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Flamin_June

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

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2 hours 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 posted about this earlier today in the other thread. It's moved to a place they usually keep the floating dry docks so I'm assuming it's now having its bottom cleaned. 

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Woke up with a clear head to another lull in the rain and gales: blue skies, sunshine and a general feeling of optimism.

I have to say that having read about Sojourn's 'fix' I feel miffed. Why have 'they' sorted out Sojourn's next segments which are weeeeks away, and left Ovation, coming up fast, out on a limb?

[editorial note to self - please watch the metaphors, Ovation is not perched in a tree, but apparantly sitting in dry-dock. I should have gone with 'left Ovation in an empty bathtub'. But there lies the road to more confusion and rumours. Or, following rols's lead, 'left Ovation sitting on the toilet without a loo roll'].

Is it that Sojourn, on her world cruise, is so full of 'A' listers (not in the nautical sense of the word, though if I were on board I would no doubt be turning to the bottle), while Ovation, on a mere repositioning, is full of bargain basement plebs?

No, of course not. I can rationalize with the best of them; this must be because Sojourn and passengers are at sea, with, until the latest changes, no partricular place to go. So, through clenched teeth and a rictus grin, can I say how pleased I am for everyone on, or soon to board, Sojourn that they can relax, de-stress and spend a pleasant few days rebooking flights. While my half empty suitcase still beckons....

In the meantime here is a REALLY scary story, that should get them going on the coronavirus thread

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/coronavirus-may-be-the-disease-x-health-agency-warned-about

Edited by Flamin_June

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Hopefully F-J you will get an answer today or tomorrow at the latest re itinerary changes. I know it is Sunday tomorrow in the States but I am thinking some burning of midnight oil is happening 🤔?

 

Julie

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To borrow a line from Oscar Wilde - I can wait forever, as long as it's not too long 🙂.

I don't want to disregard what a difficult and thankless task the people at Seabourn are faced with, trying to square corporate demands with customers' needs  and the safety of crew and passengers. We are all suffering, one way or another.

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11 hours ago, Flamin_June said:

In the meantime here is a REALLY scary story, that should get them going on the coronavirus thread

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/coronavirus-may-be-the-disease-x-health-agency-warned-about

Not sure that's a REALLY scary story more than a bunch of sensational clickbait. I was horrified to see it was the Straits Times until I looked at the headline and realised it's actually a Bloomberg story and Bloomberg, IMHO, has lost most or all of its journalistic integrity over the past few years (eg 'The Big Hack' story which was garbage from end to end). 

"Disease X" has been the bogeyman of health authorities for a few years. "What if there was a disease which spread really quickly without making anyone sick and then killed them all the second week!!!!". Indeed that would be bad but at this point it hasn't happened (except perhaps in government labs) and that article's attempt to string together the narrative that 'this one might be it!!!!!" is pretty weak. It seems fairly likely that this virus does spread asymptomatically however it's also becoming clearer that one reason for this is some people never develop symptoms. We're not down to the mortality rate of seasonal 'flu yet but it seems at least to me that whereas the number who have died is known, the number who've been infected is underestimated, possibly greatly and as that picture emerges, the mortality estimate constantly drops. 

This is obviously not a disease you want to catch any more than seasonal 'flu and I wouldn't want to be on a ship with it because you'd be more likely to pick it up. It may even mutate to be the bogeyman disease X however at this point stories like that run close to irresponsible fear mongering.  

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Just got the itinerary change email being discussed in the cancellation thread.

Beyond disappointed on just about every level.

its a completely different cruise, of little appeal. If we don’t take it we are tied into a FCC within 12 months.

I would rather just have a refund.

Need some time to collect my thoughts and contact TA, 

 

Bah!

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So sorry to hear of your cruise being cancelled Flamin_June . I hope you get resolution and compensation as you would wish for. Koala

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58 minutes ago, Flamin_June said:

Just got the itinerary change email being discussed in the cancellation thread.

Beyond disappointed on just about every level.

its a completely different cruise, of little appeal. If we don’t take it we are tied into a FCC within 12 months.

I would rather just have a refund.

Need some time to collect my thoughts and contact TA, 

 

Bah!

Sorry to hear the news.  

Edited by galeforce9

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We don’t mind the new itinerary ...  but the only practical way to get to Colombo from Perth is via Singapore so would we be denied boarding? More questions than answers at the moment

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Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur. Qatar via Doha or Emirates via Dubai are about 1/3 longer trips.

 

Bill

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1 hour ago, Flamin_June said:

Just got the itinerary change email being discussed in the cancellation thread.

Beyond disappointed on just about every level.

its a completely different cruise, of little appeal. If we don’t take it we are tied into a FCC within 12 months.

I would rather just have a refund.

Need some time to collect my thoughts and contact TA, 

 

Bah!

Strikes me they are saving a lot of money by pottering around the Middle East. When they could have gone to the Maldives.

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16 minutes ago, oceanviewer21 said:

Strikes me they are saving a lot of money by pottering around the Middle East. When they could have gone to the Maldives.

 

I don't think this is right.  A big ship like the Ovation could only go to Male and that's an awful place.  

 

Now I know many people booked on the 14 March cruise from Singapore to Dubai might be disappointed or upset by any number of things, not least finding a way to Colombo if you have bought your own tickets to Singapore.  Getting to Colombo from Europe is easy but I can see how tricky it must be from Australasia. 

 

I must also say that Seabourn has impressed me a lot by the way they have conjured a seriously imaginative cruise  which adds several ports in the sub-Continent and also in the Gulf States.   If you have not been to this region this is the best possible cruise.  The work involved doing this new itinerary so quickly must have been daunting.

 

[The original cruise is still on the website, though Dubai to Athens is not.]

 

I did speculate several days ago that this cruise might start in India or Sri Lanka.  I suspect the Ovation will leave Singapore in a few days' time and take two weeks to get to Colombo which is the incubation period, enabling the ship to present a clean bill of health at Sri Lankan port.  Of course, anything can happen, like an outbreak of the virus in Sri Lanka . . . 

 

Anyway, good luck to all those affected by this wholly unforeseeable mess.

 

 

Edited by Fletcher

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Flamin June

I can’t imagine how beyond disappointed you are. I know you are not surprised by it but that doesn’t make the situation easier to accept. I don’t share the view of others in thinking YOU are better off with the new itinerary. I’m sure it all comes from their good intentions and trying to help you make lemonade out of lemons. But while I might like the new itinerary the point is it doesn’t work for you and A as you had up your hearts set on returning to some favorite spots along with some new ports. And add to that there is the added difficulty of switching flights from a Singapore embarkation to Columbo at this late date if you booked your own air (as we always do). Especially as it would appear airlines (or at least Singapore Airlines, not sure if you are booked on them) are not willing to refund tickets since Singapore is not on the travel ban list at present. I’m not sure if you work with a travel agent but if so this would be the time to get them to really go to bat for you. Good luck and let us know what you decide and what the end result is in dealing with Seabourn. 
 

 BTW, I did not get a chance to reply yesterday but your latest witticism of the Ovation and the loo gave me a good chuckle but now that image is stuck in my head. Unfortunately the analogy was prescient as your cruise plans have literally gone down the toilet. 

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Thanks for your kind words, Chairsin and the positive spin from Fletcher.

I will save my thoughts about the new itinerary for a later time - suffice to say it is a completely different product  to the one we had bought.

If not exactly ironic, it is certainly peverse that just a few weeks ago we were all concerned about cruise ships being torpedoed,  strafed or caught up in a naval battle around the Gulf, and now we are being offered the opportunity to spend several days bobbing about in the same waters😏.

I've been chatting ( ok, moaning and whining, with a side order of venting) to our well-known royal TA, and our Travel Insurance people, but everything has to wait until tomorow (Monday) as key people are not around today.

The Customer Support guy at our Insurance brokers seemed pretty certain that we could make claims for our air fare to Singapore, and probably the hotel there, but subject to approval by the claims team, who will be back in on Monday morning at 08.00.

The TA will talk to SB on Monday also. We are not entirely ruling out the new itinerary, and A likes camels and falcons, but we have done Doha, Abu Dhabi, Oman, and there are only so many camels and falcons one needs to see in a lifetime. We  need to know, should we fly to Singapore and then take the short hop over to Colombo, that we will be allowed to embark. There is no reason why not at the moment, but what happens if some new restrictions are imposed while we are on our way?

We have a huge amount of stuff to do cancelling hotels and drivers, requesting possible changes to bookings and sorting out new flights.

SB's offer of FCC to be used in 12 months if we decide to cancel is disappointing As far as we are concerned they have cancelled our cruise and substituted something else.

I'll be back....

Edited by Flamin_June

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This is starting to look a bit more like an epilogue, sadly, but never say never.

Spent most of today so far talking to Travel Insurance people, writing to Singapore Airlines, discussing options with A, checking possible flights to Colombo.

We should be doing pleasant things like chosing our in-flight meals, making final arrangements with hotels, keeping an eye on FX rates, admiring our Seabourn luggage tags, checking out roll-calls, looking up current weather forecasts. Somewhere, I don't know where right now, there is a SB trivia winners' tote bag, which I intend to pack and flaunt.

 

The spikes in Iran and new cases in Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait do not bode well, particularly for the new itinerary. I'll reserve comments on that until the dust has settled, but suspect that SB may have to just pull the plug on the whole thing before too long, if things continue on the present trajectory. Med is looking vulnerable too.  

Poor ol' world.

 

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FJ, we share your sentiments. Up to this morning we were still leaning towards going. Now between the breakouts in Italy and MId East we are not so sure anymore. Going to wait as long as possible to pull the plug. We don’t want to find ourselves in a position where we can’t get home. So many variables involved


Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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I still think the chances of catching the bug outside of Wuhan/Hubei are very low, though I wouldn't be too keen on going to S.Korea or Italy.  Or Iran, but I would not be keen on going there any time soon under any circumstances. High numbers of new cases does not have to equate with widespread contagion, but as Singapore has shown, can reflect the efficiency of contact tracing, isolating and testing. Which, I think, is partly what is responsible for the spiking figures we are seeing now in SK and ITA. However there is a suspicion that initial responses in the early days of the crisis may have been complacent in those two territories, and it could be touch and go whether containment there will be sustainable. I wish Ovation had stayed in Singapore, which is currently one of the safest places to visit in Asia if not the world.

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Trying to sort this out is proving difficult either it’s a 13 hour flight or a stop over and a 2.30 in the morning flight from Dubai. If we cancel we have to take another cruise within a year. What happens if the lurgy become a pandemic or there is nowhere suitably safe to go?

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No, nothing is easy at the moment. There is a phrase for this, but it's not one I would be allowed to use in this forum. We have to wait up to 7 days for a response from Singapore Airlines....

I don't know what happened with cruising the last time there was a pandemic, H1N1 in 2009. That led to a conservative estimate of 280,000+ deaths worldwide. Covid-19 is far from over, and it is not yet a pandemic, but at c. 2,700 deaths it is, at this stage, a relative lightweight. Let us hope it stays that way. There seems more worldwide panic and alarm over Covid-19 than I can recall hapening in 2009, but then again there is so much more social media chatter, digital news platforms and attention-grabbing headlining to stir things up nowadays.

0 cases reported from Singapore again. I'm very disappointed that our planned stay there has been skewered, but delighted that their concerted and focussed collective effort to contain C-19 appears to be working.

Edited by Flamin_June

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1 hour ago, Flamin_June said:

0 cases reported from Singapore again. I'm very disappointed that our planned stay there has been skewered, but delighted that their concerted and focussed collective effort to contain C-19 appears to be working.

I haven't seen today's report yet. They usually come out around 8pm and it's nearly 9pm here now. A lot of the news is buried under the happenings in Malaysia, political not viral, so perhaps today's report's been and gone. 

 

I do appreciate your support for Singapore throughout this entire episode. I don't know we have it licked yet, and as it spreads worldwide even if we have, it will just be re-imported, but it is nice to have friends who have looked beyond the numbers and understood the effort which has been applied here. 

 

It's a sad old island though. I was out today, was able to book a spa cancellation .. rare those are. ION was deserted, Orchard Road was quiet, the Apple store had more staff than customers and I got a seat on the MRT without having to be offered the 'old man seat'. This is probably what it takes to beat the spread of a disease but I hope it's over sooner rather than later because the place is hurting, retailers and restauranteurs are bleeding. I'm sure it's the same everywhere else. 

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Well I think Seabourn's decision to pull out of Singapore was knee-jerk, short sighted and perhaps not fully informed.

 

Ah well, we were so looking forward to our five days in Singapore; we have grown to appreciate its charms over the years, and three days there going out and four days coming back in Nov/Dec 18 were just great. At the time A said that it was her favourite city in the world. I am about to write to HFC to let them know we are cancelling and request a refund or partial refund. Their booking policy is strictly no cancellations, but in the circumstances they may reconsider? Not very likely, but my Insurance people say I should ask before making a claim with them. I am already missing the prospect of a walk underneath the huge shady trees of Fort Canning Park. One evening, when we walked back from the Colonial District after a heavy rain, as we came to the edge of the escarpment overlooking the hotel we became aware of a reverbrating, all-encompassing, undulating droning, like a hundred digeridoos. It was the sound of bull-frogs, I am guessing, echoing up from the drains deep below the hill. Astonishing and mesmerising.

Edited by Flamin_June

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33 minutes ago, Flamin_June said:

Well I think Seabourn's decision to pull out of Singapore was knee-jerk, short sighted and perhaps not fully informed.

It's the decision which as a global cruise company I would have made. It was impossible to tell where this was going and Singapore led the score sheets for weeks. The perception in the region was that Singapore would be the next domino to fall and true or not, no cruise company would risk another Westerdam.

 

I think the spread in the last few days and the increasing discussion of this being a pandemic is going to be a bigger concern to cruise lines than any one country. 

 

The Singapore stats came out late today and we do have another case, this one spouse of a previous one so I would expect (and the narrative seems to indicate this) they were already quarantined. I'm a little heartened by the stats out of Japan today even though I don't know what they did to contain the disease, if it worked then great. South Korea has a terrible community spread and it's going to take a bit of luck to nail that one down. 

Edited by rols

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Thanks Haworth

I was already aware of my UK consumer rights, but thanks for the thought....

Everything now enters the realm of the farcical.

After a lot of thought and discussion, a lot of ' it's not too bad an intinerary change', 'lets make the most of it', 'No actualy it really sucks, day after day of different sized versions of Dubai, all that concrete, all those container ports, all those skyscrapers and shopping malls'; we decided that what was now on offer was not anything we would have considered signing up for had it been scheduled in normal circumstances. So, we contacted our TA and cancelled. Today I cancelled our flights (return home from Dubai was fortunately refundable). This evening I looked at the SB website thinking we might cheer ourselves up with planning for the future, and I see that the March 14th itinerary has been changed AGAIN, dropping many of the Persian Gulf stops, reinstating Yangon, putting back  the lost sea days etc., and is actually something we would very likely have taken, had it been offered on Sunday.

Arrrgh and double Arrrrgh.

But it's all too late. We had just about picked ourselves up off the floor, reconciled to the loss of our long anticipated Farewell Tour of Asia, only to be floored again by this latest cruel twist. But that's it. No one to blame. It's not to be. Maybe it's for the best. And while c-19 might just be starting to be contained in Asia, it's in danger of running out of control in the Middle East, and parts of Europe. Tenerife now, can you believe it...

So travelling is off the menu for the time being. The Feb2021 Sojourn transpacific is all booked out, but there's something else in the catalogue that looks promising. I'll not mention what it is because the price looks good and I don't want it to start selling well....😎

Till we meet again

xxx

 

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Flamin_June. I'm with you all the way, exactly our thought processes except that we have decided to go, mainly because the way things are going there will be nowhere to go on holiday soon. We so wanted to go to Yangon it was our third attempt to get there. You say that the ship is going there now but we have not seen or heard anything. Fingers crossed, if we will just enjoy the sun and the sea. 

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