Cruising is back and you should be too! - September 28, 2021
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Welcome Back! Here's what we have experiened so far.....   

The past 18 months have been some of the most interesting times in my life, as I am sure it has been for many of you.   So many things that have happened, I thought never could happen, that I have honestly lost count.  But here we are, we have pushed through the past 18 months in unique and unquestionably new ways.  In this newsletter I prefer to not look any longer at the past but into the future.
As I write this newsletter there are now 200 cruise ships operating and carrying guests all over the world, plus many more preparing to start operating again soon.   At this stage we have been on 3 cruises and are currently in Europe on our fourth.  Having been on Celebrity’s Edge for the first cruise from US on June 26 cruising to Mexico and Nassau, Windstar’s Star Breeze cruising in the far southern Caribbean from Barbados, and Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam in Alaska, we have tried to see firsthand the changes and guest reactions.
The guest reaction has been the same on the three ships - keeping in mind the Edge was an unmasked cruise and the other two required one to wear masks.   Beyond a doubt the passenger reaction has been overwhelmingly fantastic.  A sample of typical comments:  Just so happy to be cruising and traveling again; I don’t know who is more excited to be here me or the crew; the crew are better than I remember; I feel safer here than at my grocery store—my favorite restaurant---the hotel I was in last night.  People are loving it and have no fear on the ship and are flexible if you have to skip a port, which is possible today.
Now some of the changes that you may or may not have heard about.  First all the ships that we track are requiring you to be fully vaccinated for at least two weeks prior to embarkation, with very few exceptions.  Secondly you need to get an Antigen or PCR test 48 hrs prior to embarkation.  If traveling outside the country more than likely you will need these tests to get on the plane.  While cruise ships have always been clean, you will notice ongoing cleaning more than ever especially any and all hand railings and any frequently touched areas.  Social distancing is honestly not an issue right now as none of the cruise lines are going out anywhere near full capacity. New filtration systems for cleaner fresher air.  No self-serve buffets (YEAH) or drink stations.  A lot less paper like daily programs and endless ads for the shops and spas.  Hardly any one time use items like plastic water bottles, individual servings of ketchup, mustard, sugars etc. etc.    
Many people have asked me what’s it like having to wear the mask all the time.  Well here’s the honest answer - you leave you stateroom to get coffee or a drink, you wear the mask to walk to the venue and order and then you can take off the mask to consume said beverage -  end of story.   Same with restaurants.   You wear the mask to walk to an outdoor area, then take it off as soon as you’re outside.  Bottom line it’s a big deal if you make it one, but honestly it is not something people are complaining about once onboard.  It certainly doesn’t detract from the overall cruise experience.  
Cruises are back and people are loving them just like they did in the past and I dare say are appreciating them even more.  Sure you might have a last minute change on your itinerary, and customs and immigrations in foreign countries, and the paper work might be annoying, but right now you are experiencing one of the safest and most controlled vacation locations you can find.  I also have to mention that the friendly trained crew are back all over the ship, and you still get nightly turndown service and morning service without requesting it.  Room service is still there and your bartender really knows how to make a drink more than just a screw driver.  Cruising is back and you should be too.
We are heading to Rome to join Atlas Ocean Voyages’ World Navigator, a 180 passenger ship advertised as a 5 star product.  The press and PR are sounding great and the size is in great demand, especially now, for a charter vessel of this size.  Stay tune on Facebook for daily reports and a full special email on this ship.  Fingers crossed!
During the pause, what were these ships doing?  Well the Edge and the Nieuw Amsterdam had a cleaning that was really intense so these ships honestly look new. Whereas the Breezes and was cut in half and had 50 cabins added and is pretty much new.  For example crew could sleep in guest cabins but had to fix, repair, and clean every nook and cranny in the room.  If it needed paint or stain it got it, everywhere and anywhere.
Holland America and Celebrity management looked at their product, services and guests comments as did others and have now included more in the product than ever, like open bar, wine and other offerings.  So the product itself is now more inclusive than ever.  Listed below are some other things going on in the industry all for the better and a brighter future.

Star Breeze
We had the opportunity to cruise on the newly stretched and total refurbishment Star Breeze, from August 14 to 21. The cruise was from Barbados to Aruba [...]
Read Review
HAL Nieuw Amsterdam
This is certainly not our first time cruising or chartering the Nieuw Amsterdam but it will be the second charter Worldwide  [...]
Read Review
Celebrity Edge 
We’re doing a 7 night Eastern Caribbean out of Ft Lauderdale. Now this is only her 6th voyage post COVID and we are at about 50-60% capacity. So needless [...]
Read Review
Industries FIRST Post-COVID Charter!

We are so incredibly proud and honored to have been part of the industries first charter to operate in the post-COVID era. The first questions everyone asks.....there were ZERO cases of COVID and no one was denied boarding. Second, everyone had a great time (guests and crew) and I heard reports we even had the Captain dancing. The cruise was such a success in fact that the client has signed another contract with us and the cruise line for 2023 in addition to the contracts already signed for 2022. We did an interview with X-Change and Avalon about this charter, check it out!
We are very excited for the next few months where we will be operating Silverseas first full ship charter in November and Holland Americas second full ship charter also in November.  Its so great to be back doing what we love!

205 cruises set sail in September which is great news for the cruise industry as this represents over 50% of the global ocean-going fleet. I know we keep saying this, but cruise is back!

International travel, whats that like?
International travel looks VERY VERY different right now than what we are all used to. Lets start from the beginning, waiting for you pre-checkin email? Nope! Not allowed. It all has to be done in person at the airport now. Every country is different so do your research, and then when you think you understand what you need. Double and triple check it. In our experience if you spend the time in advance triple checking your paperwork and doing every single thing they have asked you to do and not taking any short cuts, the actual day of travel is a breeze. However, if you think your just going to wing it and show up like you used to in 2019 you day is quite simply going to suck. Thankfully Diana is the master of triple checking and organization, so we have breezed through every line (usually with many angry eyes watching us) but hey, that is what happens when you do your homework and follow instructions. Moral of the story.....yes, travel is a little more involved now than it used to be, but the day of travel doesn't have to be a giant headache. Do your research, ensure you have all your testing and paperwork done in advance, and you too can be sipping your wine in the Delta lounge waiting for take-off!

The Buisness of People 
It's What it Really is all About 

This business is about a lot of things, but one of the most important is PEOPLE. We get the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people from all around the world doing what we do. One of those people is Widona. He is from Bali and when we told him years ago we would be visiting Bali with family he insisted on showing us around his island and introducing us to his family. The top picture is when he brought us into his home for an extraordinary dinner, it was a truly amazing experience. A few weeks ago when we had a site inspection on HALs Nieuw Amsterdam we got to see him again and we were so ecstatic!

Worldwide is attending these upcoming events
IMEX Las Vegas
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