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About coastcat

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  1. Your plans sound amazing - I hope you get back onboard soon! It sounds like such a wonderful way to see the world without, as you note, the logistical hassles.
  2. You’re talking about twin sharing and the per person price for double occupancy. This is the Solo Cruisers forum. That means *single* occupancy, which means paying up to double that PPDO price for cabins not specifically designed for solos. The cheapest per-night solo fare I found for 2021 transatlantics is $84/night for an inside cabin on NCL Epic. About $100/night for single occupancy in a double cabin is still pretty darned cheap. I’ve just cancelled my April NCL TA at $200/night for a balcony (100% solo supplement) & NCL perks, and booked a September Celebrity TP at $190/night (100% solo supplement) for AquaClass on Solstice. The former was a good price, the latter is a bargain. Well, a bargain in a solo cruise fare context, anyway.
  3. Sorry, I should clarify. Celebrity does have balcony cabins designed for solo travelers on their Edge-class ships. This is a regular cabin - I'm just going solo and paying double. It's a really cheap price for something in this category, though! It wasn't much more than a regular balcony. That's a great price for the Jewel TA but unfortunately I agree, it's not happening. Check out 2021 prices for RCL as there are some good deals available. Availability is going to be limited, though, since they offered the Lift & Shift for cancelled cruises. I just joined the roll call for my Solstice transpacific and it seems like most of the cruisers there were originally booked on the equivalent cruise scheduled for September 2020. I checked the availability for my mid-June Quantum cruise and there are still 7 or 8 Studio Balcony cabins available (out of 12). Join us in Alaska! It's not a great itinerary for a once-in-a-lifetime Alaska visit but should still be fun.
  4. With fingers crossed (and masks worn properly), let's hope cruising returns in a reasonable form in 2021. It's planning time! Here's what I have booked right now... Booked but almost certainly not happening: December 2020: NCL Breakaway, Western Caribbean, solo mid-ship balcony. The way things look right now, I'll most likely just cancel this before the final payment date in mid-August. Booked for 2021: April 2021: NCL Escape, 15-days transatlantic, solo mid-ship balcony. This is NYC to Southampton with stops in the Azores, Spain, France, Belgium, and England. I'm wondering if all of those locations will be open to cruise ships by then - or maybe the question is if these ports will be open to U.S. citizens by then. If I apply my current FCC balance to the final payment due, only a very small amount of extra cash (less than $200) would be required. June 2021: RCL Quantum of the Seas, 7-days Alaska, Studio Balcony. Okay, I feel pretty certain we'll be cruising by this time. An affordable balcony in Alaska, hurray! September 2021: Celebrity Solstice, 15 days transpacific: If you're a solo cruiser, RCL/Celebrity has bargains available! This is a 15-day transpacific cruise from Vancouver to Tokyo. I booked a solo Aqua Class balcony cabin - with exclusive restaurant, unlimited access to the thermal spa, priority boarding, and other category perks - for $2800. Whoa. That's the no-extra-perks price (although you can pick your cabin location). They do have a deal now with unlimited beverages and WiFi plus pre-paid service charges, but selecting that version would have been DOUBLE the price. Uh, no thanks, I can buy my own occasional cocktails. December 2021: NCL Spirit, 17-days Singapore to Sydney, solo mid-ship balcony. I'd hate to cancel this one because the itinerary is amazing and I booked at a fare about 1/3 less than the current rate. While I have a good chunk of vacation time (and can carry over a lot from this no-vacations year), taking off for a 2+ week cruise after already taking 5 weeks off for the earlier cruises seems a bit much. If I don't use my FCC on the Escape TA, it'll cover a little less than 1/2 the remaining balance on the Spirit trip. Ouch. That's a lot of money for just a normal balcony cabin. I could do a similar land-based vacation there for less, flights included. Considering my first cruise of 2021 is scheduled to be the Escape transatlantic, I'm wondering if it makes more sense to cancel the Escape TA and wait for June to get back onboard - the June Quantum cruise allows more time for the industry to test out its protocols, is a shorter trip with a domestic itinerary, and is departing from my home port of Seattle. If I keep the Escape TA, I'd want to cancel the Spirit cruise. I'd rather do the Spirit cruise but the price is steep for a solo traveler. I know that longer cruises often drop considerably in price and solo supplement after the final payment date, and thus can be great for bargain hunters with flexible schedules. However, that was before we had a year without cruises and a dedicated core of cruise enthusiasts with a lot of FCC that needs to be used before it expires. I think it could be harder to find solo bargains for a year or two. Another option is to cancel both of the 2-week NCL cruises and apply all of the FCC to a 7-day NCL Caribbean cruise in November or December 2021. Heck, that should get me into The Haven. All 4 of my CruiseNext certificates currently holding cruises are valid through January 2024 so no rush in using them. I'm keeping my nicely priced RCL and Celebrity bookings, though. So many decisions to make. I'm inclined to cancel all the NCL bookings, then book a Haven cabin for fall/winter 2021 to use up the FCC. Thoughts?
  5. Right, I booked a regular balcony cabin at the single occupancy rate. No reduced solo supplement for any of my three booked NCL trips. Ugh. I’m really hoping that NCL is planning to add balcony Studios (like RCL has) for the upcoming Leonardo-class ships.
  6. Epic is notable as the debut of the Studio area. The bathroom design you see now in NCL Studios is the design that debuted in all cabins on Epic, with the sink in the cabin and toilet & shower as separate areas. It’s goofy for a shared cabin but works just fine for a solo where privacy isn’t an issue. I had booked a solo balcony on one of this December’s Epic sailings to the Southern Caribbean, but switched out to a different cruise (on Breakaway) the same week. Hoping it’ll actually sail but... Epic is kind of clunky on the outside. Definitely agree on how The Haven area looks like an afterthought bolted to the top of the ship. Epic’s Thermal Spa area looks amazing, though. I think it’s the only one with an open air area.
  7. LOL, yes, that's the TA. I haven't booked travel through a TA since... gosh, I'm not sure anymore. A couple decades? As soon as travel bookings went online to the public, I switched to doing it all on my own (not that I'm arranging anything particularly complex, though).
  8. Agreed about the NRD. NCL's CruiseNext certificates take the risk out of indecision and schedule changes - does RCL have an equivalent? The RCL Studio Balcony pricing is certainly much more wallet-friendly than the usual solo balcony on Alaska trips! The NCL Studio rooms are comfortable and free espresso is awesome, but... it's hard to resist a balcony. Unfortunately for my bank account.
  9. RCL will sail four ships on Alaska itineraries in 2021: Ovation and Quantum on round-trips out of Seattle, Serenade on RTs from Vancouver, and Radiance handling one-way trips between Vancouver and Seward. Ovation will visit Juneau and Skagway while Quantum visits Juneau, Icy Strait Point, and Sitka. RCL does not have a permit to enter Glacier Bay National Park so it’s not the best cruise line for that one-time bucket list trip to Alaska. I live about 25 minutes from the Seattle piers so for me this trip is more about a new ship than an exotic destination. Quantum is based in Asia now, will head to Alaska May-September 2021, and then move to Australia/New Zealand sailings in November 2021.
  10. No secret at all for booking the RCL balcony! Last month a travel agency I follow on YouTube (we can’t mention TAs by name here unfortunately) announced a mid-June 2021 group cruise on Quantum. I went to RCL’s site to check out pricing, hoping there was still at least one Studio Balcony left - and 11 of the 12 were still open. I just checked this morning and 9 are still available. While NCL doesn’t have virtual balconies, the Studios in Bliss and Encore (and maybe Escape?) have virtual windows. The older ships have actual windows to the hallway, which is weird. Yes, I’m paying the dreaded full solo supplement on the upcoming NCL cruises. Two of the ships do have Studio areas but I’m a balcony fan. The Infinite Verandah on Celebrity’s Edge-class ships is a twist on the balcony idea. Check it out on their site: https://www.celebritycruises.com/things-to-do-onboard/staterooms/veranda-stateroom
  11. As noted, the NCL Studio setup is great for solos. You'll find the Studio cabins & Studio Lounge on Epic, Pride of America, and all the Breakaway/Breakaway Plus ships except Joy. A daily pre-dinner solo traveler gathering is hosted by NCL on every ship, including those without Studio areas. You'll have a dedicated solo host who will set up group dinners and outings to shows and other entertainment. If you'd rather be on your own (like me!), you'll have zero issues in getting a solo table at the included and specialty dining venues (except maybe Teppanyaki). NCL's Freestyle dining is awesome if you can't bear the thought of being seated with a bunch of strangers. NCL used to make it easy to look for sailings with a solo discount but that functionality disappeared after the last website design. Very annoying. I've got three NCL cruises booked, all solo balcony cabins, all at 100% solo supplement. I enjoyed the Studio setup in NCL Bliss. Sure, I couldn't go out on my balcony to drink coffee, so I simply got dressed and drank coffee on The Waterfront or in the Observation Lounge. The free espresso available 24/7 in the Studio Lounge was infinitely better than the free coffee available in the balcony/mini-suite cabins. Studios are tiny but well-designed so I never felt cramped for space. Also as noted, RCL's Quantum-class ships (Quantum, Anthem, Ovation, Odyssey, and Spectrum) have solo cabins including balcony cabins. The first four ships have 12 of those Studio Balconies, located at the aft side of a bump-out which results in larger angled balconies for 8 of them; Spectrum has 18, I think? With a bit of luck I was able to book a Studio Balcony on Quantum OTS next summer, and with even better luck I grabbed of the cabins with the largest angled balcony! However, while Studio balconies were about 1/2 the price of single-occupancy in regular balcony cabins on this particular sailing, I've seen other sailings where regular cabins were the cheaper option. Looking forward to comparing the RCL solo experience to the NCL one. Allegedly there are Studio balcony cabins on the newest MSC ships (Meraviglia and Bellisima, maybe others?) but I don't see them on deck plans and they don't come up in mock bookings. Celebrity Edge and Apex have single versions of the Infinite Verandah cabins. Ah, someday.
  12. King has applied for phase 2. That’s still a long way from being fully open, but it’s progress. Alaska no longer requires quarantine for everyone. A negative PCR test produced within 72 hours before arrival means hey, welcome to Alaska. Some tourism businesses are open - not at full strength, but they’re operating again. https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/ Since I couldn’t do the Kenai Fjords tour earlier this month in conjunction with my cancelled Jewel sailing, I might fly up to Anchorage and drive to Seward to try it without the cruise. Major Marine is already running tours again! As for NCL’s plan to somehow get an exemption to the PVSA... well, you have to admire that level of optimism...
  13. I sailed on Bliss to Alaska last year. The bow was opened while we were in Glacier Bay.
  14. Bliss is a wonderful ship for Alaska! Like Joy, it has the Observation Lounge (albeit without a Starbucks in the OL - there's one on deck 6, though). Unlike Joy, it has the Thermal Spa. Pricey for the full-week pass but so worth the splurge...
  15. Darn. But on the other hand, the added benefits could be worth it, once we're able to travel again that is.
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