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AlaskanGrits

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About AlaskanGrits

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    Cool Cruiser

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    ATLANTA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, NCL
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    Anywhere

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  1. Mafig we had dinner in Tuscan and Cosmopolitan. We loved Luminae for breakfast and some lunches but wanted to branch out for dinners. I thought they were very similar so it was just the menu that was a differentiator, albeit a slight one. The two MDRs we tried were perfectly good food and service. We may have had high expectations as to the number of themed add-on choices.
  2. Hey TeeRick. I agree the BR being divided may have made it seem smaller in length at least and more cramped but of course we liked having some separate area for multiple simultaneous uses with 4 of us. We thought the tub was extra narrow and the half door was fine but somehow made it seem even tighter with the rest of it just still seeming smaller than we anticipated. I know, first world problem for sure. The balcony had a little coffee table we used as a foot stool and 2 chairs that were wider with armrests compared to the other 2. Not sure if that changed. A lounger would have been better. We can still fit 4 with 2 chairs and a lounger with nominal creativity. For MC tendering we were offered an escort via the retreat (although the meeting point could be elsewhere like at FCSH). We did not use this because we were always out early and before crowds such that we were able to get on the tender efficiently enough. The wait was after we boarded the tender and so the retreat service wouldn't have helped us. The wait was both with the Celebrity launchers and the local service tenders after boarding so they could wait for a fuller tender. They said they would wait for the next tender to arrive but after there were 2 tenders they still waited until more seats were full even if there was no one in queue. Same on the return, just at port waiting for more passengers rather than at the MC. I did not perceive a difference between the Celebrity vs local tenders in that regard. The fancy launchers were more enclosed and comfortable. They still went slow to minimize how bounced around everyone was I presume. It looked like they could have gone faster with the equipment on the new launchers they just didn't. (I overheard crew mention they don't like to refer to the Celebrity "launchers" as "tenders" because they "cost over 1.2 million each" or something to that effect.)
  3. Regrettably we missed the ship tour and did not get any reliable Apex insights. They seem to already know which crew will be moving over to Apex is about all I gathered.
  4. Vtcruising, happy to answer questions! Nice to hear they thought about the CS and hopefully made informed choices. FCSH was not noisy to us. It was relatively early so it could have changed after 8, but while we heard sound going in, it simply was not intrusive to us. I had read otherwise and gave it some thought as we sat down not far from the entrance but was quickly satisfied it was not as issue presently. Perhaps they turned it down for dinner or certain hours. The Retreat concierge looked to be two although it could have been more or less or staggered with someone busy. There was never a line more than a person deep that I saw. I did not use them knowingly for reservations as we pre booked restaurants and made our own excursions. But they appeared eager to please and I would have confidence in them. They did not ask for our card on the Retreat sundeck other than they may have the 1st day. In CS the perk bundle has premium beverages for the 2 adults but does not apparently extend to any package for the minors like it does in RS and above with those rooms, but in the Retreat it looked like they treated the kids as having a drink package, perhaps as the retreat comes with that benefit on premises (and in the room). They ordered smoothies or whatever they wanted and it was never an issue, and we would expect to pay outside the retreat but it made sense to us inside that it was included and we thought it was nice. The kids loved the ship. They looked at the "basement" and programs but preferred to read and hang out with their parents so we know we screwed then up something awful. So I can't speak for the programming. I heard staff observe that the Edge was far less trafficked during this port intensive trip as people pact long excursions in and we were no exception. We did enjoy the relatively little time on board a lot though. It was comfortable and interesting everywhere you go. Anyhow the kids loved the boat more similar to how their parents did this time. Favorite thing is a tough one. I always appreciate the vibe on Celebrity. It is not too stuffy and not too chaotic... kind of Goldilocks. The meals are always good. In this case the itinerary for us was special. I am going to have to mull that over as fortunately everything was really good in this cruise (I never mentioned the gym or things like that because it is not for us a make-or-break thing but it was really very lovely as well at that and every level).
  5. Random thoughts on our Edge sailing Rome to Barcelona 6/29-7/6 as we travel back. There are many useful reviews of the ship so I won't undertake a review so much as to share our reflections (see what unoriginally I did there?) in gratitude for the wealth of info we gleaned here. We figured maybe some random nugget or other will be of interest to some as we randomly discuss our amazing cruise. In that spirit I might complain about a minor point or so but preface it with the assurance that the ship is fantastic and we would repeat the vacation 100 times out of 100 if we had the opportunity so please don't misconstrue any negativity as negative. We are a family of 4 from the USA East coast and stayed in a Celebrity Suite. We realize what a privilege it is to sail at all, and how many view the suite as a waste, as well as resent the space and privileges which are limited to a few out of many especially with the new "model" at Celebrity. To some extent I understand that frustration despite being guilty of taking advantage of it. The suite experience really works well for our family which includes some special needs which render multiple rooms and long lines less practical for us. The suite offers enough space for a big vacation to be less challenging and more of a vacation. SUITE The CS suite was wonderful. It was roomier than we thought and the balcony was great with room for 4 chairs. The bathroom was a definate compromise. It was about as small as can be other than it had a second sink (acknowledging here our recent comparisons are suites). The tub/shower was small and underwhelming. I understand having to make choices but it seemed like they could have made the bathroom bigger without compromising the excellent space they put together in the remaining area too much. It looked to us like the RS compromised on the balcony instead. I think it is reasonable to make some compromises on space when on a ship, just noting what those are from our perspective. Otherwise there were relatively few compromises. The balcony was a traditional one and not the new concept. I saw some rooms with the 'inside balcony' and they were nicer and more open than I thought but I still wonder about how people will take to the non-balcony balcony. I do credit Celebrity with thinking outside the box though. Even with some misses the majority of their efforts were big hits. The butler and room attendant were both top level. They were proactive and thoughtful and always pleasant. They did Celebrity proud. RETREAT The retreat was nice but I think Celebrity still underutilized it as I thought they underutilized Michaels. It is a nice space and well laid out and thought out. My only comparison is NCL and the Haven just checks more boxes to us in terms of a benefit, although the design of the Retreat is gorgeous and their team goes above and beyond. The staff was perfect and would do whatever they could for you. The Retreat had a bar with a limited restaurant menu cooked by Luminae but more basic than their formal restaurant menu. It was less of a "ship within a ship" and more of an "added amenity" to us. SHIP The ship is fantastic. Everything seemed a cut above in quality and taste as well as for technology. WiFi was reasonably fast. It was fine for podcasts but not really video streaming from our experience. The lights and curtains, TV and apps were not hard at all for us (we are in our 40's). I did not like that the curtains could only be all open or fully closed without "tricking" them. A rather minor inconvenience. DINING The MDRs were OK. I love the concept with separate "restaurants" and "special" thematic added choices. And I get the "quality over quantity" virtue. But we were underwhelmed by the selection. The food was very good and the service was wonderful from my perspective although my wife enjoyed it less I think. It reminds me of Luminae which has really great dishes but always seems to be a few short of an ample selection IMO ko especially with less MDR choice on Edge by report... we never tried). The specialty restaurants we visited were excellent. Fine Cut was what you expect from the steak house and Rooftop Garden was about what you expect from Lawn Club experiences with some unique dishes of course at each. The service was great as was the food and experience. I note we had 6pm reservations at Rooftop and were called to be politely informed there were complaints about sun and heat prior nights and that we might want later reservations. There is some cover but the direction of a setting sun could render that cover useless. I wonder if they can simulate sunshine and windy moments with their next 3D ship creating endeavor. Anyway we stuck with 6:00 reservations and survived but it was very sunny. We appreciated the fair warning. Oceanview Cafe was good and better than an average ship buffet. We only ate there a few times but each time was good. It was not too crowded and everything seemed clean. The washing stations are well situated and the layout is pleasant and the choices varied and broad. The new concept with ethnic food zones didn't make much difference to me compared with other good OVC Celebrity experiences other than the layout was good and made sense. The pizza station at the end is a bit silly to me since so many will simply miss it. You can't even see it is there on one side of the ship and there are no signs. But it was good enough pizza. The second Cafe Baccio was fine but not nearly up to the 4th floor main one which was fantastic. I will miss that in the morning! ENTERTAINMENT I got to see just a small sample of this, being with the kids. What I saw was good. A lot of '80s hits seemed to be the primary theme mid ship. Like Pointer Sisters. And older Beatles type stuff. Sadly I knew the tunes. The crowd seemed to like it. But the talent was for the most part much better than average for ships and did a good job in my opinion. I also caught some of the theater show early on and they were talented and entertaining. We are not big ship entertainment people so I wouldn't take our word for it, but I was personally surprised and impressed with what appeared to be relative talent. TENDERING Tendering was fine on Magic Carpet but not revolutionary. They still use local service tenders along with the fancy new Celebrity "launchers". These launchers are more comfortable tenders but the process of waiting and waiting hasn't really changed even if on or near the MC. Indeed one time we were waiting 40 minutes to move. It seemed after they finally waited to fill every seat there was some boat "in the way" so we waited and waited some more. I know a complaint about waiting a little while during a dream vacation rings shallow and unappreciative. Please don't get me wrong. These are random musings, not complaints. To be clear, the ship is incredible and unreservedly I recommend it and would go again. ITINERARY I was so pleased to have a new quality ship run from Rome to Barcelona. We stopped at Naples, Livorno/Florence, Cannes, Monaco and Palma de Mallorca. We flew into FCO. It was easy enough. We hear the return is more of a logistics challenge. But arriving was easy. We walked right out with nominal delay into the mass if signs and got our ride for 70 Euros to the hotel in Rome. We used one of the major services discussed on CC and they were perfect. It was a little walk to the car and we were off. We stayed in Rome and had two great tours which were a highlight and then got another ride to the port. That was also easier than advertised. Anyone can do this. We speak only English and some of us can't find out way around our house. Boarding Edge was also easy. We did this at 1:00 since we had a morning tour. It was nearly empty getting in (including all guests not just priority lane). Amyway, the tours we enjoyed in Naples (Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii and Herculaneum), and Pisa were perfect. There was some confusion meeting our guide in Naples as they apparently changed the location for the non cruise excursion meeting spot. We called the tour and they directed us further past another entrance and we were set. These tours were not through Celebrity but were major vendors discussed on CC for which we are eternally grateful as we enjoyed them so much as were a bit lost finding credible references otherwise. Thank you ti all who helped us make a dream vacation work with a few more than average challenges. Otherwise getting around was relatively easy despite not knowing the language. We had Google Translate ready to go but hardly needed it. We kept things lower key after those jam pact first many days. All ports were enjoyable and we were able to DIY with some modest help (like hop on/off in Mallorca). I would not have wanted to wing it in Naples because those tend to be much longer excursions but otherwise it is fairly easy to manage this on the fly if that's your preference. BOOKING/PRICE/MOVEUP We booked the Edge early and before prices got what I consider to be excessive to us and for this otherwise great product. It was still expensive for a CS (we considered it too expensive for any higher suites) but it was much less when we booked compared to booking currently (I will avoid the agent/discount discussion but encourage use of a good one). We did get a MoveUp email nearly 2 months before boarding, but our minimum bids were not accepted and it was unclear if there were any rooms available in the top suites for MoveUp or if anyone really bid higher than us. The rejection email was about 48 hours before boarding. We looked at some Edge sailings next year and they are simply asking too much at least for suites at least to people like us. I do appreciate what they have accomplished with a higher end new product and I would pay more for it compared to an old ship on another line. And maybe supply and demand is confirming the Celebrity vision and the rooms are selling out at any price. It sure is a nice ship and the suites are great. But the prices I keep seeing being quoted ($30k plus for higher suites for a week) are not supported by the experience and I wonder if they ultimately may be counter productive insofar as attracting people with expectations that won't be met and ultimately losing rather gaining a segment. I do recognize the higher suites have a bit more built in to their package than CS but it is the same retreat and same journey and I am going to be surprised if they attract and keep folks willing to pay that kind of price ($5k+/day) without the entire experience being more "fancy line" (which we appreciate that it is not). I hope they are just experimenting and will settle at a reasonable premium and we will certainly support that as often as we are able as we really enjoy Celebrity and had such a wonderful trip on this special new ship. SUMMARY A wonderful experience on a wonderful ship with an amazing itinerary. So glad we made this trip!
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