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Mike B Landlubber

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About Mike B Landlubber

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Photography, wildlife, the world
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    My next one
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Too soon to decide!

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  1. Most City/county health departments in major cities have an immunization group. Mine will research foreign travel and arrange for the appropriate shots based on your destination. Start on it well before your trip. Having said that, I’m pretty sure I didn’t get any immunizations before my Egypt trip, though that was over twenty years ago.
  2. I think they sometimes have a problem with left hand and right hand coordination at HAL. I was on the February 29 cruise cancelled several days ago, but yesterday I received an email admonishing me to enter my flight information for the cruise!
  3. I also got refunded for feb 29 cruise yesterday. Quick work by HAL!
  4. As a North American, my impression is there is a fair amount of tourism and business traffic between Australia and Southeast Asia, especially Singapore. I may be misinformed, but that was the conscious decision I made. Like others in this thread, I’m most concerned about disruption and quarantine and the stress on my worry wart 85 year old mother, though I also have a lot of respect for the risks of catching the disease if that low probability-high consequence event happens!
  5. I wouldn’t plan a trip to Asia, and probably not to Australia/NZ this year, though if I already had them booked I wouldn’t cancel yet. I was on the canceled Feb 29 Westerdam cruise, and actually considered a Panama Canal cruise as a replacement! So I’m not rejecting cruises as a whole. Though if things get bad I may rethink that. I have a Mediterranean/Middle East cruise scheduled on a different line at the end of the year, and am eager to go! 🙂
  6. I think they are hoping delay will cause more people to accept the current offer of a credit for a future cruise rather than cash refund and presumably credit on a future cruise if HAL cancels. Good for the balance book, but not customer-friendly!
  7. I’m booked on February 29th, and I’ve also received multiple upgrade offers, including one yesterday. This morning I received a cabin assignment with a slight upgrade, I believe from VH to VF. It is academic for me, as I won’t be going. My expectation has been that HAL would have to cancel the cruise, but if not, I have the Platinum Insurance.
  8. When this is over, there’s a good chance it will be quick. The SARS epidemic was raging in late April, and two months later in late June, it was declared over. People will take a little longer to start booking travel to Asia, but there will be promotions and this may fade from memory surprisingly fast. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_SARS_outbreak
  9. I booked the lowest grade of verandah cabin direct with HAL, and about two weeks ago I received an email offering an upgrade to a Neptune Suite for about $1300 based on two people, and a lesser grade of suite for a lower cost. I found a corner stern Neptune Suite for the $1300, and came within a hairbreadth of booking it. Then the news and some research that evening made me decide to cancel! I received a similar email with a slightly lower price a few days ago. Maybe HAL offers these deals to people who book with them as an incentive? In any case, I’ll bet you have a good chance to upgrade before or when you check in! Have a safe and enjoyable cruise!!!!
  10. To me that is the sensible thing to do, at least for the first half of the year. Too much uncertainty about getting sick in a foreign land, whether attractions will be open, ships will be able to get into ports, and even travelers be able to get home for me to risk vacation days and money on. Plus I have an elderly worry wart mother, and even I would feel some stress if I went. I do feel some envy for those like Betty in Cozumel who are going. Could be a great cruise, and I got an inexpensive upgrade offer for a Neptune Suite on corner stern that I’ll never be able to afford on a normal cruise! But that’s not guaranteed, and the stress and uncertainty I mentioned is. I already have set up a land trip to the Everglades instead! 🙂
  11. I am scheduled to sail on Westerdam Feb 29 from Yokohama (shifted from Shanghai). Just received an email from HAL saying that the voyage is still happening, but They are evaluating port calls, and there may be additional changes. This makes me doubt the current voyage is expected to land too far from Japan. The email says that anyone who traveled through mainland China, HK, or Macau, or had contact with a suspected corona virus carrier, or been under monitoring For the virus In the 14 days before sailing will be denied boarding and given a refund. This could be a real disappointment for a passenger who traveled to the port in a flight that was found to contain a potential carrier! They offer a $250 OBC, or for those who want to cancel, they offer cancellation in favor of a credit with HAL that must be used in twelve months. For myself, I’ve already made the decision I will cancel, but am holding off actually cancelling, in hopes that HAL will waive cancellation penalties (I have the Platinum insurance from HAL, so it is only a matter of 10%). I have other travel plans for the rest of the year, so future credit isn’t useful to me. I’ve had some sympathy for HAL, but that is wearing thin now.
  12. Three years ago I did an expedition cruise on Hurtigruten’s ship Midnatsol. It was the greatest trip of my life! For me, setting foot in Antarctica, and especially interacting with the wildlife, was essential. I realize not everyone will feel that way. I do think a drive by cruise would be worth doing if unable or unwilling to do the cruises with landings. If you go, the earlier in the season you go, the more spectacular the icebergs will be, though as someone earlier pointed out, the more chance that ice pack will keep you from getting in as close as you might like. If you choose to do an expedition cruise, going later In the season will mean penguin chicks will be hatched, but landing sites will also be more trampled by tourists. i went in December and don’t regret it, but I admit I’d love to have seen those penguin chicks! We had several whale and seal sightings from our ship while underway, and a few sightings of penguins on icebergs. I’m going to attach some photos I took while the ship was underway, but be warned these were with a fairly long telephoto lens. If you pine for the expedition trip, I’d encourage you to do it, but if you don’t, drive by may be a better use of cruise dollars!
  13. I flew them from Newark to Lisbon, then to Porto, and back in economy. Was about a year ago. No better or worse than any other transatlantic economy flight. I have a dim memory that similar to what The Mice said, their carry on restrictions were tighter than typical US, but they weren’t aggressive about it. I remember reading that they sometimes offer deals allowing a stay in Lisbon after changing planes there fir a connecting flight, but you’d have to Google for accurate info.
  14. I went to Antarctica with Hurtigruten on the Midnatsol in 2016. I left my DSLRs at home and took a Sony RX10 do-it-all camera with (I believe) 24-600mm equivalent lens, and never regretted it. I put it in a standard dry bag that I kept unsealed, but held closed with my hand most of the time so that I could quickly pull the camera out if I wanted to. I never got truly soaked, though talked to people on other landing boats who did. I also kept a tiny cheap sacrificial 28-300 or something similar camera in a jacket pocket to pull out and use when I didn’t want to chance using the Rx10. I always left a third camera (I believe a Sony rx100) in the cabin, so in case of some catastrophe I would have some sort of decent camera for the rest of the cruise. i know nothing of Fuji cameras, but I know for Canon rain sealed lenses, to be fully sealed you have to have a UV or similar filter on the lens. I believe your landing craft will be different than ours, but for all our landings, there was a swarm of crew around to give a hand as you disembarked, especially on wet landings. Usually you had one crew person supporting you on each arm as you stepped into the water or onto the shore. For wet And dry landings they would have a chain of crew people if the shore was rocky, and many of the landing sites were covered with bowling ball or slightly smaller sized rocks. Would have been very treacherous to walk around unsupported. You will be wearing thick and heavy boots provided by Hurtigruten that give solid protection against twisted ankles, and fabulous protection against heat loss to the ground, but made me feel a bit clumsy like Herman Munster! If I do it right, I’m going to post a pic of one of our landings. The people outside the boat on the shoreline are all crew members there to help passengers stay upright.
  15. If the place appeals to you, I would third Highland Cruiser. I took a very long day trip from Paris to see Mont St. Michel, and though I hope to go back and spend a day there, I’ve never regretted the long day trip!
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