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About ak1004

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  1. Dinners in the MDR continue to be hit and miss. We complained couple times, they brought the manager to our table, then the dining room chef, then the executive chef. They even offered to prepared special meals for us. The problem in my opinion is the ingredients. When you buy a cheap meat, not much you can do about it. The rack of lamb was chewy, and the beef very hard. It's simply matter of budget which is constantly cut. The production show yesterday was pathetic. Many people left in the middle. Guest lectures are gone. Art seminars are gone. Most of the activities are bingo and trivia. No live music by the pool as it used to be. But as someone mentioned, as long as the ship continue to sail full, they couldn't care less.
  2. Frankly, I could never understand why someone would spend thousands on a cruise and then spend precious vacation time watching a movie in their cabin. Personally, I couldn't care less about movies, foot stools, cabin furniture, etc. To me, a comfortable bed and mattress are much more important. (speaking on which, I wake up every morning with back pain due to extremely hard mattress). What really surprises me is that there are hundreds of posts about "cabin experience", but so few posts about declining food, lack of activities, over crowded ships, declining service etc. To me, this is the real cruise experience, but it seems that to most people it is much less important.
  3. We are enjoying the cruise very much. When not enough selection in MDR we go to the buffet. Not a big deal. No such thing as a bad cruise.
  4. To answer some of the questions: We haven't seen any children on this cruise. The only way I can explain why it feels more crowded than in June is that in June the ship was not full - now it probably is. Cannot comment on the bars as we don't use them, but they seem crowded as well. Dinner in MDR was very good today. So far it was hit or miss. Some days very good, some very average. We are travelling with three couples, all of them big Celebrity fans (from elite to elite plus), and the all see big decline in MDR food quality, and also in entertainment. Of course those are our (subjective) opinions.
  5. We are now on the Reflection cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona. This is our second cruise on the same ship within 3 months - we did Dublin to Amsterdam in June. Some impressions/observations while it's fresh: Significant improvement in Internet speed which is very good news for us. The ship feels much more crowded, especially during breakfast and lunch in the buffet. On sea days it's a complete mess. Takes significant time to find a table, they don't re fill food on stations on time etc. But quality and quantity in the buffet is still pretty good in our opinion. Things in the MDR got worse, both food quality and service. They don't refill your water, don't provide steak knife etc. Small things, but they add up. Some days we just had to go to the buffet, the selection in the MDR was simply not good. They have an Indian chef (I believe he is new), and you can clearly feel it. Dishes are dry and too spicy. Activities are almost non existent, even on sea days. Entertainment is not bad, but production shows didn't impress. The orchestra has few new faces, Big Mike is gone, and the whole thing looks less professional. Previous cruise director Giuseppe is gone. He was very good. The new guy Dan - not so much. Overall service: they are trying, but I think with the full ship, it's a real challenge. In June the ship was probably not full, so it was easier, but now you can clearly see the difference. Overall, the experience is still good, but food and service in the MDR need a lot of improvement. Feel free to ask any questions.
  6. If the price drops after the final payment, is it possible to get one of the perks (OBC, unlimited internet etc.)? My TA says that from her practice, Celebrity only offers room upgrades, never perks. I know that nothing is guaranteed, and they owe me nothing after the final payment, but was anyone able to get any free perk instead of room upgrade?
  7. I have no doubt that Silversea, Oceania and Regent have to be rated significantly above Celebrity. I also don't think Celebrity should be ranked above Princess and HAL - they provide very similar level of overall experience. But yes, we know the power of good marketing - both Viking and Celebrity are ranked higher than you would expect. Still doesn't explain the big difference between Oceania and Azamara. I'm pretty sure that pricing plays a big role as well. If you asked people to rank ignoring pricing, I'm pretty sure Regent and Silversea would be ranked much higher. But people expect from those lines much more than carnival or Royal.
  8. This is very true. Sometimes I was reading reviews on the cruise we were on, and I just kept asking myself: was it the the same cruise? But then again, this should apply equally to all ships and all lines. Doesn't explain why "average" Oceania or Regent reviewers are so much more negative than "average" Azamara or Viking reviewers.
  9. I doubt this is the case. Take a look at some of the 1 star reviews. I didn't see a single one mentioning not enough food. And even if this was true, it should apply to all small ships. Oceania R ships get average of ~3.8 while Azamara SAME R ships get 4.35? It just doesn't make sense.
  10. Exactly. You need to start somewhere.
  11. Did some more digging, and it looks like relatively low Oceania ratings were skewed by the smaller ships. Riviera/Marina got both 4.12 average ratings, but four other ships all got under 4. Insignia was the worst, with 3.61 average rating. Nautica 3.98, Sirena/Regatta 3.80. btw, this is consistent with Berlitz ratings, where Riviera/Marina got 1599/1594, Sirena/Regatta 1398, Nautica/Insignia 1393. Viking also gets very high marks from Berlitz (1690 area), Crystal gets ~1680.
  12. We are in the same boat. While food is acceptable on lines like Celebrity or Princess, Oceania is simply in a different league.
  13. 100% agree. But this should be true for all lines. Still doesn't explain how Oceania average is so much lower than Azamara and Viking, and how in the world Regent gets average rating similar to Carnival.
  14. Of course. But that means that the food is NOT the same on all ships. Some people would say that 4-5 venues on Azamara is enough for them because they are very high quality, other would prefer to have more choices and go on a big ship. My point was that different ships offer different options in terms of quality, number of venues, diversity of the food etc. and it's absurd to say that food is the same on all ships.
  15. Yes - but this might be the case for any new ship. When Azamara introduced their third ship (Pursuit), the initial reviews were absolutely terrible. The first review mentioned: "The officers are very arrogant and aloof and only acknowledge repeat passengers. My husband complained about a few things but they didn't take any notice because we are only 2nd time passengers. My husband discussed this with a lady from the clique and she openly boasted how they would "listen to her" if she complained !! I have never experienced such an atmosphere and unwelcome feeling aboard a ship." We sailed on the same ship few months later (it was our first Azamara cruise) and didn't feel anything even close to what this reviewer described. I fact, we spoke to the captain on few occasions, and on disembarkation the captain and other officers were standing at the gateway and personally said good buy to each guest. This ship average ratings are still around 3.5. While not perfect, it is far from 3.5, in my opinion. But then again, the reviews are the best you have - till you have a personal experience. And yes, you should learn how to read them and which reviews to ignore. But with most lines having thousands of reviews, I would think that the averages should somehow reflect the reality. For some lines (including Oceania), they just don't make sense.
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