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Everything posted by ak1004

  1. We were on Riviera last September and enjoyed it very much. I cannot compare it with Crystal/Regent (yet), but I cannot imagine anyone coming from Celebrity or Princess and not enjoying it. I also cannot compare to what it was 10 years ago as it was our first O cruise, but compared to Celebrity or Princess, it's a different league. We thought the food was outstanding. But I agree regarding activities, this was the only weak spot. Internet was not the best, but not the worst either.
  2. The comparison is NOT apples to apples since Regent includes business class and Oceania includes Premium Coach. If you upgrade Oceania to Business class, it might actually be more expensive. On the other hand, not everyone needs drinks package or all excursions included. Some prefer to pay only for what they really need.
  3. Ken, I'm curious - how is it to sail on HAL/Princess after trying Crystal and Oceania? And how would you compare Oceania and Crystal? Also, I have a feeling after reading different boards, that those cutbacks are not unique to Oceania. Just look at Celebrity board. Would you agree? Does it apply to Crystal as well?
  4. Melodies of the Danube would definitely be our first choice. The reason for the debate is that we have been in both Prague & Budapest, but only for 2 days each (with Gate1 tour 3 years ago). We would gladly come back, but Lucerne & Zurich extensions which are the "icing on the cake" of the Rhine cruise are new for us. So now the big question is: are the places on the Rhine cruise itself nice enough to visit, and sacrifice coming back to Prague & Budapest (plus couple another nice places on Danube cruise)? On both cruises, the extensions look very attractive, can we say the same about the ports of the cruise itself? This is the main dilemma: the ports on the Rhine vs. the ports on the Danube? Yes, I can definitely see it. Although when you compare it to good ocean lines like Oceania, and consider all costs included, the difference is not that big.
  5. Hello all, After 14 ocean cruises, we are planning our first river cruise for June 2020 (probably the first half of the month). After doing some research, we decided to go with Ama. But selecting the exact itinerary is a challenge. We are debating between the following 4 options: Enchanting Rhine 11 nights 2 Lucerne 2 Zurich https://www.amawaterways.ca/destination/europe-river-cruises/2020/enchanting-rhine/dates-prices Captivating Rhine 11 nights 2 Lucerne 2 Zurich https://www.amawaterways.ca/destination/europe-river-cruises/2020/captivating-rhine/dates-prices Melodies of the Danube 12 nights 2 Budapest 3 Prague https://www.amawaterways.ca/destination/europe-river-cruises/2020/melodies-of-the-danube/dates-prices Gems of SouthEast Europe 13 nights 2 Vienna 2 Brasov 2 Bucharest https://www.amawaterways.ca/destination/europe-river-cruises/2020/gems-of-southeast-europe/dates-prices The first two (Rhine) are basically the same, just different direction. Any pros/cons between those 2 options? The last two are on the Danube. Prices are the same for the cruise and slightly different for the extensions. Any advice/tips would be appreciated.
  6. Thank you so much @Keith1010really appreciate it! It's a 10 nights cruise with 2 BTO nights. I guess a nice black suit with a dress shirt and no tie should be fine.
  7. Hello all, We will be taking our first Crystal cruise in December (from Caldera to San Diego) and I wanted some clarifications about the dress code. I know that this has been discussed, so please excuse me if some questions repeat. Crystal casual: Is my understanding correct that for men jeans are not allowed, has to be "dress" pans? Black tie optional: The guidelines say "For men, this includes a dark suit with tie, or tuxedo;" but I read somewhere that tie is not required. So which one is correct, and what percentage of men (approximately) wear a tie? I like to dress up to a degree, but don't like ties. So will dark suit with nice shirt be okay? Just don't want to feel wired if 90%+ wear ties. For women, what kind of dresses they wear? Are those usually cocktail long dresses, or less formal evening dress is fine? Thank you in advance, and my apologies again if this has been discussed in other topics. Looking forward to experience Crystal!
  8. We like it very much. A different league. But I'm not so sure about kids. I don't think Oceania is kids oriented.
  9. You seriously believe they reversed the decision because of this thread? I can guarantee this is not the case. And no, none of us touches the TV during a cruise. Not for free movie or any channel.
  10. Reversing the removal of movies was an easy decision and probably not too expensive. Obviously investing in things like better food ingredients is much more costly and not worth the investment. The simple truth is that as long as the ships sail full, they couldn't care less, no matter how much you or me mobilize. At this point we have three cruises booked for 2020 and 2021, none of them on Celebrity. Celebrity reached a point where increasing prices and decreasing quality make the price difference between Celebrity and Oceania so small and the quality gap so big that it makes no sense for us to book Celebrity.
  11. I have a negative attitude because I disagree with your opinion? Cruise critic represents very small part of total number of cruisers. Definitely not representative.
  12. It is still one total budget, and they still need to prioritize.
  13. We are travelling with three couples. We met lots of people in the buffet, excursions etc. And discussed different aspects of the cruise experience including free movies. I have no idea if those people are representative selection.
  14. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2694997-reflection-from-amsterdam-to-barcelona-first-impressions/
  15. No it's my belief that once they cancel the cut on the movies, they will need to cut somewhere else. It's a simple math. All departments get money from the same budget, and it's matter of priorities. If they want to cut the expenses, it has to come from somewhere. My personal priority would be that the cut will come from stateroom amenities like movies and foot stools, and not food or service. In our current cruise on Reflection, we already have seen some things getting worse compared to our previous cruise in June, on the same ship. That's just 3 months.
  16. Free movies are not free to Celebrity. They pay for them. That money comes from somewhere. Which means less money to other departments. Same goes for foot stools and other stateroom features. We spoke to dozens people on our cruise. None of them cares about free movies, foot stools etc. But most of them mentioned mediocre food, amateur entertainment and declining service.
  17. This is good news for people who come to a cruise to spend time in their cabin watching movies. It's not so good news for vast majority of cruisers who couldn't care less about free movies but care about more important things like better food, better entertainment, more activities etc.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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?
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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