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I rather hesitated before writing this post as to date this forum has been blissfully free from such things, but as the Baltic cruise season approaches, including our Regent cruise in August, I felt that there may be some general benefit to gather knowledge and facts about the position with regard to Covid 19.

Two things appear certain, firstly the cruise industry as a whole is having a disastrous time at the moment. Asian cruising has shut down completely and now I am reading about significant impacts on Mediterranean cruises, especially involving Italy. the west coast of the USA is now also seeing the impacts. The second certainty is that the Baltic is not immune to the virus. I understand, for example that there are now many cases in Sweden.

Has anyone been contacted by their cruise company or TA about cancelling? Regent have stated they will allow “free” cancellations of the cruise only fare this summer up to a few days in advance. We still very much want to go on our cruise, but it may come to a point when we don’t have the option.

Does anyone have Baltic specific information?

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2 hours ago, ontheweb said:

Are you even sure that the original post was made by someone traveling around these forums? Maybe it spread through the cruisecritic boards' air conditioning system!

 

Yes, I trailed the Taxman here from other forums.

At  a safe distance of course, and I didn't touch any handrails on the way.

 

CC's aircon may be very good, but I'd be surprised if it stretches across the Atlantic. :classic_wink:

And there's nobody on this thread that needs it this time of year.

 

BTW, re my comment about black-market hand-gel, toilet paper and pasta..........

I guess a run on hand-gel is a given. 

But are folk your way stock-piling toilet paper and pasta, same as in the UK? :classic_huh:

 

JB :classic_smile:

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Mavip - thanks for the link to the JH website.

sorry if some think that I have infected this particular forum, but whilst I appreciate the humour, I do think that there is now a potential for major impact on the Baltic cruise season this year. We now have a position that you cannot cruise to Italy, cruise ships being turned away from ports like Malta because local residents are scared of cruise ships even where there are no Covid 19 cases onboard, and in the US a growing likelihood that cruises will be banned completely from operating. 

Our main concern (personal to us not our general concerns) is that a similar scenario will develop in the Baltic.

 

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 How the Baltic cruises will be affected is a difficult prediction to make.  I believe is a personal decision that everyone has to make themselves.  In my case, we were cruising specifically to go to Russia.  So, if we were unable to disembark there, the trip was a bust for us.  Feb 28th was the last day for a full refund for our end of May cruise, and we chose to cancel

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I agree that St.Petersburg is probably the deal breaker for us. Regent have recently announced that you can cancel up to a week before your sail date and get a 100% FCC on the cruise fare, but not associated flights and pre-cruise hotels booked separately which is thus our main financial risk. So, we shall wait and see.

would be interested to hear about what other cruise lines are doing and given the very significant number of cancellations whether cruise lines are continuing to operate at all, not just because they are forced to do so by being banned from using ports.

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1 hour ago, Belfast Taxman said:

would be interested to hear about what other cruise lines are doing and given the very significant number of cancellations whether cruise lines are continuing to operate at all

You could write to the CEO's of the cruise companies you are interested in. 😷

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We can still get a full refund on our scandinavia cruise for the next day or two, or wait and see and get a FCC up to 2 days in advance. 
 

I am struggling with what to do because for various reasons a FCC might be difficult to use next year, and the possibility of quarantine either during the cruise or after arrival home bothers me,  but still leaning towards wait and see (partly because we might have a hard time taking this trip next year). 

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Given the US State Dept announcement yesterday advising US citizens not to cruise outside of USA, it seems likely that the number of US cruisers in Europe this summer will be severely reduced. Possibly less of an impact on European cruise lines, but Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL ships may now suffer from mass cancellations as the Announcement effectively shifts the financial impact away from the cruise lines and more onto insurance companies. It seems possible that this could even result in European, including Baltic, cruise schedules being completely cancelled by the cruise lines rather than the passengers.

sorry if that sounds gloomy but I believe the chances of us cruising around the Baltic on Regent this summer are a lot lower now than they were a few days ago.

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3 hours ago, Belfast Taxman said:

sorry if that sounds gloomy but I believe the chances of us cruising around the Baltic on Regent this summer are a lot lower now than they were a few days ago.

You may be right but I am still of the "wait and see" mind. If the virus abates, I believe that cruises with dates within the June through September time frame will still sail - at least I fervently hope this is the case. 

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Posted (edited)

I very much hope so😀Especially as the cruise line has just made a very significant price reduction😁

Edited by Belfast Taxman

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Greetings, we are scheduled for the Silhouette this May, and visiting St Petersburg was my main reason for the cruise!  I have learned that a major economic summit has been cancelled in St Petersburg due to the risk/un wanted risk of possible infection to attendees.  (several newspapers are carrying this info).  I am wondering how much longer I will stand the agony of indecision and consequently pull the plug.  I hate to be a worrywart, and for the most part have been convinced that this has been a Media Feeding Frenzy, but since so many sailings are impacted.............well......For us, this 2 week cruise is part of a 5 week trip between the UK, France, (this sailing) and then a transatlantic back to New York!  

So if anyone has the proverbial crystal ball - please share your best guesses, along with this weeks' winning lottery number!  stay well everyone 

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Our Baltic cruise begins on June 7th.  We are in "wait and see" mode too.  The cruise is smack in the middle of a longer vacation so we have non-refundable airfares with several different airlines complicating things.  If we have to cancel the cruise we will still go to Europe and turn those days into a land vacation.  One of the things I am concerned about is our tour in SPB.  Alla requires payment a month in advance.  This is a new policy this year and I'm not sure which of the other companies have also adopted it.  With things being in such a fluid state I will not be comfortable paying for such an expensive tour in advance.  On the upside, it would certainly be lovely to see things like the Hermitage without the massive crowds. 

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Alla will refund in full if your ship does not port, or if you cancel your tour with 72 hours notice. 

 

We we are on the May Silhouette sailing, rather worried about possible port closures. Other than that we are happy to cruise. We will also just have to wait and see.

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Denmark is in a lockdown the next 2 weeks in order to try to contain the virus. 

 

All schools are closed most public workers are sent on a payed vacation. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Danish viking said:

Denmark is in a lockdown the next 2 weeks in order to try to contain the virus. 

 

All schools are closed most public workers are sent on a payed vacation. 

 

 

I assume this means that cruise ships, if there any at the moment, would not be allowed in Copenhagen, Skagen etc. I note that Norwegian ports such as Bergen and Stavanger have already banned cruise ships. Given the time of year, maybe not too much impact, but if the position is prolonged?

of more import will surely be the US/Schengen area travel ban until the end of April. Viking cruises have already announced the suspension of all embarkations until the end of April to match, I suspect they will not be the last to do so.

Edited by Belfast Taxman

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14 hours ago, offonhols said:

Alla will refund in full if your ship does not port, or if you cancel your tour with 72 hours notice. 

 

 

 

Yes, that's Alla's policy.

And Alla's is a reliable and responsible organisation.

But a lot of travel businesses are likely to go under because of Covid 19, and altho she is one of the biggest tour operators in St Petersburg, if her business is hit hard (and what travel organisation won't be? :classic_sad:) she may not be able to refund.

 

If you pay by credit card, you card issuer will (probably) be liable - and altho Visa & Mastercard are likely to take a lot of travel hits I certainly don't expect them to fold as a consequence. :classic_smile:

Travel insurance may cover this as well, assuming that you already have it in place - a lot of insurers are re-writing their policies at the moment and may not cover Covid-19 consequences for new business. Best to read the small-print to see if pandemics come into the same category as nuclear war etc.

 

If you're not 100% sure that you'd be refunded by your credit card or travel insurance you may want to switch to another St Petersburg tour operator which doesn't require payment up-front (assuming there are any now). They're all very good.

Or even, contrary to my usual philosophy, stick with a ship-sponsored tour. 

 

Judging by the numbers coming out of Wuhan, the rest of China, and South Korea, the virus seems to have peaked there & been declining for the past week or so. Cause for hope that it may soon peak in places like Europe.

 

For what it's worth, New Jersey greyhound.... 

9, 27, 28, 47, 62.  Powerball 18

Usual 20% tipsters' terms apply.

JB accepts no responsibility for your $2. 

 

JB :classic_smile:

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19 minutes ago, John Bull said:

Yes, that's Alla's policy.

No payment is required until 30 days before your tour - by that time I assume that a person would know if their cruise is a go or a no go. So, for a tour in August, Alla would not require any payment whatsoever until July. 

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8 minutes ago, dogs4fun said:

No payment is required until 30 days before your tour - by that time I assume that a person would know if their cruise is a go or a no go. So, for a tour in August, Alla would not require any payment whatsoever until July. 

 

Thanks for the clarification, Dogs4.

So not the same urgency to decide for those with cruises booked for a couple of months or more ahead. :classic_smile:

 

JB :classic_smile: 

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5 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

No payment is required until 30 days before your tour - by that time I assume that a person would know if their cruise is a go or a no go. So, for a tour in August, Alla would not require any payment whatsoever until July. 

I guess that has changed since we used Alla's service in 2007. We were not required to pay until the second day of the tour. I remember they preferred US currency using crisp new bills. I think, but am not sure, that you could use a card, but you had to let them know in advance because they would have to go to a bank. Everyone on my tour paid in cash.

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1 hour ago, Antic Lover said:

We are booked with Best Guides for an spb tour and they confirmed twice we don't have to pay anything in advance unless we would like to book smth specific on top of the standard tour, e.g. Mariinsky theatre etc. However I would not be surprised if they change their policies and follow Alla, taking into account the number of cancellations they can expect. Our cruise is in July/August, so we still have time to think. My parents were supposed to travel with us but have recently canceled. For them the risk is too high.  

Thanks for that info.  From what I see, there are several not asking for money up front so I will just switch to one of those companies.  Alla may have to change their policy as many will feel the way I do with things so uncertain.  I do realize they are very reputable and have a short-notice money-back cancellation policy.  However, I am realistic enough to know that my money could easily disappear and I would have no recourse.  What would I do?  Sue a foreign company in small claims court.  Good luck with that, right? 

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2 hours ago, Travelling2Some said:

Thanks for that info.  From what I see, there are several not asking for money up front so I will just switch to one of those companies.  Alla may have to change their policy as many will feel the way I do with things so uncertain.  I do realize they are very reputable and have a short-notice money-back cancellation policy.  However, I am realistic enough to know that my money could easily disappear and I would have no recourse.  What would I do?  Sue a foreign company in small claims court.  Good luck with that, right? 

What you would do is post all over the internet. There are a lot of companies competing for the tourist business in St. Petersburg. None of them can really afford bad publicity.

 

Alla has been in business a long time (we used them in 2007 and they were already well established), and has a wonderful well deserved reputation. I would not worry.

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Posted (edited)

Denmark is now closed for entrance for all non danish citizens until april the 13th.

 

You can now only enter Denmark if you have a Danish passport, transporting food, goods or medicine or if you have family members that are critical ill. 

Edited by Danish viking

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3 hours ago, ontheweb said:

What you would do is post all over the internet. There are a lot of companies competing for the tourist business in St. Petersburg. None of them can really afford bad publicity.

 

Alla has been in business a long time (we used them in 2007 and they were already well established), and has a wonderful well deserved reputation. I would not worry.

I'm sure you're right.  Alla does have a great reputation.  I think I just feel that at this point I'm leaking money like a sieve between NCL and our an airline that appears about ready to collapse!  Could be worse, lol.  I'm not a stockholder.

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