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About evandbob

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  1. A buffet can be the place where you hear overweight and diabetic cruisers chat about the lack of personal responsibility in society today as they overload their plates with all kinds of food their doctors recommend they should avoid.
  2. Isn't our health more important than our wealth? I think that's what dear old Mom & Dad used to tell me. If we don't have our health, we have nothing they'd say.
  3. I don't think any mass line cruise company can survive all of 2021 if their ships can't sail during that year. They may extend the FCC to 12/31/2022 and then declare bankruptcy well before that date, say June 2021. The CEO's of all the cruise lines probably have their individual golden parachutes in place, and they will take care of themselves before customers and shareholders. First NCL, then expect RCCL & CCL to follow if no 2021 sailings. I am getting more & more pessimistic as we continue to lead the world's countries in # of cases and virus caused deaths.
  4. And many of the dollars spent by cruisers do not remain on the island - they are returned to the cruise line. Think of those who only visit the immediate port area or only use ship sponsored excursions. The islands benefits are truly in a trickle down mode. I'll repeat my opinion that many of us, myself included, have an overly exaggerated sense of how islanders in the Caribbean would be impoverished if cruisers didn't contribute to their economy. Cruising benefits are greatly outweighed by the overall travel industry, and many cruisers dollars go right back to the cruise lines. Do we contribute to their well being? Of course, but not to the extent of their economic survival. Just as we voluntarily cruise as a leisure activity, the islands can survive without us cruisers. Will they need to adapt their ways? Sure: cloud storage, off shore banking, gambling on line, etc. come immediately to mind. The attitude and mind set of many cruisers may change as ports limit or do away with cruising and day trippers who may cost the ports more than the cruisers actually spend there. JMO & YMMV.
  5. Actually, according to the report below, you are right - my 15% figure is indeed off by 10% the OTHER way. Caribbean: direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP by country 2018 Published by Ana M. López, Jun 26, 2020 In 2018, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the GDP of the whole Caribbean region was 5.1 percent. Nevertheless, the majority of Caribbean islands registered higher shares of direct contribution to their GDPs that year. For instance, the travel and tourism sector accounted for nearly one third of Aruba's GDP as well as almost one forth of the GDPs in the British and US Virgin Islands and the Former Netherlands Antilles. Bahamas, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia registered percentages of direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP of over 15 percent.
  6. The more time it takes for America to get a grip on this pandemic, the harder it will be for leisure cruise lines to exist in limbo. We have done a terrible job of managing a health response, and the virus seems to be winning. We are still in the 1st wave of transmission, and if a 2nd wave in the autumn or winter gets mishandled as well, then we can kiss cruising goodbye. The cruise lines will not be able to outlast the virus. Perhaps a few ships might still sail in locations where the virus spread has been mitigated, but they will probably not allow Americans to travel there if we can't adopt a reasonable national response to the virus to control and limit its spread. We sometimes forget we are the world's leader in virus transmission and deaths by a huge margin.
  7. I think that many of us, myself included, have an exaggerated sense of how important cruising is to the economic health of the countries we like to visit. I've read that total travel contributes about 15% to the Caribbean islands GDP. Obviously cruising is only a part of that total. While there would be a negative impact on an economy if cruising ceases, it would not be "devastating" except to those workers directly and immediately affected. The country will manage and perhaps even prosper just as well as it finds alternatives to the cruising industry. (Some countries, like Curacao, are investing in infrastructure to support the growing data industry like cloud storage). Also, some countries are now factoring in a monetary cost that over-cruising brings on, and that factor will lower the economic benefit of cruising that was previously computed. If cruising does cease, some formerly cruise only folk will transfer to the general travel section, so there would be an even lower impact. It does against my overblown sense of self worth that my cruising dollars may be sorely missed by local Caribbean cruise tour personnel, but perhaps I can adjust as well.
  8. I've heard that NCL is the line most susceptible to "reorganization". Other lines may survive by selling off or scrapping the oldest ships in their fleets and operating with reduced fixed overhead. In any case, the longer the pandemic lasts, the harder it will be for cruise lines to re-open. And, as cruising is just a slice of the overall tourism dollar, some ports and countries may find themselves limiting access to ships from lines that do survive the effects of this virus. Future cruising may evolve into a form none of us would have imagined pre-pandemic. Remember that it is a voluntary leisure activity and therefore non-essential to the economic health of a country. Tourism accounts for about 15% of a Caribbean Island's GDP, and cruising is a smaller % of that figure.
  9. Tipping Culture varies from country to country, and then sometimes from area to area. As a Noo Yawker for 68 yrs, I was surrounded by examples of how tipping made our city operate and became quite accustomed to it. However, I can see how someone brought up in the UK, OZ or NZ has a different view. When we did a land tour of OZ & NZ, I often had to restrain myself from offering a typical NY 25% gratuity to every tour guide or wait staff. When we did feel it appropriate to offer a tip for exceptional service, we kept it to 10%. There should be no need to impugn the motivation of anyone else about tipping. To ascribe a perjorative like bribing or being cheap serves no purpose other than "polite" negative criticism or worse. If cruising does not re-start, this whole thread becomes moot.
  10. Possible that Fascination is slated to be sold or scrapped. Naturally, Carnival won't comment, since they would have to release all monies currently held by them for this ship's bookings once they do issue a statement. They'll play the same game as the airlines, and won't make any cancellation announcements until the last minute possible. In any event, ridding themselves of this old class of ships will make sense for Carnival, it's long overdue. I know some folks are passionate about this class, but they are old and tired. Many more, like me, stopped sailing them 15 years ago because of their age. And the real diehards are often multi repeaters, who generally spend less on board a ship than the newcomers that Carnival depends on.
  11. There used to be a tab under the explore option for shore excursions on the Carnival site. You may be able to do a general search for what tours are available by the port. It may be that it is either too far out to list particular tours for your sailing date, or it might be a sail date that is close to be COVID cancelled??? Too bad our Norway cruise got cancelled!
  12. While tourism of all kinds plays a key role in Caribbean Isles economies, we should remember that it averages 15% of their GDP, and that cruising by itself is a much smaller piece of that pie. It may take a while, but if cruising does not return to the isles, they can find a substitute, perhaps room for cloud storage like Curacao did. Cruisers may find themselves surprised they are not essential to the islands' economic health.
  13. With all the "extra bells and whistles" on the mega ships, we found less waiting in line for the things we prefer. Passengers have so many choices, it makes for less crowding than a ship with 1/2 the capacity.
  14. We sailed the Symphony this past January as well, but were surprised at the general lack of lines almost everywhere on the ship, including embarkation, ports and debarkation. We had read with close to 6,000 pax, this ship would be wall to wall queues, but that wasn't our experience at all. We did notice that finding a table on the buffet deck was difficult during prime breakfast and lunch hours, and we didn't like that people were holding seats in the theaters for their friends and relatives waiting in the "will call" overflow line. Otherwise, it was a wonderful time on a beautiful ship. Just goes to show that people can have the same experience yet interpret it differently. Diversity makes the world go round!
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