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About MarkBearSF

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    San Francisco, CA
  • Interests
    Broadway, Cruising
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Cunard, HAL, Princess. AMA
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    TA crossings & Europe

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  1. If doing the West Quay shuttle, one essential stop is Boots (Drug Store) since, by that time, inevitably there are some odds, ends, and essentials to stock up on. Occasionally the Daily Programme mentions something like a &5 fee for the shuttle, but we’ve never seen anyone charged.
  2. I think in recent years, the two gala themes on crossings are usually "Masquerade" and "Black and White" or "Roaring 20s" and "Royal Cunard" (Red, Black & White) ...I assume they wouldn't often pair B&W with Royal Cunard.
  3. I still vividly remember our first cruise ever, on the Cunard Princess for a 3 night Vancouver-LA repo cruise in 1986. Many aspects were a surprise from our expectations of a "luxury liner." The theatre was a skewed little room with a 3 gun projector in the ceiling The indoor/outdoor disco had turntables that weren't protected from the ship motion, so the records kept skipping The show we caught in the showroom could've aired unedited as a sketch on SNL. The entertainment was a 3 person song and dance troupe from South Africa led by a bewigged, girdled gentleman in a stretch white jumpsuit with lots of rhinestones and long spangled fringe. Similarly attired, but with headdresses, were his wife and another female dancer. Lola Heatherton would be proud. (I know I'm mixing shows, that character was on SCTV). Particularly enjoyable was when he would attempt to do a lift, but the female partner had to duck to avoid a collision between her bejeweled headdress and the low-hanging lights. I think the CD mentioned that they were aboard for a try-out. In spite of all these shortcomings, we had a wonderful time. Most importantly, I realized that there was something special about the sea. Yeah, and something special about Cunard. (Our next trip was an impeccable trip to Hawaii on the QE2 in 1989) We've been on 35 cruises since - and were booked to be on the return half of a roundtrip crossing right now.
  4. Thanks for asking, Mike. My current chemo is going well and fingers crossed for next May!
  5. Here's a US response... I just received my refund on my Amex credit card today. (11 days after FCC)
  6. A bit of clarification. For most US bookings, there is a (continual) promotion offering the beverage package. However, it is not specifically included without the promo. Last year, we booked a QG suite within 90 days of sailing and there were no extras. (But it was a great fare)
  7. Cancelled 10 March. Received FCC last Wed 11 May. Still awaiting refund on CC. US Booking with TA. ...Not upset or worried - simply adding a data point for those following the progress of the process. For what it's worth cancelled QM2 RT crossing at end of May. Applied FCC to existing booking of same for mid-May '21.
  8. We're on the return quickie, SFO-YVR on 5 July. Also waiting on cancellation.
  9. I'd be very surprised if SOU-FLL is not already a published itinerary. However, these crossings are often sold-out and won't appear in searches unless you include sold-out voyages. To answer your question, yes you usually can join a cruise midway in most cases. There are exceptions including situations which would conflict with the US PVSA act which prohibits foreign flagged ships from transporting passengers between US ports without a stop in a foreign port (which does not apply here) or ports which may not be able to support boarding. (Again, not a factor for SOU). In 2008, we bid a farewell to the QE2, joining a Western Med cruise in Civitavecchia/Rome. We did, however need to pay for the entire voyage from Southampton.
  10. We live in San Francisco. Out here, we're starting our third week of shelter-in-place order. (I think the SF Bay Area was the first in the US). Since we're retirees who normally stay at home, it's not very different for us. We're very fortunate all-around. We have a housemate who helps with things around the house who does the shopping (I used to go with him, but not now). We live in a house in the Castro District with a small garden and patio in the back, so we've got fresh air and sunlight. I know two people who are hospitalized at the moment. Tests are basically unavailable. (Since I'm at-risk, I asked my oncologist when he thought a test might be available and he said, not any time soon, if ever.) When I went in for my chemo infusion on Thursday, a woman across from me arrived and mentioned that she had "run out of masks" and asked for one. The nurse replied that there were none available. All staff have one mask a day to use. Things throughout the city are shut down. The main thoroughfares are empty and hotels and stores have started boarding up windows. Some hotels are about to reopen for emergency housing and hospitals. There was some panic buying at the start but not a big issue now - except for TP, hand sanitizer, wipes, and a few other items remain sparse. Most stores are open for the first hour to seniors and at-risk individuals and then limit occupancy to X number of customers. Some restaurants are still doing delivery (on-site dining is forbidden). San Francisco, being San Francisco had some unique adaptations. Notably, in the first SF county-wide action, only "essential businesses" were allowed to be open. On the first day, there was an uproar because the cannabis dispensaries were not considered "essential." But we're taking care, washing hands and keeping a social distance. We're having to cancel another little Cunard cruise and likely a charter in October. So, I'm focusing on a roundtrip crossing in 2021. And an SO happy that we did the last minute crossing this past December. The QM2 is still my happy place. I'm walking her corridors in my mind more often these days.
  11. I've found recently, when I'm having trouble falling asleep with all the news in my head, that I'm able to visualize myself walking through the Grand Lobby to the Chart Room on the QM2 and I feel calm and comforted and am able to fall asleep (Sometimes I visualize the Commodore Club or just walking down the wide corridors on Decks 2 & 3 or along the game boards on 2.) Although I had to cancel our crossings in May, I take comfort that we did the last minute December crossing, splurged on QG. And it was wonderful. (As it always is, whatever the cabin)
  12. MarkBearSF

    Using FCDs

    I opened my claim before the change (which is good because a straight fee/insurance refund is better for me). Yes, I need to show both the original proof of payment and the final invoice showing the penalty charge. Will get my doctor to complete his form in the next few days, then I can submit.
  13. MarkBearSF

    Using FCDs

    Thanks! (I confused my acronyms) ...and I just filed my insurance claim online a few minutes ago. Email to the TA tomorrow AM (If I did it now, she'd work it tonight!)
  14. MarkBearSF

    Using FCDs

    I bought third-party insurance, which should definitely cover things. (Bought the same day I booked the cruise over a year ago) I'll be calling them tomorrow. (or perhaps to beat what will undoubtedly be clogged phone lines, in the middle of the night, tonight) Another concern is that if I'm offered FCD's for the penalty amount (as Princess is doing) - if that would occur, could the insurance company refuse to pay, as I had been compensated by Cunard? ...and then, I could be still left with the loss, but compensation I might be unable to use. (And dammit, this was a splurge trip - 14 days in Princess Grill) But of course, all of this is trivial in comparison to my health. ❤️ Also Mike (and Camgirl and others) thank you for the good wishes
  15. 4/20? (in US notation) - perhaps the Queen Mary Jane
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