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JIMinNC

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Everything posted by JIMinNC

  1. With the pandemic expected to accelerate September into the winter and into next spring and summer, I would personally not expect US cruising to resume until fall/winter 2021 at the earliest. We have a Greek Isles cruise scheduled for Sept 2021 on another cruise line and do not realistically expect to be going. Our final payment is due in Spring 2021 and I fully expect that at that point there will be no assurance a fall 2021 cruise will sail, so I am ready to walk away at that point. I think we will be dealing with this virus until at least 2022, if not much longer. Just my gut feeling.. .
  2. A little off-topic, but while I fully agree July is way too early to even consider discretionary air travel, and especially cruising, I don't think the charts support that it's "spiking like wildfire in Texas and Florida". Here is info from the NY Times on case counts and deaths. Florida is on a long-term downtrend in cases per day and is basically flat in deaths (which I think may be a better measure of real spread, since case counts can be impacted by the number of tests given). Texas deaths are also basically flat. While Texas cases have been rising slightly over the last couple of weeks, that state is only now starting to ramp up their testing to be comparable to the US average, so their case counts may be more indicative of increased testing than actual increasing spread. Even if increased testing isn't a factor, I would characterize Texas as flat to slightly up at worst, and Florida as flat or slightly down. It will be interesting to see how things go over the next couple of weeks as some businesses open. If they can avoid a true spike and keep things basically flat or only slightly up, that may start paving a possible path forward to finding a middle ground between the shutdown orders and a return to the old normal.
  3. That's odd, because as I posted on page 1 of this thread, we cancelled a fully-paid-for June 24 cruise on March 23 in a similar situation to yours - a few days before the 50% penalty kicked in at 90 days before departure - and we received our refund to our credit card in four days on March 27. Ours was a direct booking with Regent, however, not through a TA, so maybe the TA being in the middle has something to do with the delay? And our penalty was only 15%, basically we lost our original deposit. I was OK with that to get the quick refund.
  4. From mid-February through March 2020, New Orleans had several days with cooler highs only in the 50s-60s, but many/most days during that period were in the 70s and 80s, particularly in March when the community spread really began in earnest. So not "hot" by New Orleans standards, but certainly warmer than most places where Covid19 has spread easily. The degree to which many poor New Orleans residents live in close quarters, plus the impact of Fat Tuesday, means that area is a prime place for spread despite any impact the warmer temps my have in slightly slowing the spread. https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/new-orleans/70112/march-weather/348585?year=2020
  5. There are likely variables other than just temperature that contribute to the numbers in Canada vs. Florida vs. Ecuador - some possibilities include - population density/lots of people living in close quarters, average age, degree to which the population is social distancing, etc. So, as I see it, just the numbers alone don't prove or disprove how big a factor temperature might be. Most of the scientists seem to think there is likely some correlation between temperature and ease of spread, they just can't quantify how strong that correlation is compared to the other variables.
  6. My understanding from my reading is that most viruses spread more slowly in warm/hot temperatures since UV light and heat/humidity reduce the life span of the virus, slowing its spread. That could easily explain while warmer climates have fewer cases - the virus can't spread quite as easily there, but it still spreads; so when you have a major party event like Fat Tuesday in New Orleans, with crowded conditions, the virus gets a big helping hand and can spread quite freely despite the warmer temps.
  7. On the spring break thing, in all fairness to Florida, the situation moved so quickly it's easy to forget the dates and how rapidly the whole thing evolved. Most of those pictures of spring breakers partying were the first couple weeks of March. Remember, the NBA didn't stop their games until March 11 and the NCAA canceled March Madness right after that on the 12 or 13 of March, as I recall. So the first 10 -12 days of March, not only were the kids partying on beach, but 20,000 people were still going to sports events and concerts, and restaurants and bars were still open. Even New York didn't close restaurants until around the 15th or 16th. By the weekend of March 20-22, I believe most Florida beaches had been closed. Hindsight is always 20-20, but things were moving pretty fast in mid-March. Perhaps Florida should have moved a few days sooner, but it appears their delay in taking action was really only a few days.
  8. 1. June 24 Alaska cruise cancelled (a direct RSSC booking cancelled under original terms accepting 15% penalty): March 23 2. Credit card refund processed: March 23 3. Refund posted to credit card account: March 27
  9. As a follow-up to my post #9 above, we received our refund overnight last night for the June Alaska cruise we cancelled. We cancelled via phone with Regent on Monday, March 23 and the credit posted to our card account as of March 27, so four days to receive. As I said above, we only got back about 87% of what we paid since we were inside 120 days (pre-cruise and excursions were refunded 100%, cruise fare refunded at 85%) and opted to cancel under the original terms and conditions rather than wait for Regent to cancel the cruise, which we assumed might have meant having to wait up to 90 days for the refund. Very pleased with the response time and also the fact that the two calls we made to Regent to discuss our options and then cancel were answered promptly. I had no wait on one call and only about a 15 - 30 second hold on the other. Very disappointed that our first Regent cruise wound up this way, but we'll see how everything sorts out over the next year or so. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to try again in the future.
  10. We cancelled our June Alaska cruise on Monday under the original Terms and Conditions, accepting the 91-120 days 15% cancellation penalty. With all the uncertainty about whether cruise lines will be viable as the spring/summer goes on, we decided we would rather take the penalty and get in line for the refund sooner rather than later. Since the pre-cruise Denali excursion and a couple of pre-booked Regent Choice shore excursions will be refunded at 100%, our real penalty is more like 13% of our total payment. The agent I talked to when I was verifying what the penalty would be told me cancellations under the normal terms and conditions should be processed in 7-10 days. When I called back a bit later to actually execute the cancellation, that agent said it might take longer, so who knows what is right? We did receive a revised email invoice from Regent on Monday evening March 23 showing the refund to the credit card on that date, but so far, nothing has actually hit our card yet. My assumption is the invoice we received is generated from the reservation system, but the actual card refund must be processed separately in accounting/finance and that is where the hold-up will be. Just a guess on my part, though. My concern is the reason NCL/RSSC set up the 90 day refund policy for the March/April cruises they cancelled was they are banking on cruises being restarted within that window and providing the cash flow to fund the refunds. Since it is looking unlikely that cruises will begin again anytime soon, I'm wondering if the company has the cash flow to make any of these refunds right now (including ones like mine under the original T&Cs) given the volume of cash outflow they must be facing with nothing coming in.
  11. The only thing Amazon has "done" is do the right thing, by forcing the sellers to pull the 1 million gouging products. Those were not products being sold by Amazon, but products being sold by third-party, small business independent sellers who just list their products on Amazon and then use Amazon for online ordering and/or fulfillment. Those sellers make their own pricing decisions, not Amazon. So when Amazon learned of how these sellers were doing business, they pulled the listings. Good for them.
  12. Thanks for the replies so far. Sounds like the first specialty is a "GO" for our first night for the birthday. Since the Hubbard Glacier evening is day #2, I'm thinking back-to-back nights in the specialties would be a poor decision, so probably can eliminate that night from consideration. Also sounds like from Zqueeze1 that the inside passage night would be a poor choice. I had already more-or-less eliminated Ketchikan due to the crab feast and Juneau due to the late arrival from an excursion in my OP. So that leaves as options for specialty #2: Sitka (night 3, depart 6pm) Skagway (night 5, depart 3pm) Evening 5 in Skagway for specialty #2 would space things out a little better from the first one on evening 1, so that may be the way I'm leaning given the other factors above, but are there any other reasons to favor one of these two evenings over the other for a set-in-stone dining time?
  13. We're on a southbound Mariner Alaska itinerary in late June in a Penthouse cabin, so in a little over a month we can make our two specialty dining reservations. Trying to figure out which nights to book on that cruise. Our embarkation day in Seward is a milestone birthday for my wife, so I was thinking that night should be one of the two, unless there is some reason embarkation day on Regent would be a bad choice for specialty dining. Any issues/thoughts on that? Our sail away time is 5pm, so thinking maybe 7pm would be ideal. As far as the second choice, since it is daylight in Alaska so late, I would hate to be locked into a specific dining time and miss great scenery. We are in one port late (until 11pm, Juneau) but we have a late excursion that day that won't return to the ship until 7:30, so I'm thinking that one is probably out. Also definitely out is Ketchikan, since we'll be doing an afternoon crab feast excursion and probably won't want a big meal that night. So that leaves these four options for the second specialty: Our day cruising the Hubbard Glacier Sitka (depart 6pm) Skagway (depart 3pm) Our last full day cruising the Inside Passage It may not matter, but since this is our first time in Alaska and our first time on Regent, are there any things we should consider in choosing the best nights to lock ourselves into an advance dining time?
  14. Lagoon Excursion & Polynesian Feast BRB-1602 on Bora Bora
  15. I'm not sure I understand the angst over "anchor noise". In June, we were in cabin 805 which appears to be almost directly above 7003, and I don't recall any issue with anchor noise. We felt 805 was exceedingly quiet and never had any noise issues. Maybe it was because we always tried to be up and on our balcony or on deck for the arrival at each island and didn't notice when the anchor dropped.
  16. Agree with the other comments. If and when we cruise on the PG again, it will be in Category B. We were in 805 in June. Great cabin, King bed instead of a Queen, great location, no negatives. We didn't use the butler for a lot, but he did get our specialty dining reservations, including the deck-top dining under the stars at Le Grill during the Bora Bora overnight, even though others told us they were told it was already booked up.
  17. You may be correct. I can only speak with authority about our cabin 805 which did have a regular King bed. I will say, though, that when I spoke with the Paul Gauguin representative prior to booking and inquired as to which cabin categories featured King beds, she told me that Category B had Kings. She did not qualify that to exclude the cabins marked with a “dot”, but I didn’t specifically ask either since I was planning to book 805. I do believe that generally two standard Twins combine to form a King, but have also understood that many cabins on PG feature smaller twins that combine to a Queen size. I guess it is possible the “dot” cabins on deck 8 have the slightly larger twins that combine to a King, but we’re just speculating about that. Since you have been assigned one of those, you will be able to see for yourself and report back here once you embark on your cruise. Have fun!
  18. We had a category B for our cruise in June and loved it. If and when we do another PG cruise, that will be the category we book. Quiet and very convenient to the pool deck/breakfast. Another advantage is these Veranda Suites have a king-sized bed instead of a queen.
  19. Being in the water near the black tip sharks was actually the most memorable part of my snorkeling excursions on Bora Bora and Moorea last summer. They were all over the place, but they didn't bother us. As others have said, if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone.
  20. We had the same decision on which ferry to take back in June, except our decision was post-cruise prior to going to the airport rather than pre-cruise. On our day, the last ferry was 4:30 for both Aremiti and Terevau, which was just about right for the 6:30 check-in for our 9:30pm ATN flight. By the time we got to Papeete on the ferry, snagged a cab (there were none to be found initially and about 5 people waiting), we got to the airport about 10 minutes before check-in opened (it opened early). Since we were in Business Class we were able to pass the time in the hospitality lounge until time to board. We shared your nervousness about taking the last ferry, but in our case, the prior ferry that day was at least a couple of hours earlier (like 1:30 or 2:00), so we would have had an awkward 2-3 hours in Papeete with luggage in tow. In the end, we opted to roll the dice with the last ferry since there were two ferries leaving at the same time, so if one had an issue, as long as it wasn't absolute last minute, we could buy a ticket on the other boat to make our flight. We were able to get late check-out from the Hilton Moorea with our Hilton Honors status, so it worked great. Having said that, since your decision is on the front end, you have the option to go to the ship even with the earlier ferry. Since the consequences of a snafu with the last ferry might be missing the ship that night, I would definitely think taking the earlier ferry would be the way to go in your case.
  21. Our favorite excursion of our entire cruise back in June was BRB-1602 on Bora Bora, the Snorkeling with Polynesian Feast. Three great snorkel stops, plus a great lunch with Polynesian pork from an earthen oven, chicken, fish, lobster tails, drinks. The excursion is by motorized outrigger and circles the entire lagoon.
  22. We basically did Option A back in June, but we purchased the pre-cruise package from Paul Gauguin so had transfers from the airport and to the ship (we arranged our own flights, though). Our ATN flight arrived at like 9:30pm, PG met us in baggage claim, and we we very quickly on our way to the IC. We spent the next day, Friday, just relaxing for a few hours by the IC pool adjusting to the time change, took a taxi into Papeete to spend an hour or so at the market, then came back to the IC for dinner. On Saturday, we ate breakfast, turned over our luggage to transfer to PG, then spent a couple more hours at the pool before time to meet the transfers to the ship around 3pm. That worked great for us, but then we had also planned three nights post-cruise at the Hilton Moorea. The Hilton Moorea is fabulous and I would strongly recommend it, but just one night pre-cruise almost seems too short. It would seem really hard to enjoy the property if you can't at least settle in for a couple nights.
  23. Agree with the recommendation for BRB-1602. It was the best excursion we did back in June. Three great snorkeling spots. Only the first has really deep water. Great BBQ lunch on a private motu - pork, grilled lobster tails, chicken, etc. Here are a few shots from that tour.
  24. Back in June for our first trip to cruise on the Paul Gauguin, we spent one night in LA on the outbound trip. We booked our Charlotte to LAX tickets using American AAdvantage miles, but booked our LAX to PPT on a separate ticket direct with Air Tahiti Nui in Premium Economy. We did not want to risk a flight delay from CLT to LAX impacting our 4:40pm departure connection to Tahiti (especially since we were flying on non-connecting tickets), so we opted for more peace of mind by doing the overnight in LAX. On the return flights, we took the chance and booked it without an overnight in LA, but scheduled it as about a 5 hour time between flights at LAX to allow for inbound delay. Since we were coming home, and there are many flight options to get from LAX to CLT, we opted to roll the rice and skip the overnight, since we would already have one overnight on the PPT-LAX flight.
  25. Totally agree with the sentiment that I hope it doesn't change. Some of the questions in the survey though, lead me to believe that Ponant is at least trying to gauge the strength of the PG brand versus their own. Hopefully, the survey will educate them that PG has a great brand that they shouldn't mess with too much. But sometimes companies have tunnel vision about their own brand and make mistakes. Hopefully they won't make that mistake.
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