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  1. I sailed on the Celebrity Summit on a cruise out of Saint Martin in July. If l am not mistaken, there was a "pandemic with a deadly virus" occurring at the time. The crew at the time was 100% vaccinated. The passengers at the time were 100% vaccinated. Neither the crew nor the passengers were masked. So, perhaps, "that's the way it works" is not precisely true in any universal sense. Unless, of course, you want to believe that both Celebrity and the passengers who sailed were foolishly ignorant and recklessly careless about COVID. For the record, there were no COVID issues on board. None.
  2. I agree wholeheartedly that the COVID situation is fluid and dynamic. My point was that other cruise lines seem to have embraced this reality in what some might consider more customer-friendly ways. So Celebrity allowing people cancel without serious financial penalties up to 48 hours before a cruise, and Princess up to 72 hours, is somehow a bad thing? Reserved for low-class mass market cruise lines? Unbecoming for the Crystal brand? Excuse me for naively thinking otherwise. COVID itself changes. COVID policies change in response. Inevitably, some of these changes negatively impact booked passengers based on the individual mindset of each passenger. Princess and Celebrity would appear to appreciate this and have said, "We will work with our customers to minimize the impact". You seem to be saying, "Things changed? Tough. Deal with it.".
  3. It may be the key, but it is also the problem for me. I don't want to have to wear a mask on a cruise. I just don't. Cruises are escapes for me and being masked for seven days is the antithesis of an escape. The idea that Crystal can flip the policy say, three days before sailing, is troubling. Celebrity has their Cruise With Confidence program that lets passengers cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before sailing in exchange for a future cruise credit. Given the unpredictability of COVID, that gives paid passengers peace of mind and seems infinitely saner than Crystal's draconian refund policy. And I don't want to be forced to pony up even more money for insurance on top of the cruise fare just to be able to mitigate the risk.
  4. I was cold called by a Crystal rep today, apparently because I called Crystal two weeks ago to find out if the casino on the Symphony would be open while docked in Bermuda. That act on my part seems to have been enough to land my name on a sales lead list. Since we actually are considering a Symphony or Serenity sailing for October, I took the opportunity to ask whether passengers are being required to wear masks on the Serenity this week. He assured me in no uncertain terms that per the Crystal COVID policy that masks are not required for passengers and he went on to cite the cleaning policy, the vaccination requirement, the testing, the whole nine yards. When he finished, I told him that someone who was actually sailing on the ship had posted on this board last week (ggo85, Aug 31) that masks were indeed required for passengers. He was completely surprised, claimed he was unaware of this and could provide no explanation. He then put me on hold to speak to a supervisor. When he got back with me he reiterated that masks are not currently required. But given that he was completely oblivious to the fact that masks were indeed mandated last week, I remain more than a little skeptical of his answer. Anyone know the real up-to-date situation? I had been waiting for a "Live from the Serenity" type thread this week, but haven't seen one so far.
  5. We are Elite on Celebrity. We sailed on Crystal once. It was an pleasurable experience; every one of our 36 cruises on eight different lines was pleasurable. To me it is a value proposition: you pay 2X-3X more on Crystal than for an equivalent itinerary on Celebrity. In the final analysis, it is an individual decision, as to whether paying this premium results in 2X-3X better food, 2X-3X better service, 2X-3X better entertainment, 2X-3X more enjoyment. The answer for me is "hmm, not really". If I can sail on two or three Celebrity cruises versus a single Crystal cruise, I and my wallet vote X.
  6. Being curious about Crystal, and not Celebrity or Chandris, I decided to call Crystal directly. The casino will be open.
  7. I have sailed to Bermuda on Celebrity where we overnighted for three days. The shops on Celebrity were never open while in port but the casino would open at night per an agreement with the Bermuda government. I was wondering if Crystal had obtained a similar arrangement. That's why I asked.
  8. We sailed this cruise July 17-24. I concur with most everything you said of the things we shared in common (we had a Concierge cabin, not a suite like you did). We had 500 passengers on our sailing. Want a lounge chair next to the pool in early afternoon? No problem, choose from a dozen. Want a seat in Oceanview for breakfast on a sea day? Empty tables as far as the eye could see. Heaven. I too found the Oceanview to be meh. One example, there was no bacon served at breakfast. When I inquired about this, the crew member asked where I was sitting said he would bring some. He disappeared for a few minutes and then brought a heaping plateful to my table, enough for about six people. In contrast, the MDR served fabulous food every single night. And it wasn't just me thinking that. One of the casino dealers, unsolicited, mentioned how the entire crew noticed and appreciated the vast improvement in their dinner food. I asked if there was a new chef on the ship but the dealer didn't know. The guest performers on our cruise were really good: NYC3, four young male singers, and Tommy Proulx, an saxophonist were incredible. This was cruise number thirty-six for us and was easily a top five. Making it so was the fact that the crew had ditched their masks starting with our cruise and their absolute delight about this was palpable. For us, not seeing a mask anywhere and exchanging unmasked smiles with servers and bartenders and dealers and everyone made me think I had entered a time machine and it was suddenly 2019 and I was cruising and I had never heard the word "COVID" in my life. It was idyllic. We were so impressed with the whole experience that when we got home we booked the Aug 21-28 sailing. However, subsequently, we found out that the Summit crew was back to being masked for COVID. This was such an abject buzzkill for us, that we cancelled and instead will let the memory of July 17-24 linger on its own.
  9. I was on the Summit July 17-24 and had such a fabulous time that, once home, I booked an encore for August 21. The crew did not wear masks July 17-24, are you saying they have gone back to wearing them?
  10. I was on the Summit July 17-24. The crew was not masked, which added to the happy vibe that permeated the whole ship. Disappointed that this might have changed as we will be back on the Summit on August 21.
  11. We sailed on the Summit three weeks ago. The wines by the glass listed on the MDR wine list for the Classic Package topped out in price at $9 since, of course, that is the maximum drink price for the Classic Package. Several of the wines on the MDR Premium Beverage list were $14/glass. Had I only the Classic Package, my two $14 glasses a night with my dinner would have cost me $10/night or $70/week. I paid $60 to upgrade, so I came out ahead without even factoring in the french martinis I had in the casino (given the upcharge for Chambord as it is not on the Classic liqueur list). I guess I am not "most passengers" since it worked out well for me.
  12. Not accurate. It is a regular OBC that can be used for any purpose. How do I know? I sailed on the Summit July 17-24 with the Elevate Package.
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