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Everything posted by Shorex

  1. Ever tried Don Julio 1942? I may bring my own to celebrate our first Crystal cruise. 😀
  2. The airlines use Timatic, a system to verify documents at check-in. https://www.iata.org/en/services/compliance/timatic/ The agent verifies your passport, visa if necessary, and any other required document for arriving at your final destination. All docs must be in place or they won't let you board the flight. One of the posts in the other thread mentioned that it's smart to apply for the ETIAS well in advance, don't know how "well" is defined in this context. A poster also from the other thread wrote: "It will be valid for all Schengen area entries/countries. It will be valid for three years- no matter which Schengen countries and when. You’ll not be asked to provide a ‘travel plan’ when register for the ETIAS." That's second hand information, but when ETIAS rolls out, I except a flood of publicity, and all the TA's should be brought up to speed.
  3. There is a discussion about this on the "Ask a Cruise Question" board. It is clear that "visa" is a misnomer. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2951905-visa-required-for-americans-traveling-to-eu-starting-in-2024/ Posts 3, 8, and 12 (and others) clarify that the procedure will be neither complicated nor expensive. It's very similar to the ESTA that Europeans get for travel to the US. Nothing to worry about, just something to be aware of.
  4. Chiming in on the idea of "elitism". For a few years we were "diamond" on Delta. Just meant we spent a lot of time and $$ on airplanes. Most of the time we got upgraded to first. Occasionally we will get a room upgrade at certain hotels. None of these perks made us puffed up about who we are. It's just good business to treat loyal customers with certain incentives. For all the years we have cruised (mostly on Crystal) I have never witnessed the Crystal cruisers with more (and often many more) cruises than us being arrogant or cavalier about their status. And if someone behaved that way, I'd just ignore them. The worst behavior I've witnessed on Crystal has been by first time guests who got drunk and obnoxious at the bar. In my experience, the majority of Crystal cruisers are pleasant, engaging, and interesting to chat with -- irrespective of their perks. And that is only one of the many reasons that Crystal is our cruise line of choice.
  5. Nothing amusing, and the process will end. There are three parties in the picture. 1) original Crystal, totally defunct, 2) the assignee (Per the ABA, an assignee in an assignment for the benefit of creditors serves in a capacity that is analogous to a bankruptcy trustee and is responsible for liquidating the assets of the assignment estate and distributing the net proceeds, if any, to the assignor's creditors.) 3) new Crystal, as created from the assets legally purchased by the new owners. Said new owners have no obligation whatsoever to the assignor's creditors. Case closed. There have been reported inaccuracies with the processing of claims by the assignee. This is an issue totally between the claimant and the assignee. All any claimant can do is present their information and endure the process. I have compassion for those struggling with the process and having challenges proving their case. I hope for fair resolution for all claimants in this liquidation procedure. That's the best anyone can ask.
  6. I do guess/expect that the inaugural Serenity cruisers will find brochures onboard for cruises through 2025. If not fully detailed, at least a listing of embarkation/disembarkation dates, ports, and pricing. The sales agents need to be fully up to speed. And at the same time, the 2025 itineraries will be available online. Just a hunch, but I'll wager a lemon drop martini on it.
  7. I second everything Leejnd4 wrote. And I add my thanks to Sthrngary for posting with kindness and optimism. Because of previous commitments, we won't be joining Crystal until early next year. However, if our Explora cruise is canceled (and I give it 50/50 odds) we'll be booking a very last minute Crystal cruise. 🙂
  8. Over the many years I've been on Cruise Critic, I've read multiple screeds that started "I'LL NEVER FLY (fill in the blank) AGAIN!! I do remember the list of irredeemable culprit airlines has included Southwest, Delta, Air Canada, British Airways, American and who knows what else. Actually, I couldn't name any airline that has escaped ranting criticism. Probably there are some. Maybe TAAG Angola Airlines. But only because their target market does not include cruise passengers. C'est la vie.
  9. We are happily anticipating at least three wonderful Crystal cruises next year. The first will be on the Serenity from Miami through the canal in January, the second on the Symphony embarking from Hong Kong, and the third on the Symphony (32 days) that will include Christmas and New Year, welcoming in 2025. I do expect and hope the level of holiday festivities will be comparable to what we have experienced in the past. Bottom line is that we have great fun and joy on Crystal. The photo is from 2018. And who knows what 2025 will hold?
  10. I'm curious about the dissatisfaction about itineraries. We've cruised enough over the years that most itineraries of most lines are "been there, done that." Doesn't mean we don't enjoy visiting the same ports and doing something different, or repeating an excursion that we consider worth repeating. On one of the NC cruises we have booked, we will visit three new countries for us, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Maybe those countries are "old hat" to some. Last year we were on another cruise line that stopped in Senegal, The Gambia, Ghana, and Angola. Very new for almost everyone on board. I don't recommend going out of your way to visit any of them as a port stop. Especially Angola, where our tour was accompanied by police cars, in front of and behind our little van. I am guessing those would be brand new ports for Crystal. Hopefully they don't bother. Of course, NC will have ports such as Lisbon, Barcelona, Civitavecchia for Rome, etc. Believe it or not there are many people who have never been to those places. Overall, the availability of desirable ports has shrunken -- the Black Sea is out, there goes Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Sochi in Russia, Georgia and northern Turkey. No more St. Petersburg for the foreseeable future. No more North Sea cruises stopping in Murmansk, Solovetsky, Archangel, or crossings that visit the Kamchatka peninsula in Siberia. Please do enlighten me about the ports you would like to have Crystal add in the 2025 itineraries.
  11. Well, if information provided by those who are actually educated, experienced, and knowledgeable in a field fails to impress you, well, c'est la vie. I do hope that other readers make a better choice.
  12. Shorex

    Casinos gone?

    Ouch. What strong language to apply to a brief comment about the "direction of the product" which was perhaps being influenced by a few of previous clientele. Whatever the driving force of the decision to eliminate the casino happened to be, it was a business decision. But good news, it won't matter to you at all because you won't cruise without a casino under any circumstance. Auf Wiedersehen.
  13. Over the decades we have used several different travel agencies. Never has one charged us a fee. On the other hand, we always receive OBC (onboard credit) and/or a substantial rebate from them. Just got a check from our current agency for $1000 after the conclusion of a recent cruise. Shop for a travel agency that will give you benefits, not charge you. Agree on buying travel insurance from a broker. We use the aforementioned www.TripInsuranceStore.com The broker never charges you a fee, and you pay the same for your chosen insurance that you would buying directly from the insurance company. Plus the broker explains your coverage and will be your advocate if necessary. DO read the terms and conditions from several potential policies and choose the one that suits your needs.
  14. And I can add this one for the Symphony. Symphony_deck_plan.pdf
  15. It's more than likely that the menu is part of the contract between Crystal and Nobu Hospitality LLC. Nobu Hospitality would have both input and approval of the menu to protect the brand. Crystal has to operate a consistent menu within the limitations of the supply chain and ships sailing around the world. Here is a brief description of the Nobu brand: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/organization/17016422.html "Nobu is one of the premier luxury lifestyle brands in the world and is owned by Chef Nobu, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper. With operations spanning five continents, the Nobu brand thrives in many global capitals as a focal destination. The natural growth of the Nobu luxury brand built on service, image and hospitality offers the complete spectrum of hotel and restaurant management for unique projects around the world."
  16. We share your point of view. Currently, we have only two cruises booked for 2024 and both on NC. Huzzah - now the bottom line for those two cruises is substantially reduced. Expecting nothing and getting something is always a plus. Yet somehow there are always those who adopt a negative perspective and seem to be hoping for the worst. Oh well, c'est la vie. Now we wait for the 2025 itineraries even more optimistically.
  17. Yes, all Crystal cruises past had bridge instructors/directors onboard. The bridge team would be staying on for multiple cruises, some with more sea days than others. On port intensive cruises there may have been zero or one organized bridge lesson/game. Years ago, Silversea had organized bridge on every cruise, even 7 day cruises with one or zero sea days. Currently there is a threshold number of sea days for organized bridge, the threshold may be flexible depending on other factors.
  18. Why not give a call to a professional, experienced travel insurance broker who provides answers to specific questions. Steve and his staff at tripinsurancestore.com will help you out with facts, not speculation. Yes, he's a broker, and he will help you whether or not you purchase insurance through his website. (And both brokers mentioned here do not charge more for insurance than booking directly with insurance company.) Insuremytrip.com is another broker who is widely respected on Cruise Critic. And check out the travel insurance board here. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/499-cruisetravel-insurance/
  19. Considering that the first Crystal cruise sails in just over four months, all the ambiguity over the smoking policy will be soon resolved. Fait accompli. A done deal. Some will like the policy, some won't. Just like every other detail that is yet to be revealed.
  20. Discrimination is a powerful word that, IMO, does not apply in this instance. Cruise lines are known to limit the number of cabins sold to singles for business reasons. Two guests in a stateroom not only provide more initial revenue, together they also spend much more than a single would on beverages, tours, etc. For purely business reasons, once the threshold number for single sales has been reached, no more single sales are made. This situation is common among cruise lines. The answer is YES, it is legal to limit the number of single sales.
  21. There is a CC forum dedicated to cruise/travel insurance. See: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/499-cruisetravel-insurance/ We purchase our travel insurance through Trip Insurance Store. See: https://tripinsurancestore.com/ Steve and his staff will answer any travel insurance questions and will clarify how various policies vary in coverage. He is a broker, but if you purchase through his website, it will cost the same as dealing directly with the insurance company. Our travel insurance for our upcoming cruise covers "trip disruption." Ask if that coverage would apply to your situation. Another resource is Insure My Trip. See: https://www.insuremytrip.com/ Good luck.
  22. Have within the past week toured the bridge and engineering on Azamara Journey, currently en route to Cape Town.
  23. I'll leap to my personal opinion of the "best" cruise line for the South Pacific: Paul Gauguin. https://www.pgcruises.com/ Explore the website, click each tab at the top of the home page, and see how their cruises immerse you in the culture and beauty of the South Pacific. I especially like this itinerary: https://www.pgcruises.com/marquesas-tuamotus-society-islands-n031222-1 And Air New Zealand has plenty of flights to/from Tahiti and Australia.
  24. I agree with Idubs, don't try to force them into being someone they are not. From your description they will be out of their comfort zones. Just have a pleasant first day dinner, chat about the activities that are available and be relaxed. The more relaxed and casual you are, the more relaxed they will become. Let them bond naturally, maybe, just maybe, they will become close friends.
  25. Seabourn provides a packing list: https://www.seabourn.com/en_US/luxury-cruise-destinations/antarctica-experience-packing-list.html That's the list for the expeditions. On board the ship, here's a general packing list and dress code: https://www.seabourn.com/en_US/packing-list.html If you don't want to dress in formal attire for The Restaurant on a "formal" night, there are alternative dining options. Other than that, the Seabourn discussion board is a great resource for asking questions.
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