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Hlitner

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About Me

  • Location
    New Cumberland,PA, USA
  • Interests
    International travel (77 countries at last count(
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Any
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe

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  1. So here is a tip for first time cruises. If you have a problem with your cabin just go out in the corridor and look for your cabin steward (or any steward) in the area. They will usually have the answers or they can make a call if necessary. You do not want to waste the first few hours on a cruise waiting in a queue at Guest Services. You should be out and about and having fun. Hank
  2. Just a few words about travel and vaccines. We recently drove 4 hours from home to Long Island NY because we were flying the next morning from JFK to Barbados for Sandals and then a Seabourn cruise. We decided to have dinner at a popular Queens restaurant located about 10 minutes from our hotel and JFK. When we entered the restaurant we were required to show our vaccine cards. There are no other options in NYC. You want to eat in a restaurant you must have proof of vaccination. When we later checked in at the Radisson we were again required to show our vaccination cards. The following morning when we checked in for our JetBlue flight we again had to show our vaccine cards and our negative PCR test. We again had to show these documents at the Gate. Upon arrival in Barbados we had to show our vaccine cards and PCR test. When we arrived at Sandals we again had to show those documents (and take another PCR test). 4 days later before boarding our ship we had to show those documents 3 times during the embarkation process. When we went ashore on Antigua we had to show our vaccine cards to local authorities. So perhaps some will get the picture. This is the new normal. One can choose to fight all this which means severely limiting one’s travel options. But few want to hear the whining and protests. You meet the requirements or take yourself and your business elsewhere. By the way, in about an hour we will get our 4th COVID test in less then 3 weeks. Hank
  3. I want to give a slightly different perspective. We are currently on our 2nd cruise in 3 months (both in Seabourn) and just about everyone on our ship is having a great time. The only talk about vaccines is (when are you getting your third shot). Vaccines are mandatory and we have been tested many times in the last three months. Today we get our 4th test in the past 3 weeks (2 PCR and 2 Antigen). On our two cruises (Greece and now Caribbean) we have not heard a single person whine about testing. It is simply the new normal for traveling and cruising. My message is simple. Stay home and whine or accept this new normal and enjoy travel and cruising. Many of us have simply moved on with our lives and don’t want any part of those who have made whining their personal new normal. As to future requirements it will be what it will be. Rules change by the day so predicting a few months is fruitless. Even on our ship there was no mask requirement a week ago but this week we must mask when walking around in public areas ( no masking when sitting or outside). Next week, who knows? Hank
  4. You might want to consider that when at St Kitts the entire ship can go ashore for a full day beach party so no need to book a morning excursion unless it is something you really want to do. The morning excursions do get you back to the private beach day by noon. Hank
  5. I really could care less how folks choose to book their cruises. If somebody buys a new car and prefers to pay the sticker price then that is their decision. And booking directly with most cruise lines is like paying the sticker price. We prefer to find the best overall financial deal which is generally with a reputable high volume discount cruise agency or some smaller agencies that are part of a large consortium. Hank
  6. Yesterday the Odyssey actually did dock at Roadtown, Tortola BVI, after months of not being able to visit this port. We were the first cruise ship to visit the island in over 18 months and the islanders we met (on our excursion) were pleased. As long as the BVI an keep COVID under control the BVIs will be part of these voyages. Hank
  7. We seldom have called any cruise line in over 40 years of extensive cruising. If we happen to have a question or issue we simply send an email to our cruise agent. Using a decent discount cruise agency saves us money (sometimes in the thousands) on every booking. It also saves us from spending time on hold with cruise lines. Hank
  8. At Sandals we did get a letter asking us to make an appointment for a pre departure test. We simply ignored that letter and never got another test. When we checked out we simply ask them to get us a taxi which cost $27 from Sandals to the cruise port. As part of the cruise check in process we met the ships doctor who personally interviewed all the newly embarking passengers while still in the terminal. He did ask to see our test results we got when we arrived at Sandals (on our phones) before we took our Seabourn antigen test at the port. The doctor is from South Africa and quite charming. Hank
  9. We do not have the official number for next week but have been led to believe it will be something similar to this week. Hank
  10. This week on the Odyssey we have 135 passengers and about 350 crew. Amazing! We have been told that the numbers are increasing and they expect well over 350 in November. Hank
  11. One tidbit is that if you visit St Barts from St Maarten I believe you must bring along a valid Passport in order to clear St Barts immigration. Hank
  12. Boarded yesterday after a 30 minute check-in/testing process. We are supposed to wear masks when moving about in public areas and cloth masks are fine (we were given the usual gray SB cloth masks). No other onboard restrictions and the mask mandate is lightly enforced. We had dinner last evening with the Assistant CD and one of the lovely cast singers. It was a delightful hosted table which bodes well for the next two weeks. Hank
  13. You are correct, There are currently 51 ocean cruise lines and 27 river cruise lines. So I guess you could start a thread for each one and by the time you were able to learn the policy of each line they would have likely changed their policies :). And to further complicate matters you are likely to find that some cruise lines vary their policies depending on where they happen to be sailing. So the policy for a positive case in the Bahamas would be completely different then a positive case in Greece. And then you have Oceania which appears to have an interesting policy for when their ship (Marina) will be cruising from a US Port. All passengers must be vaccinated (unless the courts intervene) but the cruise line "strongly recommends" that all embarking passengers get a COVID test within a few days of embarkation. If the passengers do not provide negative test results they will still be allowed to cruise but the cruise line will not be financially responsible if that person later gets COVID. On the other hand a tested passenger will apparently be handled by the cruise line at the cruise line's expense. But to add to the "fun" this past week the Governor of Florida appealed to the courts to overturn Oceania's vaccine mandate! And this is just the policy for one ship in one port! Hank
  14. That is pretty accurate for both Seaborn and Silverseas (we cannot speak to other luxury lines). We have no problems with that arrangement but do understand that some folks have issues. We used to point out that the Captain and most senior officers of ships all have their cabins towards the bow. But I do understand that some are not happy with anything but amid ship cabins and we do wish them well. On the other hand have you ever been on an airplane with first class or business anywhere but towards to the front? Hank
  15. According to info posted by one of the men in quarantine, Seabourn is taking care of the cost of the quarantine and handling the revised air arrangements. Hank
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