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Flatbush Flyer

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About Flatbush Flyer

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Point Richmond CA
  • Interests
    Travel, Food, Wine, Sailing.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Oceania
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    The Pacific Ocean

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  1. SF has rescinded indoor reopening plans. Napa has reclosed indoor dining soon after reopening it.....
  2. You know wine - I know education. A "year behind" is better than a year dead (either kids or grandparents or the teachers). Locally, Santa Clara County recently had an "in person" meeting of public school principals to plan for a Covid fall semester. Can't remember the exact count but, a significant number of them contracted Covid-19 at the meeting. You'd have to be nuts to send your kid "in person" to a school system that apparently doesn't have a clue. And you don't need a college education to help kids with basic subjects. In fact, some parents might benefit from a "refresher" course or two. Moreover, distance learning is one area where a bit of creativeness could close the gap between poor districts and rich ones (or even private systems like Catholic schools [which here locally educate more than 20% of school age kids including robust opportunities for tuition assistance for poorer families]). Though it would require on the job training for some unfamiliar teachers, existing tech/lesson plans in the schools that now have extensive DL experience (e.g., SeeSaw, Zoom, et al) could easily be made available to other schools (either contracted or as a courtesy). Reduced facilities operating expenses could pay for basic tablets for the poorest kids. Internet companies are bending over backwards to provide free/low cost connectivity. And, anticipating the "what about socialization?" question: Consistent Covid testing and carefully selected "play dates" will make things bearable for the single fall 2020 semester I am suggesting. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Really "no brainer" solutions are all around us. But too many folks are unwilling to change old habits that just won't work any longer.
  3. A single, complete 6 month shutdown, along with a single accompanying 6 month unemployment bailout for ALL salaried or self-employed individuals would ultimately cost less in time/energy/money than is the case with the current piecemeal approach (e.g., restaurants closed yesterday, reopened today, ordered to close again tomorrow, etc). Yesterday, I watched the umpteenth Covid-19 update from our well-meaning and usually on-the-ball California governor (Gavin Newsom). The data driven presentations currently paint a bleak picture (repeating the downturn of earlier this year) but end up serving little usefulness since he ends up preaching to a choir of folks who are already wearing masks/socially distancing and are free at noon to watch his show. Sadly the folks who are not behaving well in all this will only respond to significant, punitive enforcement (including fines, business license suspension, etc.) and giving this corrective/restrictive approach a 100% effort (while providing unemployment relief for six months) will clearly evidence its efficacy. Note too that keeping non-essential workers at home for the next six months will also benefit an essential fall semester distance learning mandate for K-8 schools by bettering parental involvement in their children's learning efforts. At the end of six months, we'd hopefully have a vaccine or, at least, an effective array of treatment protocols. We'd have had time to bring Covid testing up to speed and non-essential work could restart. The alternative (current) approach has already been found to severely impact the long term health of most folks who gets Covid-19 while killing others. BTW, I expect that the cruise industry will emerge from Covid much leaner (less companies/megaships) with premium/luxury lines surviving if only because of their size (fleets and ships) and the nature of their passenger base which includes many who will have withstood the financial impact of the Covid era and for whom travel is an essential component of their lifestyle.
  4. This has nothing to do with any particular cruise line. Reread my post: A single, complete 6 month shutdown, along with a single accompanying 6 month unemployment bailout for ALL salaried or self-employed individuals would ultimately cost less in time/energy/money than is the case with the current piecemeal approach (e.g., restaurants closed yesterday, reopened today, ordered to close again tomorrow, etc). Yesterday, I watched the umpteenth Covid-19 update from our well-meaning and usually on-the-ball California governor (Gavin Newsom). The data driven presentations currently paint a bleak picture (repeating the downturn of earlier this year) but end up serving little usefulness since he ends up preaching to a choir of folks who are already wearing masks/socially distancing and are free at noon to watch his show. Sadly the folks who are not behaving well in all this will only respond to significant, punitive enforcement (including fines, business license suspension, etc.) and giving this corrective/restrictive approach a 100% effort (while providing unemployment relief for six months) will clearly evidence its efficacy. Note too that keeping non-essential workers at home for the next six months will also benefit an essential fall semester distance learning mandate for K-8 schools by bettering parental involvement in their children's learning efforts. At the end of six months, we'd hopefully have a vaccine or, at least, an effective array of treatment protocols. We'd have had time to bring Covid testing up to speed and non-essential work could restart. The alternative (current) approach has already been found to severely impact the long term health of most folks who gets Covid-19 while killing others. DUH!
  5. Perhaps it's regular bottom et al. maintenance. In any case, without American passengers (at least for now with "no-fly to Europe" restrictions), European cruises wouldn't be able to reach a critical mass of financial feasibility. We in the US can help lift these (and other) restrictions that impact cruising by backing every possible effort for a NATIONAL mandate that requires masks ANYTIME you leave your home and (not unlike parking tix) fines folks at least $100/incident (more for repeat offenses). Also require closure (until the end of this year) of, at least, all non-essential indoor business operations and prohibit ALL gatherings of ANY number of individuals not living in the same household. Drastic? Not really - when we look at the alternative of repetitive "open/close economy" rules and the associated roller coaster of Covid-19 infection rates. Had we done this from the beginning, we'd be in far better shape, including financially, since a single government bailout of primarily small businesses would certainly be less costly than having to do it over and over and over and over ...... again and vaccine efforts would be well on their way to completion.
  6. That really depends on which cruise line. We are using two (Covid-19) FCCs (with "book by/cruise by" deadlines) for a November 2020 Oceania cruise which we fully expect they will need to cancel. We have been assured by Oceania that, in that case, our FCCs will be redeposited to our profile record and issued new "book by/cruise by" deadlines. In addition, we would receive our choice of a refund of the balance paid on the November cruise or an additional FCC (note that the new total of three FCCs may be combined into a single FCC). Based on current Oceania policies, I expect that the new "book by/cruise by" deadlines would be "book by" one year from the cancellation date for a "cruise by" two years from the cancellation date. This works for us and we trust that Oceania, which handled our two Covid modified/cancelled cruise efficaciously, will continue to do the right thing. In the unlikely event that highly restrictive health requirements imposed in the future (BTW, an industrial suicide action by cruise lines or government regulators) would prevent us from cruising, we expect that Oceania would make some effort at a reasonable refund in line with their existing T&Cs regarding health related boarding denials.
  7. Given the vast difference in cruise industry practices, particularly when comparing some mass market lines to those in the premium/luxury segments, it's wrong to suggest that there's a one-size-fits-all "best" way to book. For example, we always have (and always will) use one of a handful of our trusted Connoisseurs Club TAs for Oceania bookings. In addition to their ability to share commissions (which can easily net us four figures in rebate or refundable SBC), the potential for difficulty in handling a significant issue is greatly reduced since that TA has O's regional sales director as a speed dial. Like with so many other service industries, having repeat bad cruise booking experiences, usually means the consumer either doesn't have a clue about how to find a great TA (who specializes in your preferred line) or is unwilling to do the necessary research to find one.
  8. Which prices are you comparing? If the "true cost" of a cruise vacation is a major factor, don't make the mistake of comparing only the published cabin cost. You mentioned flying. Does the cruise's published price include necessary expenses like airfare or basic necessities like beverages and/or options like tours/internet/specialty restaurants? I trust that you know there are cruise lines that include some or all of the above. And, of course, then there's the quality of what you get for your money (e.g., food) as well as what you avoid (e.g., smokers, thundering herds of humanity et al.). But, back to your original issue- "the deal": If you don't mind a suggestion, consider using "net daily rate" for comparisons. NDR = every required/necessarily optional cruise vacation expense (door to door) divided by days away from home. Do the math and you will be surprised.
  9. Just checked my two Nautica segments for November: There is cabin availability in penthouses on both segments. All else is waitlisted. 6/30/20 at 10:50AM PDT PS: took a second random look a Riviera Miami-Miami cruise in December. It has penthouse availability as well. in looking at other reasons for the waitlisting (beyond controlling new lower occupancy), remember all the folks who got the earliest FCCs from many February/March cruises (modified/cancelled), which required book by/sail by deadlines of 12/31/20. Those folks, including us, had to pick something.
  10. Given the nature of daily changes in international regulations beyond O's control, I can understand any decision to remain somewhat vague.
  11. I'd like to think that any "waitlisting" of cabins for the last quarter of 2020 (note that some of the larger suites on numerous cruises in November/December 2020 still show availability) are meant to achieve the new lower occupancy targets.
  12. FWIW: At least as regards the premium/luxury cruise industry segments, there are far better "deals" to be had with a select group of TAs other than the one your mentioning.
  13. Other than medical during the cruise, the other big coverage item is/was the trip cancellation risk (for covered reasons like medical) during the pre-cruise period since the policy was purchased. That coverage exists for the entire policy period. That the insurer would then fully refund or credit the policy for a cancelled cruise is definitely a courtesy they owe no one.
  14. For many companies, you'll need to request transferring the policy BEFORE the original trip would've begun.
  15. Some cruise lines still send hard copies of, at least, some travel docs including luggage tags. Our preferred line sends both email and snail mail items.
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