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flowery

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About flowery

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  1. If you haven't sailed on Crystal before, you might be surprised by the staterooms. We were in a deluxe stateroom with a verandah and during a "Stateroom Open House" toured the Penthouse with Verandah and the PH Suite with Verandah. All stateroom categories were disappointing compared to newer ships like the Celebrity Reflection. The Crystal deluxe stateroom with verandah is no better than regular balcony rooms on other cruise lines. And not as good as an Aqua Spa Celebrity Constellation upper deck stateroom. Frankly, the penthouses on Crystal shocked me- no comparison with the Celebrity Suite on the Reflection. Also, the desserts on the Serenity were disappointing. Pastries aren't as good as Celebrity's Cafe al Bacio. Our Crystal room attendant wasn't as good as our Azamara Journey attendant, or the best ever, who was on Princess (but overall really disliked Princess and would not sail with them again- I disagree with a Celebrity passenger who told me once that the two lines were comparable). The butler on the Celebrity Reflection was adorable but too eager- had to keep the do not disturb sign up most of the time. But overall, we prefer Crystal and our next sailing will probably be with them. The public areas during the day are often empty- we usually had the big public aft deck to ourselves. Fellow passengers were very friendly and interesting- since we were on a shorter 7 day cruise it probably attracted a younger demographic- 30s, 40s and 50s on our particular sailing. Food quality on Crystal is superior to Celebrity in all venues except for desserts. I agree with the others that the mass lines are not as good as they used to be decades ago. But we would go back to Celebrity to a non suite room again especially if we are taking extended family and need to economize. I always feel safe with Celebrity- they seem to be organized and reliable with a fun, lively vibe and great options in the evening.
  2. I'm realizing another issue is noise. On our first cruise 25 yrs ago, we were happy with a boisterous MDR. I had been thinking we were getting jaded as the luxury level of our vacations has increased but it occurs to me aging is now a factor- too much ambient noise is a problem for us in our 60s- sort of stressful and unrelaxing. The buffet on the Serenity was great for lunch- the first cruise buffet that I've liked. We also thought the included wine options were nice. Thanks everyone for your comments! If we decide to invite some friends along, that would take care of the two top dilemma.
  3. Thanks ClefsDor for the warning and advice! Is the seating situation any better on other luxury cruise lines? Overall, I've found the food quality at specialty dining venues on most cruise lines disappointing. Silk Road was just OK except loved the black cod at breakfast! Prego was quite poor (might have ordered the wrong thing) and Tastes was pretty good.
  4. Overall we had a great experience on the Serenity a few years ago but I disliked the seating arrangements in the MDR. Most nights we were seated in a long row of two tops with couples on either side of us about 24 inches away. So I felt compelled to make animated conversation with others. The first night or two with wine as a lubricant, this was fine and fun but for an introvert, very draining night after night. My husband, an extrovert, can't relate. Prego and Tastes allowed for more private dining but Silk Road was also too tight. My favorite cruise dining experience so far was in the suite class Luminae dining room on the Celebrity Reflection- lots of room between tables, nicely paced (not too slow), very good food, not too noisy. However, not a fan of Celebrity Aqua Class Blu dining (average food and agonizingly slow). Celebrity suite prices are quite high now- higher than Crystal Verandah rooms. Is there any way around this seating issue in the Serenity MDR? Could we tip the maitre d for a more private table? Is the seating more spacious on Oceania or Seabourne? We haven't tried those lines yet. Actually enjoy dining with strangers a time or two on each cruise at a large table for lunch or dinner when we choose to do so- but don't like it being forced upon us. Any advice most appreciated! Thank you!
  5. Thanks everyone for the good wishes! We can't believe our luck!!
  6. We just switched from a mini suite on tomorrow's sailing to a balcony midship one floor up (Aloha). Full cruise fare X2 passengers returned in form of OBC with a check mailed to us at the end for the remainder. Excited!
  7. Caribill- you are right about ships not having digital thermostats- I realized that after I posted. It would be impossible to do an "override" yourself but when I have needed an adjustment the maintenance guys bring tools and open something up so I'm sure it could be done. Maybe I will try a big tip :) We will be on Princess for the first time in a few weeks and I hate the thought of waking up in a sweat!! Especially in the hot and steamy Panama Canal and S Caribbean. Maybe if enough people complain they will do something about it. We always request a blanket - can't understand the appeal of down or synthetic filled comforters nowadays in every hotel room in every season including summer! If I could get the thermostat down to 64 or lower I'd be happy to sleep under down!
  8. We've experienced overheated motel/hotel rooms everywhere at every star level in the last 10 years. The culprit is the owner's interest in "energy savings" at the expense of guest comfort. It's very rare now to find a property where you have total control over your thermostat. I can only think of a few- one was an old fashioned 5 star old hotel that hadn't updated their heating and a/c. Here's the problem: all the new thermostats have "presets" and a set range- at night, the range is deliberately stingy so you wake up in a sweat. These presets are often accompanied by motion and door/window sensors. If you hear the fan come on when you walk into a room or get up at night and move around, you know you're under the control of a "preset." The good news is that you can "override" these presets. Just google "override your hotel room thermostat and set it as hot or cold as you like." The solution is easy and involves holding down certain buttons, some simultaneously. If you see a message that says VIP or BP on your digital thermostat screen you know your fix has worked. Or call for help although the maintenance staff doesn't like to admit the thermostats have presets. I'm sure cruise ships are now using the same technology as land based hotels. Fortunately, we haven't had a problem with cabins overheating at night on our last two cruises but we weren't on Princess. On our last cruise, Crystal to Alaska this past July, the cabin was too warm and stuffy during the day but it was corrected quickly after calling for an adjustment. I'm in complete agreement with the OP- overheated rooms at night cause a terrible and restless sleep. Another issue can be waterproof mattress pads - - dissect your bedding and see what's under the bottom sheet if you're waking up in a sweat and it's not the ambient room temp. A Celebrity ship last year had waterproof or water resistant mattress pads on their new mattresses.
  9. OK- thanks for your replies. Now I know what happened- I like to use an internet discounter with a fabulous "custom search" option when researching itineraries. I just assumed all their info was correct/up to date and didn't check every port on their listing against the Princess website. I actually like Jamaica but would have rather gone to Grand Cayman. The Cayman Islands used to have a terrible mosquito problem but after introducing genetically modified mosquitoes, things really improved.
  10. Some people have no concept of germ theory and how illness is transmitted. They are oblivious, not necessarily being inconsiderate. Plenty of parents send their kids to school and to other appointments when they are sick rather than cancel. Most of them understand germ theory but don't care. If I had a serious condition such as congestive heart failure but felt well enough to travel, I would reassure those sitting near me on a bus that I had a chronic condition that wasn't contagious. In a quiet situation, where the group was listening to a speaker, a musician etc. I would move away from people or avoid the situation altogether. I've been at the symphony with a tickle in my throat- if throat lozenges and sips of water don't help, I wait out in the hall.
  11. I haven't seen a posting about this. I just noticed a change on Jan 5- the Coral is now docking in Ocho Rios, Jamaica instead of Grand Cayman due to "congestion at Grand Cayman" -too many ships there on the 5th according to a Princess rep. This change was confirmed on Sept 1!
  12. We were on a Mediterranean cruise a few years ago and I got sick from the tour guides! I had booked two private, independent tours in Turkey. The first exposure was to a guide who was almost whispering because of laryngitis. A few days later, another guide brought her sick 18 y/o daughter along as an "assistant." Stupidly, I didn't speak up and half way through the cruise became ill followed by at least 6 wks of a hacking cough. This post is a good reminder to be proactive and whenever possible, speak up, avoid such situations/exit ASAP. Thank you OP for posting. I know there are a few chronic, non contagious conditions that can cause coughing but such persons should be mindful of others and sit away from them. I recently attended a conference with an elderly gentleman sitting directly behind me who coughed every 10 seconds the entire day. This was very rude- I'm sure he wasn't contagious but he should've seated himself at the back or near a side entrance and not in the middle of the audience!
  13. Now that we are back from our cruise, I wanted to thank everyone who posts on this forum and gave us Vancouver suggestions. Keith- we switched from Pac Rim to Pan Pacific hotel because of you and also, had read on tripadvisor that Pan Pacific will deliver luggage directly to the port and has never lost a piece yet. The views (and activity) from our room were one of the highlights of our trip! Truly spectacular 200 degree panorama. If I can figure out how to post a video I'll do it. We weren't on the club level but apparently there's one of these corner rooms on each floor and we received an upgrade as members of the hotel group- Omni is part of this group. Pan Pacific must have the best harbor views of any hotel in the city! Our bedding was outstanding, the room was very spacious and updated and the breakfast buffet was great. Restaurants- unfortunately, we weren't in Vancouver long enough to experience many meals. Phnom Penh for lunch was delicious and worth the 30 min wait. While waiting, we browsed adjacent shops in Chinatown selling exotic dried animal parts and herbs for Eastern, traditional medicine and purchased some of the best ever blueberries from a market selling fresh produce. Kirin was OK- pretty good. Martincath- we tried to get in at Dynasty Seafood but their only openings were too late. Thanks so much to you and Claudia for your recommendations. Tracy's Crabshack in Juneau- we made the mistake of ordering frozen King Crab and it was mediocre- I'm sure the fresh Dungeness would've been delicious. Caroldoll- so glad you and others suggested a private car for the Vancouver airport. We had delays, and it was very late. Such a relief to see someone holding up a placard with our name! There were no taxis around at that hour. Global Entry Cards- we had a strange experience coming back into the US with our rental car from a day trip to the Yukon. US and Canadian Border Patrol share the same office outside of Skagway. CBP claimed my husband's Global Entry Card had not been updated with his new passport number- I thought I had changed it online (with some difficulty). He has traveled internationally recently (Europe) without difficulty- so I don't know for sure what the problem was- we need to look into it. They pulled us aside and we had to wait around their office for about 20 mins. Whittier disembarkation- we regretted following Crystal's conservative advice not to book any flights until 2p or later. People with 10a flights out of Anchorage had no difficulty. The earliest disembarkation group assembled at 6:25a, the second at 6:30a and so on until around 8:30a. The earliest groups arrived at the airport by 9am. If you want to be super cautious in case of tunnel delays, 11a flights should be late enough. Ours was the only cruise ship in Whittier that day (which probably contributed to the speed) and we breezed out of the terminal- no immigration or customs- just a quick hand luggage screening. Our suitcases were taken by separate truck to the airport. Thanks again everyone- this is a great board! Our Crystal experience was excellent and we loved Alaska.
  14. Thanks so much Doglover for your original post about Perry- because of it we made a point of going to his show and it was hysterical. One of the best ever! We went back a few nights later and it was the exact same songs and jokes so not as entertaining for us the second time around but his hard core fans seemed to enjoy it just as much!
  15. Agree with Morneau that the service for tables dining by reservation in the main dining room was not great. We were so happy with the food though that it was easy to overlook the problems we encountered. We also broke up the routine by alternating with specialty restaurants. The maitre d asked if we had sailed Crystal before and seemed to deliberately place us with other newcomers in rows of two tops- inches from each other and with the wine flowing, we had a lot of fun talking with others. However, after two nights of this, sort of a cocktail party feeling, we didn't want a third so my husband discreetly had an "understanding" with the maitre d and we got a table for two, away from others and next to a window. The problem we encountered initially when dining by reservation was rushed service. The food on the Serenity wasn't perfect- at almost every meal, we had to send something back but 75% of the dishes were wonderful and the staff was so gracious and eager to please, dining was a wonderful experience. Also, if they saw you didn't eat much of an entree, the waiter would inquire and then later, a supervisor would come by checking on things. If Crystal opened a restaurant on land we would dine there. That's about the highest recommendation I can give for cruise or resort food. But Morneau is right- if the service was like what we experienced in Dining by Reservation (as opposed to fixed seating) we might not go back. I can think of two reasons for the rushed service: poor tips for the DBR waiters and making room for the final fixed seating.
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