Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Priority wait list will be cleared within 10 days!

Last Friday, several PWLers started getting calls after many on the boat failed to make the second payment. Calls continued into this week and are still coming through today.

My best guess is there were around 35-40 pairs on the PWL. A few had gotten placed here and there in the last two months, and others got on finding roommates on their own. Since last week, I had heard of 12-14 more pairs getting calls. Now it seems the PWL is nearly cleared.

From @Shesha12:
"I'm on the boat. Mary at Rose Tours said only rooms available right now are inside and 2 oceanviews: 6B and 6C. She let me pick [from those three room types]. I was on PLW but I'm sure it was near the bottom."
From @JKsGrownNSexy:
"I just got off the phone with RT - she said all PWL's should be all set within the next 10 days, at most."
Regular wait listers, while it's probably impossible that all 1000 on the list will get placed, I expect an even higher number will drop out around the third payment on April 1, which is the biggest yet. The payments so far of $300 and $400 seem insignificant compared to the $1100 or so some of us will have to pay in the spring. That won't give much notice for shopping and prepping (especially if it takes a few weeks after the payment date for the calls to come in, like this time), but it's a spot on the boat!

Regular wait listers, do you know anyone who has gotten a call yet? Are you saving for a spot or have you given up? If you get a call in mid-April, do you think you'd take it? Let me know!

(Happy Thanksgiving!!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rose Tours calls have started again!

A few weeks ago, Rose Tours said they would be calling people from the wait list at the end of November, and what do you know, they are!

From Jaime (@HereWeGoAgainJM):
"Rose Tours called a friend of mine today, and she's now on the boat. Some people didn't pay their second payment."

Soon after, I heard from @randaogden that her friend @jennifer_benson also got a call!

Update: I've since heard of at least two other pairs of roomies who received calls today, so that's a minimum of 6 people who joined the boat!

These were priority wait listers. I wonder at this point how many priority wait listers are still in limbo. Anyone have an idea?

By the way, totally unrelated, did you all see this post from Jared on ning?
"Let me assure ANY fan that attempts to re sell cruise cabins on the secondary market (ebay, craigslist, etc) will be VOID. We have alerted Rose Tours to look out for these instances."
This came on the heels of someone putting a cruise vacancy on eBay that sold for $2050 (at least $500 over the value of the room). Several people reported the listing to eBay as unauthorized. I never heard what became of it. I'm also not 100% sure what the best action to take against these listings is. Report on the listing site? Post on ning? All of the above?

Will keep you updated if I hear more on wait list placements. If you've gotten a call today, know someone who has, or are on the PWL and still waiting, please leave a comment!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beware: scammers trying to take advantage of those wanting to cruise

I suppose it was only a matter of time before some lowlife figured out that they could use the cruise as a way to scam money out of BHs.

From a post on Ning by Yolanda:

"There was a girl on here just a couple of days ago saying she had 2 spots open for the cruise. When I contacted her about the tickets I asked her what type of room does she have and what is the cabin number. She wrote back that they don't give you that info until day before take off. Which I knew right then she was a scam. I know they give you the room number through your email confirmation page. If anyone wants your CC info tell them you will call Rose Tours to give them that info. Now she is no longer a member of this website, she disappeared." 

In the excitement of seeing a cruise opening and the sense of urgency that goes along with vying for an open spot, it's not hard to forget to be thorough, but please be careful. Here are some tips.

  • Ask questions about the cabin type and room number. Ask for a confirmation number and compare against people you trust who are cruising.
  • Check the seller's ning profile page or Twitter account. Do they have friends? Are they interacting like a normal BH? Of course, fellow BHs could still be scammers, but if someone seems odd, that's a red flag.
  • Never give anyone your credit card or bank account information. You only need to give it to Rose Tours.
  • If you pay someone, use PayPal or another trusted service. Get a receipt. Use a credit card with buyer protection.
  • Check the room category and price the seller is advertising against the price list at to make sure they aren't inflating the cost.
  • Ask for your name to be added to the reservation before money changes hands, and confirm with Rose Tours directly before you pay the individual.

Good luck ladies!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Live from the cruise: KT-TV

My husband has done some pretty cool techno-geek BH stuff for me in the past (made me a personalized Joe Mac app, put Hangin Tough Live on our HTPC, loaded The Block onto the PS3), but this may be the best yet.

Last week, we picked up our Droid phones. And last night, husband installed on mine a beta client called Qik. Qik on the Droid works like UStream on a PC. Two clicks on my phone and whatever I'm doing is streaming in live DVD quality video on the internet. Plus, it has a live chat feature so I can see what you're replying while I'm filming.

You know what this means? I could be at the NKOTB cruise sail away party next May, phone in the air, and you could be seeing everything as it's happening. HOW COOL IS THAT??

My 2009 roomie Malina asked last night if there was a limit to how long a video could be. I don't think so. What will limit me, though, is that I'll be using the ship's $0.50/minute wi-fi, so I won't be streaming hours of coverage. But every now and then (from approved video-friendly events) you could get a live peek of the cruise.

Qik automatically starts a video feed when I start filming, so I envision that weekend you can leave a browser window open to with the volume on high, and randomly throughout the three days, the noise of live video will scare the pants off of you. Don't worry if you miss one, because videos are stored on my channel so you can watch them anytime.

(Because it is so easy to go live, I'm a bit worried that husband will swipe my phone and start streaming things like me brushing my teeth, but let's hope not.)

Here's a sample video we did last night of the most exciting film subject in the house: our cat.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Priority wait listers may hear more news this month

It's been a LONG time since we've heard anything on the wait list, hasn't it? Here is a tiny morsel of news, posted on ning by Kathrin:
"We will start to clear some of the priority wait list the end of this month. After they are all cleared, we will start with the regular wait list.

Thanks and have a great day,
Jeannie Gearhart | Office Manager"
I mentioned in my last post that I had only heard of two people in the last month or so who had gotten placed from the actual waitlist. I'm sure there are more, but it definitely seems like the vast majority of those who cancel are finding replacements on their own. (As we've seen, that comes with its own problems.) Maybe that will change at the end of the month.

Also, the last two payments have been pretty reasonable. The big payment for many people will come April 1. Think of how many rooms were over $1500. That means without an intermediate payment many cruisers will owe $800, some even $1200. And, at that time, people will really have to start booking flights and making final arrangements. Cancelations will keep coming.

So what haven't I heard? Have others from the wait list gotten calls? And on another note, have any roommates been matched yet? Rose Tours had said November for that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Too many name changes can put everyone's spot at risk

This morning I got a tweet from @DJ4Wood with some rather alarming news:
"I emailed Jeannie at Rose Tours because we had ANOTHER name change and I am now the lone survivor on the original booking. She let me know: since I am the last original passenger, if I cancel, the girls in the cabin are canceled out. They would have to pay the cancellation penalty but the $100 name change fee would be deducted from their penalty. They would be able to fill out a wait list reservation; however, that list is very long."
In other words, DJ4Wood has found new roomies on her own who have successfully registered and paid at least $700 each toward the room already. But because her previous roomies canceled, should DJ4Wood need to back out, all her replacement roomies will get the boot too!

Now, I think this is only an issue if you have only one person from the original reservation left on the room. For a 4-person room, the chances are probably small that all 4 people would cancel. But what about for a 2-person room? If the second person drops out, does the new cruiser get kicked to the curb too?

Has anyone else received the same information from Rose Tours?

Speaking of cancellations, I didn't see as many as I expected to around the time of the second payment. But I think it's because almost everyone is finding replacements on their own. I have only heard of two people actually getting spots from the wait list (and Rose Tours is still trying to place priority wait listers). Have you heard of more?

p.s. Don't forget, you can subscribe to this blog by e-mail so that you get all new posts automatically. Sign up is in the sidebar on the right.

p.p.s. Why does "canceled" have one L, but "cancellation" has two? English is weird.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Here We Go Again

Here We Go Again
by JoeyMcIntyre

Buy this song on 11/16!

Lyrics transcribed by @mashia6:

I found it hard to pretend
that this has come to an end
Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in

It always happens like this
Just when I start to forget
I try it on all over again and it fits so perfect

Back in headlines, in the papers
Hangin on ? he's such a loser
When is that kid ever gonna grow up?
No, I don't wanna grow up!

Here we go again
I'm a man on a mission baby
Here we go again
Are you gonna be there for me now?

Here we go again
La La La love
Here we go again
Hey Hey Hey Hate

Here we here we go again
Here we go again
Oh, here we go again

I don't know if this is for me
Am I at the wrong party?
If I am, I'm not gonna leave
Cuz it's screamin my name

Back in headlines, see what he did
Comin up he's such a cool kid
No that boy won't ever give up
I never give up

Here we go again
I'm a man on a mission baby

Here we go again
La La La love
Here we go again
Hey Hey Hey Hate

Here we here we go again
Here we go again
Oh, Here we go again

I think it's time to get out of here
No one seems to know me now
then you pull me back and you push me forward
to where I wanna gooooo

Hey hey hey ya ya ya!

Here we go again
I'm a man on a mission baby

Here we go again
La La La love
Here we go again
Hey Hey Hey Hate

Here we here we go again
Here we go again
Oh, Here we go again

Repeat chorus

Here we go again, repeat x3

Monday, November 2, 2009

Second payment due today. Or this week. Or sometime. . . whatever.

Like many of you, the first thing I did this morning was check my credit card charges to see if the $400 payment had been taken from Rose Tours. Last year, the payments went through at midnight on the dot, so I expected to at least see a "Pending." I didn't. And 12 hours later, I still haven't.

Turns out most of you haven't either. I heard of only three people today that were actually charged. I also heard from @colettebett, who had made her payment early only to be charged another $400 today. She got an apology email saying the payment would be refunded, but it will take a few days for the refund to clear. Colette says she was assured when she made the payment that the automatic payment would not go through.

But what about the rest of us that actually do owe money but haven't been charged? Varying answers. On Ning, @InLuvWithJon wrote:
"Talked to RT about half an hour ago [5:30 pm EST]....they said since there are so many people who need to have payments taken, it can take up to a few days. They assured me that if there is a problem with the card, they will not cancel any reservations until they speak with you directly."
So somehow we went from midnight on the dot last year to "a few days" this year. But it may be more. @shawnasstoller also called today, and she was told it could be "Friday or NEXT Monday before the payment is taken out."

What does this mean really? It's not a huge deal for most of us if the payment is charged today versus Wednesday or Thursday. But it may change how we decide to make unscheduled payments. I had been planning to pay half my remaining balance in February or so, but I don't feel very confident in being accurately charged come April 1. Instead, I'm going to stash my payment money away somewhere so I have it ready to go on April 1. Or, you know, April 5.

Has this scheduled payment changed your payment plans? Were you accurately charged today? Double charged? Still waiting?

Rose Tours says they're "trying something new" with seating this year

If you read any of my 2009 daily recaps, you got a taste of how much time I spent waiting in line on this year's cruise. In fact, 47% of the respondents to my last poll said they spent more than 4 hours in line during the cruise. Most everyone is hoping for a new seating system this year.

On the splash promo page that was on before the cruise went on sale, there was a line promising "assigned seating" this year. While that line does not appear on, it does seem that Rose Tours is making a change -- although they haven't seemed to have worked out just what that change will be.

From Angela on Ning:
"I have called them to ask about long line ups and seating.. I have chronic pain, so even if i wanted to i couldnt stand or sit in line for hours, i am also blind in my right eye so i cant see anything from a distance. I had to fill out a medical form for them and fax it in..So since the second payment was due i called to ask if they have worked any of this out for me. She said no!! I told her i didnt want to make the next payment if arrangements couldnt be made for me and still couldnt give me an answer. She told me not to worry about it (easy for them to say) Anyhow what she did tell me is they are trying something different with the seating and are still working on the logistics of all the seating>.. hmmmm Something tells me they still will be trying to figure it out in May!!"
In the off chance that Jeannie reads this blog, here's what I would like to see: assignments that designate you to a specific booth or section of a row. For example, you could be "floor row 3, left center," "floor row 4, right," or "balcony booth 9." It wouldn't be too difficult to number each booth. Since the rows are quite long, I would want to divide them into at least 4 sections each: split down the center and then divided in half. Otherwise I can envision people lining up hoping to get the aisle seats. We don't need a fancy system; masking tape on the seats dividing the rows and signs with numbers on each table would work fine.

What do you think cruisers? What would your ideal seating system be?