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About bbwex

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Sailing, scuba diving, photography
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  1. Well, a lot of people have commented, and I might as well throw in my two cents. We had a cruise booked for late October and were leaving our deposit with O until closer to final payment to see what, if anything, they might do to entice us to switch our deposit to another cruise. The news that NCL might not survive convinced us to request the refund of our deposit now rather than hold out and face the chance of losing it in a bankruptcy, should that happen. There are a lot of headwinds for the entire travel industry, and the cruise industry is the one facing the most turbulent waters if you will pardon the expression. Looking ahead, the virus could well come back in the fall if it ever leaves in the first place. Such a recurrence would put a real damper on travel and everything else. Would you feel safe getting on a plane right now? Do you know how you will feel about that in the fall or late summer? As someone has pointed out, it just takes one person to bring it on board and there could be an outbreak on the ship. Not that it necessarily would be an O ship, but any outbreak on any ship, and a re-run of the passengers trapped for weeks on a ship would put the cruise industry back in a tailspin. And do you feel comfortable planning to get on a cruise ship in four months, six months, a year? And will all countries let cruise ships dock, and particularly those with a lot of American passengers where we have been slow to adequately fight the outbreak -- we have become pariahs in the international community no matter which side of the divide you are on in this country. There is some optimistic talk about a vaccine being available in 2021, but many scientists say that that will require every single thing to go right, otherwise it could be 2022. I suspect that the cruise industry will still exist, and I suspect that O will try to continue to cater to its many customers. Perhaps costs will go up to maintain the quality of the line, but most O passengers could absorb some additional costs. Perhaps the R ships will disappear sooner than planned, though they have all been refurbished recently, so there will be some attempt, I would think, to keep them going. When the dust settles, and many have been making their own guesses in this long thread, we will start to book again -- I have my eye on a cruise or two for 2022. And I realize that the cruise lines need people like me to hang in there, but I will hang in there as a prospective return cruiser, and not leave my money with them until we see what shakes out.
  2. Zoom is easy to set up, and then you can really see who you are talking to as more than one person can fit into the camera's lens around a computer. You do need a computer with a camera and hopefully a microphone, though the latter can be easily obtained and does not have to be anything special. They have a free account available, though your sessions are limited in time and scope of number of people online. We are in Pittsburgh, PA and have been under an essential business only order for over two weeks. The number of cases is rapidly increasing here, though most people seem to be going along with the limited going out. The hoarding seems to have passed, and a trip to Costco yesterday was easy -- the place was restocked and not very busy, at least when we were there. If you do go out, the streets are eerily quiet.
  3. Whether we are ahead of the curve or not is not a discussion for this board. However there are other considerations that might not be clear, i.e. getting into the other countries that we hope to visit, what will the economic picture look like in various countries after every country's economy has all but come to a dead stop in the near term, etc.
  4. It would be a good idea to delay the due dates for final payments for any cruises. NCL did it, but Oceania and Regent have not done so and are just offering cruise credits once you pay. It is not as if there will not be any spaces on future cruises! Our final payment is due the end of May for a late October cruise. I have a feeling that we won't know enough to be sure of anything by the end of May, and we are more likely to cancel when the time comes.
  5. On a related topic, NCL reduced the time period between the sailing date and final payment -- I am pretty sure that they went from 120 days down to 90. Oceania and Regent have not followed suit. Final payment for our cruise in late October is going to be due May 31st. Then our choice will be to either pay in full and hope to be able to cancel without penalty later, or simply cancel since so much in unknown at this point and likely at the end of May. Obviously I am not sure that I will know that much more by the end of July, but the chances that we can make a fully informed decision in May is looking pretty remote. As everyone has noted, the industry is struggling to figure all of this out, and they are struggling to stay financially afloat (sorry about that pun), and they are going to want to see money coming in, and then hold onto it as long as they can. That is not in my interest however.
  6. No extra charge for that!!! BTW we do need to keep our act clean for CC!
  7. Well, Costa Concordia is unquestionably weird. I have taught a course on cruise ship incidents, and I put this case is a class of its own. The list of bad decisions by Schettino is long and awful, and not worth going into here. I was using the case simply to point out that some people had not had a muster drill at all in an effort to make them less onerous. Whether that contributed to any specific loss of life or injury is unknown. The point I was trying to make was that we never know what is going to happen. Train for the worst, hope for the best.
  8. To navybankerteacher and chengkp75: are we glad we never had to board the rafts way out to sea! To chengkp75, where are you in Maine when you are there. We are on our way to Kennebunkport in a few days, and will be back there all summer.
  9. In most cases, I think there are rafts that almost double the 100% of the solid liferafts. As for all of the complaints, bear in mind that the muster drill, as chengkp75 has amply pointed out, is there for a reason. If the worst does happen, time really is of the essence. While the Titanic had time to get its passengers into lifeboats, if they had had them, sometimes time is much shorter, i.e. MV Estonia or, more recently, the Costa Concordia. Odds are that nothing is going to happen, but if it does you will be very glad that you had the drill. Past incidents have created the laws that are on the books. The international community has tried to learn from each disaster. Most recently, Costa Concordia taught us that skipping the muster drill for a day until the next partial load of passengers embarked was a bad decision, and they tightened up the rules. It had been too inconvenient to do them so often! Folks, when all things are going well, life is easy. When the fertilizer hits the ventilator, training and experience are crucial. You don't train and drill for the normal daily activities. You train and drill for the emergencies and just hope that you never need that training.
  10. While cruise lines try to fill every cabin, nobody likely knows what the minimum number of passengers is for them to start considering a cancellation of the entire cruise. I agree with Noxequifans that we are in unusual times, and the cruise industry is going to have to adapt at least for the short term. Viking just advertised some Alaska sailings where you can postpone your cruise up to a year as late as 24 hours before departure. NCL, O's parent, has reduced the number of days before sailing for final payment. Other lines, O included, will start to adapt. Our making guesses doesn't really add much, but wait and see. Things are developing rapidly.
  11. Viking came out with a message today that some cruises to Alaska will allow postponement of your cruise for a year and this can be done up to 24 hours before departure. So far it seems to apply only to some Alaska cruises, but those are coming up quickly.
  12. I have never heard of anyone's negotiating with a cruise line for a one-off price reduction. It cannot hurt to try, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. Even if you are lucky enough to get a slight upgrade, the chances of going from an inside cabin all of the way to a suite would be almost unimaginable. IMHO I would go for the suite all other things being equal. (The slight difference in air challenges would not offset much -- you relax on the ship to get over that sort of thing.)
  13. I think they are hoping that, like the flu, Covid-19 will diminish with warmer weather (in the north). It could obviously get more widespread in the winter parts of the southern latitudes. Health people in the U.S., China, and other places where it has been widespread are, I think, talking about the lessening of spread once the weather gets warmer. Of course, if it isn't like the flu, then that bet is off.
  14. A few points on the overall subject as discussed by many. While the size of the ship matters, it is not correct that the bigger the ship the less you will get seasick. Comparing an ocean liner to a fishing boat is not really relevant, though I would note that if you get seasick on a small boat, i.e. a fishing boat, you might not get seasick at all on a large cruising ship, as the motion is totally different -- same directions, but much more damped and less jerky. At the same time, the size of the ship in relation to the size of the seas, wave intervals, varying wave trains all interplay to some extent. In a given sea state, one ship may be much more affected than another ship next to it, and it is not absolute that the larger ship will move less. While a lot of people take a bit of time getting used to the motion, and that number may be 1/3 or higher, most people will get used to the motion after a short period of time, and generally less than a day. Yes a small number suffer longer, but the vast majority are better in less than 24 hours, and more are not terribly affected by it. And yes, everyone can get seasick under the right conditions -- I can take almost anything, but once when the engine conked out and I was working on it, down below, and it was hot around the engine, the seas were fairly rough, and there was no fresh air, that did it for me that day. The old saying about staying low on the ship is a bit misleading these days. In days of old, when men were bold, the ships tended not to have too many decks above the main weatherdeck. Staying on the main deck put you reasonably close to the CoM (Center of Motion). With today's ships with as many as 17 decks, where the CoM is can be difficult to discern, and is known mostly to the naval architects who designed the ship, though the captain should be aware of its location. It is certainly not down on the main deck in many cases any longer. The CoM is like the middle or fulcrum of a seesaw. If the ship is pitching, there will be little or no motion right at that fulcrum. If the ship is rolling, there is essentially a sideways seesaw, and again there will be little to no motion right at the fulcrum or CoM. Again, I wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to where that is exactly on some of these new megaships. One poster was correct that you should continue to eat normal meals, as an empty stomach is going to make you more apt to be sick. I would not eat greasy or very fatty foods, and don't overeat, but don't skip meals altogether. There are tons of medications and other treatments out there. Ginger pills, available in most drugstores, will help most people. Ginger ale is good if it has lots of ginger in it. The seabands that put pressure on your wrists work for some people and not at all for others. OTC meds, meclizine, Dramamine, Bonine, etc., are enough for people who have more than a slight problem, and these should be started before you get on board. The patch was always a last-ditch alternative as it has some slight and some more serious side effects. I would not presume that you need this option unless you have had serious seasickness problems in the past. Discuss it in detail with your doctor, and try it out for a week on dry land to see what kind of side effects you will experience. They can be mild, or they can be fairly dramatic. Lastly, someone else has mentioned that there is a big psychological issue that goes on too. Some people worry themselves into being seasick, or more seasick than they would normally be. If you don't get motion sick in other situations, you will likely be fine after a couple of hours. The story about the passenger who got sick on the dock or at dinner before the ship departed is a prime example. That wasn't motion sickness that was psychosomatic seasickness --- all in her mind. For most people, being able to see the motion will ease any discomfort, and/or help it abate. Watch the horizon either from a balcony, the deck, or anywhere outside. The fresh air will help as well. The current best thinking is that most motion sickness is caused by a conflict between the inner ear and the eye. If they eye sees no motion and the inner ear is feeling motion, that can be a cause of motion sickness. So be somewhere where you can see the motion.
  15. It often seems as the the CD is trying to force people to do stuff, and to the extent that he tries to get people moving and into different activities, I guess they are trying. The thing to remember is that it is your trip, do as you please, and just enjoy.
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