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JTor

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About JTor

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Toronto
  • Interests
    travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Crystal
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Istanbul

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  1. Re: the recent "cancellation policy change" posted just above and distributed evening of March 4 - we are booked on the Serenity WC segment from Mumbai Apr 2 to Rome. We were not sent this policy by Crystal or by our TA (because it doesn't apply to us - we are now within 30 days of our cruise so there is NO concession whatsoever being offered if we decided to cancel). I am appalled that Crystal would announce that their ships will NOT be going to Rome, send this out supposedly to address the Italy situation, and not offer ANYTHING to people booked on their WC from Mumbai to Rome (now presumably "from Mumbai to God alone knows where"). Meanwhile Air Canada has cancelled all flights from Italy and we are now "flying home from" Frankfurt. I don't know much but I'm pretty sure the Serenity won't be sailing to Frankfurt. What a mess! Surely WC patrons deserve some kind of concession in this situation? others affected by the situation on prior segments got their money back, a future cruise credit and a small concession to offset airline charges. We get nothing....?
  2. Silver Shadow Jan.14 ex-Barbados. We have 2 formal nights and are fine with DH bringing one suit and tie for them. But what about "informal" nights - website suggests 5.... will he REALLY need a jacket for all those 5 nights? we want to dress appropriately and have the option to eat wherever we feel like, not be limited to the grill... I'm just surprised as a jacket at dinner is SO rare both shoreside and on board other ships these days, we don't mind for 2 nights but if he doesn't need to bring multiple sport coats for the other evenings he would rather not (and the weather will hopefully be hot, so he would not really want to be in a jacket if he doesn't have to....) - is this really enforced and "the norm" among passengers in the Caribbean?
  3. Myself and my DH traveled for a year with a duffle bag each, slightly larger than the backpacks shown but not much (maximal carry on size). That year included 2 cruises, both of which had formal nights. DH had a beautiful dark Armani suit made out of the most wonderful fabric that was very light and didn't wrinkle. Yes, he flew wearing the jacket but he rolled the pants carefully around a sweater and they did remarkably well. For my part, before each cruise I visited a vintage shop wherever we happened to be and picked up 2-3 "formal" dresses for the cruise, then left them behind in my cabin with a note for the steward that they could be given away to anyone who could use them. One one cruise I got very lucky and my dresses were terrific (I was sad to leave them behind), on the other I had one great dress and one I would not really have chosen, but it was suitable and the best I could find. All in all it worked really well and was WAY better than babysitting checked baggage with all the traveling we were doing that year (most of it, apart from the cruises, rather off the beaten track). it can be done!
  4. We did a similar itinerary on another line in 2011. LOVED IT! The main points are as above: these places aren't really ready for mainstream tourism which means that having your creature comforts available on the ship makes it much more "cozy" to see them, and there is a high degree of authenticity to what you see. I definitely recommend taking organized tours (likely the ship's tours) for security reasons, to avoid anxiety about missing the sailaway, and also because you will be docking at container ports and can't really just get out and wander around (we normally DON'T take ship's tours but were glad we did in countries like Togo and Benin). Remember the ships will attempt to hire the "best available" tour vehicles and guides, and "best available" will NOT be what you are used to (be prepared for school buses and enthusiastic but heavily accented English in some of the ports). Ports in Namibia and Ghana are less challenging, but all are culturally fascinating. Don't give children money or candy, but if you are able to pack some small useful things like soap, pencils and small pads of paper, many children will be very grateful. (eg. in Benin there is free schooling up to grade 3 only and we saw children using chalk and slates as they do not really have paper or books).
  5. We had a WONDERFUL talk about the night sky in the Kimberly (Australia) on board Silver Discoverer (no longer in service). It was given by one of the expedition staff. They turned off the deck lights once everyone was safely assembled and we had almost perfect darkness, and the fascinating Antipodean sky. Definitely a highlight.
  6. We have been able to get this on request on Crystal, no problem. Also on Cunard (QMII), though that was as part of a promotional "drinks included" package, since they are not alcohol all-inclusive across the ship.
  7. Agree with others, this was the BIGGEST frustration on our only prior Silversea cruise. they seemed to be "forbidden" to provide the list of complimentary wines, even after we were on the ship. When we complained about this, they arranged for us to meet with the chief sommelier, who was delightful and showed us what he had (this was on a very small expedition ship). So it seems the problem is more than not being able to "commit in advance". Perhaps someone has given them the impression that if they list a wine they would be "promising" to have it available, which of course they could never do (and such should never be expected). They could easily have a list titled something like "Sample only - a representative list of some of our past selections". This would at least give folks an idea of what to expect (and probably 90% of the wines are available and the same across the fleet). In practice we found that they had a good diversity of wines and we felt the ability to match with our meals was adequate - we looked at the "surcharge" list but never felt the need to pay for a bottle. Most of the wines are inexpensive/moderate priced, as you might expect, but the choices are excellent, with many regions of the world represented. HOWEVER: if you are a wine fan you will definitely want some way to know "the list" and not just accept the "wine of the night" they are running around with in the dining room, as these were perfectly reasonable but rarely my "first choice" (we all have our personal tastes).
  8. Having traveled in Brazil, the churrasqueiria is not our favourite type of restaurant worldwide, but it is "something different". Crystal already has Japanese, Chinese, Italian, American and continental (mostly French) restaurants, so I think this is a nice addition. I certainly don't think they need another French venue, as much of the food at Waterside is French or at least French-influenced. It's definitely a good fit for a casual experience and I like it much better than the Silversea "hot rocks" concept where you grill your own food - talk about scary (and messy) in rough weather!!!
  9. 2021 Thanksgiving is Oct 14 in Canada and Nov 25 in the USA. So your October cruise will miss both (plus fewer Canadians on Crystal generally than Americans), so I think the October date is less likely to have lots of kids. But 7 day cruises do attract more families in general. If I had to guess I think more families with young kids would look for the Caribbean rather than the east coast "fall colours" cruises - we've done that east coast itinerary twice and virtually no kids....
  10. Thanks everyone, this is very helpful. Especially thanks for the pictures as I can see the view is very good from the location of the tickets. This will probably be a "once in a lifetime" for us so I want to get it right - it's one of my husband's "bucket list" experiences. We are down to debating Crystal vs Windstar now and I will check on their board as you suggest. The fully-themed cruise may be a pro- for him and a con- for me as I'm not sure I want to spend the entire cruise talking autoracing!!
  11. Thanks so helpful! it's easier to pack more casually. But we enjoy the fun of dressing up and we know for some people it can spoil the experience if too many people don't follow the plan.
  12. Around 2015 Crystal changed its dress code, but before that happened we noticed that people were dressier in general on the WC than on other sailings. Maybe in part because the passenger age skewed a little older, understandable on these long sailings :). We are not the kind of people who want to "push the envelope" - I know you probably "can" wear almost anything, but we want to feel properly dressed and not offend anyone else on board by looking sloppy. So - on the last few WCs, is the interpretation of "Crystal Casual" somewhere between the old "informal" and what it says on the website? I think seeing my husband in a golf shirt and khakis night after night could get a bit dull (handsome though he is); it seems there is a big gulf between that look and his tuxedo (which he will bring)! As a lady will I be more comfortable in the kind of silk dresses one might wear to a nice restaurant or a work event rather than truly casual "slacks and a sweater or little sundress"?
  13. Hi there - we will be docking at Eilat this April 12, which is Easter and just a few days after Passover. Excuse my lack of knowledge - I haven't visited Israel before - is this likely to have an impact? will everything be closed, or conversely, crazy-busy? Are there likely to be any special events that we might want to seek out? We are not thinking of going anywhere near Jerusalem which is very far away anyhow; hoping to organize a tour more locally, do some birding or perhaps go on a hike or to the beach. appreciate any advice, thank you
  14. Hi Terry and all, enjoyed reading all the posts here, but.... what about Salalah? all anyone said was "not as good as Muscat". OK, but I don't have a choice - my ship is only going to Salalah. What can I do to make the most of our visit?
  15. Hi there, we are about to go on SS in January and Crystal in April. As others pointed out.... neither is a hardship! this is a very first-world problem. our only prior SS experience was an expedition ship in The Kimberly (Australia). Expedition staff & experience 10/10; onboard service/food/wine, 6/10. Definitely not up to Crystal standards, not even close, but I realize expedition ships are a different animal. And we would not trade having visited The Kimberly for anything (go if you can.... just go!!!!). So we agreed to try SS again on one of the "main" ships to compare. I have a very strong impression SS is trying to reinvent themselves right now, lots of promotion, new ships, discounted rates. I'm curious to see what they do. I am fond of motivated travel providers. Will try to remember to post back after my (almost) head to head comparison this winter. We love the quality of the enrichment lectures on Crystal and the ballroom dancing so expect SS to be "behind" in these areas but there can be other compensations to smaller ships; if they really pull up their socks on food & beverage service (relative to our expedition experience), we can probably excuse them that. We don't need glitzy entertainment (if that is your thing, Crystal will likely always win - the ships are bigger - you can just do way more with 1000 folks on board than with 4-600).
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