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AllisonJames

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Everything posted by AllisonJames

  1. Marmaduke -- my experience was just the same. I was actually glad to get the call since there was a shore excursion where the length of time was clearly incorrect and didn't match with the description and I was interested in the excursion but couldn't figure out why 12 hours were scheduled when we were going somewhere that was located only a little way outside the city. But they could not answer any of my questions or even direct me to someone who could. Just useless. And they had called and said "we were checking to see why you hadn't signed up for any excursions" and when they couldn't answer any of my questions I said "well, now you know why I haven't signed up for any!"
  2. Heartfelttraveler, we are also doing the Rhine Amsterdam to Basel in June 2020 — what boat are you on? We’ll be on Crystal Bach, our first-ever river cruise.
  3. Thanks for the link to the video. I’ve been following all the posts with great interest but after seeing the video, I am not excited about the interior design and ambiance. I’m sure they were going for very sleek and modern, but to me it is stark, lacks color and warmth and much of the furniture looks uncomfortable. So much black, white and gray. I’m sure it’s an amazing ship, just not for me.
  4. Regarding young adults on AZ -- only you know your kids and how well they do entertaining themselves. Ours are 22 and 27, have cruised quite a bit on the larger ships which they love and would be bored out of their minds on AZ so we'd never choose AZ for a family trip. Our last cruise with them was the Mediterranean on Viking Star, which is a larger ship with slightly more facilities (incredible, complimentary indoor spa area with snow room, hot tubs, steam room, resistance pool, etc. which they enjoyed). It was a holiday week so we thought they'd end up meeting lots of others their age but there weren't that many and we ended up spending a lot of time playing games as a family at night. Amazingly, we actually found Viking a bit quieter at night than AZ. It was nice to spend time together but they were looking for more dancing, music and fun activities at night with others in their age group. But it was a port-intensive cruise so we did a lot during the day. Some AZ cruises are so port-intensive and they can go out in the port at night so that would make a difference, too. And at the AZ price point, it's not a good value for us as a family, we choose Princess and NCL for our family trips, much more for everyone to do.
  5. Kudos to RCL for the quick response in sending ships to the area to provide disaster relief and how nice all the guests are pitching in to help feed everyone during this terrible time. May God Bless everyone impacted in the Bahamas and the situation in North Carolina is looking terrible as well. I am a property owner on Hilton Head, SC and we were lucky HH escaped major damage but others are suffering terribly. My heart goes out to everyone and Thank you RCL!
  6. I have been vocal on this board about the AZ "sales" due to the price manipulations so you really have to track your prices, know what you are willing to pay and know what you have previously committed to pay if you want to rebook. At this time, our May 2020 13 night Wine & Romance Perry Golf voyage we booked onboard last year appears to be at least $2,500 less than what we've already booked for, even taking into account onboard/LCV discounts. I say "appears to be" because the booking engine keeps skipping over the actual payment summary page and taking me to the page where you provide a credit card and make a deposit so I'm not 100% sure. So that would be a good deal for us to rebook. Unfortunately, as Murphy's Law would have it, it's a cruise we decided to cancel anyway. Just confirms my decision not to book onboard anymore and wait for lower prices. And tracking prices on a spreadsheet is really smart to save money! Also, for the poster who asked about cycles of sales, I have consistently seen the double upgrade promotion offered around September since 2015. It can be a good promotion for those of us who want the balcony category. I've just only had one instance up until now (our very first cruise) where the price was lower during the sale and we rebooked. So that's 2 out of 5 total cruises booked which is not a bad percentage. Worth taking a look if you have current bookings.
  7. Waltfan — thanks for your comments. We are finding lots of cruise options for that part of the world and will most likely try either Crystal or Seabourn next. I actually like Oceania’s price model with he O Choice because what we’ve spent for airfare to Europe during the summer has been ridiculous, so we might try Oceania sometime but we’re really interested to make the leap into the true “luxury” category and I’m seeIng plenty of choices in that category comparable to what we’ve spent on AZ. Yes, deals can be had on AZ but we’ve never had the flexibility to take advantage of them, so if I’m booking way ahead as we like to do, I’m going for luxury level now. We did not like Celebrity (we go on the larger ships when we cruise with our kids) as we did a sold-out holiday cruise that had some issues and also very full of very ostentatious, demanding, “show-off” type of people and the obvious class system on the ship “oh you only have the basic beverage package” “oh sorry, you don’t have a concierge suite” etc. After that experience we went back to Princess and NCL with our family and appreciated their value even more. Also, I highly recommend Viking Ocean and they’ve brought so many new ships on last few years that the choices of itineraries are really expanding — not luxury level but overall very good experience, not too many people and the ships are gorgeous with quite a few features not found on AZ.
  8. Really nice to hear about the new Chef’s Table and disappointed we didn’t get to try it (we were on Journey the cruise before yours). Unfortunately I found our experience underwhelming because it was the exact same menu we had last year on Pursuit so it’s good they now have a new option!
  9. Hi, the reason I didn’t give the link is I thought that was against cruise critic rules (directing to another site) however the video by the previous poster is the correct website but not the video I saw...go to the site, search Scenic Eclipse Maiden Voyage and it should come up — it was taken and posted 8/15 by a luxury travel company.
  10. Hi I just found this thread as I couldn’t find where the Scenic posts were on this board. I’m very interested in sailing the Eclipse in the future and surprised at these reports because there’s a video on another site that was taken on 8/15 (public areas only) and it all looks just gorgeous! But I guess there’s a reason those making the video weren’t allowed in the staterooms! Please keep posting, especially photos, we appreciate it. Usually Maiden voyages have their issues (although we were on the maiden voyage last year of Azamara Pursuit and the ship was spotless and gorgeous when we embarked with only a few minor issues like missing cushions for the pool loungers). But this sounds like a whole other level of “not ready for guests.”
  11. Still nothing out to consider for Summer 2021. Big Sigh. Crystal already has Summer 2022 out! I realize not everyone plans as far out as we do but we have to make a decision on rebooking a cruise on another line before our cancellation window closes and really would like to consider Seabourn.
  12. The concept of “worth it” is so personal. That being said, I agree with many of the comments here, we’ve sailed on many mass market lines and a few luxury and four AZ cruises — were truly disappointed in Celebrity as it did not meet our expectations and we really disliked the obvious “class system” which you will not find on AZ. Where AZ shines in my opinion is the intimate, relaxed atmosphere, no lines, and the convenient port access Including the length of time in port and ease of getting on and off the ship even when tendering. As some have mentioned AZ price to value ratio has been ebbing recently but at a price you like it is worth trying! And I love the decor/ambience of the ships even if they don’t have all the newer bells and whistles...
  13. I did a lot of research on this before booking our very first river cruise (May 2020). We’re not anti-social, but we were looking for dinner time dining flexibility and a table for two option. Many lines I looked at seemed to have the “everyone dines at 7 as a group model.” We ended up choosing Crystal because a professional review called it “a cruise line for couples” with dinner time flexibility and lots of tables for two and a little bit more of a “do your own thing” relaxed vibe. I also looked at the new AmaMagna since it’s double wide so more options but it hadn’t sailed yet so I was reluctant and i didn’t like the fact that AMA isn’t all-inclusive. I recently read a review on AmaMagna about lots of dining options/flexibility and tables for two. Uniworld was also suggested to me but the decor of their ships wasn’t appealing to us and we couldn’t find an itinerary that worked with our schedule. Also look at Scenic.
  14. Thank you for this very good comparison. We have never sailed O, but because we like to R ships (except the small bathrooms) we have considered O and have found their itineraries and O-Choice fares very appealing and in many cases seem more-competitively priced that AZ. Right now we are looking at luxury lines, but may sale O in the future. I have heard consistently for others the opinion that the food is better on O and we are looking for better food and a greater availability of higher-quality beverages (whether included or for purchase).
  15. Our first (and so far only -- but we are anxious to sail SB again) Seabourn cruise was on the Legend in the Caribbean. Admittedly a long time ago and we loved SB but I remember how disappointed we were that two things that were marketed extensively -- the watersports platform and beach barbecue, for some reason were not available on our cruise. We were led to believe they would be. And we had at least two ports where we were anchored. It would be nice if they would tell us on the itineraries which ports would have these two opportunities.
  16. Wow, I hope it's more than just October and through summer 2021... (fingers crossed) I posted on this more than FOUR months ago, had no idea they'd make us wait for so long! Like others I am waiting to make some decisions against other lines who have had schedules out for months now . . .
  17. Cruise Wmn — would love to hear your review as we are on the Bach/Rhine next year (first-ever River Cruise). We did a lot of research and think Crystal will be the best fit for us — any details you’d like to share would be appreciated!
  18. As one of the OP's of the "tired" opinion (our July 17 - 29 cruise and my review on this board) I'll stand by my assessment but please note that in my perspective "tired" does not in any way mean "run down." And some of my assessment was based on the condition of my stateroom and normal wear and tear issues such as carpet stains or woodwork marks or upholstery that is worn -- it's not like there's a giant hole in a wall or something (which was the actual case at a high-end resort we once stayed at). The one specific area in the stateroom (in addition to the wallpaper which I already mentioned) that I think is going to eventually need to be addressed on the AZ ships is the "wood" work (not sure it's actual wood) on the entire closet/shelving area/safe/mini-fridge area. It just doesn't look that nice and seems dated. I thoroughly enjoyed the new lounge chair cushions on the pool deck and how spiffy they looked. Not all furniture cushions/pillows were replaced and the couches/chairs on the top deck need new ones next. Again, my opinion. I still love the decorating style/colors on the AZ ships. I recently noticed that Oceania is "reimagining" their ships and when I saw the new photos of the first one, I did not find the decor appealing at all. Every area seemed to have a different printed carpet and color scheme and nothing seemed to blend. it made my head hurt and was not relaxing. AZ did a wonderful job on their reimagining.
  19. Thank you all for your comments. In addition, I neglected to mention three other specifics pre-cruise that left us feeling “played” by AZ HQ long before we embarked: 1) we booked nearly two years in advance and initially this cruise was to sail up the Thames and disembark in Greenwich, also overnighting there. Big disappointment that it was changed to Southampton. No knock on Southampton, but we’ve now disembarked AZ there on 3 completely different itineraries and we’d like something different. 2) Immediately following booking, we applied for the LCV upgrade and thought we’d have a decent chance due to how early we booked and the fact that The Open cruise attracts a high percentage of first-timers so our status might have helped — well, we all know what happened with that. 3) This Cruise was so expensive initially we had to use our LCV free nights to bring the cost down (and it was still expensive even doing that) and of course there were price reductions after final payment date. So we are repeat guests who feel AZ took advantage of us!
  20. I’m really surprised that AZ “recommends” a suit or jacket for men — in four cruises I don’t recall ever seeing anyone in a suit and probably could count on one hand the the number of men wearing a sport coat. It’s one of the reasons we like AZ. However, a more common issue regarding dress code on recent cruises seems to be people dressing TOO casually at dinner — I.e. the man we saw wearing jean shorts and flip flops or the women in track suits. Majority of guests always look nice in “casual chic” but there always seem to be a few with inappropriate dress and not sure it is enforced at all by AZ.
  21. LuAnn — I don’t want you to think the ship is totally run down, but two situations gave me the perspective of “tired”— first of all, last cruise on Pursuit’s Maiden where everything was brand-new, freshly painted and sparkling so that contrasted with Journey’s carpets, paint and upholstery being very “lived in”. And, when you see wallpaper in your stateroom looking less than nice, you kind of start looking for other flaws. And, I also don’t quite understand why they drydocked Quest so long before Journey when Journey was the first ship to have the “reimagining” a number of months before Quest so in my mind Journey should have been first. Also, I’m kind of detail oriented about aesthetics—someone else might not even notice.
  22. Hiccups -- I remember your review of AZ because you were on the The Open Golf Cruise the year after we were. We are not very flexible regarding our travel schedule as we can only time we can take two weeks off is in the summer or over Christmas and Perry Golf doesn't do any trips over the holidays so that leaves only the summer. Last summer we did Pursuit's maiden voyage because we could not find a Perry Golf cruise that we haven't done that worked for our schedule. One of the reasons we specifically spoke to Perry Golf leadership about the AZ quality is because they are bringing a lot of new clients to AZ through the golf cruises (at the closing Perry Golf cocktail party they asked who was on their first ever AZ cruise and it looked like it was about 90%!!!) so we thought maybe AZ would listen more to the feedback if it came from them . . . I have found another company that offers Golf Cruises on luxury cruise lines for what appears to be around the same price point (or even less) as the AZ/Perry Golf combination so we are awaiting their 2021 itineraries (already have a river cruise trip booked for summer 2020). Since cruisecritic doesn't like us to plug other providers on this board, if you are interested, email me at eileenpmoran@verizon.net.
  23. HostGrandma — thanks for your insight. I knew you were on right before us so avidly followed your posts! I don’t know what our issue is in Aqualina...we have yet to have a meal we thought was really good there...maybe we choose dishes that are not their best. Four cruises and Prime C has consistently been the much better meal for us and we are not really red meat eaters, so go figure! Interesting fact about the Sunset Bars, I did not know that. While we didn’t really feel the lack of one on Pursuit, I was reminded how nice it is to have it there when I was back on Journey. In addition to the convenience it improved the overall ambience on the Sunset Terrace (if that makes sense).
  24. Overall an enjoyable, very port-intensive cruise (British Isles, Open Championship), our 4th AZ and 3rd PerryGolf cruise. First time back on Journey since August 2017, last year we did Pursuit's Maiden. The positives: Embarkation in Edinburgh was extremely quick and efficient, we were in our cabin and had our luggage by 2 p.m. Had enough time to unpack, make specialty reservations, and work out prior to lifeboat drill. Our cabin attendants were Luis and Edwin and Luis remembered us from our last cruise...their service was excellent. Overall service was good and I thought the several AZ excursions were better than the ones I have taken previously. The tendering (3 ports) and shuttles (offered in nearly all the ports) were extremely efficient. AZ really shines with the convenient port access. So much so that I thought if someone who had only taken river cruises was interested in an ocean one that AZ might fit the bill just on that alone. Overall service in the restaurants and bars was very good. We booked our specialty reservations as soon as we embarked and had no problem getting days and times we wanted. The Azamazing Evening was very special and enjoyable -- Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. The chocolate buffet the last evening was also incredible. The followup to our mid-cruise survey comments was thorough although many of our issues seemed to be unsolvable onboard as they seemed to be linked with HQ. Captain Johannes was very visible, more so than Captains I have seen on other AZ cruises, he always seemed to be there as we disembarked in various ports, wishing us a good day and saying goodbye as we left at the end of the cruise. There was a great show of Scottish performers that AZ brought on board that was really enjoyable. Needs improvement: Our loyalty level was incorrect on our key cards, but correct on documents in our stateroom. Not sure why that info isn't integrated. May seem like a silly thing but we worked hard and spent quite a bit of $ to get from Adventurer to Discoverer! They also did not have our onboard credit from our travel agent despite the fact that she had documentation as to when she communicated it, but was told they'd made some kind of error in crediting it. It took some days to get that fixed. Food: I felt it was better on Pursuit last year. Last year I would call it good to very good, this year, I would say fair to good. Soups continue to be a standout and presentation is lovely, but overall I felt food lacked taste and there wasn't anything I said "Wow, this is delicious" even during the Chef's Table. I think that menu was the same we had last year. The beverages continue to be our biggest sticking point and one big reason why we have not booked another AZ and are looking at golf travel companies that offer cruises on luxury lines. We had enough onboard credit that we would have happily purchased bottles, but even the wine for purchase list is extremely weak. And we downright hate nearly all of the whites they serve. We even resorted to buying a couple of bottles in Isle of Man, that's how desperate we were for a chardonnay to our taste. The reds are slightly better. The waiters tried hard to find something we liked, but are not given much to choose from. Overall the food and beverages disappointing at AZ price point. Journey vs. Pursuit: Journey is looking a bit long in the tooth and they are making her wait so long to get spiffed up! Probably should have been done last year. For example, the wallpaper in our cabin had buckles and seams coming undone. I mentioned on another thread, we love the living room improvements on Pursuit and the Den, but we love the Sunset Bar on Journey that Pursuit removed. Also, the really large chairs they put on Pursuit in the cabins instead of the loveseats on Journey were way too big and we literally had to move the cocktail table to the side because there wasn't any room to sit at the desk if it was there. Hope they keep the smaller loveseats on Journey, so much better. Niggling issues: Halfway through the cruise I had a neck issue which is exacerbated by high feather pillows. Luis tried hard to find me a flatter foam pillow but there were none to be had...I ended up using the small foam pillow from the loveseat and my own travel pillow. So if you need pillows that are not 10 inches high, you might bring your own. Also, I can't really figure out the service model at the Patio...some days we had wait service and some days I sat there waiting until I realized I was expected to place my order at the counter. Also, I wish they would stop grabbing my plate to take it away as I am taking the last bite . . . are they short of dishes? Perhaps less attention to this and more attention to refilling water glasses. We have to cancel a current booking and we were going to change it to a different one onboard just in case we decide to use it. Since it was a cruise I'd transferred to a travel agent I was told they couldn't do it as they could no long access the booking, but that my travel agent could do it and keep all the existing benefits in place. Given all the issues my agent has had with AZ I am a bit cynical that this will go smoothly, but we'll see. Since we are currently looking at other cruise lines I'll just keep that booking in place until close to the 120 day cutoff and hope prices on cruises I might consider go down. Very little reason to book on board so far ahead anymore. Perry Golf is a very positive experience, but we shared with the owner that we are looking elsewhere due to AZ's price to value ratio declining. We don't mind paying for better food and beverages but are convinced we can get that and larger staterooms for close to the same amount we have been paying on AZ. We are sad about this and are not ruling out future AZ cruises, but right now AZ feels like a friend who is getting to be a little more high maintenance and not quite the quality experience it used to be or could be with a few careful improvements. Everything seems to be about the bottom line and I truly dislike the games they play with the "sales". We are working professionals in our 50's who hopefully have many travel years ahead of us and significant funds to spend and so feel that AZ is "missing the boat" with us and maybe even lots of others in our demographic. We invest our vacation time and travels funds carefully and want to feel we are getting value and the things that are important to us. We never met a cruise we didn't like, so this was a good cruise and a very fun vacation, but AZ was missing that little extra something. We enjoy all the friendly guests we meet onboard but many said they were looking at other options, regular cruisers felt there are been downgrades and those new to AZ expected more for their money. Happy to answer questions!
  25. I'm totally confused by the deck plans online. We've had each of our four AZ cruises in a V3 (lowest level veranda) category on Deck 7 (a location we really like) but when I booked for 2020 I was told I'd have to go down to Deck 6 in order to book this category now that Veranda Plus is introduced. Is this accurate information . . . the V colors and P colors look very much the same to me!
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