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Posts posted by commodoredave

  1. Really? What other luxury ships are out there in these sizes? Sea Dream is half the size and you are mostly limited to seven day cruises in the Caribbean or Med. Silver Cloud and Silver Wind are much larger and more shiplike than yachtlike. I would love to hear where jpver plans to sail in the future?


    On the three little sisters with Windstar!

  2. Additionally, of the top 15 cities in the world with the highest murder rates, 7 are in Mexico; number 4 is Acapulco and number 15 is Mazatlan. Regardless of what has happened at any cruise port, it is hard to imagine that any cruise line is going to risk putting people in harms way in a place that is more dangerous than Afghanistan.


    Interesting stats. That certainly explains why Acapulco was taken off the cruise stop list.

  3. This recent story from the BBC News lists the most dangerous areas of Mexico. In terms of cruise ports, only Acapulco is listed. And the cruise lines no longer visit Acapulco.


    Where are the worst-hit areas?

    Violence was first concentrated in Mexico's northern border regions, especially Chihuahua, as well as Pacific states like Sinaloa, Michoacan and Guerrero. Ciudad Juarez (just across from El Paso in Texas) was the most violent city. In 2010, some 3,100 people were killed in Juarez, which has a population of more than a million. Violence has now dropped markedly in Juarez.

    However, Guerrero, home to the resort of Acapulco, as well as Sinaloa and Nuevo Leon remain among some of the most violent regions. One of the focal points for violence since 2010 has been Mexico's third-largest city, Monterrey.

    2011 also saw new areas hit. For example, Veracruz on the eastern coast saw a series of mass killings.


  4. Don't understand why, but some folks get their knickers in a knot when someone says violent crime is in an issue in some parts of Mexico. There are a number of safe and wonderful areas including PV (where I hope to return next winter), and in Ajijic where I spent some time last winter. However, my friends who live full-time in Mexico tell me that things are getting worse, not better. That's why I look at the crime stats and media reports before I choose a place to visit. Just being careful.

  5. That has happened in places other than Mexico, so the advice of checking crime stats really should apply to all cruise ship ports, especially some of the Caribbean Islands.


    By all means, check crime stats and media reports on any port that makes you nervous. As for me, I am more nervous about certain parts of Mexico than anywhere else.

  6. Of cities(300K population or more) in the world with the highest murder rates --- 5 of the Top-10 are in Mexico.


    #4 on that list is Acapulco @ 128 homicides per 100K.

    #15 on that list is Mazatlan @ 69 homicides per 100K


    By comparison, the cities in the U.S. with the highest rate come in at:


    #21 New Orleans @ 58 homicides per 100k of population

    #30 Detroit @ 48 homicides per 100k of population


    Those stats are just a factual reality.


    One's chances of getting caught in the crossfire or being a victim of a violent crime are simply going to be highest in certain Mexican municipalities. That's why the cruise lines have pulled those particular ports from their planned sailing itineraries for the present and near future.


    That stated, Neither Cabos San Lucas nor Puerto Vallarta (or even Cancun) are even close to finding their way on to the list of the "World's Most Dangerous Cities"....So one can generally be assured of a safe enjoyable time as long as they aren't venturing too far outside of the tourist friendly areas into the more dangerous neighborhoods (where most tourists never go anyways).


    The chances of having a violent crime occur against one may actually be the same or higher in their U.S. embarkation/departure city (Ie. Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami etc.) than in the Mexican Riviera ports that the cruise lines still visit.


    Good job on the stats. I like Mexico and there are a number of cities there that are reasonably safe to visit. However, violent crime has been growing in Mexico, so it is advisable to check media reports or crime stats before going off the cruise port itinerary. If cruise ships stop there, it is reasonably safe. But there have been reports of shore excursions outside of the port city having occasional problems with armed bandits.

  7. If you want to stay outside San Jose pre or post cruise, the Los Suenos Marriott Resort in Herrudia has a "blues" sale on until Feb 28, and one of the major online booking agencies has added its own discount on top of that until midnight tonight (Sunday). You can book and cancel without penalty until 48 hours before your arrival date. We just booked a premium ocean view room for $188.00 in place of the regular $300 per night.

  8. I also like to nail things down far in advance. I've booked the cruise, I've book the air, and now I want to book the hotels. Just hope SD gets around to this in the next few weeks or I am going to book land without them.

  9. Any advice on which city to stay in pre-cruise? I plan to arrive 2 nights in advance, which might be enough time to stay ocean side in a place like Herradura (Los Suenos Marriott). However, I don't want to spend too much time getting there from San Jose Airport, and then travelling from there to Caldera to catch the ship (and the hassles that might come with organizing my own transport). Would I be better to stay in San Jose and just enjoy that city? I will be spending one night post-cruise in San Jose, so maybe that's enough?


  10. From the BBC News, Feb 8, 2013


    "Police are searching for masked gunmen who raped six Spanish women in a rented beach house near the Mexican holiday resort of Acapulco, after tying up their Spanish male companions. It's a crime that has shocked many who thought they knew Mexico well.

    Even in a country where brutality has become the norm, this story hit many people hard."



  11. Instead of paying the extortionary price demanded by the cruise line for the train trip, we have hired a driver with a 10-seat mercedes van to take 6 of us up to Arthur's Pass and back. He is picking us up at the pier, stopping whereever we want, and giving us a customized tour with private commentary. And the price? Just NZ$700 for all of us -- a fraction of what the cruise ship wanted. We originally started with 4 of us, and then posted the option for another couple to join us. The spot was taken within a few days. So if it may be an option you want to consider.

  12. Sounds to me from your description of what you like that you are taking the wrong kind of cruise. Cruising, like land holidays, can come in all shapes, sizes and experiences. You sound like a small-ship adventure type cruiser. Alaska has those, and the experience would be very different from the big mass market cruises. There are also many destinations that lend themselves to adventure-style cruising -- Galapagos, Antartica, Norway, New Zealand -- in addition to Alaska. There are also medium and small ship cultural cruises that offer indepth educational and experiential type trips.

    So please put this cruise experience in perpsective. I hope you enjoy it for what it is. But please don't paint the entire cruise industry based on one style of cruise line or destination, any more than you would a hotel stay. And PS, there is a lot to like about a Celebrity cruise to Alaska if you shape the experience around what matters most to you.

  13. For many years I booked directly with the cruise lines and was quite happy with it. But then I found a great TA who not only gives me OBC and/or discounts on most cruises, but also does a great job of taking care of everything I need including transfers, hotels, visas, etc. It took me years to find a great agent, and I have fired more of them than I can count. But now that I have a gem of an agent, I'm going to keep her! So my advice is find yourself a great agent that adds value.

  14. The numbers you are looking for are very carefully guarded secrets in the cruise industry. The cruise lines are even reluctant to give them to each other.


    The numbers do vary quite a bit as well, depending on ship, itinerary, and time of year.


    Here is a general break-down, per passenger, per day:


    Seabourn, Silver Sea - $24 - 26 per day

    Oceania, Regent - $18 - 20 per day

    Celebrity, Princess - $12 - 15 per day

    RCCL, HAL - $12 - 13 per day

    Carnival - $8 - 10 per day

    NCL - $7.50 - 8.50 per day


    Bear in mind that itinerary has a lot to do with these numbers:


    Flying tons of food from USA to a ship in Europe is very expensive.

    European Cruisers have paid substantially more for a cruise and have higher expectations. Their menus are usually pricier.


    Caribbean Cruisers generally pay far less for a cruise. Their expectations are generally lower, so menus carry less expensive items. Loading food in the Caribbean is usually far less expensive as well.


    Alaska Cruises are generally pricier, people eat more there and spend more time in the restaurants. Shipping and loading are more expensive in Alaska. Menus are generally higher cost on these itineraries.


    Transatlantic cruisers eat far more than those on a "regular" cruise. This pushes costs about 50% higher.


    Cruises with more sea days have far higher food costs than cruises that are port-intensive. It seems that when cruisers are not going ashore, they are eating, eating, eating.


    Most passengers gorge themselves for the first 3 or 4 days of their cruise. When they finally realise that they are eating themselves sick, they back off a bit and eat more normally. As a result, food costs on a 3 or 4 day cruise are far higher than on longer cruises.


    Repositioning cruises usually attract the bargain hunters. The mass market cruise lines just wants to break even on fuel costs to get the ship from the old itinerary to the new one. Most of the higher priced items disappear from these menus to cut costs.


    By the way, there will be a percentage of readers on this board who will say that these numbers are impossible. Next time you want to complain about food quality on a ship, think about how they are able to sell you such a low priced vacation..................


    Philip, this is exactly what I was looking for. Your numbers and explanations make complete sense. As I look over the various numbers, it lines up nicely with my opinion of the food that I have had on most of the lines mentioned. Thanks so much for providing this.

  15. Thanks for the updates. I sailed on the Song of Norway twice - once out of Miami and once from San Juan -- and have great memories of her. On the first sailing I got engaged, and on the second we took our two small children with us -- the youngest was just 18 months old and the oldest just 3 1/2 years. One of the dancers babysat for us on a few nights so we could have some time to ourselves. A lovely young lady who the children adored. They were both wonderful cruises with fantastic crews.

  16. If you're a light sleeper, avoid the AquaClass cabins near the bow on the port side. We had cabins 1511 and 1515 and from 10:00 to 1:00 am every night we could hear the throbbing base from the band playing in the Sky Observation Lounge. The lounge is two floors above, but we could still hear it!!

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