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Posts posted by commodoredave

  1. 1 hour ago, Mangrove Snapper said:


    Yes, Edgartown is charming and has lots of historical buildings.  It was a major whaling center in the past.  There are lots of good places to eat.


    I've always been to Martha's Vineyard via the ferry from Falmouth to Oaks Bluff and when you get off the ferry, there are taxis and independent tour operators.  Edgartown also has taxis and tours.  Both have bikes.  We've rented bikes in Oaks Bluff and it was an easy ride to Edgartown.  Oaks Bluff also has good places to eat and shop and is a lovely town. 


    If you do go on a tour or get a taxi to take you around the island, the cliffs at Aquinnah have a beautiful view.  The best quahog chowder I've ever eaten came from a shack up there but that was 30 years ago.  There are still shops and eateries there. 


    If you are interested in movies and the movie "Jaws," specifically, it was filmed on Martha's Vineyard.  Many of the places are recognizable like the beaches, scenes in Edgartown and Oaks Bluff, and the Chappaquiddick ferry, which is located in Edgartown and can be interesting for reasons other than Jaws. 

    Thanks so much for this great information.

  2. 3 minutes ago, Ozmodiar said:

    If you are comfortable with public transportation, the train from EWR into Manhattan is pretty easy to navigate. You can even switch from NJ Transit to the PATH system at Newark Penn Station (different than the airport station) and take the PATH to Exchange Place in Jersey City, where there is a very nice Hyatt on the waterfront. However, if you're not dealing with a car, I would just head into NYC direct from EWR. 

    No interest this time in visiting NYC. Been there many times and will be there again in June. 

  3. 12 minutes ago, meadowlander said:

    Of all locations listed in this thread Jersey City is the closest to NYC. The view of lower Manhattan from JC is spectacular. PATH train service will get you into NYC 10-15 minutes from Jersey City, if you care to visit pre cruise. Hotels in Jersey City will most probably charge you to park overnight & their rates will be higher than other locations listed.

    We are flying in to EWR, so parking is not an issue for us. Sounds like JC might be a good choice for us. Thanks.

  4. Our ship will call at Martha's Vineyard for a day. Not sure we (two couples) want to pay $160 per person for the island bus excursion if we can hire a local taxi or tour driver to take us around at our own pace. But will there be any drivers at the pier who do tours? If not, is Edgartown interesting enough for a walkabout and lunch?


  5. 2 hours ago, Capri73 said:

    Agree 100%, our days with SS are probably over.We have a Seaboun trip booked in July we will see how that goes.Last year we took a land trip to Australlia it was wonderful, thinking we will start doing more of those.

    Good thinking. The only way SS will adjust their pricing and value proposition is if enough people stop booking with them. However, if we all

    continue to book future cruises regardless of the situation, nothing will change.

    • Like 4
  6. 33 minutes ago, Pies4u said:

    Recent experience (last 12 months) of both SS & Regent suggest that they are both struggling to provide previous levels of service quality and restaurant standards tbh.


    However, it is in the corporate admin and management that things have taken a serious nosedive in both cases!


    My assessment, based upon those recent experiences and numerous telephone conversations with UK based office staff is rather gloomy. It appears that there are many people who seem to accept declining standards and put it down to Covid, “the lines are doing their best” etc & similar sorts of excuses. Reality is that plenty of customers will simply put up with whatever cruise companies do because they love cruising. So do I, but I’m not prepared to pay 6 star prices for 3 or 4 star standards. There are far higher standards of service and cuisine for far less expense to be had all over the world.

    Cruise lines are relying on loyalty from a declining number of past customers whilst trying to attract a new clientele that will be happy with what’s on offer. Interesting times.

    Good observation. Once upon a time I dismissed land vacations as an inferior experience/value to cruising. But the last few years I have discovered it is not always the case. This means I am becoming more discerning and price conscious when choosing future vacations.

    • Like 2
  7. 14 minutes ago, ak1004 said:


    Agree. But there are currently many complaints across most lines. Carnival is destroying SB, and NCL is destroying Regent and Oceania, etc.


    At the end of the day, we look at value for money and try to separate the management style/decisions from on board experience, otherwise we would be staying at home and stop cruising. Based on our 2 cruises with SS, they still offer excellent on board experience, but with the new pricing, it just doesn't make sense to book them. To me, they are not 50-60% better than O, so I'm not willing to pay 50-60% more.

    I support your strategy, and it is one I have pursued for many years (as per the diversity of cruise lines in my signature). The smarter cruise executives know when they have gone too far with cutbacks or price increases, and somtimes try to win back customers with better value propositions. New cruise lines hungry to acquire passengers may also begin with more attractive value propositions. As a cruise arbitrager, I look for these better offers and vote with my wallet. I no longer have a favourite cruise line and won't until someone earns my loyalty.

    • Like 8
  8. 14 minutes ago, ak1004 said:


    It depends.


    The Nova photo opp was a disaster, there is no argument here.


    Introduction of a new fare that doesn't include excursions is a positive because many people prefer to book their own excursions. However, since those fares are 100% non refundable, they have to be discounted (like previous P2P pre paid) - but in reality, not only they are not discounted, they are actually similar to previous P2P pricing, but now without excursions and 100% non refundable.


    The devil is in details. The intention was good (maybe), the implementation terrible. But of course everything they do, the main goal is to benefit their bottom line. No different than any other business.


    Looks like our upcoming SS cruise in May will be our last one.

    The best companies manage to benefit their bottom line while also delighting customers.  This style of management does not appear to be in the SS and RCCL playbooks. 

    • Like 2
  9. 48 minutes ago, ak1004 said:


    Yes, but those fares are 100% non refundable, and they used this change for massive price increase. D2D and P2P increased by 20-30%, and the new Essential fares are now similar to previous P2P fares, but without excursions and non refundable. 

    So you actually think that changes to the fare structure, or anything else that Silversea does (e.g. Nova photo opp), are for the benefit of passengers?

    • Haha 5
  10. 7 minutes ago, Texas Tillie said:


    There's no way they could be considering eliminating gratuities from what's included. They aren't that stupid, are they?? 😏🙃😄

    Photo opportunity anyone?!

    • Haha 1
  11. 14 hours ago, Techno123 said:

    @frantic36 your views are the same as mine. We both live in countries where service staff are paid properly and I hope/believe that on the luxury cruise ships this is also the case.


    I find the whole gratuity thing uncomfortable to navigate and so I choose cruise lines that have them included. If I have already paid the gratuity as part of the fare (or like on Oceania it has been included in the SimplyMore package) why would I pay again? I expect the service to be intuitive and excellent - for anything extra it would have to be exceptional 😁


    Personally, I think the guests who received the begging letter should write a suitable, acerbic comment on it and return to head office!!

    Some people tip more regardless of the fact that gratuities are included in the fare. Over time, this creates a culture of tip entitlement, where crew and ship management expect pax to tip more and more. I am guilty of this syndrome, and need to reevaluate my own tipping history. It is not necessary, nor should it be expected.

    • Like 5
  12. 3 hours ago, Dolcevita Diva said:

    And now it appears that Silversea is introducing a new fare category called Essential for bookings close to sailing date that does not include gratuities.  Nor butler service, beverages, multiple dining options, wifi or excursions. 🤨   


    Go take a look at the brochure shared by AtlantaCruiser72 in the Door-to-door vs. Port-to-port thread.   Will be interesting to learn the details of these exclusions and how they will be managed, but I am frankly speechless that they are unbundling core elements of Silversea's brand experience like this. 


    Absolutely stupid if true. Now, if they removed free excursions it would be an improvement!

  13. On 3/16/2024 at 11:59 AM, Texas Tillie said:


    I'll be glad when my May cruise on Nova is finished where I'm using most of the future cruise credit I received after Silversea messed up so badly on the previous cruise I had booked but never took. The balance of the FCC can, well, you get it. After May I won't be back here and will delete the other social media site. Silversea/Royal Caribbean will then be a memory. I'm sure it was a fine line before Royal Caribbean.

    Unfortunately, SS seems to be far more interested in marketing wonderful cruises than delivering them. I have 3 more booked in the next 12 months. After that, I may go elsewhere, including back to Regent.

    • Like 1
  14. On 4/19/2023 at 6:20 PM, Observer said:


    It is indeed the case that "no additional tips are required."


    However, tips are certainly expected by butlers, suite attendants, as well as those waiters, bartenders, and pool staff who have served you repeatedly and effectively during your cruise. I discussed this matter recently with a senior manager in the hotel department, who acknowledged that staff expect tips and that the cruise line accepts this reality because "it motivates people." 


    In my hundreds of nights on Silversea, I have come to know many staff quite well, and I have discussed this matter with them.  Yes, they appreciate good comments on the end-of-cruise survey. But good comments do not help pay school fees for their children.  


    I really think that Silversea is misleading in saying "gratuities included."  This means nothing more than the crew are paid a salary. I wish Silversea raised fares, increased salaries for the wonderful and hard-working crew,  and announced that gratuities were forbidden and that any crew member accepting a gratuity would not receive further contracts on Silversea .

    The fairest approach would be to offer passengers who want to pay more the option to do so. That way you could pay the higher fare you wish for, but I could continue to pay the lower fare that I wish to pay. Everyone would be happy!😃 

    • Haha 1
  15. On 3/8/2024 at 3:46 PM, caviargal said:

    FYI, we still have been given no information on whether we can stay in our suites for the additional 4 hours or whether they expect all 700+ of us to wait in public areas.

    They are providing zero assistance to anyone who did not book door to door, nor will they commit to a time we will be off the ship.  We need to arrange a driver now,  but not possible to do without a time.

    I was told this morning they have no answers but "hope to in a few days".

    It is a real shame as the ship is lovely and the service and food have been good.

    Forbes continues to report on it and this article is spot on!


    The story tells it all. But it’s not just the 700 pax on the Nova who now feel a photo opp is more important than the comfort of passengers, it’s everyone who reads the story, including me. Frankly, whoever made this cavalier decision should be fired.

    • Like 7
    • Thanks 1
  16. 16 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

    Wait.  Did you skip over the "happy Silversea crew member" part?  He was happy for something that benefited all the crew.  Your tipping selected individuals means that those you don't tip don't get any benefit.  


    I can't change the world – or cruise line remuneration policies – but I can help all the crew by contributing to the crew welfare fund.

    I’m pleased that some pax give to the crew welfare fund and do not wish to discourage them from doing so. It’s possible that the lounge furniture, crew parties, picnics, etc. that it pays for may help to create a happier atmosphere on the ship. As for me, I will continue to tip only those crew who provide me with extra service, and by doing so create a happier situation for them. This way, together, we can achieve both of our objectives.

    • Like 1
  17. 3 minutes ago, Texas Tillie said:


    What's interesting (actually, not, knowing human nature) is that the ones who proclaim things like this the loudest are also the ones who complain the loudest when fares go up. 😏

    What’s the purpose of gratuities being included if pax feel they also should give money to a crew welfare fund? Any extra tips should be for extra service.

    • Like 1
  18. 9 hours ago, DavyWavey70 said:

    From my understanding, things that SS should be paying for anyway.  The whole”assistance for crew members that need to fly home for family emergencies” etc  should be provided by a caring employer anyway, not the passengers. 

    Completely agree. I also question the value of giving to a crew party. 

  19. On 2/29/2024 at 9:29 AM, Piaa said:

    We will let you know commodoredave as we booked Emerald Sakura for a Caribbean cruise in December - we know it won't be SeaDream but the price was great and it's always fun to try something new 

    Yes please do as we will be following you a month later on February 1 and your tips/insights will be helpful. 

    Agree with your rationale. I'm not expecting the warmth that SeaDream staff bring to the table, but a ship that isn't 40 years old can make a big difference. I may have been unlucky, but on my one SD cruise we were down to one engine, and had toilet and water issues during the cruise. 

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