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ChucktownSteve

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Posts posted by ChucktownSteve

  1. BSR, I would have your TA ask Regent if their OBC is refundable.  I asked my TA who then called Regent. She was told that the agent OBC would not be refundable so I requested her to send a rebate check, in the amount, following the cruise.  IMO better to be informed instead of surprised then have to scramble to spend it if it is indeed NR.

  2. On 3/5/2021 at 9:54 AM, lorimay said:

     just went into the cruise planner for my November cruise and noticed that they are offering "Perks Extra" and "Perks Ultra" packages I have not seen before. I'm not being sarcastic when I say that the math for these packages just doesn't add up for me. 

     

    The Perks Extra package is $59.95 per person per day. For that you get a $225 excursion credit, one dinner in a specialty restaurant, upgraded internet for one device, and one bag of laundry. The Perks Ultra gives you a bigger excursion credit, three specialty dinners and unlimited digital photos, but it's $99.95 per person per day.

     

    When I price out the Extra package I can't see where it gets me any advantage over paying things separately except they get my money in advance. You can't even book your specialty restaurant in advance. Am I missing something?

     

    Good for you figuring out their fuzzy math.  XX is probably hoping most won't be able to calculate as you did so the passengers will overpay for what they get thinking they're getting a deal.  I'll bet at least one regular cheerleader on this board will think it's a good deal.

  3. We received two $333 FCCs last week for no reason.  After my TA did a deep dive into the fully paid L&S which transferred at a protected rate she was able to determine that the FCC was issued on that cruise but XX reduced our paid amount by $333pp.  So we now owe $666 (the sign of the devil) on the fully (sic) paid cruise.  Good thing we didn't spend it on another XX cruise since it was a phantom credit.  We told her to apply it back to whence it came.  Glad we didn't have to deal with this at final payment time thinking we were paid up.

     

    Did XX lay off the smart employees?

  4. 33 minutes ago, jelayne said:


    I agree that Azamara is a premium line not a  luxury line, they however use the term luxury in their descriptions.

     

    XX uses the term luxury as well in their description.  Guess it has no true meaning to RCG. But they don't walk the walk...just talk the talk.

  5. 4 hours ago, hamrag said:

     

    Luxury lines do that, Azamara is premium. You cannot compare the standard included spirits with Celebrity as they are additional to fare, unless included as a 'free' offer.

     

    We thought the drink offerings were very acceptable, and $16 pppd is a very low price to upgrade compared to any other cruiseline.

     

    Actually XX now includes the classic liquor package in the fare.  The caveat is they jacked up the cruise price to include/cover it plus they force the WiFi buy too.  They claim it's "Always Included."  Which really means, "it's always hidden charges."

     

    As a side note to Jelayne, I have to upgrade the package on AZ for JW Black but it also is not included in XX's Classic package either.

  6. 8 hours ago, wrk2cruise said:

    Any refundable OBC remaining on our onboard account is returned to your credit card at the end of the cruise.  If you are like us when traveling in a suite we have a hard enough time spending the $800 non refundable OBC so we treat the TA refundable OBC as a discount on the cruise fare.

     

    If you don't mind a suggestion.  Instead of letting the OBC credit go back to your credit card and having them take the cash back reward on the amount refunded, why not go to guest services and have them peel the cash out to you?  That's what I do. 

     

    On my Apex S1 suite next year, I'm getting $550 refundable OBC from my TA on a Base Cruise price of $4,812.  It's about 11.5% additional savings.  That's the reason why I use the TA instead of booking directly because I'm still getting the $300 NR OBC and the retreat perks. Taking the cash at guest services let's me keep the $16.50 reward.  BTW the current price for the same cabin category is now $5,800 more than my booking.

  7. 5 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

    No, I don't use the Costco credit card. The 2% cash back is for purchases and travel no matter how paid for. 

     

    The Canadian Costco credit card does not give 3% cash back across the board. It gives:

    3% - restaurants

    2% - gas

    1% - all other purchases

    Consequently, I do better with other cards.

     

    Similarly, the "cheques" can not be cashed in here. We can get change from a purchase now, as noted by @MamaFej, but more often than not our purchase are large and any changed received minimal.

     

    I would use other cards too if I had the same cash back as y'all.  Here Costco is 4% gas, 3% restaurants and travel with 2% + 2% executive Costco purchases.

  8. 54 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

     

    The 2% cash back on purchases, including travel, has always come in the form of a "cheque", but it isn't true cash back in that it can only be spent at the store. So, while not plastic gift cards like the ones given for cruises, the paper "cash back" cheques work in the same way.

     

    Fouremco, If you're talking about the Costco credit card, in the U.S. we get 3% cash back for travel and I have the Business executive card so get another 2%.  Many people believe that you have to use the checks at Costco for your purchase.  You don''t.  I ask for cash back on every check at the register; I receive 3 each year...two Costco credit cards and the extra Executive cash back. But I then pay for my purchase with my Costco credit card so I'm getting the full cash back on the whole purchase.  Many people don't realize it can be done that way in the U.S.  Try it in Canada and see if it works.

     

    I book all my cruises with my Costco credit cards either directly or with my TA so I get the full cash back regardless. Then my TA gives me refundable OBC or a cash rebate if the cruise line like Regent doesn't do the cash back..

  9. I had a good example just today of why I use a TA.  This past week XX sent us two FFCs totalling $666 for no reason.  (yeah I know that's the sign of the devil)  We had a devil of a time trying to figure it out.  My TA, digging through XX records on my account, was able to determine that it was due to when I did a lift and shift. 

     

    I paid $XXX for the Jan '21 cruise.  The exact amount transferred to the new Feb '22 cruise.  The L&S was done last Nov.  When my TA called XX today, they couldn't tell her why the FCCs were issued.  She figured it out though.  It seems XX reduced the amount transferred on the cruise by $333 each and issued the FCCs which now needed to be added back to bring my payment whole again to what I paid. 

     

    I never would have had access to the records and the XX rep couldn't tell my TA what or why it happened.  So without her diligence, I would have spend hours and hours going around with XX to figure out the insane accounting and shell game.  

     

    Every time I need to do something on a reservation, I make one quick call to her.  Then she deals with XX and the details (including hold times) before getting back with me to let me know it's done.

     

    Not to mention that their agency belongs to Ensemble so I receive extra OBC when she can put me in their group in addition to my TA's regularly given high amount of refundable OBC.                

  10. In January I booked three Regent cruises directly with a Regent rep.  They were then all transferred to my TA.  There were no extra charges or changes in the booking. The transfer was completed within a day.  I can only speak to my experiences. Good luck with your situation.

  11. It depends upon whether you're buying the coverage from the cruise line or an insurance company and what coverage you want.

     

    If you want to be covered for pre-existing conditions, as 2 cruises a year indicated, you have that short window to purchase from the initial deposit.  That doesn't mean you can't buy the policy after that, you just won't be covered for pre-existing medical conditions.

  12. 1 hour ago, Schmoe38 said:

    Heather

     

    Unless you have not done any of the previous Power Up Points activities, you may not get over the threshold on this one. As mentioned previously, this is an opportunity for those cruisers who have not yet earned any Power Up Points.

     

    If you have previously earned PUPs, I’m not sure there is anything preventing you from completing the quiz, just resist the temptation to call Captain’s Club if the points don’t get credited.


    If you haven’t yet earned points right from the comfort of your own home, here’s your chance. Simply read the above section about our Europe 2022 season and then click “Take Quiz” to take a short quiz. You’ll earn 20 Power Up Points (2 Club Points) for answering the questions correctly. Be sure to submit your answers by March 3.


    Randy

     

    Randy,  I believe it is trying to get new participants into the PUP game not be restricted to them by that sentence.  After I participated it told me I had answered them correctly and will be awarded the points.  I have participated before.

  13. On 2/17/2021 at 12:13 PM, Seahorse99 said:

    I was also on Celebrity Mercury in 2004, but do not have photos to share. The Mercury was a really nice, spacious ship perfect for viewing the Inside Passage. I had a float plane trip in Ketchikan which was really fun. All in all, I prefer HAL to Celebrity, though Celebrity did have some good points. The friendliness of HAL’s crew is really special. 

     

    Here's one from the Mercury you might remember.

     

    Deck 14 Celebrity Mercury.jpg

  14. 18 hours ago, jelayne said:

    Just saw on  that Azamara has extended the Suspension of Sailing through June 30?

    Wonder when. Celebrity will make a announcement.?

     

    It will definitely be after all final payments for the period.  I had a June Azamara Greece cruise I knew last month wouldn't go so I took the cancellation penalty rather than do the first week in February final payment date.  I've already had a fully paid 2022 XX cruise after final payment.  Didn't want to give RCG more money before re-booking at an Azamara prevailing rate.

  15. 7 minutes ago, paulh84 said:

    Celebrity - 'Always Included '- Drinks, Tips, WiFi

     

    Princess - 'Best Sale Ever'...Gets Better! Drinks, WiFi, Gratuities, Specialty Dining, Stateroom Upgrade

     

    Holland America - 'View & Veranda' Upgrade Event! Big Stateroom Upgrade, Beverage Package, 10% excursions, Free Specialty Dining and More.

     

    NCL - 'The Big Deal!" Take 5. Open Bar, Specialty Dining, Excursion, WiFi and Kids 

     

    MSC - Upgrade for OBC, Drinks Package, complimentary massage, and specialty dining 

     

    Clearly the industry thinks people want a simplified approach. I would say Royal goes in the opposite direction with their endless bundles with constant price changes but apparently it works for them. I've never understood why people get so riled up about this. 1980's style cruising is done and over with.

     

    Yes but the smart consumer understands that most of the promotions are gimmicks whereby the cruise line raises the price to include them.  So the value proposition is what is the bottom line cost for the cabin with the "perks" included?  Then whether the cruiser wants the perks that are included for the higher price.

     

     

  16. 44 minutes ago, LGW59 said:

    focus on people who love to cruise, enjoy fine dining ( formal or casual).  While not trying to introduce a new market segment into cruising??  What they are doing makes very smart business sense, people who love cruising are not going anywhere, despite what they say.  Without COVID, APEX and EDGE would have been sailing at full or near full capacity, as will the revolutionized ships, IMO.

     

    Just because you're an XX loyalist doesn't mean people who love cruising will put up with XX.  Since XX started their tactics I, and probably a lot more people than you suspect, have been booking with other cruise lines besides XX. 

     

    AI has had a huge impact on people who don't want to be forced to pay for liquor when they don't drink or internet they won't use.

     

    While we may include XX in future consideration, I know it will be not before 2023 for me because I already have three Regent sailings that I booked within the last month that sail through early '23.

     

  17. 15 minutes ago, phoenix_dream said:

    Unlike some other posters (who are certainly welcome to their opinions), I feel the same as you.   It is the older age group who is going to ultimately keep them from going under, as we will be the ones who are first vaccinated and therefore able to cruise much sooner, as I'm sure vaccination will be required at least for some period of time.  

     

    I think until people reach the "golden years" they really don't understand the concept of ageism, which can manifest itself in so many ways,  many of which are very subtle.  When you are in the group of people who in essence built the cruise line to the success it is today through years of loyalty, and then feel pushed aside as the line dedicates itself to trying to please an entirely different group of people you feel it.  We of course all understand that eventually we will no longer be able to cruise so new customers need to be enticed (keeping in mind at the same time that for many of us, that is a good 15-20 years away, god willing).  Marketing 101.  Understandable and no issue with that.  But Celebrity has taken that to a whole new level and markets, designs, plans, etc.. their ships and experiences with an eye only to that group, pushing to the side the preferences of their years loyal passengers.  It's pretty insulting IMHO.  I honestly don't think that younger people can really understand this in the visceral way that we can.  And this is not an insult to their intelligence - I know I could not until I got here.

     

    Personally I don't care if they market to the youngsters.  When they change the ships and activities that no longer appeal to me, I go where my interests and senses are satisfied.  But I had already started heading that way before Edge started sailing with the food quality lessening and the loud blaring DJ in the atrium curtailing  or sans live music entertainment.

     

    Is it that the younger people can't understand this or they just don't care about other age groups as long as they're satisfied?

  18. More people are booking Royal Caribbean cruises this year, even as they remain banned [The Miami Herald]

    BY Tribune Content Agency
    — 4:03 PM ET 02/22/2021

    Feb. 22—Royal Caribbean Group is seeing an increase in bookings as the company nears the one-year mark without any cruises in the U.S., its biggest market.

     

    Despite U.S. cruises being banned indefinitely, on Monday Royal Caribbean Group executives said the company has seen a 30% increase in future bookings since the start of the year compared to November and December. Royal Caribbean Group  has canceled all U.S. cruises until at least May.

     

    The booking increase is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak business update. The second largest cruise company in the world reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2020 of $1.4 billion, or $6.09 per share, compared to a net income of $273.1 million, or $1.30 per share, during the fourth quarter of 2019. It was Royal Caribbean Group's fourth straight 10-figure quarterly loss.

     

    To cut costs, the company has divested of five ships — three of them through the recent sale of the Azamara cruise line. Still, Royal Caribbean  is operating at about a $250-290 million monthly cash burn rate for its existing lines: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea. One of its ships, Quantum of the Seas, is operating with passengers in Singapore.

     

    So when will U.S. cruises be up and running again? It's too soon to say, according to executives.

    "We are really in an interim period where the vaccines are still relatively new," said Chairman Richard Fain. "They're coming out amazingly quickly, but it will take months to get huge numbers of people vaccinated. We and the CDC and governments around the world are looking at how that will change [cruising]. We don't have answers yet." Last year, Royal Caribbean Group  hired a panel of health experts, including several former staff of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to come up with protocols to safely cruise during a pandemic. Subsequent guidance from the CDC, part of requirements cruise companies must meet before they can start operating again, outlined stricter testing.

     

    Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is in play, those protocols will have to be altered, said CEO of Royal Caribbean International Michael Bayley.

    "As we continue to see infections decline and vaccinations increase, we're going to move to some sort of protocol that is a hybrid of vaccine and testing," he said.

    The company is still waiting on the next phase of technical instructions from the CDC governing agreements between companies and ports to avoid the chaos that played out last spring when ports turned away cruise ships carrying infected and dead passengers and crew.

     

    "Our dialogue is productive," said Bayley of conversations with the CDC. "They've assured us that when these indicators start to move in a positive way, they'll start working with us to get us back into operation."

     

    Last week Royal Caribbean Group announced it will be requiring all crew members to be vaccinated before cruises restart. Bayley said that the company surveyed 70,000 crew members about this last week, and received 32,000 responses in the first few hours; 98% of respondents so far have said they are in favor of the vaccine mandate for crew and 4,000 have already been vaccinated in their home countries.

  19. 13 minutes ago, PTC DAWG said:

    The lack of a casino on the “luxury” lines would leave wanting...I’m thinking nightlife would be lacking too.  
     

    As of now, I see Celebrity as my sweet spot...not too many folks just looking for a bargain cruise, looking for a little something extra, that’s my arena. 
     

    Different strokes and all.

     

    Regent ships have small casinos but then again, they have fewer passengers so it doesn't have to be large. '-)   As far as night life, I find the premium and luxury lines have more port of calls so after spending a good bit of the days touring, a quieter night is fine for me.  It's not dead though.

     

    But as you say, "Different strokes and all."  Whichever you sail, enjoy!

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