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bob brown

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Everything posted by bob brown

  1. We had a standard balcony, and bid on a suite with private whirlpool. We did not (yet) get the upgrade. The minimum in our case was $495. per person (times 2 people). We just bid a few dollars over that amount. They also offered a deluxe Yacht Club at a minimum of $945. per person. I did not bid on that. I would be very surprised if we got upgraded, but didn't want to spend much more than we did already for this cruise.
  2. I received an email invitation to bid for an upgrade, on my 23 October cruise on the Meraviglia, and I put in just a bit over the minimum, not really expecting to 'win', but hey, you never know... Anyway, today I received another invitation, with no mention of my first bid, or even asking me if I wanted to increase my first bid... So kind of confusing...makes me wonder if they even got my first bid, although they took my payment info, and said they received the bid...😕
  3. I never cruised MSC, but applied for the status match about 2.5 years ago, after about 3 weeks went by, was awarded "Black Card" status. I was given 3 years to use it, or lose it. So I finally booked my first MSC cruise for 23 October. I used my status to get the perks. My wife had not previously applied for the status match, and had no Voyagers Club number. Once the booking was complete, she applied, and received her Diamond status a day later, and her number was automatically added to our booking.
  4. I am wondering why several people say parking at the port is more secure than a downtown parking garage. Have some of you actually had or heard of any bad experiences there? I am not really that concerned with leaving my 12 year old Prius at a downtown garage, but may reconsider if it is really risky... If I was really concerned, or owned some exotic car, I would just arrange a ride to and from the port...
  5. Thanks … I think I’ll give them a try on my next cruise on 23 October.
  6. Is there a charge for the shuttle? And how often do they operate?
  7. While the fares are a lot higher for the river cruises, for a lot of people, they can save on the cost of not needing flights...they are within driving distance of the inland ports. After having done one riverboat cruise, I can certainly see the value of the experience...much different than driving, having to unpack and repack at every stop...
  8. Lots of good suggestion's... Here's one that many won't know, but when I sailed on the Celebrity Silhouette during its inaugural season, they seemed to play this often, upon sailaway....
  9. With the current pandemic woes, closing many world ports to cruising, I was wondering if this could be an opportunity for expansion of domestic river cruises... I took my first ever river cruise on the AQSC, American Empress from Clarkston to Vancouver in July. I enjoyed it so much, I booked a St. Louis (Alton), to Pittsburgh cruise on the American Queen for 2022, and the same boat in 2023 from Minneapolis (Red Wing) to New Orleans. I will eventually do what others they offer. I am also wondering how far up the Missouri River they could navigate. It would be interesting to see a St. Louis to Kansas City, Omaha, Sioux City, and maybe Sioux Falls cruise. Could the smallest current riverboat operating today, go that far? I recall there was once a line that operated from New York up the Hudson, and across the Erie Canal...is anyone still doing that? I am also looking into Victory's Great Lakes cruise from Chicago to Montreal, down the Seaway...
  10. Some cruise lines were still including bridge and engine control room tours recently...there is no maritime regulation prohibiting it...is strictly Company policy....
  11. Back in the ocean liner days, you had to pay a small fee, but you could reserve a deck chair for your exclusive use. Deck stewards monitored them...
  12. We had no choice left when we booked...only late seating was available. We much prefer early seating, and were disappointed that the Grille was not an alternative during our cruise. But after a couple of days, we got used to the late seating, and was perfectly happy with it. The relatively quick service made it acceptable...we finished all courses in under an hour, without being rushed. They had the shows before dinner for the late (or "main seating") as they called it. While you could hear voices thru the walls, it was never bad enough for us to feel the need for wearing ear plugs. As for "white noise"...I can't recall if the air conditioner blowers ran constantly, or cycled on and off to regulate the temperature. They ran out of some fresh fruits that I like to put in my cereal for breakfast. Also some muffins. They did indeed offer steak and lobster as an option every night, although the lobster was not always a tail...sometimes just "lobster meat".... We caught the first flight toward home, upon disembarking. I have been to Portland in the past, and it is a lovely city and area to tour in. A side trip to Mount Hood is nice...
  13. Hopefully so. I will add that the Grille was open for breakfast and lunch. I like the buffet (the staff did the actual plating for you), for quick service. I did find that service in the main dining room was also good...you could complete your multi-course dinner in under an hour, unless you wished to linger. Much better than most ocean cruise MDR's I have experienced, despite the staff shortage...
  14. Oops...I was thinking about the "Palm Court Grill" in the Historic Davenport Hotel... The River Grille on the American Empress was not open for dinner on our cruise account of a staffing shortage. It was eat in the main, "Astoria Dining Room", or room service as an option.
  15. No, we generally don't dine in hotel restaurants, other than for comp breakfasts. We prefer to dine outside. We tried and enjoyed a nearby sports bar--"24 Taps" for dinner. Here's their site... https://www.24taps.com/
  16. I rode all the routes, but did not get off at all of the stops. The stop at the Astoria Column, where I climbed all 164 steps to the top observation platform was my favorite. The various museum's were interesting as well as the restored mansion tour. I can't recall all of them, sorry...
  17. Cruise Critic's just posted my review. If interested, you can read it here. I would be happy to answer any questions regarding my experience... https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=681768
  18. Now I am leaning towards the new Seashore...I discussed the differences noted with my wife, and she likes the emphasis on being outdoors...
  19. Thanks for everyone's input. Would still welcome more... Since I have been to almost all the ports, I am more interested in the life on board the ship, so perhaps I might lean towards the Meraviglia for my first time. And thanks for the status match tip...I did take advantage of that offer, when it was first offered, and locked in Black (now Diamond) from my NCL Platinum Plus status. So looking forward to see what perks it offers nowl As for the "experiences", I am not sure of what to book in that regard. Will probably just go with the lowest cost option for my first time.
  20. Greetings... I am planning my first ever MSC cruise out of Miami this Autumn, probably a seven day, and am looking for opinions on which of these two ships offer a better on board experience, and why. I will probably just select the lowest cost inside for my first time on MSC, and use that as a basis of comparison with all of the other cruise lines I have sailed, in consideration of future cruise selections. Appreciate any input...
  21. Why buy one of those when you can get one of these?🤣 https://www.rssc.com/news/details?newsid=82505
  22. I am not familiar with those, so can't comment on them, but those are different situations. Back in 1991, I went on my first cruise, a 14 night Princess cruise tour in Alaska. It was a deluxe fully escorted tour, similar to Tauck, with our Princess escort, and local tour guides at each stop. While I could see the value on the land (bus and train), portion, she was basically just along for the 'free cruise', on the Whittier to Vancouver portion, and really did nothing more than dine with us at some ship meals. I don't believe Princess does that any longer...
  23. While I think Tauck Tours is at the top as far as conducting overland bus tours, I would not book thru them for a sea or river cruise... You are paying for a Tauck escort on those, that you don't really need. The cruise line takes good care of you.
  24. The Horizon Lounge certainly does...😉 I have mixed feelings about whether having windows on the other lounges is a good idea, or not. Having no windows, makes the focus of those lounges on what is happening inside the lounge, not outside. Of course, having good curtains can satisfy either function, as needed...
  25. We're leaving on the 26 July cruise. Thanks so much for posting all those tips, and looking forward to reading your full review.🙂
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