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About Wayfairers

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    3,000+ Club

About Me

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    Travel, read, crochet, painting, genealogy
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. I have also had a difficult time planning future trips. We had a 4 month European trip scheduled for this summer that included 3 cruises, a week with friends celebrating someone’s 50th birthday at a Tuscany cooking school plus a trip though the Alps. Had so many reservations that it took me 2 full days to notify everyone of our cancellation. I’ve saved the research I did for this summer to use another year. The cooking school slipped to next year so now I am planning another 4 months in Europe and planning to visit the Balkans rather than using the plan I created for this year due to a desire to pack very light and only take summer clothes. I am planning knowing it will likely be cancelled and although I originally planned for 2 cruises, I’m looking at land trip only as an option if the cruises aren’t an option. And it is difficult. I am only making reservations that can be cancelled. I have to tell myself if we have to cancel we will eventually use my research because we want to visit that area some time. I consider myself lucky that we live at the beach and can enjoy that without traveling.
  2. Love your last sentence. It perfectly describes this situation! Killing me to not travel....we normally travel around 6 months a year and now no travel since April 2019 other than going to our house in West TN or day trips to see family. Really regretting that decision last April to take the rest of the year off traveling and enjoy the local area. we are staying away from crowds, hanging out with neighbor but not going into their house and they don’t come into ours. Grocery, Walmart and occasional take out from a restaurant is all we are doing.
  3. Interesting article on what happens with cruise ships when they aren’t active.....https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/the-worlds-cruise-ships-cant-sail-now-what-to-do-with-them/ar-BB16sXPP?ocid=sf
  4. No surprise that there is a potential of exposure to Covid on a ferry, or an airplane, or anywhere that people are in close proximity to each other. It isn’t just cruise ships. Until there is a vaccine if you don’t want to catch Covid you don’t put yourself around a group of people. Covid is still such an unknown that any forecasts cannot be accurate. We can all hope to be back to normal a year from now, but who knows what the reality will be.
  5. We prefer private tours. To get the most out of any trip I do a lot of research to determine what is available to do and see then we decide what we want to do. Then I google private tour guide for that port town and also check TripAdvisor for guide ideas and for reviews on anyone I’m considering using. I create an itinerary for our ideal day, send that itinerary to a few tour guides with a note asking if they have different suggestions and normally we end up tweaking the itinerary. I use the Email discussion with the tour guides and tour costs to determine who we want to spend the day with. I also compare the cost and difficulty level of doing it on our own vs with a guide. We have used tours by locals, Viator, shore trips.com, and many private tour companies. Out of over 100 private tours we have had 3 tours where the guide didn’t show. In 2 cases we had other guides standing there offer first to call our tour guide (in one case he had a vehicle issue and the guy making the call told us what time to expect him) and then the other guides always offer us a tour. The 3rd case there were no tour guides at the port. I do this for all trips...cruise or land and it works well for us but definitely takes a lot of time. Edited the post to add: We have never gotten back to the ship late. The tour guides are very concerned about getting us back on time...we’ve had some tell us if they get a customer back late they know they will go out of business because we will tell everyone on cruise critic! Also, I compare our ideal day to what the cruise ship offers and a couple of times it has been cheaper with the cruise ship. In Dubai we wanted to do a float plane ride and because all the private tour guides had to meet us at port entrance then renter the port to get to the plane, it was quite a bit cheaper with the cruise line.
  6. What happens if you book directly with the cruise ship? Do you get to use your full FCC? Oh, any chance the other 300FCC is still in your account to be used on a future cruise?
  7. There are endless options on how to book a cruise and as you know, over time through trial and error you will figure out what works best for you. Like you, I plan all our trips and many of those are land trips or include both land and cruise with a group or private tour thrown in sometimes. Here’s my method for booking cruises.....I usually find the cruise I want online using one of those sites that list cruises from various cruise lines. Next I call the cruise line for their best offer then google the cruise to see what deals show online then call several TAs for their best offer. I compare the offers and decide which one is best for us. This takes more time than just picking one Company and going with what they offer, but it is worth it for us.
  8. We can hope they will extend, but no guarantee they will. It would be nice if they would publish a guarantee that if a customer cannot use FCC due to covid (either cancelled cruises or the customer is not allowed to sail due to health requirements set by the cruise line) then the FCC will be extended until the customer is able to reasonably use their prepaid money. Or just refund it. And they may issue a similar statement later this year...I hope. I agree that if they cannot cruise in 2021 several will file bankruptcy and we will all lose our money. Wouldn’t surprise me if some filed anyway to reduce debts. Companies have been known to do that. I’m sure they are holding a lot of FCC money, plus Increasing their debt daily with little to no income. That isn’t sustainable and who knows where the breaking point is for each company.
  9. The cruise line that issued the FCC going bankrupt is a definite concern. And so is the cruise line not extending the deadline. We all fall under the unsecured creditors category iancal references. I would have picked refund over FCC. But I wasn’t offered that option.
  10. Ugh....that is terrible. Not sure yet. I would love to hit nature highlights of Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro. and Meteora Greece if it would work. We will have 27 days. Any suggestions?
  11. Oh you are better than I am.....I used to check every day....now it is a couple of times per week.
  12. Yes, in this case it has to be in July. We are meeting a group in Tuscany for a cooking school to celebrate a friend’s birthday that ends July 4 and then exploring the Dalmatian coast with the birthday girl and her family then going to the Balkans. Due to a family reunion we cannot go to Europe before the cooking school and avoid the heat. Yes, there are locations that would give us cooler weather, but we want to travel very lightly so no room for cooler weather clothes. We will be fine, we got around 3 weeks of 40C+ weather every August while living in TN and due to our humidity the heat index at our house in FL has been 40C+ several times this summer even though actual temperatures haven’t gotten above 33C. I don’t call that unbearable....I call it home...lol. That’s awful that your daughter had a heat stroke - no fun dealing with things like that on the road - hope it didn’t interfere with her travels too much. Thank goodness we’ve lived in the heat long enough to understand our limits because it can certainly be deadly. The Italian Lakes area is gorgeous and we plan to spend some time in that area before we fly back to the US. I think we typically plan similarly because if we could have taken the trip we wanted to this summer (which included the cooking school which was pushed to 2021) we would have taken more luggage and spent time in Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, the Baltic area, Poland and the Czech Republic to stay cooler. It is unusual for us to choose to have the same weather on a trip that we would have at home. Thanks for the reminder that I need to check prices on open jaw trips again closer to departure, last time I checked the cost was much higher than roundtrip. Last year, I found open jaw flights were similar to roundtrip.....apparently it varies! I’ve planned several loop trips over the years so that we don’t do any backtracking even when we arrive and depart in the same town. We were in Paris 3 times on one trip in 2015 (unavoidable due to meeting friends and taking various tours) and never saw or stayed in the same part of the city twice. We were supposed to be in Amsterdam 4 times this summer by cruise ship and once by land and weren’t going to repeat anything.
  13. We were booked on 4 cruises in 2020, one in April, May, August and October. We cancelled the first 3 in March and the last one in May. We got all excursion refunds the day after canceling and cruise refunds June 18. Our money HAL is holding as FCC hasn’t shown on our HAL accounts yet. They eventually cancelled all 4 cruises. My TA says HAL is having to process our FCC by hand since we applied all FCC from the first three cruises to the October cruise when we booked it. I really wished we had waited until HAL cancelled the first 2 cruises so we would have had the option of a full refund. Unfortunately, the April and May cruises were on the front end of a 3 month land trip and the April cruise was our transportation to Europe. We were bumping up against hotel refund deadlines for the land trip and tour refund deadlines for the cruise so decided rather than lose thousands of dollars we would cancel the trip. I spent 2 solid days making cancellations but we did get all those refunds back within a month except for HAL. I understand they have a lot of refunds to dole out, but this shows their computer program handling refunds is in serious need of an upgrade. Other large companies (hotels.com, VRBO, booking.com, Viator, tours by locals) all refunded our payments within a few days.
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