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About USN59-79

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Western WA, USA
  • Interests
    Old car restoration and cruising.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Princess
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. My comment was directed to the OP (You will not get...), thus it was totally correct.
  2. I was frankly surprised at how unprepared our local government was for the virus. We had been in a hotel in Cambodia with about 300 Westerdam passengers in mid-February. We were suspected of having the virus, so we were all individually tested at the hotel. I was tested in the afternoon and had the results the next morning. When I got home we were told to self-quarantine by our local health department for two weeks, which we did. The first incidents of COVID-19 in the U.S. were here in our State, mostly at a senior citizens center with maybe 50 residents. People were dying there and it was taking a minimum of 3-4 days to get their tests back. It was more than a week before they started testing the staff there. Then they found that the tests they were using that were developed by our CDC were not accurate and they had to be replaced. 2 to 3 months later it was still taking a week to get test results in our country. Yet a so called third world country had accurate tests with results in less than 24 hours. We checked local stores for masks, but they were unavailable, so relatives in Taiwan mailed us a package.
  3. You are right. I understand you get the pin when the cruising days plus the days you are given for what you spent and if you booked a suite add up to 5* status and you get the medallion when they only count the cruising days. But my point is this: Say you need six more days to become a 5* and you are on a ten day cruise. You will not get the additional benefits until you take your next cruise.
  4. One other thing: It is my understanding that if you finally have enough days for 5-star status on a cruise, you may receive the medallion on that cruise, but not the benefits until your next cruise.
  5. I also get regular e-mails from HAL; probably the Mariner Society ones mentioned. I also have a question for the OP: What is the significance of December 19, 2020 for HAL as you mentioned in your opening comment?
  6. I have never considered trip cancellation insurance in the more than 20 years and close to 1000 days we have cruised. I have never cancelled a cruise and when the cruise line cancelled some recently they paid me for them. Imagine what it would have cost me if I had insured all of those cruises. We have Medicare and as I am a retired Navy person we also have Tricare for Life. Only had to use it a few years ago on a 71 day cruise around Africa. DW had broken her arm a few days before the cruise and we considered cancelling, but thought why cancel? No cooking, no housekeeping, it might be more comfortable on the ship than at home. She had the ship's doctor care for the arm and remove the cast and X-ray it when it healed and Tricare and Medicare picked up the cost even though we in South Africa at the time. If we were worried about having a medical problem on an upcoming cruise, we would just not book the cruise and stay home.
  7. Interesting to see the Carnival ships entering the scrap yard with their tenders still aboard. I would have thought that they could be used on other ships, but maybe not.
  8. One thing I didn't mention was that along with the receipts for each expense, I also included a page with a short explanation describing each expense as the form doesn't provide room for that. That gave the auditor info such as why I was claiming for a cancelled flight from Taipei to Hong Kong, for example.
  9. Yes, we were fully reimbursed 2 or 3 weeks after I submitted the "Change Fee Reimbursement Form" to HAL Guest Relations in Seattle. We requested hotel meals of $386.71 (actual meal cost rather than just per diem), hotel laundry of $41.12, a flight from Taipei to Hong Kong for $206.78 (we planned to disembark in Taiwan when the ship said it wouldn't return to Hong Kong) and $1150.20 for the cancelled Bangkok to Seattle flight. They paid in full to the penny. I also asked for reimbursement of 6 bottles of an 8 bottle wine package but noted that if they didn't want to reimburse it they could just credit my next cruise with 6 bottles of wine and they replied that they would do that. We mailed in the form on 5 March with a return receipt requested so I would be sure they had it. I also included receipts for each of the expenses (except the wine) with the form. We had booked a back to back to back (42 days) and we also received reimbursement for the 3 cruises and about $3300. in future cruise credits. I am surprised that a passenger has not yet been reimbursed.
  10. I think the "back story" that should come from this is whether or not HAL is collecting the data and studying it to better handle the next "situation". About the coaches taking us to the hotels from the airport. There was only one hotel; we took the last coach after picking up our luggage, and it dropped us off at the wrong hotel and left us there. We sat in the lobby until about 11 at night before someone figured out that about 30 of us were missing and they sent a coach to retrieve us. We had no idea of what the correct hotel was or how to contact HAL that we were lost. No one panicked and there was a convenient bar just off the lobby area. We expected that HAL would take care of us and they did.
  11. I also really enjoyed Phnom Penh. It reminded me of being in Asia in the early 60's. You can use U.S. currency almost everywhere. We paid a quarter to take a ferry across the river from the hotel to downtown. Found a mall with a nice German pub with cold beer. Caught a tuk tuk to a shopping center and the DW found a hairdresser to cut her hair. Next time I changed $20. in the hotel for local currency. The rate was 4000 Rials to one dollar. Smallest bill was 100 Rials, but that would be 800 of them for $20. Also had 500 and 1000 Rial bills, but it was a pocket full. The people were friendly and it was easy to get around. Second time we took the ferry found that the fare was supposed to be 500 Rials, or two for a quarter. I am not sure about Sihanoukville, but we stopped there a couple of years ago on a cruise. Wasn't much to see, so we stopped at a hotel bar for a cold beer. Beer was $1., but there was a sign saying "Hotel Room $5. With Air Conditioning $10." I would be happy to spend a week or two in Phnom Penh followed by a stop in Angkor Wat. Anyway, I apologize that we are getting off the subject of improving the WC. I wouldn't expect the WC to stop in Sihanoukville, and it wouldn't be practical to fly to that port to Phnom Penh.
  12. One thing that wasn't mentioned was the amount of help provided the stranded Westerdam passengers by the U.S. Embassy personnel in Cambodia. They set up a desk in the hotel lobby and were there every day to provide assistance. For example, there was a major incident at the airport where we and a large number of people went thru customs and immigration prior to boarding our plane to Malaysia. We had a single entry Cambodian visa and our passports were stamped as having left Cambodia. Of course the plane never showed up and we were now in kind of a limbo; in the country with no valid visa. Our Embassy staff worked it out with the Cambodian officials so we could leave the airport and go back to our hotel with no valid visa and no hassle. They wore ball caps with the U.S. flag and U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh on them so they could be easily recognized. One of them was kind enough to give me her hat as a souvenir when I thanked her for her help as we left.
  13. I remember a few years ago on the WC people were commenting on a passenger they called "Rasputin". He dressed as Eastern Orthodox monk or priest, usually ate in his room but refused to let the stewards in to clean it, and was often soliciting donations both ashore and onboard for his "Church". I believe the ship put him off in Australia.
  14. I totally disagree. If a passenger pays HAL tens of thousands of dollars for a cruise around the world and HAL dumps them off half way there, HAL should take the responsibility to get them back to their starting point. Have you ever tried to get on the internet at sea with a thousand other passengers to try to book a flight home from a foreign airport? I am fairly computer literate, but not everyone is. What were the shore excursion people doing at this time? Since all the WC people were expecting to go to FLL, I feel HAL should have gotten them there, either by booking their air travel or chartering some aircraft to do it. They shouldn't have had to figure out to get to the airport or to a hotel before the flight. Just my opinion: If they could do it for the Westerdam in a third world country they should have been able to do it for the Amsterdam in Australia.
  15. One thing that surprised me is how HAL treated the Westerdam guests so much better than the WC guests when it became obvious that the ship couldn't proceed and they needed to get back home. It started a little chaotic when we were headed to Thailand to end the cruise. We were given free internet and phone use and told to book a flight home from Bangkok. That wasn't easy, but I finally got it done by about two in the morning. Then the Thai Navy escorted us away from their country and Cambodia accepted us. HAL decided to book our flights for us while we were in Sihanoukville and flew us to the Phnom Penh Airport to await our flight. That didn't work out as the flights thru Malaysia were cancelled. So HAL put us up in a 5 star hotel and flew in some people, including Orlando Ashford to arrange our passage home. We were not stuck in our rooms there; we could go into town whenever we wanted. The hotel had good restaurants and HAL picked up the cost. They even paid for my laundry there and after five days, booked us business class to Japan and to Seattle. After I returned home I filled out an expense report and all my expenses including unused air travel from Thailand were reimbursed. I have been on two WCs and if we were on the Amsterdam in February instead of the Westerdam I would have expected to have been treated similarly.
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