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snowglobe

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About snowglobe

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Interests
    Archeology, history, snorkeling, marine life & wildlife, food & wine, independent & solo travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Azamara
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Pacific, Med, Alaska

Recent Profile Visitors

525 profile views
  1. German-based Wirecard is not only a payment processor, but it also holds RCCL crew wages. Does RCI use Wirecard for Azamara crew and officers as well? Over a quarter of Wirecard’s assets are missing, and allegations of a cover-up and dodgy books have been going back to over a year ago. In 2018, RCI employees also fell victims to fraud due to a Wirecard hack fraud. Wirecard will likely sink (pardon the pun.) Employees need to trust that they will be paid and that their earnings are safe.
  2. Are Azamara’s crew members and officers caught up in the same way as other Royal Caribbean International’s employees that are at risk with their earnings tied up in Wirecard? With the announcement of the loss of a quarter of Wirecard’s assets to fraud, and its now likely demise, this could also shake up these employees’ trust in the parent company - and make rehires difficult for their experienced assets across the brands.
  3. This week-end, some of the Journey’s crew members were finally able to board a flight in Manila to their Eastern Europe home. The one who posted on FB was finally headed home to Belgrade.
  4. If I’m not mistaken, the “Lift and Shift” rules allow for the new itinerary to be +/- one night in cruise duration, *similar* (but not exactly the same itinerary), same cabin category, with a cruise date -4 weeks before or +4 weeks for the same date in 2021. (I’m pretty sure that this was outlined in another thread.) Added: I believe that under the parent company rules, that ships can be substituted. If the itineraries are close enough, your agent may be successful in making a case to switch your cruise to maybe this one: https://www.azamara.com/en-ca/voyage/qs07m473/7-night-rivieras-and-harbors-voyage Go online on the Azamara site & see if anything else seems to fit the bill. Give this info to your TA and instruct them to make the change. Put it in an e-mail.
  5. Travel insurance is going to be an ongoing factor as well, as long as there’s an issue with the emergency medical coverage/repatriation (Covid-19 related) that is/will be left out of individual travel insurance policies and from group plans. This will particularly have an impact for Azamara and their target demographics, esp. since their itineraries typically bring a majority of their passengers far from home. Different insurance markets have different rules. In Canada, most travel insurance contracts’ fine print have allowed the providers to exclude new Covid-19 related medical claims, even for insurance bought for future travel before all of this started.
  6. I was. I first went to a local Assessment Center, then was transferred over to Emergency for a further scan of my lungs. That night in the hospital was horrible. I was placed in a section that had 5 other Covid-19 patients. I was the oldest person there by at least a decade, with most in their 30s - and I was the least sick. I was sent home with the warning that it can suddenly progress downward very quickly, so for the next 10 days we were *very* afraid. I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky.
  7. I agree with that statement. The more that can be transferred through FCC and “Lift and Shift” into 2021 bookings, the better for them to seek additional financing.
  8. I did say that it was a shrewd corporate move for RCI. And I agree that “Lift and Shift” is likely not a good fit for Azamara. I was very sad to lose all of the excursions and onboard packages that I had bought for our Dec. 20 cruise. They will be refunded in full to my CC, and I fully expect to not get the same “deals” that I had been able to score, for the 2021 cruise (especially during the Black Friday sale.) There is no way that I expect any cruise in 2021-2022 to be like what we have known - especially when it comes to flights and shore experiences.
  9. We had a great trip in Australia post-cruise (had the pleasure of spending time in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale 🍷regions + lots of wacky animal encounters). By mid-March we had arrived in the Northern Territory and decided to cancel the rest of our planned itinerary. We had quite a bit of difficulty with several cancelled & repurchased flights, but finally arrived home on April 1st. During the 4 days that it took us to get from Darwin to Ottawa, I somehow got infected despite taking all possible precautions (except for the one that we could not control: social distancing.) I first starting showing symptoms on April 4th, without fever. Luckily, I only had a mild case of Covid-19 and it did not go down into my lungs. A full month later and I still have residual symptoms; which seems to be quite common with its course. Even more lucky, I did not pass it on to Bill - he tested negative a week ago. My Hematologist quipped: “Diane, your next cruise will be on a boat in the Rideau Canal”... I’ll be following that directive as a Sicilian follows the rules of the road... I’m interpreting it as a “suggestion”. 😂 However, we did cancel all of our other future travel plans until Fall 2021. We had a multi-generational family cruise planned for this December, and were able to use the “Lift and Shift” option to move it to Dec. 2021. The “Lift and Shift” is one smart marketing move on RCI’s part - having retained my deposit $$, plus now showing a set of reservations on their books for 2021 that otherwise I would not have made. It was a very shrewd corporate move - better than FCC - for them to help secure further financing to stay afloat, IMO. It’s just unfortunate that it’s not as easily applicable to most non-standardized Azamara itineraries, as it is for the Royal and Celebrity brands.
  10. I think that cruising in general will resume on a regional basis, with fewer ships, and more restricted itineraries initially. Just as Azamara banned certain nationalities from boarding in the early days of Covid-19, it will have to continue doing so in the early days of resuming operations I believe. Azamara knows full well who their market demographics have been (and relied on.) They will have to weigh carefully how & when to resume operations, if any of their key market segments shall be confined behind a set of travel bans - both for cruising, and for flying (with transiting en-route as well.) Different phases of “re-openening” won’t likely happen in sinc. As long as the U.S. does not control its outbreak, borders will remain closed to its citizens. Ditto with anywhere else that may have active flare-ups in subsequent waves. The various travel bans and advisories will greatly affect both the movement and confidence of future travellers. I think that we’ll be playing whack-a mole with flare-ups of this virus for a long while yet, and I believe that public health systems with have to develop robust testing/tracing/isolating strategies to get really good at it. Personally, I’m not sure that enough is yet known about this virus to quickly develop an effective vaccine quickly - it’s too much of a moving target right now and may behave on the immune system in ways that more closely resembles the common cold or HIV. I’d have better confidence in having solid treatment options in place to turn around the severe outcomes, and to deal with the residual symptoms. I was browsing different future itineraries for 2021, and I’m not sure that when cruising resumes, that Azamara will be able to keep many of their booked cruises’ itineraries as they have been initially offered. Some ports may be off-limits for far longer than others. Some regions may now be ‘unsellable’ for the foreseeable future. These are random thoughts that I’m spending more time than usual pondering...
  11. On the flip side, some ports may further limit the max size and number of passengers into their ports, making Azamara’s ships’ size interesting to address this market.
  12. Thank you for that clarification. The point still stands that, just as an overseas passenger or arriving crew member could have brought in onboard, it could just as easily have been an Australian who had been infected at home or in transit to board. I do not doubt that, in that first week of March, community transmission in several Australian cities was already occurring far more widely than initially thought. We will never really know, especially considering how many “mild” cases would have been missed in the early days.
  13. In the days leading to March 8th, we were traveling in South Australia. We are not fond of crowds, so avoided the very crowded Adelaide Festival venues (a writers and an arts festival were also on at the same time.) We came across a couple of “orientation” walking tours for newly arrived Asians students, and gave them a wide berth. I remember asking someone if they were not worried about the influx of students from China arriving to start school, and the person replied that they were indeed worried, especially as I was informed then that several had rushed to Australia via Malaysia and Singapore, as to not be blocked (instead of arriving directly from China.) This was the first week of March, and I am certain that this was happening in all Australian cities that were welcoming their overseas students influx. In retrospect, it’s easy to see how Australians, at home beforehand and however they made their way to Circular Quay on March 8th, could have been infected - on a bus/train/tram, attending a show or game, having a socially active uni student at home - by whatever activity or person that would have infected them before joining that fateful line-up on that day. Ditto for anyone else who had travelled from outside Australia to board on March 8th, with many having arrived to start their holiday earlier as well. We certainly did not know in early March that people can be highly infectious for a few days before symptoms would appear, that asymptomatic persons could shed the virus and that young people could be vectors without knowing it, and, most importantly, that the presenting symptoms could be far more varied that just a cough + fever (which for most of March was still the “golden standard” for a presumptive diagnosis and testing.) The article was fair, and the thought processes explained by the people that she interviewed were very much reflective of what people discussed with us during our Australian trip - well into the month of March. Personally, I think that it was indeed the Ruby Princess that finally was the turning point in people’s understanding of just how devastating to Australia Covid-19 was going to be. We were finally able to return to Canada on April 1st, after a great deal of difficulty with our several sequential sets of airline tickets. It was only on March 15th that we finally realized that we needed to try to get home, and leave Australia. We were in the Northern Territory by then. After much indecision and frustrations (repeatedly cancelled & re-purchased flights), we decided to hunker down in Darwin until we could go home. We have nothing but praise for all the kind Australians that we met. Note: We had disembarked from the Azamara Journey in Sydney on Feb. 23rd (arriving from a 30-day b2b from Tahiti and NZ.) For a “milestone-birthdays-bucket-list-once-in-a-lifetime” trip, this one was memorable.
  14. An emotional goodbye from Journey’s Captain (now in Singapore):
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