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Everything posted by MightyQuinn

  1. Happy to report that after several rounds of discussion and escalation, Crystal refunded the remaining $1,000 which was withheld from a refund on a cruise that they cancelled. Credit received Oct 13, 2021
  2. @Psoquethis update was posted on Crystal website yesterday. In other words, stay tuned but have patience! https://www.crystalcruises.com/advisory-alerts Crystal Debussy Itineraries & Changes To Dutch Entry Requirements Issued: Friday, September 3, 2020 5:00pm EST Statement Re: Crystal Debussy Sailings and Updated Entry Requirements for The Netherlands Today, the Netherlands updated its entry requirements with more restrictive regulations for residents of select countries, including the United States, beginning September 4. This week, Crystal Debussy will sail a slightly modified itinerary by departing the Netherlands earlier than scheduled so that our guests can stay in compliance with the restrictions. We are Further evaluating the entry rules to determine how the new restrictions might affect our upcoming departures beginning on September 13 and beyond. We will notify guests, in chronological order, with any updates that may arise as we determine the best course of action to enable our guests to enjoy their vacation. As our call volume is high at present, we kindly ask for your patience for our updates.
  3. We waited a little over 2 months for our refund on a Crystal-cancelled river cruise. Quite an improvement in timing! Scheduled sail date: September 13, 2021 Crystal cancelled: June 3, 2021 Refund requested: June 13, 2021 Partial refund* received: August 18, 2021 * Crystal held back $500 x 2 as a non-refundable admin fee. This was done in error since the terms of our booking specifically waived all admin fees. We've alerted Crystal to this and expect to receive the remaining deposit soon. I'll let you know!
  4. Thankfully, we didn't wait until we were older or retired to begin traveling, so we're not concerned about reevaluating our plans right now. We began our travels as young DINKS with nary a care in the world and lots of time to explore it. We had so many great adventures on land and sea over the past 35 years, that at this point, we're quite content. Our bucket list still has a few gotta-see places on it, but we actually spend most of our time feeling grateful and enjoying life and not regretting something we missed or some future we might not have. Earlier this year for a variety of reasons, we decided to put cruising on temporary hold. But we're not putting life on hold. For us, it's not a choice of cruising or staying home. Cruising is not our life. There are other travel options that are equally interesting and we've enjoyed exploring them. We'll return to the rivers and the seas when the time is right, for us. It's all about making choices and plans within our comfort zone.
  5. Den, den, den, for sure! I have little doubt that Sycamore Partners is behind the front-facing Azamara survey, which was the most comprehensive survey I've ever taken. It took me upwards of 25-30 min to complete, no exaggeration. Most questions made sense to be asked on behalf of Azamara but the section on river cruising really jumped out. Why would the survey ask so many probing questions on river cruising? Why would they provide a list of traditional cruise lines and then ask if I would take a river cruise operated by each of them? It seems that Sycamore Partners is keen to gather intel on river cruising, whether for the potential benefit of Azamara or some other member of their investment portfolio. They have already demonstrated a commitment to the cruise industry and they have the funds to purchase their way into the river cruise market. Is a deal with Crystal in the works? Den, den, den! LOL
  6. I recently received a survey from Azamara which asked very detailed questions about my travel style/preferences and the factors that influence my travel decisions. There were questions about my interest in various travel options with an entire section about river cruising. What variables are important to me in selecting a river cruise? What matters most to me once on board the vessel? Would I consider taking a river cruise from a long list of ocean-going cruise lines, including Crystal? That got me thinking. I wonder if the PE firm that owns Azamara are considering entering the river cruise market? Could they possibly be looking at purchasing all or some of the Crystal fleet of river boats? Just idle thoughts while we're not on the water!
  7. Claudalie is a French brand. The labels are barely visible in the photo but my HS French agrees with what you guessed! From L to R: shampooing = shampoo après shampooing = after shampoo or conditioner gel douchè = shower gel lait corps = body milk or body lotion I'm sure they must have English labels as well.
  8. @Catlover54Your narrative is great and your photos are stunning! Those puffins ... simply WOW. Thanks so much for posting and taking us along.
  9. I wonder if this Seabourn restriction on boarding for UK citizens will also apply to Canadians? We have a similar "avoid all travel on cruise ships until further notice" advisory in place. https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/cruise
  10. We head them off at the pass. As soon as a wine steward comes along to welcome us, we don't give him/her an opportunity to pitch the premium list. We simply say we'd love a glass of ABC to start and then we'll switch to XYZ with the main course. Any choices we make are always on the complimentary list. We've done this for years at TK Grill and never had any push-back.
  11. Here is our data point. Last week, Crystal cancelled our Moselle cruise on Bach which was scheduled to depart mid-Sept 2021. We were offered the opportunity to move to the same itinerary aboard Debussy with a departure date 3 weeks later than our original cruise (!!) with price protection but no other consideration. If we didn't exercise that option, we could transfer our reservation to any 2021-2023 Crystal experience, at prevailing rates. Interestingly, the cancellation notice did not mention that we could request a refund of monies paid, even though that is another option.
  12. Excerpt from an email I received from Seabourn today in which they announce new Greece itineraries on board Ovation this summer: On board, we have implemented enhanced health and safety measures guided by our team of medical experts. Seabourn Ovation has abundant space for our guests to comfortably enjoy the outdoors and indoors and have beautiful views of the ocean from nearly anywhere on the ship. All guests will require proof of vaccination to sail. Additionally, we plan to vaccinate our award-winning Seabourn team members on Seabourn Ovation.
  13. @Stickman1990Thanks for posting this excellent interview with Jack Anderson. I was particularly struck by his forthright acknowledgment of Crystal's poor performance on refunds/commissions along with his sincere commitment to set things right for affected guests and travel partners. His candor and humility will go a long way to re-instilling my confidence in Crystal, which had taken a hit over the past year. I also really enjoyed hearing his take on Crystal river cruises, since we have future bookings on both Moselle and Rhine. It certainly looks like rivers will be a profitable growth segment for Crystal, given that their 2022 bookings are up 66% over those of 2019. I don't think our fall 2021 river cruise will be a go, but now I'm less concerned about rolling over the deposit to a future sailing.
  14. Light at the end of the long refund tunnel? Posted March 11 on Crystal website: Update on Progress of Refunds UPDATED Thursday, March 11, 2021 While the company continues to make progress with outstanding refunds, we wanted to provide an overall update on the situation as we have pledged to do so when more information becomes available. To begin with, the entire team at Crystal understands and recognizes that those who have not yet received their refunds are frustrated, and we know that we continue to fall short of our service standard and we sincerely apologize for that. As we noted on January 18, Crystal has refunded approximately 80 percent of canceled 2020 voyages and more than 75 percent of all 2020/2021 canceled voyages (through April 2021) and we are now at a total of $164 million refunded to date. We are pleased to say that during the past month, we have been able to open new channels of access to available collateral that have allowed us to process additional refunds. We expect to complete 37 percent of remaining refunds by the end of March with an additional 46 percent of all remaining refunds to be completed by the end of April for a total of 95 percent completed. After April, our efforts will continue until every refund is processed and we can return to our published refund policy thereafter. We plan to provide another update in the next 60 days. Since July of 2020, Crystal has implemented a no-money down deposit window as well as relaxed final payment policies. This no-money-down deposit window has been extended until April 5, 2021. If a guest booked with a professional travel advisor, please be assured that the travel advisor is closely monitoring the status of the booking and the refund. We want to thank our travel partners for their support as they are champions for both our guests and Crystal.
  15. The original Order by the Canadian Minister of Transport included a carve-out which allowed vessels to transit the Inside Passage. Foreign vessels in certain waters (2) Despite section 3, a foreign vessel may, in the Great Lakes, the Inside Passage, the St. Lawrence River, the Gulf of St. Lawrence or the St. Lawrence Seaway (a) navigate, if passage is expeditious; and (b) moor, berth or anchor if those activities are incidental to the passage. So cruise ships could "expeditiously" sail the Inside Passage enroute to Alaska from Seattle, but they would still be bound by the PVSA requirement to stop at a foreign port. That's the real sticking point.
  16. No, I don't think so. The key for a vessel to be allowed to moor, berth or anchor during free navigational passage is that those activities must be incidental to the passage. In other words, an unforeseen event or an emergency. Any planned anchoring for "technical stops" would be intentional, not incidental, and hence not permitted. It's also my understanding that "technical stops" are no longer permitted since 2007 when the CBP ruled they did not meet the definition, nor the intent, of a foreign port call under the PVSA and disallowed them. And to keep this on topic ... thanks SusieQft for continuing to maintain this Refund Roll Call.
  17. The original Ministerial Order included a carve-out for vessels to transit the Inside Passage. Cruise ships could "expeditiously" sail those waters enroute to Alaska from Seattle, but they would still be bound by the PVSA requirement to stop at a foreign port. That's the real sticking point. Foreign vessels in certain waters (2) Despite section 3, a foreign vessel may, in the Great Lakes, the Inside Passage, the St. Lawrence River, the Gulf of St. Lawrence or the St. Lawrence Seaway (a) navigate, if passage is expeditious; and (b) moor, berth or anchor if those activities are incidental to the passage.
  18. @rafinmdRoy, I'm so sorry to learn about the passing of your brother as well as your own health challenges. You are a literal ray of sunshine here and I hope these clouds lift away from you soon. All the best.
  19. According to my contact at SB, itineraries and pricing for the 2023 World Cruise and the 2023 Grand Voyage are expected to be released to the general public in Feb 2021.
  20. Thanks to you @KenzSailingwe bought the Philips Compact Airfryer today, digital of course! Also ordered America's Test Kitchen "Air Fryer Perfection" but just like @JunelovestocruiseI couldn't find the spiral bound edition in Canada. So excited to have this stuff and can't wait to get cooking. Yam fries up first!
  21. Super helpful @KenzSailing. I had narrowed my choice down to Philips Turbostar or Cuisinart Compact and now the decision is clear. Excellent advice to take a peek at air fryer cookbooks. I usually just google and land on some random food blog. Many thanks! Have you made yam fries in the Philips? I've tried every hack to get them crispy in a conventional oven, with little success. My DH loves yam fries and that will be my first test for our soon-to-be-purchased air fryer. Thanks again!
  22. Kenz, what air fryer do you have? We're in the market so I'm researching brands/models. I've read a ton of reviews by experts and homecooks which has left me decidedly undecided on what to buy. I'd welcome any tips.
  23. CabinBoy, I'm sorry your cruises were cancelled as I know you were looking forward to sailing with Seabourn. I hope you get another opportunity to experience the SB magic. Just a thought as you ponder whether to take a refund or FCC. I've noticed recently that some SB promotional offers are not available to guests who use FCCs. For example, the fine print on the current Black Friday deals says: Guests using a Future Cruise Credit and/or rebooking from 2020/2021 voyages impacted by a pause in operations are not eligible for this offer. I'm not sure if SB will rigidly apply this restriction or if they'll be flexible and consider bookings with special offers on a case-by-case basis. But it's something to think about if you decide to go the FCC route.
  24. I noticed that as well but I figured Kent Zhu could be reflecting about GHK plans for Crystal when they purchased them in 2015, so using past tense would be appropriate. Or maybe something was lost in translation.
  25. Crystal updated their Refund Advisory yesterday Oct 20. No news ... just an acknowledgement of what has been apparent for some time. They have fallen short of their 6* service standard. They remain committed to honoring their contractual obligations. Be prepared to wait an unknown length of time for your refund. And of course, they still appreciate your patience and understanding. https://www.crystalcruises.com/advisory-alerts/issuance-of-cruise-refunds Processing & Issuance of Cruise Refunds UPDATED Tuesday, October 20, 2020 Crystal’s parent company, Genting Hong Kong, announced on August 19, 2020 that it is currently engaged in a consensual financial restructuring with its financial creditors and a fundraising exercise due to COVID-19. At this time, the company cannot give a specific date when refunds will be issued but please be assured that Crystal remains committed to honoring our contractual obligations with our guests, including the processing of refunds. While we have processed tens of millions of dollars in refunds, we know that quite a few guests have not received their refund by our original good faith estimate in March of up to 90 days. We recognize and understand the frustration this has caused and we know we have come up short in our standards to provide six-star service to our guests. From the beginning, our teams have worked diligently to address each refund, however, given the voluntary suspension of cruise operations across our entire fleet until 2021, the sheer volume of refund requests in such a short period of time has been challenging and we are experiencing longer delays. We truly appreciate our guests’ continued patience and understanding, and we will update our guests and travel partners as soon as additional information becomes available. If you booked with a professional travel advisor, please be assured that he or she is closely monitoring the status of your booking and refund on your behalf. We want to thank them for their support as they are champions for both you and us.
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