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mking8288

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About mking8288

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  • Location
    "Big Apple" NY
  • Interests
    Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, CCL, RCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Bermuda/Caribbean
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    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5nup7xtw3ell4g0/CruiseCritic%20Abstract%20-%20mking8288%20-%2011.2018A.doc

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  1. Relieved to see that those repatriated NCL crew members destined for Manila & beyond finally reached the destination, after spending nearly 2 months at sea, going more than half way around the globe - given the current protocol of their host/homeland country - they aren't likely permitted to step foot ashore freely for another 2 to 3 weeks (as noted ... sometime in early/mid August). The process set forth there remained unchanged for OFW, it seemed - "more than 90,000 overseas Filipinos have already been repatriated in the country. A total of 11,688 overseas Filipinos were brought back home this week (45% sea-based)." Source - https://mb.com.ph/2020/07/18/covid-19-cases-among-filipinos-abroad-breach-9000-mark-dfa/ Covid-19 cases detailed in this article - https://mb.com.ph/2020/07/18/65000-covid-cases-recorded-in-ph/ Like just about every other countries around the world, screening measures and quarantine (14 days or longer) are part of the scheme ... Here in the Americas ... what more can be said. Be well, safe & wish all to stay healthy !
  2. Schools and educational settings might not be the "most dangerous" setting for kids themselves - however, IMHO and there are plenty of data to support the notion that, kids can be asymptomatic and "help" spread the virus to others, like their teachers & support staff in the institutions ... and, bring it home to their own parents, grandparents, other adults and neighbors with other known & hidden comorbility or risk factors. There are risks in making blanket generalizations, like "kids don't care" - perhaps true, but not always true and not across the board false or untrue. Kids in other countries are coached and taught, learned to wear a mask, properly ... maintain social distancing and wash hands before & after certain activities - and, they respect, follow and listen to the guidance & instructions given by others. It could be good parenting and education by the grown-ups, adults. Our family dentist has resumed seeing current patients, by appointments, with measures in place, on a limited scale ... as he put it, " it is not necessary worth the risk to himself and his office team - despite being in as much PPE as he could" when I sat down again in his chair again, last week for a delayed follow-up to get some work done, and yesterday." His office manager still has trouble getting FDA/OSHA-certified N95 masks and even the availability of an "equivalent" KN95 batch of masks were out of stock for ordering/delivery. We used to chat and share our cruise stories ... and, like us, they aren't returning to cruising and/or flying in a while - there are safer and "better" options or alternatives, not a matter of giving up one's freedom to live and die. To which her/his own, as always - free free to disagree.
  3. I am inclined to partially concur, especially for the North America ports for embarkation and disembarkation. Given how other countries in the rest of the world, Asia & EU, that a phased & limited scale to begin ramp up some cruises ... could be probable. The "Escape" left Miami, Florida in May on a crew repatriation mission in May via Europe, finally reached Singapore and from the latest AIS tracking data, should reach Manila Bay in a few days on its final stop to release the crew to go ashore - upon testing & local clearance, screening & isolation/quarantine, etc. - on their homeward bound journey. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a long line of prospective & experience crew queued up and ready to sail again, if and when NCL is ready to recall them to "exit" their warm laid up by this Fall. Maybe, maybe not. There are good reasons for why the cruise lines secured financing for an extension duration of not sailing. You and I likely feel the same about the odds. Others are free to disagree.
  4. Jan ... Cruising days for many CC diehards, by these new definitions/interpretations .. could well be over. We might still do a little cruising in 2021 or 2022 while still under the radar, should and if these safety protocols get sanctioned and incorporated into the new normal for the industry as a whole. That will eliminate easily half of our own circles of cruise families & friends, by virture of age and other risk factors, sadly. To put a spin for the rest, more opportunity for bidding up to better cabins as there will be less competition for them - on top of social distancing rules, et. al. Isn't that going to be nice to have mega/+ ships that aren't crowded and shorter lines to queue up for the elevators, LOL. I am not that sure (personally speaking only as in "peace-of-mind") if some of the measures will take care of some of the airborne infection risks onboard, in whatever congested & crowded, closed quarters - cruise ships among the settings, in setting a higher bar and benchmarks on these public health & safety protocols. Now that we just sold our house (whew ... delayed closing finally happened), pocketed a good chunk of money and moving ahead to downsize to a smaller home ... given all the "stuff" spiking nearly everywhere, we are just going to put cruising on hold for a while - staycation and closer to home will be the motto for us. I wonder what NCL is going to do with future CC Meet & Greet/Mingle on board ... and how it is going to be handled, or suspended until further notice.
  5. Sort of borrowing from Peter & Jane to pay back the earlier cancellation for Paul & Julie's booking, like playing musical chairs with someone else's money.
  6. $3,000 USD as refundable deposit against the cost of Covid-19 testing AND medical care, including quarantine. That is all ... that amount might not cover the cost of one's initial ER/ED visit for Covid-19 here in the good old USA. Folks that are gung ho diehard for getting back to cruising ASAP, what is there to not opt-in and start packing ... probably a good idea to check one's passport for validity and carry an extra 60 to 90 days of personal medications ... easier to not worry about getting one's scripts refilled overseas. Just my opinion, of course.
  7. It is difficult to keep American politics out of this global pandemic crisis ... I'm mindful of CC's position on this. This outbreak, as other countries has proven, can be tamed and managed, slowed down and kept down, not close to elimination but we in the USA are definitely on the wrong curves and that upward projection is not where public health experts had said we could be on - aside from a handful of states. Failure of leadership at multiple levels, as if we are dealing with it as fifty mini-countries within the union, each governor doing their own thing with CDC providing their "advisories" that even those at 1600 Penn Ave, NW don't bother to respect, listen to and follow. Sorry, it is a monkey circus and that is my one rant for the month on CC. Cruisers from the US and by virture of holding a USA Passport could well be on the unwelcome list elsewhere and/or mandated to go to being quarantined and isolation for our own good and the protection of other nation's citizens. I agree with several other posters above, we aren't going to see anything different, drastic and turnaround of this until 2021. No cruising out of the US for a while, not for us. Back in March & April of 2020, I thought we might still see a chance of sailing in late 2020. Not anymore. We are seriously overdue for our 2020 vacations, 2 cruises cancelled by our own choice and ready to get on our road trip this early Fall. If Canada's border are open for our crossing, we are likely to going to drive north & spend there instead ... 7 hours away only, easier & safer than flying transcon.
  8. Summer is here in NY and greetings ... it has been a while since I posted news & updates from our/my area (Northeast sector in the USA) - New York City has now moved (only earlier this week - the last region in N.Y. State to do so) carefully into phase 2 of 4 in gradual reopening. Within our broad circles of extended families, friends, colleagues and ex/former co-workers & neighbors, etc. - we know of 2 losses to Covid-19 despite hospitalization and best efforts then ... it was difficult to never get a chance to say goodbye & farewell as part of losses and griefing. They are in our thoughts & prayers and hopefully, the healing & acceptance being supported by the care & comfort available/given. Others in the same household also tested positive and luckily recovered, including someone who has since returned (after being out for a full month, isolated & quarantined at home) to full-time duty on the healthcare frontlines as a nurse at a world renowned cancer center, with the entire facility converted into ICU wards for acute Covid-19 care. The others that were first responders, healthcare personnel (I.T. support, administrator, pharmacists and one of our "baby" nephew, still in nursing school but continued to show up & report for ambulatory care, and others that worked in mission critical transport logistics (international air cargo that's beyond the "air bridge") in keeping all those vital medical supplies, equipments and PPE, including masks - has done their job faithfully, with pride and care, and I finally had a chance to meet several of them in person as they're finally getting some time-off, helping our nephew (his co-workers & team members) downstairs doing some moving. Truth of the matter is that, each and everyone of them worn and continue to wear a mask - and, carry/use other PPE's including gloves as necessary - and frequently washed their hands - soap & running water as it is proven to be more effective than hand sanitizers. If they are doing it for us, not just for themselves - there is simply no reasons and excuse for any of us to not wear a mask, has absolutely nothing to do with giving up our freedom or liberty. NYC's Dept of Health hasn't issued any new alerts, guidance or advisory for a while ... both state & city DOH pretty much has fought well and now got it under control by managing it dynamically - except earlier today. This is aimed primary at the healthcare & medical circles - being a HAN subscriber and part of the city's Medical Reserve Corp ... but I thought it is worthwhile to share this with those/all interested parties on CC, as there are other active healthcare personnel that cruise, sail and enjoy the experience onboard, 2020 Health Advisory #20 Updated Guidance for Health Care Personnel on Personal Protective Equipment for COVID-19 and Work Restrictions Following Exposure In addition to a face mask or higher level of respiratory protection, eye protection (goggles or face shield) is now advised during all clinical encounters. Supply chain shortages of N95 respirators persist. Providers and facilities are encouraged to continue conservation measures. Fourteen-day exclusion from work is recommended for asymptomatic health care personnel who were exposed to individuals with confirmed COVID-19 in healthcare settings. The Reserved Corp is currently polling and collecting feedback from the pool of 10,000 volunteers, of which more than 1/3 responded to the call for volunteers to help and took up a variety of tasks and functions in the mobilization. We know this is just the first wave and are taking a pause to prepare for the next wave, the next one and not letting our guards down. My/our motto is to maintain a high level of continuous readiness and consistent with our all-hazards disaster/emergency planning - restocked our personal "strategic" stockpile of masks, gloves, sanitizers, and first aid/trauma care kit ... our "Go Kit" is always handy, in case we must go "STAT" - except that now, we've make sure to carry at least 2 weeks of extra personal medications, not just a week when in the old days of FEMA training for NIMS/ICS ... we're "taught" and coached to have (just) a minimum of 3 days worth of personal supplies/needs. Last but not least, it is sad but not unexpected to see the latest medial/scientific data as available, that we are on the edge of another upward spike for the summer of 2020, and, ignoring and not being prepared has serious consequences - a matter of living and coping with the loss of lives are not fake news. Wish all well, safe and healthy - please, listen to the medical/healthcare experts - we are interested and sworn to saving lives and it isn't about red, blue or playing politics, or faking the news. The economic pain and unemployed suffering are equally tragic and threaten everyone's life ... including the joy of sailing on a cruise. Very difficult choices and some of it, very painful decisions that are taken lightly. We too, wanted just as badly to be chatting about the joy of cruising soon. Best regards !
  9. There is plenty to go around in playing and shifting the blame games, check those mirrors first. This administrator, according to one official advisor, is preparing for this Fall's second wave. However. another high profile director is saying otherwise, that we are still in the middle of the first wave and the worst isn't over yet for many states, cautioning ... Just a matter of time that someone else will disagree and announce otherwise. I have yet to check twitter today, LOL. Let's be real, even if businesses remain open and unaffected, and that cruise ships are allowed to embark and disembark around the world, many will choose to stay put and not sail - while others will go ahead & take their chance (and likely complain of being stranded onboard, like when Florida shut their ports to ships returning to disembark._ It is a matter of taking personal responsibilities and following best practices from public health authorities, not just those in the US and/or WHO, but also what has seemed to work in other countries - playing the numbers game in being reported, misleading or not. Now is not the time for post-mortem on the failure, there is plenty to go around ... on issues like long-term care/nursing home deaths of residents and healthcare personnel, and the lack of PPE, etc. Whatever CDC and the CLIA choose to do next, might and might not change the mindset of other countries with their borders closed to visitors, including flights and cruise ships. Cargo and merchant vessels continued to sail in keeping the global critical supply chains going - essential missions, unlike leisure travel. Today is a good day in NYC, we moved with pain into phase 2 of a 4 phase reopening - we grief for our personal friends that lost loved ones in battling the virus and relieved that others on the frontlines recovered from being infected. The economic hardship is real as some of our tenants for our rental properties hasn't been able to pay their rent for 4+ months and not sure if they can next month either - and, we can't ignore our bills as landlord, including utilities and insurance, taxes & maintenance. Wish all well and healthy. Do wear a mask, wash hands with soap & water often and social distance whenever possible - it is about respect, caring and possibly saving lives, including your own and the protection of others, not a question of freedom & liberty. Of course, feel free to disagree and if you don't like the comments - use the "ignore list" - for your convenience.
  10. Escape has a long journey ahead with 2 stops, based on the unofficial schedule posted earlier and is already running behind by a week+ ... unless they can be speed up, won't reach its last stop on this sailing until mid July. Then, more waits for the home country's public health authorities to test all the crew for Covid-19, wait for the results (3 days later, or more) and then cleared to finally disembark/leave their ship. Background - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/02/locked-down-afloat-why-dozens-of-cruise-ships-ended-up-stranded-in-manila-bay A very slow process for these OFWs - https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/06/20/owwa-ofws-returning-to-home-provinces-already-cleared-of-covid-19/ Been looking at that flotilla of ships anchored in the Manila Bay for weeks now, a few had left the area & gone elsewhere, presumably their repatriated crews had been cleared and disembarked - and, those lucky ships get to move onward, while the rest of them wait for their turns. Those on the Joy could be home by early/mid July but for those on the Escape, possibly not till this August. Meanwhle, folks hoping and dreaming of cruising soon ... sure, why not think positive.
  11. Acute care for Covid-19 isn't cheap and if you plan to cruise, review your options and out-of-network coverage abroad, while on a ship with ICU level care and associated expenses. Medevac isn't going to be free either and the nearest shore-based medical care facility might be far from home and ... best to have a global medical coverage. This isn't your typical norovirus and seasonal influenza treatment and recovery, if you are lucky to experience a mild infection and unlucky to catch one somewhere. Folks from other countries with national health care coverage abroad can speak to this. Cruise lines are not going to pickup the tabs, not for your convenience, even if it is discounted rates for your care in the event of an outbreak. The other lines' CEO just quoted as saying last week, he doesn't know when they are going to resume sailing their ships for diehard cruisers. Hence, plenty of time to debate, challenge and dispute whether to wear a mask, when & where, etc. This seemed to be an "American" obstacles that some aren't willing to recognize and accept while elsewhere, it isn't a problem.
  12. Modern aircraft's HVAC system are designed differently and our resident CC chief has spoken also about this, as I asked him to comment on an info-update from AirChina on their aircraft. That thread has been ... for whatever reasons. HEPA filters and frequent air exchange, as often - completely - as every 3 minutes in a closed, pressurized cabin seemed to address - and apparently, not making it worse. Cruise industry, however, has yet to come up with a CDC approved plan (still in discussion) to make changes, including the HVAC, as part of the overall - enhanced infection control/universal precaution measures to respond & address threats posed by possible presence of Covid-19 onboard. https://www.airchina.us/US/GB/promotion/Passengers - on modern aircraft ventilation design Along with wearing a mask and better social distancing, flying the aluminum tin can is doable, not that I enjoy traveling these days in the "main cabin" with 29" or 30" seat pitch ... my first flights on a Boeing 707 and 747 was a good 34" pitch in coach class then, with hot meals plus a pre-landing snack going transcon. There are few reports of folks being community infected onboard a flight lately, that I've seen/read of. The transit via the airport, concourse and boarding/deplaning - of course, pose risks of being exposed and infected ... since the virus can stay active on different common contact surfaces for varying duration, in addition to being airborne. We have 2 relatives working for the airlines and I can assure you that the crew, cockpit and ground personnel, even those that work in cargo operations, take the virus threat very seriously - doing all they can to protect themselves AND others - wearing a mask and using gloves, etc.
  13. Best wishes and good luck to the folks living in Florida, Texas, and Arizona ... from NY - behind California with the spike in new cases. Whether the increases in new infections are from testing or not, really, is irrelevant - heads or tails, a fraction of them will be sick enough to require hospitalization, of which some will require ICU admissions and intubations while sedated - the harsh reality to some of them. The governor was on the news circuit saying it is being watched closely, under control and going to be okay. I surely hope so and pray for ... Going to need the national guard troops to move at warp speed, maybe the active military to do some medevacs - there might not be time to build those field hospitals like NY but there should be enough refrigerated trailers available. Hopefully, FEMA has enough PPE on hand now to deal with the surge. That the cemeteries and last responders are on alert, standing by. Plenty of painful lessons from the tri-state NY area that can be shared. Leadership. Medical facts. Scientific data. Sound guidance. Compliance. Overdue for a coordinated regional disaster plan. Call in those Mutual Aid & move those resources now. Beijing, China went back into their "war-time mode" with 50 cases on a single day and here in America, we laughed and joked. The worst is yet to come. This time, it is not going to be a run on toilet paper.
  14. Seasonal influenza isn't anywhere close to or like Covid-19, this is far, far worst and damaging to the human body's multiple organs, and in acute cases, lead to rapid and massive cardiac arrest and death. One of our nieces work in mortuary services at NY's capital region - she sees first-hand, the post-mortem damages inflicted on the heart, lungs and kidneys, etc. - and sadly, some of those they 'processed" were their own colleagues ... frontline healthcare personnel & first responders, in perfect health otherwise with no known risk factors, in their prime age. Words and stories alone cannot adequately describe the sadness, grief and human tolls taken on everyone involved. Like the last responders that struggled to give the deceased the final respect that all should get, they struggled without adequate & full PPE because of shortage and failure to act on a timely & decisive manner at the full US governmental level. With influenza, folks have choices to get a vaccine and be protected - with Covid-19, it is not and perhaps, never will - according to some of the newest, emerging non-peer reviewed clinical research findings & data coming out of mainland China. Watchout for PTSD and the post-crisis mental health issues that are and will continue to emerge among the caregivers ... nearly 19 years after 9/11, we are still dealing with the long-term effects of the falling of the WTC towers. Not everyone recovering from Covid-19 will ever be the same or normal again with the damages done to the human body, consider oneself lucky if among that group ... yeah, it is "like" the flu, really. Go ahead, feel free to disagree and challenge the facts, the data and until someone in your circles is/was impacted and struggled to come to terms with the losses and/or never getting to say their goodbye - it will be business as usual for some, carry on & pack to cruise. A cold & different perspective on the myths against Covid-19. We are just as passionate and love cruising as the rest here on CC ... only 30 something cruises for us with plans for more. Just not in the near future until ... https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3089476/there-may-be-no-immunity-against-covid-19-new-wuhan-study
  15. First, we wish you a smooth and safe flight coming back to the US later on. Maybe pickup some energy/food bar before boarding, just in case. Airline catering food itself is fine but the cabin environment can be less than ideal, especially if it is near/close to usual capacity - minimize trips to the restrooms as that can be nasty on a long-haul, some/most carrier should be instructing their cabin crew to do their best to keep it clean & sanitize these days. Be sure to have an extra mask on hand, hand sanitizer and wipes (get extras if you can) - to minimize the risks. That is a long van trip to get to the airport, half a day early and then to work thru various screening ... you can be sure that they will be doing temperature scanning, etc. Be well & I am sure you are going to have plenty of long stories to share & tell afterward. Regards !
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