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Everything posted by Georgeny

  1. Said do well, or asI would call it the " magic " of sales. In the early 90's the cruise sales marketing was simple. Put out a gorgeous brochure, list prices at TWICE what you actually charge. Then simply have a 1/2 off price sale. Never ceased to amaze me, one person would say NO to 50% off each person YET jump in joy at receiving BUY ONE GET ONE FREE. As you say the perception rules! Brochure price $5000 per person, 2 cruisers costs $10,000 ( if someone paid retail sales person would have a heart attack ) But wait big sale Each fare half price, 2 cruisers cost $5,000 Don't like it, tell ya what I'm going to do. You pay full fare for yours and the second person is FREE!!!! Cost 2 cruisers, $5000. So many ways to enhance drink package perception I just can't type that much. Let's not even get into New Car Sales. A great marketing person doesn't give you a great deal. They make you THINK you got a great deal. Perception is a wonderful thing. George in NY
  2. I was aware of this but honestly how can you consider something that costs additional and is tied to rates FREE? Just curious how does anyone justify that? George in NY
  3. Ah, remember when cruising was a vacation, slow and easy, basically all but drinks, excursions and gratuities included in one simple price? Now the nickel and dime club! Celebrity was once our favorite line, The Zenith our favorite ship. Owned by the Greek Chandris family, X is the Greek letter for C, hence the big X. That was in the 80's, NCL was the Kloster family. Then they all became CORPORATE entities, NCL run by venture capitol or whatever Appollo private equity group for STAR the Chinese Cruise company. Celebrity was bought by RCL, etc etc etc all became PUBLIC companies, making profit for shareholders top priority. This is cruising now. It's business, short and simple. To get a " deal " is meant to be complicated so the they get top dollar. Nothing will sadly change in the future. They all have liabilities in form of loans for new ships etc and must consistently increase margin. This is why packages ( high margin since often under utilized ) and multiple rate scenarios for confusion will exist more and more. We will be sailing the Anthem for Christmas Holiday sailing as we did last year. This will be second cruise for 2019. In comparison in 2018 was our third cruise. In 2017 Holiday cruise was our 4th cruise of the year. Sadly we were increasing cruises fully intending to spend much of winters at sea in Caribbean. We have met several through the years who were doing that. Now we are looking to rent a winter home in Florida in place of cruising. I believe many other, what we used to describe as " cruiseaholics " are also now curtailing their number of cruises. We don't dine in extra pay restaurants, we buy our drinks as feel we would like a drink. We pay out mandatory gratuity but not a dime more, often cheaper for us than once was. But certainly he server is nowhere near what once was. Not staff fault, the lowering of staff numbers and increasing work load is. So Celebrity and ALL THE OTHER LINES AS WELL, got cha with another up pay, matters not because enough of the people will pay it! George in NY - still cruising but no longer a cruiseaholic, corporate cured me.
  4. Mark, Great to see that you are still at it! Linda and I haven't done the Bermuda run in several years now, we were looking to see what was sailing and I was very happy to see your LIVE posts. Fantastic pics and very informative as always. Last time we sailed from Bayonne was last December on Anthem which we will be sailing the Anthem Holiday cruise again this year. I was interested in the facial recognition disembark you mentioned. Was that for Custom and Immigration? Really in place of presenting passport? We recently sailed Caribbean Princess this June out of Fort Lauderdale which is high tech using the Medallion system, surprised that they didn't have facial recognition at Pier 1. It was also interesting to see the electric vehicles offered as alternative to scooter rental. Was price comparable? Always loved the two of us sharing a scooter and going all over the island. But alas every year we get a bit older and I do foresee having to pass on scooter somewhere in the future, nice to see may be an alternative. I believe I saw that The Empress of The Seas would be doing Bermuda from Bayonne next year as well. Though older ship the draw will be it's ability to do the old itinerary, Hamilton Front Street docking and switch to St George's. I miss the old days of doing that switch with them moving your scooter for you etc. Today's ships are two large and would require dredging and such to Hamilton Harbor. That would make Hamilton less protected from storms so will not be done. Thanks as always for taking us along on this sailing with you. Sooner or later we will once again bump into each other on ship I have no doubt. Happy sailing!!! George in NY
  5. A little aside. Actually tipping the porters is optional and should not be confused with a fee! In example, many airlines instituted a FEE of $2 a bag curbside. The agents collecting and tagging put up signs advising people that NONE of the FEE was for them. In fact airlines made you pay the FEE by credit card so people doing the handling couldn't pocket it. Of course eventually many airlines eliminated curbside and now have YOU take bags in and get tags at a kiosk. Many airlines make you pay per bag. Then bring them in for turning over after being weighed for extra weight fees if necessary. The age of provide less service but get more money using fewer staff. Do you really believe that the cruise lines will not resort to this in the future? A friend once told me someday they will charge for bags, told him he was nuts. I now recognize his wisdom. George in NY
  6. You prove my point, you range from 24 one extended hold to 7 days. The determining factor is how percentage of open cabins. popularity of date or ship etc. Rate and change fee ( something fairly new ) same determination. I booked Adventure for May of last year in Feb of last year. Received a J4 Jr Suite $4198 discounted for non refundable at $2578 for two people. Perfectly except-able, offered why, numerous open cabins. But doing a non-refundable deposit as a general policy and on all sailings is fairly NEW as a general policy! Of course this is now coupled with ENHANCED cancellation insurance packages. No matter certainly changes the way I book. I do not want to be locked in too early on any particular cruise by a forfeited deposit. George in NY
  7. I am an advocate of using an agent to book, preferably an agent that sails themselves not just does walk on's. Although the tenacity of a good agent can be very helpful, it is more the percentage of booking and date that impact what any agent or person can or cannot do for a booking. A booking hold can be for 3 hrs to an extended and re-extended time frame. Why, simply because they have a limited or many cabins available. Or it can be category. Anyone in the business will tell you the FIRST cabins to sell are highest and lowest cats. It's all those middle cats that need be filled. If they have one cabin available in a popular segment they are not going to extend you a week hold. If they only have one cabin booked in an unpopular segment, want a week hold, sure no problem. Agents are wonderful and I never book without using one. IF they are a good agent and one that is very familiar with cruising they are many aware of what can be done concerning a particular line or ship. They can often size up a reservationist and know when to oops drop a call and call back to get another. Like agents some reservationist also know what they can and cannot do. Some lines extend more flexibility to reservationists. Many of the CC members know as much or more than many agents out there, yet many still use an agent. I pick my sailing, my cabin, and so forth yet after I have done the work I still have my agent take the booking. Then they can keep up with changes, argue on my behalf etc. If they don't then they stink as an agent! George in NY
  8. Molly, Not incorrect actually, EVER CHANGING. You may find one policy on one sailing and another policy on another sailing. If there is anything consistent about reservation policies, or extend it to cruise line policies, it is there inconsistency of policies. You may find one regarding one sailing, another regarding a different sailing. One policy while a " sale " is on another when " regular " pricing is being used, between sales. One policy on a January after holidays cruise and another on a holiday cruise. Much the same as hotel reservations. In the recent case I mentioned this was the 2019 holiday cruises of the RCL Anthem and the Grandeur of The Seas. With the advent of the online pricing/sales and the now cruiseline business model of " economy of size. " Varied policies must be used during the booking of a ship and date. In example, a holiday cruise on many ships will be purchased and filled fairly early in the year. This creates a limited space and tighter policy for THAT booking. An end of January sailing is hard to fill, creates an eased policy towards holds and rates etc. The nature of the business now. In the 80's and early 90's the common sales practice was brochure mailings listing prices as $5000 pp for a cruise. This of course was slashed for TWO for ONE sales. Buy one second half price etc etc etc. I guess what I am trying to say is that pricing policies have only some generality, they change constantly, vary always, and are designed to confuse in general. Say NCL followed by others, how can you say you get FREE drinks and 4 other things when you look at the pricing. Pay x dollars and you pick TWO FREE items. Pay more X dollars and you pick 3 things, and so on. That doesn't constitute FREE in my book. So I was merely quoting current policy regarding the cruise I wished to purchase. If Anthem sailings get impacted by recent flu event the policies will change to reflect harder bookings. George in NY
  9. Ken, WE have sailed twice from Tampa in recent years. Both times we stayed at Embassy Suites Tampa which offered a cruise and go rate which as only $20 or $30 more than the regular rate for a King room. That cruise rate included, one night stay. parking in their garage for 7 nights, and free shuttle to and from the cruise terminal. EmbassySuites also includes a Managers cocktail hour ( rack booze, beer, and wine ) and made to order breakfast in the morning. For us that was the way to go. All went well and was very convenient. You look under packages to find that rate if searching online at hilton dot com usually. Not parking there is valet only. I just looked last time we did it charge was WITH taxes $192 12/22/2016 3568291 PARK CRUISE $174.00 12/22/2016 3568291 TAXES $18.48 Embassy suites DOWNTOWN. When checking in I find you should mention that you are on Park and GO and get you voucher for shuttle then. This was a two room suite very nice. Garage is covered parking garage. Walk right out to river walk type area. Do know that located next to coliseum and conference centers so some dates very busy. You might want to check their schedules. George in NY
  10. I noted the " new " cancel today penalty of deposit as well when looking to book our annual Holiday cruise. I was searching online but book with my TA. Contacted him and he advised that there was a refundable rate, higher naturally. He also advised there is also a CHANGE rate of $100. He was trying to clarify if that applied to changed rate, date, or what. I have already had a line apply a change charge when trying to take advantage of a lower rate. They considered that a CHANGE negating the lower rate. That change was PP by the way not booking. We enjoy RCL ( travel multiple lines ) but do find them higher priced without real appreciable increase in service or value. As D Plus we figure some of that higher price is negated for us in some bennies we appreciate, but not truly negated. As all the lines continue to follow the air industry model of charging for more and more, giving less and less, I await to see what the breaking point is for most cruisers. You might recall final pay time frames from pastas well have been increasing. Once was 30, the 60 days now often 75 or 90 days before cruise for final pay. We love to cruise, at one time planned to spend 60 in winter onboard cruise ships. Gave that idea up now. Also used to HOLD a booking for 3 days and usually simple to extend before making decision. Now 24 hours.... Anyway in this case our decision was simple. KEEP IT! We are booking a Florida stay on land instead. More time in actual sun during the winter holiday season since we often sail from NY NJ MD ports in winter. Doing that the number of warm days is minimal as cold leaving and coming back. Maybe cruise out of Florida while down there as last minute or something. The lines attempt to lock us into a cruise has had the opposite effect for us. I will revert to last minute bookings if available. George in NY
  11. I believe that traditional will no longer exist at all within a few short years. Not because of some new dining concept but rather a very old land concept, restaurant ala-carte $$ style dining. It is clearly trending to that. Not only specialty extra restaurants but already specialty meal for additional fee in MDR. Even additional cost in specialty restaurants. It is practically there now! The day fo included complimentary dining is on short list to be way of the past. Doubt that? Come on, they charge for POPCORN at movie. Charging for baggage handling close as well. So many thing for then to add $$ for, a smorgasbord for bean counters. George in NY
  12. TeeRick, Duly noted, I must have mis-interpreted, lot of that going around as I get older 🙂 One thing that is very true, it is beating a dead horse! Have a great day and an even better next cruise. George in NY
  13. That was first day, I have seen last day lines like that never first day. The last day lines are generally account errors or luggage tags, time off etc situations. In Quantum first day was primarily people couldn't get into their cabins with their keys or wrist bands. RCL brings hi-tech to ships, okay now all they have to do is get it to work. Yes I too have had longer waits at local restaurants. Never used to have a dining wait until recent years with new dining systems such as anytime dining etc. Recent Princess sailing we had anytime dining. They had what I call Outback beepers though never had to use them for us. What they were doing is escorting small groups between floors and dining rooms to try to seat people. Simply not enough dining staff. My complaint with dining and other areas of modern cruising is that we have replaced comfort and relaxation of cruising with what we have at home. Recent Adventure of Seas cruise traditional seating, never waited to be seated but service extremely slow, simply not enough staff to man tables. Then when they do bring something like Johnny Rockets onboard it goes from shore model to latest ship model, ala-carte charging self service. Nothing the same but the name. George in NY
  14. I certainly agree that in general that people unhappy about an issue will post more than those happy, all areas of life. But I must say the sailing of the Quantum we were on there were a lot of unhappy people. The lines at the customer service desks resembled the lines at the dining venues. Waiter were very unhappy with tablet ordering system yet another issue. The courtesy wrist thingee to use in place of the ship pass cards were failing constantly. There were so many issues we swore that we would never sail Quantum class again. Proving myself a liar 🙂 we sail Dec 21st on the Anthem with fingers crossed that we will enjoy a different experience than last Quantum class cruise. Admittedly sailing the Anthem for simple location, easy access for us from Westchester County NY. Last two holiday sailings we drove leisurely to Florida and sailed from Tampa. We just returned from Princess Fort Lauderdale sailing. Didn't want to drive or fly for this Xmas so elected Anthem. Again I must say that I am confident that DD was changed based upon passenger and staff problems with it. We spent so much time on lines I took photo's, had nothing else to do. And this despite having reservations. Obviously you are very happy with Quantum and Anthem I am hopeful we too will be happy with it. Our favorite class remains the Voyager class. George in NY
  15. Do you really think RCL did away with Dynamic Dining and the followup concept because of whiners? RCL does little if anything based on any one group for or against. Their basis is one concept, makes money or doesn't, by either increase or decrease margins or increased or decreased bookings. I would be one that thoroughly disliked DD after sailing Quantum inaugural year. I disliked it due to reservation system that failed to do anything but create long lines. Cold food, service by overworked and disgruntled staff. If you recall the Oasis of The Seas was scheduled to be converted to the DD concept on a dry dock which was cancelled by RCL after continued implementation of DD. And frankly calling those opposed to DD " whiners " is ridiculous. So what are you a " whiner " about on ships, smoking, walking through casino's, design of a buffet area? If you have thoughts about any subject in he world I guess you are a whiner, join the club. George in NY
  16. Just off Island Princess Canal cruise last month. I started with Princess coffee card when originally offered, great deal since not only good for any size etc but also could keep card and use it on next cruise if still had punches left. YES said that right on back of card! Then they eliminated that a year or two ago I believe, card now says good ONLY for the cruise purchased. Now in the age of technology no more physical card. The coffee card is incorporated into your sign and sail card. ( no more " free " no punch ) You have no idea how many you have left unless you ask since also get no receipts any more. Yet another cute thing, no receipts for drinks etc unless you ask. Even asking go by the wayside soon as no receipt printers, have to check your bill. So no more coffee cards for me, I'll pay as I go. The reason, btw, that no standardization exists in my opinion is simple enough. Each ship has a Hotel Manager, Bar Manager etc. So if I am bar manager and instruct my people to charge per shot, or double charge for grande etc I generate more profit margin on less product use and look good to home office etc. So if ships Manager cares more for looking good to his boss or cares more about happy customers he manipulates the policy to fulfill his or her agenda. George in NY
  17. It's been an interesting and civil discussion of the topic but honestly a mute issue at this point. Cruising has become a different product, mass market. Nothing wrong with that we can all select it or not. Personally we choose it less and less when we had planned to choose it more and more in golden years. Friends of ours will not cruise any more choosing various land destinations now. Others have started cruising Viking which at least for now presents an alternate more high end cruise experience. Somewhere between mass market and TOO HIGH end cruising all inclusive style ships. We all enjoy what we enjoy. We will still cruise but I am NOT willing to pay higher fares AND be nickel and dimed and have less and less service. If cruising is now a Walmart I want Walmart prices. Happy cruising to all! George in NY
  18. Front cover page usually as is here. Daily Snapshot section. States Casual, doesn't provide a No Shorts in MDR that I see have to give all that. Does say smart casual NO Shorts for Chef's Table but sure some will insist wearing them there also. George in NY
  19. Probably not but then again can't get a real steak in MDR either with out paying 29.95 extra for it. But in the Windjammer you can scratch butt, pick your nose, and reach in and grab a hand full of fries. Those tongs just to tricky to use. 🙂 George in NY
  20. I will that Verizon offers an international trip planner online that you can put in ship and islands receiving cost and dialing information which is printable. https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/trip-planner-tool/#/tripPlanner Where calling instructions offer + in dialing the number + 1- (are code ) etc the + is obtained on a cellular phone keypad by holding down the 0 until + appears. I mis-interpreted that one cruise as meaning PLUS add the 1, no wants actual + sign. I will also advise that Verizon offers something they call TRAVEL PASS. Basically if Travel Pass accepted you pay $10 to use your phone on your own domestic plan for 24 period at that island. If you don't use your phone at all no charge that day. However be warned if you turn on your phone in that port you will quickly get a message that you have travel pass and any texts you have waiting will be received and now you have used travel pass $10. So leave phone off unless you intend to use it. My wife needs to call her elderly mother each day. Usually 2.99 minute Cellular at Sea while at sea. Then $10 Travel Pass most foreign ports in Caribbean anyway. Note since you each have a phone, we decide to activate only one phone, hers or mine and both use that one, use both phones and TWO Travel Pass charge obviously. You do have to pre-sign up for Travel Pass like you do for international. This is above international calling. There is no charge for signing up to international calling, they are merely checking your account status so they know you are good for the billing aspect. No charge for Travel Pass either unless or until you use it. And know I see that it is included on some plans. From Verizon page: TravelPass lets you use your domestic talk, text and data allowances while traveling outside the US in more than 130 countries for a low daily rate. Instead of paying per minute, per message, or per MB, you'll be charged a flat rate with TravelPass. The daily rate is: $5/day in Mexico and Canada (included with the new Verizon Plan Unlimited, Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited) $10/day in other countries where TravelPass is available (5 TravelPass days per month included with Above Unlimited). You'll use your minutes, messages and data allowances from your domestic plan. The daily charge only applies on days you use your service outside of the US, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. Note: TravelPass isn't available on cruise ships and non-covered countries. Visit our TravelPass countries page for more information. George in NY
  21. Only had one Concierge that prohibited taking your last drink out of the lounge. I asked around and it was apparently she didn't follow the norm of taking care of various other staffers with a few $$ here and there. So she only received her required number of glasses for the cruise. She could not obtain replacements from whomever was the Lord of Glasses and supplies. George in NY
  22. Us too but we are becoming the minority I guess. We have Americanized cruising. Ala-carte Johny Rockets, $8 pub burgers etc. Such is life! Judging from my grand children who are now older teens the future of cruise dining is chicken fingers and fries. No dressing required, phone charging port mandatory at tables. No problem. If we can't make it into fast and a mall it isn't for us I guess. We cruise less now when our plan for golden years was to cruise more. But the market rules as in any business. Such is life. George in NY
  23. Judging but then I must say these MDR folks did provide a lot of entertainment. The hot white socks really made his attire but since he wore the same outfit every night and day the look faded after a while. I gave him benefit of the doubt, that he owned multiple pairs of identical clothes and actually changed daily. Hummm maybe not. Was certainly out classed by the wife in her elegant fashion piece which proved ideal for her unique dancing moves. Did I say anything, no, did take a picture yes. Friends at home wouldn't want to miss out on this one.
  24. Just speculating here. Come form small rural town, slim pickings in men, best they could do but making best of it. They say women mature faster than men, the guys still 12 year olds at heart. Woman married beneath them selves and are still hoping to change them. Woman grew and realized that they married slobs and are dressing nicely hoping to attract a new man? You do see that all the time, and again judging, often say " what is a good looking well dressed woman doing with such a guy? " " He must have money and she is hoping he dies young?" George in NY
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