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Everything posted by commodoredave

  1. I always compare the cost of a cruise line's air and upgrades, versus what I can arrange on my own. Our next SS cruise is to Japan next April and I was able to arrange a much better deal flying through Chicago and onwards to Tokyo with points on JAL than the CDN$10,000 per person it would have cost with SS. Same with our cruise in October with Seabourn from Barbados to Manaus. The last time I found a better air deal from a cruise line was in 2011 with Regent to Australia. How do I have so many airline points? I put every expense I can on my credit cards that are affiliated with either Star Alliance or One World. I also buy points when they are on sale with a bonus of 75% to 100% more points, making them very cost effective. How do my points go so far? I arbitrage different airlines point schedules and look for bargains and special offers. Most of this I learned from reading articles on different websites like the Points Guy. I know that most people don't want to put this much effort into finding less expensive flights that what cruise lines offer, but those that do may save enough money to pay for another cruise or two!
  2. Thanks for the very kind offer. I would love to see your write-up of your Tokyo experience.
  3. I understand. Been cruising since 1980 and have experienced the ups and downs of some cruise lines. I used to love Regent -- sailed with them more than any other cruise line -- but haven't been back in several years due to a couple of disappointments without satisfactory resolution (and they always seem more expensive than SS for similar itinerary). Went off both SS and Seabourn for a stretch, but have been back enjoying both for some time.
  4. I initially missed it, but Seabourn has added a call to Alter do Chao in place of Santarem. An upgrade or downgrade?
  5. We will be arriving 3 days before the cruise departs, so a land trip to Kyoto would work well. And we were already planning for another 3 days in Tokyo at the end of the cruise. Thanks for the great advice.
  6. Just got notice this morning that the October 10 sailing of the Pursuit has dropped Santarem as a port of call on its Amazon itinerary. This latest change is one of several made since we booked the cruise, including the loss of Georgetown (Guyana). For those who know the Amazon, my question is whether the loss of Santarem for another Amazon Experience day with Zodiac excursions (we now have 5 Experience days and just one port of call in Parintins along the Amazon River) is a net plus or negative? Your insights would be appreciated. Thanks.
  7. No problem. But I want a 6% commission on the sale of any bridge on this forum!
  8. Hi Saminina. I agree that Silversea ranks higher than Seabourn as a luxury line, but my experience has been that the difference is not that significant. I would be interested to know in what ways you think the difference today is significant. Thanks.
  9. That's exactly what we did on our March trans-Atlantic, and what we are doing on our Japan cruise next April. It would have cost us CDN$10,000 each for business class tickets on a door to door to Tokyo, so we took the $2,000 each air credit and used airmiles for biz class to Tokyo on JAL. Huge savings!!!
  10. Good tips. I will definitely look into a private tour of Kyoto.
  11. Thank you, Drron29, for your advice. This is indeed our first visit to Japan so I have copied and printed off your detailed comments which I know will be very useful in our planning. Looks like we may see you on the same cruise around Japan departing April 3.
  12. Thanks for the suggestion. We did look at the Azamara itinerary for Japan because it is a very good one, as are many of their itineraries. But having sailed on one of the old R-Class ships before it was bought by Azamara, I'm not sure we would enjoy the ship as the cabins and bathrooms were small, and we didn't like the overall layout. Having said that, our friends who are looking at the Seabourn Japan cruise are sailing with Azamara next February on back to back cruises from Africa to the Canaries. We will await their report before making any final judgements on Azamara.
  13. Thanks for the insight. Any reason why you think the Seabourn itinerary has better ports? The commenter in the Ports (Asia) said he thought the ports on the Silversea itinerary were better as they had more of the major tourist attractions.
  14. We have a booking on the Silver Muse for April of 2024 to sail in Japan (itinerary below). Our friends are looking at a cruise on the Seabourn Quest in April of 2025 for Japan (itinerary below). As we have never been to Japan, I asked in the ports of call section which itinerary looked best to those with knowledge of Japan. I received one response as follows: "The first itinerary (Seabourn Quest) has several small ports that do not have much significance - except that they are the "Real Japan". That is, the Japan that most Japanese people are familiar with. The sight-seeing in those ports will not have the WOW factor that Tokyo, Shimizu, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki have. The second itinerary (Silver Muse) is more loaded with the classic tourist things that most visitors to Japan want to see and experience." I would appreciate any other insights that people may have about the itineraries, and other factors that might come into play. Having said that, we love both Silversea and Seabourn, and understand the difference between them. Thanks.
  15. Thank you, Bruce. We've never been to Japan, so this is the kind of insight I am looking for. Right now we are booked on a mid-sized luxury ship (Silver Muse, 600 guests) and will be cruising in early April 2024 on the second itinerary. The other option that looked interesting was on the first itinerary on a slightly smaller luxury ship (Seabourn Quest, 458 guests) that sails late March 2025. We are retired and have as much time to allocate to a pre and post-cruise land excursion as we like (and can afford!!).
  16. If you had to choose one of these two cruise itineraries, which would it be and why? Thanks.
  17. On my last SS cruise in March it was door to door with air and transfers but without hotels. I opted out of the air and maintained the transfers (Blacklane). So hotels may not be included in all door to door cruises.
  18. Just wondering why you wouldn't take the air fare credit from SS, book your own economy ticket directly with Delta and then use your points to upgrade? Might be easier to upgrade your own ticket than a bulk ticket provided by the cruise line, plus you would know the details of your flights sooner.
  19. My first Silversea cruise was on the Wind in 1995. Since then, I have seem a few temporary downs (remember when staff on the Silver Shadow got caught hiding food trolleys from the CDC's vessel inspectors in 2013?). But overall the trend has been upwards and I believe SS has evolved in a manner that suits me very well, and I think their current onboard product is on a very high level.
  20. I don't think there is a major cruise line out there that hasn't seen some deterioration in their onboard product post-Covid. When talking with some staff on recent cruises, they have mentioned the challenges to the onboard experience in the immediate aftermath of the Covid shutdown. This is surely reflected in the lower ratings that some cruise ships are getting. As to the claim that only unhappy people write reviews, it takes a lot more happy people writing them to get a score close to 4.
  21. I beg to differ. I don't think CC would waste so much valuable online real estate on cruise reviews if they thought they were useless. Same for other companies with reviews on their websites.Of course some reviews make little sense and should be discounted. But there are nuggets of good information in some reviews that make them worth the effort to find.
  22. I agree that reviews are imperfect inputs and have to be read with a grain of salt. However, who out there hasn't looked at a Google Review, a Trip Advisor review, or a cruise review on some occasion as part of their research? They serve a purpose. But they are just one input.
  23. Yes, to some extent. For example, Regent is currently rated 3.7, but Seabourn is 4.1.
  24. That would jive with some of the reviews. Unfortunately, as bitob noted, since most happy people do not write reviews, a handful of poor experiences can skewer the overall rating.
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