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An Update from Cruise Encounters
This is a very difficult time for everyone and we understand that you have questions about the how recent situation with COVID-19 affects your cruise. Many cruise lines have relaxed their cancel policies and they are evolving daily. So that you can view the policies of your cruise line, we have posted links to the cruise lines' websites below so that you can view their current policies.
We are always here to answer your questions by phone or email. If you have friends who have booked a cruise with another travel agent and they have questions about their cruise line's policy, feel free to give them our number or email. We are happy to help shed some light in what is a confusing and stressful time.
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From Robert's Desk...
An Update from Robert... week of March 18
Just a week ago, most businesses, schools and public places were open. Now, they are closed.
The most difficult thing about the next couple of weeks will be remaining calm as we hear the daily update in new cases. They will compound upon each other (2x2 = 4, 4x4 = 16, but 8x8 = 64). Expect this to happen before our measures of containment begin to work. It's a mathematical certainty.
From a travel perspective, I am not going to lie, it's difficult. We are doing our best just to get people home right now. Getting through to the airlines is the most difficult part of our day. 10-hour hold times are common and telephone lines are simply disconnected at the end of the day - unanswered.
The cruise lines remain the class of the travel industry right now. Firstly, they are answering their phones right away. They have relaxed their cancellation schedule to give you time to wait and see how things are as your sailing approaches. If your cruise is cancelled by the cruise line, they are offering extra compensation. Most clients are receiving a future cruise credit with a 25% bonus above what they paid. This can be used on one cruise or spread out over a couple of cruises.
If you are booked on a future cruise, there are things to do to keep your options open. Cancellations for full refund or extra compensation are offered only to those who make their final payments on time. So, please, consider making your final payment as scheduled. This way, you'll place yourself in the best position if your cruise is cancelled or rescheduled - normally a full refund or a future credit for 125% of what you paid.
I have received questions as to my opinion on the financial viability of the cruise lines as the stock market digests COVID 19. In reply, I can tell you that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Royal Caribbean stock (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara) sank to $4/share. Everybody thought it was going to zero. But, it didn't. It climbed to $130/share. I expect it to do the same this time. It will find a bottom and then start its climb. These billion-dollar ships will sail again, just as the planes will fly, London drugs will have toilet paper, and the Canucks will play.
If I can reassure you in any way, it is to say that cruise lines are leading the industry in treating their guests well. Keep your options open. Some of our clients wanted out, and immediately cancelled their cruises. Then, their cruise was cancelled by the cruise line with extra compensation. The cruise lines won't let you undo your cancellation. It's important to keep calm and keep your compensation options open.
Please call us if you need some guidance. We are answering our phone - usually on the first ring. We're here to help.
Viking's Referral Program
Viking Cruises does so many things well - their river and ocean cruises are loved by our clients. Viking understands that travel is one of life’s great treasures and sharing it with others increases its value in so many ways. This is why they offer a referral award if you recommend a river or ocean journey with Viking to a friend, family member, neighbor or colleague. Whether you prefer to travel on your own, with family, or with a few of your closest friends, Viking takes care of the details and allows you to relax and focus on discovering the world. The open-seating dining rooms, allow you to spend time with old friends at every meal or sit with new ones, a great way to meet like-minded travelers and future traveling companions. Recommending Viking is easy and you receive a $100 travel credit for each new traveler you refer; that is $200 for each referred couple. Your credits are valid on reservations made within 12 months from date of issue. Earn a free cruise when you
refer your 13th friend within a calendar year. Plus, each referred person saves $100 per person on their first cruise. Tell your friends about Viking. When they call us to book their trip, they can give us your name and you’ll receive your Referral Reward, and they receive a $100 credit on their first trip on the spot - it's that easy!
Premium economy is an airline seat that offers more comfort than an economy seat, but without the business-class price tag. Premium economy seats generally offer more recline and increased legroom. There’s often an upgrade to the in-flight entertainment system. Premium Economy often enjoys a separate cabin and washroom. The upgrade cost can vary from $200 - $1000/person depending on the length of flight. This often includes your specific seat selection. Our clients love premium economy and look forward to the flight portion of their trip. All of our yellow-sheet packages can be quoted to include premium economy - ask us about your next cruise!
Low-cost cancellation insurance!
Our new Travel Guard cancellation coverage charges a flat rate of 7% of your trip cost. There are no age restrictions and most pre-existing conditions are covered. This new policy is less expensive than any other policy out there - even BCAA. At this rate, everyone should carry cancellation insurance. Remember, your trip can be changed beyond your control! Call us today!
Cruise Norway's Coast
The coast of Norway is considered one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Majestic Fjords, brightly-coloured villages, warm people and fascinating cultural traditions. A cruise is the only way to discover Norway’s coast, and you can discover the full range of this natural
treasure with two very different cruises. First, is a small-ship luxury cruise with Seabourn.
Seabourn pampers you with 5-star food and service and the most beautiful all-balcony ships
- honestly the most spectacular cruise I’ve (Robert) ever experienced. There are just 500
or so guests and it feels like a private yacht. Seabourn cost: roughly $13,000 CDN/person
for 14-nights to the top of Norway, plus flights. Another way to cruise Norway is aboard
Hurtigruten - beautiful ships but at a more practical price point. This is a 12-day round trip
voyage from Bergen (Norway). You'll learn from a full menu of complementary lectures and
onboard activities from the Hurtigruten Guides and choose from 90 optional excursions. You'll discover the entire original, Norwegian coastal route with 34 ports of call, sailing past more than 100 fjords. You'll cross the Arctic Circle and hunt the Northern Lights (winter voyages), or enjoy 24 hours of daylight under the Midnight Sun in summer. Spring and Autumn voyages showcase the brilliant colours, magical light and fascinating culture of Arctic Norway. For October 1 - March 31 voyages, Hurtigruten provides a 100% guarantee that you will see the Northern Lights or you’ll receive a free cruise! Onboard, the ships are spacious and beautifully decorated. Hurtigruten offers a farm-to-table program in Norway. Food is locally sourced from each port - our clients rave about the fresh food. Between Bergen and Kirkenes, you can taste lamb from Geiranger, king crab from the Barents Sea, cheese and cod from Lofoten, reindeer from Finnmark and apples from Hardanger. Nature’s pantry is filled to the brim with delicacies on Hurtigruten. You'll enjoy three-course dinners or bountiful buffets - all based on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Hurtigruten cruise -only cost: USD $3754 per guest - inside cabin, USD $4316 window cabin. Whether you choose Seabourn’s luxury or the more practical style of Hurtigruten, Norway's beauty will stay with you a lifetime. Please look to the Seabourn and Hurtigruten websites for pictures and a detailed itinerary, and call our experts at the office for all details! Fun Fact: Polar bears outnumber people in Bergen! Call us today to get started on your Norway trip!
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