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SteelMagnolia9

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About SteelMagnolia9

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    USA
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    Travel, Music, Theatre, Art

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  1. I am booked on a 11 night cruise to the S. Caribbean on the Nieuw Statendam departing Nov. 11th. I’m cancelling and having my refundable deposit returned. There is no indication HAL will be sailing by then. Unless there is a compelling reason you have to rebook, I would not give any cruiseline any monies towards a future trip until they are operational.
  2. Thank you for the information. Good to know. I am booked on a 11 night S. Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in November (booked in January). Was to be my first HAL cruise in 10 years.
  3. I feel certain by January your S. Caribbean cruise will be a “go”. I have a S. Caribbean cruise with HAL booked for November From Ft. Lauderdale. It’s a “ wait and see” for me if it goes in November and what it might look like if it does. Phase 2 - Movie theaters, bars, concert/theatre venues allowed to open now with reduced capacity, tattoo parlors also can open. Retail & gyms now can operate at 100% capacity. With season ended, they rarely operate at 100% capacity in the summer anyway. Restaurants are still at 50%, but if they have outdoor dining, that can be filled 100% (rain and heat are issues eating outside now).
  4. This was my response, not Finely Retired’s response.
  5. Initially, there needs to be an emphasis on health & wellness to assure and demonstrate to potential customers that they will be well taken care of while onboard.
  6. I agree. I would not put any more money down toward a cruise right now. Too uncertain and refunds are being slow walked. And who knows what cruising will look like going forward? I currently am waiting on a refund for a May cruise. Declined FCC.
  7. I have an escorted tour booked for Eastern Canada in September with a well-known tour company. I and a friend booked it last December. The tour company is currently offering a future travel credit if one wants to cancel now. We made an early final payment in exchange for a good discount. We are in a “wait and see” posture with it being so far out. Would prefer a refund, but that is not on the table yet. It will be interesting to see how the tour companies move forward. I also have a solo cruise booked with HAL in November, 11 nights S. Caribbean. I’m probably not going, but will wait until final payment in August to decide as I have a refundable deposit. Will make my decisions as the dates get closer.
  8. I don’t see cruising resuming until 2021. Itineraries will be limited in 2021. Cruise lines will reduce capacity on ships and prices will increase. I can foresee Canada, Alaska and Caribbean cruises initially being open for booking to only the North American market. The ‘upscale’ lines with the smaller ships will do well as their demographic will still be able to afford to cruise. Expect to see in ads how a particular cruise line will care for your health and wellness while onboard. It will be a different experience for the first year or two.
  9. I have an 11 day S. Caribbean cruise booked for November 2020, my first HAL cruise in 10 years. I had been very excited about this cruise. Final payment is August. I am probably going to cancel. Too much risk to go this year.
  10. I am sorry that I have been absent and have yet to finish my review. I hope to resume later this week and am committed to completing it!
  11. Albany, New York We arrived in Albany, New York, the state capitol, at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 27, 2019 and departed on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 2:00 a.m. Albany City Experience: Discover Albany and see what has enticed visitors for over 400 years. Albany is one of the oldest surviving settlements from the original thirteen colonies, and the longest continuously chartered city in the United States. Take a narrated tour of the city, including external views of the New York State Capitol Building and New York State Museum. Visit the Albany Institute of History and Art, dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and promoting interest in the history and culture of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley. Enjoy free time at the Albany Heritage Visitor Center. $50.00 This excursion had two departures at 8:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Monday, October 28, 2019. This is a city tour. I did not sign on to this excursion and cannot provide any other information. Albany Shuttle: Explore downtown Albany on your own. Take time for shopping and strolling through town. Complementary Shuttle to downtown Albany for those interested in exploring on their own. The shuttle ran from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 28, 2019. Troy Lock and Dam Cruise: Enjoy a day learning about the lock and dam system used on the Erie Canal which was originally built on July 4, 1817. This incredible project was undertaken to help create a water route from New York City to the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes in order to help increase trade and populate the region. While on tour, learn about locks, trade season, ecology, steamboats and more. $55.00 The excursion had two departures at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Monday, October 28, 2019. I signed on to the 9:00 a.m. departure. We boarded a boat, the Dutch Apple II, that took us further north up the Hudson River than the American Constitution as our ship was too tall to clear some of the bridges beyond Albany. It was a fully narrated excursion with a knowledgeable guide who discussed the river, history of the area, nature, ecology and more. We went as far as Troy, New York (pop. 45,900) where we transited a small federal lock before returning to Albany. I sat on the top deck of the boat under the canopy and it was pleasant out on the river. This was a really wonderful excursion and I recommend it. My friend stayed onboard at this port and did not sign on to any of the excursions. Next: Kingston, New York
  12. Ports and Shore Excursions (my experiences, descriptions and prices): On this cruise, you will be contacted in advance of departure to select your shore excursions. This was different from other cruises that I have been on with ACL where we selected and signed on to our shore excursions the afternoon we boarded. If you do not select your shore excursions in advance of departure on this cruise, you will still have the opportunity to sign on to shore excursions the afternoon of embarkation if there is still space available. My recommendation is to sign on in advance of the cruise for any shore excursions you definitely want to join to avoid being shut out or put on a waitlist onboard. The descriptions of the shore excursions are from the information I received onboard. I have included my personal comments in bold after the descriptions. Catskill, New York We arrived in Catskill, New York (pop. approx. 11, 300) at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 27, 2019 and departed at 2:00 p.m. that day. Catskill Active: Hudson River Skywalk provides panoramic views from hundreds of feet in the air and is one of two pedestrian crossings over the Hudson River. As you look towards the mountains, see if you can identify the features of Rip Van Winkle sleeping. The walkway is two miles round trip. Kaaterskill Falls Viewing Platform: Witness the highest two-tiered cascading waterfall in New York and one of America's oldest tourist attractions. It has been a featured topic of prominent books, essays, poems and paintings of the early 19th century. $35.00 This excursion departed at 9:15 a.m. It was pouring rain and those who chose not to go due to the rain were offered a refund. The excursion did go forward. I spoke to one of the participants who told me it was not a good experience in the rain. Olana State Historic Site: Enjoy a special visit to the magnificent Persian-style home of one of the most influential Hudson River School painters, Frederic Church. Church designed his home and the surrounding picturesque landscape to take full advantage of the magnificent views of the Catskill Mountains and the river that inspired a generation of artists. Today, you can tour the house and stroll the grounds of the site hailed by many as the Queen of the Hudson Valley estates. $45.00 This excursion departed at 9:45 a.m. Yes, it was pouring rain all day. Frederic Church was a landscape painter, a financial success and one of the most famous painters in the U.S. in his time. He was one of the most influential Hudson River School painters. My friend and I enjoyed the docent led tour of the home, but were unable to enjoy all that the vistas and grounds had to offer due to the rain (and from where Frederic Church drew much of his inspiration). Despite the rain, my friend and I really enjoyed this excursion and I would recommend it. It's very beautiful and scenic. Thomas Cole National Historic Site: A visit to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site provides entry into the world of the man who became the father of American landscape painting and founder of the Hudson River School of Art. Tour the 1815 Federal yellow-brick Main House and visit the historic rooms where the Cole family lived, including the West Parlor where Thomas Cole was married and the upstairs rooms where his children were born and where Cole died in 1848. $45.00 This excursion was cancelled on the evening of embarkation due to lack of interest. I heard 5 or less had signed on to this excursion. We did drive by the house on the way to and from the Olana State Historic Site. There was also another shore excursion, Hunter Mountain Scenic Sky Ride, which was on the shore excursion list, but not available on my cruise as it had already closed for the season. It may be available on yours. Enjoy a relaxing journey on the ski lift at Hunter Mountain Resort. This ride features a six-passenger chairlift to the top of the 3,200' high summit with breathtaking views of the Great Northern Catskills and beyond. $35.00 Next: Albany, New York
  13. Enrichment: The onboard lecturer (Dale Blanshan) and one of the resident artists held enrichment lectures at various times during the cruise. These included: Port Discussions (Dale); The Hudson River School of Art (Dale); The Backstory of Hudson River Painters (artist Crista); Mathew Brady: The Father of Photojournalism? (Dale), and The Statue of Liberty (Dale). I attended two port discussions and The Hudson River School of Art lecture (which I highly recommend if offered on your cruise as it will be useful background information for some of the shore excursions you may decide to join). The Cruise Director was Chelsea Smith. She was outstanding, very visible on the ship, helpful and engaged with the passengers. Next: Ports and Shore Excursions
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