's still distant horizon. As long as I like my work, have great medical coverage, am adding to my 401K and pension, and can take 3 nice vacations a year, I'm not in a rush...
  2. I'm curious how you reconcile valuing "food quality, preparation and presentation" with staying in a time share. Do you eat out every night? Do you go out and pay for entertainment that's better than what's available onboard ships? Personally, I am just the opposite of you. I have no desire to have "2 TVs a washer and dryer" and presumably a kitchen when I travel. I like to take a break from cleaning, making beds, washing, and food prep. And I prefer not to just set up and stay in one place. Cruise lines have already weathered several recessions in quite recent memory -- the travel recession following 9/11 and the recent one that started in 2007/8 and ended sometime around 2010, depending on what indicators you use...
  3. I am still working but fortunate enough to work for a global and fairly enlightened company and have put in enough time to have basically 6 weeks of vacation annually. I assiduously manage that time so that I am able to plan 3 vacations a year, almost always ex-US. Of those three, generally one is a cruise and two are land trips, although I sometimes flip that -- just based on what appeals to me. I guess I am easy to please. I always think how lucky I am to be able to reach Europe in a mere 8-9 hours flying time. Airport hassles can be minimized -- and my home airport is usually the nation's busiest. If I had to take a ship to Europe and back, I would not be able to see and do half as much with my time....
  4. That's terrible. I hope they at least make these decisions before the window for booking flights opens. That would really be a hassle... I think part of the problem stems from the fact that you can book travel so far in advance. I just recently had a BTB cruise on Celebrity Constellation for November 2020 cancelled "for operational reasons" (the reason being that Celebrity has decided to bring the ship back to the US in the fall to sail from Tampa during the Caribbean season....) While I was annoyed at what was originally offered by Celebrity as compensation, I was able to work with them to come up with an earlier, alternative BTB on the same ship -- albeit with a less interesting itinerary and a slightly higher cost (but a large amount of OBC and more included extras). However I would have been MUCH less happy had the cancellation occurred after I had already secured my air and made other plans....
  5. From what the OP posted, it sounds like it is the VPN that is denying access to the HAL site, not the other way around. I know that the VPN we use through work does not allow access to sites it deems to not be work-related, such as social media and including some types of websites for personal travel among others....
  6. Taxis are not the best option as a transfer in terms of cost -- you are better of prearranging some transport. Also, a normal Rome taxi would not be able to handle four passengers very comfortably for an hour drive -- nor would four pieces of luggage fit unless each is only about carry-on size. There are a number of transfer services discussed with great frequency on this forum, both shared shuttles (around 70/90 per couple) or private transfers (120-140 per couple). Both options likely cheaper than a taxi...
  7. There are some who will say they won't visit country "X" because they don't agree with country X's political system or record of treatment of minority Y or gender Z. Totally their choice, and if they feel strongly about it, they should act on it. When I travel, I try to separate my feelings about a particular government from those of the people who live, work, have families and raise children, etc. in that country. Often they may not agree with their country's policies but have little choice/voice/chance of making a change. However, tourism can make a big difference to their quality of life. Additionally, I often feel that I can help dispel some crazy ideas/myths/propaganda about Americans just by casual conversations with people from other countries -- and the same is true in reverse, of course. In short, the economic "hurt" inflicted by my few puny travel dollars probably provides little impetus for change; however, my 'people-to-people' travel results in a better understanding on both sides that I think is valuable. Either way, people should be allowed to make up their own minds. What I really dislike is my government telling me I can't go somewhere strictly because THEY want to use it as a means of control/bully stick. (I'm not talking about issues of safety....)
  8. Rijeka is a fairly new port option. I suspect they have probably made some improvements to their infrastructure as they are popping up on more itineraries starting with 2020....
  9. As someone who books for itineraries, I for one would not be happy about that change. Ravenna has been on my wish list as a port for so long that I have finally decided to just take a couple of days and travel there by train on my visit to Rome (10 days) in November! I don't know why, but not many cruise ships call there; also, there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to which ones DO call there (e.g., a few larger ones and some smaller ones, so size isn't the limiting factor). I suspect it may be that people are unhappy that the port is a distance away from the town -- cannot walk, it's too far -- but the town is soooo worthwhile! At least Rijeka would have been some consolation, as it would be easy to get to the nearby town of Pula where there is an outstanding Roman amphitheatre (very well preserved) and Roman temple. Rijeka is, in fact, a port of call on my fall 2020 BTB Celebrity cruise. But what is there in Korcula? Not much -- a pretty little island, sometimes called a "mini Dubrovnik" (hopefully less crowded). Sorry to hear about the changes. It doesn't seem to me that any good reason has been offered for the changes. Probably so the ship can sail at slower speed and save money.
  10. Portugal has a wide variety of beautiful regional pottery, everything from decorative pieces to plates and dinnerware. I especially like the pottery of the Coimbra tradition, which is widely available, including in Lisbon. More info here, or Google Coimbra pottery to see tons of images: https://caldeiraodacati.com/articles-coimbra Small items make nice souvenirs.
  11. From my own experience, it is more than a perception. I've stayed in Venice for several days before a cruise and you could really tell the difference when there were 3-4 large ships in port during a given day (and at night when they had departed it was quite a different place). Same with Santorini. I've had the benefit of arriving there on a 350 passenger ship when there were no other shpis in port. Wonderful day; no crowds until one other ship -- not even a huge one -- showed up in the early afternoon. And I've also been there when there was a "cruise passenger" load of over 10,000 in port. Not pleasant at all.
  12. However, I feel that it's something that's trending upward. In many different places recently I have come across discussions of crowding and overtourism at ports and at other destinations. However, ports where large cruise ships come to call seem to be particularly in the cross-hairs: in Venice, in Dubrovnik, in Santorini and I'm sure others. It is an area that bears watching. Just like a few years ago many people thought that anyone who wanted to eat "organic" food was far removed from the mainstream consumer....
  13. No, I keep my cabin neat but have never ever given a thought to cleaning it myself.
  14. After reading this thread carefully all the way through, I've learned a lot. No, really. As a more casual HAL cruiser who also sails other lines, I had read a lot of conflicting (seemingly) info on other threads about "no more production shows". Now to me, a production show means any show with sound, lights, and generally more than one performer. Thus, to my mind it sounded as though the main show lounge was going dark every night, unless there was a solo act like a magician or comic. So glad to realize that's not strictly true. On the other hand, I am also surprised to hear so much support for production shows when literally for YEARS on this forum I've read virtually no positive comments about them and only negative ones -- the singers were terrible/amateurs, the music was too loud/canned, the timing was bad, the shows were too short/too long, the same shows were recycled over and over, and so on. Perhaps HAL does listen. Just be careful what you wish for....
  15. Speaking of this, I feel Carnival does a poor job of trying to entice passengers to try moving up to the next level. Among the mass market lines, the bulk of my cruises have been with either Princess or HAL, both Carnival lines. But I never receive brochures or emails about Seabourn. Never. My mailbox, however, is filled with gorgeous Oceania and Crystal brochures and my inbox with offers from Azamara.
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