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elena7seas

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About elena7seas

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    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Vancouver, BC Canada
  • Interests
    Art, architecture, culture, local cuisines
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, St. Petersburg, New York, SAN Diego

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  1. Hi Balsam 12: My DH and I, along with another couple, took this cruise from Singapore to Dubai in early February, 2018. It was absolutely fabulous. We first flew to Delhi for five days and four nights (exploring the Golden Triangle, including seeing the Taj Mahal at dawn with no crowds whatsoever) where we were taken care of spectacularly by Muzaris Heritage Tours, under the coordination of Lijo Jose. He was beyond wonderful to work with as we set up the excursions. I swear that he never sleeps, as no matter what time I emailed him from Vancouver, I received an answer withing an hour, and often within minutes. After joining the cruise in Singapore, we also took all our tours in India with Muzaris, and each day was fabulous. We took shore excursions in non-Indian stops through the ship, and they were all very good. I had the tour bus drop me off at the Galle Face Hotel in Columbo, and that was well worth the experience. The passengers on the ship were international, with a lot of representation from the UK and Australia, and there was quite a diversity in ages. As I always find when sailing on Celebrity ships, the passengers just love to travel, and had a great world view. The ship was in great shape and the staff was wonderful. We were looked after especially well in the MDR. I can't answer the question about using your OBC to upgrade your beverage package, as we would always select the beverage package and the complimentary gratuities on a 15 night cruise, but I'm not sure how that works for our friends from Australia. We upgrade my DH once onboard. I don't drink enough to make the upgrade worth the investment :). Have a wonderful cruise.
  2. Sharon looks like so much fun. I love her posts! I hope her friend is well, and able to go on the cruise this weekend. It's very cool that the Eclipse is doing the Pacific Coastal cruises now.
  3. Hi Ladies! Suzanne, I came over here to see if you were the girlfriend of BigHairTexan who was supposed to be cruising with her next week, but who is now ill with something that might be quite serious. I hadn't seen posts from you in a couple of days, so I was worried..I am so glad to see it's not you (not that I don't have sympathy for being pooped!!!) I do hope things go well for BHT's friend, though. Carolyn, best wishes to your Dad for overcoming the worst of his pneumonia, and fighting off the sepsis...serious worries for you, but I'm so glad to hear he is doing better. Lois, I thought of you when I heard about the shooting in Jacksonville. So heartbreaking to hear of another horrific event in your state. I too was shocked and really sad when John McCain passed away...I thought, and hoped, that he had a bit more time. He was such an inspiring man, and as you say, politics aside, he really embodied what I thought of as the very best of the American spirit. It was people like John McCain, who had moral values you could believe in and truly respect, that always gave me hope that everything would turn out okay. I hope someone will stand up, and try to walk in his steps.
  4. Yes, Suzanne, absolutely, "Never Loved a Man" is a great one. And as far as that weirdo is concerned, hopefully, he will stay gone!!
  5. Hi Suzanne...I had to look "doxxing" up...it's a new "internet" term that refers to looking up an individual (or group) on the web, then using what you find there to "out" someone, usually on the web. If this "Doug" poster is the "Doug Perry" that the other guy "identified", then he is really bad news, and it made me feel really "icky" to have him posting on Cruise Critic. Yes Lois, Aretha Franklin was an icon, pretty much all through my lifetime. She also lived a really interesting life, and was quite a character. Here are a few of her songs that I've been playing this week... .... "Do Right Woman"... ..... "Think" .... from the Blues Brothers (1980) .... .... "Jumpin' Jack Flash" .... .... with Whoopi Goldberg and Keith Richards.... "Sisters are Doin' It for Themselves" .... with Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics .... "I Dreamed a Dream" .... .... "Natural Woman" .... .... "Precious Lord" .... and pretty much any version of "I Pray a Little Prayer", including the non-Aretha version on "My Best Friend's Wedding". May she enjoy singing with friends and family in the great beyond.
  6. Yes Suzanne, my Katie did LOVE sitting in that porthole looking out to sea! But sadly, her Nana just had to get some sleep at night! Did any of you see that brouhaha last night on the most recent thread started by Doug and Cindy Scrap Hunter, that has since been deleted? It started out as something to do with him misreading his itinerary and thinking that his Summit repositioning cruise was supposed to return to Cape Liberty and that somehow his itinerary had been changed. That wasn't the main point of the brouhaha though....someone identified him and his wife, through pictures he posted on that thread, as being Doug (and Cindy) Perry of the FOTM (Fellowship of the Martyrs), a somewhat notorious cult that was exposed on Dr. Phil and investigated by Lisa Ling, among others, for expostulating some pretty radical, anti-social ideas. The photos that this Scrap Hunter posted of himself and his wife Cindy, as well as his avatar, matched up with this Doug Perry character, who has posted over one thousand pretty strange Youtube videos. Shortly after, someone with a strange CC ID like Anonymosity (and only one post) suggested that Scrap Hunter had been "doxxed" and probably wasn't the real Doug Perry. Shortly thereafter, the latest thread disappeared, and the Scrap Hunter avatar photo has been removed from the rest of his posts that remain. (There is quite a bit of weirdness and inconsistency in those remaining posts.) I've seen trolls before, but this was all exceptionally bizarre.
  7. Just goes to show you that we all can have different points of view. We have recently upgraded to AquaClass for a 15-night transpacific on the Millennium and are pleased to have had that opportunity as we really enjoy Blu, and the other minor amenities provided by AquaClass. We are also on a 13-night B2B around Japan (Sept. 30th), and have received a Move-Up email for that cruise, but the minimum bid for upgrading to Aquaclass is $505 USD and the maximum is $1200 USD. We are in Oceanview for that cruise, so upgrading is naturally a bigger leap, but the oceanview was quite expensive, and what they are looking for as a bid to upgrade is more than I'm willing to pay at this point.That particular cruise is very spendy, for some reason, although there were quite a few cabins available last week. The A2 at the Resident Rate (no perks) is $3999 per person. Concierge class is almost as much, and there are more than 20 cabins open. I think the "Move-up" program is keeping the list prices high so that the suggested bids seem more reasonable. We have frequently sailed AquaClass and Concierge and have always had footstools. If there is anything missing from your cabin that you expected to have, your stateroom steward can almost always get it for you. With exception of the embarkation lunch for Concierge guests, almost everything from Concierge Class is included in AquaClass. (I can't think of anything that is not, but some one will correct me if I have missed something.) It doesn't hurt to bring a printout of the amenities that you have been promised by the stateroom description on the website, or the FAQ's, etc.
  8. Celebrity has a "post-cruise" department, from which they can send you a copy of your final bill, and if you need to have something resolved, it can be taken care of immediately. A year ago, I had a small issue with a cost that was added in error to our on-board statement after I had settled my final bill while on the ship. The amount on my final on-board statement was different than what had been processed through my bank. Celebrity emailed me a copy of their final bill that they had sent through my Visa, and it included an item from the mini-bar that we had not used. I identified the item posted in error, and it was credited to my Visa immediately. It was handled in a very expeditious and kindly manner by the Post-cruise department.
  9. Hi everyone! Lois, you are very welcome. I did go on much longer than I intended, however. Because Gerry is retired now, we can cruise just about any time we want to, so I am more careful about going the high end route, as that means, theoretically, that I will be missing out on another cruise for the cost involved. We are very happy in Aquaclass in the long run, and a couple of times when we are on really busy itineraries, like the India-Middle East cruise, the conference Oceanviews were so cost effective that I just couldn’t justify paying $1000 USD per person more to move up to Aquaclass. (Keeping in mind that we are Canadian J). I have been on Princess, Royal,Holland America and NCL, and I enjoy Celebrity way more than any of those. We are taking the whole family on the Ruby Princess for Spring Break 2019 (as we did with Katie in SB 2017), and that will be fine, but the International Café is no replacement for Café Al Bacio for me!! And we do miss the other Captain’s Club benefits when we are on Princess. One of my favourite things about Celebrity is that we just love the people we meet there….like all of you !!!! Katie, I’m sorry that you are still getting those migraines. I’m glad, at least, that they are manageable, and not entirely debilitating. I haven’t had a chance to read all the previous posts that I missed, so I don’t know all the back stories for everyone. I’m very glad to be able to sit at my computer again, as that is something I really missed. I did always think about you all, though, and hoped you were doing well. Linda, I will be doing physio and traction for my back to begin with and see where it goes from there. Those mechanical therapies have worked for my back before when the issue was a pinched nerve, and I have had ten to fifteen years of relief between bouts. I think I’d like to give stem cell therapy for my back another year or two. At present, I can only stand or walk for about 10-15 minutes at a time, but I am 100% comfortable when sitting down, so I just manage my time. The biggest problem with the back issue at present is the lack of exercise. I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. J Suzanne, yes, Katie and I had such noise in conference OV cabin 3132 on the Infinity that I didn’t sleep a wink the first night. It was a loud mechanical noise that made it sound as if we were docked next to a huge machine, and it happened whether we were docked or at sea. The Hotel Director came down himself at 11:30 at night and agreed that the noise was awful. However, they couldn’t fix it, and they moved us to a balcony cabin the next day. The “conference” cabin 3132 was really nice in all other respects. I like the conference cabins, and the AquaClass cabins that they installed on Deck 11 (2012-2013) because the bathrooms are much newer, and the conference oceanview cabins have those great windows. My new powered reclining sofa has arrived, and I really love it. It is so comfortable to be able to sit at exactly the correct angle, and then to be able to stand up without having someone drag me out of the sofa because it is too deep and too low. But I'm definitely not in love with the design of this type of sofa, and it doesn't go with what else I have in the room, so redecorating seems to be in my future!
  10. Hi Lois: So nice to see you posting here on Celebrity! I haven't been here much myself over the past few years, but my husband and I are still cruising whenever we can. We still enjoy our cruises with Celebrity, but have also cruised with Princess, Royal Caribbean, and I have cruised with Holland America, although Gerry has not. (I don't think he would be happy there). We are currently addicted to sailing Transpacifics to, and back-to-backs around Japan. We love, love, love Japan (and we also loved, loved, loved India and the Arab Emirates on our cruise this past February and March, 2018). Whenever we can, we sail Aquaclass on S-class ships, and lately we have been enjoying Aquaclass on M-class ships. We especially enjoy Blu, but we also have had very good experiences in the MDR when we were in Ocean View cabins. I would really like to book a Suite, but as long as they cost two or three times Aquaclass, I probably won't see my way clear to doing that. The big change for me with Celebrity is the pricing structure. We pretty much always sailed AquaClass, Concierge, and quite a few Sky Suites before Celebrity started bundling the prices. I am not a big drinker, so the current prices usually mean that there is not sufficient value for me, and more than that, we would be giving up the chance, financially-speaking, to take another cruise. In order to take back-to-backs we have sometimes opted for well-located Ocean View cabins, especially when the itinerary means that we are off the ship quite a bit. Because the initial booking prices for Aquaclass can be really high, I will sometimes book the lowest category of cabin that I think we would be happy in, and then watch for opportunities to upgrade. My goal is to keep us sailing as much as possible. We are so very happy when we are at sea, so I am always looking for ways to make that happen! As far as the experiences on board are concerned, I don't really see much difference, over the last few years, on Solstice class ships. I would say that M-class ships are actually better than they were a few years ago. We were on the Millennium for 28 nights in September/0ctober 2017 and on the Constellation for 15 nights in February/March 2018. Both cruises were excellent, and a great part of that was due to the quality of service everywhere on board. We were in AquaClass for the transpacific to Tokyo in 2017 and it was a really great experience, with awesome staff. We were in our first inside cabin on the B2B around Japan (well, first for Gerry), and I don't think we would do the inside experience again in an average-sized cabin. I sailed in inside cabins when I was sailing solo, but with two of us in the cabin, and no window, we both felt the walls closing in on us. I had to keep the TV turned on, and the sound off. The food in the MDR was really good on both M-class ships, and the food, and service, in the specialty restaurants was first rate. In the MDR on the Constellation, for the first time we had a table at the railing on deck 5, and we really enjoyed that, surprisingly. I always thought that I appreciated the open space of deck 4 more, but that was not the case. We were about 5 tables away from the entrance to the dining room from the kitchen, and all our food arrived hot to the table, which is a big issue for me. All our staff in the MDR, and the Maitre d', went above and beyond for us, and we had a really sweet and attentive sommelier, although I admit that she was a little challenged because of the number of tables she had to serve. I would say that the food and the service in the MDR on all Celebrity ships was a bit better than we experienced on either the Ruby Princess or the Royal Explorer of the Seas. On the Constellation, we were travelling with friends who are also "foodies", and the Maitre d' in Tuscan Grille, and the staff in both Tuscan Grille and Qsine, went above and beyond for us. We went to both specialty restaurants twice and had some of the best restaurant experiences we have had. I am quite sad that we will be losing Qsine. We were given samples of the new Little Chef entrees in Qsine when we were on the Constellation, and they were very nice, but quite "typical" and to me particularly, not too exciting. One of the things that I really love on Celebrity is Cafe Al Bacio. The beverages are great (and complimentary from Captain's Club), the service is excellent, the seating is the most comfortable on the ship for a shortie like me, and there is often really good live music there. Cafe Al Bacio (CAB) is probably the thing I miss most on Princess and Royal Caribbean. I don't know if CAB had removed the savoury items at lunch when you were last on Celebrity, but they are gone now. I just skip lunch most days, so it's not as if I needed them. They still do have the pastries in the morning hours, and the almond croissants have a bit more almond paste in them now, than they did a few years ago. Always a good thing! Black and white cookies are gone, though. A week after Gerry retired, we took Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas to Sydney, Australia from Seattle, and I would have preferred the experience with Celebrity, and CAB is no small part of the difference, but there was just no justifying the price that Celebrity was charging for what was essentially the same cruise. I have never been a big fan of Celebrity shore excursions, but we booked our B2B last September 2017 at the last minute, so hadn't arranged any excursions. We used quite a few Celebrity excursions and found them to be similar in price to what I could find offered privately in Japan, and they were actually, all really good. I think this was a function of how qualified and committed the Japanese tour hosts were, but in the past two years, the Celebrity prices for shore excursions have seemed a bit more reasonable than they had been in the past. On the Constellation we used Muziris Heritage Tours (Lijo Jose) in Delhi, Agra and the Golden Triangle before the cruise, and also for all our Indian stops on the cruise. Lijo and his team were beyond incredible!! I highly, highly recommend them to anyone touring in India, which was an awesome experience, and one I shall never forget. For other non-Indian ports, we either took Celebrity tours or planned our own tours. The Celebrity tours that we did take from the Constellation were very good, and I would say I have an improved attitude to looking at tours provided by Celebrity. The pricing seemed more realistic and the quality was fairly good. The last thing that I would mention may have changed before your last Celebrity cruise, but now there is only one attendant for each non-suite cabin. I do think the attendants are working even harder than before, but our service was still excellent, and very personable. Lois, I wish you well as you make your decisions for your next cruise, and I certainly hope we are able to cruise together again!!! and Gerry says hello!!!
  11. Back when Jacques van Staden was Vice-President of Culinary Operations for Celebrity, he did a Q&A online (here at CC) where he answered specific questions about gratuities in specialty restaurants. At that time (c. 2010) he confirmed that a portion of the cover charge went to the serving staff. If I recall correctly, it was something like 40% to gratuities, a third to upscale ingredients, and I can't remember what the rest went towards. The upshot was that your basic gratuities were already covered by the cover charge in specialty restaurants, but if you felt that service was exceptional, you could add extra gratuities if you chose, and they would be much appreciated. We have almost always had exceptional service in Celebrity specialty restaurants (except once in Murano where the service was over-the-top, affected and intrusive, and a couple of times in Tuscan Grille where the service was verging on deplorable, but that was a few years ago. Tuscan Grille on all ships, but especially on Millennium and Constellation, has been great recently.) We usually visit specialty restaurants about three times per cruise. Because of such exceptional service, in almost all cases we leave an extra gratuity for serving staff, and also for the beverage staff/sommelier as they have been wonderful also, and have added significantly to the enjoyment of our meal. I haven't seen anything from Celebrity since the Jacques van Staden interview, that addresses the way in which the funds from cover charges are distributed, but I haven't been around Cruise Critic as much in the last couple of years as I used to be.
  12. We were on the Connie for 15 nights in Feb-Mar 2018 from Singapore to Abu Dhabi and had a spectacular time. The ship was in very good shape and service was excellent everywhere. The food in the MDR was very good. I rarely go to the buffet, but my husband seemed happy with it. Cafe Al Bacio was excellent, as always. We were in cabin 3112 this time, a relatively new ocean view cabin built in the “conference” area, with great big windows, built in about 2012-2013. We usually sail in Aquaclass on S-Class ships, but did 28 nights on Millennium and the 15 nights on Constellation in the last year, and were more than pleased with both ships. We enjoyed them so much that we have a back-2-back coming up on the Millennium in 33 days. If someone is going on the Connie or the Millennium in the next couple of weeks, could you please report back here to let me know if Hannah is in Cafe Al Bacio? She was in the CAB on both our M-Class ships and I would love to see her again. I missed seeing her on our last night on the Connie and would love to catch up with her again. Thanks!
  13. Hi Lois: I saw your post on the Celebrity boards. I have a few positive things to say about our Millennium (Japan B2B Sept. 2017) and Constellation (Singapore-Thailand-Sri-Lanka-India-Oman-UAE Feb-March 2018) that are very positive, so I will try to get those comments posted tomorrow. After sailing primarily on S-class ships, we really enjoyed those two M-class cruises, so much so that we are doing the Japan B2B again this September 14th, and have booked the Transpacific to Tokyo next Sept. 6th, 2019. After spending a little more time in Tokyo, we are going to fly to Shanghai, then Beijing, then to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors, then on to Hong Kong for a few days, then home. (I may have already told you most of this.) This is me being as positive-thinking as possible. Linda, I am really interested in the MSC Yacht Club, and intend to do some research. I would like to do a Celebrity Sky Suite, but I may just be too Scottish by half. Our Transpacific this September is offering a Suite Guarantee for $2499 USD pp for a 15-night cruise, and I should really grab it, but we have an A1 for $1199 USD pp and I can't really justify an upcharge of $1300 pp, especially since I am not much of a drinker. That upcharge is more than the cost of our 2019 Transpacific. Linda, on our Constellation we had cabin 3112, which is the first of the "conference" Oceanview cabins, with the extra 5-feet of cabin space, and we really liked the cabin and the location. We had a great attendant as well. We just cancelled a January 27th 2019 cruise on the Edge. I booked as soon as the sailings were released, so I had a pretty good fare, but I just can't gear myself up to going yet, and I may be caught up with surgery. I took my wheel chair out last week for its first spin, and I have to keep it at dead slow, or I'm pretty dangerous! It's kind of hard to visualize how I'll be able to use the chair on the cruise and in the ports. It all depends on if the physiotherapy and traction can help my pinched disc. Right now I can't stand up for more than 10 minutes at a time, but I'm fine when I'm sitting. I'd really rather hobble around with my cane if I can get to my destination without the chair, but since I don't know how much improvement I can look forward to, it will be good to have the chair with me, just in case. Katie and Suzanne, that Celebrity TROLL is just plain WEIRD. And Suzanne, I miss Andy too!
  14. Hiya everybody. Sorry to hear about your migraines, Katie. I get about one a year, and they are doozies. We missed my niece's wedding in Las Vegas in December because I had one. Lois, have fun with your new washer. I love getting new appliances. Another vote here for top-loaders. This week we made two new purchases. Gerry bought me a motorized wheelchair to take with me on our B2B to Japan in September, and yesterday we bought a sofa with two motorized reclining seats for our family room. It is NOT the best look in interior design, but it is SO comfortable, and the proportions are perfect for short little old me, so when the seats are upright, I can get out of the sofa without needing a hand. It's amazing the things you can be thankful for! What is everyone thinking about the new decor of the ships under Celebrity's "Revolution"?
  15. Have there been any comments about any changes to the Cafe al Bacio on M class ships?
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