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About cruisemom42

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  1. You are preaching to the choir! I can never get enough of Rome, and the wonderful thing is that they are uncovering more and more of their ancient sites and opening them to the public in clever ways (obviously a 'must' since many are now underground and covered by other buildings) -- like the ruins of the Domus Aurea and the Roman house underneath the Palazzo Valentini. I have been waiting for years, by the way, while they shore up and restore the ruined hulk of Augustus' tomb near the Tiber. I can't believe it was left to deteriorate to such a sorry state....
  2. The CDC notice (which they provide a link to in their article) is from March 17, 2020. Talk about picking up "news" rather late.....
  3. Agree. Well-fitting masks, or even middling ones, generally do not slip down below the nose on their own. And ill-fitting ones should not be allowed as they are clearly not serving their protective purpose.
  4. Possibly yes, they did stay with the ships. I remember reading that the ships were sold "as is" with exception of a few special pieces of historic or artistic value to HAL. Apparently Fred. Olsen ships do have libraries per their website, so perhaps on Rotterdam and Amsterdam some or all of the books will be recycled. DO YOU HAVE A LIBRARY ON BOARD? We understand the value of a good holiday read, and have a well-appointed library on board each ship offering a wide variety of books, including travel books, fiction stories, novels and autobiographies. There is also a selection of traditional board games and puzzles for use throughout your cruise. From: https://www.fredolsencruises.com/faqs/on-board/do-you-have-a-library-on-board I read voraciously and my 20-something son reads quite a bit as well when time permits. We just don't tend to read hard copy. I much prefer to bring my own curated library with me wherever I go.
  5. To those who say tracking is not necessarily a bad thing -- okay. But that doesn't mean that all tracking is good or done well either. For example, on another board someone posted that on their Royal Princess cruise (using their medallion, which is a similar device) the following happened: "One rather perplexing situation, was once I returned to my cabin, and the steward said - you were in Sabatinis and then on deck 16. So your steward will always know where you are. Big Brother is watching etc." As a solo woman traveler, I find this rather unnerving. It would be one thing if the information was only accessed and used retroactively, let's say if it was necessary to do contact tracing because of a COVID case onboard, or after the cruise to gain marketing insights. But -- knowing that anyone down to my room steward can track my whereabouts and movements? Not making me feel secure. How much liability is the ship willing to assume in a situation where a female passenger is stalked by a crew member? Or a child? There have certainly been recent -- and quite scary cases of both of these things happening on cruise ships. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-holland-america-cruise-rape-overboard-20140218-story.html https://www.lipcon.com/blog/cruise-ship-crew-member-jailed-sexually-molesting-two-children-tracked-facebook/
  6. Now if only they could tell we've voted and stop all the calls and mute the commercials....
  7. Who knew that the start-up of cruising would come to resemble a reality TV show?
  8. In a scientific article published in The Lancet a couple of weeks ago, they report one (1) case of reinfection, the first documented case in the US. In their Introduction they also state that their extensive literature review prior to publication turned up only 3 other documented cases of reinfection -- in the entire world. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30764-7/fulltext I think we need to be very careful to distinguish between what is scientifically verified and anecdotal evidence along the lines of "My Uncle Henry is sure that he had COVID-19 back in March but he never got a test. Then he got it again in June -- this time with a test. Because COVID is relatively new and obviously front-page news, many people in early spring probably had the flu and assumed or thought it was COVID. Unfortunately, tests (at least in the US) were almost unobtainable in those early days so it's hard to know for sure -- but some of these people were turning up negative for antibodies only weeks later, and logic suggests that not all of them cleared the virus so quickly or got incorrect test results... Also -- and feel free to count this as anecdotal evidence -- I work in the pharma industry and have heard from insiders that some of the vaccines are showing pretty strong immune reactions. Which is very encouraging.
  9. I have been experiencing this same problem since about the time of the earlier posts. I have just been "putting up with it" but now it seems like I will get logged out even moving from one board to another in the forums. I have tried the suggested fixes above (multiple times over the past few weeks, whenever I get frustrated...) but nothing has worked. I am on a MacBook Pro using Chrome, just FYI.
  10. Back on to the more general topic... It's interesting to me that several people have given reasons for not liking a place that to me would have little bearing on my own feelings for or against -- for example, needing a police escort in Egypt or not having a good hotel or restaurant experience. The former to me would be very much a matter of "this is what daily life is like here, and if I want to experience this country, the safety precautions are a given and a necessity." I remember flying into the airport in Rome in the late 1990s when there were carabinieri with machine guns stationed all around the upper mezzanine level of the arrivals hall with their guns trained on the newly arriving people. A bit intimidating, but just at that time, necessary. Certainly didn't put me off Rome. . The latter kind of thing I just chalk down to one of those experiences of traveling -- annoying at the time, perhaps, but often making a good story later. Certainly if I were to cross cities off my list of favorites due to a bad hotel, I'd have to eliminate the horrid hotel in Dougga in Tunisia with lizards on the wall (inside, not outside!) and terrible food, or the sauna of a room I had in Konya in Turkey (windows not operable, of course). But instead I remember the gorgeous amphitheatre in Dougga (so well preserved that it actually was used for most of the scenes in "Gladiator") and the mosaics museum there, or the peaceful Mevlana mosque and museum (Mevlana is also known as Rumi) in Konya and the whirling dervish performance I saw there. Police escort aside, Egypt is a somewhat different matter. I've been there four times (not since the recent governmental upheaval). It can be a hard country to visit in terms of seeing what daily life is like for many there, and for a tourist you HAVE to be willing to accept that in most places (outside the tourist enclaves in Cairo or Luxor) the standard for travelers is not what many are used to. Every time I've been there I've enjoyed myself, though, and I still would like to go back and see some of the western desert, particularly the Siwa Oasis with the temple visited by Alexander the Great....
  11. Just catching up after a hectic week of work... They will be coming to install my new TV today. Lois: Good to hear that the medication issue was caught quickly -- hope the new medication works well for you. Kat: Sorry to hear your eye is still giving you problems. That's scary and sobering if it is a COVID complication. Perhaps it is just being exacerbated by the poor air quality? Oh and major congrats on the job front. Everyone: So good to hear everyone has voted/is voting. Our ballots were dropped off at the county pick-up box this week.
  12. I feel like I've stopped there for pastries and coffee as well, long time ago. Live and learn. Italy's main tourist cities (Rome, Florence, Venice) have unfortunately some unscrupulous restaurants and bars with a habit of hugely overcharging unsuspecting tourists, particularly near key "scenic" areas where they know visitors are likely to be in a mood to splurge on a special meal and/or be less careful about "extra" charges. The unwritten rule that many tourists don't know is that you can NEVER assume such extra charges are minimal. Always ask to see a menu, and ask for clarification about the different costs or specials, particularly in regards to: Standing inside versus sitting inside versus sitting outside with food or drinks (most reputable bars -- places for coffee, drinks, pastries and light food/snacks -- will ask you to pay in advance, so you should know up front. Also, I believe recent changes require them to have such differences in pricing posted somewhere. Exact pricing for meat and seafood. Again, many tourists don't realize that quite a few restaurants sell their steaks and certain fish by weight. The price you see on the menu may not be the price for the whole entree but by minimum weight (which can often be about a third of what most people would eat for a normal serving). Gelato add-ons. There are hundreds of stories from tourists about being overcharged for gelato. A 3 euro cup of gelato can become a 15 euro expense when the owner asks if you want the "special" (a.k.a. over the top) toppings -- nuts, whipped cream, candy, syrup. Always ask the price for such upgrades before agreeing. Cost of a "special" bottle of wine, if offered. Some stories that made the news: Two Japanese diners slapped with a bill for €430 ($470) for two plates of spaghetti and fish, and water in Rome: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/tourists-complaints-rome-restaurant-intl-scli/index.html Tourists charged more than €1,100 for dinner near San Marco in Venice: https://www.thelocal.it/20180123/venice-inquiry-japanese-tourists-overcharged-restaurant I just want to add that most restaurants are honest and do not engage in such behavior. But if you must dine on Piazza Navona in Rome, or with a view of the Duomo in Florence, just be extra wary. Generally the better and less touristy restaurants can be found only a few blocks away, but not immediately overlooking tourists hot spots.
  13. That just about sums up this whole year in a sentence, doesn't it?? 😂😂 Beautiful plant, btw.
  14. They have likely done the math and figured out that the loss of income from the subset of subscribers who require a hard copy publication does not outweigh the outlay of funds required to develop content for and produce such a publication.
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