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  1. Some of the experts on this forum must have the answer. The question looms because an electric toothbrush ,and especially a Waterpik, demand to  be  plugged into a regular outlet, not one designed for  electric razors. On previous Oceania sailings in a B2 I've had guest services run an extension cord from the desk  outlet along the ceiling to a point opposite the bathroom door. It works, but is a tad unsightly. 

     Anyone remember whether the  Riviera PH cabins have the necessary outlets in the bathroom?

  2. We haven't been on Oceania in quite a while. Perhaps I could ask the experts here for some help in resolving a quandary. Whether to take the  the O Life  obc's or the drink package. We don't drink that much--a cocktail before dinner, a glass of wine or two at dinner. The calculation really comes down to the prices that O charges. Frankly, though we've been on several O cruises I haven't a clue about current bar prices. So, can anyone enlighten us as to the   cost of a cocktail and a mid-price glass of wine? And while I have your attention, can I also ask what news there may be about the refurbishment program Oceania Next coming to Riviera and Marina?  Recent O literature  reveals  essentially  re-launch dates for the smaller ships, but nothing about the larger ones.

    Not to strain your collective patience, but here is one more query: On Riviera is  there a regular  110v outlet in the bathroom--that is, not a shaver outlet--and if not, where would the closest 110v outlet to the bathroom be? At the desk, or ?


    Thanks so much for your help.


  3. Only been on these two O ship--Marina and Riviera--and that was several years ago. Has either been in dry dock for refurbishments in the last 2-3 years? Or is such action scheduled in the near future?


    The CC boards are, as I have learned, the source of all knowledge. (At least as it pertains to cruising.)


    FYI, there is a cruise review on the Seabourn board that compares an O and SB experience, and concludes that Polo has the best steak at sea.

  4. We aways get off the ship at every port...problem....can't find an excursion we want to do that doesn't break the bank...we have 2 kids along too...wanted to do day trip to Nevis but heard boring for kids and it's expensive! !


    Will we really be missing out a ton if we don't check out St Kitts?? Also heard it's not the safest.......


    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Forums mobile app


    No more unsafe than any other island, and safer than some. St. Kitts offers a train ride through the countryside, might be fun for kids. I seem to recall there's a fast ferry from St.Kitts to Nevis. If the schedule works, you might consider taking it, arranging for a rental car, and touring Nevis. There is essentially one road that circles the island, so you can't get lost. The Fours Seasons resort is on Pinney's Beach, a lovely spot and the beach is open to all.

  5. Thanks for the insight....all the reasons I cruise O.... Fix dining, extras for specialties, limited specialties, tiny cabins .....formal atmosphere no thanks.

    Crystal is not particularly formal. On "optional formal" nights--generally one for each 7 days at sea--you need only wear a jacket, no tie, to eat anywhere on the ship.Although I think the OP's comparison was generally fair, I would disagree with a couple of points. We have sailed on O four times, and the first time I was aghast at how small the Riviera cabin was--because we had only sailed on Seabourn, with its basic veranda cabin of 365 square feet. Yes, the Crystal cabin is smaller, but you will search in vain for the signs of wear and tear that are all too obvious on O.

    A couple of other points. Breakfast in the Lido can be brought to you by a waiter if you wish. But the choices are so many and so beguiling that you probably want to make sure you have assayed the entire buffet before making your selection.

    Finally dining by reservation--which really means dining at any time and with anyone you choose--is a great option if you are a social person. You simply tell the maitre d' that you would like to join an existing table--vacancies created by guests choosing to dine at the optional restaurants, for example--and you can get to meet different people every night. My wife and I have done that on several Crystal cruises, and found the experience most rewarding.

    Not to enrage the loyalists on this board, but we stopped sailing on O because of the worsening and highly visible wear and tear on Marina and Riviera. We have never sailed on the R ships.


    And as O comes closer to price parity with Crystal, the choice is easier to make.

  6. You have a point, we cruised with Seabourn for the first time last year, we have just returned from a 14 day cruise in the med, it was not a patch on last year, we will be returning to a rival company in future.

    Sir: I am interested in what you observed that reflected cost cutting. Not arguing with your statement--which i agree with--but merely wondering what signs you saw. For myself, I found the wait staff in the mdr had been reduced in number, with near catastrophic consequences, particularly during the now (infamous) introduction of the TK menu.

    Alas, I suspect that similar "efficiencies" and "economies of scale" have been introduced elsewhere, so quite probably SB retains its position as at least on par with other luxury lines.

    As to the arm leaning, it is a bit of an antique. In my conversational experience on SB, many younger women who have careers find the practice less than charming. On plate carrying, I always decline, as I don't want anyone's hands --gloved or not--on my plate.

  7. While top of the line for HAL, the Prinsendam does not have the same overall luxury feel as Regent or Crystal. It is a quirky ship lay-out wise with hits and misses in its decor and ambiance. But she is a wonderfully versatile ship and able to get into the smaller ports and offers some very intriguing itineraries.


    If there was ever a time to splurge, getting one of the named Neptune suites on the very top deck is an ideal way to enjoy this ship to the maximum, which includes breakfast in the most lovely smaller Pinnacle Dining room along with all the other special perks that also come with that Neptune class of cabins.


    No other HAL ships have such grand and spacious Neptune Suites as the Prinsendam. They are truly "old world". The one we enjoyed (Amundsen Suite) was on the hallway going into the Crows Nest look-out bar which became our "private" viewing lounge during the day, and nary a sound from the more lively Crows Nest at night. it was always welcoming to reach our cabin through this large, art-filled passage way that is exclusive to this group of Neptune suites.


    If the itinerary appeals to you, I think you will enjoy the Prinsendam because when it comes to cruising we too think smaller is better. And the old classics are more appealing than the new glitz.

    Thanks to all for their kindness in assuaging the fears of a "newbie"--at least to HAL. I have indeed found an interesting itinerary on Prisendam. And now all that remains is to convince She Who Must Be Obeyed.

    Again, many thanks.

  8. We have never sailed on HAL, though we have cruised on Celebrity, Crystal, Oceania, Regent and Seabourn. Prisendam seemed the best fit for us given our inclination to sail on smallish vessels. However, we were alarmed by the number of reviewers who cited mechanical breakdowns-- toilets not flushing, cabin a/c malfunctioning and the like. Many of the reviewers, while noting the problems (inherent to an older vessel?) praised her lines, her intimacy and the courtesy of her crew. And several noted that Prisendam was scheduled for a major refit in May of 2016. Although I have checked the year-long schedules for refits that are available on line--they cover every cruise line and list the vessel, date of refit and what it will entail--I can find no reference to Prisendam, though multiple other HAL ships are listed.


    Perhaps HAL adherents here have insight into this matter.


    Thank you for your insights, and your courtesy.

  9. Welcome to Cruise Critic!


    Over on the Florida Departures board, here:




    you will find this topic discussed daily. Shared shuttle is the cheapest, at $15pp. Uber is next...rates vary. Other than limo, taxi, at about $85, is the most expensive.


    Take Uber. They come swiftly and the comfort level will be higher than a shuttle. Price should be less than the total for the shuttle.

  10. If you have made your final cruise payment to Seabourn, you are eligible for a $400 voucher. I have several available. If you would like one--only one per cabin--please email your name, complete address --zip, state and country-as well as your booking number. Your email is required as well, but it will be part of your email to me. The procedure sounds complicated, but it really isn't.


    The one critical factor is time. The completed voucher has to be received by Seabourn no less than 10 days prior to the cruise, and a longer lead time is preferable. (Even Seabourn has the occasional gremlin.) I will complete the form, send it to SB, and email you a scanned copy which you should take with you to the ship just in case the credit hasn't made it to your on board account. If it has, there will be a circumspect little card telling you so, usually next to the welcoming champagne.If not, present the email to someone on duty at Seabourn Square.


    My email is: callmrich1@aol.com And have a great cruise.

  11. Hi my husband and I are booked to sail on Seabourn for the first time and were wondering if anyone has a referral coupon we could use. We sail from Monte Carlo on 30th May 2016. Many thanks Margaret and Brian.


    Happy to oblige. Please email me at :callmrich1@aol.com

  12. December 3rd cruise on Odyssey: Regression Analysis


    My wife and I just returned from a 12-day cruise on Odyssey. Although there were many satisfying Seabourn moments, the overall sense was of a cruise line floundering in perhaps the most crucial arena: food service.


    We are not novice cruisers, nor new to SB—this was our 6th Seabourn cruise. Many of the elements of a satisfying SB experience were present. Foremost among these was the crew, whose individual good spirits and positive attitude was precisely as expected. The cruise director was talented and infectiously good humored, which made trivia (we lost badly) a most pleasant diversion. Odyssey herself is in remarkably good shape, although signs of age and wear are visible. As when the temperature/volume control for my sink came off in my hand. And while there are some chips and nicks here and there along the corridors and in the suites, the ship still presents well. Boarding and disembarkation were smooth and swift.


    My friend MarianH and LadyM were on the previous leg of this Caribbean cruise and graciously emailed us a list of the best free wines. (I think there is a separate thread devoted to this.) They seem a significant upgrade over the often dreadful pours previously offered. Sadly, the early morning coffee and muffins once available in the Observation Lounge are no more. You can get similar fare from the barista at Seabourn Square, but it is not the same experience as sipping coffee while gazing over the bow as the ship moves towards the horizon.


    Not to beat a round the bush, or the galley, the food was mostly a bitter disappointment. I don’t want to generalize, so let me absolve Restaurant 2—our tasting menu was quite satisfying—and occasionally the Colonnade. The Patio Grill served a Thomas Keller burger clearly superior to the previous offering. But for many, the dining highlight should be dinner in The Restaurant—the end of the day tribute to appetite and chefdom.


    Alas, it was neither.


    Our saga begins on the first night: we chose to order from the Thomas Keller restaurant, beginning with the appetizers. We sat down at 7:30. At 8:15—after too many bread sticks and a glass of wine—I flagged our waitress and asked the whereabouts of our food. At 8:30, she reported that the kitchen was out of the TK appetizers, so could we choose from the regular offerings? We could and did so immediately. Our first course finally arrived --at 9:00pm, 90 minutes after we sat down.


    Being social folk we usually offer to share a table. Many of the people we were paired with were on their first SB cruise. Which put me in the embarrassing position of defending the kitchen for its errors, and assuring newbies that “it isn’t usually like this.” Let us pray that this is so.


    Here is a partial list of culinary crimes. Soup was always initially served at room temperature. (On one occasion I had to send it back twice to get it warmed.) If meat was ordered medium it came rare. If ordered well done it came rare. And rarely, very rarely, at higher than room temperature. Side orders of vegetables arrived in cute little domed dishes; the dome preserved only their tepid temps. Fish ordered cooked through never was. Repeat, never. (To be fair, on one occasion on the second attempt the kitchen got my wife’s fish done right and served hot.) Somehow the lamb chops escaped the kitchen’s confusion and arrived perfectly done. Not so a NY strip which made up in toughness what it lacked in flavor. A restaurant manager observed me sawing away with a steak knife, and offered a replacement. But having waited almost an hour for the meat’s appearance I decided to quit while ahead. Early in the cruise I requested venison for an evening meal 3 days hence to permit marinating. It was perfect in taste, texture and color. Later, venison appeared on the standard menu and I asked for it. It arrived blood rare, tough and clearly without benefit of marinating. The offered shrimp appetizer consisted of smallish shrimps artfully arranged on a plate with spots of cocktail sauce flanking each one. And a good thing too, as the shrimp had little taste. (The Colonnade version was slightly more familiar, with one very large shrimp reigning over a collection of micro-sized ones.) An attempt to save money? I wonder.) Service took forever, the wait between courses was often interminable.


    Part of the explanation for this exceedingly disappointing experience may be that the kitchen was struggling to adjust to a new ordering system. At least some waiters were using mini-pads, and while that might speed up the process for standard orders, if you requested more of this or less of that, the waiter would freeze as he tried to find how to enter your nonstandard request. No one that I observed blamed the wait staff, as the problem clearly lay in the galley.


    But the result was that The Restaurant experience was approached with apprehension—a feeling that too often proved justified.


    My wife chatted with some very experienced Seabourn cruisers who opined that they could detect a general reduction in the quality in the ensuite bed linen and paper goods, a view to which my wife also subscribes. (As an insensitive brute, I have no comment.)


    I liked Seabourn a lot. I trusted Seabourn to deliver an exceptional experience. Which they did, though not one to be proud of.


    Dining used to be among the special pleasures of a Seabourn cruise. Perhaps in the future it will be again.

  13. Apologies for being silly about the ribs - obviously you were not meant to eat them with your fingers if baked beans were also involved. Talking of which, they might not have been Heinz, but still - baked beans?[/quote

    Madam, beans in various forms--with bits of pork, or bacon, or rind, or molasses--are one of the classic accompaniments to ribs.

  14. I'm not sure that i am aware of the benign influence of officers on a cruise. I have observed--I think I have related this before--the captain of the Legend who passed by the Skybar in the early afternoon as an inebriated and obnoxious passenger was berating the bartender for some imagined slight. The captain paused, leaned towards the offending pax, and said, in a steely and ominous tone, "No one on this ship will abuse my crew. Ever. If you wish to remain aboard..." I remember thinking as the discourteous passenger retreated that his departure was the definition of "slunk." Cannot recall if he was from Jacksonville, Florida or, perhaps Yorkshire, as to some ears the accents are easily confused. Any roads...

    Welcome back, Marianh.

    A bit more seriously, if the cruise proceeds smoothly, we credit the executives, on the bridge and off. Only when we have a problem that requires intervention, from the hot man or the bridge, do we really award marks for performance.

    There are a couple of particularly nettlesome situations that are a litmus test for executive action. One, the folk next to you insist on smoking in their cabin. And for another, there is noise from above or across the companionway caused by the crew that disrupts your sleep. Far more serious than a sloppy waiter or a bartender who can't make a Hemingway Daiquiri. Having been the, er, object? (or subject?) of both circumstances on SB, I regret to say that while much sympathy, if not empathy, was exuded by the hotel manager, the offending circumstances were not resolved.

  15. Just back from Barcelona to Bergen. Viking Star is truly beautiful. She offers a serenely elegant design that has nothing to do with glittering chandeliers and faux gilt ornamentation. The designers did a marvelous job, with an eye to detail that is astounding. Stair railings are covered in leather, the elevators have LED lighting around the bottom, and the deck number is shown in the elevator and opposite the opening doors. And on and on. Viking is generous, too. While some cruise lines prohibit you from bringing wine aboard, and others charge a corkage fee for consuming it in the dining room, Viking allows you to bring a reasonable amount of wine aboard and, without penalty, consume it in any dining area. The free wines offered at lunch and dinner ran the gamut from good to pretty bad. Always available was a cremant, Romer, that was quite palatable.Crew? Uniformly invested in courtesy and service. Maybe a tad over trained, as it was impossible to pass a crew member without being given a smile and a hello. To which, of course, you have to respond in kind. Our cabin attendant, Ayre, should be cloned by every cruise line. He was the definition of responsive, courteous and efficient. The food? Pretty good, with some glaring failures. The kitchen cannot make hash, nor chilli con carne. Cannelloni served in the restaurant was awful But osso buco was grand. Manfredi, the Italian restauant, was a notch better than elsewhere. The World Cafe, the buffet area, had its problems, too. Some mornings a carafe of coffee sat on every table. Some mornings, a request for coffee produced a waiter carrying a single cup. The brew in each was quite different. A request for English Breakfast tea mostly received "tropical" English Breakfast--an altogether different animal. Unsweetened ice tea was in short supply, as sweet peach tea always came instead.

    A few more crabby complaints. The shower would routinely switch from a selected temperature to scalding. (Eventually fixed by a plumber.) Several mornings there was no hot water at the sink, making shaving a chore. It wasn't fixed, but the problem did disappear. The IT system sometimes worked, sometimes didn't. Ditto the TV. But add it all up and you have a beautiful ship, an earnest crew, and a generous owner--viz. not just the wine policy, but free tours, walking or otherwise, in every port.

    So, welcome Viking Ocean. You made a very favorable first impression.

  16. The Barcelona port is fairly easy to navigate and easy to locate. We have used it a couple times and I don't anticipate problems locating VS.....it is not in our experience a stressful port like some can be.


    Thank you, all. As it happens, explicit directions are included in the docs Viking sent. I just didn't see them. But again, thank you for your kindness.

  17. Wondering how many of these kids there were. One poster said that there were 60 cabins full of them and another said 1,000 kids, which would be about half the passengers.


    The number of spring breakers was just over 1,000, according to the Guest Relations Manager. As someone suggested, there were several schools represented in great numbers--University of Central Florida, University of Miami, U of Michigan, and others.


    Earlier, someone posed the question of why someone who hadn't cruised X--or Princess or HAL--would choose this cruise. We were looking for a line on which we could take our son and his wife and their 5 kids--leaving behind the 2 dogs, 5 chickens and 3 goats. Our TA has sent many families to Celebrity, and suggested that this 5-nighter would be a good way to sample the line.

    It seemed, as the airplane designer said after the crash, like a good idea at the time.

    And actually it still does. We are just now poring over various Celebrity cruise options--or at least She Who Must be Obeyed is doing so.

    The only real abuse of crew members that I witnessed was at the Ocean View Bar, where bartenders Rolly and William somehow never lost their cool, despite the frequent vulgarity of their teenaged "customers."

    Did an officer see or hear this? I have no idea. Would they have acted if they had?

    I did observe a parallel incident (sort of) on a Seabourn cruise a few years ago. On SB, everything is included, meaning you can drink as much as you wish with no financial consequence. That has little effect on most people.

    But on this occasion a man parked himself at an outdoor bar in the early morning and (apparently) didn't leave his post for some hours. At some point he began to berate the bar tender in a loud and vicious manner. As it happened the Captain was walking past--the ship's officers on SB are very much in evidence--and he approached the man who was still cursing. "Sir," said the Captain. "on my ship no one abuses my crew, not even me."He raised a finger in warning. The drunk ignored him.

    The next morning the offender was put off the ship.

    I'm not drawing a comparison. Even the most action-oriented Captain wouldn't have kicked hundreds of passengers off the Constellation. What might have helped a bit was to broadcast far and wide that multiple spring breakers had been removed, and that anyone guilty of similar behavior would be treated the same way.

    I look forward to meeting all of you on another cruise.

  18. Writer100, I have enjoyed reading your comments on the March 7 Constellation booze cruise. My DW and I were your neighbors immediately to the left of your cabin. We agree with the majority of what you are saying. We are veterans of many 5 day Constellation cruises, and even with the awareness that March brings Spring Breakers, we were blind sided by the droves of unruly UCF students. No amount of due deligence could have predicted what we experienced. However, as with many others on the cruise, we did the best we could to adapt to our environment and managed to have a good time overall. Spending extra time on our balcony, reading and watching sunsets, was actually a plus. And striking up conversations, even if briefly, with charming passengers such as you and your DW, was very rewarding.


    We hope you don't give up on Celebrity. It is typically an elegant cruise line for its price point.


    Sir: How nice to hear from you! Indeed, my wife is charming. She has to be to make up for my, um, social shortfall. We haven't given up on Celebrity. It was possible to glimpse (just barely) what a normal cruise on Constellation might be like, and that vision is quite attractive.

    Just as a footnote to Celebrity's marketing practices, it used to be that the age at which you could purchase a beverage package was 25. That changed to 21 a few years ago.

    Look forward to sailing with you and your charming lady again.

  19. I'm sure no one on this board was ever a fun loving college student. Lighten up and let everyone enjoy their vacation the way they see fit. I would never consider asking or expect compensation from X because other people were having too much fun on board. In the future, you may want to avoid 5 day cruises leaving from Florida during spring break that call on well know party ports.

    Sir:Not only was I young once, but I worked at Playboy for a couple of years.If you think vomiting in the hallways is a measure of fun, or literally falling off a chair in El Bacio in a drunken stupor is fun, then you missed a great cruise.

    One evening I went back to our cabin to get my wife a sweater. On the elevator ride up, and then, a few minutes later down, a teenaged girl was half-curled in a corner of the elevator. She hadn't moved and was clearly wasted. I asked her if she needed help, and I got only a dreamy smile in response;I trust I don't need to explain wasted. There really are dangers inherent to excess drinking aboard ship. You might want to check and see the numbers of folks who go missing from cruise ships, including a chef from Celebrity's own Constellation. Excess alcohol is generally assigned as cause of the behaviot that leads to such disappearances.

  20. Thanks for your review. I never take cruises during March and April due to spring breaks (I did once on Crystal and vowed never to do it again). There are always the college crowd or families with children on during those time frames, even on Celebrity. I must say, I don't understand why one would think a cruise line owes them any compensation because of the age, rudeness, etc., of other passengers. I also don't think it is not up to Celebrity to explain who will be on their cruises....just a little due diligence by cruisers and this situation could have been avoided.


    Sir: I do agree that if we had known or suspected the presence of Girls (and Boys) Gone Wild on this cruise we would have opted to go elsewhere. We have, in fact, sailed on both Oceania and Seabourn to the Caribbean in March, though perhaps on itineraries that would not attract the hordes of kids.

    Do I really think Celebrity owes us--and the dozens of others who registered a complaint--something other than a cold shoulder?


    I do. Celebrity sold hundreds of cabins to groups of four college kids, with at least one Classic beverage package per cabin. As by rule, there must be one 21-year old per cabin, making it almost inevitable that underage drinking would take place, followed by behavior I won't detail here.


    If I sailed on the Constellation in anticipation of seeing shows in the Celebrity theater at the later time, and discovered that the theater was booked on successive late evenings for a group that had booked half the cabins en masse, would you think I was entitled to compensation? After all, I was denied access to an amenity featured in the cruise brochure as being available.

    In this case, the amenity was the pool, hot tubs and surrounding lounges.


    Let me contrast that with a premium line, unnamed, on which I (recklessly) booked a gty cabin. It turned out to be a lovely cabin, except that it was under an outdoor dining/bar area, to which the crew attended every morning at 5:00am, shoving furniture around as they hosed the deck, etc. I did ask the on board hotel manager if he could do something. He demurred.

    Back on land, my ta spoke to her contacts and compensation was awarded for a future cruise--a discount of several thousand dollars, and an upgrade to the highest available suite in the total category. Now, the leverage here may not be me, a single cruiser, but the significant volume that flows from this ta. Or maybe because the pax loads are smaller, and the prices much higher, the cruise line is (or should be, anyhow) more sensitive to good and bad consumer relations. Maybe?

    If I were Celebrity, would I care if this account, supplemented by others who "enjoyed" the same experience, went onto social media? I have no such intention, but good business would seem to suggest that soothing a customer is a better strategy than antagonizing him, or her.

    The contrast between the crew--overworked and no doubt under paid--and management's attitude was stark.

  21. Just back from a 5-day cruise to Key West and Cozumel, ports we had visited several times before. The Constellation--all 91,000 tons of her--was by far the biggest ship we have sailed on. And the pax total of 2100 the largest as well.

    (Just as background, our cruise experience is: 1 Regent, 4 Oceania, 5 Seabourn and 1 Crystal.)So we were a tad apprehensive about the ship's size and, well, culture.

    We are mindful that their is a price/value relationship in cruising as in everything else.

    With that background, here is a summary of good and bad.

    The Good. The crew were superb. Every bit as focused on passenger satisfaction as, say, on Seabourn or Crystal, though far more stressed by work load and the odd circumstances of this cruise. (See below.) Our cabin steward, Asep, was unfailing prompt at replacing towels and toiletries as needed, and cleaned and tidied the Aqua-class cabin efficiently. The cabin itself was certainly comfortable, offered plenty of storage, and would be a comfortable home for much longer than a 5-day cruise. Blu, the Aqua and suite class dining option, was perhaps the most refined place on the ship. Service here was amazingly good, waitstaff always cheerful and helpful. The experience flawed by inconsistent food, sometimes very good, sometimes terrible. A NY strip seemed a distant cousin, twice removed, from any such cut I've enjoyed elsewhere. Lamb chops one night were so tough the neighbor at the next table sent his back while I persevered, In truth, a circular saw would have helped. My wife's halibut served one evening was tough. (Rare to apply that word to a fish, but entirely accurate.) Soups and salads were always excellent, as was my wife's lamb shank one evening. Bartenders everywhere were focused, efficient, and the mixed drinks they offered were good. Only a gin and tonic disappointed, and we blame the drink's acid taste on the ice, which may have come from desalinated water.We never ate in the main dining room, but we did enjoy dinner one night in Ocean Liners, and it was excellent throughout. (Rather pointedly, the vast wine menu included only one wine by the glass that fell within the Classic beverage package.An irritating upsell)


    Embarkation was well-organized, staff was welcoming. Disembarkation was perhaps the very best we've experienced, partly because of the Port Everglades layout, partly because the whole process moved along at a fast pace. And the ship herself was a remarkably stable platform even in choppy seas.


    The Bad.There were more than 1,000 spring breakers on board. They completely monopolized the outdoor pool and got tubs, occasionally spitting into them. To be sure, there were many kids who behaved themselves. But there were many who did not. They crowded the bars, shoving each other (and others) demanding to be served, reacting venomously when told they could only buy one drink per card. About half-way through the cruise the bar tenders began to ask for proof of age, a minor barrier to service since phony id's seemed to be prevalent. Young men and women in bathing suits routinely appeared at El Bacio, crowded the elevators, bounced around and through the lines of people waiting at Ocean View Cafe.(The Captain addressed the passengers several times a day, always including a reminder of the dress code.) We were told that on 2 occasions security had to be called to the San Marco dining room to suppress fighting. Several young passengers were kicked off the ship in Key West. We noticed no diminution of noise or drinking.

    On three successive nights, we were awakened at 3:00am by a horde of intoxicated celebrants running up and down the Aqua corridor.


    Eventually we went to see the Guest Relations Manager. Well, I thought, she would offer us a meal at one of the premium restaurants, or a free massage, or? Not at all. She pointedly said that we should have known the composition of the passenger list. (More than parenthetically, there were seasoned Celebrity cruisers aboard who had no inkling of the cruise being a magnet for college kids.) Well, I said, when you market a cabin with an obstructed view, you label it as such, Surely if you knew the composition of this cruise, and the likely consequence, you could have alerted us. A shake of the head. What about some compensation--something, anything?


    "If I do it for you, I will have to do it for everyone else."


    I don't think any fair-minded person would accept that answer, It clearly implies that they sense an obligation to correct the dysfunctional aspects of the cruise, but choose not to because of the breadth of the compensation. Meaning they would have to offer some or many of the non-spring breakers something.

    I am sure that this cruise experience was not typical of Celebrity. I suspect that the stonewalling over compensation--mind you, the offer of a glass of champagne as a gesture would have been calming--is significant. In that it reflects a marketing viewpoint in which you the individual are relatively unimportant, and the crowd trumps all.

    Would we give Celebrity another try?

    Maybe. I honestly don't know. We did meet some people from Miami and Montreal whom we look forward to seeing again, and that alone suggests another cruise might be warranted. I'd certainly take the same crew, and ship. With equal certainty, a different itinerary and Guest Relations Manager, though.

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