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About Balsam12

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Perth, Western Australia

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  1. Yep... This was confirmed by my call to RC. The credit won't show, but if we call them we can use it to make purchases. I will check this again, possibly via email, BEFORE I buy any OBC 🙂
  2. @M-H-B, Our cruise is March 2020, so plenty of time. We got the package for $67 on a Voyager cruise from Singapore earlier this year. Cruises from Australia could be a different story as we tend to have a reputation for getting better value out of beverage packages 🙂 I actually called RC after posting this thread, and the only point is that if we purchase OBC before the cruise, we won't see it in the Cruise Planner. This means we will have to call to make any purchases. .Other than that, everything should work as I have suggested,
  3. Hi Folks, Just wondering about using OBC to pay for the beverage package. Two people, 11 nights, currently $87.68 AUD pp/day for the package means it's just under $2000 in total I'm confident the price will drop at some point, let's say to $70, meaning a saving of about $400. If I pay for the package by credit card, for the period between buying the second package and getting my refund, I'm out of pocket by about $3500. My thought was to put $2000 into the onboard account, then use that to pay for the beverage package. Then if the price drops, I cancel the package, the credit instantly goes back to OBC, and I can purchase at the lower price, leaving the $400 saving in the onboard account. If that doesn't get used during the cruise, which is highly likely, I can then have it refunded to my bank account/credit card. Can anyone tell me if there's any catches to this thinking? Cheers, Balsam
  4. Yep... one would imagine crew quarters on a submarine could be slightly tighter than on a cruise ship...
  5. I've not worked for RC, but on other cruise lines, the Captain's room is like a suite. First Officer, Staff Captain, Hotel Manager, F&B Manager and Casino Manager get a smaller suite type room. From there it goes downhill rapidly. I was a pit boss in the casino (so two levels below the Casino Manager), and was in a shared cabin (2 people) with bunk beds most of the time. Other than that, I had all the privileges of other officers... basically the only things that were off limits were the passenger gym and the passenger pools. Many of the crew are in a cabin shared by 8 people. Space is at a premium on cruise ships.
  6. @sailco, I was think both ages and nationalities. Unless I'm missing something with those perks, it seems a little silly. I can either have $150 or $300... how many people would choose $150? Balsam
  7. @crazyman3, Thanks for that. I was hoping it would be an international mix. Normally you do tend to find that when there are different start and end ports, but it's good to have someone reinforce that idea. We're not really looking for huge Christmas celebrations, and we certainly won't be dining in Luminae (Unless we win lotto in the near future 😛), it's more the idea of doing something different. Cheers, Balsam
  8. Hi Folks, My other half and I have been looking at the idea of a cruise over Christmas and New Year in 2020-21. We like the look of the 15 Night on Constellation from Dubai to Singapore as we have not been to most of the ports before. Just wondering if anyone has done similar cruises (not necessarily at Christmas) and could comment on the demographics of the passengers? On slightly different tack, can anyone explain the difference between "$150 Onboard Credit for 2" and "Additional $150 per person to spend onboard"? Looking at the "Perks", we would choose the Classic beverage package, but were then thinking of using the OBC towards upgrading that to the Premium package. Can we do this? Cheers,
  9. In Australia, there are no added "Gratuity" or "Service" charges. Yes, we pay more for the cruise, but we don't have to think about whether or not to prepay these charges, and there's no debate about removing them because you simply can't do that. Yes, I also tip crew at certain times. Firstly when I get service that I consider above the normal high standard on RC. Secondly, when I want to encourage good service in the future. Once I work out the bars where I will spend more time, the bartenders get a couple of tips. Surprisingly, they then remember me, what I drink, and how I like it served. I also find that I get served a bit faster. Money well spent. MDR waiters are the same... if they're good the first night, they get a tip, maybe 10 dollars each. Again, the service is good for following nights. The whole point is that tipping is completely optional rather than expected... but that's pretty much how it works everywhere in Australia to start with.
  10. If you're not sure something is allowed, put it in your carry on. If they pick it up, you can just hand it over and collect at the end of the cruise. I took a Leatherman toll in my carry on last time, totally expecting them to pick it up. It wasn't hidden or anything, just in my backpack, and nothing was mentioned.
  11. I dunno... looks like nobody running this forum is open to suggestions from the people who use it. I won't even touch on open to criticism.... In reality, rather than just deleting threads that dare to offer suggestions, wouldn't it be better to just close the thread after posting an explanation as to WHY they won't take ideas on board?
  12. Interesting... this is in the cruise planner for my 11 night sailing in March 2020... Perhaps it is just like many things RCI.... completely random?
  13. We sailed on Voyager out of Singapore in March this year. Yes, if you go looking, you will find signs of wear and tear... scuff marks on walls, worn carpet etc... after all, we're talking about a ship that is 20 years old. If you are sailing in August, the ship is going in to dry dock for refurbishment shortly after your cruise, so some of these things will be addressed then. Did this affect our enjoyment of the cruise? Absolutely not. No issues with the crew, they were great and pretty much as helpful as we would expect. The funny thing was that our cruise had a high proportion of passengers from Australia, the UK and Germany. Talking to one of the bar staff, he told me the thing he liked most about that cruise was that the passengers said Please and Thank You... unlike what he had experienced on previous cruises in the region. Goes to show that your attitude toward the crew can have a huge bearing on their attitude towards you... We missed an onboard activity because the time and date was changed, and received a full refund for that, but not once did we even have cause to complain about anything else on the cruise.
  14. I would suggest the answer will be no. Royal never give you credit back for the difference in these situations... you need to cancel one thing and replace it with something else. e.g. you purchase the drink package pre-cruise at $60 per day for a 10 night cruise. You pay $600 up front. Later, you see the drink package at $50 per day. To take advantage of this, you must cancel the original purchase and buy the package again for another $500 up front. Royal will then refund the original $600 to wherever it came from. If this is a credit card, it can take up to two weeks for the refund, meaning you are out of pocket $1100 for a couple of weeks until the refund gets back to your credit card. How does this affect the situation you describe? AFAIK, pre-cruise purchases can only be cancelled up to three days before sailing. This means that if you buy now, you won't be able to cancel the purchase once you are on board. There's always a gamble on not pre-purchasing and hoping the price will be lower when you get on board, but think of it this way... if you are on a seven night cruise with two people, you're talking about an overall saving of $56 with the figures you've quoted. If it's a five night cruise, you're talking about a saving of $40. Is it worth the risk to save forty or fifty bucks when the price could very well be higher when you get on board? Personally, I pre-purchase and then watch the cruise planner right up until the three day mark looking for savings. If it turns out cheaper on board, then hey... that's life, but it's one less thing I have to think about when I get on board, and at the end of the day, saving fifty buck when compared to the overall cost of the cruise isn't a big thing for me.
  15. We did the reverse journey in March. Ho Chi Min is about 90 minutes from the port. We didn't bother as we have been there before, so went to Vung Tau, which is about half the distance from the port. Not a lot to see there. If you haven't been to HCMC before, there is plenty to see and do. Nha Trang is a tendering port, and where the tenders drop you off is not far from the town. Again, we had been there before, but it is great to have a wander along the main strip and have food and drink if you're not doing a tour. Hue/Da Nang are both about an hour from the port, and you can only choose one as they are in opposite directions. We went to Da Nang, and were actually surprised by how big it is, and there were plenty of touristy sightseeing opportunities. Halong Bay we did the boat tour straight from the ship. It was worth the cost, although as it is a popular tour, the caves were rammed with people. There is a theme park close to the pier, and some restaurants and bars. It is a new port area, and it looks like much is still under construction, but it will be pretty spectacular when finished. In short, At HCMC and Hue/DaNang, there is nothing you can just wander off the ship and do. My main advice if you are going ashore is to keep your valuables secure. Plenty of pickpockets and snatchers around, especially in HCMC. Don't stand on the side of the road looking at your phone, or it will vanish as someone on a motorbike rides past and snatches it. Beautiful country, and (with the exception of the thieves) lovely friendly people. I hope that helps.
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