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Bruin Steve

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About Bruin Steve

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  1. Cruise ships are really not all that different from all sorts of other places that tend to spread virus--Las Vegas, big hotels, Disney, etc. Would the same sorts of protocols then need to be instituted elsewhere? Should Disneyland and Disneyworld close at least every other day for a deep cleaning? 150,000 people come and go each day, touch all of the guard rails and rest room door knobs and more...and then leave and are replaced by 150,000 new people--That's far more people in an enclosed space than any cruise ship... Should Vegas close down after each group of new guests? I guess that first, you'd have to fix the problem that everyone's stays there are staggered...Right now, over 100,000 people visit a limited number of large hotels each day and stay for an average of 3.5 nights...Those casinos can spread a lot of virus...show rooms too...Guess we'll have to require them to schedule guests and then close down between each group?
  2. Okay, found some photos... We would be the fourth cabin to the left of the "bracket" on deck 10 (second deck up from that bottom left corner on this photo, but a couple of cabins off the left edge of the photo... It looks like the Magic Carpet extends to where the left edge of the MC is right at that fourth column of cabins... So, it seems that every time they raise or lower the MC, the end of it would pass in front of our balcony...Otherwise, the thing is always stationed up on Deck 14--so, three decks above--or Decks 5 or lower, 5-8 decks below. I imagine those stationary positions won't have much effect on 10188 at all...and everyone aft of the MC can't look straight forward without the brackets a little in the way...and, with the design of these Edge ships, it seems like these cabins are almost more like OVs with windows that open rather than the feel of an old-fashioned balcony where you feel like your protruding from the side of the ship (Of course I don't know since I've yet to experience the new design). So, it may just boil down to the number of times per day they move the MC...and when...and, if it causes any noise issues... Otherwise, it may just be an interesting extra "show"... Anyone out there who's actually cruised in one of these cabins?
  3. So, we've finally been able to move our 2020 bookings to 2021... ...and the first moved cruise is on the Apex (I put Edge in the title here since no one, as of yet, has actually experienced the Apex)... Anyway, our booking is currently for a Concierge 2 cabin--#10188... The booking was completed early this morning by our TA...so we didn't really choose this cabin, they did--I assume because they know we prefer, generally, to be midship and not directly below the pool deck... BUT, with the Apex, I have a specific new question: Will there be a problem with this cabin being, apparently, very close to the "Magic Carpet"?? Or should we ask to move to one of the C2s further forward on 10 or 11? I hate to bother my TA right now as she's so stressed and the hold times waiting to even talk to Celebrity are SO long...
  4. They make the rules...so they can pretty much do whatever they want...AND the rules for what happens has changed over time. There are different "options" and different time limits based on a lot of odd factors... We had been told by my TA that our back-to-back cruises on Infinity in July could ONLY be lifted and shifted to a very limited number of sailings--ALL on Infinity. Why? First, there are no other M-Class ships cruising next summer in the Med which do 7-night cruises...And, even the Infinity mixes in some 8, 9 and 10 night cruises--including the sailing that is, basically, on the same nights we were originally booked--In 2021, that week will be an 8-night sailing--so, NOT eligible. The Connie's in the Med, but no 7 night sailings. So is the Apex--and doing 7 nighters, but not eligible as a different class ship. So, it's an extremely limited option... To make things worse, the Infinity itineraries are NOT the same in 2021 as in 2020. We booked back-to-backs as the itineraries alternated with different ports. Any "eligible" 2021 back-to-backs repeat 3 ports. On the alternative, we were told we could take the 125% FCC option, then re-book any ship, any sailing. But prices are way up and we'd lose all of our perks (Of course, we would get whatever perks are currently offered). So, for example, we could ALMOST shoehorn some Apex sailings into the 125% FCC--if we had some additional $$$--probably what they'd like us to do... We are actually in the process of working something out right now--we think...But, here's another big problem--you have limited time to elect the lift and shift option...BUT, the Celebrity phone lines are so overloaded at present, that it's hard to get through to someone to speak with. Even our travel agent is complaining that THEY wait on hold for hours...And, today, my travel agent, after over three hours on hold had the call get disconnected in the middle of the call. So, we have to pick it up again tomorrow! BTW, the reason they've allowed that Millennium/Eclipse thing is that after next Spring, the Millie is being pulled from those Japan and Transpacific routes...so, they've relented on that specific replacement... But, anything that doesn't follow their strict interpretation is deemed ineligible. IF you can get through to them, try hammering home the idea that there is no replacement for your current booking and that what you want is NOT a major change, especially in terms of price. Really, if they were smart, they would WANT people to lift and shift--keeps them cruising with Celebrity, keeps the money in Celebrity's pocket...AND they really don't know if, when cruising resumes, they will be able to fill the ships. It would suck for them if they drive people away, then, a year from now, they can't fill the ships...
  5. Our time is still unstructured, but, basically, time is not a constraint until we set our flight reservations... We've been to Carcassonne before, but it has been quite a number of years, so we wouldn't mind returning... I have family in Perpignan...but I am not sure whether I am going to to tell them we are coming. One time we had arranged to visit them while in Barcelona, but had a snafu with the rental car and had to cancel last minute. The attraction to Andorra is mostly that it's another country to tick off the list...and we've been so close so many times...So, I guess it really comes down to whether we want to spend a shorter time on the pre-cruise and keep it simple and just do the "tour" and relax more before the cruise...or whether we want to extend the trip on the front end and put a little work into going to a lot of places over a number of days... The trip, in general, will be fairly long...After whatever pre-cruise time in and around Barcelona, we'd get on a 7-night cruise ending ion Civitavecchia, then spend two nights in Rome, then return to Civitavecchia for a second 7-night cruise on a different ship, ending in Venice...Then we'd either spend a couple of nights in Venice before flying home...or...rent a car and drive to Innsbruck, Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen, Lugano...and fly home out of Milan. The trip we were supposed to take THIS summer--before Covid canceled everything--was set to fly into Milan and drive to Lugano for a night, Lucerne for two nights, Lauterbrunnen for two nights, then down to Portovenere and the Cinque Terre for three nights, then to Civitavecchia for a night before the back-to-back cruises...Next year's cruise stops in La Spezia, so we'll visit that way...but, we're thinking of that post-cruise to make up for the missed visit from this summer...
  6. Sort of expected though, isn't it? We are not living in typical times... They just canceled a large number of cruises last week...and each one had thousands of people booked...and all of those people (and/or their travel agents) are trying to call...canceling bookings, booking replacement cruises, lots of questions. Many of us have situations which cannot be shoehorned into the standard answers...And, at the same time, they still have the ordinary non-Covid related business--like people just looking to book cruises for a year or two down the road. And, they can't just hire a lot of extra help--those people would have to be trained...and your entire staff has to work remotely... We just all need to learn to be a little more patient...
  7. On a Saturday morning, the drive from Long Beach to LAX will take only 30-45 minutes...Even if the ship is delayed in customs and security lines at LAX are long and you don't have pre-check, you'll still have time to kill at LAX...
  8. I'm still working with Celebrity on getting myself a "Lift and Shift" deal... But, here is the problem in a nutshell: My travel agent was told--and she relayed it to me--that I could ONLY use it to book a cruise which was: 1) Same number of nights 2) Same "destination" 3) Same ship ...and 4) Within 30 days of my canceled sailing ...and that they were VERY STRICT on the interpretation... In my case, I had "back-to-back" sailings--7 nights each in July...Which were designed to give me two ports new to me (Zadar and Rijeka)...and only one port repeating on the two cruises (Originally, it was no repeats, but they changed one early on). Problem is that 2021 itineraries are NOT an exact match to the 2020 itineraries. So, the ship I was on, the Infinity, now has an 8 night itinerary smack in the middle of what were my 2020 dates. In August, the ship starts doing 9 and 10 night itineraries. None of the 7 night "eligible" itineraries include Zadar and Rijeka and any combination of two back-to-back have three repeated ports (NOT why I would ever schedule back-to-back cruises). Of course, my TA and Celebrity both insist that I can do a "Lift and Shift" to two consecutive 7 night Infinity cruises. They do have 7-night Apex cruises that can be done back-to-back that don't repeat more than one port...and these also, like Infinity, leave from Rome. And, remarkably, the price difference, even at today's high prices, for my same category cabin (Concierge), are LESS than 20% higher for the Apex. It has been suggested that I can take the 125% FCC and book the Apex...but, even with the current great perk offers, I would actually lose money in OBC from my exceptional current deal. Plus, I would really rather not mess with trying to reconstruct everything. But, seriously, one 7 night cruise on the same ship but with a different itinerary in 2021 is NOT really the same cruise as the 2021 one...So, of course, their "gotcha" is that this would mean I'm not eligible for the "Lift and Shift" deal. But, do they really want to punish someone who has paid for two cruises well over a year in advance who would just like to STAY WITH THEM? Also fitting into this equation is that they HAVE allowed passengers on some Millennium sailings switch to the Eclipse since the Millie is not doing those routes next year... The consistency really isn't all there...Neither is the logic. One would think they would WANT to keep your money and book you on another cruise a year down the line--unless, of course, if they really had the expectation of filling those cabins at a MUCH higher price--like GREATER than the 125% of what you paid that they are offering in FCC...
  9. We were in Pamplona four years ago for the Running of the Bulls...We were on a cruise that circled the Iberian Peninsula--or sort of circled it--from Barcelona up around to Bilbao and back to Barcelona...There were two days in Bilbao--July 6 and 7...and we did a Celebrity shore excursion for which we had to depart the ship in Bilbao at 4:00 am on July 7 for the long ride to Pamplona (the Running starts early!)...They had a suite with a few balconies for us on the second floor right on the main square where the thing starts...pretty amazing, but don't blink or you miss it... I've also spent some time many years back in San Sebastian...and have also done a cruise that stopped in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Bilbao...So, we've covered much of the Basque country...Have also visited Madrid three times, the last two for full weeks--one prior to a cruise and one post cruise (that same aforementioned Iberia cruise four years ago)--also have visited Toledo (twice), Segovia and Avila from Madrid...And I've been to Seville three times, Grenada twice, Santiago de Campostela twice (went to Lugo last time there)... This cruise will also stop in Valencia and at Ibiza (We visited Mallorca while on the Jewel of the Seas three years ago)...
  10. I am anticipating moving our cruise from this July (that was just canceled) to one next year that starts in Barcelona... This will be our tenth visit to Barcelona...so, we are very familiar with the town...and we have also visited Girona and Figueras on a couple of occasions... We always like to arrive a few days early...to accustom ourselves to the time change and to do a little independent sightseeing where we are not just on a cruise port stop... So, I was thinking of what to do when we arrive in Barcelona... One thought that came to mind was to go visit Andorra...First, it's a country we haven't visited and my wife likes ticking new countries off her list...AND, it appears to be less than a three hour drive from Barcelona... I've come up with a couple of possibilities thus far: 1) We could just stay in Barcelona, as a base, and I have seen tour companies that offer private and/or small group 12 hour tours to Andorra with pick-up at Barcelona hotels...or... 2) We could rent a car and spend a few days...Drive to Carcassonne, then Toulouse, then on to Andorra and then back to Barcelona before the cruise... Anyone have any other thoughts/recommendations? Any other places within driving distance not to miss? Any other great day tours using Barcelona as a base? Any recommendations as to tour companies? This is all in the very early planning stages--we don't even have the cruise solidified yet, yet alone flights/number of days...So, we are wide open...Any thoughts are appreciated...
  11. You got luggage tags? I fell just short of being able to order mine. I sort of wanted them as a souvenir of the ill-fated voyage... I'm still thinking, when the cruise would have set sail, of posting a phantom review of the cruise, live from onboard, here on Cruise Critic! 😁
  12. This is just the current state of things...for everybody... We were just in this last group of people waiting it out...Our July 5 and July 12 Med cruises were in limbo during this whole thing up until two days ago when we finally got word they were cancelled. Up to that point, we had no concrete idea and Celebrity really couldn't tell us anything. Like all of us, they would love for a vaccine to be unveiled tomorrow and all restrictions lifted... But, like us, they can't read the future...They don't want to get too far ahead of themselves...just in case the CAN start sailing again soon...BUT, as the dates of our cruises get closer and closer, we can all see, with more and more confidence, that they likely won't happen...For us, the clues, as things got nearer...aside from the fact that the pandemic is still out of control (no matter the wishes of some politicians who want to "reopen" without any advancement in the medical treatment of the thing), we could see signs like 1) Our flights kept getting cancelled, 2) The ships are way out of position and crew hasn't been recalled and 3) ports and countries still "closed"... So, despite spending a couple of months reading that cruises had only been cancelled through June 11, we sort of knew that the extension would be coming soon. So, it became not a case of our looking forward to the cruise, rather anticipating what the options would be for resolution: Refund, FCC or shift to the following year. We cancelled our pre-and post-cruise reservations and waited it out. Now, we are just trying to work out details on moving the trip to 2021. For us, this is problematic as the same itinerary we had is not even offered in 2021. For Alaska, though, the itineraries rarely change, so you should be able to move this cruise anytime. If the risk is great, which I fear it is, you probably wouldn't want to go now anyway. Better to delay a year than to get sick and maybe die, right? Or spread it to others close to you? I, personally, had 3 cousins on a trip to Italy in January who returned home with Covid-19. Thankfully, all 3 have recovered--but it was all touch-and-go for a while...and, trust me, I would not wish the experience they had on any of us...
  13. My airfare is not an issue--as it was booked on Celebrity Choice Air as a "refundable" rate. The only unfortunate part there is that I likely won't find a cheap an airfare on a nonstop LAX to Rome as I had this year...but I can live with that... And I wouldn't have a problem with the number of nights--except that the only other M-Class and any S-Class ship in the Med July of next year (and you can throw in the Edge as well) is NOT doing 7-night cruises...Even the Infinity, that we were on, is only doing some 7-nighters--with an 8-nighter in the middle of July...and goes to longer cruises when we get into August. The only other Celebrity ship in the Med doing 7-night cruises is the APEX...and it is the only one where the itineraries vary substantially on alternating weeks--repeating only one port--La Spezia. Back-to-backs on Infinity repeat three ports. So, moving a back-to-back booking from this July to next is only practical on Apex. But that would be moving my booking from M-Class to Apex--which they say is against the rules--although the email they sent to notify me does not exactly say that. Right now, I am waiting...and hoping they will see my point.
  14. My back-to-back July cruises just got officially cancelled today... I am preparing for the worst. I booked back on May 1, 2019--two cruises, two deposits...So, Celebrity has been holding that money for over a year. I paid in full on both cruises around April 1... So, IF I could do a "lift and shift", Celebrity will have had $1,000 of my money for 28 months and $7,000 plus for 15 months... I also booked air through Celebrity and a shore excursion in almost every port and pre-booked a specialty restaurant for our anniversary... They should bend over backwards in thanks for my sticking with them, right? I called my TA as soon as I got word...and she told me NOT to contact Celebrity on my own--to wait for her...then also told me that Celebrity will NOT negotiate the lift and shift rules... BUT, here's the rub: We chose our cruises specifically to visit two ports--Zadar and Rijeka. We are veterans of 56 cruises and have done the Med so many times, that we try to look for ports we haven't visited--hence this particular booking. I took a look at next summer's schedule and the ONLY way to get Zadar and Rijeka in some combination is with a 9 night and an 11 night cruise on Constellation, then switching to Infinity...but, of course, that's 20 nights, not 14, so I'm sure Celebrity will say no. If not that, all of the 7 nighters on Infinity don't hit those ports...and would also result in three duplicate ports in any back to back (The original back-to-backs we chose repeated NO ports-though, later they changed the itinerary to drop Dubrovnik and cause a duplicate stop in Kotor--but we were willing to live with the one duplication). BUT, we don't do back-to-backs to visit most of the ports twice. The other ships in the Mediterranean are doing 9 nighters, 10 nighters, 11 nighters and 12 nighters...except fo APEX...Apex does 7 nighters that only repeat one port with back-to-back cruises. We would actually take that... AND, the notification we received from Celebrity only says "You also have the option of keeping your cruise vacation plans to the same destination and rescheduling for next year on a date within four weeks of your originally scheduled departure." It soes not say "same ship" or "same class of ship". "Same destination" cannot mean the exact same itinerary since it doesn't exist. In my mind "same destination" can't be much closer than "also to the Med" even though ports may differ... So, will Celebrity allow us to shift our 14 nights--two back-to-back 7s-on Infinity to 14 nights, two back-to-back 7s on Apex? Same dates (within a day), same general part of the world? Can we get our same category of cabin (Concierge 2) and all of our previous amenities--Classic Drink package, included gratuities, $1300 in OBC between the two? I am guessing, I guess you could call it a touch pessimistic, that, despite their wording it appearing to be possible, that they will say NO... So, I cannot get the same itinerary--it doesn't exist...I cannot get this--the only other combination of 14 nights--it's a different class ship...I cannot get a different combination on the same class ship--the itineraries are longer... So, basically, the lift and shift is completely illusory... Same ports, same ship, same time of year, etc. doesn't exist. OF course, Celebrity would gladly DOWNGRADE their offer--fewer nights, lesser itinerary, lesser ship... But, G-D forbid, after LENDING them money for 15-28 months and sticking with them...in an era when many people are saying they won't even cruise again and when most on my sailings pulled out and cancelled before final payment...they can't possibly bend just a ittle bit to keep their loyal customers happy...and, though I know it doesn't matter in the figuring, I am an Elite Plus cruiser--independently Diamond on RCCL...and have 29 more nights of cruising booked and upcoming on Celebrity before this one would even happen...
  15. When we rebooked the air, we actually changed the dates and cancelled a week's worth of hotels and pre-paid rental car and moved arrival to two days before the cruise...Just left the revised air and hotel in Civitavecchia in place--because--with a July cruise, cancellation, at that time, wasn't as much a sure thing. As for the "Lift and Shift", there are two options we would take...But, since they are for a longer time or for a newer ship, we're not sure how Celebrity will react... Instead of our current back-to-back cruises on Infinity at 7 nights each, there are two consecutive cruises--9 nights and 11 nights--on Constellation and, then, Infinity--which hit all of the same ports (including Zadar and Rijecka--the reasons we had booked this one)...OR... We would take back-to back cruises on Apex--which would have no repeat ports other than LaSpezia (and we had originally planned to do part of our pre-cruise this year in the Cinque Terre)--two 7-nighters... But, I suspect Celebrity won't want to trade straight across from 14 nights to 20 or from an M-Class ship to the Apex, even if the same dates and same number of nights. But, I guess we could ask and see...
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