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Everything posted by DrKoob

  1. You did GREAT on your report. We can't wait to go back and do this loop. Thanks so much and you have well paid me back for any assistance I gave you. Jim
  2. Keep in mind that the length is based on which cruise you take, the Inner (as Kent4489 did) or the outer like we did in July. I have an app called Map My Walk that tracks me via GPS. I made sure I had it turned on during all the walks. The longest was around 2.5 miles (I did all the long ones) but it took two-three hours. I can usually walk that in 45-50 minutes but with the rocky ground and stopping for naturalist discussions, that adds to the times. And it really (on some islands) not as much a walk as a HIKE! Really rocky or lava terrain.
  3. The EB Hotel is where Celebrity was housing all guests on the first four cruises after they reopened in July. We stayed there and were VERY impressed. We had a huge suite. The restaurant is one of the best I have eaten in anywhere. Order any of the Ecuadorian dishes. They rock. We got a PCR test.
  4. We had a lot of people on our July 4 cruise who brought their own. You will have no problems.
  5. Good point. I would not have needed one if I hadn't of had my Nikon with me. If you do have a big, expensive camera you should have one. My camera would have been ruined if I hadn't had it in a dry bag on a Zodiac one day when we caught a good size wave that flooded the bottom of the Zodiac and got a lot of people and their gear pretty wet.
  6. Where are you thinking about going? Come join us on a Mediterranean cruise. 21 nights from Athens to Barcelona with not a single sea day. Three days in Venice, two in Florence, two in Barcelona, two in Athens and lots of other amazing small ports in the Adriatic.
  7. Well if you look at my signature you can see we just finished our 30th cruise (not 6) and 20 of those with Celebrity. But I too believe you made the right decision moving to Oceania. You will be much happier than on an E-class ship.
  8. We are in the same boat. We are Elite Plus with X and other than Flora or to use up FCC we are done with Celebrity after 20+ cruises. They have turned into a total caste system. If you aren't in a suite, you may as well be in steerage. On the E-class ships there is no place to have a forward view off the ship unless you are in a suite. They have closed off everything at the front of the ship for those in a suite. And if I am going to pay the money they want for a suite, I will go to a cruise line that has other things we like better. We are moving to Viking Ocean. They have no one on board under 18, no casino, no smoking on the entire ship, no art auctions, no ship photographers, no upselling, all specialty are free to all, one free shore excursion in every port and a lot more. And I can get a verandah stateroom for the same as I can get a suite on X. Plus, when Celebrity went to everything included for all, they basically took all the benefits I used to have for being Elite Plus except the free laundry. Why bother having any loyalty to them. We do plan on sailing Celebrity again, but only Flora when we do the inner loop in 2024. Jim
  9. You know what Mark Twain said—"I would have written you a shorter letter but I didn't have the time."
  10. Thanks for this! So much appreciate these. Sounds like you had an awesome trip...we totally understand...it just flies by.
  11. There are so many animals you can see that for her to list them all would be off the charts. You can see a photo of every single animal we saw there on our July Flora cruise by clicking below:
  12. Thanks for the mention. Looking forward to your inner loop report. Since we did the outer and are planning on going back to do the Inner. Keep up the good work but I know it’s tough. This is a busy cruise.
  13. I use my Chase Sapphire Reserve. Annual fee was just upped to $550 but you get the first $300 you spend on travel back as a credit. Double points on restaurants. Great card. Got us Business class to Europe this December (if we get to go). Their insurance is outstanding and now that we are over 65, if I get it from a regular company, it is SPENDY!
  14. I get that. We are Elite Plus so that put us in the very first tender. I believe we were up on top within 20 minutes of leaving the ship. One of the few perks left.
  15. I know I have had at least one decent one on Reflection. If you can't find one, order amarones cheaper cousin, ripasso.
  16. You are very welcome! The least I could do after all the help we have gotten on Cruise Critic over the years...and still do.
  17. You are going to have such an AWESOME TIME!!! Ellen is onboard (or at least in the islands right now). If you see her, tell her I said hi. Jim
  18. We were never asked but I had it with me just in case. I think in our situation they were just too swamped with the COVID stuff to remember to ask. We had friend who went the year before and she had to provide proof. I will mention that I never (especially since the pandemic started) get travel insurance from a cruise line. If for some reason, that cruise line went out of business, you would be stuck. And on a huge purchase like the Galapagos, that's a lot to get stuck for. And I normally don't buy it from them on a regular cruise because it can be (read it carefully) restrictive. Some cruise lines only insure you for medical when you are off the ship, if you are on one of their excursions. Since we never do those, I always go outside for insurance. For the Galapagos, their insurance would be fine since you can't go anywhere by yourself. And now I hardly ever buy insurance because I am covered by a VERY high fee credit card I buy all my travel with. Have talked to a number of people who have had claims and they were very happy with the service so I feel good about doing that. If you travel as much as we do (big trips quarterly) then it might be worth it to look into this type of coverage. Jim
  19. No, they won't be sailing with unvaccinated passengers as the Galapagos will not let you on the islands if you are not vaccinated and over 12 years old. These people are not blaming X for anything other than changing their policy on at the last minute. When we went on the first cruise post pandemic, we were tested by X before and after the cruise. They said they would continue to do that but then they decided to change that...at the last minute for some folks. That is wrong. The other thing that is wrong is that you have to e-mail the CEO to get anyone to pay attention to you. This needs to get fixed and that is Celebrity's fault.
  20. It's the very first one. It says Author: Jim Bellomo Then just go back to the last day of June and read forward. Jim
  21. My suggestion: E-mail Celebrity CEO Lisa Luthoff-Purlo at lLutoff-Perlo@celebritycruises.com Completely explain the problem. Tell her how things were changed at the last minute and go from there. My bet is you will hear from her executive assistant—we did when they told us at Celebrity Air to go book our own flights. BTW: Hope you get his quickly because CC sometimes pulls it off.
  22. I am going to throw you a completely different idea just for the future. I used to be you. White Zin all the way. Total sweet tooth when it came to wines. But I longed to not have people make fun of me when I ordered it and I really wanted to expand my palette. Our wine guy told us if I wanted to try something that was both deep as well as sweet and a RED...that the best gateway wine was an Italian amarone. These wines are made from grapes that have almost become raisins. It is incredible and changed my life. I now drink nothing by deep, reds and will try pretty much anything. BTW: If you can an amarone you need to make sure it is a good one. First, it needs to be at least five years old. The ones that Trader Joe sells are terrible. A good bottle should run around $50 or more so if you can find a restaurant where you can taste it, I also have discovered that if you find dry wines=icky you may not have been tasting good wines. I grew with a mother who drank white zin out of a box so that was all I knew. If someone gave her a glass of red, she would mix it with ice and Fresca (YUCK!). But once I started tasting good (that does not have to mean expensive) reds and whites, my palette went nuts. Love them all now.
  23. This topic always stops me cold. I use a TA and always have. Why wouldn't you. Their services are free, but... I have a question for you. When you go to a store and buy something, do you ask the person who helped you to put their hand in their own pocket and give you some money back? For instance, when you buy a pair of shoes at a shoe store, a nice person helps you find just the pair you want. He or she brings you a number of pairs or shoes. When you find the pair you want, you go to check out and pay for them. Then would you turn to the sales person who helped you and say, “Could you please give me $10 out or your own pocket?” Not the shoe store’s money, the sales rep who just spent the last half hour finding you shoes-you-love personal money. Expecting refundable OBC from a TA is pretty much the same thing. TAs make commission from the cruise line, not from you. And unlike that shoe salesperson, TAs don’t get paid an hourly wage. They work on commission only. If you ask them to do a ton of work, then book with someone else, they don’t get paid for any of that time. You are charged the same price whether you book through them or not. When they give you OBC, it comes out of their own pocket. Why would you expect them to do that? They are doing a bunch of work for you for free and yet you still think that a “good” TA will give you OBC out of their own pocket. Now if they give it to you without asking...that's awesome. But I just have a problem with new cruisers who have heard that their friends get x-amount of freebies. That's their first question (even before they book the cruise)...how much are you going to give me. My TA gives us lots of great stuff but I also never ask for it. I come to her with just about everything done (usually I have booked on board) so she has little work to do other than a single phone call or computer booking. And believe me, there are lots of small moms and pops everywhere. We accompanied our TA on a ship visit last summer here in Seattle. Her and about 100 other travel agents got to tour and have lunch on the NCL Bliss (quite a ship) and I would say that more than 80% of the agents were either booking from home, working with a franchise (which means they make at most 7.5%) or working for another small agency. None of those people get paid by the hour. They get paid when they sell a cruise and every penny that they give back, is one they don't get to feed their families, take their cruises or whatever they do with their money. And I totally understand the sales job thing having been in sales and marketing for more than 38 years. I can't count the number of presentations I have done where the client has gone another way. I have no problem with that (yes I do, but I get it--they like something that someone else has better than what I have) but when they go into the sales process having already decided that no matter what this person does for me, I am buying from the absolute cheapest I can find, that's wrong. If you want the cheapest, go to Costco. You will get the service you deserve but you will cruise cheaply. Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine. Jim
  24. Want to save a bunch of money? We had booked the X excursion and were telling one of our favorite crew members about it in Cafe Al Bacio the day before. She whispered..you can save a lot of money if you take the cable car up and for less than 2 Euro, take the local bus to Oia. You go the same route as X's bus but you do it for less than 75% of the price. We had an awesome time in Oia then came back on the bus to Fira and had an awesome dinner with the money we saved.
  25. I have to tell you that you would be a lot better off buying a shoot from a local photographer wherever you live. As a professional travel photographer my experience is that the photographers hired by Celebrity's vendor (X contracts a company, they don't work for the cruise line) are pretty bad. I have seen them take shots with huge reflections behind them, with terrible lighting. They have no imagination at all. You will pay a lot less at home than you will onboard.
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