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rj42

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  1. I agree that regardless of what procedures that are put in place, they won't be enough to overcome the fear, hassles, and risks, since all it takes is one person to shut down a cruise and turn a vacation into a nightmare. Behavior will be ugly and paranoid, with any sneeze or cough liable to provoke outrage, and there will be suspicion and prejudice against the elderly or Chinese passengers. I was on a Princess cruise after a noro outbreak, and it was completely frustrating and miserable, with every buffet item having to be served, meaning long lines, and no access to salt or pepper or sugar, or golf clubs or basketballs. Some people will disregard hygiene practices, and there will be a lot who will monitor everybody else's behavior. If you think embarkation and disembarkation and tendering at ports is a hassle now, it will be a nightmare in the future. Even if there is a vaccine, I don't know which passengers are actually immune or have forged a certificate, and a doctor's approval for an elderly passenger doesn't give any assurance at all about contracting or surviving Covid. The only way to effectively implement the CDC requirements and to get the public feeling safe would be to cut down on passengers, just as restaurants and movie theaters will have to operate at 50% capacity or less. At current passenger levels there's just no way to do that on most ships, particularly if eliminating self-serve at buffets creates even more congestion and waiting in lines in an enclosed area, and an unpleasant buffet experience means more people trying to get into main dining rooms, which are already too full for any distancing. You also can't safely do any passenger drill as currently practiced on any ship. If ships are forced to cut down on passengers, it also probably means they'll try to recoup the lost costs by higher fares and more add-on fees, particularly by adding more exclusive areas on a ship where passengers can pay for more personal space, whether it's a dining place, cabin, spa area, lounge area, or bar. With a stronger possibility of a delay or cancellation, it will mean more extra travel costs for passengers, lost work, and difficulty in getting a refund for any canceled trip, since the lines will be fighting to stay afloat.
  2. The problem so much isn't letting them off the ship. The problem is that if you have infected people put on commercial airlines, then you spread Covid everywhere--that's what happened to the passengers of the Costa ship, who were dispersed at Atlanta and many of the passengers without symptoms tested positive when home, after probably infecting many others in the airport and planes and going to home (that's how the Seattle outbreak started). I also remembered the movie "Outbreak", where a sneeze or cough on an airplane from an infected person launched a spread of a deadly virus. So if you have sick passengers and crew, you pretty much have to do the same mandatory quarantine and isolation that the other two Princess ships did, meaning more US military and health system resources taken up for a foreign ship that departed after the Princess outbreak (send the bill to Orlando, and use the Konigsdam as a hospital ship until they pay it). It's just sad, because the Zaandam is my favorite HAL ship, one of the few with a real library, spacious promenade, cool musical memorabilia, and none of the Lincoln Center/Billboard corporate blandness of the bigger ships.
  3. --No passenger access to any buffet food or drink stations. No more sharing tables with potentially ill strangers in the dining room. It will have to be like a real restaurant, with reservations and private tables for everyone. Expand room service and mimic dining room menus for all meals. Stop charging for room service. Maybe make all the buffets a casual sit-down restaurant, where they bring you the food or you pick it up at a counter (Princess does that with morning omelettes, taking a number and delivering to your table). That would potentially mean better, fresher food, instead of buffet slop. --I don't mean to offend, but I'd probably avoid any cruises with lots of elderly, especially with oxygen tanks or other signs of frail health, or large numbers of foreign passengers who congregate in large packs and ignore bottle refilling and other hygiene rules. Any cruise over 7 days would feel too risky for me, since I see how average age increases with cruise length. --No muster drill, unless it's done in shifts in the theater, where people can preserve space. There's never been an actual lifeboat evacuation that I know of, and the biggest danger to the ship now and passengers is from being physically close. I'll never go on a HAL ship again unless they change the practice of cramming everyone together on the promenade deck. How about everyone confined to their room to watch a video/Captain's and crew take individual cabins throughout the first day to show their muster station? --Instead of stealing towels and robes, passengers will start stealing Purell and toilet paper. --Flag more ships in the US. The Pride of America already does that, and I'd go on a Hawaiian island cruise if I didn't have to spend 7 days at sea to get there. It also makes it easier to ask for US government help with US-flagged ships and taxes. --No spa options that involve touch, probably just fancy steam rooms and pools. No hot tubs. --Decrease capacity, the exact opposite of what HAL and everyone has been doing. Enforce staggered boarding times. If I go on a ship, I'll want maximum personal space, private area options, and fewest number of passengers who can potentially infect me. --In practice, I fear it will mean more carving up ships into 'exclusive' area to pay for personal, private, safe space, like the stupid HAL cabanas or the NCL Haven ("Covid-Free Cabanas, with your own luxurious latex robe and face mask!").
  4. The problem as I see it is that CA and Seattle are the centers of major outbreaks, so unless things improve dramatically, they're not going to want any cruise ships. So whatever the lines do, it doesn't make any difference of cities don't want them and if there is any risk of infection on board. I'd love no single supplement, but I'm not getting on a ship if I have to stand against other people for a lifeboat drill, and I'm not really comfortable getting stuck at sea for a month like the Jewel and Maasdam, or even worse, getting stuck on a ship with an outbreak and forcibly quarantined on sea and then land. Social distancing and isolation and boredom is bad enough on land now, with a house and grocery stores to visit, being stuck on a ship where every cough or sneeze is potentially deadly is simply intolerable to contemplate now, and I imagine it is for most of the potential cruise population, especially for those who have lost jobs or face financial uncertainty, or have lost 30% or more of their retirement nest egg (or like me, was foolish enough to buy Carnival stock just to get a cruise credit). Right now cruise lines are the equivalent of flights after 9/11, where people were afraid to get on board. Whether that changes depends more on pandemic spread and government and local policy, as well as fears, public perception, and the state of the economy and stock market than anything the cruise lines do. The only short-term option I could think of for now would for Alaska to be the start and end point of a cruise, since they haven't had a serious outbreak, social distancing is much easier, and they have a big financial stake in cruise tourism. Then it would be a matter of bending the law and stopping for a bit in Vancouver harbor by all the cargo ships and calling it a port stop, or persuading some place like Nanaimo to accept a lot of money to let ships tie up without letting anyone off. The other compelling way to get masses back on cruise ships is a simple advertising slogan.."Hey we have lots of toilet paper and Purell!".
  5. Latest is that Hawaii is refusing to let anyone disembark, nor from the Maasdam. So much for the aloha spirit and hospitality. So it looks like another 6+ days at sea in search of a mainland US port, maybe more if it has to go at slow speed. Glad I didn't bite on the cheap Hawaii-Vancouver Jewel trip, or the cheap May Jewel Alaska cruises.
  6. I love the Bliss hull design. I think I prefer the Joy, because the pool deck is so open, and because "Footloose" is much more interesting than the other 'greatest hits/how they made it big' shows, and the other magic/Cirque du Soleil show was also impressive. I was on it last year just after it was redone for the US market, and it was really the most beautiful ship I've been on, especially the observation lounge area. There was a special moment when we were about to leave Juneau on the Joy and the Bliss sailed right past us to take our berth spot, and all the chefs and other crew came out to wave to their friends. If and when cruising resumes, I'll look forward to trying the Bliss or Joy on a Mexican trip.
  7. 'How dare they not allow me to save my chairs while our group goes to lunch. How dare they not allow me to smoke cigars while playing laser tag. How dare I have to look around for different food stations in the buffet. How dare they set up the buffet for dinner when I want food at 3:30. How dare they not make space for 4,000 people to lay in the sun by a pool or the front observation windows. How dare they not dock during unsafe conditions when I want to go ashore. How dare it rain when I want to lay in the sun and smoke cigars and eat all day. How dare they not listen to my complaints about poor ship design." You should definitely write a strongly-worded letter to the CEO demanding change and a ship redesign, and call NCL right now and give them a piece of your mind. The most important thing is to demand that cigar smoking be allowed in all areas where children congregate, such as laser tag and the go carts and Galaxy Pavilion, instead of only having one small dedicated lounge for cigar smokers (at least you always have your balcony to smoke your cigars on).
  8. There's no chance the cruise will happen, so you can either cancel now or wait for them to cancel and give you a refund. They can't move the port to Seattle, because it would still have no Canadian ports to make a required foreign stop. There's next to no chance that Seattle will accept cruise ships, because Seattle has banned any gathering over 50 people and closed all restaurants, entertainment venues, and any other gathering spot. I also have a 3-day cruise leaving Vancouver in May, and rather than try to cancel now during the worst customer service emergency and financial/logistical nightmare the cruise lines have ever had, I'm just going to wait for them to cancel and refund, once they realize any cruises out of Seattle or Vancouver aren't going to happen until at least July.
  9. The Ovation can't go to the Northwest without a foreign stop, and since they can't go to Canada, their only option would be to go to Ensenada, which some California r/t cruises do. But if the Ovation can't cruise the Northwest or Alaska until July 1, there might not be any sense in sending it there for the current schedule, and it could just stay in New Zealand and wait until June to come to the US, presuming that there's any prospect of an Alaska cruise season by then. If companies send their empty ships to Washington, there's really no place to berth all of them, especially since they will effectively be out of action until at least July 1. The only plausible spot for them to cruise would be California to Mexico, since Mexico seems more open to cruise ships now than other places, and Carnival already has 3 ships that sail year-round to Mexico from Long Beach. Things are also complicated by getting to Hawaii...there's a thread on the NCL boards that the Jewel, currently doing a Polynesian cruise, is stuck at sea because none of the islands want to let it dock and let the passengers off. Hawaii also is unlikely to be receptive to cruises after the Grand Princess visited it with infected crew and passengers. Washington State is also closing all restaurants, bars, and other gatherings of over 50 people, so for now there's no chance of the port allowing a cruise ship to dock. I'm booked on the Ovation for a 3-day from Vancouver to Seattle, and I'll just wait for them to officially cancel the cruise and issue a refund.
  10. Alaska has its first case, although he was from a foreign cargo flight so any transmission was probably limited. https://www.ktva.com/story/41889255/dunleavy-announces-1st-case-of-coronavirus-in-alaska The Norwegian ships can't even sail to Seattle, since the trip would require a foreign stop. The only real option would be to keep all the ships in LA and cruise Mexico until the Alaska season opens (possibly). Carnival already has 3 ships that cruise Mexico year-round out of Long Beach, and I would think the Mexican ports would be so happy to get all the money that it would override virus fears.
  11. There are a number of smaller options for those wanting to see Alaska or the Northwest. --Fly to Anchorage and take one of the boat glacier tours. --Use the Alaska Maritime ferries, which go to most coastal cities. if you want the closest equivalent to a cruise, you can start out in Bellingham, where the ferry leaves the lower 48 (with cabins available and you can bring your own food to avoid shared facilities), and goes from there to Ketchikan and beyond. Bellingham airport has many direct flights on Allegiant, with most coming from Las Vegas, so if you fly to Vegas it's a cheap flight to Bellingham. You also get a more authentic experience on the Alaska ferry, since a lot of the passengers are residents and the ferry is small enough to get into smaller harbors you might never visit (like Haines). --Bellingham also gets you close to the WA state ferry in Anacortes which goes to Sydney on Vancouver Island, and also the ferry to explore the San Juans. The BC ferry system operates across the border, also beautiful cruise options with a rented car, particularly the Sunshine Coast, which has plenty of beautiful spots to explore by land and sea. --You can cruise to Victoria from Seattle and from Port Angeles, on the Olympic Peninsula. Whale watching day cruises are available in most places also, and you can explore places like Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and Vashon Island from Seattle ferries. The good thing about ferries is that it's easy to maintain social distance, especially if you stay in a car or stand outside where no droplets stay in the air. Since so many WA and BC residents are dependent on ferries, they're unlikely to be canceled. WA also has smaller airports with fewer travelers and no international flights, such as Bellingham (BLI) and Everett/Paine Field (PAE).
  12. I think it would be far-fetched to think that Seattle would open its doors to all the Alaskan cruise ships, particularly give the pandemic centered there now and al the restrictions on public events and all schools in the Puget Sound closed for now. If Victoria and Vancouver are banning cruise ships, it's highly likely that Seattle would do the same, at least for now, and have already canceled the first two ship arrivals. The Canadian ban also leaves all the ships returning from Hawaii and California in limbo, since there are no places they can stop in a foreign port, except for perhaps Ensenada, but then if there's no Alaska season until at least July, there's no reason to send the ships there now. So I'm glad I didn't bite on the super-cheap Pacific/NW cruises. I'm not sure if the new presidential emergency powers allow waiver of the foreign port rule--I'm sure his buddies who own Carnival and Norwegian are making some calls to try to persuade him and to beg for help.
  13. For those like me who do coastals between SD and Vancouver, Canada also just banned cruise ships from their ports, meaning the ships relocating for the Alaska season won't be able to do a Canadian port stop in order to comply with the law. The only option open to HAL now would be to include a stop in Ensenada before heading north, but then if there won't be any Alaska season until July (since ships can't leave from Vancouver or do a mandatory stop in a foreign port), there's no sense of moving the ships north. It should be a fun time at HAL HQ now, especially since it's in Seattle.
  14. Every cruise company has a contact information, and most of the junk catalogs I get also have online contacts. I simply send an email saying that if you don't stop sending me unsolicited mail, I'll never cruise on your line again, or solicit whatever business is bothering me. Then if it continues, call their customer service and say "I wrote asking to be removed from your catalog list but my request was ignored, so every catalog I receive means another year where I won't be cruising with your company". Princess cruises is up to a 10-year ban for me now :). The same goes for 'cruise consultants' calling me at home. The first call gets a warning, and it happens again then it's a one-year ban for every call. You can get the person's name and send a letter to the CEO telling why they lost your business. The companies only care about making money off you, so they have no incentive to stop marketing as much as possible unless you make it clear and direct that they'll lose your business if they don't stop.
  15. The more important player is Canada, because if they block ships, none of the Seattle ships have a foreign port to do their mandatory stop. Still, if Seattle isn't allowing baseball games, concerts, or even large church services, they're unlikely to allow cruise ships with thousands of passengers, especially coming from other areas of possible contamination. Every infection and death in the Seattle area originated from a man returning from Wuhan to Seatac and using some shuttle or bus to get home. And if you go there, you don't know if the person sitting next to you on a plane, shuttle, or ship caught the virus from someone who visited Italy or China or anywhere else. Personally, I'd rather stay home and keep a safe personal space from any strangers than risk having lungs filled with pus and fluid, or having an emergency tracheotomy performed on me, or even worse, infecting someone I care about. If you want a Northwest cruise, the WA state ferries make a nice option, with several options to get to Victoria, and the BC ferries visit many beautiful spots, including the Sunshine Coast. If you really want to cruise to Alaska, Bellingham WA has a stop for the Alaska State Marine System ferries, which visit all up the Alaska coast, with no required Canada stop.
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