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Everything posted by terry&mike

  1. It actually is a bit of an odd fish, with some confusing results. When the Sapphire and the Diamond sail in Japan, they only offer Traditional Dining, not Anytime Dining. Here is an interesting twist: I currently have 27 people sailing with me on the Singapore to Tokyo, Jan. 6, 2020, Diamond. Most of us booked a long time ago and are confirmed for 2nd Traditional at 7:15pm. Given that there will be some late days in ports with lots to do, this works out well. There are a couple of people who have booked more recently and are Waitlisted for the 2nd seating (at #30, and at #260). Here is where it gets interesting, the current Waitlist position on this sailing for 7:15p is 410, and the current Waitlist position for 5:00p is #178. Given that Anytime is not an option, I keep waiting for Princess to figure this out, as it seems that something will have to give as you cannot expect all these people to eat in the buffet for every meal of a 2 week cruise. I have spoken with my Princess rep and she doesn't know how they will figure it out, but that "I'm sure they'll do something". I have called Princess and spoken to phone reps and most are completely unaware that there is no Anytime and give you some verbiage about if they don't clear for 7:15p they'll be assigned Anytime, you point out there is no Anytime, they say there is Anytime on all ships, you point out this specific unusual circumstance for Diamond and they place you on hold for a long time, and then come back and say, "Oh yes, you are correct, there is no Anytime Dining on that sailing", but then they don't know how it will be handled. I have no doubt the #30 position will clear the Waitlist, as we are far enough out, but I doubt the #260 person will. I'm thinking Princess will just open up a flood of new dining spaces in both seatings, as they obviously have the room for it, but there has been chatter that they may shuffle all the dining to 3 set times at 4pm, 6:15p and 8:30p, which I think will cause a stampede of disgruntled travelers.
  2. Looks like he said its a Transatlantic, so one flight over is international, and the small leg home is domestic. You will be charged a baggage fee for the domestic flight.
  3. Is there a reason does not cancel the air ticket and take a credit from the airline for a flight within the next year? They should be able to do this and not lose all of their money, just lose a fee for the cancellation.
  4. You cannot change the name on the ticket. During boarding, if your friend is a no show, they have the right to assign the seat to another passenger, for example a Waitlist passenger. Most likely, if the flight is not oversold or has no waitlist, the seat will remain empty.
  5. Yes, to get the air discount you will need to "refare" your booking. Run your numbers first, as you'll lose perks from your current booking to gain perks from the refared booking. Many times this is just moving money around, and not always a better deal.
  6. On our booking, cocktails outside of meal times were included at no additional charge. They do have different inclusions based on the country you are from though, so may be different for Australia.
  7. Awesome. It is often overlooked, so I'm glad I could help. Happy travels!
  8. Yes, the option is offered at the start of the EZ Air booking process. There are drop down boxes in the area above the city/dates areas that you can change, one of those is Class of Service, it is pre-selected to Economy, you can drop it down and select a different class of service. As you are booked Flexible, you can now go in to your reservation and click the Change/Modify flights button and change the class to Prem Econ, and then to Business, and compare rates. If you find something you like, go through the process and change your current flights to the new flights. And yes, you can call Princess and pay for your air and have them ticket your current Economy holding in Flexible Air, this then becomes Restricted Air and is fully ticketed.
  9. I understand that "less than ten days" does not apply to all insurance, most are within 14 days, and some are farther out as you noted. I use less than 10 days as a guideline when discussing the purchase of insurance as many people forget, or tend to put it off the further out it is. If you are going to buy it, best to buy it as soon as possible, once you've done your research. As a travel professional, I encourage my clients who are going to buy insurance to buy it at the same time as initial deposit or within 24 hours, this way they don't move it to the back burner and forget it.
  10. Although it is too late in this instance, it is worth noting that when you book a trip and make a deposit of any amount for that trip, that you then purchase travel insurance. Whether you decide to purchase travel insurance through an independent company, or through the cruise line, you want to purchase this insurance in less than 10 days from making the initial deposit. In the case of cruises, having a cruise line add insurance as a line item to your reservation does not constitute purchasing insurance. You must say that you would like to pay the deposit for the trip, as well as pay for the insurance.
  11. Like donaldsc, I have arranged many private tours and I have joined other's private tours. I do this because I prefer small group tours in a mini van or smaller, with a well known and highly rated guide, and like to save money as these tours are cheaper than the cruise lines. My experience is very positive with this, and I feel I get a much better tour. I am a very thorough researcher, and I like to book the top guides far in advance. For example, I have had Xuan Le in Vietnam booked since July 2018 for our cruise in January 2020 for 2 ports, many of you will know of him if you read the Asia boards. To hold him for our days I had to send him a $400 usd deposit, which I happily did. Most times I don't have to send money to hold a guide, but I'm willing to risk it for the top guide. (I held one of the highest rates guides in Ephesus for over a year in advance with just an email.) I then divide the total cost by number of passengers, and let people on Roll Call know of the tour by posting the tour details including price pp, itinerary, inclusions, and guide information so they can read reviews. I also make participants aware that the cost is based on number of people who go on the tour. In the case of the Vietnam tours, I will not be posting them on the Roll Call for that sailing as I am traveling with 27 friends and clients on that trip, and will need all the spaces for my own group. In this case I will handle the money differently, as it is a 2 week cruise from Singapore to Tokyo with lots of details and moving parts. I will collect the funds from each of these people in advance of the cruise via Venmo, Paypal, etc when they commit to the different tours I have throughout the trip. This is to simplify handling so many people and different forms of money in foreign ports, and to ensure that the costs remain the same for all participants. I also need to send the Japanese tour operator a hefty deposit for tours and transfers plus money in advance for Sumo tournament tickets, a few months out. A couple of times I have been offered a discount or free passage for myself for arranging the tour, from the operator, but that may be due to me being in the business. How I handle this is I ask the operator to provide something extra for our group instead, such as some local wine with lunch, or stop for local treats along the way, or similar, this way we all receive a benefit. If someone is earning free passage or getting a discounted tour for making the arrangements on a tour I have joined, I don't mind though. If you post a tour on Roll Call, and I like the tour, and then I read reviews on the guide and I like the guide, and I decide the price for the tour is fair, then I sign up with you. Just this week I joined a posted tour for a port on a cruise next month, as it worked for me in all aspects, but I don't care what the total cost is of the tour, as my share of the cost was reasonable. On some cruises I'm very active in this, on some cruises I am not so active, but they are always arranged and filled before the ship sails, and not fly by night type of deals. After more than 30 cruises, I have had only one issue that I can recall. I had organized an island tour in Grenada that focused on food tastings and spices of the island, and we had 8 people total. On the morning of the tour, one couple never showed at the meeting point. We waited for 30 minutes past time and then finally left them. The rest of the group had to absorb their share of the tour cost, which was a bit of a bummer, but guests understood. When I got back to my cabin that evening they had left me a voice mail on the cabin phone (but had not called my cell phone) to say the wife did not feel well so they decided to stay on board the ship. They could have handled this better.
  12. We sailed to Antarctica (with the Faulkland Islands and South Georgia) in January 2018 on Ponant, as they have luxury expedition ships, and do landings via zodiak rafts. It truly was an amazing journey. Yes, it's expensive, but we both agreed it was worth every dollar.
  13. Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed review. I am taking a group of 27 friends and clients aboard the Diamond Princess this January, sailing Singapore to Tokyo, so it was nice to read your first hand experiences in Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong, as they are on our itinerary.
  14. Was in Dubai in late November for 6 days and found that buying a pass on their Metro was a very good value and made getting around the city efficient. Dubai is amazingly spread out, and distances by car/cab can take a long time and get pricey. On our first day there, we did a general city tour (small group tour with a guide) to give us an overview, and then went back to things on our own the next several days. I think the Hop On/Hop Off bus in Singapore would be a good idea, as the distances are smaller, but in Dubai I think you would spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for the next bus to come by (unless you just wanted to get on it and ride the route in full without getting off). Make sure it is air conditioned, Dubai in late November was seriously hot!
  15. This is called a Embarkation/Disembarkation Deviation. Most cruise lines have a department that you will need to send your request to in written form via email and they will respond. I have done this multiple times, but not with Norwegian, although I think they would be similar to other brands in approach. My most recent experience was with RCCL, and involved requesting to join a cruise not in Rome at the start, but 2 days later in Valencia, Spain. I put in the request in early February, 2019 for a transatlantic cruise in October, 2020, and received a written reply last week, about a month turn-around; copy of letter below. They are also charging a $65 (per booking, not per person) administrative fee that is non-refundable. Some things to note, to request the deviation I have often had to book first and then make the deviation request. In the case of RCCL, I did not use their cheaper Non-Refundable Deposit fare, but a slightly higher Refundable Deposit fare, in case it was denied, or we change our plans. I also put in a request for a Disembarkation Deviation on a Princess Coastal Cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver in May, 2019, to request to Disembark 2 days early in Seattle, so my Mom could spend some extra time with her sister who lives there before returning home. As I expected, this one was denied as it did not fulfill the PVSA guidelines. No worries, we'll just backtrack to Seattle from Vancouver after disembarking, so in this case not a big deal. Your itinerary should work to allow this, but it is up to the cruise line. Note the important line far below: Regulatory Restrictions and Ships Itineraries are Subject to Change. If the ship doesn't make the port where your sister is disembarking (or I am embarking!), the cost/hassle is on the guest to sort it out. Good Day,Please be advised that we have received your request to Embark at an alternate port. After reviewing said request we are happy to advise that currently there are no regulatory restrictions that will prohibit an approval.There is a $65 USD per booking handling fee to finalize your approval and arrangement. Please contact us at your earliest convenience and provide us with a valid credit card payment. ( Non - Refundable ) We can be reached 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at: Domestic: 1-800-256-6649 (prompt #1) or International: 305-539-4107. Guests must be aware of the following: Travel documentation (i.e. passports, visas, immigration paperwork, etc...) may be required for entry into countries or ports outside of the USA. It is the responsibility of the guest(s)/travel partner to ensure that the required original documentation is provided. Incorrect documentation can possibly result in denied entry into the requested countries or boarding of the vessel based on the itinerary.***Important Notice to Guest***Regulatory Restrictions and Ships Itineraries are subject to change. Emergency Travel Team is not responsible for any costs incur as a result of these changes .
  16. Thank you all so much for your thoughts on this. Spent some time checking routes and metal and Premium Economy reviews. Ended up "holding" flights on a route I really liked, for a very good rate of $1706 pp with Princess EZAir using their Flexible Air for Premium Economy. On the international legs, I'm flying American Airlines operated by JAL on 2 legs going over in PE, and American Airlines operated by AA on return in PE. (2 short flights from Baton Rouge to DFW Dallas are in regular Economy, of course.) This way I can change my mind without penalty, or refare air if a price drop. Also, considering similar routing and times with United operated by ANA, which is my preferred as I have status with United, but the rate is currently a good bit higher.
  17. Globaliser, that was a very good read, thank you for directing me to that post. And the links within were great. And Hallasm, thank you for your input. No worries about us all vying for PE seats on the same flights - some of us will be on the flight mentioned above in PE, some of us will be coming and going on other dates/times, some of us will be in other cabin classes. I'm just starting with this route and date request, and as Premium Economy is such a slippery fish, I knew I could get some personal experience here. We'll all meet up on January 6 in Singapore.
  18. Looking for some insight with those of you familiar with Premium Economy seating, and with routes to Asia. I am just beginning to research some options, and am looking for what airlines you believe have the better Premium Economy seats. We are not interested in the Economy Plus or similar product that just provides additional leg room inches, but more in the true Premium Economy product offered by airlines that provides a slightly better seat experience, and sometimes other perks. Lots of options out there in metal, such as JAL, Singapore, ANA, Eva, also United, American, etc. We are a large group, about 25 people, traveling for approximately 3-4 weeks; some will travel on different days, different classes, different routes, of course, but many are focused on P.E. Several of us are looking at this route: Baton Rouge BTR- Singapore SIN, departing December 29; Tokyo HND or NRT - Baton Rouge BTR departing January 23. Date options include can depart as early as December 28, or a few days after December 29; can return home a day or 2 later from Tokyo. Airport options include flying out of New Orleans MSY, or out of Houston IAH, but will need to factor in parking costs for duration.
  19. I've been watching for the NCL transatlantics, Europe to US, to be posted for October/November 2020, as all the other cruise lines have posted theirs. We will be in Portugal and Spain for a month in October and plan to sail back. We're currently booked on RCCL for a November crossing, but I'd like to see what NCL comes out with.....
  20. Diamond just left a 14 day dry dock in early February for some upgrades and refurbishment - https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/20326-diamond-princess-debuts-after-drydock-updates.html
  21. I received an email yesterday from NCL with instructions on how to book guests with an air deviation for 1-2 days before the cruise, and/or 1-2 days after the cruise. It stated that due to demand they were adding this feature to the Free/Reduced Air perk. There is a $50 per person deviation fee, and you do not have to use hotels booked through NCL. This email was for travel professionals, so was not sent to the general public. Your travel agent or NCL should be able to book this new program for you. The transfers are auto added in, but there will be no transfers provided, so the transfers need to be manually taken out by the booking agent (it's a simple un-check box on the computer, but requires the extra step); make sure you check them on this.
  22. You can pay a small fee to customize your air with Regent, this will allow you to have some say over the routing. Worth every penny. You have to be 330 days or less out.
  23. On Delta, if you purchase Basic Economy rather than Main Cabin Economy, you will be able to select your seats at online check in based on what is available at that time. They may be together or may not, as it will be based on that flights seating and what is available. I'd not buy that class for myself, and I would advise a family to not even consider it.
  24. As someone "in the business", I can confirm you are getting the correct information. Premium category cruise lines (Princess, RCI, Celebrity) give 1 berth credit for every 8 cabins booked. There are rare exceptions where a certain cruise will offer a reduced TC credit of 1 berth for every 6 cabins booked. You can also use your group points on some sailings to buy down your TC credit, to either 1 berth for every 7 cabins, or 1 berth for every 6 cabins. Luxury cruise lines offer lower TC credit bars, often 1 berth for every 6 cabins. River cruises offer still lower TC credit bars, usually 1 berth for every 5 cabins, and occasional promotions of 1 berth for every 4 cabins, with the lowest I've ever seen is a rare river cruise promotion of 1 berth for every 3 cabins.
  25. I'm not saying they will always grant what you are requesting, or that the instructions on boarding will be for when you want, but that this is the process to request an exception. In the case of Princess, the exception was denied and so we altered our plans. In the case of Royal the exception was granted and specific instructions were given to us in writing. In both cases, we emailed the department that handles this and it took several days for a response.
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