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Everything posted by mac_tlc

  1. And I didn't even know I wanted to go to Bermuda 🤣. Thanks @RichYak
  2. Here is the link to the Viking cruise. Caribbean & Panama Canal - Itinerary - San Juan to Los Angeles, California | Viking® (vikingcruises.com) We have not sailed either but are thinking about branching out. We do have two Oceania cruises on the books on their new ship, Vista. Both are TA's. The November 2025 has great pricing. Like you, I am not sure it's a fit but I'll never know if we don't try. Often, the Viking sailings are very very port intensive -- that's not our sweet spot. This Panama Canal only has 5 ports. For some that is too many sea days -- we like those. mac_tlc
  3. What date is your Sun Princess sailing? I understand the house thing. Both our kids bought houses in 2020 —- no travel money spent that year, so…….. The Viking sailing was actually a 16 night full transit of the Panama Canal from San Juan to LA. It was the only Viking sailing in North America released so far for March 2026. Silversea was a 10 day Caribbean. If you really want to see a good price, their transatlantic right after the Caribbean one was less than $350 pppd. And it’s on their newest ship, the Silver Ray which debuts in 2025. mac_tlc
  4. We sailed Ascent last month and just got off Beyond today. We have our first HAL cruise in January 2025 on the Koningsdam, 18 day R/T Hawaii from San Diego. Looking forward to a new line. Any comparative info would be appreciated. mac_tlc
  5. In case anyone is wondering, I wanted to add MSC Yacht Club and Oceania to the Spring 2026 comparison but they have not released itineraries out that far. The other option we are considering is the New Sun Princess or Star Princess. mac_tlc
  6. So the laundry is almost done and the Beyond has departed on its next sailing. Here is my finale. I often think of something later and will add it if it pops up. And so, some final thoughts, observations, and future thoughts. The Ship : What can I say, we love E-class. Well maintained, looks great. There were some areas we didn’t go to, like Martini bar, World Class Bar, Eden. But, that’s us. We have never fancied sitting at a bar. If we are sitting somewhere, its Café alBacio and we were there often. Since we cancelled our dinner at Eden and given my wife’s mobility challenges, we never went to Eden. When in Retreat, we always get a cabin very close to the front elevators. We have now been in cabin 10123 on all E-class ships. The location makes it very manageable for us. Service: Fabulous. Other than the one hiccup at Fine Cut, everything was as we expected. Smiling crew and some familiar faces which is always great. Food: Unexpectedly, we ate at Luminae 9 of 11 nights. We did not expect to go that often. But the serving team – more familiar faces --- made it fun to go back each night. Rozi, our waiter, along with the team of Made, Nicole, Victor and McLarin did a spectacular job. We had great service, great food and great conversation. We had planned to go to Blu but, honestly, the nights we compared menus we both would rather go to Luminae. TBH, my wife’s mobility challenges mean there has to be a good reason to head to the back of the ship. The only food hiccup was Fine Cut and I went into more detail on that in the body of the review. We loved Rooftop Garden Grill, both for dinner and lunch. This was the first time we have been there and we will definitely go back. We only went to the Oceanview Café a couple times – and only when there was no other option. We used to love the buffet, not anymore. Too hard to find a seat and too many people going in every direction. The food and selection were good, its just not the atmosphere we like. My continuing complaint about the 9:00am cutoff for a sit down breakfast continues in full force. We solved that problem by getting room service almost every morning. Even if we had to pay the service charge in a non-Retreat cabin, we would probably do it. Makes our mornings much more relaxing. Entertainment: This is where Beyond shines. Wonderful production shows, 7 (I think) headliners, the entire Eden production cast and shows, numerous trivia and game shows every day, plus all the other nightly events. We enjoy dinner, a show, a game show, maybe some casino time, every night. For us, the E-class ships provide plenty of what we like to do. The Retreat: It’s hard to separate the experience from the cost but I will try. We spent a lot of time talking about this..what do we like, not like, what parts don’t we utilize, etc. One of the things we like the most is the larger cabin. This is rarely mentioned when discussing the Retreat but for us it’s a big deal. Retreat Sundeck? We probably only spent 10 minutes up there. Retreat Lounge? We like it, the size of the room, the vast array of windows on both side (on Beyond and Ascent). As I stated, we don’t want to sit at a bar so the lack of bar seating is not an issue for us. It’s a comfortable place to go and its quiet. Emily and Anna Maria were great servers and we never waited for a refreshment. The butler situation is in flux and all I can say is that if it gets back (or close) to what it was before the failed experiment, its another plus. We adapted to the current setup. Yes, we did get our cheese and cracker every day at 3, yes the stateroom attendant handled the laundry and the room was spotless. We miss the daily interaction and conversation – and the suggestions of what can be done for us. As I have said before, the current setup pushes the responsibility to the guest. It was better the other way. Future plans: I could talk for ever on this one but I’ll get to the point. We love the E-class Retreat and would be perfectly happy there. However, the costs have made it almost prohibitive. To do the Retreat we either need a sweetheart deal, like we found on Beyond in 2023, Ascent in 2024 and Xcel in 2026, or we need to go to S class, although those deals are not that prevalent either. I do have my eye on a couple of S-class sailings in Spring 2026 that are below $400 per person per day. Here is some hard price data that I have compiled for Spring 2026. Silhouette -- 3/29/26 -- $393 Silhouette – 4/4/26 - $386 Apex – 4/4/26 - $632 Apex – 4/11/26 - $602 Ascent – 3/27/26 - $544 Ascent – 4/4/26 - $553 Silversea Silver Ray – 3/10/26 - $505 Seven Seas Grandeur – 3/14/26 - $667 Viking – 3/29/26 – $387 (Deluxe veranda) Viking – 3/29/26 - $481 (Penthouse Veranda) Icon of the Seas – 3/21/26 - $1,193 (Grand Suite) Icon of the Seas – 3/21/26 - $853 (Sky Junior Suite) I threw in the Icon just so all the others look reasonable! All of the above are “comparable” to me because I am considering all of them. We did purchase two “Book Later” certificates ( well, they screwed up and only did one, but I hope to call C&A and get that remedied). Which ones will we do? Don’t know. There are also a couple of Spring transatlantics we are considering. Stay tuned – our future is always in my signature. mac_tlc
  7. And so, as we have done most of the previous 10 evenings, we started at the attest Lounge for a drink and snack. Once again Emily took care of us. Dinner at Luminae: It was a double soup night with the smoked tomato soup and, of course, The French onion soup. Both were excellent. Final entree was the filet, with a couple shrimp on the side: Ae took in the last production show, Elements. While probably the most visually stunning, I like Arte better. Then it was back to the room to finish packing. So far, I think I have checked the drawers seven or eight times, only a couple more to go. What’s the over/under on checking your embarkation clothes? Has to be at least 5 . I don’t want to be “ that guy” who didn’t leave out what needs to be left out..😏😏😏 And so, we bid farewell to the Celebrity Beyond after a memorable 11 days. We visited three places we have never been and travelled as far south as we have been —- so far— and set foot on a new continent.. pretty cool. My final reflections, observations, thoughts, and discussion of future plans will be done tomorrow afternoon—- after a few loads have made it through the washer/ dryer!! Thanks so much for following along. I hope it was informative and maybe a little fun! mac_tlc
  8. Lunch at Rooftop Garden Grill was quite good. And it appeared to be full. I started with the pulled pork trio: and the Watermelon and feta salad— with no olives: Main was the crispy fish sandwich. —- which I forgot to get a picture of— it was very good. For dessert: My wife — again— saw The Cookie!! Worth the price of admission to her. So, we got it to go sans gelato: The E-class ships are sure photogenic:: Next up: The Last Supper and evening onboard. mac_tlc
  9. I walked past them this afternoon on way to the Rooftop Grill at lunch today. Was very tempted to snap a picture but I did not. mac_tlc
  10. Few things more exciting than that last night before and morning of embarkation. Unfortunately we will be in PE tomorrow, probably around 6:30. Hope you have as wonderful a time as we have! She is a gorgeous ship with a wonderful crew. We hope to sail her again (but more about those thoughts in my summary, probably tomorrow afternoon). Enjoy!!!! mac_tlc
  11. Yesterday featured a trip to the Retreat Lounge around 3:30 for the afternoon tea and a few snacks. A little later we reappeared there for a pre-dinner drink. At least when we have gone there, it has never been crowded and Emily and Anna Maria, the bar servers, have been prompt and gracious in taking our order and frequently checking back to see if we wanted a refill. Dinner was at Luminae: News Flash! I skipped the French Onion soup for the Creamy Tuscan Kale soup: A House salad finished off the starters and then, for the entree, the lamb: My wife had the lobster. She enjoyed it ! After dinner we went up to the Retreat sun deck which is quite nice at night. We then headed to the Club for the nightly game show, a Jeopardy like team event. Participation was good and it was a lot of fun. We enjoy the variety of game shows and activities in the Club. mac_tlc
  12. Good morning from Sea….. our last day 😞 It’s shaping up to be a busy day.. First at 9: Followed by : And then : Thankfully they are all in the Theatre so no running around. After that we decided to try lunch at the Rooftop Garden Grill since we had some OBC to burn. mac_tlc
  13. When in Rome….or Jamaica…. This was the sole goal for today and it was completed by noon !!! And it was $16 for two! I know @A&L_Ont appreciates the quest! The rest of the day was a lazy relaxing one, with an afternoon stop at Cafe alBacio for a Ceylon iced tea and awaiting our 3pm daily cheese and crackers, which have been delivered every day since we met our head butler. Maybe a little time was spent discussing future cruise options with the wife… Hmmmm… I wonder…. mac_tlc
  14. Here is the menu from the app for the current Beyond sailing:
  15. Currently on Beyond and it’s offered on sea days . $25pp mac_tlc
  16. Welcome to Jamaica! Hard to believe we have reached double digits and it is Day 10. We are really enjoying the longer voyage and, like many others. Wish X had more longer options. We have a visitor next to us, as you can see in the picture. Here is another one: Interesting that it is the Fantasy as I had been looking at doing our annual family cruise on Disney in 2025. What does that tell you about Royal’s pricing when they bring DCL into the competitive mix? I do currently have a 4-bdr suite ( we have 8 of us) on the Symphony of the Seas held for July 2025. I don’t know, though, the price is nuts for a week. Anyway back to the cruise at hand! Yesterday was a lazy sea day with a lot to do! It started at 9am with another talk from Rusty Farst, the underwater cave explorer. He has one left tomorrow and they have all been great and very well attended. At 10:30, thankfully in the same locale, CD Shawna talked for about 75 minutes on cruise ship life and the crew. Some funny anecdotes and stores and lots of factoids. The afternoon consisted of the Deal or No Deal games how at 1:30. I had bought some cards during a cruise planner sale a while back, we won $10! Woo Hoo!—— which we give back through the casino tomorrow I bet. Then at 2:30, Matt Johnson did a matinee magic show. Theater was just about full. Great tricks and a great showman too! Dinner was again at Luminae for one of my favorite menus: Dinner with a great view: I had the Burrata and French Onion Soup as starters and the Short Ribs for the entree. With some veggies on the side: After dinner we decided to skip the show and head to the Solarium, where there were plenty of chairs available !!!! mac_tlc
  17. No worries @CruiseDoc79. Always good to have other opinions and experiences. As was the case on our Ascent sailing last month, the variability in service is what drives people batty. On that cruise, we had a non-existent head butler and fabulous room steward. One of the couples sailing with us has just the opposite— same ship, same cruise, same cabin category. It really is something X needs to figure out. Our room steward has been great, done everything we asked, ice, laundry, clearing room service trays, etc. I would say the most frustrating thing has been the unavailability of loungers in the Solarium. We prefer that to the Retreat sun deck because there is zero shade in the Retreat pool. My wife has been up there for about 5 minutes. Your spa experience is unacceptable. mac_tlc
  18. The show is Arte. Stage Door was earlier in the cruise and Elements in on day 11. All fabulous. Even on a 7 day cruise they do all three. mac_tlc
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