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ChucktownSteve

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Posts posted by ChucktownSteve

  1. 2 hours ago, Bo1953 said:

    A very good observation, to be sure.

     

    Nor would I ever argue that X is 'close' to luxury, yet compared to the aforementioned lines, it is luxury in comparison... do you not think?

     

    bon voyage

     

    While there are many loyal Carnival cruisers, IMO XX IS "luxury" in comparison.  However I've sailed a couple of HAL cruises and I put it on par with XX.  I liked the included food better on HAL. Haven't sailed Princess so can't compare.  I haven't sailed NCL since the mid 90's so can't compare them either.  I've never sailed RCL, nor do I want to.

     

    However I place XX below Oceania and Azamara, (which I've sailed),  for some aspects of "luxury."  I will admit though that the XX shows were somewhat better in specter. BTW I've sailed on more Celebrity ships over the years than any other line.  My favorite in the day was the Century class.  But I have enjoyed the M & S classes too.

     

    Do you not think?

  2. 12 hours ago, jelayne said:

    Phil, I agree with you they are a premium line.  However they advise that they are a “small luxury cruise line” which sets  at least in my mind, higher expectations.

     

    Celebrity does the same thing now under Royal Caribbean calling themselves luxury when they're not.  I agree a better liquor quality be included since the cost difference to the cruise line is minimal.  It goes back to offering a higher perceived value to the cruiser at a low out of pocket cost to the cruise line.

     

    I believe it goes back to Royal Caribbean's double/double program dictate of a few years ago where the three lines under RCG had to increase profits by doubling revenue and reducing costs. That's when you saw the beginning of a lot of little cut backs that added to the bottom line.

     

    Now that Azamara is out from under their umbrella, perhaps it's time to revisit how to make Azamara a more premium line again by building value. The foundation is already there.

  3. 9 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

    We're getting ready to book a Feb 2023 cruise this coming week on the Splendor and was wondering if there is someone that would like to sponsor us?

     

    Ken, Email me and I"ll give you my Regent rep's contact info.  He helped me with a lot of info before I booked.  I used him for three bookings because of the way he worked with me. Plus I'd be happy to share my Society number for the referral, if you like, since it was my information on the XX board that helped you determine you wanted to try Regent. 🙂

  4. 59 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

    Well, your thoughts have not gone unheard. We will be taking advantage of their current 2 category promotion and booking a 7 day Feb 2023 cruise in a concierge cabin on the Splendor to check Regent out. Funny thing is we will be getting off the Equinox the day before, spending the night in the 5 star hotel, and then boarding the Splendor the next day. We figured it was a pretty good way to compare the two cruise lines by making them a B2B cruise. Thanks again for all of your insights!

     

    You're welcome.  I'm glad that I could help share what I researched.  I'm an analytical when it comes to determining value. It's not always the cheapest though IMO.

     

    I have a very good Regent Rep who gives me great info. Then I transfer it to my TA who gives me the largest OBC/rebate than any other TA I've ever used.  He appreciated that I came back to book with him two additional times but he was worth rewarding especially in this covid cruising scenario.  He doesn't mind me transferring because I let him book so he gets credit for the deposit.  I'd love to hear your comparison after your cruises. Email me sometime at steveL50 hot mail if you like. We enjoyed Equinox when we sailed her.  It's just that XX pricing has gotten so crazy lately.  I probably wouldn't have looked at alternatives so hard had they not gone to AI and promoted themselves as luxury without the real luxury.  I never thought that the two would be in the same price range value.

  5. Trying to pick a sailing date to hit the colors is a craps shoot.  It's all Mother Nature dependent.  A few years ago we sailed a 14 day to Quebec and back the end of Sept to mid October.  Weather was warmer than usual that year so the change was delayed a couple of weeks. Perhaps check the Old Farmer's Almanac.

  6. 15 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

    ChucktownSteve is absolutely correct  in his various posts concerning the Regent experience.  My last cruise before the shutdown was a 14 day cruise on the Regent Explorer.  The quality and variety of food was just outstanding.  I cannot imagine that it could be any better. The excellent include Specialty dining options are also outstanding.  My wife and I also enjoyed the poolside outdoor buffet/individual order area.

     

    If the price is close to the Sky Suite or Celebrity Suite price, it would be a much better experience.  It is truly All inclusive.  We used our OBC for a couple purchases in the gift shop.  Our TA OBC was a rebated as there is no place to spend the money.

     

    We did feel having excursions included is not much of a value for us. The free hotel (concierge suites and above) was nice and we took the air credit (included as part of the All Inclusive).
     

    Given a choice (assuming the price is close), we would still prefer the Royal Suite or higher on Celebrity, due to Luminae, Specialty restaurants, and retreat areas. Also in our opinion the Premium drink package on Celebrity is better than what is included on the Regent.  And you have to pay the full price is you want something over the Regent price limit. I just refused to do it.  

     

    The bottom line is that the Regent experience is All Inclusive.  It is a great example as to why the Celebrity’s  AI (Always Included) is not All Inclusive.  If you can find a Regent cruise at most cabin level that is even close to the Celebrity price (all factors considered)  it is certainly a superior experience.  If you try it, you will not be disappointed. 

     

    Jagoffee, Some good points. I could also go back and forth between the two depending upon the value proposition/price of either with the itinerary I want. I also like to include Azamara in the comparisons too.

     

    All of my Suite opinions so far have been formed from research.  I have an S1 Sky Suite on Apex and Regency Concierge/Penthouse suites booked over the next 1.5 years.  I had to keep moving them for obvious reasons.  My views may change once I can actually compare experiences. 

     

    The liquor list on Regent had the everyday brands I like especially since I have reduced my consumption over the last few years.  So it's not a major factor for me.  However the food is.

     

    I looked at the two cruise line package brands and didn't see too much difference.  XX certainly has the advantage if you want really top shelf since you only pay the difference.

     

    The bottom line is everyone mileage will vary based upon their personal preferences.

    Celebrity beverage-package-flyer.pdf Regent Bar Menu 08.15.19.pdf

  7. 19 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

    Cool! On most cruise lines, including X, the free category jump is only within the applicable meta category.

     

    The free category on XX does not include Suites. Only up to Aqua.

     

    The Splendor has seven restaurants included in the fare.  No surcharge restaurants. The Apex has four restaurants included and Blu/Luminae if Aqua or Suite plus . The other five restaurants have surcharges to eat there.

     

    The Splendor has 540 crew to 750 passengers while the Apex has 1320 crew to 2,910 passengers.The Apex ration is 2.2:1 vs. 1.4:1  Guess which one should give you better overall quality service?

     

    So it's Always Included vs. All Inclusive.

  8. 11 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

    Cool! Is the 2 category upgrade within the concierge meta category only or does it apply across them if, for example, the 2 category upgrade takes you into the penthouse category?

     Two category upgrade across all categories.  Depending upon ship; on Splendor, Voyager, Explorer and Mariner it's a Penthouse C for the Concierge E rate.  On Navigator its a Penthouse C for the Deluxe Veranda Suite - E rate.

     

    The price I quoted earlier was on our Navigator cruise.

  9. On 2/19/2021 at 9:21 AM, rallydave said:

    Most travel insurance only increases age premium every 5 years so depending where your age is within the range premium increases or doesn’t. 

     we were at the cusp on one for me and my wife on another.

  10. 40 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

    I have to admit that's a great price for a 15 day all-inclusive Regent cruise. No denying that! We will definitely start looking at Regent if their other cruises come even close to those prices.

     

    They raise their prices every month as XX does however the current two suite upgrade promo ends the end of February.  I snapped my deals up under that promotion. Plus my TA is giving me a $1200 + $400 OBC on that one, a $1500 cash rebate on another cruises and a $1500 rebate with $600 OBC.on a third one.

  11. 20 minutes ago, tfred said:

    I find those aft facing suites fascinating just for the view as well.  Are there any downsides to that cabin?  People looking over the top, exhaust fumes drifting down etc?

     

    I've only had one XX S class ship where there was some soot but a quick wipe of the chairs helped.  No problem on other ships.  regarding people looking over the top, I had clothes on. I used to look down from my railing at others below. lol  It's no biggie. I found the extra cost worth the difference.

     

    The only down side being AFT is some people complain about the long walk to the elevator.  I never found it that long. 

    aft wake.jpg

  12. We've sailed with an aft cabin on several ships.  It's our preferred view so we booked the S1 aft facing suite on our Apex cruise.  There's just something about watching the wake when you're sailing that we really enjoy.  Also if you dock facing the correct way, the views are really fantastic.  We had that in Bermuda.

     

    But it really boils down to your personal preference and whether you want to pay extra for the different view.  The S1 corner aft suits also don't have the infinity "balcony" but a real one.

  13. 10 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

    I guess I could have worded my question a little better. My issue is when comparing a Celebrity Sky Suite, along with all of its associated Retreat perks, neither HAL with their Neptune suite, Princess with their Vista Suite, nor NCL with their Haven balcony suite, and all of their respective perks, come anywhere close to what Celebrity offers.

     

    So the next step up would be an Oceania, Azamara, Crystal, Seabourn, Silversea or Regent penthouse suite and the huge "small ship" price increases that go along with those "luxury" cruise line bookings. 

     

    I will say, though, Crystal by far has the best enrichment program of any cruise line out there. But, minus that IMHO, Celebrity's suite class offerings dollar for dollar are very much competitive with most of the "small ship" luxury cruise lines, except for one thing. Celebrity doesn't have any small ships, which is fine with us as we have found small ships are just too "relaxing" for us.

     

    Now, I will say the $500 pp/day prices we're now seeing with a lot of sky suites isn't cheap by any means! But, they kind of are when you start comparing them to similar cabin offerings on the luxury cruise lines.

     

    Anyway, that's pretty much what I was thinking when I asked the question. ☺️

     

    You don't have to go up to Penthouse on Regent for a true comparison.  When comparing it depends upon the SF of the cabin, which ships are being compared and whether having a butler is the most important thing?

     

    I found the Concierge suites on Regent more than comparable with the Sky Suite especially since Regent has a two category free upgrade right now. The reason I selected Concierge is it includes a five star hotel night pre-cruise, all transfers, excursions in all ports, air fare and all of the specialty restaurants. I'm not only getting the premium liquor but they also include a bar set up in the suite.

     

    I looked at the menus which really sealed the deal for me.  I can order lobster, Alaskan King crab, USDA Prime cuts of beef every day if I want plus the other specialty dishes.

     

    The only thing the Concierge suite doesn't have is the butler; which I don't particularly need. One of my cruises I'm paying $493pp/pd on a 15 day in Concierge from Miami to Montreal. All Inclusive.

     

    If you fly to your port, stay one night in a five star hotel, pay for transportation airport to hotel, hotel to ship and ship to airport, pay for excursions in every port and pay for specialty restaurants; add those costs to the costs of a Celebrity Sky Suite.  Then you'll get a more accurate comparable price with Regent IMO.

     

    EXP Chartreuse Example Menu Dinner.pdf Prime7Menu.pdf

  14. 49 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

    When comparing booking a sky suite on Celebrity with the AI options, does anyone have an opinion on what other major cruise lines and the associated category would be a fair price/pp/day comparison? 

     

    Doesn't the sky suite include the AI four perks?

     

    What itinerary and sky suite category are you looking at?

     

  15. 3 minutes ago, drakes2 said:

    Only thing I've ever purchased in onboard shops is some duty free alcohol and even that is dependent on pricing, although they do price match the port prices.  As far as any costume jewelry, handbags etc. I can do better at home. 

     

    I was able to get the liquor price matched after the shop worker had to go speak with two different level managers to validate the price match.  It took over 45 minutes. They didn't want to do it.  I finally proved it with a picture of a sidewalk board sign showing the price of a Johnny Walker Blue bottle at $99 plus I had my my receipt from the store in St. Maartin. The receipt didn't show the size bottle. Luckily for some reason they didn't confiscate the bottles I bought ashore as I boarded. The Manager made me go to the cabin and prove the size of the bottle.  Talk about jumping through hoops.

     

    I used my FREE promo perk OBC to buy the last four bottles of Blue they had.  That was the best OBC usage of my cruising life.

  16. 8 hours ago, Bo1953 said:

     Now we can use OBC on other items, right?

     

    Use the OBC for WiFi?  Nope, they forced you to pay cash.  Use OBC for the classic liquor package?  Nope, they forced you to pay cash. Use the OBC for gratuities? Nope, they forced you to pay cash. 

    Buy overpriced stuff in the shops that you don't need or want just to burn off the OBC?  Ding, ding, ding, ding.

     

    The WiFi I used to get as an Elite perk was enough. I didn't need to buy more. It used to be easy to get a classic drinks or gratuity perk at no extra charge as an incentive to book.  That's gone. So now it's a price comparison against the premium and real luxury lines.  Now XX will need to compete on Itinerary, service and food quality for value.

  17. I really liked the positive direction they're taking. Thankx for posting the interview.  I can't explain why, but I believe them.  One very good aspect, IMO, is they no longer have to please the giant conglomerate but can make AZ their own. 

     

    Initially I was sceptible about AZ's future at the sale announcement.  However the information the new owners and this interview shared plus the immediate fourth ship acquisition make me look forward to when they begin sailing again so I could definitely include them in my considerations.

     

     

  18. I agree with Host Jazzbeau and chemmo about including consideration of other lines.  That's why a few years ago we selected Azamara for our 12 night Baltics cruise in 2017. It was the best cruise we ever booked for several reasons.

     

    I suspect one of the reasons XX went to shorter 7 days cruise lengths is they can generate more revenue on the turnaround two cruises than a longer one.

  19. 4 hours ago, mrlevin said:

    I still need to move insurance over but that should be easy; only "letdown" is that when cruise was cancelled insurance premium is not returned, it is a voucher that needs to be used in next two years; therefore no real advantage (besides minimal interest income) for not fully paying the 2022 trip (i.e., transfer all funds from one cruise to next).

     

    When I've moved my trip insurance policies to a later cruise, the advantage I got was that the new trip date was at the original booking age and not increased premium due to higher age. The new premium was only on trip cost.

  20. 1 hour ago, drakes2 said:

    Curious as to why X would say its in your best interest to prepay grats. 

     

    drakes2, I don't know why XX would say that, but this marketing spin is directly from their web site introducing Always Included:

    "Vacations should be effortless from the start. So, when it comes to your precious vacations, we’ve made your experience more convenient and relaxing by always including our most popular amenities. Now, every Celebrity cruise always includes drinks, Wi-Fi, and tips* on every sailing, in every room, every time. It’s that simple."

     

    highway180, That says to me that they did and it is in my best interest. Plus people on this thread have not said they don't want to pay the grats.  I certainly did not!  The bulk of the complaints about the Always Included are about being forced to pay for the WiFi and liquor package when they don't use either.

  21. 2 hours ago, PTC DAWG said:

    My take on this thread is that anyone complaining about the gratuities being included is the same person that stood in line to have them removed at the end of the cruise. 

     

    I have never removed a single gratuity on any line even if something didn't please me.  However I do object to them forcing the gratuity payment to hit my credit card 120 days before the cruise at final payment.   I prefer it to either be eaten up by OBC or PAID at the END of my cruise with the other charges I've made.

     

    It's an early money grab by XX to bring in fast revenue.   I'm not fooled that it's supposedly in my best interest.  It's for their bottom line four months out.

  22. 6 hours ago, jagoffee said:

    Great point about people referring to AI (Always Included) with All Inclusive.  
     

    AI certainly is less confusing than the previous 123 or BBB methods.  But of course they are no longer optional.

     

    Plus now they don't have to do special perk promotions to get people to book. Just like the Black Friday sale that was the Always Included promotion with raised pricing.

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