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About Catlover54

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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  • Interests
    science, history, oceans, wine, fine dining, people-watching, politics, plinking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Seabourn, Hapag-Lloyd

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  1. I decided to request a refund on my cancelled late May BTB cruises several weeks ago on an email, . After no response of any kind for two weeks, I reminded them on email of my request and that German law requires refund within 14 days. I got an apologetic reply, referencing the corona circumstances. They said it would ‘help them a lot’ if I were to take the future cruise credit instead. Meanwhile a bunch of catalogues appeared, but no refund. Hamburg, Kiel, and Travemuende ports are still closed.
  2. I still have not received an email from SB, and neither has my TA. She said last week when I asked for a copy of what she had that all she got was a “submitted” indication from the website, but it did not say what was submitted and she did not think to take a screen shot as she assumed I would get a direct confirming email. When DH and I were at the airport, after being prematurely disembarked, I saw this book for sale in the airport bookstore:
  3. Why not just book on the website to get things going?
  4. My BTB cruise that was to start late May was cancelled last week but I have not yet asked for a refund. I have not yet decided if I want a refund or 25% off a future cruise not already booked (if it sails before 4/30/21) I have until late May to decide, but as I also have an October 2020 cruise booked (not sure if that will sail, though I have hope ports will open by then) and May 2021 cruise booked, selections are limited for times in between, as I don't want to book anything more before October to avoid suspense in September. Last year when HL cancelled my Nature cruise, because the ship was not ready, it took over a month to get a refund, in good times and pre-merger. Based on comments above, I better decide quickly what I want to do if they are not communicating very well or timely, otherwise late May will come and go .
  5. Update: My TA updated me three days ago about her and her company (travel consortium) efforts to secure my refund (she started working on it five weeks ago, but SB was not answering repeated calls). She stated her company president was told that for us , they offer the following, which as far as I can tell is the same as what we got on board in the letter, but with the 6/1 deadline for refund requests added: [our names and booking #] "
  6. I got an email that my BTB May and June Europa cruises starting with the Ocean Sun are cancelled. The website, which had not been updated since April 7, now is updated to indicate everything is cancelled until at least mid June scheduled departures ( but of course given ports are closed it is unclear how even mid June will happen). There was an offer in my email for a 25% discount off a cruise by April 2021, 10% by September 2021, and 200 euro OBC. There was not a peep about a deposit refund option, but I know I am entitled to a full refund under German law. Now I get to call United to yet again postpone my old airline credit from spring 2019 when the Nature was not ready. Germany’s current entrance restrictions would not have let me in anyway unless I was a resident or in a special category.
  7. There has been no updating of their website corona information since April 7, either.
  8. My TA reports she has been both emailing and calling weekly, to stay on SB radar, and has not received replies.
  9. The crew on board are hanging out close together, as they journey back, presumably without concern any of them could be asymptomatically infected with corona from prior interaction with pax or at the last port. The captain comments says they will be ready to sail whenever they get the go-ahead , with guests, and pictures look like they are happy and healthy, but it would be reassuring to know if they have all been tested at least once for corona. Website about corona for HL is still talking about mid to late May as the first possible departure, subject to change of course. My first upcoming Europa cruise of the BTB, in theory would be going to the Baltics leaving May 27, St. Petersburg and back, am not sure Putin would be keen on accepting a cruise ship from Europe loaded with Germans without every passenger and crew having been tested. I will just sit tight and wait to see if there are further extensions.
  10. I did not receive a survey from SB, or anything else other than snail-mail ads for future lovely destinations that were likely already scheduled to go out weeks before the shutdown started, since my cruise was cut short in Australia. Nor did our TA receive one on my behalf. But I am only Gold level, so perhaps they are sending it only to higher level, more reliable SB cruisers?
  11. Yes, sadly, the way things are going, it looks like odds are very high there will be no Ocean Sun Festival cruise for me May 27 on the Europa. Final payment in theory is due April 27 but I anticipate ( and hope) HL does not expect pax to make final payment for a cruise likely to be cancelled, so we can avoid being on the hook for non-payment of obligations ( at that point huge cancellation penalties would officially be in place per the cruise contract), if it is not already cancelled by then. They seem to be annoyingly cancelling just one week at a time as time goes on, unlike most cruise lines which have cancelled several months of cruises. SB, in contrast, cancelled some cruises with just days or hours to go, and has been very poor on customer service for people attempting to secure refunds or even to communicate ( see SB threads, and I was on a cruise on the Encore with DH in Australia which was prematurely cut short half-way , though I had fortunately booked that through a TA, with SB air, and with insurance etc., whereas I booked Europa on my own ). So I have to wait for HL to cancel my cruises, to avoid losing my deposit and not having an obligation to pay big final payments on a month worth of BTB luxury cruises that will almost certainly not happen and then struggle to get a refund. Then I will have to deal with yet again cancelling my United flights to Europe and paying cancellation penalties again which my flight insurance did not cover ( which I had booked using the credit from the flights I had to cancel because HL cancelled my Hanseatic Nature cruise last spring, as the new ship was not ready). In California, we are under a “shelter in place” order for the whole state ( except for “essential” activities) and it is not likely to be lifted soon as I am in a hot spot county. As I just recently retired so I could travel more, but cannot travel, and my professional skills would be appreciated if I went back to work at this time, I could easily go back to work to try and help, but if I then caught coronavirus while working due to lack of adequate personal protective equipment I would not be able to travel for months ( years?) even if I recovered and the world opens up again, so this may not be the best plan . ☹️ I also have an October Inspiration cruise booked, which I could cancel now with some acceptable loss, but if I stay retired, I can just play it by ear and wait for them to cancel, or not. At this time I guess we should just be happy we are not sick in the hospital, have food, utilities, internet, books, music, nature, and a lot of hope to be able to experience the joys of cruising with HL in the more distant future. Best wishes for you all to stay healthy during these trying times!
  12. As part of my communications with my TA to make sure she is on top of doing the paperwork necessary to secure the compensation promised for the cruise SB cancelled while we were on board, ( i.e., to make sure we are “in line”), I advised her of some of the comments on CC about where pax are with their refunds and the backlogs. She told me “. . . all the cruiselines have cut their staff to 4 days a week to help with expenses- so it's even slower than usual.” Does anyone have information, either direct or indirect from TAs, that this is true? It would seem to me that during a period of high demand for customer service, absent total inability of a company to access funds to pay personnel, there would be an increase and not a decrease in staff work hours ( e.g., as overtime, new temp hires, or similar), like Amazon, Walmart, and supermarkets have done, or at least maintenance of a regular work week. My TA only works with the luxury cruise lines so I assume her comments are referring to SS, Crystal, Regent, and SB.
  13. SLSD, you are misinterpreting my comment, Please reread Paulchili’s comment, and your comment. The issue he raised was that he is * forced* to listen to Trump and read his Tweets. My response is that no one is forced to listen to anything , it is a choice, and nowhere did I say we should not listen to what our president is saying. If anything, my whole post is devoted to commenting that one can learn a lot by listening to the daily news conferences, Trump and everyone else who talks there ( not just Trump), and other sources of information. Nor did I say that we do not have the right to express our opinion ( though please note CC has a right to restrict what opinions we express), I have no idea where you got that. I would also like to add that just saying a comment is not meant to be political, (which CC has discouraged as it is against their posting guidelines but has not been enforcing lately) does not make it apolitical. This thread is now going off topic. The title is what the U.S. state department has advised about travel, moved on to some speculation about where this will go as our governments engage in their maneuvers, and now has moved to an attack on me, so I will withdraw.
  14. Paulchili, no one is “forcing” you to listen to President Trump. You can turn off the dang TV and not read information about his tweets, if you choose. Free will! I, however, choose to listen to and watch the full daily corona updates Trump gives on TV ( not just read select and often biased snippets from the internet, New York Times, or Fox News) in addition to reading other sources, including medical and scientific press. Stuck in the house right now, and recently retired from a profession that would have had me on the front lines of risk and might “invite” me to return if things get much worse, I have a vested interest in informing myself about the good, the bad, the ugly, the ridiculous, and the unknown in relation to virus updates as best possible. ab21au, you are in Australia, which I understand is dealing now with a boom in new cases from the Ruby Princess disembarkation and your own economic mess from lack of tourism and shutdowns, so you likely are not seeing the blow by blow 24/7 about what is going on in America. Lately the daily Trump TV shows are a mix, not at all 10/10 “all is great”, and mostly consist of updates on how many pieces of medical equipment different companies have pledged to supply or have already supplied ( a lot, though there are definitely still shortages in some places), how many people have been tested ( almost a million, but we need more), how the 2 trillion dollar economic bailout bill is going ( passed Congress finally, despite holdups on, inter alia, odd things like whether or not D.C. should get millions for a new opera house, and *this includes travel industry bailouts* ), expressions of hope *but not promises* that the economy will “open up” by Easter, ( hope is important, but I think the churches will still be empty Easter Sunday), repeated self-praise for having shut down arrivals from China into the U.S. in January, generic praise for people he works with, and answering reporter questions in his usual ‘style.’ In all the “noise,”there are also some “signals”: Dr. Fauci gives his general opinions, Dr. Deborah Brix gives even more interesting and specific updates from notes. Yesterday, she said that the rate of medical admissions rise has slowed, many states in the U.S. barely have any cases, the case fatality rate in the U.S. is holding steady around a little over 1%, ( BTW locally we had a few more vulnerable nursing home patient deaths), and the ICU bed access situation in the U.S. is better than expected in part because elective surgeries have all been cancelled, etc.). I will add that unlike in Italy, where some doctors said they are not letting people over 60 go on vents, we have more ICU beds and vents ( for now, at least ), and are getting more produced quickly in case they are needed. What many places are most short on is PPE. She also repeatedly encourages social distancing, hygiene etc., and I don’t think people, especially young invincible partiers, can hear this enough. All in, even with the bailouts, which will take time to dole out, I doubt anyone will be cruising again for a few months at least, as I doubt the Travel Advisory will be loosened enough anytime to allow airlines to stop cancelling flights and we won’t be able to test the entire population even with the new 45 minute or 10 minute tests, and a vaccine is way off in the future. But perhaps SB might get the go ahead to start communicating more if Carnival knows it will get some funds.
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