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adelaidefc

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  1. Thanks all for great info. About to go on my first Princess cruise to Tassie on Majestic leaving 7 Dec. Having only cruised on MSC, where the drinks package was really good value, was surprised to see Princess at $90/day. Given the drink prices posted here (and assuming gratuities are included on those for Aus departures), you'd have to knock back a lot of drinks (and pick the priciest ones). Having a look at the onboard reservations online, you can pick up a 375ml bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin for the room at $33. For a balcony nightcap or pre-dinner drink this seems good value at roughly $3 a drink + grabbing a can of tonic. Does anyone know if you can order this onboard at the same price? And if anyone had it handy, roughly how much a can of tonic would be? 🙂 I have a decent bit of OBC from promos so would rather get it onboard if I can.
  2. I was only on a 7 night cruise in May (but had travelled for 3 weeks prior). You can definitely split the pieces in the package over the length of the cruise, but make sure they're adding it up correctly. I did over 3 'washes' even on that 7 night cruise. The number of pieces you have left (or have done) will be on the receipt when the washing is returned. I do think getting the package beforehand is good value. It was considerably cheaper than the rates onboard - easily less than half the price depending on what you're washing.
  3. Hi, I've looked far and wide for the answer to this one. I'm thinking of booking a HAL Norway cruise on Nieuw Statendam next year, through either a TA or the HAL site. I've noticed HAL don't seem to have a direct Australian contact number, but they do charge in AUD on their website for the booking itself. So I was wondering if once you book, you can pre-pay excursions/drinks packages etc in AUD as well? Depending on the conversion, this could be very much cheaper. For example on an MSC cruise I went on earlier this year, I could pre-pay Internet, Spa Access and the Premium drinks package in AUD online, for what turned out to be much cheaper than the Euro amount when converted. Also, if I book through a TA, can I still manage my booking through the HAL website? (that's a completely newbie question - I've only ever been on that one MSC cruise). Thanks!
  4. Hi @Captain-John - awesome review thanks very much! A belated question: I'm looking at a Fjords cruise next year and noticed you saved money by booking a 6-day cruise embarking at Copenhagen and disembarking at Kiel. This would definitely work for us but I can't find a way to book that online. Did you go through a TA or through MSC directly? That sort of cost saving would put YC within reach for us potentially.
  5. We didn't really spend liberally on anything on or off the ship, and only off the ship for a grand total of about 6-7 hours during the week. I'd decided to treat the ship as the destination. Part of that was that I'd already paid for things, but the larger part was that I wanted to fully get the experience and have a relaxing time. Apart from a drinks package (that I got great incredible value from, see here), some wifi for $50 and some laundry (all 3 things I would need on land), we only spent about $30 off the ship and $60USD in onboard 'extras'. And that was mainly a few icecreams and then in the tapas bar, because not only the food was great, they had a Vega Sicilia Valbuena wine included in my Premium plus package by the glass. That wine goes for $200 a bottle on land (and $45/glass onboard!), so a few glasses of that was good value! Incidentally they also had a Cognac (Millésime 1973 Delamain) that goes for $600 a bottle on land in the L'Atelier bistro. I enjoyed that one without purchasing anything extra. 😋 As for your premise that you "cannot travel to other countries, with included reasonable dining options, entertainment, and accommodations for as little as you can on a cruise." , I'd still have to respectfully disagree. Even an inside cabin and removing the drinks, wifi and laundry would've been more per day than the per day cost of the 3 weeks before the cruise. And worth noting that from Australian ports, the only other countries you're visiting are some small South Pacific Islands or New Zealand. Everything is an 8-24 hour flight away (and if you're in Perth, even Australian cruises are largely a 5 hour flight away). You could take a cruise to other countries, but you're talking even 2 weeks to get to Singapore one-way, at a far greater cost than a flight. Again, that's not to disparage the true value of cruising. I loved it, thought it was worth the price I paid, and will do it again!
  6. That pretty much sums it up for me now that I've 'discovered' cruising! Also agree the view can be a highlight in itself, and is often a really unique perspective you couldn't get any other way. Much like @clo above - I'm very much usually in the 'go to markets and eat the most local stuff I can find' as much as possible camp. So on the few times we did get off the ship in the 7 days, that's exactly what we did. Sure it wasn't quite the experience of hitting some tapas and vermut bars on Calle de la Cava Baja in Madrid that we'd done a couple of weeks earlier, but still good.
  7. Wow really cool breakdown of costs, Alaska was already pretty high on my list of 'possible cruises to do'. Now it's up even higher. Especially given there are easy 14 hour flights straight from Aus to SFO - a city I already want to check out, and could make a nice trip of it.
  8. In addition to the great comments above I tend to forget that the bulk of forum members here are stateside where annual leave seems to be a bit less than most of the rest of the world. In Aus we're somewhere in the mid range but we still tend to get 4 weeks per year plus in some jobs after 10 years you'll get 3 months long service leave. I imagine if you're like me and like to stay somewhere between 3-7 days in a place it makes it hard to see much else if you only get a couple of weeks off. Of course we have to factor in 24 hours of travel each way to Europe or US so that balances a bit!
  9. My sincere apologies for the duplicate posts, not entirely sure how it happened and rather surprised you can't delete your own posts in this forum!
  10. Until this year I was entirely an independent traveler - as in, I'd travel with others but planning and organising everything myself, no tours, no travel agents. I enjoy being a bit out of my comfort zone, trying to pick up a bit of the local language, work out the easiest and cheapest way around towns and the weird and wonderful things to see (and eat and drink!). I've done this from Singapore, Japan, and Korea, to Spain, Hungary and Finland and plenty in between (something like 23 countries and 120+ cities so far). But mobility issues and a desire to sometimes just 'relax' may lead me towards more cruises in the future. I'm still <40yo, so while I can get around I will - but it was nice (though a little odd!) to be on MSC Bellissima and realise I had nothing to do, in a completely good way. Maybe I'll listen to a podcast and people watch near the pool, maybe I'll grab a room service cheese platter and a wine and watch the waves from the balcony. There's certainly a lot to enjoy about whatever takes your fancy when you're traveling, and frankly I just consider myself incredibly lucky and grateful I can afford the time and money to do these amazing things!
  11. Until this year I was entirely an independent traveler - as in, I'd travel with others but planning and organising everything myself, no tours, no travel agents. I enjoy being a bit out of my comfort zone, trying to pick up a bit of the local language, work out the easiest and cheapest way around towns and the weird and wonderful things to see (and eat and drink!). I've done this from Singapore, Japan, and Korea, to Spain, Hungary and Finland and plenty in between (something like 23 countries and 120+ cities so far). But mobility issues and a desire to sometimes just 'relax' may lead me towards more cruises in the future. I'm still <40yo, so while I can get around I will - but it was nice (though a little odd!) to be on MSC Bellissima and realise I had nothing to do, in a completely good way. Maybe I'll listen to a podcast and people watch near the pool, maybe I'll grab a room service cheese platter and a wine and watch the waves from the balcony. There's certainly a lot to enjoy about whatever takes your fancy when you're traveling, and frankly I just consider myself incredibly lucky and grateful I can afford the time and money to do these amazing things!
  12. Thank you all so much for the thoughtful and well considered replies. I probably should've made the topic purely on 'financial' value, and even then, value is very much in the eye of the beholder. However the question has ended up being a great way to see people explain not only their enjoyment of cruising, but their motivations behind their vacation time in general - and as you'd expect it's as varied as everyone here. I'm a person who loves staying in one place for a while, and loves the research part of the trip to find the best value accom, food and transport I can - very much champagne tastes on a beer budget. There were some prices above for hotel prices that are well beyond what I've paid for great lodging. For example we stayed in Barcelo Torre de Madrid (a 5* hotel, ranked 12th in Madrid on Tripadvisor) for what was around $120USD/night (total - not pp). But that's me loving the challenge and enjoying taking the time to find these things. That's simply not realistic or remotely enjoyable for a lot of people. I feel that regardless of the price we paid for the cruise, I think I got great 'holiday' value out of it. We'd traveled for 3 weeks on land prior to that point, and it was a lovely way to wind up the trip. I remember looking at myself in the mirror 5 days into the cruise and thinking 'jeez I look relaxed!' (that look didn't last long once I was back at work!). I love my Roman history - and sailing around the Straits of Messina (where the Romans and Carthaginians had naval battles) and imagining it 2000 years ago, was an experience only available on the sea. The views on sail-aways from 20 floors up were simply unbeatable. It also seems some places (like the Caribbean) are not only cheaper to cruise but also well suited to the 'day' visit, and other lines offer unique experiences. There's so much to learn!
  13. I took my first cruise on MSC Bellissima in May around the Mediterranean, and had a genuinely great time (despite some MSC quirks) and would consider myself pretty converted to the idea of cruising. I've even already booked another on Majestic Princess in Australia in December. However there's one thing that I can't really understand, having traveled extensively independently for a decade. It seems a lot of people seem to think that cruising is a really great value way of getting around, and even that it's a great way to experience new places. I think this may be true for very out of the way itineraries to otherwise inaccessible areas (I'm thinking Northern Lights or Norway cruises for example), but for a general itinerary to major ports or cities, there's no way it's cheaper than making your own way around. And no way observing a city on a port call for a morning or afternoon is even close to experiencing at least a few nights there (preferably longer). We ended up with a really good price for our 7 night cruise (judging by repeated searching on the same itinerary over time), but here's the price breakdown: - Balcony cabin: $3600 (2500USD) - Drinks packages: roughly $450 (300USD) - Laundry: $50 (30USD) - Internet: $79 (50USD) - Gratuities: $250 (200USD) So about $4400AUD($3000USD) total, working out to about $630/night(AUD) for two. And this isn't including any excursions, food off the ship, or any local transport (which you'll almost certainly need). On top of that, MSC are at the lower end of the price spectrum. The total transfer and accom costs for our expenses for the entire 2 weeks prior to the cruise we travelled (Barcelona-Madrid-Milan-Rome-back to Barcelona to get on the cruise) was $3650AUD, based on min 4* hotel or Airbnb, and air or fast rail transfers between cities. Even allowing an incredibly generous 150EU (160USD/250AUD) per day for food,drink and local transport, we're talking about $500/night(AUD) over the 14 days, and that is allowing probably double what we actually spent. So you could include the costs of some local experiences and entertainment into that very comfortably and still be cheaper. Please don't take this as a criticism of cruising, I went from being a fairly 'anti-cruise' person to someone who now spends a lot of time thinking about what one to do next! They're a great new travel experience for me that I'm quite excited to have finally 'discovered'! And perceived value is much more important than pure financial sums. But I think of it as a floating resort with delightful and ever-changing views and plenty of fun people to talk to, rather than actually getting a true (or cheap) experience of the ports we'd go to. I'm sure there are exceptions to the above, and I'd love to hear them because they'll help inform me what cruise I should look at next time!
  14. Hi Karimeh, I took my first ever cruise in May around the Med, also on MSC Bellissima. Had a great time despite a few odd MSC quirks. I think I can try to answer a couple of your questions. The outlets were mainly Euro from memory, though there might've be a US plug there too. I don't recall seeing a UK outlet, and would probably have noticed as I also had Aus->UK adapters on me as well as the Euro ones. There are at least 3 or 4 USB outlets though, including a sneaky one of the sides of each of the bedside lamps we didn't notice until a few days in! Toiletries were pump bottle soap at the hand sink, and pump bottle shampoo and body wash in the shower. I was in a Fantastica Balcony so a suite may be different. Internet packages are a little confusing but sounds like the one you're referring to is for 4 devices (not users specifically), with a download limit. I mention this, because if you purchase the 4 device package, it's tied to your cruise card and your account on the MSC for Me app. This isn't a big deal, but means you'll have to log into your account on the app on your kids phones, activate their device as one of the 4 devices allowed Internet access. They can then log in to the app on their own account, but if you want to pause the connection or change the devices that are allowed Internet access, you'll have to log in to your account on their device again. The Internet around the Med was blistering fast and reliable, in fact almost too much so! As the main thing to be aware of is how quickly you (and your kids) can burn through the download limit. Your devices generally treat a WiFi network as 'unlimited' data, and download updates, show videos at high quality etc etc, unless you tell the device otherwise (which isn't possible on all phones/operating systems). MSC clearly intends for each person to pay for their own Internet package tied to their own MSC for Me account and cruise card. It's one of the many times you'll notice them try to milk every cent from you, so the above method is the only way around. I even tried spoofing the MAC (device) address on my laptop to match my phone, but the system was clever enough to know 2 devices can't be connected with the same address 🙂 As for 'must bring' things. Honestly I really didn't notice anything I needed to bring beyond what I'd normally bring for a holiday. I'd recommend bringing a printout of any packages you pre-purchase in case you need to prove an inclusion MSC suddenly decide not to include (although even that didn't work for me, it's worth a shot). If you think you'll want to do some clothes washing beyond just using the sink in the room, the pre-purchased laundry packages are good value compared to the onboard prices. And absolutely, definitely go see at least one Cirque de Soleil show, with my (and the 16yo I travelled with), really really enjoying Syma if you have to pick.
  15. I posted a question in @CruzLover80's Bellissima review and didn't want to hijack the great thread any further, so I thought I'd start a new one. I'm boarding what appears to be a pretty sold out Bellissima from Barcelona in May, and I'm getting a bit worried about embarkation. It's my first ever cruise so I'm a complete newbie to everything and I also have some mobility issues that make standing for long periods quite uncomfortable. I didn't think it was significant enough to warrant noting it to MSC but from the review and subsequent replies there's not quite enough seats in the Barcelona waiting area after security just before you embark, and you could be there for potentially even a couple of hours. Standing for that length of time would leave me in enough pain to mess up the rest of the cruise, and sitting on the ground wouldn't be great either. So I took the advice of @hlperez and called MSC Australia, but the only option that was given was to note in the booking a requirement for a wheelchair. I'm really reluctant to take this option - I don't need a wheelchair to walk (yet 🤔) and would feel absolutely awful skipping queues and being wheeled around then just jumping off the chair to get on the ship to head to the bar! Does anyone know if there's a middle ground that people have been offered (or seen offered) by MSC? Disability can come in all forms and I don't want to take away resources from those with more serious ailments, but I also would like to reduce the risk of myself ending up in a lot of pain too. Given it's my first cruise, are there any other times (i.e. safety drills, disembarkation etc) that could catch me out having to be standing for more than 20mins or so?
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