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About MamaFej

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  1. I just find it amusing that the dude cautioning us against booking a cruise a year or more from now is wearing a shirt that says "See you at sea soon."
  2. Of course, the health and safety of the crew are just as important as those of the passengers. Challenging, indeed!
  3. That article was very interesting. Thank you for sharing. The part about padding the medical bills was very disconcerting, but not shocking. The idea of never being more than 500 miles from a port or staying under 2 1/2 days at sea certainly does not portend well for trans-oceanic, repo, circumnavigating Australia, or even North America to/from Hawaii cruises. I'm sure there are many other examples.
  4. A couple of the episodes of Mighty Ships are also about cruise ships. The non-cruise ship episodes are fascinating in their own way. I believe that the Oceania Marina episode was Season 3. Currently, only Season 2 is available on my Hulu subscription. A bit OT: Another very interesting show on Smithsonian is Mighty Trains. I'd love to travel long-distance that way someday. Even more off topic: The Aerial (place) shows are fascinating and visually stunning!
  5. Additionally, the TA can make a call that covers multiple clients at once. Mine did this today, working to remedy massive screwups on X's part regarding taxes and portages for April cruises that still have not been refunded. It took a substantial amount of time, but he took care of us and another client simultaneously. If the other client and I had made these calls ourselves, we would have tied up two agents.
  6. I gave an extremely abbreviated version of just a few of the amazing things he has done for me. Your inability to recognize the value that other people get from service providers does not negate that value. Different strokes for different folks. I have a great time researching for my trips. I book most things on my own. Getting better rates on hotels (often) and international flights (nearly always) than I can get on my own (I always check) is of great value to me. When it was doubtful that my oldest could join us on one trip, my TA was able to put a hold on his ticket from Montana to Paris for three months. The price soared during that period of time.We were very grateful to have had the much lower price locked in. I appreciate being able to get refundable hotel rooms for lower than non-refundable rates by using my TA's booking group. Having my TA go to bat for me when the cruise lines screw up or have tens of thousands of refunds/FCCs to process like now, is also very valuable to me. The group rates J has gotten me on cruises have been fantastic. I prefer to pay less up front than to have loads of OBC. YMMV By the way, it's okay to have a differing opinion on the internet and not be jerky about it. I've seen you do it before, so I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and guess you're having a rough day. It happens to the best of us.
  7. It has mostly been site-specific things like "follow the Purple Line" to get to the shuttle bus our first time in Heathrow, and which port cities on our first European cruise were best for on our own exploration and which were better for HOHOs. etc., but he also introduced us to Seat Guru and a few other helpful websites. As we have become more experienced international travelers, we've learned things on our own as well, and have been able to recommend tour guides, BnB's, and more to him: information which he then share with other clients. In 2014, for our first cruise in 23 years, I hadn't even thought about how to get to the airport once we disembarked, but he had it covered for our group of nine. My TA is a close, personal friend of over 30 years. I feel very comfortable calling or texting when I have a question or an issue. We've traveled together a few times, and he often steps away to take care of clients. I've seen him go way above and beyond the Call of Duty for new clients and those with whom he has long-established relationships. The efforts he undertook to repatriate a 16 year-old New Zealander from where his bike group was in Spain last month were extraordinary! The kid was not even his client, just a friend of one.
  8. Exxon Valdez, perhaps, but not Juan. I know, I know. I'll go sit in my timeout corner.
  9. Amen! My TA can't give me the enormous amounts of OBC that the big boxes do, but he does give me enormous amounts of personalized service. He takes care of the problems that arise, so I don't have to. He knows tips and tricks that would never occur to me. He makes sure I want to return to him again and again. And I do!
  10. It seems the opposite here. The high school and college kids are the ones being responsible and begging others to do the same. The 35-60 crowd are the ones "protesting" on the weekends, some dragging their poor kids out with them, without masks, of course.The over 60 folks have been the "Faith over Fear" crowd, many refusing from the start to follow the directives. Count my dad's golfing buddies among those. I'm aligning with the high school and college kids. Granted, I'm hearing mostly from my 18-25 year old kids' friends, and they're a pretty level-headed bunch (most of the time). And the several hundred "protestors" on the weekends are not at all representative of the demographics of our very diverse city of 180,000. I'm quite confident there are knuckleheads and wise ones in every age range.
  11. Cruise With Confidence seems to be a perfect example of why the mantra "HUCA" is so popular. Hang Up. Call Again.
  12. I didn't interpret Jeremy's comment as not believing gooch. I think he just wanted to hear it from another angle. Certainly, there were folks on the ship whose plans after disembarkation got messed up. The crew perspective would also be interesting, dealing with disappointed passengers. I find it interesting to hear about the same situation from different perspectives.
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