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Everything posted by parallax

  1. I look forward to following along. We will be on the Serenity for the first time in June. So did the Serenity off load passengers yesterday and will not on-board passengers until today? It seems unusual if that is the case. However, since this is a world cruise, there are different challenges than a usual 10 day cruise.
  2. We don't live to far down the road from you and we had a hard time finding a flight back into the DC area. Unfortunately, we did not have the flexibility to stay the night. We did find this flight through Delta for an upcoming cruise. Not sure if it would work for you. Delta 4494 operated by SUBSIDIARY/FRANCHISE Vancouver (YVR) 1:15pm Terminal: M Salt Lake City (SLC) 4:34pm Terminal: 2 56m stop Salt Lake City (SLC) Delta 2249 Salt Lake City (SLC) 5:30pm Terminal: 2 Washington (IAD) 11:25pm 3h 55m duration
  3. On our recent cruise, we found the wine selections to be very good. In particular, the ones in Prego we thought were fabulous. We did order 1 or 2 bottles while on the cruise because we had a generous OBC. We thought the wines were reasonably priced and they had a nice selection, including barolos and super tuscans.
  4. We were on the Symphony at Thanksgiving. It my understanding that members from the team decorating the Symphony moved to the Serenity while at Grand Turk to begin decorating.
  5. Last week we got off the Crystal Symphony with our daughter. Yes, Crystal actually has a childrens program and it is very nicely run. We were talking to the director who runs the program and she stated that it is one of the most important investments they make. While the number of children on board are a small percentage of the guests, the program allows for younger families or multi-generational families to sail on Crystal. This introduces a new customer base to Crystal, many of whom become part of the next generation customer base. Basically, she indicated that the small investment they make in their kids club creates tremendous returns and helps expand their customer base. In talking, I mentioned we were doing a West Coast cruise on the Eurodam in April. I told her that when it came to bigger cruise lines, our daughter liked HAL's kid club the best. She indicated that she had worked on HAL ships and thought they had one of the better ones in the industry. When she worked on HAL, they didn't under staff, treated the staff well and the ratio of children to counselors were reasonable and allowed for more individual attention. She indicated that when she was on board, the HAL kids club always did very well on the survey. It was a strong contributing factor for some customers when they booked another HAL cruise. Based on the feedback and outrage from this topic, HAL is damaging a once positive and critical attribute with parts of its core customer base. If High Score had been rolled out in addition to the HALs kids club, it would have been a win for everyone.
  6. This is shocking. While my 12 year would likely enjoy this environment and the freedom, it would be overwhelming to younger kids.
  7. We just received the survey and we made note of the issues at the Spa. I had one last observation. We took the tender over to the Serenity. The difference in layouts and design were very interesting. The one thing that our group observed was that the Marketplace on the Serenity seemed smaller and there was not as much seating. The outside Marketplace seating area was smaller as well. Our collective response was that it seemed narrow and on the sides there was a limited number of tables. It may have been an optical illusion in part because the Marketplace on the Symphony is more open.
  8. I was on this cruise as well. We went up to spa on the first day and it was clearly disorganized. I wanted to move an appointment up earlier in the week and they had only one lap top that was functioning properly. It took fifteen minutes to get this simple act accomplished. It was a wonderful cruise and the food was top notch. Looking forward to the Serenity in June.
  9. We will be on this cruise as well. It our second on Crystal. Have safe travels.
  10. We will be in Grand Turk in a couple weeks. This place looks wonderful. What is the name of the place?
  11. My wife was wondering if there is a white party on a 7 night cruise. She wants to pack appropriately for our upcoming cruise. Thanks.
  12. I showed this to my daughter and she is very excited because she loves putt putt.
  13. Thanks, Keith. Good minds think alike. I have already had this conversation with the manager.
  14. The initial rep I had was fabulous as well. She handled all three bookings and did a great job following up. For our next two sailings, she was able to get all three rooms together, which required "coordination" with the inventory department. We were very appreciative and we received a very nice OBC for each sailing. Things just hit the skids when she left due to health reasons. However, things are back on track. While we will use travel agents at times, at least for me, I sometimes question their worth. I have traveled around the globe for both work and pleasure and I enjoy figuring out how to get there, where to stay and what to do. Unlike other aspects of the travel industry, travel agents still dominate the cruise market. I will use them from a deal standpoint if it makes sense but my preference is always to cut out the middleman. This is just my preference and I understand others derive a different value from the use of travel agents.
  15. Thanks. I did have a lengthy conversation with a manager and everything seems to be heading in the right direction again.
  16. I have had mixed results with TAs. Back in the 90s, one tried to abscond with our payment. Others have provided ineffective service even though their firm is top rated. I have also found that there is not a big price discrepancy. For the November cruise, there was no real price differential. The best service I had from a TA is through one of the big internet cruise companies.
  17. A couple of months ago, our Crystal travel agent left the company. She was wonderful to work with. I was trying to make a final payment on the November cruise. I sent her several emails and left several voicemails. I did not hear from her. Finally, another sales consultant contacted me and indicated the he would handle the processing of the payment. He did not indicate my current agent had left Crystal. Eventually, he told me that he would be taking over the account. I was shocked that Crystal had not provided any notice. A couple of weeks later, I was looking over the final invoice and saw that there was no reference to the OBC. I reached out to my new sales consultant and he indicated that I was to receive $400. I was adamant that it was $650. After much back and forth and providing the documentation from my original sales consultant, he finally agreed to the $650. Jump forward to 10 ago, I asked my sales consultant to price tickets for our trip next to Europe on the Serenity. Once again, I'm passed to a new sales consultant. Apparently, my most recent sales consultant has left Crystal. Again, we were provided no notice. It has been a nightmare to try to book tickets. He has been slow to respond to my emails and calls. I'm still trying to book the tickets. I'm getting ready to escalate to management. This is just bad business practice and is shocking for Crystal.
  18. I remember when we took our first Crystal cruise last year and it was evident on boarding the ship that we were going to be treated to a completely different experience. We were gobsmacked by the attention and level of attention and service in the Waterside. I remember turning to my wife and saying to her this couldn't have started any better. I look forward to having lunch on the Waterside again and November.
  19. We did the Vintage on the Symphony last year. It was wonderful and the great thing is that it happened to fall on our wedding anniversary.
  20. We are on the Symphony during this sailing as well and will be trying out the Serenity next summer for the first time. It would be fun to get an advance screening.
  21. For us, it was numerous factors. First, they offer different itineraries. It is not the same circuit over and over again. Second, the number of passengers. Ships are getting bigger and bigger. It is very hard to relax and enjoy a vacation when they are 5000 people on your cruise. Third, the level of service. I think that people who work on a cruise ship are some of the hardest workers. I have always received good service when on a cruise but Crystal takes it to a higher level. Fourth, it is child friendly. Most luxury cruises lines shy away from children. Crystal does not and it does it in a manner that is reasonable and does not encroach on fellow passengers. I will caveat this by saying that the parents need to know their children. Some children are not suited for a Crystal cruise, as it may not offer what will capture their attention. Finally, it about the experience. We have found the food, entertainment, excursions and the interaction with staff truly wonderful and it provided a fantastic experience. We are at a stage in life where we rather spend money on experiences than new toys for the house, etc.
  22. We did a 10 day cruise of the West Coast last year with our 12 (then 11)year old daughter. I think there were 40 kids on board. This was her 8th or 9th cruise. It was the first only time she has cried getting off the cruise. She loved the food, the offerings on the ship and the staff. She did go to the kids club and had a wonderful time. She also enjoyed using the library. She borrowed books and there was a nice selection of games she checked out. The kids club, I believe, has a program for tweens and teenagers. We had no complaints about how Crystal treated a younger family. It was actually refreshing as it made both the parents and the child very happy.
  23. We decided to try Crystal while in our 40s. We really enjoyed it and have booked two more since then. My 11 year old cried when she got off the ship. She loved how they ran the kids club, the individual attention she received from the staff, the different ports of call, the food and the excursion we want on Cabo. I think she is one of Crystal's biggest champions. She enjoys water slides and all those sorts of things but she does not enjoy it when having to fight against a sea of humanity on a cruise line.
  24. If you are staying in the YC, the concierge has several board games such as Monopoly, Life, Clue, etc.
  25. During the At Seas day, they are also open for lunch.
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