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Shelly&Jack

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About Shelly&Jack

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Manalapan, NJ
  • Interests
    Cruising & Traveling
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity Cruises
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Asia

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  1. Shelly&Jack

    Help a Celebrity newbie out, please

    We have traveled with our grandchildren on Celebrity ships since 2010 and several times to Bermuda. There is a children's and/or teenager's program on their ships whenever young children or teenagers are on board. Our grandchildren have never found a need to participate in those programs since there are four of them and they are very close in age and had kept themselves entertained in various activities such as ping pong, swimming, etc. This year we are returning to the Summit in July and they are all teenagers and I do not expect them to participate in the teenager program. Of course, with teenagers that could change. If you do not expect to do a lot of drinking, the OBC would pay for any drinks you order. If you do expect to purchase a fair number of drinks, then you may want to change to the Classic beverage package. While on board, the serving staff will attempt to convince you to upgrade to the Premium beverage package. It is not worth it unless you expect to order several martinis per day. As recommended by another CC member set your mobile phone to "Airplane mode". If not, you will run up $100 per hour cellular data charges after you sail out of NY harbor and out of range of your Verizon cell phone service. No one ever starves on a Celebrity Cruise ship due to not being able to find something to eat in the MDR. I have even ordered entree size caesar salads with grilled salmon when I did not want something on the menu. They will accommodate any reasonable request. Don't book Aqua Class, the restaurant reserved for those cabins is relatively small and could result in waiting to be seated. Unless you expect to spend all of your cruise in the Spa and Persian Gardens, Aqua Class is not for a family traveling with teenagers.
  2. How to become Zenith? Take a lot of cruises and be very loyal to Celebrity. We rarely take land tour (non-cruising) vacations so the Celebrity cruising points have added up over many years. We have been sailing on Celebrity since 1990, starting in ocean view staterooms (the Horizon, Zenith and Century (initially) had no veranda staterooms.) Then switched to Concierge on Millennium and Solstice Class ships. We have sailed several times in Sky or Celebrity Suite staterooms when the price dropped below our concierge class stateroom rate and we were able to upgrade after the final payment was made. So after 26 years of loyally sailing with Celebrity on 53 individual cruises (some B2B) we finally attained Zenith. Luminae dining is very nice and travelers paying for suites should receive additional perks. I am very grateful for the perks I will be receiving as a Zenith member even though we will not have access to Luminae. I am not sure there are as many as 300 Zenith members. We sail mainly non-Caribbean itineraries and have done only two trans-Atlantic repositioning cruises (2006 and 2011) and yet have been top cruisers on many cruises as Elite and Elite+ members both before and after the Zenith level was established in 2014. We sailed on five cruises last year and only met two Zenith members who were sailing with us on the three - B2B cruises we just finished on the Constellation.
  3. Our choice has always been that we would prefer to take two cruises in Concierge Class (CC) versus spending the same money and only be able to take one cruise in a suite. If we have had an opportunity to get a suite for the same cost as a CC stateroom, then of course we took it. Now that we have attained Zenith and will receive all of the same perks and amenities as those in a suite, except for not having access to Luminae, we will now only book CC on M class ships for the larger stateroom and standard verandas on S class ships since all are about the same size. We did very much enjoy the ambiance, presentation, food and service of Luminae on our most recent cruise (took advantage of a Sky suite price drop) but we still enjoy the food in the MDR.
  4. This coming summer we will be taking our 6th Summit family cruise to Bermuda. Our grandchildren will be 13, 13, 13 and 16 years old, two boys and twin girls. The last time we sailed to Bermuda with them was in 2014, when they were three years younger or about the same age as your two boys and they never complained they were bored. They have never participated in the children's or preteen programs so that is also another option for your preteens. The advantage of Bermuda is the three days in port and easy access to the beaches which our grandchildren really enjoyed. This year they are older and we will try to go fishing and the oldest grandson will probably go golfing one day with his father. If you live within easy driving distance to NYC metropolitan area (two hour drive) the convenience of driving to Bayonne, NJ and boarding the Summit is a great start to a one week vacation.
  5. We reached Zenith level after completing our Nov. 28 cruise on Dec. 10th. Within several days our "My Celebrity" account Web page indicated that we are now Zenith level. I do not expect any further notice but do expect on our next cruise to receive all the benefits due the Zenith level. My understanding from crew members, who are in the know, that on our next cruise we will be receiving some type of unique recognition. I told them that we would like to be surprised so I have no idea what it will entail. By the way, the total number of Zenith level Captain's Club members is probably much less than 150 or even somewhat even lower, perhaps in the 130 to 140 range, but that is a guess based on some conversations I have had with other Zenith members. The exact number is not divulged to any of the ships' crew members, only Headquarter's CC leadership knows the exact number. It is like a secret society.
  6. Shelly&Jack

    Shipboard Purchases

    My wife buys name brand cosmetic products in the shops. Prices are somewhat cheaper than at the Department Store cosmetic departments and there is no State sales tax. All totaled she says the savings are about 15% when including the sales tax savings. She also likes the facial and hair products sold in the Spa. If you have promotional OBC, then the purchases are"free" because you now have to use all your OBC or lose it.
  7. Shelly&Jack

    Zenith Question

    Hi Arno, We sailed together several years ago on the Constellation. We reached Zenith yesterday after completing our Nov. 28th cruise on the Constellation. We now have 3029 points. We expect to be inducted either on the Eclipse on the May 7, 2017 President's cruise or on the July 23, 2017 Bermuda cruise when our family will be on board. We are really excited about reaching the Zenith milestone. It is nice to be rewarded after 26 years of loyalty to Celebrity.
  8. Shelly&Jack

    Pre-existing Condition Look back Period

    The U.S. Affordable Care Act (referred to as Obamacare) prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-exisitng conditions. Since most of the trip insurance coverage is for cancellation due to illness, medical care and/or evacuation, it is essentially a medical insurance plan. (Pre-existing conditions have nothing to do with lost luggage or trip delay coverage.) Does anyone know if the trip insurance companies can no longer deny either coverage or a claim due to pre-existing medical conditions? This could have an impact on when it is necessary to purchase trip insurance, that is, at time of booking or at final payment. We sometimes book cruises 18 months out. Since most cruises can be canceled without penalty prior to final payment, the timing of the purchase of the trip insurance can be an issue. We have usually purchased trip insurance at the time of final payment since we did not have any pre-existing conditions. However, that has changed and purchasing insurance so far in advance makes no sense since you can cancel a cruise at anytime up to final payment without penalty. So why purchase insurance so far in advance?
  9. Shelly&Jack

    New Loyalty Program???

    Hi Jim, The addition of "Club" to the cruise line's name is also up there in the "why" category. Is it to give the cruise line the image that it is offering all inclusive vacations as Club Med does? In any event, as the saying goes: call me anything, but don't call me late for dinner. Enjoy your S.E. Asia cruise. Regards to Kathy,
  10. Shelly&Jack

    Viking Cruise line--possible financial problems??

    I frequently use "insure my trip" and they always have competitive pricing. I also from time-to-time use the major cruise line insurance since for extended cruise durations, pre or post cruise stays and/or extensive air travel, their insurance will at times be competitive. Only use the major cruise line offered insurance if they use an independent insurance provider, i.e. they are not self insured as Viking may be. In 2000, we had to cancel a Celebrity Cruise due to Shelly's father's hospitalization and their insurance provider refunded our full fare after we sent them the required hospitalization documentation. As I had previously posted, for financial default protection, I always pay via credit card. I agree the 2-for-1 offer may not be all that it seems, but they do provide nice pricing on the air fare and the free wine with dinner does have some value. At least with the early booking you can get a better selection of cabins, especially the lower priced categories.
  11. Shelly&Jack

    Viking Cruise line--possible financial problems??

    Send me an email (click on the "....." on my signature) and I'll send you the name of a Web based service that provides quotes from several insurance companies. I have been using them for years. I do not believe Cruise Critic permits posting the Web site name on any threads.
  12. Shelly&Jack

    Viking Cruise line--possible financial problems??

    I called my credit card company (Capital One) to clarify what is my liability if there is a default by Viking. Per Capital One, I can file a dispute within 120 days from when the service (in this case the cruise) was scheduled to be delivered, i.e. Sept. 25, 2010. I can only make a claim if Viking fails to deliver, not if I decide not to go on it. This makes sense since in a merchandise purchase, after you pay for something and then the merchant fails to make delivery, you can then submit a dispute to your credit card bank. With a cruise, since the "delivery date" (the cruise sailing date) is not scheduled until Sept. 2010 you can't be expected to file a dispute within 120 days of making the payment. This would hold true for example if you ordered furniture and were given an expected delivery date of 5 months from the date of purchase. If the store fails to deliver or defaults, you can dispute it even though it is more than 120 days from date of purchase. Check with your credit card company. I specifically picked a trip insurance policy without default coverage and saved about $150.
  13. Shelly&Jack

    Viking Cruise line--possible financial problems??

    I don't consider fellow passengers or a cruise director on a competitor's boat as authorities on the financial well being of a cruise line. What you heard were rumors. Viking is a privately held company so it is improbable that any information concerning their financial status would be available to outsiders. They don't publish their quarterly results. There are also no guarantees that the alternative cruise line you select will not develop financial difficulties. We just booked a Sept. 2010 Viking cruise and paid with a credit card so I feel protected for financial default by Viking.
  14. Shelly&Jack

    Shanghai

    For multiple passengers a taxi may be just as cost affective as the subway. They are very inexpensive and you get do sightseeing as you drive through town. Your dollar (even Australian) we go a long way in China. We also did a lot of walking from the ship to the river front located in the center of town by the Peace Hotel. It takes about 20 minutes. Two stretch your budget, the key thing I learned on this cruise is to never pay what the street vendors or market vendors ask for. My rule is never pay more than 25% of the asking price. So a 180 Yuan tee shirts should not cost more than 40 Yuan or about $5.50 US. You know you got them when they come running after you as you walk away and they keep lower the price as you walk until they meet your price. Shopping and bargaining was fun in China. (Don't expect the same in Japan.) By the time we got to Beijing I was an expert bargainer. (Or at least I thinks I was. But who knows, they are shrewd business people.) On the other hand, it was very cold in Beijing and the wool cap I bought from a street vendor in Beijing only cost me 5 yuan (about $.75 US). So even though they had a much needed garment, I still got a bargain.
  15. Shelly&Jack

    Shanghai

    We just finished our N.E. Asia cruise on the Azamara Quest. Based on a recommendation from a friend, we booked two private tours with Dvir Bar-Gal in Shanghai. The first one was: "Tour of Jewish Shanghai" and the second was: Shanghai from the "Very Old to Very New". He requires a minimum of 6 people per tour and the cost is 400RMB or about $60 U.S. per person. Both tours last about 4 hours and include admission fees. He is an Israeli journalist now living in Shanghai. Both tours were excellent and well worth the cost. Contact him at: www.shanghai-jews.com He will respond very quickly and does not require a deposit. He will meet you at the pier with a van and driver. If you have any questions, let me know.
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