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About Hlitner

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    30,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    New Cumberland,PA, USA
  • Interests
    International travel (77 countries at last count(
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  1. No doubt. But I suspect the cruise lines will not wait until 100% of the world is vaccinated. Given that the norm for folks accepting vaccinations is between 50 and 60% we may well be able to meet the demand in the USA and much of Western Europe by June. But the issue for the cruise lines is what they need to do to be able to restart and get some ports to open up to ships. Every attempt to cruise without a vaccination requirement has ended in failure although in some cases it did take a few voyages. If somebody can come up with a better idea then 100% vaccination policies they will certa
  2. I continue to believe that 100% mandatory vaccination (for all onboard....both crew and passengers) will be the ultimate trigger to restart cruises. This will be driven not just by the CDC and other health authorities but by International travel standards which will likely require proof of vaccination to enter most countries, board airlines, etc. So perhaps we need to look at how long it will take to get crews and enough passengers vaccinated to facilitate the restart of cruising. Based on what we read in the press and on blogs I think we are looking at late 2nd quarter as the earliest wi
  3. Hmm. My friends in the UK have told me (for years) about the wonderful NHS! But the reality is that the priority of airlines, hotels, cruise lines, etc. should be to protect their clients...not the NHS. Perhaps your discrimination issue is with your own government. Personally I prefer to go on airlines and cruise lines that will implement mandatory vaccination policies. That kind of policy is simply common sense....not discrimination. And what about governments that will demand vaccinations as a requirement of entry. In their minds they would simply be protecting their own
  4. The OP asks a great question. The reality is that none of us know what to expect post Covid. That being said, all the mass market lines (i,e, Carnival, RCI, Celebrity, HAL, etc) use a business plans that depends on maximizing onboard revenue. This means subtlety steering folks towards cruise line excursions (profitable), shops that kick back to the cruise line and/or their shopping lecture companies (profitable), etc. So if you cruise on mass market lines and go to shore excursion lectures, shopping lectures, etc....you will get pushed in ways that benefit the cruise line. So h
  5. We have asked this question for several years. The answer we get is often something along the lines of having loyalty to a cruise line employee such as a so-called PCC. Some will also tell you that they get better consideration by dealing directly with their PCC or a cruise line employee. Having booked cruises with 15 different cruise lines we have never seen any advantage to booking direct. I have also tried to explain to some folks that simply transferring a cruise to a cruise agent might not get you the best deal because you have lost leverage (the cruise is already booked).
  6. Keep in mind that MSC is still a European cruise line that operates 4 ships (the last I looked) in the US market. The passenger mix on many of their European cruises is mostly European which does seem to bother some North Americans who prefer a North American Clientele. If you are interested in booking the Yacht Club, the facilities vary depending on the ship with some of the older vessels not even having a yacht club. I should mention that MSC is the only major cruise line that is privately held (primarily owned by a single family) which gives them a lot of operating flexibility. They c
  7. When I look at any travel policy I first look at the Medical Limits and whether the medical covers pre existing conditions. As to limits, I believe the Cunard policy only covers $20,000 of medical expense. Why some might be happy with that coverage, I want at least $100,000 of medical coverage, While $20,000 sounds like a lot, it can easily be used up with a single emergency. Many folks have little choice but to use cruise line policies because of their advanced age. But otherwise, we suggest looking around for higher medical limits. Keep in mind that most of the items cover
  8. You can certainly buy the $100,000 limit or choose other options up to $1,000,000. I do not think there is any right, wrong, or good rule. It comes down to your personal risk tolerance and level of comfort...plus your budget. Suffice it to say that although we are normally fine with $100,000, given what is happening in the world we purchased a much higher limit.
  9. I just want to add some words of encouragement to those who care about following pricing and taking advantage of changes. We agree with those who suggest that one should put their own value on included amenities based on your own habits! The example I post actually happened to us with HAL. A few years ago we booked a long Oosterdam cruise (think it was about 40 days) which involved a Transpacific from Seattle to Sydney and then another segment to Auckland. We booked a nice verandah cabin during a promotion which included a beverage package (both DW and I enjoy adult beverages). When that
  10. Your are right...my mistake. In such a case I almost agree with you that a Passport is not necessary. But it does get somewhat complicated if a person needs to leave a cruise for an emergency or even because they are sick. They will eventually get back into the USA but it can be a real hassle. It is funny, but many have no clue that they need a Passport to fly to Mexico (where we live part of the year). Everyday folks get turned away by airlines because they do not possess a valid Passport,
  11. I think your post is misleading. The OP says their friends are traveling outside of the USA by "Air." This usually requires a valid Passport. For example, you cannot fly into Mexico without a valid Passport. The State Department makes this very clear: U.S. citizens should be aware that a valid passport book is required to enter Mexico by air, and those attempting to enter at an airport with a U.S. passport card only may be denied admission. Hank
  12. In Puerto Vallarta it is a mixed bag. I would estimate that mask wearing is about 50% with many younger Mexicans and gringos going without masks when it is possible. Masks are required when walking around restaurants, stores, on buses, etc. Restaurants are all open (inside and out) and operate with 50% capacity. Since most restaurants are partially outside and there is normally lots of natural ventilation (inside and out) we feel very safe when dining out (which we do every day). DW and I take our own chairs to the beach and sit in an area where there is nobody within 20 feet. Our Condo
  13. No doubt! On the other hand DW and I could be sitting at home (Pennsylvania) spending our days in our family room watching TV and eating bon bons. But no, we decided to spend our normal winter in Puerto Vallarta where the sun is shining, the beach is relatively empty, the restaurants, bars and clubs are open, most folks are social distancing, mask wearing is hit or miss, etc. We spend most of our time outdoors and feel safer here then we would at home where most folks are stuck inside for the winter. The reality of COVID is that the overwhelming cases that have been contact traced involve
  14. I have yet to see a published policy mandating 100% vaccinations for cruises. But the issue has been discussed by the CEOs of two of large cruise corporations (NCL Holdings and RCI) and I am convinced that mandatory vaccinations will be required by the time there is a restart to cruising in the US. As to Europe, I do not know if the same policy will happen on that side of the pond, but I would predict that it will be impossible to fly to Europe or Asia without having proof of vaccination. I said in another post that just about everything in life involves risk and the norm is to
  15. We agree! I have been posting for months, my belief that the only way for cruising to have a successful restart is for the cruise lines to adopt a 100% mandatory vaccination policy that includes all souls onboard with no exceptions/exemptions. I have also predicted that there will still be many anti-vaxers and those folks will find their world quickly shrinking. While I do not think that vaccines are a perfect solution, they do seem to be the ONLY solution to the current COVID mess. Just about everything in life involves some risk and the way forward is generally to find ways
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