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A Week in an Alternate Universe without COVID!


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On 5/6/2021 at 5:45 PM, JRG said:

 

 

On 5/6/2021 at 5:45 PM, JRG said:

 

I predict that if we don't see cruiseships sailing from US ports this year,   we may never see them again in the US.

 

How's that for a feeling of impending doom?

 

 

 

You ignore the fact that the majority of cruise passengers are US based — and that the majority of US cruisers are bargain hunters.  Mass market cruising as an industry is suffering a delay, not doom.  When the threat of COVID passes (sooner rather than later if people are smart and not so damn impatient that they have to do everything they want NOW) US based cruising will resume.   It will resume a lot sooner if more people get vaccinated and abstain from participating in spreader events (like cruising) .

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3 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

You ignore the fact that the majority of cruise passengers are US based — and that the majority of US cruisers are bargain hunters.  Mass market cruising as an industry is suffering a delay, not doom.

 

I'm with you on the vaccination front.   I'm not on the front lines though, or in the trenches,  I am just an observer.

 

Frankly,  If I was worried about it ,   I would be worried that the extending the Delay MIGHT* lead to the Doom.

 

*Note--I capitalized, bolded, italicized, underlined and asterisked the word might to make sure it does not it get taken out of context inadvertently.  

 

I should also temper my prediction about losing US port sailing.   If we don't see ships sailing this year from US ports then it MIGHT be a long time before we see them sailing from our homeports again.

 

Welcome to Enseneda,   the New Cruising Capital of North America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

Predictions are wonderful things. No one ever seems to remember them when they are wrong (which is most of the time) -- only when they are correct. 

 

I will stop at extreme weather events to remind you that many predictions aren't always wonderful,   they should all be helpful though and many are wonderful for that reason.

 

My prediction last year (12 months)was pretty general in that we are in a holding pattern awaiting future-state; and that prediction still seems to be holding most of its water,  along with our cash in the form of FCC or OBC's,  remember? 

 

We are now watching the cruiselines pay hide the peanut (cash or FCC) in the shell,  with the peanut getting smaller and the shell getting larger with each cycle of cancellations and rebookings.

 

I predict that will continue until all the peanuts (FCC's) have been shelled out.

 

 

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5 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

You ignore the fact that the majority of cruise passengers are US based

What about those non US orientated lines, such as Aida, Saga, Marella, P&O, Fred Olsen, etc?

There is a world outside the USA! 

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Just now, wowzz said:

What about those non US orientated lines, such as Aida, Saga, Marella, P&O, Fred Olsen, etc?

There is a world outside the USA! 

Yes there is. But the fact remains that the majority of cruisers are US based - and I was simply addressing a claim that there would not be cruises sailing from the US.   The industry - and I mean those who traditionally operated out of US ports  - is NOT going to give up more than half of its market.  It may take six months or a year - but such sailings will resume.

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12 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

Yes there is. But the fact remains that the majority of cruisers are US based - and I was simply addressing a claim that there would not be cruises sailing from the US.   The industry - and I mean those who traditionally operated out of US ports  - is NOT going to give up more than half of its market.  It may take six months or a year - but such sailings will resume.

Indeed, but companies such as Fred and Saga operate very successfully with no US pax at all. So, yes, you are  absolutely correct about US lines, but other non US lines are gearing up to recommence sailings in the next few weeks.

 

 

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Not sure whether the cruise ports of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale withering up and dying is ironic or poetic justice. The State interference with companies requiring mask wearing and/or vaccines in order to use their services that DeSantis is imposing in Florida certainly won’t help those cities.

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4 hours ago, wowzz said:

Indeed, but companies such as Fred and Saga operate very successfully with no US pax at all. So, yes, you are  absolutely correct about US lines, but other non US lines are gearing up to recommence sailings in the next few weeks.

 

Throughout the Pandemic cruises have been sailing in Singapore and Taiwan. Now those are true cruise addicts as they will cruise with masks and social distancing😂

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On 5/6/2021 at 10:28 PM, Hlitner said:

The tuna industry is a good example but only one of many similar examples.  We have plenty of industries that have been driven out of the USA by simple economics and have never returned.  I can take you a few miles down the road and show you a huge abandoned Caterpillar factory complex that was completely abandoned (and relocated to Mexico) because of labor union demands (the Union told their workers not to worry because Caterpillar would never move).  We can look to the US Steel Industry which never recovered from the strike of 1986.  Part of our auto industry has been relocated to other countries because of economics and some of that industry has been lured to the USA by States that offered huge economic incentives.  Folks tend to think in terms of their own agendas, but Corporate CEOs and Boards live of die with the bottom line.  Take away a corporations ability to generate revenue and make a profit and they will generally react.

 

Corporations function, in some ways, like a person.  They do whatever they can do to survive.  Both labor unions and government has too often made the mistake of thinking, "they will never leave."  But history is pretty clear that once a company's back is against the economic wall they will react (or not survive).   One has to only look at the rust belt to see what happens when economics no longer fit a business plan.

 

We have all heard the old saying that "you can't fight city hall."  For the cruise industry it is now becoming apparent that they cannot fight the CDC who has left them with two viable choices, move most operations out of the USA or face financial failure (which may happen anyway).

 

Hank

 

You would think that after decades of over-regulation causing businesses to flee and once great cities are now depressed, poor, and full of drugs that we would learn a single thing from it. Americans have no problem displaying any ounce of virtue signaling they can as long as their livelihood wasn't impacted.

 

I, too, have experienced this alternate reality. I've spent over 3 weeks in various Florida cities since the pandemic started. It is back to normal life there. Meanwhile, we cannot even have a PATH to cruising. While other countries have done so without a peep from the media. Keep thinking it's not political.

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7 minutes ago, Joebucks said:

 

You would think that after decades of over-regulation causing businesses to flee and once great cities are now depressed, poor, and full of drugs that we would learn a single thing from it. Americans have no problem displaying any ounce of virtue signaling they can as long as their livelihood wasn't impacted.

 

I, too, have experienced this alternate reality. I've spent over 3 weeks in various Florida cities since the pandemic started. It is back to normal life there. Meanwhile, we cannot even have a PATH to cruising. While other countries have done so without a peep from the media. Keep thinking it's not political.

There is so many things that I could reply to this.

 

Yes it has become political but your acceptance of what is correct will vary to others not just in your country but throughout the world. 

 

Last year we thought America was a basket case now many of us in other parts of the world admire how well the USA has done since January.

 

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4 minutes ago, Joebucks said:

 

You would think that after decades of over-regulation causing businesses to flee and once great cities are now depressed, poor, and full of drugs that we would learn a single thing from it. Americans have no problem displaying any ounce of virtue signaling they can as long as their livelihood wasn't impacted.

 

I, too, have experienced this alternate reality. I've spent over 3 weeks in various Florida cities since the pandemic started. It is back to normal life there. Meanwhile, we cannot even have a PATH to cruising. While other countries have done so without a peep from the media. Keep thinking it's not political.

I think having retired from a career in government (health policy) I have a slightly different take.  Many in the general public have little understanding of how our government functions from day to day.  While the cabinet members and top officials, who are often political appointees, come and go, those of us who have professional career jobs stay around from decades.  It is those professionals who truly run the various government agencies and they often gain great power because of their professional responsibilities.  So inside the CDC you have a relatively small group that deals with marine/cruise issues.  These are career professionals that have generally worked in the background.  But because of COVID they have suddenly attained great power and this can be very addicting for career professionals.  So these folks are now driving the CDC decision-making and the folks at the top (i.e. Dr. Walensky) have much bigger issues as opposed to the cruise industry which, in the scheme of things, is not a major issue.  It has become obvious that some of these career professionals are very unhappy with the cruise industry (keep in mind that the cruise industry did cause them lots of grief in the early days of COVID) and have obviously been "flexing their muscles" by constantly tossing roadblocks into the path of the cruise industry.  Without somebody at the top (such as President Biden or Dr. Walensky) there is nothing to stop these power grabbing professionals.   A friend describes it as a perfect storm destined to sink the cruise industry in the USA.  For a few weeks it looked like Governor DeSantis might ride to the rescue of the cruise industry, but then he got caught up in the vaccine passport issue and actually screwed the cruise industry.  

 

So I think what we have now are various factions who have simply dug in their anti-cruise heels without anyone able to break their momentum.  Frank del Rio has tried to inject some common sense into the discussion, but it appears that nobody inside the CDC is listening.  Just like we saw with our Steel Industry, there will come a day when we will wake up to find that the cruise industry has looked to other options outside the USA...in order to survive.   There is history for this kind of thing.  At one point the Port of Pireaus was becoming a major player as an embarkation port.  But several major labor strikes created big problems for the cruise industry and Pireaus lost much of its "home port" business to other ports such as Barcelona and Civitavecchia.  The irony of COVID is that it is possible that Pireaus will be a big winner as cruise lines return because of a very friendly government who has made it clear that they welcome the ships, tourists/cruisers, and their money.

 

Hank

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14 hours ago, wowzz said:

Indeed, but companies such as Fred and Saga operate very successfully with no US pax at all. So, yes, you are  absolutely correct about US lines, but other non US lines are gearing up to recommence sailings in the next few weeks.

 

 

 

But the gist of this thread is whether the large mass market lines can take their toys and move elsewhere, surviving without the US market and particularly the short 7-day or less R/T Caribbean cruises that require no passport.  I think this graph from CLIA (2019, the last "actual" cruising year). says volumes about the importance of being able to sail from US ports:

 

image.thumb.png.15b5040acb81f15471903a0e37c985a9.png 

 

By the time you add in Alaska plus some NE/Canada cruises, the deployment of ships is such that over 40% depend on the US market -- either as a home port or as stops on itineraries.

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Hank,

I don't think it's against any rules to name the resort you went to.  I'd like to do some research on it.  We've never been to an AI.

I know it's in Maya Mujeres.  Anything else you can share?

 

Thanks for y our post, by the way.😄

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Two issues I want to address.  Regarding the All-- Inclusive where we recently spent 8 days, since somebody asked, it was the Excellence Playa Mujeres.  It was our 2nd time dealing with this resort chain (the first time was about 15 years ago at their Punta Cana facility).  We went to the resort out of personal desperation having been shut out of the ability to cruise (which we prefer).  At the risk of going a little off cruise topics, that Excellence property is simply drop dead gorgeous and immaculately maintained.  Our only disappointment was the cuisine which ranged from very good to not so very good.  

 

Moving on to one of my favorite issues, we have given some thought to Cruisemom's question about whether the USA cruise industry can pick up and move out of the USA.   My thinking is that the answer is a mixed bag.  Some cruise lines such as all the ultra-luxury lines, HAL, MSC, and possibly Princess are pretty well positioned to completely dump the USA ports from their itineraries.  Other lines like RCI, Carnival, and Disney will have a much tougher time without access to US Ports.  But the CDC may ultimately give them no choice and they will need to move off-shore or go out of business.

 

I agree with Cruisemom and some others that the cruise industry, as we know it, cannot possibly survive without their US Customers.  Sure, some of the European oriented lines (i.e. Aida, Saga, etc) do not depend on the US cruisers, but the bulk of the industry lives or dies with large volume of US customers.  That is why in another post (which I called a manifesto) I talked about the cruise industry changing their business plans to a model which focuses on getting more US customers to ships outside the USA.  Many Americans routinely fly to the Florida ports and the cruise industry needs to convince those folks to fly a bit further to ports outside the USA.   If demand for flights increases the airlines will quickly meet that demand with more flights and the use of larger aircraft.  I also think the time is ripe for the major cruise lines to get into the charter air industry (Carnival once tried this and failed).   There is an unprecedented oversupply of large commercial aircraft in the world so this falls under that credo that out of bad times/disasters there are opportunities for risk takers (i.e. entrepreneurs).   So here is a question.  Can St Maarten become the new Port Everglades?  And there are several other Caribbean islands in a position to become bigger embarkation players.   Something to think about and you can be sure the issue is being discussed in the executive suits and boardrooms of all the major cruise lines.

 

Hank

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On 5/6/2021 at 3:52 PM, JRG said:

 

Change is wonderful.    My point was that the US and San Diego economy lost billions during the 1970 progressively because we all collectively didn't understand how to regulate things.

Tuna fishing is not the only thing driven out of San Diego.  Almost all commercial aerospace is gone and any manufacturing.

 

On 5/6/2021 at 5:21 PM, clo said:

Oh I understand. But throughout history certain industries have gone away or been greatly reduced:

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/12/18/americas-dying-industries-businesses-losing-most-workers/38693221/

 

It seems like the natural order of things.

If it was based on "normal economics" I would agree with you.  CA has actively pushed business away via excessive costs and regulation and a desire to offshore pollution.  The story you post only mentions outsourcing.  In  CA this is accentuated by companies moving away to other states.  A famous local manufacturer, Buck Knives, left a few years ago for Idaho, I believe.  It's not just about newspapers and bookstores...

 

On 5/7/2021 at 11:48 AM, DaveSJ711 said:

I’m not sure I would describe a week in a Cancun all-inclusive resort as a “normal life.” That would be punishment for me, because I detest the artificiality of (1) all-inclusive resorts in general, and (2) anything having to do with Cancun. But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary.

Surprising to here this from someone that likes cruises.  I always viewed a cruise ship as a "moveable resort" with many of the same characteristics.

 

On 5/8/2021 at 1:38 PM, JRG said:

 

Welcome to Enseneda,   the New Cruising Capital of North America.

 

Ensenada works as a home port for me.  I actually just got back from a short visit there and to the Valle de Guadalupe.  

 

I don't think it will ever be a big cruise port as the logistics of crossing the normal ports of entry into Mexico are simply too inconvenient for most passengers.  Puerto Vallarta might be better suited as a West Coast cruising hub.

 

I also think that the Bahamas are better positioned to take the #1 spot as the cruising in the Caribbean is more varied than the Mexican Rivera,  

 

On 5/9/2021 at 6:24 AM, Hlitner said:

... It is those professionals who truly run the various government agencies and they often gain great power because of their professional responsibilities.  So inside the CDC you have a relatively small group that deals with marine/cruise issues.  These are career professionals that have generally worked in the background.  But because of COVID they have suddenly attained great power and this can be very addicting for career professionals...


I deal with these bureaucrats all the time.  The ones that I deal with certainly like the power and often times are "tone deaf" to the consequences of the policies they create.  I also see another group of people that are trying to parlay their government job to something in the private sector.  The revolving door between government and industry is alive and well - at least in CA.

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16 minutes ago, SelectSys said:

Surprising to here this from someone that likes cruises.  I always viewed a cruise ship as a "moveable resort" with many of the same characteristics.

 

Apples and oranges. I view a cruise as a great opportunity to visit different ports in different countries on different continents. The line we love (Viking) doesn’t have casinos, or umbrella drinks, or roller coasters, or ice rinks, or the other gee-whiz gimmicks that inhabit so many ships. Instead, Viking’s lecturers tell you about the history and culture behind the places you’re visiting. Bravo!

 

By contrast, a land-based, all-inclusive resort stays in one place, with a focus on what the resort offers rather than what lies outside the gates. And when that one place is Cancun, I start to get a serious case of the twitches. (Give me a small hotel on Isla Mujeres any day.)

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53 minutes ago, SelectSys said:

Surprising to here this from someone that likes cruises.  I always viewed a cruise ship as a "moveable resort" with many of the same characteristics.

 

I can't imagine myself spending time at an AI and I've been cruising all my life. I don't really cruise for the "resort" aspects. I cruise because it is sometimes a pleasant way to get to places that I want to see/visit/explore. While I enjoy the aspect of being at sea as a pleasant way to travel, I don't really care about the pool scene, frou-frou drinks, casino, stops at beaches, etc. that are normally associated with resorts. 

 

When I go somewhere and want to stay put for a week that's not a cruise, my choice would usually be a medium- to large-sized city with a lot to see and do.

 

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On 5/9/2021 at 8:39 AM, Hlitner said:

Two issues I want to address.  Regarding the All-- Inclusive where we recently spent 8 days, since somebody asked, it was the Excellence Playa Mujeres.  It was our 2nd time dealing with this resort chain (the first time was about 15 years ago at their Punta Cana facility).  We went to the resort out of personal desperation having been shut out of the ability to cruise (which we prefer).  At the risk of going a little off cruise topics, that Excellence property is simply drop dead gorgeous and immaculately maintained.  Our only disappointment was the cuisine which ranged from very good to not so very good.  

 


Haven't been there but we have been to their sister resort, Finest Playa Mujeres.  We stayed in their Excellence Club, which is the high-end adults only section.  We had a great time and had a week booked for this past January, but cancelled due to the US requirement that you have a negative test withing some time (48 hrs?) before being allowed to board a plane home.  I can't fault the resort, as they bent over backwards, offering free testing at the resort, and excellent arrangements if you tested positive, but we were traveling with family, some of whom could not take the risk of not being able to get home when scheduled.

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Perhaps the biggest difference between an AI and a cruise is that you can go to an AI today :).  They are open :).  If cruises were still operating in a normal manner we would have been cruising in Asia (for a month) rather then spending a week in Mexico (after spending 10 weeks living in a different part of Mexico).  Not only are the AIs in Mexico open, but there are no major COVID restrictions for those flying to Mexico other then the usual masking (not inside the AI).  Of course you will need to get an antigen test before you return home, but our AI even provided the test (which was done by an outside hospital lab which sent a nurse) which was conveniently done at the resort and free.  

 

As to Cruisemom preferring a city, we also like cities and countries but those options are not very good at the moment.  We would certainly prefer spending a week or month in Paris, but even if that was possible we would likely find many of our favorite restaurants and museums closed or with all kinds of restrictions.

 

So folks, lets be clear that we only posted this AI thread (not normally relevant on CC) because it is a good option in a world where there are not many good options at the moment.   By the way, just today we booked another cruise (for October) that embarks from Barbados (beyond the long arm of the CDC and their whims).  Because we enjoyed the AI so much we decided to add a few pre cruise days in a different AI on Barbados :).  Best of both worlds.  What better way to prepare for a cruise then spending 4 days at a 5* AI relaxing, eating, and drinking.  Just the thought of having a nice mimosa followed by a bloody Mary before heading to our ship makes me smile.

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)
On 5/6/2021 at 8:08 AM, Hlitner said:

I am very concerned about the future of cruising from US Ports.  The kind of restrictions and rules (mostly being imposed by the CDC) not only make little sense, but will make cruising a different kind of experience which will either force cruisers to ignore the restrictions or have many finding the experience awful! 

Ok,  I quoted post #1 above for the following reason:

 

We should consider the US and Canada together as comprising close to 65% of the global market.

 

I'm okay if somebody has a more precise number but it won't change by much.

 

This 65% is a consumer group that is not represented by a consumer agency.  CLIA is too global even though they have some presence in North America,   and accordingly they have not been able to get the ball over the goal line,   with respect to getting things re-started safely.

 

If I were King for a Day,    I would......

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by JRG
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3 hours ago, DaveSJ711 said:

By contrast, a land-based, all-inclusive resort stays in one place, with a focus on what the resort offers rather than what lies outside the gates.

Yes, it doesn't move which is a difference.  I didn't say they were perfect substitutes, but have many similar aspects.  Confession - I have never stayed in one either although I have stayed in large resort hotels.

 

2 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

I don't really cruise for the "resort" aspects.

Fine, to me it is the blend of resort style relaxation with the opportunity to see a few things which is really the attraction of cruising to me.

 

2 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

pool scene, frou-frou drinks

I enjoy the pool and the occasional blended concoction during sea days.   That's one of the reasons I like the ocean crossing cruises. 

 

2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

we also like cities and countries

It's certainly best to have varied travel interests! 

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8 hours ago, SelectSys said:

Surprising to here this from someone that likes cruises.  I always viewed a cruise ship as a "moveable resort" with many of the same characteristics.

 

It depends on the ship. The cruises I have done tend to be more expedition style and they have no resort like facilities at all, apart from serving cocktails at the bar 😂

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Just on the point   North Americans,, make up over 50% of all cruise passengers

 

1374354768_cruisepassengers.JPG.3e7897ddf17b9098722bfcb53c38877c.JPG 

On the point of these large Resorts   that are AI    I fear the AI part is just a way of marketing

 

When one talks of All-Inclusive,  I think of Boutique Accommodation ... small say 20 room or less....  where  this "AI"  includes getting you what ever you would like, nothing to much bother..

 

living in Alternate world would be interesting    if it was more like utopia 

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1 hour ago, ilikeanswers said:

 

It depends on the ship. The cruises I have done tend to be more expedition style and they have no resort like facilities at all, apart from serving cocktails at the bar 😂

The Aranui looks pretty nice from what I can see on their site and I assume it would be OK to bring a drink to the pool on a sea day?

https://www.aranui.com/en/the-vessel/#carateristique

 

image.thumb.png.fa5dd3232c238dcaa752999556962715.png

 

 

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