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Spif Barwunkel

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About Spif Barwunkel

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  1. There are indeed discrepancies within the cruise community pertinent to refunds and FCC's. Why some cruisers experience problems, while others do not, cannot be explained but should be expected. An immediate crisis overload, due to C19, hit hard and fast. Certainly, between establishing new methods of operation and handling customer service, the challenges were, and continue to be, many. When the relationship becomes a threesome, cruise line, TA and passenger, no doubt the challenges become greater. No excuses, just fact. To those still awaiting a satisfactory solution, I wish you well and I am sorry for your dilemma. I guess FOR ME, until receiving a notice of insolvency and/or bankruptcy, I would still remain optimistic about receiving what I was due. And just to make things perfectly clear, my posts are mine alone. They judge no one, infer nothing not written, and, describe only what I did or didn't do, how I feel or don't feel. The occasional figurative flogging, "Black Sails" style really has no place here, especially when it's without merit or justification.
  2. Seventy-nine days from an X notification of cruise cancellation, we received our cruise fare and air fare refund. A nice Fourth Of July gift giving us our independence from monetary rule. We were also notified that our X excursions refunds are due to arrive shortly. No stress, no bothering X or the TA, no being a PITA. Just a calm, patient wait-and-see attitude gets the job done. Celebrity has reacted very professionally under the circumstances, despite the impatience and belligerence of some customers. Actually, our refunds arrived within 11 days of the 90 day window....nice!
  3. The capitals cruise is a great itinerary no matter what cruise line you choose to sail. The biggest difference, as I see it, between Celebrity and the other cruise lines you have sailed, is the customer demographic. For the most part, passengers range in age from the forties thru the seventies. Unlike the other lines mentioned, X ships offer no water slides, play areas, surfing venues etc. Those types of amenities are naturally more appealing to a much younger crowd. Celebrity ships offer a subdued robustness. Their overall presentation and routine creates an urbane yet enlivened environment. Stylish without being stuffy. Service and attention is first-rate and passengers do not lack for solicitude. Food is excellent but the entertainment could be better at times. The vastness of Europe and Canada offers an entirely different cruising experience when compared to the Caribbean and Mexico. With so much more to do and see in Europe and Canada, port days can be as busy as you want them to be. The Caribbean and Mexico provide a more relaxing pace. As to expectations on the ship, the number of excursions in particular ports will obviously determine how frantic the scramble is to get off the ship and begin the tour. No matter, it all works out. You will enjoy Celebrity. Have a good time.
  4. TR - They are not all-inclusive. There are many wonderful chefs in the Caribbean, including ex-pats who have brought their culinary excellence to many of the islands. When staying several days at a particular destination, part of that enjoyment involves eating at those restaurants. Therefore, all-inclusive resorts do not work for us.
  5. As residents of Florida we have easy access to the Caribbean. It is in the neighborhood, if you will. Over the last 30 years we have traveled to most of the islands, either cruising or flying. We are not beach people either but we find land trips to be relaxing and rejuvenating. We have stayed at some lovely hotels on the various islands, enjoying the ambience and the location. Here are four of our favorites. If you Google them that will provide you with more information than I could give you here. - The Inn At English Harbour - Antigua - Gallows Point - St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands - Coral Reef Club - Barbados - Anse Chastanet - St. Lucia I think you will enjoy browsing.
  6. There are some things to consider before sailing back-to-back- cruises. If you have only cruised a couple of times, consider the length of those cruises and whether or not additional days on a ship would be enjoyable to you at this time. I believe that this is the biggest consideration. Select the region where you want to cruise and pick the itineraries that are most attractive. Itineraries are important for us. Our first b2b fulfilled two items on our cruising bucket list. From Dublin, we sailed 8 days in Norway and 11 days in Iceland/Ireland. An overnight in Dublin between sailings gave us the opportunity to enjoy some sights in that great city. Previous to this b2b, our longest single cruise was 12 days. Because of the Norway/Iceland itineraries, we did not want to get off the ship after 19 days. In other words, we could have done these two cruises all over again. You will want to make sure that you select the right cruise line, one that fits your needs and desires. A ships atmosphere and environment is always important, more so the longer you are onboard. Heed what advice these experienced cruisers have to offer. Discern as best you can what seems to strike your fancy. Ask additional questions, if necessary. Most importantly, have no doubt when you are ready for your first back-to-back. When next you cruise, only the best of times.
  7. There will be no Galapagos sailings in 2020. The three X ships dedicated to that area will perhaps be cruising itineraries elsewhere until Equador is once again a viable tourist destination. Logically speaking, and considering the depth of information yet to be learned about the effects and spread from corona virus, the pristine waters of the Galapagos and its inhabitants need not be subject to possible tourist toxicity. When next you cruise, only the best of times.
  8. Stayed twice in Amsterdam, pre-cruise. Great, fun city with lots to do. If you opt for a hotel, The Movenpick is steps from the cruise terminal. When you awake on cruise day, there will be your cruise ship. Looks as if you can reach out and touch it. Getting into city center requires transportation unless you are up for a good walk. The Banks Mansion is a city center hotel I also recommend. Walking distance to many attractions, restaurants and clubs. We toured with "That Dam Guide" during one stay. Small, intimate group and wonderful tour. Used Viator the second stay for two days. A larger group but very enjoyable and informative tours. Lots to research and decide. One thing for certain, you will have fun.
  9. Certainly you do not justify using the term "riffraff" (post #22) in describing an ethnicity or a citizenry. And most certainly, your occasional unpleasant circumstance or "longing" - as well as that of anyone else's - be damned, when used as an excuse to besmirch a collective. Where I have been and what I have experienced is not what matters here. What matters is that we all should be aware of our destination and our destiny while there. You, obviously, have been to the Caribbean 29 times too many. Perhaps that qualifies you as a pseudo-pirate of sorts. Whatever the case, should you venture there again, remain on the ship no matter the port. You and the locals will be better off for it.
  10. Such a rudimentary response that conjures up an image of prejudice and parochialism. Probably not the best choice of words considering the present day. Or anytime for that matter. Apparently there are supporters, indicative of the pervasiveness of small-mindedness. What a shame. Being fortunate to live 30 minutes from a major cruise port, we have indeed cruised for three or four days where a private island was the only stop. It is a pleasant getaway on occasion. However, our main reason to sail is based on itinerary and the ability to tour various destinations around the world. If many of those itineraries are compromised, for the time being, we shall refrain from cruising. That will leave those private islands open to....well, you know who.
  11. Hard to believe that this thread still exists. Lot's of re-speculation on what has already been speculated many times over. By definition, buffets will remain a part of the cruising experience, make no mistake about it. How the buffet is presented and regulated has yet to be determined and could vary between cruise lines. No matter the set-up and the precautions, there will still exist the possibility of contamination and thus contagion. It is inherent within any environment, especially where people and food are the prominent ingredients. All we've done is add the corona virus to that mix of contaminants. So, it is rather a moot point whether or not to belabor buffet elimination. They will remain, and as always the cruisers will remain susceptible to, but not necessarily affected by, whatever the buffet has to offer.
  12. You will enjoy Celebrity. You have chosen Edge as your initial X ship. The first of a new class of ship in the fleet, she presents somewhat differently than the other classes. I think in a good way. Having sailed all classes of the X fleet - like many on this forum - the Edge draws rave reviews from some and is vilified by others. She is lovely, well appointed and subtly sophisticated. Some of the entertainment is like none other seen on X and public spaces offer new looks. The Infinite Veranda cabin (our choice when we sailed) is a new twist on an old theme. Again, some folks got it and some did not. Granted, for seasoned Celebrity cruisers Edge is very different. That radical a change is not appreciated by everyone. That's cool, there are many other beautiful X ships to enjoy. Most importantly the Celebrity vibe is there, good service, good food, friendly crew and good fun. I believe your introduction to Celebrity is well chosen. If you enjoy your experience, be sure to try as many ships as possible and have a good time. When next you cruise, only the best of times.
  13. I am certainly not averse to cruising on a less than full capacity ship. How much less than full capacity matters not. I see it as a necessary factor in helping to establish a more easily structured environment. That in turn promotes a better opportunity to watch and listen and determine whether new guidelines are beneficial and acceptable. As a cruise company, less passengers provides more visibility from which to discern the credibility of proposed direction. As a passenger, less cruisers means less anxiety and situational awareness for me. Hence, I am able to more comfortably adjust my sea legs in order to balance my responsibility to my cruising enjoyment. Fascinating days ahead for all, on land and sea. For those of us intent on being piped aboard when next the opportunity arises, may we do our part to make things better.
  14. Grand Cayman, 7 ships. Cozumel, 7 ships. Nassau, 5 ships. That is how many ships were in these ports when I was visiting. Not pleasant conditions in the best of times. Do you really think that the Caribbean islands want this many ships in port at the same time if health issues are a concern?
  15. You are going to be in absolute awe. I truly hope that you can experience the beauty and the unique characteristics of both countries without distraction. In other words, as close to normal as possible.
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