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Everything posted by smtcan

  1. I was surprised when we took the ‘speed’ boat. Surely it returns to Fira for its next trip, so I wonder why it didn’t take passengers. When we took the bus back, we found a bar with a view of the queue for the cable car and kept an eye out for a less crowded time. Husband suggests that the boat people have a deal with Fira to make sure everyone has a chance to spend money there!
  2. We were on Silhouette recently and it was definitely seat yourself. We commented that no one ever asked to see our cards, which was surprising. We have been asked for them on previous cruises until we were recognized as regulars. We also never saw the captains’ club host there.
  3. We have done both directions several times. Each has benefits. East bound we arrive in Europe without jet lag and don’t spend the first day or two of our holiday recovering. West bound gives longer days and a relaxing few days after a busy touring holiday. I suspect that anyone who has to go back to work immediately after their trip would prefer this option, but we are retired so that doesn’t concern us.
  4. Book your own pre cruise stay. We found Tokyo very easy to navigate on our own using public transport. Cruise line pre and post stays never seem to represent good value because they are priced per person while hotels are priced per room. Be prepared for very small rooms in Japanese hotels, and I am not referring to capsule hotels. TripAdvisor gives room sizes as well as hotel names in local language, very handy to print and show to taxi drivers.
  5. We priced Cambodia (Siem Reap) as a ship tour and found we could book hotel and flights from Hong Kong at the end of our cruise for close to a week for less money. This even included breakfast and airport pickup and drop off in a tuktuk, which was interesting because an English speaking woman came with the driver. Two of us with two suitcases filled the passenger area, so the woman had to perch on the suitcases. Luckily it wasn’t far. The local people were very friendly and food and drink very reasonable.
  6. That was what I thought was the case. Also salaried employees are not part of the pool.
  7. I recall a few years ago we cruised with friends who removed their gratuities. We were in the dining room before them one evening and our waiter quietly asked us if he had done something wrong for Mr. —— to cause him to remove the gratuities. The staff are obviously aware and concerned about this, but I would suspect that there is more involved when staff are fired.
  8. If you don't visit the beauty salon, you are not tipping those people. They are not part of the tipping pool and like bar tenders their tips are added to the bills of customers. I am not really sure how the casino staff are paid, because like you I never go there, but they are not part of the gratuity pool. If higher wages were paid to remove the need for auto tipping, prices would rise to compensate.
  9. All inclusive never makes sense for us. We have friends who would never cruise without a drink package and that is their choice. We always factor gratuities into the cost of our cruise and pay them up front unless we have a lot of OBC. On our last cruise we had $800 OBC which covered our gratuities and left us a bit extra. With Happy Hour drinks and included lattes we had very little need for extra drinks. At the end of the cruise we were trying to find ways to spend the last few dollars. We have never disembarked with an unmanageable bill - we would not take a cruise if it took us to our financial limit.
  10. Celebrity became our line of choice because of their limit on smoking. I don’t frequent the casino, but I am afraid vaping and eventually smoking will spread around the ship. If vaping is allowed in one area which has no signage, surely vapers would assume it is acceptable in all areas without signage. Removing signage is NOT the answer. If vaping is a problem on our upcoming cruise it will be our last one on Celebrity.
  11. I don’t agree. All inclusive has little value for us. We are very moderate drinkers and get 240 mins each of wifi as Elite+. We pay the gratuities and come out way ahead of AI.
  12. We took several Asian cruises pre Covid and enjoyed them all. We always added a land component since the flights are long and expensive so we wanted to see as much as possible. We really liked sailing out of Singapore and stayed there a week pre cruise. After cruising to Hong Kong we flew to Siem Reap Cambodia to see Angkor Wat and other temples. We also enjoyed Halong Bay where we had a day long junk cruise. Another time we had two stops in Philippines - Manilla was not a great experience, but island hopping in Boracay made up for that. China is a country I am glad to have visited, but given the current political climate I wouldn't return. We took a Transpacific cruise from Vancouver to Yokohama and spent two weeks touring Japan independently. Asia is so different and each country has its own flavour. I don't think you can go wrong with any itinerary choice.
  13. Same here. We stopped cruising Celebrity for the brief time it was all inclusive and were very pleased when cruise only returned.
  14. We definitely benefitted from the conversion of points. We cruise either inside on a port intensive cruise, or balcony if we have sea days. After the conversion of points we were Elite and a couple of cruises took us to Elite+. I doubt if we would have reached this level entirely under the present system. We will never reach Zenith, even if on board spending was included, so it would not be an issue for us, but I believe cruise lines make most of their profit from spending on the ship, so maybe they will move in that direction.
  15. The app worked for us on Silhouette, but we didn’t get notifications (on iPhones), so it wasn’t really helpful. I was told that notifications worked on Android.
  16. We have never found hotels booked through any cruise line to be good value. We check their price, then look at the booking direct price and compare with other choices. We can always do better, even when transfers are included. We do tend to be independent travellers, often using public transport when appropriate.
  17. We always leave auto gratuities in place, but rarely tip extra. We changed cabins on a B2B and decided that we would tip our cabin stewards extra for the extra work. We arrived at our new cabin and there was no sign of our luggage. We went to lunch and returned to the cabin - still no luggage. We asked our new cabin steward to see what had happened. He found our suitcases, but no sign of our hanging items. He eventually found them in an empty cabin. Guess which steward got the extra tips!
  18. We travelled with carry on only on a 14 day October/November river cruise with three extra days in Amsterdam. Since river cruises are very casual it wasn't a problem. I travelled in my walking shoes and took sandals, washed underwear, socks and tops in the sink and took several pairs of lightweight pants. For warmth I had a packable down vest and a packable rain jacket. These could be warn together or individually, with or without a wooly hat and mittens. We knew the cruise line toiletries were of a good standard. We met a couple on board who didn't receive their luggage until part way through the second week, so we thought we had made the right decision.
  19. We were on the Spring TA this year with a ten day Caribbean cruise before. We had balconies on both, deck 6 forward (unobstructed) and deck 8 mid ships. Both were fine, the same size although one had the bed by the balcony and the other was bed nearer the bathroom. Both suited us. The library looks good but has hardly any books. I rely on my Kindle. We had interesting lectures on sea days and good entertainment. Some matinee shows in the theatre. We spent a lot of time in the solarium, because the weather was cool. The ship was only half full, so no problem with getting seats. Sky Lounge was our bar of choice, because we like to be able to chat without background noise. We did occasionally use the .Ensemble Lounge if we wanted entertainment. There was no pressure to buy drinks. We declined when the first waiter came by and he lowered our menus so we were not bothered again.
  20. I am glad you are enjoying our country. The Rocky Mountaineer has been on our Bucket List for years, but we have driven from Calgary to Vancouver several times. The best trip for me was when my mother and aunt came over from Wales. We flew to Vancouver and I drove all the way back to Calgary on our all woman trip. We stopped just where we wanted, Moraine Lake was a favourite spot and Peyto Lake had the most wonderful variety of wild flowers. Does your cruise have a stop in Victoria? If so you would enjoy Butchart Gardens since you are garden lovers. Sheilal
  21. We have twelve sailings on M class over the years, in various parts of the world, although not that particular route. Compared with S class we have not noticed any difference in stability although on both we avoid higher decks. Husband feels motion more than I do, but he has not had problems on that size ship, even crossing the Tasman sea on Mercury or Vancouver to Tokyo on Millennium.
  22. I completely agree. I have friends who need an accessible cabin and find it very hard to book one even several months out. If one is available close to sail date it is different, but if an able bodied person takes an accessible cabin early in the booking period they may well be depriving someone of a chance to cruise.
  23. Before Covid our cruises were to far off places - Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Dubai and the Suez Canal, Australia and New Zealand to name a few. We saw places we would never have imagined visiting when we were young. As long as the ship was comfortable and the food acceptable we were happy. We mostly, but not exclusively cruised with Celebrity and have been satisfied with the product and have many wonderful memories. Since Covid we have taken two less adventurous Celebrity cruises and although some things have changed, not surprisingly, we didn't find anything that would stop us cruising again.
  24. When I first joined Cruise Critic I wrote reviews.They were generally favourable because I was fairly new to cruising and everything was wonderful. After trying several different lines we settled on Celebrity as our first choice when researching itineraries. Obviously pricing entered into the equation, but it was rare for us to select a different line. I stopped writing reviews because there was nothing different to say. After 30+ cruises, the majority on Celebrity we are still happy with the product although not always with the price.
  25. We have more than twenty Celebrity cruises, but only two since Covid. We are not suite cruisers and probably never will be. We choose between balcony and Inside depending on itinerary and price. We were expecting to be disappointed on our B2B Caribbean and transatlantic on Silhouette, but we were pleasantly surprised. Admittedly there were differences post Covid, but we had a great time. The MDR food was fine, we had prime rib once on each cruise. The only thing we really missed was rack of lamb, but seeing how much our local prices have increased I am not surprised that it wasn't served. We would not hesitate to sail on Celebrity again and are planning a fall cruise once we can agree where to go.
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