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eroller

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About eroller

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About Me

  • Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
  • Interests
    Ships, ocean liners, aviation
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Cunard, Celebrity, Disney, Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Australia and Greece
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27450992@N06/sets/

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  1. I tend to agree with you to a certain extent. I'm not sure I would call them "major" cut backs, but I have noticed a decline in the overall quality and variety of cuisine, and even some of the special touches that have made Cunard special. Nothing major, but enough that I have noticed. I think part of the problem is that Cunard tends to lack its own dedicated management team, and more and more of the business and operations are combined with P&O. They operate out of the same headquarters in Southampton. In the US, Princess Cruises pretty much runs Cunard although it's just marketing and sales on this side of the pond. Of course it's natural for any large company to combine synergies among their various brands, but the key is that the customer never notices. I'm seeing more and more of P&O leaking into Cunard. Hopefully nothing more than what has already occurred, but time will tell on that. I do think all cruise lines go through cycles. I sail on pretty much all of them, and they all tend to have great years and not so great years. One thing is for sure, they are always evolving and sometimes that benefits the customer and sometimes it doesn't. I do hope we don't see anymore dumbing down of the Cunard dress code and menu selection. I fear when the new Cunarder comes online, we will see changes to the brand to increase market share and ensure they can fill a 4-ship fleet. I'm thinking an even more relaxed dress code, and less structure to the onboard programming (open dining, etc). Hopefully those changes, should they occur, don't make Cunard like every other line out there. Structure and formality are exactly the traits that set Cunard apart from every other line. I realize that both go directly against the trend that most cruisers desire these days, but take that away and I might as well sail on any number of other lines.
  2. Enjoying all the reviews! I think the ship looks lovely and she is high on my list of ships to sail. I've never sailed Saga before, but I am a big fan of Cunard and perhaps this is even better. I have to say I'm of an age where I can sail Saga (barely), but I certainly don't consider myself elderly and hopefully have plenty of life left in me. 50 creeps up on your before you know it. I have the 2020 brochure and it clearly states for all 2020 cruises it's all-inclusive, including all alcoholic drinks, speciality restaurants, gratuities, and wifi. Perhaps this is a change from 2019 cruises? Although DISCOVERY and ADVENTURE will be sister ships, the decor of ADVENTURE will be quite different. More modern and contemporary from what I can tell. Brighter colors. The dining room loses its atrium opening and becomes fully enclosed. Above it will be the Supper Club which looks interesting. There is even a dance floor. So the dining room may not look as grand, but for practical purposes it might be an improvement. Two design elements strike me as odd. One is the funnel platform. It looks very imposing and creates a giant wall in the midship pool area. I can't say this looks attractive, but perhaps it's better in person? Seems to make the entire area quite closed-in looking. The other is the Britannia Lounge. While a lovely space, it's set so far back from the front edge of the superstructure. So no wonderful views down to the bow as the ship plows through the ocean. I love a good bow view where I can actually see the tip of the bow. Doesn't seem to be a possibility on these ships, even on the open deck in front of the Britannia Lounge. That open deck is set pretty far back as well. Unfortunately. Well I haven't sailed the perfect ship yet (it doesn't exist), but these two Saga new builds look pretty impressive. I heard they were originally intended for Azamara Cruises but they passed, so Saga picked up the design and options. I'm not sure how true that is, but I certainly see some R-Class traits in the design.
  3. Great advice. I never even think about tipping. The auto-gratuity takes away any need for guessing. In over 130 cruises I've never removed the auto-gratuity and I've always tipped. The staff works incredibly hard. Even if I experience a one-off bad experience I'm not going to penalize everyone because of it. If I receive service that is truly extraordinary, I'll leave a little extra in cash on top of the auto-gratuity. It's not something I lose sleep over though and not something I always do. In fact most of the time I feel the standard gratuity is sufficient, but there are occasions where a certain crew member really stands out and deserves a bit extra.
  4. This is very disconcerting. We should be hearing a lot more feedback if none of their vessels can call in France. That is a pretty big deal especially during the busy summer Med season. I do hope they get things worked out with FLYING CLIPPER. It looks like a wonderful boat and I was looking forward to sailing on her. So odd the entire boat got built and even fully fitted out (to Star Clippers specifications) and then they refuse to take delivery. Surely they had their own staff at the shipyard during the entire building and fitting out process. That is normal procedure.
  5. I agree. They are just poorly organized. There are far bigger ships than what Cunard operates with far better embarkation processes. On HARMONY OF THE SEAS, one of the largest ships in the world, it was one of the quickest and best embarkation processes I've ever experienced. I think 16 minutes from drop-off to walking on the ship. That has never happened at Cunard. Pretty much every line I've sailed beats Cunard when it comes to embarkation. Many lines have suggested or assigned arrival times just like Cunard does, but I don't think anyone really pays attention to that. Cunard is certainly not alone in that regard.
  6. Compared to every other line I have sailed, Cunard's internet (and internet pricing still using per minute charges) is far inferior. Most lines have spent a great deal on upgrading the internet infrastructure knowing how important it is to passengers these days. They have also switched away from archaic per minute charges to much more affordable unlimited plans with various pricing options depending on your usage needs. Cunard seems to think its passengers are too old to care about internet. That may be true in some cases, but if they expect to survive and attract a broader client base, their internet needs major upgrading. That goes for technology in general on Cunard which is very much behind the curve. They don't even have interactive TV's, an onboard app, or even interactive information screens around the ship.
  7. I'm not sure I've seen that one. Rhythm of the Night made its debut after the major refit in 2016. It was just ok IMO.
  8. I never thought Cunard had great entertainment except for the lecturers and musicians. The production shows are terrible. Appassionata has been running on QM2 since the day she started sailing. Cunard likes to tout it's the oldest running show at sea. Not something to brag about. It was never great to begin with, and they are just too cheap to retire it. I used to think Cunard's cuisine was superior, or at least on par with Celebrity, but not any longer. Most recently I've seen the Cunard menus dumbed downed with less variety and the quality and panache just doesn't seem to be there anymore. It's still not bad but I don't think anything to write home about anymore. Celebrity's cuisine surpassed Cunard, at least on recent sailings. Of course this seems to change from year to year as cruise lines go through various stages of evolution.
  9. I enjoyed your review and comparisons. I also cruise on Cunard (Diamond) and Celebrity (Elite) extensively, as well as a slew of other cruise lines. Obviously I like variety. I very much enjoy QM2 for the unique experience she offers. She is one of a kind and I cherish that. This being said Cunard is not without its faults as you pointed out. I agree 100% about the Internet on Cunard, and the embarkation experience. Both are far below standard and pretty much every other cruise line I've sailed tops Cunard in these two areas. I would add drink prices and quality to the mix. I don't like that Cunard charges extra/separately for the drink mixers. It's a sketchy way to increase the drink prices. Technology of Cunard? Well it's pretty much non-existent where as Celebrity embraces it. Even with its faults, I'm a big fan of Cunard and especially the QM2 because it offers a style of cruising that simply doesn't exist anymore. I'm also a big fan of Celebrity because the value proposition is there, the ships are stunning, there is more choice and variety than Cunard, and overall I find food and service excellent for the price paid. I haven't sailed the new EDGE yet but I certainly hope too. The same applies to Cunard's new build but frankly I'm less enthusiastic about her. Generally I like Celebrity for cruises, and Cunard (QM2) for crossings. Really the best of two worlds.
  10. I kind of expected this to happen. It’s truly a perfect fit. I can’t think of a more suited cruise line for Atlantis. https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/21146-virgin-lands-lgbtq-charter-deal.html
  11. That must be the “big” announcement. I’m guessing the end of the open bar. Or it could be this just posted to their FB account. LOL
  12. Yes me too and SKY also departs on Fridays, so I thought for sure it was just about that ship. Now I don’t know. I guess we will find out soon.
  13. I figured but thought maybe you got the inside scoop. Of course it was completely believable and exactly something I would expect from NCL. Play it up as the best thing since sliced bread ... but the reality being quite different.
  14. Do you think that is it? Based on this teaser I was expecting something above and beyond. A new destination on a short cruise, or some dramatic onboard programming change that will set apart NCL's short cruises from the others.
  15. Looks like plans for NORWEGIAN SKY (and perhaps SUN) for cruises after September will announced on Friday. It will be interesting to see what replaces Cuba. Also will it remain an all-inclusive product? Probably not.
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