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About tfred

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. we were on Crystal last July with everything included. I also could have left my wallet at home. Gratuities on Viking seem to be in the $35/day range per room. Booze only at meals. If you like to have a scotch before dinner and then at the bar at night it starts to add up. Spending the kind of money that a river cruise goes for (normally higher than Ocean cruises) no one will deny themselves. Once you are on the river cruise, you should do what you want. Another $50/day for drinks does add up (its not hard to get there) Add all that in and you may be pretty close to Crystal prices with the intangibles that Crystal offers (food, service, room)
  2. none of those cities are normally far, but last year due to river levels there was some juggling of docking locations. Some of those ended up not close to where they were "supposed" to be. River cruises are almost by definition more strenuous than ocean. There may be a bus that takes pax on a tour to the center of town that you could get and and then do your own thing instead of the tour and then meet up at the return time
  3. tfred

    Outdoor dinner on Riviera

    the outdoor Terrace is a good option for dinner. Food is way above the standard buffet. The staff will help you bring your food to the table, but it is up to you to choose it and get it on your plate. You would have to do this for every course The dining rooms on the ship (including MDR) have more formal service, but not formal dress. You won't see anyone in a tuxedo except the wait staff
  4. tfred

    Once you try Crystal, you ever go back to Celebrity?

    Celebrity is a very good, upper level, mass market ship. Ticks most of the boxes - private dining areas, good food, suites. It isn't Crystal once you leave your suite enclave or private restaurant. There are a ton of people in the common areas of the ship. Pool is generally crowded and difficult to find a lounger. The ship is well designed to disperse 3000 pax but it is 3000 pax looking for pretty much the same thing as you at the same time i have been on a number of celebrity ships and all in all the hard and soft product is pretty good - generally a cut above the RCCL, NCL. Would I sail on Crystal all the time - yes. Sometimes their schedule doesn't fit and I find Celebrity to be a good value in Aqua Class. Less than that then it is the MDR which is not my favorite. Suites are getting expensive and would cause me to look elsewhere since I have to leave the suite sometime..
  5. tfred

    Viking or Uniworld for the Danube

    looking at the Viking site they recommend $34/day for two people in on board gratuities - about $225 extra. Certainly not a deal breaker Viking is pretty good but not luxury (from friends that have sailed) but Uni and Crystal are a cut above. Crystal (which we sailed on) seems to be in the same price range as Uni. I think that you will get pretty good value from Viking and not be disappointed if that is your price point i would agree on the post by acwmom as well.
  6. tfred

    Still Confused about Aqua Dining

    i wouldn't go to the MDR if I was in AQ. Almost anything they have in the MDR is available in Blu, but I found the Blu menu to be great. They always have the standard steak, chicken, salmon for picky eaters we ate in tuscan one night - nice, but I can eat pretty good italian shoreside in a many places
  7. tfred

    Viking or Uniworld for the Danube

    have you done ocean cruises? The choice of what you like on the ocean may give us an idea what what your expectations are there are a few to choose from and i think that you have to look at the actual total cost including tips and any other tag on charges. Those extras can add up quickly. None of the rivers are cheap, but make sure you know everything that you are paying for The excursions are a major part of a river cruise - not so much on ocean. River cruises generally park in (or very near) town and seeing that town is the primary reason why you are there. Ocean cruises certainly have excursions, but much of the experience there is shopping based. River excursions are more historical based and you have to be able to listen to the guide. Big crowds would make the experience less personal we did Crystal river last year and it was fantastic. Small excursions with excellent guides. Food was exceptional. Great service. i would price them as well
  8. tfred

    Bringing a bottle of Spirts on Board

    buy local from a store and carry on or purchase this. I have used these and they are good https://www.amazon.com/Reusable-Wine-Bottle-Protector-Travel/dp/B01M5HXOBJ
  9. Too dangerous? No. However, the island(s) have to on guard for any perception of trouble - and that doesn't just mean bury the story. I think that St Croix had this issue a few years back and the lines went elsewhere A big part of the economy is tourist related and most tourists are not looking for rugged adventure or to be on the look out. St John in Antigua is a pretty crummy looking city. I travel 100 nights a year for business and even i was looking sideways in most streets. Who needs that on vacation?
  10. Some people will be left behind in the new X look and pricing. They might wind up at Princess or RC. Reading through the posts (in general) is that not everyone drinks, gambles, goes for a massage or does specialty restaurants (huge profit makers) - they just sit on the ship very happy in the MDR. That leaves X (or anybody) with limited ways to make incremental revenue. X mgt really don't get upset if those people do not like the new look and dont come back - they weren't profitable customers anyway
  11. i have used them at Disney and find them to be very functional. They can be made to look like anything you want in keeping with the Celebrity "look". Disney is more than a park as it has 20 hotels that are involved in the wristband. The hotels are just a stationary cruise ship. Data is always important with any business these days and these collect a ton. they also want to have data to support changes with the on board experience. They are also looking to make the value of that experience better, meaning that you dont mind paying for it and other like experiences. The mission is to raise PPD revenue and that is a combination of technology and "good ideas" As ships get bigger the need for more sophisticated information is needed. Pictures on the ship wall were ok until there were so many more pax and photo ops. ( i used to be involved in that as a vendor). The technology was never really there (until recently) to use facial recognition and tagging to a room key so it was easy to find.
  12. i had the wristband at Disney and liked it. The Seapass is always in a pocket somewhere. The cruise ship loves it because you spend more since the "payment" is always handy
  13. tfred

    hotel in Frankfurt Germany

    do you want to stay in town or at the airport? Probably depends on what time your FRA SAN flight is. if it is an early flight, stay at the airport I have stayed here at the airport and it is very good. https://www.steigenberger.com/en/hotels/all-hotels/germany/frankfurt/steigenberger-airport-hotel-frankfurt
  14. tfred

    Moonlighting with other cruise lines

    We like Celebrity as well. We stayed in AquaClass and thought that the Blu restaurant tied into it was the best reason to be there. Food was excellent and the dining room had more of a shoreside restaurant feel than the MDR (obviously larger). What we dont like is the impossibility of getting a lounger anywhere near the pool Celebrity attracts less kids than the others that you mention. Different story at vacation times, but overall families with kids go somewhere else we have also cruised with Oceania and Crystal. Oceania was a smaller ship (1200 pax) but poolside was always available. Food was out of this world - a definite notch above Celebrity. Downside is that the vibe on the ship is less 'busy" than Celebrity - there isnt a nightly cirque de soleile in the lobby. Chamber music, piano players etc - yes. Somewhat older crowd as well but no wheelchairs.... A little more money, but i would sail with them again We did Crystal River ( i know not the same) and it was excellent. So much so, that i would look at them and try to find something affordable on the ocean. You have to look, but they are there
  15. tfred

    Crystal independent time in ports

    we took the Basel to AMS cruise last year The included excursions were excellent with a decent variety to choose from. I would imagine that you would have something similar. Most were roughly half a day - you could make it back for lunch by 2 pm. In actuality, you dont have much time in each port we didnt really tour after the excursion opting for walking through local shopping for city flavor- stores, flea markets, alleyways. Didnt use the onboard concierge for no particular reason. We looked at city online pages and also trip Advisor for options