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Everything posted by terry&mike

  1. Hello to the OP, and others who may face this problem, I am a travel agent. Please call Royal and explain the situation, and have them take over the booking, and work directly with them on your cruise. I disagree with the writing of a strongly worded letter, and other actions that have a negative connotation. I am certain that this travel agent had no intention of being without a job this week, and could possibly be in an uncomfortable financial position. I am certain that this travel agency had no intention of shutting their doors this week, and may possibly never recover from this. I truly feel for people in the travel industry right now. Being a travel agent is not a job that pays a lot of money to begin with, most people are attracted to it because they love what they do, they love helping people plan amazing trips and create great memories through travel. I am in a fortunate position in that I mostly work from home to begin with, so it is easy to continue to work from home full time. I am considered an independent contractor at my agency, which means I am paid commission only. Luckily, I am retired from the field of real estate, and this is my "happy job" to give me something to do that I love. (DH is also fully retired, but his personality doesn't need to be as busy as mine does, so he enjoys the relaxing life!) I am not financially dependent on it. I can say that not everyone who works at my office is in this same position, and I know they must be under great stress right now. I also wonder how long the owners of the agency will be able to pay rent on our storefront and so on. Currently, I am spending a lot of time cancelling trips that I previously spent a lot of time putting together, and each day that I work I am reducing my income. That can be difficult to process and depressing at times. If you were to add to that the stress of someone who had bills to pay, children to feed, etc, I can imagine it would be a very tough time. I think we'll get through this and come out the other side, and travel will begin to strengthen and grow again. But it will require patience.
  2. Great news! Thanks for an awesome read, and allowing us to follow along.
  3. Great to hear these good reports. We have a port stop in Oman in March, 2021 and will certainly book with this company.
  4. I look on this Asia board every day. I don't expect to see any posts, but I still look. I still want to think about travel, read about travel, dream about travel. It's so nice to see something. I was so very fortunate to spend 4 weeks in Asia in January. We started in Bali for a few days. Then we flew to Singapore for a couple of days, and boarded the Diamond Princess on January 6 for 14 days (we were the sailing before the quarantined sailing). We had an amazing trip, sailing from Singapore to 3 ports in Vietnam, Hong Kong for 2 days, Taiwan, a couple of ports in Japan, and ending in Tokyo, where we stayed a few more days. What an awesome Asian adventure! We have a few more trips planned for this year, some of them are unraveling now. But we are scheduled to be back in Asia in March, 2021, and have a 28 day cruise booked on the Grand Princess, leaving from Singapore! I think we'll fly in a couple of weeks early and visit Thailand and Cambodia by land. I will be excited to be back to planning and researching ports and things to do. Looking forward to reading posts on the Asia board from my fellow travelers.
  5. Hello from Louisiana, U.S. We had been requested to stay in and practice social distancing, etc for the past week, but yesterday our state went into mandatory lockdown. We are over 800 positive cases, which is a lot for our population size. The extra measure of lockdown was probably needed - many people born and raised in Louisiana have faced hurricanes and flooding often, and have a bit of a "carry on and survive" mentality. All non-essential businesses are ordered closed, and you should not leave your home except for food, medicine, or to care for a person or pet, or exercise. My hairdresser sent a text yesterday saying my hair appointment for this Thursday is cancelled, so I guess the world is about to find out that rather than being a redhead, I'm totally gray haired! DH and I have been staying to ourselves for a week now. We take a long walk every day at a local park, and notice that each day more people are there getting exercise and fresh air. Other than that, we have ventured out a few times for groceries or take out food. Meat has been very scarce at the grocery store, and Friday I came home with a turkey, an unusual choice for us, but it was there and is something fun and different. We have cocktails on our back porch in the evening and yesterday I said, "I like this bar a lot, the drink prices are very good and they know how to make a great martini. Problem is, the same people are here every day." We have watched a lot of TV shows and movies, and currently are obsessed with the docu-series "Tiger King", it's TV gold. Everything seems so small and quiet. I am a travel agent, and can easily work from home. I am spending lots of hours cancelling trips that I spent lots of hours putting together. I feel like I go to work every day to reduce my income, it's an odd feeling. Some days I get down and have to pull myself out of this. I'm watching my personal trips start to unravel as well. We were scheduled to fly to Virginia to visit my 80-year-old Mom this past weekend, but cancelled out of worry of what we could bring to her in way of germs. We have a trip to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate a friends' birthday in April, and I have a feeling that won't occur. I was booked for 11 days in Kenya in May, but the provider cancelled a few days ago. I'm booked for a river cruise in the South of France for July and am hoping with all hope that things come together. I haven't started to worry about trips for Fall and beyond yet. I can say we were fortunate to have spent 4 weeks in Asia in January, traveling from Bali to Japan with lots of places in between, and I'm so happy that we had that opportunity. I saw an interesting post yesterday from a local Assisted Living Center for senior citizens. As they cannot have visitors, the staff were making an appeal to the public to send letters and cards to the residents there, not particular residents just in general to the facility, so that the staff could keep them engaged with the outside world. I thought that was a nice idea. I'll be happy when this is all in our rear view mirror, and we can get back to enjoying life and planning great adventures. Cheers to you all!
  6. As a travel agent who specializes in cruises, this is one of the best things I have read in many, many days!! Thank you so much for providing a smile!
  7. Your travel agent does not need to call Royal to do this. Your travel agent can do the booking online directly, and the date that the deposit is due to be paid by is reflected as the May 31st date.
  8. Travelex announced yesterday that they are suspending the option to purchase CFAR, other companies may follow suit -- In the wake of the rapidly changing and escalating global impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Travelex Insurance Services and Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company are announcing a suspension of the Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage on all Travelex plans with effect on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. No CFAR coverage will be accepted from Wednesday, March 18, 2020 forward.
  9. Very nice! I am sending positive thoughts out for an upgrade for DH and I on our 28 day sailing in March 2021, from Singapore to Rome - there's hope!
  10. As a TA, I can tell you that processing a cancellation of a Princess cruise only takes a few minutes tops, and is easily done with a few key strokes on the computer. I think you should cancel the cruise with your TA and let them process it. It is what we do, and I doubt you will be a bother.
  11. It is most unusual, the lack of posts, but I get it. Hopefully these boards will get back to their usual activity within the next couple of months. Within the last week, I have booked Asia myself. I booked DH and I on the Grand Princess, 28 day sailing out of Singapore for March 23, 2021. Most of my research for this trip so far has been in regards to some land touring we want to do in Thailand and Cambodia pre-cruise, so I haven't moved into the ports planning as of yet. We returned from a month in Asia on January 25, and have several other international trips booked for 2020. Until someone tells us we can't go on any of those trips, we'll continue forward. But I think everyone has to make their own call, it should be a vacation, and if it's giving someone more concern than enjoyment to think about it, then they probably should not go.
  12. Great, thank you, I'll check the AirBnb experiences, I've had good luck with them in the past. (I've been to Sharjah)
  13. I'm looking for something a bit different than the usual options in Dubai for an upcoming port stop. We visited Dubai for a week in 2018 and hit all the top tourist spots. We will back there for a day on a port stop in a few months, and don't want to repeat anything. It's DH and I, well traveled and like to be independent, we are healthy and active. Any ideas out there?
  14. Viking does not have bicycles available for touring ports.
  15. Emerald Waterways would be a good fit for you, I believe. They offer Active options in many of the ports that include things like hiking, bike rides, and canoeing on the river. Because of this, they attract a slightly younger audience.
  16. DH and I are sailing a nice itinerary in July on Scenic from Lyon on the Rhone River, in the Provence area.
  17. No, Yokohama was scheduled to be the home port for Diamond beginning January 20th. I was on the sailing January 6-20, Singapore to Yokohama. The next sailing was Yokohama round trip for 2 weeks beginning January 20 to many of the same ports we did (Hong Kong, etc) - this is the one that got quarantined. Then the ship was then scheduled to start sailing circle Japan itineraries for a couple of months from Yokohama.
  18. This has worked for me when traveling on a foreign carrier into a US airport, clearing immigration and doing the bag re-check thing, and then clearing security to connect to my domestic US flight. My husband and I will complete the bag re-check process, and then rather than go on through security in that area, we will exit the area into the main part of the airport. We will then enter thru a security Pre-Check line out in the main area of the airport. Occasionally, our boarding pass given to us by the foreign carrier for the local leg (ie your boarding pass given to you by Air New Zealand for your United leg) does not have our pre-check designation on it. I have found that if I then go to a local carrier (United) kiosk and reprint our boarding passes at the local airport (ORD), they have the TSA designation on them. Then I go through security and on to my gate.
  19. Hello kip6, So good to see your posts here and that you are maintaining positive spirits. I've been wavering between feeling lucky and feeling guilty since we arrived home. Hubby and myself, along with my group of 29 clients and friends, disembarked the Diamond Princess on January 20, after sailing a Singapore-Tokyo 2 week Asia itinerary. After spending several days in Tokyo, we all flew home to the U.S. by January 25. Several in our group became ill after returning home, and as the virus was blowing up in the media, several sought medical attention out of concern. In all cases, it was just some random bug picked up from traveling, and not the virus. As of today, we've all been home just under 3 weeks, and feel grateful we scooted out under the wire. Most of us have been closely following the events on the Diamond with great empathy. While we feel fortunate in our timing, our thoughts are very much with those still on board, the passengers and the wonderful crew (Charlie our kind cabin steward, Dale' in the Wheelhouse, several others). I am sending lots of good energy your way that you can continue to maintain your positive outlook, and that the issue is resolved soon. Thinking of you, and all the best, Terry
  20. That is not reflective at all in what I have seen from my clients. My bookings are up over this time last year by a good percent.
  21. For future reference, you do have the dates of the cruise, so buy insurance for your expected dates of travel (pick a few days on either side of the cruise), and then once you purchase your air, modify your travel insurance policy.
  22. I disembarked the Diamond Princess on January 20 in Yokohama, with my group of 29 clients, after an awesome 14 day sailing from Singapore to Tokyo. All flew back to their homes in US between January 20 and January 25. Now that the news of the ship quarantine is surfacing, and that the infected man boarded on January 20, I am fielding some inquiries from my clients in regards to their health concerns. I am focusing on the positive that our group was on the sailing before this one, thank goodness. But I do have great sympathy for the crew we befriended while on board, and for the passengers who are stuck there.
  23. Good news is that as your air is booked through Princess EZ Air your TA can change your flights to have you fly in the day before with no penalties. (This is assuming that she booked Flexible, not Restricted.)
  24. I think there is enough for 2 nights pre-cruise. The first day you'll most likely be tired and not do too much. Maybe just go to Taipei 101, ride to the observation tower, stroll around and look at the fabulous over the top store fronts in the mall there, eat. The next day you could go up to Jiufen, the charming mountain town, and then visit sights around Taipei - changing of the guard, temples and shrines. On boarding day, you could drop your stuff at ship and then visit the things in Keelung, such as the great market there, and the hilltop shrines. If possible, try to book in to the Grand Hotel in Taipei - it is fabulous!
  25. I was surprised by how much we liked Taiwan. Didn't have much information going in, and expected a casual day of lets see what happens. Ended up having a great day. Make sure you get up to Jiufen, a highlight for all of us. Keep in mind that Jiufen and Keelung are known locally to have almost continual rain, bring a rain jacket and power through.
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