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Everything posted by Alsmez

  1. The last time we sailed with a package (2018), they had no problem with us dining at Murano every night of our dining package. Rules may have changed since then. They also allowed us to order two appetizers and an entree, or an entree as an appetizer, etc. - but again, rules may have changed. In fact, I believe I remember reading in the fine print somewhere that they now charge an additional $20 for an extra entree. We are not big dessert eaters so our second appetizer typically took the place of dessert, which may be why they allowed it without extra charges. Their cheese course is available in addition to or in place of dessert.
  2. Yes, I read your excellent and comprehensive review - in fact, it's one of the things that convinced me to book! I haven't sailed in the Haven but if it is similar to the Retreat, and Crystal is like that on steroids, I'm sure we will love it. Our next X cruise is in an aft balcony and my husband is already complaining that he doesn't know if he can bear the indignity of no Retreat deck! 🙄🤣
  3. I can only speak to the difference between Celebrity M- and S-class since I haven't cruised other lines (except for one extremely boozy girls' trip on Carnival Spirit when I was MUCH younger!), but we prefer the S-Class for the greater variety of restaurants, lounges and live music, more spacious venues, more activities, the central atrium and lawn deck, layout and variety of the buffet (where we usually eat breakfast), more window shopping opportunities, more interesting artwork and decor throughout, etc. I found the actual number of passengers to be more or less irrelevant - in fact, despite carrying fewer people, Summit frequently felt more crowded than S-class ships given the fact that individual venues were so small. Cellar Masters, for instance, is nothing more than a glorified hallway on Summit. It seems as though Crystal has the dining and lounge issue well covered for our purposes, as well as activities. In combination with a much more port-intensive itinerary than the one we sailed on Summit, I am sure we will find plenty to do. I will also say that the piano bar is the ONE thing I loved about Carnival Spirit and that I wish Celebrity had, so I am especially looking forward to that!
  4. Thanks very much for your thorough and thoughtful response! No flames at all from me on the subject of children - I don't have any of my own and have zero desire to cruise with other people's. We purposely cruise during the school year and avoid school breaks to minimize the likelihood of children on board, but even that isn't a guarantee. I also find that where there are rowdy children, there are often also obnoxious parents/adults, which we also try to avoid! Refined service, better food, more interesting enrichment activities, etc. all sound wonderful and right up our alley. My worry is more about the actual size of the ship than anything else. We have no interest in the megaships, but have found that S-Class ships are much more to our liking than M-Class (hence our interest in Edge/Apex). However, if the activities and lounges on Crystal suit us well, it shouldn't matter nearly as much. I went ahead and paid the deposit on Crystal this afternoon - I chose a starboard aft room on 8 with an extra-deep balcony. We have until November to make final payment, but I am excited for this trip and hopefully after a month of thinking about it, DH will be too!
  5. That is too bad! It does sound like the entertainment and enrichment options will be much more plentiful than on Summit, though, so hopefully we will find plenty of other things to enjoy. I am definitely warming to the idea of this cruise, especially since the price is so incredibly attractive!
  6. This is exactly the type of thing I like to hear! My husband is allergic to people, LOL. I don't mind a rowdy party once in a while but we are generally much happier with fewer crowds.
  7. I forgot to mention, this is our practice on Celebrity unless we are in Aqua or a suite - we stopped going to the MDR after our first or second cruise. More specifically, we dine in Murano most nights and make a token visit to Tuscan Grille and/or Sushi on 5 once or twice. We chose a suite for our Summit cruise because there is no Murano on that ship and we knew we wouldn't be happy with the limited specialty options.
  8. Thanks everyone for your thoughts thus far. We are major food and wine lovers and greatly enjoyed the service level of the "suite" life on Summit, so those things are what really appeal to me about Crystal. We always avoid the crowds at the pool and prefer to lounge on our own balcony (or on Summit, on the Retreat deck) during busy times - we get our pool time in the early evening when most are getting ready for dinner (we always dine late). While we enjoy the occasional loud dance party, we prefer a piano bar or more sedate lounge atmosphere in the evenings. We are professional classical musicians so we never have terribly high expectations for musical shows, but we do appreciate a decent comedian or dance/acrobatic type act. On S-Class ships, we tend to spend our sea days strolling around the ship, enjoying the artwork and occasionally live music, maybe stopping for a drink or a trivia game, window shopping and discovering all of the interesting nooks and crannies those ships offer. We missed being able to do this on Summit - it was so small that we basically had the entire ship memorized by the end of the first day. There weren't many interesting daytime activities (the one lecture we attended was deathly boring), live music was very limited, and the ship really shut down around 9pm (except for the Casino, which we don't use).
  9. DH and I (mid-40s) are semi-regular Celebrity cruisers, with four S-Class and one M-Class cruise under our belts over the last 10 years. We love the S-Class ships, but were less impressed with our last cruise on Summit in 2019. We were planning to try MSC's Yacht Club and Celebrity Edge next, but COVID got in the way. Our Edge cruise was moved to 2023 and we canceled MSC entirely due to their lax vaccination policy (I understand they have tightened it for Caribbean sailings but I don't want to take the chance they will relax it again). Anyway, I was idly browsing cruises to replace the Jan 2022 MSC trip and noticed that there are some GREAT prices on Crystal right now - in some cases, a week in a balcony on the Symphony is selling for less than the same week in an aft balcony on Edge/Apex. Very tempting prices for a luxury line! I put a room on hold, but I am wondering whether we will find Crystal boring. As I mentioned, Summit was not our favorite ship - there was simply not enough to do, and the NYC-Bermuda itinerary left us with quite a bit of time at sea. The Symphony itinerary looks more interesting, and of course after two years of staying home, I'm sure we'll just be thrilled to be on a ship, but I do still worry that we are likely to find such a small ship a bit boring overall. How does she compare to Celebrity's M-Class? And how have COVID restrictions affected shipboard entertainment and activities? Thanks in advance for your input!
  10. Glad you had a great time. I just canceled our January 2022 cruise on MSC, but I debated all the way up to final payment day because of exactly what you describe. Sailing on one of these ships at half capacity sounds like heaven! MSC's vaccination policy is changing too frequently for my comfort but perhaps we will consider a trip on X this winter. Otherwise, we'll have to wait for our Edge 2023 trip. 😪
  11. We were supposed to do the ABCs on Silhouette in Jan 2022, but put it off a year so that we can do the ABCs on Edge in Jan 2023. Silhouette is a great ship, but we have sailed her a few times and are eager to try out E-class. The ABC itinerary looks terrific regardless of ship.
  12. Yes, because the snow could just as easily occur the day before, meaning you are left scrambling to find a day-of flight (which will likely be full of other people trying to do the same thing). I watch the weather and change our flights in advance accordingly when we fly during the winter. Much easier to change before the snow hits than after.
  13. Not necessarily. Bad weather can just as easily delay or cancel your day-before flight and leave you scrambling for another day-of, when you would have been fine if you had just booked the day-of flight in the first place. We try to fly Southwest as much as possible so that we can change without penalty at the last minute should the weather forecast indicate a big snowstorm or something on our original flight date, but we'll pay a change fee too, if we must.
  14. There are plenty of YC rooms with balconies. We chose a YC Inside for our upcoming MSC cruise because it is our first cruise with MSC, and since we don't know if we will like the line or ship, we didn't want to spend a lot of money on a cruise that might be disappointing. The inside room lets us enjoy all of the YC amenities (which we KNOW we will like!) at an extremely reasonable price. We find we don't use our balcony that much on ships that have nice outdoor areas anyway, especially if said outdoor areas are private/uncrowded. Our last cruise was in a sky suite on Summit and we spent most of our outdoor time on the Retreat sundeck enjoying the excellent service - I think we sat on our balcony maybe two or three times the entire week.
  15. This is our policy if we have to connect or it's longer than a 3-hour flight to the destination. If we can fly directly to the port city, we are comfortable with day-of travel as long as we are on the earliest flight out. From NYC, that means we are fine flying day-of for all East Coast and Florida departures, but we would definitely go a day ahead for Caribbean or West Coast departures, probably New Orleans/Galveston as well. Our policy may change once we start traveling again, though, since there are fewer flights available these days.
  16. We are X fans but our next cruise is on MSC Seashore in YC in Jan 2022. We are hoping they change their Vax policy by then, but we shall see. No plans to ever sail any of the family-oriented lines but open to all others, although we tend to prefer larger ships which would eliminate some of the luxury lines. It depends on itinerary, though, and what we are looking for in a specific trip.
  17. Good to know. We tend to eat late so no major concerns there. I found a thread by the late, great vtcruising with a lot of excellent info as well:
  18. Looking forward to more input on this topic as Edge returns to the water. We have an 11-night booked in 2023 and plan to split our meals more or less evenly between Specialty and MDR. We have never been impressed with the MDR on S-class so hoping that the four-restaurant concept results in better food and service.
  19. Tons of great info on this thread: We decided that deck 8 was the sweet spot for our 2023 Edge cruise. It will be our first time in an aft balcony - can't wait!
  20. Ugh, this is my worst nightmare!
  21. I believe the current practice is to give patrons a $35 credit toward their meal in Raw on 5 (since the prices there are a la carte). All other restaurants with the exception of the Magic Carpet are included.
  22. For my money on an S-class ship, Aqua is worth about $25 more per day per person than a regular balcony, simply because Blu is an upgrade from the MDR. If Aqua costs more than that (and sometimes even if it costs less), we would prefer to spend the $25+ per day on specialty restaurants to upgrade our dining experience. The Persian Gardens are a nice perk but can be crowded, making it difficult to get your "money's worth," so I don't really factor that into the equation (except on Reflection, where the PG is larger and more interesting than other ships).
  23. All else equal, we would choose Reflection, but Equinox is a wonderful ship as well. If the Equinox itinerary is better or the price much better, I wouldn't hesitate to choose Equinox.
  24. Resort-casual pants will work fine for the MDR on Celebrity. I basically live in loose linen pants on Caribbean cruises and I have never felt underdressed even in specialty restaurants on Celebrity. Pair them with a nicer-than-tshirt top and cute sandals for evening and you're good to go.
  25. I fully understand that 100% will be impossible given the presence of children under 12, etc. My question was really whether MSC has shown any inclination to follow the lead of the major US lines and begin requiring that all adults be vaccinated. As far as I have gleaned from internet reports, the answer is no at this point, although as a couple of early responders pointed out, they may change their tune (willingly or not) when they begin sailing from US ports. Time will tell, and of course the entire landscape may look different by the time December (or even final payment for December) rolls around. I just find it rather odd that any cruise line would find it worth the risk (whether real, perceived or media/reputational) to allow unvaccinated adults on board.
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