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BWIVince

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About BWIVince

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    Central Maryland, USA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Crystal

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  1. Thanks for the update Tracie -- that's FANTASTIC news (in the big picture)! Vince
  2. My pleasure — sorry I misunderstood your message, I thought Crystal was saying the April 3rd date was the date they received the request and started the refund. It looks like you should be seeing something show up from Crystal soon, depending on your bank. If you reach the 90 day mark, just follow up with them again to confirm they sent it. If it’s a credit card refund, there are several reasons you either may or may not see a “pending” credit immediately when Crystal submits it, and as seen in other messages here it can sometimes be weeks for the bank to post the credit once it’s received by them from Crystal. Vince
  3. So far as I know, since they’ve been quoting 90 days, the policy has always been 90 days from the date the refund was REQUESTED by your agent. The refunds are not automatic, as you have options so the 90 day count started when the request entered the processing queue. My frame of reference there is what I’ve read in the various notices though, so I defer to anyone that received a contradictory message from Crystal saying otherwise. Vince
  4. I noticed that yesterday as well. When the shipyard restarts, it’ll be interesting to see how production works with new precautions, and how much it stretches out the process. Vince
  5. I needed a break from work for a minute... 8 Hours ago, Symphony was at Lat. 1.53457, Long. 104.8471, at a speed of .1 kn and heading 145 degrees... She's still outside the Singapore Straight, off the coast east of Malaysia... It really does look like a water/functional run. Vince
  6. We're going through a lot of the same cancellation pacing in my segment of the travel industry. The cancellation of different ships on different days is workflow management, so you don't jam up the agents at the same time. The spacing of the months is part cash and workflow management, but there are also cost implications. In my industry cancellations for August right now usually qualify for force majeure, qualifying for much more favorable cancellation penalties on supplier contracts. Cancellations for later in the fall generally don't, yet, and would incur a much higher cost. At some point this will start to close up as a consideration, but if we're not seeing it yet, I'm sure cruise lines aren't yet either. This has a lot of people holding cancellations beyond August, even though they are largely planning those cancellations now. Vince
  7. Bermuda doesn't work for an open-jaw between two different US ports without a distant foreign port, but it would work on its own for a one-way or as part of a round-trip back to the same port. I'd love to see Crystal base a ship in Australia -- and you all are in way better shape to have a ship based there than we are! My only hesitation is that Crystal would have to invest a lot more in marketing to get to the starting point they'd at with such a large US customer base... That's certainly NOT insurmountable though, and as you point out, there are plenty of other advantages to Australia! Vince
  8. You can always receive a full cash refund (within 90 days) for a cancelled cruise if you choose -- Crystal always has to have that be one of the options, they just don't have to list it first. Vince
  9. I agree, I don't think the PVSA is going to be as big of an obstacle as it might be any other year, since everyone in the industry is tripping over themselves right now trying to lure people to drive in instead of fly. If a significant portion of passengers are attracted to driving to a port, I don't think they're going to want to fly back from another port to get their car in another city before driving back home (possibly doubling back). I don't think the ship would stay in that port exclusively, I just expect there would be a higher percentage of roundtrips than usual to try to attract more drivers. Just my two cents... Vince
  10. By the time Crystal has the logistics issues worked out, I suspect the usual North American ports would be back in play by then. I don't know if I'd bet for east coast vs. west coast, I actually go in loops as I try thinking through some of this. I would think they'd want the ship to wander a little to give some variety of sailings, but that negates the whole drivability factor that they need to shoot for, and usually requires a home port to work. NE ports are usually good for that -- NYC pulls from New England and Philly, Philly pulls from NYC and DC, etc. From NYC/Philly you could do Bermuda, which is a pretty upscale destination as east coast beachy locales go, in addition to Canada and Caribbean/Bahamas. Vince
  11. The recipes are totally dated, but that’s exactly why I buy cookbooks like that... I love the historical perspective and in this case, memories. I get current recipes online, those are a lot less interesting. I buy cookbooks because they lock in those culinary memories to the era. There are a few recipes in there that are still current menu (or popular request) items — the mushroom soup, escargot, Grand Mariner Soufflé, crab and Brie soup, Salzburger Nockerln and morel, asparagus and chicken ragout, among others. There are a lot of others that are gone, but I’d still make, like the lobster with bread stuffing from Jacques Pepin and an awesome beef salad recipe from Barbara Tropp. I have lots of old cookbooks I love — a cookbook from Doyle’s from the 80’s (bought in ‘94), a cookbook from the Greenbrier from a few years later, and a slew of stuff I fished out of my mother’s collection from the past 60 or so years. Vince
  12. The claim is technically correct... At least in the passenger areas, the air on Symphony and Serenity comes from the intakes on the start board side of the ship (and up top), and the exhausts vent out the port side (and above). The cabins are designed to be airflow neutral from the days when smoking was allowed (but now for other odors), so the exhaust vent in the bath is supposed to offset the volume of air pumped in the vent over the bed. Unfortunately, of course, as many of us have experienced over the years some of the dampers have been shifted over the years and some of the exhaust vents pull less than they used to (so I assume others pull more). That said, that drift to the hallway is different from systems that recycle the air. Vince
  13. It is the book with the blue cover and the 1999 copyright... I don't recall any compiled Crystal cookbooks being published since -- I would definitely have bought them too. The blue book wasn't titled for the anniversary the way the current book is, but the various forwards give you a sense of how it was marketed to us at the time, looking back over the prior decades of Crystal's culinary achievements and partnerships they eventually developed. It's one of my favorite Crystal mementos. Vince
  14. Regarding shore excursions, the charter bus companies that I’m working with on fall events are currently saying 1/3 capacity for the busses. I’m not sure exactly how they arrived at that yet, I’ll learn more in the next couple of months how that spaces out on the busses, AND I’m sure that formula varies wildly from company to company (a handful of companies service most of my industry), but that gives a real world number that shows what the actual bus operators are thinking at the moment. Vince
  15. I’ve never run a cruise line, so that’s a level of detail I’ve never been privy to, but from the travel industry end I have lots of experience with the surety bonds. Cruise lines have ongoing fixed costs and start paying out vendors 6-8 months before a sailing, so I can’t say they have access to all cash from the time it’s collected, but they would seem to because they’d need to. The surety bonds seemingly take the function of an escrow, while allowing the line to have full access to fares to spend as needed. The only real example I’m aware of where money is held in anything like an escrow (and it’s not legally an escrow), is the example someone used in another thread about Expedia. Expedia isn’t just an online travel agency, they’re actually an intermediary. They contract directly with hotels — in some cases — and take on liability and extra labor in exchange for preferred rates and the potential for a significantly higher margin. The money they collect from deposits and prepaid stays — the ones that you see actually charged by their merchant account instead of the hotel’s — are held in an account until they get sent to the hotel a week or two prior to your stay. That money is NOT legally protected any differently than a hotel collecting it and holding it in an operating account, BUT in cases like the COVID-related cancellations the money is supposed to be just sitting there waiting to be distributed to the hotel, so it should be a lot easier to get a refund from an intermediary than a property/airline/cruise line. Vince
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