Home Away from Home - Winter 2020 travel blog


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March 16 we were notified that both our Princess cruise across the Atlantic and Viking river cruise to see the tulips in Holland were cancelled. Both companies offered refunds or 150% of what we had already paid for future cruises. They said they would follow up with more specific information about how to handle this and how to let them know what we wanted to do. Not only are we anxious to get back on the road, but we also want to support the cruise industry and their ultimate return to business as usual, if indeed that's possible. Ken emailed the agent who handled the transatlantic cruise and asked him to rebook us. The email bounced back with the message that the agent had been furloughed. We were on our own.

On the Viking website we found a river cruise we liked even better than the one we had lost. A "chat box" popped up and I ended up in a lengthy exchange with a Viking agent who wanted to help us, but his message was not one we wanted to hear. Evidently, other passengers had just gone ahead and rebooked without waiting for further notification and what we wanted was full. The early bird gets the worm. Eventually, we got a trip that was close to what we wanted and we pulled the trigger. We can use the additional funds to pay for crew tips and should come out OK financially. That motivated us to contact Princess directly and get the transatlantic cruise rebooked. That went much better. Next year's itinerary was slightly different, but will linger in places we would like to see again. We had enough $$$ left over to look for an additional cruise as well, because the prices are lower than they were before life as we know it came to an end. We'll save that for another day.

It took awhile to cancel all the other facets of this trip, especially the ones that said "nonrefundable" when we booked them. For these, procrastination paid off. The vendors and hotels agreed with us that our cancellations in this case were unavoidable. It was fun spending a few hours today making new travel plans, even as we realize that they may never come to be.

Then we went back outside to enjoy the company of our lizard neighbor. It's fun to watch his routine. First he holds his body very close to the ground or a tree trunk and then he looks like he's doing a few quick pushups. These are followed by the rapid unfurling and folding of his colorful, spouted pouch. It's spring. Perhaps he's looking to win the heart of a mate. His antics have certainly won ours.

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