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Granny DI

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  1. We have sailed all the cruise lines including Azamara, Celebrity and Oceania. We prefer NCL’s Haven concept and Holland America’s Neptune lounge to any of the three above. Crystal is not worth the money and a very poor value for us. We felt the Azamara Perry Golf Cruise was good except for the miniature bathroom. The Caribbean Cruise in a suite was not a good value. Oceania is the best value of the three small cruise lines, but not saying we prefer it over Crystal or Azamara. This is only my opinion and my experience. Food is subjective but I personally think it’s all the same with the exception of specialty restaurants on NCL. Not fans of hoards of people on the mega ships but have figured a way to avoid them on the mega ships. The hoards keep our cruise prices down. We avoid the buffets and MDR on the mega ships and only eat in the specialty restaurants. We use many other strategies to avoid the hoards. We can sail in suites on the mega ships but only ocean views on Crystal. You just have to decide what is important to you.
  2. We took our first cruise with HAL in 2002 and hated it. We swore off HAL for ten years. HAL offered a wonderful Med itinerary several years ago on the Ryndam. We loved it and have been sailing HAL ever since. We are Platinum Plus on NCL, Platinum on Princess, and 3 star mariner on HAL. We just returned from a Princess Cruise but we were so displeased that we cancelled a 10 day Princess Cruise and substituted a 7 day cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. We have another HAL cruise booked along with an NCL Cruise.
  3. We are Platinum Plus on NCL and three Star Mariner on HAL. We like both lines very much. We only book suites in the Haven on the NCL Mega ships and Neptune Suites on any of the HAL ships. We really like America’s Test Kitchen on the Nieuw Dam Ships. We really like the entertainment on the NCL Mega Ships. We like the Haven Bar and restaurant and are looking forward to Club Orange on our cruise on the Nieuw Statendam in January. We love the Neptune Lounge. Food is very subjective but NCL has more variety. We do not like the smaller ships of Oceania, Crystal and Azamara. We can read books and relax at home.....and the suites on these lines are not normally within our budget. The pricing is very similar between NCL and HAL. NCL has younger clientele. We are retired but we prefer a mix of ages on our cruises.
  4. Pre- retirement Thanksgiving to New Years was a just a blur. I was teaching and had three kids with a thousand activities plus all the parties. Never considered going anywhere during the holidays except skiing in Colorado between Christmas and New Years. Now there aren’t many parties and the kids and grandkids are all doing their thousands things during the Christmas Holidays. I think this cruise will be perfect for us. If we enjoy it may make it annual thing. We’ve done Halloween and New Years Cruises....one and done. The Halloween cruise was over run with kids and the New Years was ok except for the price....high dollar cruise!
  5. Our first cruise on HAL was in 2002. We hated the attitude of the crew and the food. We didn’t return for over ten years. Once we tried a Neptune Suite we were hooked. HAL is now one of our preferred cruise lines. Our other choices are NCL and RCCL. Not a fan of the smaller ships unless it is a port intensive itinerary. Crystal, Azamara, and Oceania offer small cabins at big prices. Just off a Princess Cruise. We are Platinum on Princess but don’t plan to return until things improve. DH hated the coffee! I don’t drink coffee so wasn’t a problem to me...but the internet was awful. It seems we all like different things so continually looking for the ship that offers most of the things we like. i think all the cruise lines are declining in service and quality of food. We avoid the MDR on most cruise lines. The specialty restaurants serve the quality of food the MDR served in the “Old Days”.
  6. Thanks so much for all your input. I booked the December cruise this morning. I booked because of price and spending time in the Islands during the Christmas Holidays. I never thought there would be decent pricing in December. I guess many people don’t travel between the holidays.
  7. Thinking the same thing. We have sailed at New Years but never before Christmas. Used to live in Venezuela so visited Aruba often but never during the holidays.
  8. Nov date is near Thanksgiving and Dec near Christmas. I would think the Nov cruise would have more kids as most get a week off at Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation starts about Dec 20. The Dec Cruise is $1400 cheaper but Nov Cruise is loaded with goodies...drink package, Pinnacle and OBC.
  9. Looking at two cruises to the ABC Islands. The first is Nov 22, 2020 to Dec 2, 2020. The second is Dec 13, 2020 to Dec 23, 2020. Same cruise just different dates. Appreciate any opinions from those of you who have sailed to the ABC Islands during this time period.
  10. A bit of clarification. My DH and I gifted this cruise to our daughter and her family for my daughter’s 50th birthday. We used to live in Stavanger, Norway so she wanted to show her family her old house, school etc. The weather and itinerary were outstanding and her family also fell in love with Norway. There were 7 of us. The youngest being 11. To eat in a speciality restaurant for the two formal nights would have cost me at minimum an additional $420, so this was not an option. If it had been just the two of us we would have dined in the speciality restaurants on formal nights. As to the Lido all of us were sick of it. It was the same thing for lunch and dinner. There were many in formal wear and nice clothing in the Lido on formal nights.This left the burger bar by the pool and the pizza restaurant near the atrium. The waiters at the burger bar and pizza restaurant had on tuxedos for formal nights. As a side note my grandson loved the kids club and went every time it was open. His teenage siblings warmed up to the teen club and really enjoyed it towards the end of the cruise. Several passengers we met were very unhappy about the over the top formal nights. One man commented Princess does formal nights to make money on photographs. Never occurred to me but every photo we have of us on a cruise was taken on formal night........NCL makes their money in the numerous bars and large casinos.
  11. Perhaps it might be better if I compare my Jan 2019 Breakaway Cruise to my Jul 2019 Sapphire Princess Cruise Documentation: NCL everything printed out nicely. Princess....was not able to open their PDF’s on any device. Embarkation: NCL was an absolute zoo in New Orleans. Princess was Amazing in Southampton Passenger make up: NCL mainly Americans. Princess 95% British or European Internet: NCL not bad.......Princess is terrible....RCCL is the best Food selection: NCL has numerous very good specialty restaurants. Princess has two....read the reviews. Enertainment: NCL has Rock of Ages. Princess has the old time stuff..magicians,jugglers, comedians Suites: NCL has the Haven. Princess has balcony ++ cabins they call suites Debarkation: NCL not too bad. Princess was amazing! We we have been cruising since 1998 and cruised on just about every line including Crystal but excluding Carnival. We change as the cruise lines change. Our go to cruise lines at this ten seconds are NCL. HAL and RCCL.
  12. I was just on the cruise. Were you on this cruise with us? What research? I was on the cruise from Southampton. We were told to respect the attire for the evening. Princess made a big thing out of the formal evenings. I wrote a letter to Princess about it. We used to wear formal wear but travel plans after the cruise prevented it this time. There wasn’t much of a dress code the other evenings but we dressed in country club casual.
  13. We are Platinum on both Princess and NCL. Just returned from a Princess Cruise last week. We had another Princess Cruise booked for Jan 2020. We canceled as soon as we arrived home. It was our first suite on Princess. We always do mini suites because of cost. We book Haven Aft Suites on NCL. There were two FORMAL nights on a 7 day cruise out of Southampton. When I say formal I mean gowns and tuxedos. Formal dress was required in all restaurants. We didn’t bring formal wear because of travel plans after the cruise. We were relegated to pizza and hamburgers at the pool those nights. The internet was the worst at sea. DH said the coffee wasn’t drinkable. Tea kettle in cabin for instant coffee and tea. There were TWO specialty restaurants. We were given one dinner at the Italian one because of suite status. The other restaurant was part of the buffet area. My favorite cruise was a Princess Cruise 10 years ago....now I have no interest in going back.
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