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Tapi

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    4 hours and 38 minutes from the closest cruise terminal

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  1. We have the Freedom booked for Nov 2020. I haven’t made a decision to cancel it, but I will make a decision close to final payment. I’m not concerned about the virus, and I feel hopeful that by then things will have returned to a sense of normalcy, but right now I’m feeling that the responsible thing to do would be to skip that cruise and leave that money in savings until things stabilize a bit. We already cruised in 2020 and have cruises booked for 2021 and 2022, so I’ll “survive” if I skip the Freedom in November.
  2. Of course I’ll cruise again! I have two already booked, but the next one isn’t until February 2021. It just worked out that way, but I’m glad that I have 10 months to go to give the current situation some time to rectify itself. In my opinion, you’re not going to get objective answers to your question right now. A lot of people are currently negatively biased because we are in the middle of this pandemic. They will say “I’ll never cruise again, fly again, go to a restaurant again, stay at a hotel again, go anywhere again, etc”. But I believe that as soon as we are on the other side of the curve, businesses start opening up again, and people start returning to a sense of normalcy, the “never again” thoughts will gradually fade away. It’s human nature. As an example, I caught Norovirus on a Carnival cruise back in 2011. At the time, while I sat in my cabin curled up in pain, I categorically said I would never ever cruise again and expose myself to getting sick like that. By the time I started feeling better and the memories of my illness started fading away, I was already planning my next cruise. 😂
  3. I’m an essential worker who continues to travel during this pandemic. I’m spending a few nights a week at hotels. At several, they’ve issued letters stating the extra steps that they are taking to clean the rooms to give guests some peace of mind. But I don’t rely on that and I‘ve started carrying medical grade cleaning supplies with me and I wipe commonly used surfaces down (table tops, counter tops, remote, light switches, toilet handle, etc) as soon as I walk into the room. Long story short, even with the “deeper cleaning” that the hotels are supposedly performing, the wipes are usually black and grimy by the time I’m done cleaning, so I’m positive that the new steps that they have supposedly adopted are not really being enforced by the cleaning crew. And this experience has repeated itself no matter what hotel chain I stay at (most recently Hyatt Regency, Marriott, and Hilton). Long story short, until this pandemic passes (and even going forward from this point), don’t rely on the cruise lines or hotels to clean your room to your standards. The practice of bringing your own wipes or disinfectant, which not too long ago was attributed to germaphobes only, should perhaps becomes a standard practice for all guests. Or maybe cruise lines should clean the rooms as they currently do, but then place in each room a small pack of wipes and sanitizer for guests to use during their stay. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned during the last few weeks is how poorly cleaned rooms are and that I shouldn’t rely on anybody to keep me safe. I do feel a bit better on airplanes though because I have witnessed the fogging process and individual seat and tray cleaning process with Matrix 3 cleaner. If anything, it seems like airplanes haven’t been this clean since they came out of the factory. 😂
  4. My kids are 8 and 10 years old, and we have sailed mostly family friendly cruise lines because of them (Carnival, Royal, Disney, MSC). But our last cruise (reference on my last post) was on Holland America. I was very concerned that the kids would be bored to tears on an “old folks” ship, but it turns out that they absolutely loved it. In fact my 10 year old son said that it was one of his most fun cruises that he’s ever taken. The best part about it was that the cruise was actually cheaper than Carnival. With a “kids sail free promotion, and a special deal on a balcony stateroom, it was $1.4K cheaper than Carnival.
  5. I’m also platinum on Carnival, and I thought that I would miss the perks once I decided to branch out to other cruise lines. I haven’t. In fact, many times I’ve received better treatment as a first timer on other cruise lines than as platinum on Carnival. The one perk that I do miss when I sail on other cruise lines is the free laundry, so I just purchase it. On our last Holland America cruise, an unlimited laundry package was $49, so $7 per day. As Platinum on Carnival, I get 2 free bags of laundry, so that perk is worth $14. Doesn’t make sense to stay loyal to one cruise line over $14.
  6. Just booked a Feb 2021 Princess Cruise. This is not a re-schedule or me trying to use FCC. I usually plan a year in advance so booking this cruise makes sense. So to answer the OP’s question, the answer is yes.
  7. Fellow cruise nerd 😀: Your stats are correct, but I don’t consider the Norway a cruise ship, even after her conversion. She was, and always will be, remembered as an ocean liner.
  8. It will be hot no matter what, but I’d go with spring simply because it’s not hurricane season and your itinerary is less likely to be altered. Panama is outside of the hurricane belt, but other ports in your itinerary may not be. We are booked on a Panama Canal for April 2022 [emoji2]
  9. I don’t want to say that Carnival is categorically worse because I think that, even with the changes in the Carnival product, and the increase in competition from other cruise lines, they still provide a product preferred by many. There are some things that Carnival does exceptionally well and that other cruise lines simply can’t replicate. The gap that I referred to has to do more with “value for the money”. Years ago, I considered Carnival to be the best value for the money because they were consistently the price leader. These days, I find that other cruise lines, even those in the premium market, are many times offering fares that are either comparable to Carnival’s, or even cheaper. So that, combined with the changes that Carnival has made over the last years, make that gap in product offered vs. money paid wider. For example, we just sailed on Holland America’s newest Pinnacle class ship, the Niew Statendam, and we paid $1.4K less than a Carnival cruise that same week. When you’re paying less to sail on a premium cruise line than on a budget minded cruise line it makes the decision to branch out to other cruise lines easier.
  10. We also took a hiatus from Carnival. We sailed last in 2011 and then we didn’t sail again on Carnival until 2019. What we encountered: - More efficient check in process - MDR and buffet food the same. - Blue Iguana and Guy’s are nice additions to the food linen up - Stage entertainment considerably worse - Overall maintenance and upkeep throughout the ship worse. Many neglected areas. - Crewmembers still as friendly as always, but definitely spread a bit too thin. Twice daily stateroom service now optional. Overall, the same Carnival atmosphere is still there, and we considered the negatives or things that aren’t as nice as before to be negligible. We had a great time. Still a good value for the money but we did get a sense that corners are being cut. Prior to this cruise, we spent the last few years bouncing across various cruise lines, and our general feel is that, the gap between the Carnival product and others is widening.
  11. Not always. For our last cruise, we took the kids on a Caribbean cruise for their mid-winter break. We chose Holland America’s newest ship, the Niew Statendam (which was absolutely fantastic). A big selling factor was price. It was at least $1,000 cheaper than any other cruise we priced out for that week. Even a cruise aboard an older ship from budget minded Carnival was priced $1,400 more expensive than the Niew Statendam. And the itinerary was the best of all the cruises that we priced out for that week. An absolute winner. A few years ago, we chose a Mediterranean cruise over Thanksgiving because of price. It was cheaper than sailing in any other region of the world during that same time frame. Even a cheap Caribbean Cruise was more expensive. We sailed aboard the (then) brand new MSC Meraviglia, which was an amazing ship. The price was so dirt cheap that we decided to splurge and get a suite. For less than what a Caribbean cruise would’ve cost, we sailed the Mediterranean in a 2 deck loft style suite, with separate master bedroom, 2 bathrooms, living room, dining table, and a forward facing terrace with our own jacuzzi. So cheap doesn’t always translate into “crappy ship”. With some flexibility and ingenuity, there are some great opportunities at very affordable prices.
  12. I have fixed vacation weeks every year. For me, my search for a cruise goes like this: 1) Date first 2) Itinerary second (always looking for destinations or regions that I’ve never been to before). 3) Ship / Cruise Line (I prefer newer ships, and I try not to sail on the same cruise line two times in a row) 4) Price (once I’ve narrowed things down to a couple of cruises, I compare prices and make my final choice). Sometimes I’ve sacrificed something that’s higher on the priority list (for example, I may select a less desirable itinerary if I really want to try a specific ship or if price is too good to pass up), but overall my system works well for me. [emoji3]
  13. OV for sure. Besides the window, on non-fantasy class ships the OV’s are considerably larger than the IS (220sq ft vs 185sq ft, which adds a seating area with a sofa). But even without the extra space, I consider the OV worth it. I can’t stand inside cabins. I’ve only done it twice (one when I was spring break aged, and another time for a quick 3 night weekend cruise). Both times I wanted to rip my hair off.
  14. Thanks for the cautionary tale about your older acquaintance. Definitively things to keep in mind. Going back to whether this passenger is senile or not, I agree that some people may sound completely normal for a few minutes and then completely loose it. My grandmother was that way in the early stages of her Alzheimer’s. But the man in the video gave a half an hour interview to a major network, where he recounted very detailed information about what he’d just lived, and was eloquent and coherent for its entire duration. Respectfully, based on what I saw, “very senile” would not be how I would describe him.
  15. I’m half that man’s age, and I think that he sounds more eloquent and coherent than a lot of people my age. Far from senile.
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