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About SailBreakaway

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    Cool Cruiser

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    New England
  • Interests
    Cruising, Planning Cruising, Writing about Cruising!
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  1. Anyone recently have a fair/borderline good bid accepted? If so pls let me know, just curious how many are accepted (I realize every cruise is unique). Thanks!!
  2. That's a pretty nice picture thanks! You find such good stuff!
  3. Lezle B. was the butler I described above. Probably same guy. The YC Director told me he was new, but took the words out of my mouth by saying immediately that is no excuse for his performance. We were on first week of June, curious when you guys had him and if he stepped up his game at all. Ill take any recommendations for the ‘great ones’ for SS for us in Dec and Mera in Feb.
  4. Sure. I'm going to skip the detail and keep it very simple. From Day one, we never saw him again for DAYS. Our fellow guests we became friendly with told us their Butler asked them what they were doing daily (in a discreet not in your face way) so they were present to help them with shows, embarkation, disembarkation at ports, etc. They would show to bring them to dinner, they would check in with them in the lounge, on the sundeck. "Hi Mr. So and So, is there anything I can help you with?" They would know their favorite drink and when they saw them in the lounge, THEY WOULD BRING IT!! They would learn through minibar use what they liked and bring extra!! Without asking. US? No Butler to be found. I asked for his telephone number and he told us on day one he did not have one, I later found this was incorrect. I asked because on NCL the Butlers had portable phone with direct dial numbers which was GREAT, so I asked. They do on MSC as well, he told me no. Whenever I needed something like clothing pressing I would call the generic number, and someone else would show up and pick up clothing, drop off, etc. Just a random employee. I saw him in the lounge halfway through the cruise when meeting for a shore excursion, and went up to him (he did not approach us) and told him I was going to call in a missing persons report! It didn't phase him, he asked how we were and that was the end of that. What was the kicker for us was on disembarkation day, he showed up! Oh yes he did! He came to the room at 730AM to tell my wife and I we had to be out!!!! I thought I was going to lose my mind. I legit asked him if he was really serious. I immediately went to the head Butler (the YC Director was busy with another guest) and explained our experience with him and he was VERY upset I didn't come to him earlier, however he didn't seem surprised. He told me he would address it right away, and the Butlers and stewards are told strictly not to approach guests to move them to check out in YC as they are supposed to do throughout the ship. We were awkwardly escorted down to disembarkation by him later, in silence (my guess is his boss spoke to him) and we parted ways. It was an awful way to end what was an otherwise beautiful cruise. I just had this overall feeling that we were robbed of part of the overall experience. Now, this was our first MSC cruise and first YC. I was SOOOO impressed otherwise. We had been Haven guess several times and really didn't use our Butler much, but at NCL they were always present. After reading many posts here of what the experience should be, although we don't NEED to have all of that attention, I feel like we pay for that service and option, and we should have an attentive Butler who is at least present. So, this is why I've asked for recommendations. You can request a Butler, is what the head Butler told me the day I shared my feedback with him.
  5. Here’s a question, we were on SS in YC in June for first time, and the experience was fantastic however the Butler was AWFUL! If you want his name I will happily supply it. Having said that, we are returning in December (SS) and February (Mera). If you’ve had an outstanding experience and service from your Butler can you provide his or her first (and/or last) name here? It would be most valuable to me and possibly others.
  6. Don’t Forget!!! Hey if you’re in the YC Rest, can you see if “Drago” (his nickname) is on board and if so inquire if he might be on board Dec7-14th? If you cant no worries. He’s an outstanding man and server.
  7. POA is American registered and therefore is a unicorn in the cruise industry as they have to comply with US Work rules, rest of the fleet is Bahamian, and therefore things like overtime etc don’t exist.
  8. Guys listen. This is to each your own, but to echo what the previous poster in #149 just said: The contracts are a set amount. When a crewmember is “hired” their contract is a set amount, their commitment on board is a set amount of time and the expectations of their work performed is set. The Officers as well as the staff have a set salary, or contract as well. That is it. Contract Crewmember Jane is paid $X for X days, period. If her service is not to expectations her contract may be terminated (among other reasons). What this means is your Service Charge is backfilling the cruise line’s bottom line. It’s additional revenue. The cost of contract employees for a given time period is a set fixed expense for them, this is additional backfilling revenue. So that being said, I used to pay the Service charge however now I do not. NCL is making record profits, FDR made as much in 2018 as almost the RCL and Carnival CEOs combined! Prices and additional fees are high enough. I will personally tip restaurant servers, room stewards, Butlers (if applicable), Concierge, Maitre D’s, etc that I see on a regular basis all week. My Specialty Dining and Beverage package has a mandatory 20% service charge that cant be waived therefore I DO NOT tip additionally in specialty restaurants and bartenders. Now if I frequent a Specialty Rest and the same server provides great service, I will tip them nonetheless. My tioa typically cost more than I’d pay the cruise line in the service charge. This way the employees I tip personally leave their contract with that much more than they would have received had I backfilled NCLs bottom line. Hope that helps someone understand this a little better. Mark my words NCL under FDR will be the first line to mandate service charges. MSC and others tried it and ended up reversing it due to the backlash, Frank doesn’t care about the backlash, he knows customers will still pay. It’s a matter of time.
  9. I thoughy about this and have to weigh in, mainly so other members don’t have a false understanding of safety at sea. I’m not going to touch the hotel side of this post, just the operational safety side, the hotel side of this discussion is to each their own. 1. “All the risk of an incomplete ship”: So hotel side again not-withstanding, as we speak the ship is undergoing sea trials and rigorous safety testing and exercises to ensure the vessel itself id absolutely 100% and the customer’s procedures and training in simulators and classroom prior becomes a consolidation of knowledge and skills in this time. The ship will be 100% safe and operationally capable and tested and proven so extensively. There is no unacceptable risk or unmitigated risk that exists when the vessel begins revenue service with the operator. Period. 2.”All the risk of a staff that isn’t well trained nor having experience working together with their new team”. The crew, officers, and staff that are on board are fully trained, highly experienced, and are usually the most senior and best performing in the operation. Going from any Breakaway or BA+ class to Encore is only a matter of learning small differences otherwise it is like showing up at the same place to work. The crews are aboard for sea trials and also undergo safety drills training and evaluation. Bottom line they are fully trained and very experienced. As for not having worked together with their new team, every day crew come and go beginning and ending their contracts aboard the ship. They are used to working with different team players all the time. It is a normal way of life. Crewmembers follow very strict standard procedures and standardization training is a big piece in the training, especially for officers, engineering staff, bridge crew, and safety sensitive maritime operations positions. By training standard operating procedures and stressing standardization any one crew member can work along side any other and still be 100% effective. There is again, no unmitigated safety risk or unacceptable risk in this operation. Now to make a parallel to another area of commercial passenger transportation I know maybe a little about: Every day you, and millions board jets around the world with flight crew and cabin crew that have never met before, and every day in America and around the world millions of people depart and arrive safely at their destination. They haven’t worked together with their team... They are trained (and evaluated) and undergo strict standardization so this effectively happens. Like wise, every day passengers board a brand new jet, that has been teated and found airworthy, the air carrier has undergone “sea trials” with the new make/model of jet in rigorous Proving and Validation exercises and evaluations to prove their ability to safely operate the new jet to their respective Federal Aviation regulatory agencies. This is the exact same situation as what’s happening with Encore today, and people do it every day in aviation. So I took the time to put this differing view together to ensure our fellow CC members do not walk away thinking cruise ships operate with unmitigated risk or are unsafe when a ship is put into service, quite the contrary folks, the vessel and her crew is probably as good as they ever will be coming out of those sea trials and training and rigorous experience. Hotel staff are eager to make a great impression and corporate standards and expectations of them are highest of their careers at that point, for a highly marketed new product for customers, so Hotel staff as well are at their best game. Thx for allowing me to share a differing perspective.
  10. Is that the BrewHouse? Thats no bueno kids. Bremerhaven to Southampton sailing is only less than 3 weeks away... Maybe they pull it all together at the end... I Hope!
  11. Done both April and May. In April you can have a cold sailaway and arrival in NY and sea days that can be very chilly with the relative wind over the deck. Lately its been staying cooler longer up here and April can be cold still. In Bermuda its kind of nice, upper 60s to low 70s day and mid 60s night, although it can be somewhat chilly for a beach day. May seems to be much better, 5 or so degrees more on average. In April, just be prepared for a possibility of cold enroute and near NY.
  12. Royal has a new commercial on TV I just saw, and had to share, as I got a kick out of it.... Starts out and says in Big letters on the screen: "LESS VIRTUAL ..MORE REALITY" HA! I Love it, good for you RCCL!! Perhaps someone there in marketing is smart enough to monitor this thread, heck I WOULD and run with it.
  13. AMEN on ALL Counts!! Well put. When my Cruise Next certs are used up in May, we will be strictly MSC customers until, if and when the pendulum swings back to a circa 2013-2014 culture.
  14. I started this thread to help us track Ocean Cay progress during it's build. It's first week of October and things should really be coming together for an opening a month from now... Anyone have any leaked photos, etc? I did read on another thread the YC opening will now be in Spring of 2020.
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