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SWFLAOK

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  • Content Count

    554
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About SWFLAOK

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Florida
  • Interests
    Traveling, Cooking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Paul Gauguin, Regent
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    South Pacific

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  1. I am spouse of SWFLAOK and lurk here LOL. I think the closer one is to the Equator, the less likely the virus is to spread because the virus is sensitive to higher temperatures and humidity. Both Fiji and Bali, are humid and 90 at this point. So hopefully this virus does not explode in those areas close to the Equator and that spares cruises within that area as long as they take preventative measures.
  2. Which cruise are you on that's affected by this? I'm more worried about flying through LAX than taking the Fiji to Bali cruise on PG. In fact, I'm more worried about our neighbors coming back from Hong Kong after several months there since we live in the same building, and touch the same handles and buttons. The South Korea and Japan cases have come from China. I don't know if Indonesia has cut off flights and cruises from China. But having just been in Indonesia on a cruise back in December, there were not a lot of Chinese tourists as there were in Viet Nam, Thailand, and Singapore, or even Australia. The same was true for Malaysia which has had minimal cases. Who knows how many Chinese visitors have come to the US during this time, and just disappeared into our country.
  3. I hate seeing sharks while I snorkel, but I've been able to tolerate the smaller sharks in shallow water. They're fed, along with the rays, and all are happy. In deeper water, I never want to see them, and hated the Faka Rava snorkeling with very large black tips following me 5 feet under and 10 feet back. Last October, a woman was decimated by a white tip reef shark off Moorea. I believe this was outside of the reef on a whale encounter. So be careful about the sharks you want to see.
  4. The tables on Regent are something I have a problem with. At the Coffee Connection, the table is not wiped between customers. I complained about this onboard, and nothing was done about it. I made a show of wiping the table with a Clorox wipe each time I arrived, and still nothing was done. We were onboard for 32 nights . At the restaurants, most of the time, the table cloth is not changed between seatings. We had people with pneumonia onboard (confirmed by those they sat with), who coughed excessively on the table cloth while eating. We saw some of the waiters change the table cloth between seatings, but others did not. We complemented the waiters that did, but we started purposely leaving food stains on the table cloth to make sure they were always changed. I agree with everything that Floridiana said about what I will do going forward. I have tried to be discrete, but next time, I will say something to the passenger.
  5. It was an elderly American heading home, with 175 other passengers from the Westerdam on the same flight. I guess all of the ports that turned down the Westerdam knew something that HAL wasn't acknowledging. We did one HAL cruise a few years ago, and would never do another since our captain made a number of decisions on our 2 week cruise that we found questionable. But, what the Westerdam did is very bad for the rest of us who have cruises over the next few months, whether they're in Asia, heading toward Asia, or heading elsewhere after going through Asia. The Westerdam left from Hong Kong and stopped at a port in China a few days later. Obviously, at least one passenger onboard picked up corona virus before boarding, or at their only stop. They should have been quarantined in Sianoukville before disembarking since so many ports denied them entry, but they all went quickly on their way, taking their virus with them.
  6. Thank you so much TBK, this is what we were hoping to hear.
  7. At this point, we will try to stop worrying and see what happens. It's too expensive to cancel. We have insurance, but it doesn't cover cancelling the trip for fear of catching a virus, or for a lack of ports to stop in. And the reason we booked this cruise is to celebrate a milestone Birthday, with a cruise that stops in many small ports that we've never stopped at before, and will soon be too old to stop at in the future. If it was just the usual FP cruise, we would have chosen something other then the Paul Gauguin cruise since we've already done all of the other itineraries within the past 3 years.
  8. I read about Tonga on the Regent board on CC. The March 28th PG cruise from Papeete to Fiji is supposed to stop in Tonga, as it did in September when we took that cruise. We're supposed to board in Fiji on April 11th and sail to Bali. PG had booked us on a return flight through Hong Kong back to LAX, and few weeks ago, we cancelled that and booked a flight back through Sydney. We are much happier with that, but if we can't stop anywhere from Fiji to Bali, that would not be good. Our excursion booking just opened, and the excursions that were just added to our itinerary a few weeks ago, did not all become available. None of the excursions on Vanuatu have been confirmed by the local tour representative. I suspect that Vanuatu is considering banning the ship from their port. I think that the ports are looking at what the cruise line requires for those who are boarding. Regent just cracked down big time, with no one with a passport from China, Hong Kong or Macau will be allowed to board, no matter what their country of residency. And anyone who has traveled to, transited through, or passed through the airport of China, Hong Kong or Macau in the last 30 days will not be allowed to board, and are asked not to come to the port. Full health screening will be done before boarding Regent ships, and those with a fever and/or respiratory symptoms will be subjected to additional tests, and possible denial of boarding, or quarantine onboard. I haven't seen anything like this policy for Paul Gauguin. Many Chinese tourists fly into Papeete, and while most of them head to Moorea, or stay on Tahiti for their vacations, everyone boarding the Paul Gauguin should be subject to the same criteria as Regent is imposing.
  9. The water between Tahiti and the Cook Islands can be pretty rough. The ship cannot dock at either of the Cook Islands, and anchors in an unprotected area to tender passengers through an opening in the reef to get to the dock. We tendered into Atutaki in December a few years ago. On the way back to the ship, the waves were going completely over the tender. It wasn't as bad this past September, but it still required a slow, careful process to get on and off the tender. Sometimes the Cook Island ports aren't accessible by tender so the 2 days at sea result in just a sail by.
  10. There are people waiting for 3 days so far to board RCL Anthem of the Seas. They won't be boarding until tomorrow, and haven't been offered a full cash refund, or any assistance, monetary or otherwise, with finding a place to stay in New Jersey while they wait. They were told to go to the ship yesterday morning, and after waiting half a day, were told to come back on Monday. All of the passengers on the previous cruise have left, including the large group of Chinese Nationals that boarded with what turned out to be the flu. I'm sure those on the Princess cruise with over 60 positive corona virus cases so far will be offered something eventually, but a cash refund seems too little compensation for them since Princess let someone onboard that had corona virus, and didn't clean sufficiently after he was removed from the ship before the next cruise began.
  11. I read something by a British tourist onboard that said that everyone was allowed out of their cabins. Those in cabins without windows are allowed out at all times since that's the only way they get fresh air, and are not confined to their small cabins. All others are allowed out for exercise everyday. They were told to wear paper masks, not to stop to talk in groups, and to keep at least a meter between each other. This is obviously not working since the number of cases has sky rocketed on the Princess. The original contaminator (the 80 year old from Hong Kong), boarded on the cruise from Japan to Hong Kong, and got off in HK before the ship headed back to Japan, with his virus left behind. I would stay in my cabin (which will never be one without an opening window), where I have more control over the viruses I'm exposed to, and I would not complain that I had to keep my own cabin clean, as those onboard are complaining about.
  12. On our September cruise from Papeete to Fiji, we had better Wi-Fi than we had on 2 Regent cruises last year (Med cruise in July, Singapore to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney in December and early January). Maybe it's due to having way more people using the internet on a ship with 650 to 725 passengers instead of 300 people. Being close to ports in the Med seemed to give no better response than being at sea. Being in port on the SE Asia/Australia cruise had better access than at sea, but still bogged down at peak times. The cost of Wi-Fi isn't significant to us compared to the price of the cruise. But when paying extra gets you nothing better (as on Regent) that's annoying. We're on the cruise toward drydock, and we're more worried about whether it will happen than whether the Wi-Fi will be upgraded.
  13. This has bee our experience as well. On our last Regent back to back cruise in December and January, Singapore to Singapore, followed by Singapore to Sydney, the excursions were mostly bad, and that included one we paid a large amount extra for. It was all about going slow, taking bathroom breaks, and shopping. A number of times we were delayed for half an hour or more because some on our tour did not return to the bus - sorry, they were shopping and the buys were so good. We also had long stops added at a pottery factory and an embroidery factory, which were very long, and gave us very little time at the more interesting stops at temples and museums that we had looked forward to. Most excursions left 45 minutes to an hour late due to bus loading and unloading time, and a few times, Regent kept the restaurants open late for lunch since the morning excursions didn't start returning to the ship until after 2 PM. A few times, when given a chance, those on the excursion were consulted about stops, and their length. The majority did not want lengthy shopping stops, but if just one asked for it, we had at least a moderate shopping stop. We also had people asking for bathroom stops as soon as the bus left the cruise terminal, and we quickly stopped at a place with a bathroom, and the rest of us were told we could get off and shop while waiting. How do we stop this and get real excursions? I don't know. It seems that too many of those onboard are just looking for a comfortable Air Conditioned bus ride, with some shopping and bathroom stops and a chance to stop for coffee and a snack ... probably the same thing they enjoy at home. We had one paid excursion that we was over 300 dollars for the 2 of us. The excursion that we had signed up for was cancelled at the last minute for unknown reasons. This one was added at the last minute, and though it cost slightly more, it sounded enjoyable, with a catamaran sail to a reef, a BBQ lunch and snorkeling. It was a cattle boat, with more guests (just over 60) than seats, and a very cheap lunch (salad, cake, and hamburgers, hot dogs and a limited amount of chicken and fish, cooked on a home size gas grill that was next to where the dinghy was loading and unloading snorkelers, making for a few minor burns). There was beer onboard, but those that snorkeled had to wait until the sail back to have any. Nearly everyone onboard snorkeled, although many had no experience, and snorkeling from a dinghy (transporting only 8 to 10 at a time) in an area with current isn't easy for a novice. The snorkeling was nothing special, and the safety of those in the water was suspect since there was only 1 person watching all of the snorkelers while they were in the water. We've done many trips like this in the South Pacific and the Caribbean, and they were all better, and less expensive. Some of them were on our own from land-based vacations, but some were cruise excursions that we paid for on cruise lines that don't include any included excursions.
  14. Was this a private tour that you arranged. If so, I would love to know how to arrange this. We already embarked in Barcelona last July with Regent, and took their paid excursion and it was just a panoramic bus tour. We saw more on our arrival day when we had a bus to drop us off in town, but since we had no tickets to go inside any point of interest, we could only walk around the outside. I am also a Gaudi fanatic, and would love to take the tour that you just did. We have a Splendor cruise in September 2021 that ends in Barcelona, with an early arrival and a night in port. I want to do that tour while we're there. I suspect Regent will offer the same panoramic bus tour that we took last time, and the post cruise add-ons were not appealing. Thanks in advance.
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