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Flamin_June

F-J's Magical Mystery Tour of Asia: a prologue

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Flamin June

Just had a thought of another “prologue” activity you might undertake (now that your wardrobe and A’s shoe closet have been restocked) to help get you in the mood for your magical mystery tour. All of this talk of ships being turned away from port after port and passengers quarantined is straight out of Mark Twain’s book “The Innocents Abroad.” If you haven’t read it recently do so again - if you have never read it treat yourself to a barrel of laughs. But please don’t be tempted to reenact the adventure when he and a couple of friends, frustrated as they sat on their ship in the harbor of Piraeus quarantined due to cholera concerns and could only look at the Acropolis in the distance, to decided to jump ship and swim ashore.    
 

Jenny, 

Thank you for your kind thoughts. And I am so sorry that recent medical issues forced you to cancel your cruise and also hope your remaining recovery is speedy and you soon find yourself back on a Seabourn ship. 

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Thank you to everyone posting, it’s interesting reading, I’m still not sure what will happen and if we will be affected (Sydney - San Fransisco) but at least I know we aren’t the only ones boarding in Sydney.

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Thanks for the good review, Koala!

And Chairsin:- no, I haven't read The Innocents Abroad - not read much Twain at all in fact, quotes and passages and bits about him, but I have checked it out on Amazon, and what I have previewed appeals immensely. I am ordering a copy, thanks. I do like these glimpses of the sailing/cruising/exploring life from the not too distant past. Before we did the Ring of Fire trip on Sojourn in 2018 I read Alfred Russel Wallace's The Malay Archipelago, where he wrote about his voyages to Banda, Ambon, Ternate, and other places we have visited, Kuching and Borneo, for example.

Your comments, and thinking about Wallace, helped put things in perspective - in times not that long ago people travelled without malaria pills and deet, no vaccines, the risk of cholera and worse, ships were often quarantined, and everyone just got on with it. So to hell with this pesky virus. Let us banish fear and take a leaf from the great travelers of the past.  I'm prepared to gird my loins ( whatever that entails... must look it up), stride purposely forward into the comfort of the Business Class Lounge, and from thence prepare to confront whatever iniquities may come our way. I WILL make sure the stewardess leaves us ALL the soaps and WILL insist on an extra fluffy towelling mat for the bathroom.

 

More rain and grey skies to day, with more to come in the next few days. We could really do with a flooded house just now. A is in full packing mode as I write, excavating our holiday gear from the depths of the wardrobe and chest of drawers. Why is it that when I say "No! Don't throw away that stripey t-shirt. You may have taken it on our last six cruises, but I think you still look great in it." all I get is a look of pitying contempt?

 

By the way, can anyone recomend some ladies non-slip flip-flops for poolside wear ?

Edited by Flamin_June

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58 minutes ago, Flamin_June said:

Why is it that when I say "No! Don't throw away that stripey t-shirt. You may have taken it on our last six cruises, but I think you still look great in it." all I get is a look of pitying contempt?

 

 

 

Because that is what you deserve 😂. I think your wife deserves a new stripey t-shirt, and any other new colour t-shirt for all the stress lately. 

 

I use a pair of slip on Vionics as they're easy to put on, slip proof and good for my foot support issues. I wear them around the pool deck. I use a cheap pair of slip on water shoes if we are going anywhere with pebbly beaches etc. If Sir Bani Yas is on the itinerary it is a good beach picnic day but water shoes are helpful as it is pebbly. The water shoes are light weight so I don't wear them until going into the water. I carry them in a plastic bag.

 

Julie

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9 hours ago, Flamin_June said:

 

 

By the way, can anyone recomend some ladies non-slip flip-flops for poolside wear ?

Oofoos, for both men and women. And as Julie said, Vionics are great  too. 

Edited by highplanesdrifters

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Flamin June

I hope enjoy the book as it will not only give you some insight into the early days of cruising but more importantly provide some much needed humorous distraction in this difficult period of uncertainty. And now thanks to you I have another book to add to my reading list. Anyway, let me know what you think.
 

As to flip flops you might think here in sunny Arizona we wear then a lot. Actually the only time I wear them is when I’m out by our pool as they are waterproof and easy to step in and out of (walking on hot flagstone decking during an AZ summer is not something I would recommend). I generally find the stiff rubber thong part uncomfortable and the bed of the flip flop either too hard or too soft and lacking in support. One brand I have found that seems to offer a happy medium is Kate Spade. And they have the added bonus of looking cute!

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Thanks everyone, for the recommendations - we will be checking them out on the web in between keeping an eye on local flood alerts. Needless to say it continues to rain here - we have been lucky so far..... I'm due in London tomorrow, but it's uncertain if the trains will be running on time or at all...

 

Three new cases of C-19 reported in Singapore. The situation there continues to be stabilised and well-contained, so we remain hopeful. Has anyone ever noticed how time speeds up as embarkation day draws near? When we were 180 days to boarding the time seemed to creep by, after what felt like weeks one would check the days and it was still 175 to go. Now I look at the calendar and am alarmed to see it is just over two weeks before we head for the airport and time is hurtling along!

Rushed into town to stock up on cat food and wild bird food* , bought gallons of fresh sun lotion (I come out in an extremely itchy rash if I don't have sun screen over every exposed mm.), Imodium, re-hydrating salts, anti-bacterial wipes and hand gel - and that's just for the trip tomorrow.

 

A has almost completed her packing while I am still at the socks and underwear stage, but I know her suitcase will be back up on the bed in a day or two to be re-assessed and reconfigured, and then there will be some negotiations about spare capacity in mine. I do her an injustice - she is actually a phenomenal packer, thinks of everything, precious items in clear bags with labels, everything folded beautifully, arranged in the order that it will need to come out of the suitcase in SGP.

 

Prompted by another thread here, I double-checked our insurance documents for exclusions, but couldn't see any mention of pandemics, epidemics or outbreaks. War, civil strife, nuclear reactor meltdowns, sonic booms, volcanic ash - you name it, they are excluding it, but nothing about viruses. Hopefully we will not have to put them to the test, but it is a small comfort.

 

*Shakey, our cat, is getting on a bit and while he still manages to persuade himself that it is not a waste of his time stalking birds, the birds have got him pretty well covered. Not to the extent of taunting and mocking, but both parties seem to coexist happily.

 

Chairsin - I hope you enjoy Wallace. The Malay Archipelago is interesting, evocative, fascinating in places and, for a serious 19th century work, quite readable, but compared to Twain it is hardly a barrel-full of laughs.

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Everything continues.

The rain continues - unremitting. We have been lucky so far. Last week the river burst it banks and closed the main road about 400 yards north of us, while surface flooding about 200 yards south of us also closed the same road there too. This week the rain has been less intense, with no incidents close by, but it never stops. The train to London passed by flooded, waterlogged fields and inundated floodplains. On the way back, in the evening, a passenger in my carriage coughed and coughed -an alarming dry cough it should be said - for most of the two and a half hour journey, sending ripples of unease with each repeated fit.

 

The chatter continues on the Coranavirus thread - incessantly. Among the information and thoughtful comment, there is a lot, it seems to me,  of uninformed, repetitive speculation.

 

Elsewhere the cancellations and new cases continue, feeding the feelings of impending catatastrophe. The news from S.Korea is not good, looks as if the authorities there may have lost control of it, if reported cases continue to spiral upwards. It's a big cluster with a lot of potential contactees. Better news from Singapore with only one new case there these last 24 hours, although the patient is not, as yet, unfortunately, connected to any known clusters.

 

There is a nightmare sense of fear of the unknown. It is out there, somewhere, stalking us by night and day like some Dracula figure, unseen, unheard, slowly claiming more victims to add to the growing army of the infected. What can we do but wear our protective masks, like crucifixes, in the hope that they will turn it away if it comes for us, close our doors, self isolate, let no one in.

 

This is all nonsense, of course and, as a doctor writes in the UK press, there are on average 600 deaths a year from 'ordinary'  ifluenza, and around 12,000 in 2013 in the UK, when there was an outbreak of a new strain. Every year there are many hospitalizations, yet no frontline medical staff wear hazard suits or facemasks, and unless there is an outbreak, it all goes unreported in the news media. The best defense is to regularly wash your hands. Around 80% of cases are mild, not much worse than having a cold. The % per population figures remain very low ( although one can speculate that it may have been around for longer than we have been aware of it, and many more people have had it without it being recognised).

 

As for our cruise....to adapt a line from Milton  - They also suffer who who only stand and wait.... Well, OK, I admit 'suffer' is a bit of an exageration in the greater scheme of things. But I do wish there was some word from Seabourn. If only to say 'we intend to go ahead with this cruise, but will cancel at short notice if the situation worsens signicantly'. Or ' we are actively looking at itinerary changes and will notify you as soon as we can.' Or just some bulletin on what the current situation is with Ovation, the crew and immediate plans over the current period of cancellation. It's this inability on their part to reach out to their customers that leads to loss of trust. I find myself harbouring thoughts that they are just waiting for enough people to self-cancel, to make it financially viable fo them to drop the cruise.

Or will they just hightail it out of Singapore to Sri Lanka, avoiding Thailand and Myanmar, and then cruise us up and down the Malabar coast? Can the dockings and the supply chains be re-arranged? Will an itinerary cghange prompt an unsustainable wave of further passenger cancellations? It's a tough call for them, whatever option they choose, but they need to communicate. and of course we need time to make alternative arrangements should that option arise.

 

For now A insists that we finish packing, as it is easy to unpack and much easier than having to pack at the last minute.

 

Edited by Flamin_June

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Flamin June, 

As ever your remarks are the voice of reason. I too have become concerned about the Covid speculative comments that are based neither on first hand accounts nor reliable sources. And mea culpa, I realize that recent my online wondering if they will maintain the current Singapore to Dubai March sailing puts me in the speculators club. Guilty as charged. I can only imagine how difficult this period is at present for those of you booked on that cruise. Everyone likes certainty and at present the situation is anything but. Please hang in there. There is an old phrase used in the US when hoping for favorable outcomes, “God willin and the crik (creek) don’t rise.” Of course in your case with the flood waters lapping perilously  close  this is unfortunately doubly apt. But please do know that we are all pulling for you whether you end up with a brief Singapore holiday away from rainy, cold weather  or better yet a cruise, modified or otherwise. 
 

As to the communication issue I fear Seabourn is not alone in their failure to keep in constant contact with their customers. One of the key tenets of good PR is simply staying in touch with the customer even when the situation is fluid and there is nothing new to report. Most people just want the assurance they have not been forgotten and that when a situation changes they will be given the updated information in a clear, complete and timely manner.  
 

 

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It's a tough call for them, whatever option they choose, but they need to communicate. and of course we need time to make alternative arrangements should that optioarise.
———————————————————————-

I suppose like the EU negotiations nothing is agreed until every thing is agreed but it would be nice to know what their thinking is. It would help planning alternatives.


The first time we did a cruise in Asia we had to buy a one year Indian visa for a day in Port Blair ! so I am leaving our Indian visa applications to the last minute which makes me nervous of getting into a muddle online,  as I was once taken aside and interviewed in the US when I had ticked the wrong box on the ESTA.

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Oceanviewer, the Indian visa online application is a tad long-winded, as is their bureaucratic wont, and I usually dread the prospect of having to complete the form.  I saved a copy of the previous one  to use as a crib sheet. In the end it was  pretty much painless - they seem to have streamlined it a bit and we had the letters of approval quickly, within 24 hours. Yes, it makes sense to hang fire and save yourself a further unrecoverable expense.

I have kept the reciepts from my sun-lotion and tropical meds shopping expedition the other day....I wonder if I will be allowed to claim for that on our insurance if it all goes down the Swanee ?

 

A has been checking out hotels in Tenerife, as we have to have a plan B, or else risk coming down with acute SAD. Trouble is there is nowhere that we like the look of. I'm suggesting taking our Singapore flight and then hopping over to Langkawi to stay at the Datai. A bit extravagant, but perhaps they will have some bargain rates as tourists disapear from most of Asia. C-19 is in Malaysia too, of course, but at the prices the Datai charges, surely the virus won't dare show its face there.

Edited by Flamin_June

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Hi Chairsin - thanks for the boost! My earlier post was kind of gloomy and downbeat. I was in London yesterday for a college reunion with four of my oldest friends - there is more than a hint of a hangover in the air today, which probably explains the general mood.  A is making corned beef hash* tonight, which is an old-time comfort meal where we come from, so the outlook is very much improving.

* Not just any old corned beef hash, but to an ancient recipe , handed down through the generations, served with spinach and green beans and washed down with a glass or two of Douro.

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A few years ago we were booked on a Noble Caledonia cruise along the West African coast.  They cancelled two weeks before departure.  We got a full refund within days plus our incidental costs for a visa, yellow fever jabs, airport car parking and a non-refundable airport hotel booking.  Our airfares were included in the cruise package.  We also got a massive discount on another cruise.

 

Here's hoping the Ovation sails from Singapore to Dubai as scheduled - if for no other reason than to justify all that advance packing and also because I was looking forward to Flamin June's blog.

Edited by Fletcher

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On 2/18/2020 at 4:00 PM, Joc123 said:

Thank you to everyone posting, it’s interesting reading, I’m still not sure what will happen and if we will be affected (Sydney - San Fransisco) but at least I know we aren’t the only ones boarding in Sydney.

 

Jocelyn did you get the email from Seabourn just now?

 

Julie

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8 hours ago, Chairsin said:

I can only imagine how difficult this period is at present for those of you booked on that cruise


chairsin, that is so true. We have never been so relieved (and contented with our decision) as we have been since canceling the HK -SIN (we cancelled prior to SB canceling the cruise).

 

The uncertainty was the biggest issue. 

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Hi Julie

 

Ron and I our just working through the rather long email.

Its not as convenient for us to leave from Auckland as there are not direct flights everyday from Adelaide. We booked our Adel -Syd flight with points, and I’m not sure what Qantas will do about changing that leg. (It’s always nice to start the cruise in Sydney because I know 3 hours after closing the front door I will be having my first champagne onboard.)

Then there is the question of cancelling altogether. As luck would have it, we received a Seabourn brochure with 2020 Summer Cruises this week so we will look through that and see if anything appeals.

What are you going to do? Is there a timeframe to let Seabourn know?

We use the well known UK agent so I’m sure there will be lots of emails going back and forth.

 

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Julie do you know the new itinerary?

I imagine they are going to Fremantle then make their way across the bottom of Australia and across to Auckland. It would be great if they stopped in Adelaide and we could hop on then - is that too much to ask for? Just a thought.

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Julie, heres a  thought Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne before the Tasman. 😉

Just a shell fish thought, by late April/May I might just get approval to travel hands free. 

Quite honestly we have given up speculating on 2020 travel for the moment. Good News is our Melbourne scientist are up to a testing poin with a nasal spray that basically tells the immune system to attack and kill the virus. All we can do is wait on all fronts .....patiently. That is for us with no current bookings. Fingers crossed and all the very best for good outcomes for those who do have bookings.

🐨🐼

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1 hour ago, Joc123 said:

Julie do you know the new itinerary?

I imagine they are going to Fremantle then make their way across the bottom of Australia and across to Auckland. It would be great if they stopped in Adelaide and we could hop on then - is that too much to ask for? Just a thought.

 

Hi Jocelyn, On the Seabourn website under Travel Advisory they have listed ports of calls they have swapped. Sorry no Adelaide mentioned 😞. Though they have listed Sydney for 13 April. Also Melbourne and Hobart but in early April.

 

We have Sydney flights booked with Virgin just one way two days earlier so we are waiting to see what happens. If they stick with Auckland we will take the flight to Sydney, stay a night and then take an early evening flight next day to Auckland. We will stay at the Auckland Novotel airport hotel as flight gets in almost midnight. Then the next day catch up with a NZ friend or if they are busy take an Uber to the port. Hopefully Seabourn will reimburse us for the extra flight?  We usually do Business but we'll see what they say. I keep telling Keith it is good to keep it real, he has his doubts.😊

 

Julie

 

julie z marshall at icloud dot com

 

 

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49 minutes ago, koalapanda said:

Just a shell fish thought, by late April/May I might just get approval to travel hands free. 

 

Maybe at least possible for you to do the 13 - 29 April from Sydney to Auckland? You know the crew on Seabourn will help you 🙂.

 

Julie

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Thanks Julie, I will check it out.

 

Sorry F -J for hijacking your post - hope you are sorting out your cruise 

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No worries, mate!
Have their been changes to the Sojourn Sydney-SF cruise?

Oh, OK, spotted it in the other thread.

Edited by Flamin_June

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I notice the Ovation did a slight move overnight, from the end of the pier at Sembawang to berthing alongside the main harbour.  Could be significant, might not be . . . 

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29 minutes ago, Fletcher said:

I notice the Ovation did a slight move overnight, from the end of the pier at Sembawang to berthing alongside the main harbour.  Could be significant, might not be . . . 

I was just thinking now they have sorted out the Sojourn they may turn there efforts to the Ovation. I note it’s now next to an offshore supply ship.

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