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ggo85

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  1. Just a note of caution. We asked the Michael’s Club concierge to book Murano’s for the last night of our cruise a few days ahead of time (used concierge as our butler was awful). We showed up at the restaurant and there was no reservation. (We prob should have confirmed). The concierge admitted that she had forgotten to make the reservation. She could not get us in at any time even though we were in a RS. She was very apologetic and we were understanding. But we still didn’t eat in Muranos. I realize this is likely an aberration as we’ve never had any other issues with dining. Buy don’t assume they can get you in at the last minute on any given night.
  2. We’ve done RS twice on X. Has the chance to get PS on Constellation for $1500 pp more. Cabin opened up early in prices - not a Move Up. In the end, we didn’t do it. We fins the RS and it’s benefits more than enough for folks and the main extra with a PS is space. But it it’s a very personal decision. If the price is right to you, you have the $$, and it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, go for it!
  3. I generally buy T-shirts during their big sales (usually end of season for ports they're no longer visiting). They're about $10 each and I've found the quality (on X and on RCCL) to be excellent. They don't shrink, don't fade, and last for years. I'm wearing one as I type. Ditto with the 75% off logo jackets, etc. I've personally never bought a "bad" item of clothing on any cruise ship. Only bought a watch once and that was when the batterydied on mine. Paid $10 at the "everything is $10" sale. Looked good and worked fine until the battery died well over a year later (to be expected). There are Pandora look-alike bracelets for $40. I put Invicta in the same category. Looks like a high-end watch but isn't. If you want a fine Swiss (or other) watch, check prices before you go and you may get a good deal. Ditto with cologne. Obviously, things like Advil and toothpaste will cost more, just as they do in an airport or in a hotel gift shop. If you're not desperate, wait until you pull into port. If you are desperate, pay it and move on. Be a smart shopper and you won't be disappointed.
  4. Just out of curiosity, what if the ship has arrived at its final port and the final overnight in port is part of the itinerary. So, for example, ship pulls into its final port of Hong Kong on Tuesday. The cruise officially ends on Wednesday. I assume there would be no issue if you wanted to leave on Tuesday.
  5. First, you're better off posting this in your Roll Call. Second, I think you need to provide a ship and date in order to get any takers.
  6. We were in the OP's position a few years ago (long-time RCCL cruiser, D+, mostly suites). We have largely migrated to X several years ago. Here are our views: 1. Suites aren't exactly comparable across lines. IMO, you get more benefits on X for a Sky Suite than a higher level suite (GS) on RCCL. The main you do NOT get on X is the reserved loungers at the pool (unless, of course, you're on a ship with the Retreat). Also, while you get reserved seating on production nights, not on all show nights as is the case with RCCL. The Sky Suites on X are a bit smaller than a GS but way, way more benefits than a JS (which really has zero). 2. If you book a high-level suite on X (e.g., Royal), it's pretty amazing and close to the quality of service on Crystal, etc. Your butler can be a godsend (we have had mixed experiences) in terms of changing/getting reservations, etc. The beverage package is free and covers most of what you might want to drink unless you're a huge wine snob. You have free mini-bar (beer/soda) replaced as much as you want. Two bottles of wine/spirits in your room (not that you really need them with the package). Free internet -- as much as you want. Free laundry if you don't abuse it. Free specialty dining. We love Luminae, but it's nice to be able to go to Murano or get sushi any night you want. 3. X is NOT as kid-friendly. RCCL is now largely marketing to families with kids. We don't have kids and, for us, the fewer the better. X does not have all the "gimmicks" that kids love, such as the Flow-Rider, rock-climbing wall, water slides, etc. This is not to say that kids aren't on X -- they certainly are. But if I had school-age kids, I think I'd go for RCCL for them, not us -- and in fact we're doing just that later this year with young relatives. 4. There are SOMEWHAT fewer attempts on X to separate you from your money at every opportunity (gold by the inch, Bingo/bingo/bingo, art auction, photos, and on and on). Nowhere near Crystal in that regard - where it NEVER happens. X is certainly giving revenue generation a good shot, but I did find it a bit less intrusive than RCCL. The cost for X is definitely higher than a similarly-sized cabin on RCCL. If you add in the perks that are "free" on X, the difference isn't as stark but it's still there. For us, it's worth it, but YMMV depending on your needs, preferences and budget. Weather should be good in December as it's summer in the southern hemisphere. I can pretty much promise you that, if you take a 14-day cruise with young kids, I wouldn't expect to see a lot of other kids, even over the holidays. Very common to see them on shorter cruises, but that's a long trip and most kids aren't off that long.
  7. Sadly, it appears there are always a few who ignore or flout the dress code. Some consider the dress code to be a "suggestion." Some consider it their "right" to wear whatever they want on their vacation. All sorts of reasons. The MDR staff has two choices -- confront the passenger or let it go. IMHO, it often comes down to which they think will cause less controversy with the passengers overall. If the offender is particularly loud and obnoxious, the staff may decide that making a scene will be more annoying for everyone else trying to enjoy dinner -- i.e., lots of shouting and potentially having to escort someone out of the MDR. While I recognize that most people would at some level appreciate the final outcome, they may not enjoy having the drama during their meal. Thus, the staff may decide that the better option is simply to let it go. I'm not trying to excuse either the offender or the staff -- just saying that I can understand why sometimes the MDR staff chooses not to act.
  8. So as I see it, Move Up is really just the upgrade fairy reinvented. X can pick whomever they want, regardless of the bid. So even if you are the highest bidder, i Which really means that X need not even pick the highest bidder -- they can pick anyone they want who makes any bid or, in theory, even someone who didn't bid at all if they don't like the bids they receive. Thus, MU is nothing more than the upgrade fairy, reinvented -- only now we get to pay for the "privilege," but there's no alignment of payment and reward. They are even more clever than I gave them credit for. Seriously.
  9. Was just wondering if X had stated their policy anywhere -- agree that, if they haven't, we are all just guessing. My personal opinion is that they should state the policy -- for example, if it's first to bid, that might encourage folks to bid earlier. But then again, not having a policy or not providing it allows X to do whatever they please.
  10. Agree they would never come in at the same time, but as you note, it's not awarded automatically. So, for example, Person A bids $1000 on June 20 and Person B bids $1000 on July 1 -- currently A and B are both in the same cabin category and both bid for the same upgraded cabin category. They are the two highest bidders. One cabin opens up on July 10 and X is going to give it to one of them through the MU program. Are you saying, Person A gets it b/c he/she was first to bid? Is that X policy?
  11. Apologize in advance is this has been asked and answered . . . Assume two people both make the exact same Move Up bid for the exact same category of cabin -- both moving up only one category from their current cabin. There is only one upgrade cabin available. How does X decide who gets it? Is it who bids first? Who paid the most for their current cabin? Who has most loyalty points? This has to occur occasionally and X has to have some basis for a decision. As an aside, I realize the "losing" bidder will likely never know they lost, but I'm still curious and didn't see anything in the X FAQs on the program.
  12. Not sure of what is currently being offered but usually it's some combination of lower deposit and some OBC.
  13. Fully agree on balcony. It was rather cold when near the glacier and we were happy to be able to go in & out of our balcony as we pleased. Must admit that when we were next to the glacier (must confess it was some time ago and I can't recall whether it was Glacier Bay or Hubbard -- think the former), we were port side to. All day. Luckily, we were on the port side. But that obviously may not be the case for every ship on every line on every cruise. We did four tours and enjoyed all. Whale watching in Juneau -- saw several as close as we wanted to be. Mendenhall glacier by helo. Those tours are expensive and where you sit in the helo depends on weight and balance. Some passengers get great views to/from and others not so much. But everyone got to walk on the glacier and I'd absolutely do it again. White Pass train in Skagway. A bit touristy but the scenery is terrific and the narration interesting. Totem poles in Ketchikan. In the pouring rain (since it rains 2/3 of the time there). We saw no wildlife other than sea life from the ship. You're just too far away from shore. Best bet to see bears etc. is to go to Denali as a land tour. Also agree that you should do what interests you most. If you're doing a land portion, consider what things you can only do from the ship (and do them there) vs. what you can also do when you're on land. We have relatives who live in Anchorage and the one thing they say is that weather is totally unpredictable. Some summers are gorgeous -- warm (high 70s) and sunny. Other years, temps are in the 50s and it's rainy/cloudy/drizzling pretty much the entire summer. You never know so layers really are critical.
  14. The one thing that can be disorienting is not having even a crack of natural light when you awaken after the sun is up. Nor do you know the weather without turning on the TV. Not a huge deal but something that most people aren't used to. Of course, some prefer it b/c you sleep really well! Agree that, due to size and intimacy, inside cabins don't encourage you to spend a lot of time there. It does give you a great reason/excuse to get up and enjoy all the ship has to offer.
  15. Many tours also have a minimum number of participants. If that isn't met by a certain time, the tour is canceled. It's probably in the "fine print."
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