Jump to content
Forum Maintenance: Wednesday March 20 @5:00 am ET Read more... ×
Cruise Critic Community


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About rowingmachine

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Golf crosswords bridge hiking drinking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. rowingmachine

    People cruise a lot!

    We have been obsessive savers and investors for over 30 years. We did without and made conscious choices in order to have the funds to travel extensively in our retirement. As I always say to my kids, "It's not my job to leave you an inheritance. It's my job to set a good example of thrifty living and wise money management, so you don't need one." Oh dear, Hank, I wish I wish. One of our offspring spends nothing, but will probably never go on a cruise because It's too expensive. The other will never go on a cruise because he's spent up. Life style examples to follow are strangely elusive. Think I should sub them both for a surprise cruise and see what happens. Whatever else neither of them would want to go with us!
  2. rowingmachine

    People cruise a lot!

    We really love cruises, but have not done many primarily because of the cost, but also because we enjoy more unscripted holidays. Cruise Critic is great, but it does tend to push you towards booking this and that and the other way before time because it may be a pound or two less if you cotton on to the latest Flash Sale or deal. For goodness sake, I don't know if I/We are going to want to go to Murano on Day 8 of our cruise for a slap up meal. Past experience says I will probably be full up by then. Every minute booked is a frightful weight on me to fulfill the schedule. Best holiday is with the bus pass and the railcard and only the bare bones prebooked, but that does entail its own worries along with the excitement of course. A cruise is fantastic because you pay for it all beforehand, put your wallet away, sit back and let it happen; you meet far more people than on other holidays. So we are coming up to our first ever 14 days holiday, first ever Celebrity and I'm very much looking forward. Just have to slap my wrists when I go into 'Manage My Booking'. Thought provoking topic though.
  3. rowingmachine

    Tea & coffee making facilities in cabin on silhouette.

    We are also hoping there are boiling facilities on aboard. Lots of rich food and drink = dodgy tummy = hot water bottle = relief = start again tomorrow.
  4. rowingmachine

    Ever increasing sales pressure?

    I am amazed that anybody has the appetite after a few days on board to even consider spending any more on food or eating it, so for us refusal should be very easy. We were looking for a 2 day St Petersburg tour without a lunch, but they are thin on the ground Drinking is another matter. I think that on holiday everywhere you have to be thick skinned enough to withstand most demands for money because being generous can make your life more difficult. You are right Luvcrusn and others. Never been on a Celebrity Cruise yet but this sounds like well heeled begging.
  5. As a first timer for Celebrity I thought I would share our uncertainties about the Select Dining option and drinks upgrade. We booked a May Baltic cruise through a travel agent last October and had not specified Dining Arrangements. On the Celebrity confirmation, we recently noticed that it said, Dining (Waitlist) CEL SLCT ( ). Assumed we were on a wait list. Anyway some months later (Jan) I trawled though Cruise Critic and gleaned the info that we could choose our dining times but not until we had fully paid up. Not so. We have only paid the £150 pp deposit so far, but I went in as advised by your correspondents and booked our choice for the first night You have to click on save to basket although it looks like you are inviting other guests. That has gone through fine, but it’s not obvious We shall decide on other times as we go. I presume that part of the dining room is reserved for the first and second sitting times and the other is for the select diners. We also managed to upgrade our ‘free’ Classic drinks package to Premium in the sale back end of last year thanks to going on Cruise Critic, seeing the info and ringing Celebrity. The point I wish to make is that getting the deals right (and they are good deals) is not obvious or easy for a first time Celebrity cruiser. There is no way I would have seen all this if I hadn’t been retired with the time to waste thinking about it. Looking forward to our cruise immensely and enjoying the forum . Makes a change from Brexit.
  6. We have a Premium drinks package for May Silhouette cruise - first time Celebrity. Has anybody spotted Pernod or its like in any of the bars on board? Can't see it on any of the lists and little else satisfies that particular slot in the evening . Our only previous experience is with Costa and NCL where it was available. Have the option to carry on board a litre bottle of non-alcoholic Pastis which we buy in France and drink at home, but don't know if that is allowable and don't want to lug it with us if not necessary. I reckon that for 14 nights with two of us having one aperitif per night we would get through it.
  7. Thanks everyone. As our cruise is not until May I hadn't been in Cruise Planner or seen the email. To upgrade our Classic perk package was not possible online but a phone call to Celebrity - I was not rerouted to US - quickly sorted it out and it costs @ £6.44 per day (I presume this includes gratuities). Not only is that good value but it saves hours of shall we/shan't we dithering and I can look forward to trying drinks I would never dream of buying in UK.
  8. rowingmachine

    Our Trip. Back home now in Spain

    Wow. Thanks for sharing that. You are oh so vulnerable on a cruise type holiday and there are so many things that can go wrong. It's especially difficult when you have to try and explain in a foreign language quite complicated arrangements and needs. We have found Costa great when things went well, but difficult to persuade when things were going amiss. We too had to sign an inappropriate disclaimer when my wife needed quite urgent medical diagnosis and treatment beyond the capability of the ship doctor. I am glad you dug your toes in - we should all do this when being bullied. You seem pretty resilient and I am sure you will enjoy many more enjoyable cruises, indeed appreciate them even more.
  9. No singing/dancing waiters any more on Mediterranea We last went on the Mediterranea three years ago and I thought I would point out the changes we experienced on our cruise from Venice (just back). When we last went most of the inside was rank with tobacco smoke or effects of same. Smoking is now restricted to parts of deck 9 and your balcony, so much pleasanter . The ashtrays on the balcony are much improved. We are not heavy smokers and found the arrangements satisfactory. Dining arrangements were completely different. There is now an evening buffet on deck 9. For our evening served meal we were assigned neither 1st sitting nor 2nd, but were assigned open dining on the deck 2 part of the restaurant; any time between 6:30 and 9:30. As the lower floor of this vast restaurant now had people coming and going all the time, the trademark Costa conga etc did not happen – or we did not see it. A pity really we thought and even less incentive to dress up. However the service was very efficient and well overseen. Ice cream no longer features on the menu, but there is an ice cream trolley for which you pay 1.50 for one scoop, 2.50 for two scoops etc. Its location and timings were variable. An authentic burger restaurant (10 euros extra) has been introduced alongside the ‘superior’ pizza restaurant. Judging by the number of people patronising this (we saw nobody the whole cruise) it would appear to be a mistake of gastronomic proportions. The timings of the meals were much more adaptable and better suited to the docking times than previously. Somebody had actually thought out when customers were likely to return and made sure that enough places were open to eat. There seemed to be very little live background music in the bars. The drinks Piu Gusto package is still good value especially as it includes water and specialty coffee even if Strega is no longer on the cast list. The beer and wine choice remains poor. The bog standard coffee is the buffet was vastly improved as was the choice of tea bags. The gym equipment all worked well and had had an overhaul since our previous visit. On other Costa ships you have to pay extra for the steam rooms etc. Surprisingly few people used this haven. I tended to have an hour before breakfast to do a few exercises, have a soak and a sauna freeing up the cabin facilities for the DW to do her thing.
  10. rowingmachine

    Costa Pacifica May 2016 - just back.

    Definitely not I'm afraid Bob. It was the singers and dancers of the Afro Arimba Dance company. I think they were dispersing in Hamburg. Rather good (apart from the aggressive lighting) but not Ballroom - mostly S African.
  11. rowingmachine

    Costa Pacifica May 2016 - just back.

    It appeared to be Tomvet. I don't know if it was on the menu every night as I only had it once and wasn't looking for it, but our American companions had it as they wished most nights sugar free or otherwise. There didn't seem to be any problem.
  12. rowingmachine

    Costa Pacifica May 2016 - just back.

    Some observations. Make sure you have some proof of your Costa Club status when you are trying to activate Priority boarding. We didn’t and had to wait well over an hour. I couldn’t access the Internet in the Savona waiting area. The evening buffet is up and running as MDR intimated. It runs for 90 minutes usually 19:00 to 20:30 although it was adapted to fit in with late excursions. It's quite a small affair but well enough for the number of punters. We found the Samsara pass at 225 euros for a couple for a 10 day cruise excellent value. It would have been even better value had DW not been tempted by the oils and unguents. The Hop on Hop off buses in Lisbon and Cadiz had very poor commentary. The information via the on board on line (free) and app was very useful especially being able to view ones bill right up to the minute. You had to pay for normal wifi of course. Costa appear to have discontinued one of my favorite holiday drinks - Strega, but I managed to find a bottle in the deck 5 Bar Fantasia. It was not on any list, but it was charged as zero on the Piu Gusto package. I can’t imagine enjoying a cruise without a drinks package. We were nearly half way there on the coffee and water alone. A good number of the complaints we heard were about having to pay for water. Unlike previous cruises you don’t get a receipt if your drink or anything else is zeroed as part of a package, so no need to bring a stapler to keep a daily record. Even on the final bill the zeros don’t show, so you can tell yourself porkies about how much you have drunk. Be aware that the Theatre shows and entertainment in general may use strobe or violent lighting directed at the audience which you would be warned about certainly in an British environment.
  13. rowingmachine

    Hamburg pass

    Got that wrong. I meant Hamburg card which is mostly transport based 43.90 euros for 2 people for three days as I read it. Point taken though and I am sure DW will agree. I shall print it out before we leave. Many thanks. http://www.hamburg-travel.com/search-book/hamburg-card/book-online-now/
  14. rowingmachine

    Hamburg pass docking in May 2016

    We dock in Hamburg (Costa Pacifica) on 18 May. Our package includes two nights in Hamburg at the end and are intending to buy the Hamburg group pass for two persons for three days which looks like excellent value at about £40 and will get us to the airport on the last day. As we disembark from 08:00, we want to get our luggage to the hotel asap. and go exploring. Is there anywhere to buy this ticket at disembarkation, should I buy it beforehand on internet and try and make our way by waterbus and normal bus, or (boring but prob wise) just take a taxi to the hotel and go on from there. I have a working smattering of German. We are elderly but mobile.
  15. rowingmachine

    Hamburg pass

    We dock in Hamburg (Pacifica) on 18 May. Our package includes two nights in Hamburg at the end and are intending to buy the Hamburg group pass for two persons for three days which looks like excellent value at about £40 and will get us to the airport on the last day. As we disembark from 08:00, we want to get our luggage to the hotel asap. and go exploring. Is there anywhere to buy this ticket at disembarkation, should I buy it beforehand on internet and try and make our way by waterbus and normal bus, or (boring but prob wise) just take a taxi to the hotel and go on from there. I have a working smattering of German. We are elderly but mobile.