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View Poll Results: What's your take on the Solstice pre-inaugural on sale to the general public?
It's a great opportunity for Joe Cruiser to see a ship at the same time as agents, media and VIP's. 57 15.83%
It stinks for those who booked the inaugural thinking they'd be the first paying passengers. 163 45.28%
I am booked on the inaugural and am not bothered by this at all. 9 2.50%
I am booked on the inaugural and wish I'd been given the chance to switch or extend my sailing. 8 2.22%
There's an entire maiden season to lay claim to, why rush to be first? 29 8.06%
Who cares? I have much more important things to worry about. 118 32.78%
Something else (which I'll post) 9 2.50%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 360. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old August 8th, 2008, 03:42 PM
melissa@cruisecritic melissa@cruisecritic is offline
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Default For Sale: Solstice Pre-Inaugural. What's your take?

Celebrity has chartered one of several Solstice pre-inaugurals -- a two-night voyage departing November 21 -- to a travel agent that has opened the cabins for booking. On one hand, [this] special charter is great in that it gives anyone willing to pay their way the chance to sail on the ship before pretty much anyone else. But on the other, some folks who already paid a premium for what they thought would be the first revenue cruise feel slighted. (Read our news coverage.)

We want to know: Do you think it's a great idea for Joe or Jane Cruiser to be able to buy their way onto a pre-inaugural? Is it simply a bad hand being dealt those who've already booked the "real" inaugural? Be sure to vote in our poll above and post your opinion, too!
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Last edited by LauraS; August 8th, 2008 at 11:13 PM.

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  #2  
Old August 8th, 2008, 03:51 PM
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blackerbys17 blackerbys17 is offline
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I don't feel there is anyway to guarantee that the inaugural cruise you book will in fact be the inaugural. In fact, most times it is not. The ship has either sailed before with just TAs and VIPs or has been chartered out for some other revenue purpose. I sailed on NCL's Pearl "pre-inaugural" cruise for a 1 night fund raising chartered cruise that sailed the night before the "real" inaugural. I later learned that the Pearl had sailed another revenue chartered cruise the night before ours. Oh well. It happens all the time. I do feel bad for those who were really intent on sailing on the first sailing but they have to keep in mind that no matter what, pre-inaugural or real inaugural, the ship has already sailed before. I say just be happy to sail on the "real" inaugural with all its usual pomp and circumstance and be happy that us chartered cruise "guinea pigs" are testing the ship for you for a couple of nights to make sure everything is in working order for your 7 day cruise.
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  #3  
Old August 8th, 2008, 03:51 PM
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The closest option for me was "who cares." Although, I'm not on the 11-23 Inaugural, I think my answer would be the same even if I were.

As I posted in one of the other threads, Celebrity has to shakedown the ship and if a group is willing to pay for that privilege, more power to them.

The "official" inaugural is still the November 23 sailing so those who feel this is an important milestone can still lay claim to being on the inaugural sailing. I don't think many will be pedantic enough to argue that the real inaugural was a two day jaunt, paying customers or not.

  #4  
Old August 8th, 2008, 04:26 PM
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While I feel sorry for the people whose inaugural cruise is being preempted, because it obviously means something to them, I would never be interested in a 2 or 3 night cruise no matter how special. We went on one 4-day in 2007, and we don't remember much. Got pictures, though.
Also, I would not go out of my way to be on a cruise where a large percentage of the passengers are cruise professionals. It would be too much like a land vacation where some people in the community are not on vacation and are sick of seeing those of us who are. I would still have fun if I landed in that situation, but I would not go seeking it.
Besides, DW will not go on an inaugural cruise anyway. After reading about the 19-degree list that happened on a new ship a couple of years ago, she would rather wait a couple of years to be sure the bugs are worked out.
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  #5  
Old August 8th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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wolfganghowell wolfganghowell is offline
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The folks who might scream about "their" inaugural being ruined might also be the first to scream if the service, ship and amenities were not running smoothly. This is a for profit business. Like many businesses, they have "soft" openings before the "grand" opening. Life is full of disappointments (and blessings too, let's not forget!). I don't think you can compare a 2 day sailing to nowhere to the activities of a week's cruise. Rather than concentrate on being "first", concentrate on how much better the service will be while the staff get into a groove and become more comfortable at THEIR new jobs. If it makes you feel better, think how frustrated those pre -inaugural cruisers will be - they won't have time to experience everything Solstice has to offer.
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  #6  
Old August 8th, 2008, 04:32 PM
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We were booked on the original December 14th inaugural, and cancelled our cruise after the date was changed. We weren't able to cruise over Thanksgiving. We were very upset with the decision, but after calming down realized the decision was a financial decision. It took sometime to get over the anticipated excitement of taking an inaugural. When I saw this pre-inaugural 2-day weekend cruise come up for sale, I jumped at the chance to take the Solstice. At the same time I recalled my anger the day I found out the December 14th inaugural cruise was cancelled. I think the decision to sell this 2-day cruise as a charter was a bad decision, but at the same time, I'm very excited about being able to take the Solstice. I must admit, ever since the original December 14th inaugural was cancelled, I basically skipped reading about anything to do with the Solstice. I was truly hurt emotionally by the decision Celebrity made even though I understood it was a business decision. I feel for the people who are booked on the November 23rd inaugural and are hurt as I was at one more "business" decision. I understand that the November 23rd inaugural is the "true" inaugural sailing, but having the paying public able to cruise two days before, takes something away from the excitement of being on the "first" revenue cruise, a.k.a. inaugural.

Steve

  #7  
Old August 8th, 2008, 05:49 PM
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Lots of votes for the "it stinks" option. Anyone want to elaborate a little why so?

I saw one argument that there was a price premium for the inaugural. Others said the price difference could be accounted for in whole or in part by the fact that it is also a holiday cruise. Any other arguments for why this is such a horror?

  #8  
Old August 8th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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emptynest1 emptynest1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Friscorays View Post
Lots of votes for the "it stinks" option. Anyone want to elaborate a little why so?

I saw one argument that there was a price premium for the inaugural. Others said the price difference could be accounted for in whole or in part by the fact that it is also a holiday cruise. Any other arguments for why this is such a horror?
That is what I struggle with. Why is this so disappointing to some?
As has been said before all businesses have a "soft start " to iron out the bugs and polish the staff. Do you think the ship sailed empty coming here for the "inaugural cruise"? I can understand the excitement of the first cruise, but rest assured you will not the be the first to set foot on the ship.
The Inaugural cruise will be the first cruise in the official schedule, enjoy yourselves and be happy to be on a cruise.

  #9  
Old August 8th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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Cruise Arizona Cruise Arizona is offline
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Default "Shake Down Cruise"

To be quite honest, I was a little worried about all of you on the maiden voyage as the "kinks" might not be worked out for the crew ect. Slow service, condfusion ect.

I'm sure the cruise will have a "shake down" cruise with only employees and family, and then these pre-inagural charters. After each the crew and officers and staff officials will probably have meeting on how to fix the problems encountered on these voyages.

For those of you on the "Inaguaral Cruise" you will probably have a better overall cruise experience because of these charters that when ahead of you.

I wish you all the best.
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  #10  
Old August 8th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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Unhappy Gee Math Problem

Wow the answers are over a 100%...that shows it stinks too. By an extra 23% ....mmmmmmmmmm the poll math needs correction.
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  #11  
Old August 8th, 2008, 07:06 PM
FinelyCruising FinelyCruising is offline
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I recognize that some really have a burn to be on 'The Inaugural'. At this point there might even be one before this new two-nighter, and then it's what, the 3rd Inaugural First? Sure, tick off and offend a few more cruisers.

Here's what is silly about anyone with the burn for this two nighter, IMHO of course: They are paying to be a training specimen for the entire staff to get polished for the Real Cruisers!

Dumb idea to even consider taking them up on the offer if you ask me, so I answered *Other* and here you have it.

  #12  
Old August 8th, 2008, 07:17 PM
Oceans&Rivers Oceans&Rivers is offline
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I had the opportunity to book that 2-day cruise mere seconds after I read about it on the first thread that hinted at it, because, although no travel agent name was mentioned, I figured out who was offering it. But I didn't book it and have no interest in being one of the first to sail on the Solstice. (I think I had more fun figuring out how to get on board than I would actually sailing on a brand new ship. OK, I happen to enjoy puzzles, and I think ship virginity may be over-rated.)

However, I do understand the disappointment that some of those who booked the Inaugural cruise feel, even though over the years I have read more negatives than positives about early (Inaugural, pre-Inaugural, Maiden, first few...etc.) cruises on all lines.

As long as the pre-Inaugural passengers follow the new rules Celebrity will have in place and do not break any of those rules, making the cabins smelly or dirty, or worse, then everything should work out all right. I hope that the cruise will not be seen as a two-day party, though, so that the crew will not be tired when their real "Inaugural" guests board.

  #13  
Old August 8th, 2008, 07:20 PM
mchell810 mchell810 is offline
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Default It stinks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friscorays View Post
Lots of votes for the "it stinks" option. Anyone want to elaborate a little why so?

I saw one argument that there was a price premium for the inaugural. Others said the price difference could be accounted for in whole or in part by the fact that it is also a holiday cruise. Any other arguments for why this is such a horror?
Personally, I would not want to take an inaugural cruise --- let them work out the kinks on someone else; nevertheless, selling cruises before the inaugural is wrong. Passengers should get what the cruise line advertised and what they paid for. In my mind, Celebrity is doing a classic "bate and switch".

  #14  
Old August 8th, 2008, 07:28 PM
AlbertusMagnus AlbertusMagnus is offline
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Thumbs up Pre Inaugural Solstice

Could care less. Wish I had time to go!! Already booked on Solstice TA in April. Would like to get a heads-up.
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  #15  
Old August 8th, 2008, 08:18 PM
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I vote "who cares"...I'm booked on the inaugural and the 2 day weekend, so I get 9 nights on the new ship. It is what it is...I can understand people being frustrated...but it doesn't bother me...cruising is always good first in or not...
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  #16  
Old August 8th, 2008, 08:40 PM
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Restaurants and hotels have "soft" openings, often quietly allowing John Q Public to partake in order to get necessary feedback and allow proper staff training. TAs, VIPs & employees will often not experience/view things the same way as a paying customer so allowing this short charter is a very good dress rehearsal. The "Inaugural Cruise" is still Opening Night.

  #17  
Old August 8th, 2008, 08:56 PM
pyrogy pyrogy is offline
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Inaugural means nothing to me personally but if Celebrity promotes a cruise as an Inaugural and the rate is more because of it, those who booked have reason to complain. So I voted it stinks because even though it means nothing to me that does not mean it shouldn't mean something to others.

Now, if I am wrong, and it wasn't marketed specifically as an Inaugural, with an accompanying fare raise, I might not vote the same. But Celebrity knows what an Inaugural means. It means it is the first sailing. Obviously there has to be a dress rehearsal or two but if I booked an Inaugural, I would expect it to be one.
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  #18  
Old August 8th, 2008, 09:02 PM
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I booked it today after I got a e-mail from the TA. I didn't even know when the inaugural cruise was. I just found out reading here. I see it as a quick get away with my husband. I had no idea it has so much controversy. Now I'm a little worried about being a shakedown cruise... I should have done some research first.
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  #19  
Old August 8th, 2008, 09:27 PM
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The cruise can only be sold by Certain agencies, and it doesn't seem fair that other Ta's can't book it. What if their customer wanted it to add to the 7 day already booked.

I also think it stinks that their is a revenue cruise before the one that was tooted as the first. I think for those going on the 7 day, Celebrity owes them a special gift because they took away that feeling of the first cruise.

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  #20  
Old August 8th, 2008, 10:07 PM
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blackerbys17 blackerbys17 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TITISSA View Post
I booked it today after I got a e-mail from the TA. I didn't even know when the inaugural cruise was. I just found out reading here. I see it as a quick get away with my husband. I had no idea it has so much controversy. Now I'm a little worried about being a shakedown cruise... I should have done some research first.
We'll be fine. It's Celebrity after all. I love the fact that it is a cruise to "nowhere", more time to spend at the spa.

See you on board!
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Up next:
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2. RCCL's Oasis of the Seas in November 2010
3. Cruise to the Mediterranean in March 2012, not sure which cruise line yet

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