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Miss Vickie

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Everything posted by Miss Vickie

  1. Hi. We’re normal, ordinary people who made the switch from Royal to Celebrity years ago, after having having enough cruises on Royal to put us in one of the higher Crown and Anchor levels. We cruise in either veranda or concierge cabins, never in suites on either line. I looked at this thread because the title intrigued me. I did want to tell you, though, that we’ve met very normal, nice people on Celebruty, and far fewer snobs or people who expressed entitlement than we ever did on Royal.
  2. We chose not to purchase the meal package and enjoyed local restaurants.
  3. We were on voyage 16 of Serenade of the Seas and experienced a human-error created list that emptied the pools, knocked people off their chairs, and closed the casino, every bar and the liquor store due to falling and broken bottles and glass wear. The water from the forward (solarium pool), went down an elevator shaft, starting a small fire at the bottom (quickly controlled). It was our last day on board, the sea day from St. Lucia back to Puerto Rico, and friends of ours had packed their suitcases and put them on their balcony to give themselves more room in the cabin before they put them in the hall. The water from the aft pool went over the side of the ship, and soaked their luggage. We were at early dinner in the MDR, lower level, deck 4, right in the center, a very stable location. We had sailed this route numerous times on other ships, and when the ship started turning in the middle of dinner we knew that wasn't right. The turn kept getting tighter and the speed increasing. People on the "high" side of the dining room as the ship listed lost everything off their table, a few fell off their chairs. The cutlery and dishes on the marble serving stations all fell off. Our table, being in the middle lost nothing. Not even a drop of water out of the glasses or the bud vase in the center of the table. There is a required steering test that has to be done before a ship enters a US port. Typically it is done at low speed and can't even be noticed, unless, like us, you have an aft balcony and can see the change in the wake from the azipods being moved. In this case the person on the bridge handling the test demonstrated what happens if you forget to slow down from 16-17 knots (this was back in the day when they did sail bys to Montserrat, St. Kitt and Saba on the way back from St. Lucia, requiring a higher cruising speed to do the sail bys and make it to San Juan on schedule). The list wasn't as severe as Crown Princess', about 12 degrees, according to a friend in a position to know - no life boats were impacted, and I think the only injury was a broken finger when someone's finger got caught in a door. The captain and crew handled it well. The captain came on the PA immediately and frequently to keep us updated. The crew in the dining room kept moving, reassuring people and picking things up. It didn't last as long as it felt, and when the ship stabilized our waiter came by and said, "so you're having dessert, right?" There were some people who rushed back to the state rooms, grabbed their life jackets and wore them the rest of the evening, even though no call to lifeboat stations was made. It was an eventful day - half way through our sail by of Montserrat, we had to head back to Guadeloupe to meet a helicopter, which landed on our helideck to to do a medical evac, then turn around and head back north. We sailed Serenade 7 or 8 times after that, and have continued to said Southern itineraries, always in an aft balcony cabin. After that episode they moved the time of the steering test to mid-afternoon and definitely slow down. Because the island sail bys are no longer done, it's rare to hit speeds of 16-17 knots on that sea day, anyway.
  4. I’ll be following for recommendations, too. We’ve gotten as far in our planning as basing ourselves in Reykjavik and renting a car. Exactly where we’ll be going is yet to be determined.
  5. We love visiting National Parks, so if cruising continues not to be an option we’ll do more of that. We’d also love to return to Hawaii and see more than we were able to see on our cruise, including islands we didn’t get to. We’ve never been to Iceland on a cruise, but plan to visit it as a land vacation.
  6. I hope you can help. We’re booked on a cruise in 2021 with a stop in Sarande. That was one of the reasons we chose that particular itinerary. However, I’m not getting responses from any tour operators I’ve contacted. Who did you use? Thanks!
  7. We did the Y2L, double Denali, and chose not to get the meal plan. We enjoyed finding places to eat, only ate at the hotel three times - once in Denali, which was good, once in Fairbanks when we got caught in a torrential downpour when we went out for a walk and didn't feel like going back out once we got dried off (not great meal), and one breakfast, I forget where, which was downright awful. We found great places to eat on our own everywhere else, though, including the strip mall across from the Denali resort. We'd do it that way again.
  8. We’re friends of Levi’s, as well, and keep in touch with him. We were last supposed to see him in winter 2017, but due to the hurricane that was cancelled. Recovery has taken time, and has had a lot of impact. We’ll be seeing him in about 6 weeks and are very excited. We’ve been on a lot of his tours and there are certainly ones 50-70somes can do. We’re a group of late 50’s to mid 70’s, and are going to Kalinago territory with him this time. Cost is $70 per person, plus $10 to go into the replica village, if we want to.
  9. Agreed. Do not book Alaska for the ship - the destination is your experience. We sailed Holland Volendam and loved the experience. Check the itineraries on all the lines - Holland, princess, celebrity and Royal - and pick the one that most appeals to you and is in your price range. We did an itinerary that followed the path of the gold rush, was more land than ship, went into the Yukon for 3 nights, included 2 days at Denali, and paid less than if we had done Royal or Celebrity cruises that had itineraries that didn’t interest us as much. HAL and Princess are the only lines that still have their own lodges at Denali and their own scenic railway cars.
  10. We’re booked with Calabaza for the 7th time this coming February. We love it!
  11. The strategy I have used successfully several times: If you have refundable OBC save some to be refunded to your credit card. Use that credit card to deposit the cruise on board, and when refunded to your credit card, the OBC covers that charge. I find that way more useful than spending it on board just to get rid of it. This strategy, of course, doesn't work with nonrefundable OBC...
  12. We tried Celebrity first in 2009, on Summit. And hated it. It didn't look anywhere near as well maintained as what we were used to on Royal, there were rust spots on our balcony, many areas of the ship weren't well maintained, there was a slop bucket with dirty water and cigarette butts sitting on the promenade walkway all the time, our neighbors smoked on their balcony (and they were supposed to be nonsmoking), and we were under the Sunset Bar, and had to endure cigarette and cigar smoke and detritus on our spacious balcony, the concierge cabin was smaller than the D1 aft balcony cabins on the Radiance class ships we were used to, found the entertainment boring (and we aren't partiers), we didn't like the food in the MDR, or the set up of the Ocean View cafe, we found the crew unfriendly, and felt like we were being chased off the ship on our last full day, when our steward took that sea day to remove things they were afraid we'd pack, took our flowers but left the dirty water, took the bowl holding fruit and left the fruit sitting on the table..., took any spare hangers out of the closet, including a padded hanger which belonged to my sister, which was for the dress she was wearing at the time. There were soft squishy spots in the dining room floor, that could have broken an ankle. We didn't think we'd ever be back to Celebrity. And we got absolutely slammed on the Celebrity boards when we reported our experience. Flash forward to 2016. We decided to give Summit another chance for the itinerary, and while we were on Jewel of the Seas booked Summit for January 2017. The cruise got chartered out from under us and we ended up on Equinox instead. And loved it. Since then we've cruised on Silhouette, Eclipse and will be back on Summit in February, 2 refurbs after our initial experience on her. We've been back on Jewel in that time, too, and found that at this point we're happier on Celebrity. But for the right itinerary and price, we'd be happy to book a Voyager or smaller ship (we don't want to do the larger ships either). I'm not doubting your experience. We've been on all the Radiance class ships, with the exception of Brilliance, multiple times. But things change, and I wouldn't say now you'd never give it another try.
  13. That's the same Florida-based TA we used. That's all we get and there's never a problem. When we book on board, as we frequently do, we get a copy of the booking at that time. The cruise is automatically transferred to the TA and from there on out, we get their invoices.
  14. Have you ever been into an Asian grocery store? You probably wouldn't recognize anything in the candy aisle, or like it if you tried it (we do go buy things, just to try something we're not used to). The point being, what is a yummy treat to you may not be to someone else. If we're on a back to back and have the same cabin steward for both legs, we'll usually ask if there's anything we can get them or that they would like from port, as they are so busy on turn around day, and cannot get off the ship. Once we had a steward to said he'd love some Snickers, so we went to a drug store in Puerto Rico and loaded up on them for him. It was something he chose, and was in addition to monetary tips. Other stewards have politely said thanks, but there was nothing.
  15. One of the no urn experiences was Celebrity, and that was the time we all ended up with some of him. Part of the issue was they took us forward on the ship, typically it’s aft. The last time on Celebrity she did use an urn. And yes, she’s scattered his ashes multiple times and will continue to do so. He loved to travel, too, so taking him and leaving a little on each of our trips is her, and our, way of memorializing him.
  16. You don’t absolutely need the urn. We travel with a friend who lost her husband a couple months after one of our cruises. Ever since then we’ve been memorializing him on each trip, and have done cremains scattering on each trip, on Royal, Celebrity and HAL, probably 6 times now, with two more cruises scheduled in the next 6 months. She has always has a biodegradable urn, but a couple of times the environmental officer has had her pour the cremains out of the urn into the sea. She contacts the line before each cruise, and we go to Guest Relations on embarkation day, where we talk to someone, usually a guest relations supervisor or the environmental officer. They get back to her with a date and time. We meet near Guest Relations and they escort us to the location for the ceremony. She brings an appropriate reading, and at times the guest relations officer has contributed a lovely reading. Once the line provided us with a tray of his favorite drink to toast him. Another time they gave each of us a white rose to toss over the side (that didn’t work particularly well, due to wind). HAL had a priest at the ceremony and he did a lovely nondenominational ceremony. We have learned to check the wind - the first time she released the cremains without the urn we each ended up wearing a little bit. We laughed - he would have thought it was funny.
  17. We're from Cleveland, as well. We did Alaska a couple of years ago (another line), embarking in Vancouver and flying home from Anchorage. We flew Southwest (on points to Seattle), spent a day there, took Amtrak (cheap, beautiful, comfortable trip) to Vancouver, spent a day there and then got on the ship. We're sailing Vancouver to Hawaii this year, taking Southwest to Seattle a day ahead, then taking Amtrak to Vancouver the day of embarkation - it's only a 4 hour train ride, leaves at 8:00 am, so there's plenty of time. For Alaska we took Jet Blue out of Anchorage back to Seattle, then Southwest home from there. Again, Southwest was on points, so the only actual air we paid for was that Jet Blue flight. That still might be your most cost effective routing. I'd recommend going late May or early June - we left Vancouver June 6th, I think, and for our fiord tour in Juneau, it was the first week they could go all the way to the glacier because of ice. And when we got to Denali, it was the first week they were able to do the day long tour all the way back into the park, because it was the first week there was no snow.
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