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About jb008

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Reading, relaxing on a beach, and drinks with little umbrellas :)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    X, HAL, & PCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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314 profile views
  1. You can tip in Euros or Pounds and the crew won't mind. From what I've been told, they often end up exchanging cash to electronic form and they get pretty good exchange rates from the company (generally better than what we as average consumers would get at our local currency exchange or banks). That actually cut the other way when the USD was so low relative to EUD 4 or so years ago... tipping a couple USD in Europe was a thinner tip than in the caribbean (e.g., help w/bag).
  2. If you're looking for a premium experience, I was also pretty impressed by Celebrity's Sky Suite offering (think verandah room on steroids) which is often bundled with their premium drink pkg and free wifi to make it essentially an all-inclusive package. Access to their suite-only lounge with a real (and effective) concierge, and a separate suite-only restaurant. I can't compare to MSC-YC or some of the other luxury lines, but suite class on X is clearly a premium experience and I suspect (although haven't tried suites on PCL or HAL) it is a step up from the suite experience on the other lines too, and of note the sky suites on X are smaller so cheaper than Neptune and larger suites on HAL. I think X was smart to offer a smaller room with suite benefits. I have zero interest in paying for more floor space than a Sky Suite offers, but do value being treated to the rest of the suite perks. After experiencing the "suite-life" on X looking at the club class minis on PCL is a major step down and was no longer worth the price premium over a big balcony or mini-suite.
  3. Just wanted to make sure 🙂 Those cruise line employees work hard and earn every cent. I know we've all heard stories of the people that woefully under tip as a way to save money on their vacation. Not considering (or caring) about how badly that hurts the employees. And yes, the cruise line could just make gratuities part of the fares, but they by and large haven't <shrug>.
  4. ymmv I was able to call HAL and confirm with the phone agent that my shareholder obc had been applied, even though I booked through a TA. HAL phone agent should be able to see obc coming from the line, but may not see obc coming from the travel agency.
  5. I'm hoping you mean $30-40 in addition to the standard recommended gratuities....
  6. I think you'd enjoy Princess as an alternative, I think pax pop skews a little younger, but definitely not a party atmosphere. I thought service and food were pretty comparable between PCL and HAL. PCL also allows a bottle of wine free per person (consumed in room) or as many bottles as you want w/corkage fee. I totally get the desire to bring your own wines, I haven't seen any reasonably aged cab sauv at a bearable price on any of the lines. PCL is part of the CCL family, so if you have status on HAL it may transfer some benefits to Princess. We've liked X in the past, and thought it felt more upscale and sedate than RCL (caveat, we stopped sailing RCL in 2014 in favor of P/X/H). If you sail X, the Aqua class is balcony rooms with access to their own dining room and we were happy we splurged on it last time we sailed. I think demographics skew younger on X than PCL, and music and vibe is trying to attract the younger crowd while not turning way the older passengers. I'm sailing them next month with my parents (60's) and I'll post their reaction and take as part of my trip report.
  7. Amazon.com has a pretty good selection, and if you're staying at a pre-cruise hotel you could ship the package there rather than having to use amazon.ca to ship to "Canada's Capital". I used https://www.amazon.com/Caribbean-Solutions-Sol-Guard-Spf/dp/B01N8X4SB9 and it worked fine. The bottle is expired (>3 years since I bought it), but I didn't burn when I was in Cozumel last month. Little thick and harder to rub in, but seemed fine.
  8. The cruise line strongly recommends $15.50/per person per day to cover both stateroom attendant and food service personnel (e.g., waiter and assistant waiter). If it were me, I'd just leave auto-tipping in place. If you feel someone(s) deserved it, give them a short thank you note and some additional cash directly to them. We generally tip extra to both our stateroom attendant and food servers and try to recognize good service with either a comment card or by name in our post-cruise surveys.
  9. Coffee shop on Nieuw Statendam was offering soy or almond milk, no oat (I would have paid extra to try the oatmilk). Didn't look too hard at breakfast, but I think I saw soy and almond at the buffet coffee stations. We had a fridge in our standard balcony/verandah room on NS, no extra charge. I'd be a little wary of keeping a perishable beverage in some cruise fridges though... we've had some fridges that kept things "cool" but didn't feel super cold. Our fridge on NS was great though, fwiw.
  10. Most people don't pay the extra for CFAR or a CFAR policy. Travel insurance denying coverage for trip cancellation when it is outside of a covered event (e.g., illness by the traveler or quarantine of said traveler) is not a surprise. The best analogy is that people assume coverage for epidemics similar to the coverage for terrorism in a port of call, but are surprised when there's no such coverage listed in their policy (public service announcement, they let you read the certificate of benefits aka the coverage of a policy before you buy it). If they covered cancelation for diseases endemic to a region then travel to the entire Caribbean basin would probably be uninsurable due to Zika. I wonder how many people actually read, or at least skim, the policy they purchase. This is like complaining that travel insurance won't reimburse for a covered event where it says in your policy "must be reported within 72 hours" but you only bother to report it to them 2 weeks after the event.
  11. Thanks! Good to know. Princess vacation protection isn't cash unless it's for a covered reason, otherwise it's credit. Both HAL and Princess use Nationwide for the insurance portion. I'll have to take a look in particular at HAL's policy next time. Now that my insurance agent retired I'm not feeling tied to the same insurer.
  12. The cruise line policies are generally not quite the same animal as 3rd party travel insurance, cruise line CFAR is often done as credit and not cash back. Depending on how they structure their plans sometimes they're not insurance but instead "protection" plans. One way they limit their liability is to issue the lower medical coverage amounts, they also are generally cheaper for CFAR coverage because it's not issued as cash back to the customer if they cancel. Travel protection costs through the cruise line can be much cheaper than coverage through a third-party insurer (e.g., insuring someone >60 yo ain't cheap) because they have different liability than a standard travel insurer. When you say "would not have covered me if I had cancelled due to epidemic" are you referring to the CFAR or the medical expenses coverage? I would be surprised anyone would cover cancellation due to epidemic as a medical expenses coverage if you're not an actual patient. Medical expenses coverage is supposed to cover costs for a treating you during travel (i.e., you have an emergency arise like falling on ice and breaking a hip). Whereas, it sounds like you're talking about trip cancelation coverage, where you want covered reason = epidemic in a port of call (best analogy is probably terrorism coverage). That's different than medical expense coverage or trip cancelation for covered reason = medical (e.g., under treatment and deemed you not fit for travel). Hypothetically, what's the new standard being used to screen and prohibit someone from traveling though... sore throat, cough, headache, chills, and maybe fever a few days prior to travel where a supervising physician recommends staying home and minimizing your exposure to others? Your question raises an interesting point though, my current policy would cover if I cancel because I was under quarantine; what's less clear is how "denied boarding" would be treated if carrier refuses passage due to a passenger's recent travel history (like what X is doing where anyone passaging through China/HK/Macau less than 15 days before boarding will be refused passage). I haven't looked at updated policies being sold since nCoV became a major issue, so maybe this is more clearly addressed in the benefits information now. I sold my CCL stock at somewhere around 47.65 (and for decent return) and will buy back in at some point. I like the investment thesis as a whole, but don't see a need to go long at the present time. I also leave later this month on my next cruise fwiw. I'm glad they're not just letting people cancel for refunds unless the trip gets cancelled. Credit for future travel is a good compromise; CCL can book the revenue and gives the pax the ability to still change their travel plans and keeps them likely to sail again soon. I get why they're trying to contain the virus, but with an infectivity rate that currently looks to be higher than influenza I'm personally skeptical containment will be effective. I hope I'm wrong!
  13. Probably a quirk with what's loaded on the mobile OS or browser as to what the font is and how rendered. Lots of fonts are proprietary and have a licensing fee for use, possible what's loaded to display may be a free alternative or what's loaded for the font is the wrong set of characters (analogy is the wrong DVD gets put into a movie case, you pull a specific movie title but get shown the wrong picture on the screen).
  14. They think the current ship of people represents a risk, that's like saying I'm worried the milk in a carton dated sell by 1/31 might be bad so I should avoid all milk until spring? I don't know Westerdam's itinerary, worst case is that they require her to stay at sea until the latency period for the last known exposure has passed. Basically a quarantine of the ship - if there's no one aboard with nCoV you don't need the room specific isolation like Diamond had to do. I agree refunds on canceled sailings is only fair. I don't think a pax unilaterally choosing to not sail though warrant a refund from the line, I think a credit is reasonable. There's insurance for wanting to cancel for any reason; I used that recently because I wanted to switch my flight and flight prices had dropped so I ate my insurance policy cost and cancelled and rebooked my trip. It's analogous to airlines offering a change fee waiver for inclement weather but resisting refunding unless the flight actually cancels. This all my be moot soon, the evolving situation may force the cancellation of this person's cruise and in that case they may get double; refund plus credit on future trip. I recently bailed on my CCL stock... but what I'd love to know is what's the approximate cost per ship to refund plus credit for future travel equal to cost of the affected/canceled trip.
  15. Think about the economic damage to many of the ports and people if the cruise lines just cancelled all their Asian itineraries. Yes, cruise ships increase risk of disease transmission due to close proximity of people (but less risk than an airplane, bus, train, and probably comparable risk to dinner and a movie [aside from the fact that it's x2-3 times per day times number of days for cruise versus dinner and movie]). However blaming Carnival and accusing them of being a major public health risk because they won't let you cancel for an upcoming cruise for a full refund seems a little disingenuous. I'm sure they're following CDC and gov't health guidelines and getting frequent input/instructions on what to do. Frankly, the biggest risk of nCoV right now is more from hype, bad information, and scare mongering by lay people (like @tcc8v) who suddenly profess expertise on epidemiology/infectious disease/public health. The economic risks associated with nCoV are not trivial; major corporations suddenly discontinuing operations throughout an entire region in an (over)abundance of caution could be a significant destabilizing economic event and is not something that should be speculated about lightly.
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