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Good News / Good Progress towards back to Cruising....


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Just saw NY Times: 

New Covid -19 cases down 73% from Jan 10 - Feb 21

& New Deaths down 69% from Jan 14 - Feb 21

According to CDC,  64 Million cumulative doses of vaccine has already been administered

All of my family members 65 & above have had their 2nd vaccinations already.

Got email from VA below, so trying to get mine later this weekend.

So trying to be positive, thinking cruising will be back soon...

 

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VISN 16 – Houston VA Medical Center – Announcement

 

 

 

Dear Veteran,

Your VA is proud to offer the COVID vaccine to all enrolled Veterans ages 50 and over!

This week we will be opening a special Drive thru vaccine clinic on our main hospital campus, located at 2002 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030. The Drive-Thru Clinic will be open Wednesday through Friday, February 24-26, from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday, February 27, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Enter through our Almeda gate to get the COVID vaccine at the VA Regional Office on our campus without leaving the comfort of your car.  No appointment is necessary for these drive thru vaccine clinics.

Veterans will receive a two-dose series of vaccinations and will receive an appointment for their second vaccine dose when they check in to get the first dose. 

If you are 50 years and older and would prefer to make an appointment to get the COVID vaccine at our main medical center during the week, call us at 713-794-8985.  If you already have an appointment to get the vaccine, please keep your appointment.

Thank you for choosing the Houston VA as your healthcare provider. It is our honor and privilege to serve you.

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More people are booking Royal Caribbean cruises this year, even as they remain banned [The Miami Herald]

BY Tribune Content Agency
— 4:03 PM ET 02/22/2021

Feb. 22—Royal Caribbean Group is seeing an increase in bookings as the company nears the one-year mark without any cruises in the U.S., its biggest market.

 

Despite U.S. cruises being banned indefinitely, on Monday Royal Caribbean Group executives said the company has seen a 30% increase in future bookings since the start of the year compared to November and December. Royal Caribbean Group  has canceled all U.S. cruises until at least May.

 

The booking increase is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak business update. The second largest cruise company in the world reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2020 of $1.4 billion, or $6.09 per share, compared to a net income of $273.1 million, or $1.30 per share, during the fourth quarter of 2019. It was Royal Caribbean Group's fourth straight 10-figure quarterly loss.

 

To cut costs, the company has divested of five ships — three of them through the recent sale of the Azamara cruise line. Still, Royal Caribbean  is operating at about a $250-290 million monthly cash burn rate for its existing lines: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea. One of its ships, Quantum of the Seas, is operating with passengers in Singapore.

 

So when will U.S. cruises be up and running again? It's too soon to say, according to executives.

"We are really in an interim period where the vaccines are still relatively new," said Chairman Richard Fain. "They're coming out amazingly quickly, but it will take months to get huge numbers of people vaccinated. We and the CDC and governments around the world are looking at how that will change [cruising]. We don't have answers yet." Last year, Royal Caribbean Group  hired a panel of health experts, including several former staff of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to come up with protocols to safely cruise during a pandemic. Subsequent guidance from the CDC, part of requirements cruise companies must meet before they can start operating again, outlined stricter testing.

 

Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is in play, those protocols will have to be altered, said CEO of Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley.

"As we continue to see infections decline and vaccinations increase, we're going to move to some sort of protocol that is a hybrid of vaccine and testing," he said.

The company is still waiting on the next phase of technical instructions from the CDC governing agreements between companies and ports to avoid the chaos that played out last spring when ports turned away cruise ships carrying infected and dead passengers and crew.

 

"Our dialogue is productive," said Bayley of conversations with the CDC. "They've assured us that when these indicators start to move in a positive way, they'll start working with us to get us back into operation."

 

Last week Royal Caribbean Group announced it will be requiring all crew members to be vaccinated before cruises restart. Bayley said that the company surveyed 70,000 crew members about this last week, and received 32,000 responses in the first few hours; 98% of respondents so far have said they are in favor of the vaccine mandate for crew and 4,000 have already been vaccinated in their home countries.

Edited by ChucktownSteve
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Fain said that the largest number of bookings are people over 65. Could Celebrity at this time be focusing on the wrong group of potential cruisers by going after a younger demographic and seemly abandoned their older and most loyal passengers?

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13 minutes ago, ChucktownSteve said:

More people are booking Royal Caribbean cruises this year, even as they remain banned [The Miami Herald]

BY Tribune Content Agency
— 4:03 PM ET 02/22/2021

 

Despite U.S. cruises being banned indefinitely, on Monday Royal Caribbean Group executives said the company has seen a 30% increase in future bookings since the start of the year compared to November and December. Royal Caribbean Group  has canceled all U.S. cruises until at least May.

 

The booking increase is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak business update.

 

Listen to Fain's response to this figure. This number is a 30% increase over what was probably their worst performing two months on record. I suppose an improvement is an improvement, but the reality is not nearly as flowery as this article makes it seem. 

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28 minutes ago, Orator said:

Fain said that the largest number of bookings are people over 65. Could Celebrity at this time be focusing on the wrong group of potential cruisers by going after a younger demographic and seemly abandoned their older and most loyal passengers?

Imo, X is focusing on whoever will put money down to cruise.

We don’t feel that they have “abandoned” us, YMMV.

 

@NavyCruiser thanks for sharing the information.

Edited by C-Dragons
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1 minute ago, wrk2cruise said:

Actually they are focusing on those who don't put their money down to cruise hoping they will.  New customers.

We continue to put money down on new cruises.

X is happy to accept money from customers new or old.

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Many people booking still have lots of FCC to use up..

If our next and only booked cruise actually sails, our out of pocket costs will be minimal. And we'll have a smaller spa bill for sure!

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1 hour ago, Orator said:

Fain said that the largest number of bookings are people over 65. Could Celebrity at this time be focusing on the wrong group of potential cruisers by going after a younger demographic and seemly abandoned their older and most loyal passengers?

Shifting your marketing to focus on a particular demographic does not necessarily mean you don’t want other demographics to travel. You don’t need to market hard to groups of people who are going to travel with you anyway; that’s just a waste of ad spend.

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1 hour ago, Baron Barracuda said:

Thought it interesting that when complimented on "strong" bookings Fain chose to play it down as only strong vs a historically weak quarter.  

That is called CYA with both stockholders and SEC. 

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34 minutes ago, Lastdance said:

I am booked and ready when Celebrity says go...

 

It will be the authorities, not Celebrity, that says go.  I doubt there will be any Celebrity sailings any time soon.  If cases drop enough to make Celebrity think it can start, I believe the authorities will still block them, unless/until the virus has been totally wiped out.  No country wants another Diamond/Grand Princess incident on their hands.  

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3 hours ago, cruiserchuck said:

 

It will be the authorities, not Celebrity, that says go.  I doubt there will be any Celebrity sailings any time soon.  If cases drop enough to make Celebrity think it can start, I believe the authorities will still block them, unless/until the virus has been totally wiped out.  No country wants another Diamond/Grand Princess incident on their hands.  

 

I just don't see that happening. The only virus eradicated in the history of the world was smallpox, and it was able to be eradicated because it didn't have a real asymptomatic period, it had very visible signs, it had a predicable incubation period, there was an effective vaccine, and it only infected humans.

 

The most likely second disease to be eradicated is guinea worm, and other than the vaccine, it has many of the same characteristics.

 

Like it or not SARS-CoV-2 has almost none of those characteristics (other than now effective vaccines). There's no real evidence of direct transmission from animals to people, but it does appear to replicate in several animal species, so those provide a reservoir. Ultimately, there will be enough of the world's population immune, severe disease will become very uncommon, transmission will decrease, and we'll probably be in a measles type of situation, managing smaller outbreaks. But with the world having gone through the past year, it's going to take a lot to make that call, and no one wants to be wrong!

 

And all of those things, IMHO, have to happen with necessities, business travel, etc., before they're going to happen with a pure luxury leisure product.

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1 hour ago, markeb said:

I believe the authorities will still block them, unless/until the virus has been totally wiped out.

Not going to happen, according to virologists in the UK. Like measles and flu, we are going to have to learn to live with it.

BUT, the vaccination programme has shown that hospital admissions have been reduced by an amazing 85% in people who have had just one dose of Pfizer or 94% Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

 

https://www.livemint.com/news/world/uk-covid-19-vaccines-sharply-cut-hospitalizations-show-studies-11614014471969.html

Edited by upwarduk
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5 hours ago, upwarduk said:

Not going to happen, according to virologists in the UK. Like measles and flu, we are going to have to learn to live with it.

BUT, the vaccination programme has shown that hospital admissions have been reduced by an amazing 85% in people who have had just one dose of Pfizer or 94% Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

 

https://www.livemint.com/news/world/uk-covid-19-vaccines-sharply-cut-hospitalizations-show-studies-11614014471969.html

That's it. For the first time watching the news yesterday I felt encouraged that we could live with covid, given the global results of the reduction in the seriousness of the illness from those vaccinated. This is key. We may not got rid of it, but by reducing the chances of being hospitalised if we we catch then we can live with it.

 

Also there are many vaccine trials now and this will hopefully help for when the virus mutates. 

 

BTW, you attributed your reply to markeb, but it was cruiserchuck who said it. 

 

Phil 

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16 hours ago, Orator said:

Fain said that the largest number of bookings are people over 65. Could Celebrity at this time be focusing on the wrong group of potential cruisers by going after a younger demographic and seemly abandoned their older and most loyal passengers?

Unlike some other posters (who are certainly welcome to their opinions), I feel the same as you.   It is the older age group who is going to ultimately keep them from going under, as we will be the ones who are first vaccinated and therefore able to cruise much sooner, as I'm sure vaccination will be required at least for some period of time.  

 

I think until people reach the "golden years" they really don't understand the concept of ageism, which can manifest itself in so many ways,  many of which are very subtle.  When you are in the group of people who in essence built the cruise line to the success it is today through years of loyalty, and then feel pushed aside as the line dedicates itself to trying to please an entirely different group of people you feel it.  We of course all understand that eventually we will no longer be able to cruise so new customers need to be enticed (keeping in mind at the same time that for many of us, that is a good 15-20 years away, god willing).  Marketing 101.  Understandable and no issue with that.  But Celebrity has taken that to a whole new level and markets, designs, plans, etc.. their ships and experiences with an eye only to that group, pushing to the side the preferences of their years loyal passengers.  It's pretty insulting IMHO.  I honestly don't think that younger people can really understand this in the visceral way that we can.  And this is not an insult to their intelligence - I know I could not until I got here.

Edited by phoenix_dream
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8 minutes ago, phoenix_dream said:

Unlike some other posters (who are certainly welcome to their opinions), I feel the same as you.   It is the older age group who is going to ultimately keep them from going under, as we will be the ones who are first vaccinated and therefore able to cruise much sooner, as I'm sure vaccination will be required at least for some period of time.  

 

I think until people reach the "golden years" they really don't understand the concept of ageism, which can manifest itself in so many ways,  many of which are very subtle.  When you are in the group of people who in essence built the cruise line to the success it is today through years of loyalty, and then feel pushed aside as the line dedicates itself to trying to please an entirely different group of people you feel it.  We of course all understand that eventually we will no longer be able to cruise so new customers need to be enticed (keeping in mind at the same time that for many of us, that is a good 15-20 years away, god willing).  Marketing 101.  Understandable and no issue with that.  But Celebrity has taken that to a whole new level and markets, designs, plans, etc.. their ships and experiences with an eye only to that group, pushing to the side the preferences of their years loyal passengers.  It's pretty insulting IMHO.  I honestly don't think that younger people can really understand this in the visceral way that we can.  And this is not an insult to their intelligence - I know I could not until I got here.

Very well said!

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7 hours ago, upwarduk said:

Not going to happen, according to virologists in the UK. Like measles and flu, we are going to have to learn to live with it.

BUT, the vaccination programme has shown that hospital admissions have been reduced by an amazing 85% in people who have had just one dose of Pfizer or 94% Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

 

https://www.livemint.com/news/world/uk-covid-19-vaccines-sharply-cut-hospitalizations-show-studies-11614014471969.html

 

Not sure why the CC quote feature attributed that to me. It normally doesn't bring a previously quoted section forward at all. The part you quoted was from cruiserchuck that I bolded. My actual reply didn't which is essentially the same as yours, didn't come forward at all. Strange.

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The older group of customers - at least for now- is also the vaccinated group of customers.  Why read anything more into this.  Not marketing or change of focus.  Just reality.

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15 minutes ago, phoenix_dream said:

Unlike some other posters (who are certainly welcome to their opinions), I feel the same as you.   It is the older age group who is going to ultimately keep them from going under, as we will be the ones who are first vaccinated and therefore able to cruise much sooner, as I'm sure vaccination will be required at least for some period of time.  

 

I think until people reach the "golden years" they really don't understand the concept of ageism, which can manifest itself in so many ways,  many of which are very subtle.  When you are in the group of people who in essence built the cruise line to the success it is today through years of loyalty, and then feel pushed aside as the line dedicates itself to trying to please an entirely different group of people you feel it.  We of course all understand that eventually we will no longer be able to cruise so new customers need to be enticed (keeping in mind at the same time that for many of us, that is a good 15-20 years away, god willing).  Marketing 101.  Understandable and no issue with that.  But Celebrity has taken that to a whole new level and markets, designs, plans, etc.. their ships and experiences with an eye only to that group, pushing to the side the preferences of their years loyal passengers.  It's pretty insulting IMHO.  I honestly don't think that younger people can really understand this in the visceral way that we can.  And this is not an insult to their intelligence - I know I could not until I got here.

 

Personally I don't care if they market to the youngsters.  When they change the ships and activities that no longer appeal to me, I go where my interests and senses are satisfied.  But I had already started heading that way before Edge started sailing with the food quality lessening and the loud blaring DJ in the atrium curtailing  or sans live music entertainment.

 

Is it that the younger people can't understand this or they just don't care about other age groups as long as they're satisfied?

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17 hours ago, ChucktownSteve said:

More people are booking Royal Caribbean cruises this year, even as they remain banned [The Miami Herald]

 

Wonder if the reason more people are booking RCI is because Celebrity's new ALWAYS INCLUDED pricing has turned loyal Celebrity customers off!!! 

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4 minutes ago, Loracpin2 said:

Wonder if the reason more people are booking RCI is because Celebrity's new ALWAYS INCLUDED pricing has turned loyal Celebrity customers off!!! 

That's a generic headline.  It means more people are booking with Royal Caribbean Group, not just the flagship product.  Analysts and financial reporters rarely breakout the specific brands when discussing financial results.  They report brand-specific disasters (ship specific), ie Diamond Princess, Ruby Princess.

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32 minutes ago, Loracpin2 said:

Wonder if the reason more people are booking RCI is because Celebrity's new ALWAYS INCLUDED pricing has turned loyal Celebrity customers off!!! 

 

That's not an accurate statement. The call was Royal Caribbean Group which includes all brands. There was no booking discussion on a brand by brand basis. The 30% being quoted is also a 30% increase in bookings over two horribly performing months. 

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1 hour ago, markeb said:

 

Not sure why the CC quote feature attributed that to me. It normally doesn't bring a previously quoted section forward at all. The part you quoted was from cruiserchuck that I bolded. My actual reply didn't which is essentially the same as yours, didn't come forward at all. Strange.

I just pressed on the emboldened section!

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