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About SimplyMarvie

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    All Over
  • Interests
    While cruising: Food, photography, non-cruiseline excursions, sitting in a lounge chair and reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    I approach cruiselines like pokemon -- gotta try 'em all.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean and the Med. One day I'm gonna get to Pitcarin Island, though...

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  1. I would say you should always book with a third party... you have more choices of coverage to fit your needs that way. We booked a cruise with a refundable deposit and bought travel insurance after the final payment deadline, and everything worked out well. I wasn't too worried about the pre-existing conditions issue because we're young and in good health, and if we did need treatment overseas or a medical evacuation our travel insurance would be secondary to our private medical (which covers us everywhere but North Korea and Iran). The coverage we got wasn't "cancel for any reason", but the cancellation coverages were reasonable for what we were worried about -- Congress failing to pass another CR and either me or my spouse being declared essential -- and covered us even though the trip was already paid for. I suppose the moral of this very long story is "shop around!" 🙂
  2. Sitting on our balcony (we were recently upgraded!) with a glass of wine and a book to ignore while I watch the ocean. Also, taking my turtle-mad kiddo to snorkel with sea turtles in Curacao, and all the bacon I can eat in the buffet (we live in the middle east, so we only get bacon, ham and sausage on vacation.)
  3. The vast majority of cruise ships are flagged in the Bahamas, where death certificates must be issued by the local registrar NOT any qualified doctor and can't be done just by a doctor so I don't know where you're getting this idea from, as is the case in Malta, Panama, Italy, Cyprus, Hong Kong and Singapore. Perhaps you're thinking of freighters who still travel under Liberian flag? Even in Libera, though, official death certificates are only available from the Government Offices in Monrovia and although they can be signed by local doctors, they need to be issued and approved by the government in Liberia before they're considered official documents. Regardless, the US Embassy requires official death certificates to be provided prior to issuing a CRODA and could not proceed based on the ship's doctor's certificate, for anti-fraud reasons if nothing else -- this is a formal declaration of death that is passed on to Social Security, etc. See below for some nice example text from the US Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica -- although the language is pretty much standardized world-wide: https://jm.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/death-of-a-u-s-citizen/
  4. This is not entirely true either -- yes, if you die abroad you need to report the death to the nearest US Embassy or Consulate, where they will process a Consular Report of Death Abroad (CRODA). But in order to get the CRODA you need to have a local death certificate completed, which in a case where someone has died on the ship while you're in international waters is very complicated (although not as complicated as if you die on the pier, actually...) because the country likely doesn't have jurisdiction or a process for issuing that death certificate. What I have seen happen in most of these cases that I've worked with in the Caribbean is that the deceased remains in the cruise ship morgue until they return to the US, at which point a Death Certificate is generated by the local authorities there, and the remains are taken to a morgue or funeral home for disposition and transport. This is different than what happens if someone dies overseas -- for example, on an excursion while you're cruising. In that case, they are subject to the jurisdiction of the country they died in, and so the remains go through the normal process for that country. Unfortunately, in some Caribbean countries, processing a death certificate for an unexpected death overseas can take months and even years (generally because of laws that require certain pathology tests to be run and backlogs getting those completed) so you'll work closely with your Embassy to get the death certificate issued -- at which case (if you're American) you'd then get the Consular Report of Death Abroad and work with a funeral home locally and back home to coordinate remains transfer. The last thing that has to happen is the Embassy has to issue a "Mortuary Certificate", which is used to clear the remains through customs. Then they end up on a commercial plane and are picked up by your local funeral home. The process can cost anywhere from about $15-30K in the Caribbean.
  5. We'll be on the Serenade in a few weeks (!!) also with a lot of retirees and our kids, so this was the perfect review to read. Thanks so much for sharing it! 🙂
  6. Oh man, so much this. My hair was straight or just a bit wavy my whole life, but became madly curly wherever it's more than 50% gray. Which means I've got crazy kinky curls in front and fight to get anything more than waves in back where it isn't gray yet. I straightened it daily for years, until my bangs started breaking off in my hands. I'm about 6 weeks into wearing it curly and still having more bad hair days than good ones, although I think I've got the routine down now. Taking it on the road (or the High seas!) is still a challenge, though...
  7. I need more conditioning than the jungle bar can give me, but I love how it smelled. For shampoo bars, I have Godiva (which I love...) and "Honey, I washed my hair", which I love the smell of but Godiva is a better match for my hair. They just came out with a coconut one for curly hair that I haven't tried yet but is going to be my next purchase. 🙂
  8. Check into the Curly Girl method. I'm a recent convert, after going gray came with going curly and straightening at higher and higher heat to get my hair to calm down led to breakage and falling out. Wearing my hair curly exclusively makes travel WAY easier. Yes, I need to bring more products, but I don't have to bring irons and straighteners and power adaptors. My current routine is shampooing with sulfate-free bar shampoo from Lush (my travel holy grail!) condition with a no or low silicone formula conditioner, and then add some leave in and a bunch of gel. Scrunch it in, and let that air-dry and then scrunch out the 'crunchy' bits once it's dried. I know, it's sounds like a throwback to the 80s, but my hair is basically impervious to humidity and stays curly all day, and into the next.
  9. From your mouth to God's ear. We've gone through a set of luggage about every year that we've lived overseas, due to rough handling by discount airlines. I keep researching hoping I can find that Holy grail brand that will last and not disintegrate before the year is up. (So far, our best bets seem to be our 'moving' luggage, which are giant rolling LL Bean duffels. This might be because they're always packed within an ounce of overweight and so flinging them about is tough, unless the incredible Hulk is working baggage that day...)
  10. We've got a bunch of FSA money burning a hole in our pocket, so we're looking at one for Mr. Marvie. His normal machine is a smaller sized ResMed, so I think that's what we'll go with. Ask me in January how it did on our cruise. 🙂
  11. Definitely agree with Dogs4fun; the dead sea is a bit of a let down and would really make your day more of a drive than a visit. Jerusalem alone would be enough, even just seeing the old city. Another option would be to see Haifa and Akko/Acre, which is very close to Haifa and one of (IMHO) the best and most interesting parts of the country.
  12. We're professional expatriates and have one of the few true world-wide medical insurance policies already through our employer, which also covers medical evacuation, AD&D, repatriation of remains, etc. The trip that we're taking currently is the first one that we've ever spent enough money on over a long enough period of time that we really wanted Travel Insurance, but mainly for trip cancellation/interruption reasons. Despite looking, I wasn't able to find travel insurance that just covered us for lost baggage, cancellation, and interruption without also offering medical and evacuation coverage. We bought the insurance in the end, but are now WAY over-insured if any one gets sick while we're traveling, and face the frustration of fighting over primary/secondary issues with the secondary cover we didn't actually want. Are we looking for a niche product that no one offers, or is there some regulatory or business reason we just don't know about?
  13. I think the poster above me has great advice. Generally, I am 100% all for independent excursions -- they're usually cheaper, easier and don't involve giant tour buses or shopping trips to places you don't want to go. We rarely take cruise ship excursions and only in situations that involve dodgy travel times. With that said, this might be one of those times. I've never been to Safaga, but I've spent a bunch of time in Egypt and roads and timeliness are not it's primary attractions and while there are fantastic tour guides and companies that are amazingly reliable, there are also complete amateurs and scam artists. If it's a 5-6 hour excursion, I'm assuming you're either boating or going to Luxor, which takes you far enough from your cruise port that a couple of blown tires, bad traffic or a nasty holdup for baksheesh could mean missing your boat. Getting on to your next stop from Safaga is going to be a nasty mess, probably involving bus/flight to Cairo and then flying to your next destination. I miiiiiiight risk it if I had a lot of credit on my cards and good trip interruption insurance. But if your main reason for doing it is to save $85, that's probably not where you're at. I'd probably pay up and play it safe... or maybe split the difference and see if I could find a reputable private touring company that could do a day excursion where you're calling the shots as to the timing?
  14. I thought the winky-face on the original comment and the joking tone of the original replay would have been a pretty clear sign that I meant that completely sarcastically. Perhaps I was mistaken! Either way, trying to fit five human beings overnight in a compact rental car? That's not an adventure, that's Tetris with people.
  15. Oh wow, I'd love to hang out just to hear your stories from that cruise, it sounds like an amazing adventure!
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