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Posts posted by Tricia724

  1. I think you've hit the nail on the head. There's no way a $115/day beverage package on HAL would benefit us, and from the calculations you've presented, it's no benefit to you either. On our last HAL cruise, I bought an upgraded wine package for the dining room. With the 50% discount, it made some nice wines available at a decent rate. Like you, one bottle usually lasts us two days. We also like lattes at the coffee bar, and the 50% discount kicks in again. Love that discount. Add in the free laundry and the 50% discount on specialty restaurants, and you have more money freed up that can be used on beverages. On a sea day I might have a couple of drinks during the day, but my other half often just drinks Coke, so we wouldn't ever consider purchasing a beverage package on HAL. I can't imagine that too many HAL regulars buy that package.


    Celebrity is a whole different ball game. Our last cruise and our next cruise include their classic beverage package which works well for us. We're elite on Celebrity and even though we can utilize the free cocktail hour most evenings, I prefer to have my wine with dinner rather than before. Occasionally I'll grab a drink on the way to the cabin and have it on the balcony. That said, we wouldn't buy a package on Celebrity either, but our next cruise is 11 nights and we lucked into a good group rate which included all three perks. Celebrity's drinks and coffees are also higher than HAL's, so the costs add up more quickly.


    All of the cruise lines are playing around with drinks packages and trying to make people think they are getting "free" perks. We all know they are far from free....they are included in the price we pay. Sometimes it's a better deal than others, but it pays to run the numbers.

  2. We just came home from a B2B on another cruise line, first week New England and second week Bermuda. Obviously, the itinerary was drastically different, but the shipboard life wasn't.


    In addition to the same menu, we had the same production shows, same band, same vocal duo, same piano players, same guitar player, and the same type of entertainers. Both weeks we had a hypnotist and a comedian, although not the same ones. They also repeated one comedian and the Beatles Tribute group. The onboard activities were virtually the same....same trivia games with the same questions and the same passenger participation activities. The only thing that was really different was the passenger demographic, but at times it still felt like a "Groundhog Day" experience. I have to say that at the end of the second week, I was more than ready to go home.


    We have taken other B2B cruises with more variety which we enjoyed, but all things considered, I'd rather have a 14-day itinerary than two 7-day back to backs.

  3. This disembarkation was an utter mess, and I put the blame squarely on the heads of the cruise line. As others have said, they had a huge number of people carrying off their own luggage, and there was no game plan in place to manage the disembarkation.


    Every other line I've sailed has sent out a questionnaire early in the cruise asking about your plans to disembark....whether you are taking a cruise line transfer, flying out independently, planning to carry off your own luggage, etc. Since we had a noon flight out, I went down to the information desk and was told that RC "doesn't do that" (send out questionnaires) and has a "general disembarkation." What is that? Eventually I learned that we had been assigned baggage tags #41, which was the last group scheduled to get off at 9:40 AM, and I was able to get that changed to tag #14 for departure at 8:40 AM.


    We were on the 9th floor and were supposed to go to the theater to wait for our numbers to be called. We couldn't get there. We attempted to walk down with our carry-ons but got stuck on the landing of the 6th floor, buried in a sea of people trying to carry off their luggage. Cruise line people were out in the hall shouting that people NOT carrying off their luggage should proceed to the theater and take a seat. How? It was wall to wall people, and some self disembarkers were frustrated and if anyone tried to move in any direction, they thought people were cutting in front of them and it was starting to get ugly where we were. It was a good half hour before we could even get into the theater which was also packed with people.


    Bottom line.....Tag #14 got off the ship at 10 AM. Fortunately we found our bags quickly and got to the airport with time to get to the gate before it closed 15 minutes prior to departure. Big relief.


    We were on this ship the previous week for their New England cruise, and disembarkation was much smoother. Not nearly as many people carrying off their own luggage. But, if the cruise line doesn't know what to expect, how can it control the outcome?

  4. We booked an 11-day Caribbean early this year with the same agency, but not during one of their sales. At that time the perks were classic beverage package, gratuities, and $300 cabin credit, along with a lower group rate for A2. Initially they wouldn't allow us our Captain's Club one-category upgrade because of the group rate, but eventually they did agree that we could have an A1 for the same price in a great location. We also got the $50 loyalty credit.


    The prices seemed a bit high, and I also thought they would come down, but since we booked, I have not found a better deal anywhere, and the ship filled up quickly and prices continued to rise. Yes, the same agency had a big sale over Memorial Day that included better perks, but the price per person was considerably higher and the cabin choices were very limited. I'm picky about my cabin but less so about the wine I drink! YMMV. I'm glad we didn't wait, because the later offerings were a much lesser value to us, and we would not have booked at that time.


    Booking cruises these days is a real crapshoot. The prices are rising rapidly, and the cruise lines are jerking people around with perks.....now you see them, now you don't. Your deposit is refundable. Go with your gut.

  5. ….If you had an SY (one of the larger angled ones with extra room near the balcony door) would you upgrade to a Neptune if the price were reasonable?


    We did just that on our last cruise. We had a great angled SY balcony, and are also 4-star and get laundry included, so when the first upsell offer to a Neptune came along, I thought about it briefly but passed. When a second upsell offer came, I was in an entirely different frame of mind and grabbed it and was so glad I did. We both agreed that having the Neptune added so much to our enjoyment of the cruise.


    For us, the main attraction is always space....both space in the cabin and on the balcony. Some people say they only use their cabins to sleep in and take a shower. That's not us. We enjoy our balcony and spend a good bit of time there. I also enjoy the vanity/dressing area and breakfast in the Pinnacle Grille; my other half loves the snacks in the Concierge Lounge. Our cruise was 16 days which made it especially nice to have the full suite. I'd do it again in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself.

  6. We were on Westerdam this past November. I prebooked and paid for Sel de Mer on line (for two), as well as the first night in Canelleto. On both occasions my account was credited for the 50% discount the next morning. I never asked about the discount or mentioned it on either occasion, as I just assumed it would be forthcoming and it was.


    It does seem like the policies are inconsistently applied from one ship to another on many cruise lines. I have two cruises currently booked on other lines, and I'm finding some of the same complaints on those boards regarding the "loyalty" perks and how they are applied (or not applied) from ship to ship.

  7. Reading this thread reminds me that we all have different tastes and priorities. For us, we will not book a Solstice class ship unless we can book AQ.


    After two cruises on Eclipse, one in a 1A and one in AQ, we were so much more satisfied with AQ. On our first cruise in 1A, we loved our large balcony but definitely did not love dinner in the MDR. Even though the food was fine, it was crowded and very noisy. I hated the Oceanview Café for breakfast. It was crowded and tables were scarce, and it seemed like everyone was running around and cutting in front of me until I just didn't want to eat there any longer. Room service came cold and unappetizing. We tried the Elite breakfast in Tuscan Grille, but my other half wasn't happy with the limited choices.


    On our second cruise in AQ, I loved being able to eat breakfast in Blu. It wasn't crowded, and the service was excellent, and I found myself in a much better frame of mind having a leisurely breakfast in a quiet setting which was more conducive to the experience I want on vacation. Let's face it.....I eat fruit and cereal or an omelet for breakfast, so it's just a question of surroundings, and Blu wins hands down. As far as dinner goes, I was fine with the choices available. I've learned I'm less concerned with the menu and more concerned with the service and ambiance of the dining room.


    Our next cruise on Reflection is an 11-day in an A1, and we got in on a group booking with the classic drinks package, gratuities, and $300 cabin credit, so we're satisfied. We always calculate our cruises on a cost per day, and this one meets our criteria.


    Everyone has to decide what is important to them and what will impact their cruise experience. If we check on a cruise and the AQ rate seems excessive, we pass. There are many other choices available.

  8. Personally I think it is a real stretch to believe that there is not a possibility of the quoted cabin being available. Why would any cruise line ask for an offer in that situation? I may be naive, but I certainly trust Celebrity.


    It is certainly more transparent than the previous system. No one very knew how it worked.


    If no one bids on an upsell, Celebrity can still give away a free upgrade, so I am not sure the process can be accused of not being honest in that regard.



    I think there is a possibility that the quoted cabin won't be available on a popular cruise. I believe Celebrity and other cruise lines use the "bid" system to make a short list of potential buyers in case they have a late cancellation or "no show." If a suite becomes available at the last minute, they have a list of people who have stated they would be willing to pay X dollars for the upgrade. So they fill the suite, then they fill the available cabin from the list of high bidders who want that cabin. And so on down the line. But maybe there is no last minute cancellation, and there are no cabins to fill.

    It's time saving and cost effective for the cruise line. I think the "free upgrades" are going the way of the albatross. They are running a business, and it's all about maximizing revenue.

  9. We're from a small town and don't have a lot of entertainment locally. So, we are easily entertained and enjoy good singers, dancers, musicians, and entertainers of all kinds. OK, so I don't like jugglers, but mostly we are a good audience. In our early days of cruising, we loved all of the shows, especially the production shows, and we felt that many of the cast had real talent.


    In the last five years we have sailed on Celebrity, HAL, and Princess. The production shows on all of these lines were blah to dismal. Dancers out of step. Singers who couldn't hit the high notes or sang off key. I felt the choice of songs was poor, and to make it worse, what they lacked in quality, they made up in volume. Loud. Very loud. The musical skits seemed forced and frantic. We actually walked out of a couple of shows, which I have never done before. On our last cruise there were three production shows. We went to the first one and didn't bother with the other two.


    That said, we have enjoyed some of the guest entertainers and some parts of the production shows. But it's definitely different.

  10. We have found that most of the guides we have hired have a game plan for lunch. Some of them have brought a lunch with them and some announce that they will stay with the vehicle and meet us later. If there is a guide and a driver, they often take lunch together. When the guide does the driving, we always extend an invitation for lunch, and most of them don't accept. I think many welcome a break just like we did when we worked.


    I don't think there is an obligation to include the guide for lunch, but I wouldn't feel comfortable if I did not offer lunch, especially in some of the places where the locals aren't too prosperous. However, if it's a really expensive tour and local costs are very high, I would consider that a different situation and possibly wouldn't extend an invitation.

  11. Years ago we booked with an agency that had a large group sailing on Azamara, and they did have specific cabins blocked out, and we had to choose one of their available cabins. But when I booked our upcoming Reflection cruise with an online agency, they had a group rate for Aqua that was almost $200/pp less than Celebrity's online rate, and I was able to choose any available cabin.


    I don't know how it works, but I'm for anything that saves us money.

  12. Passport.


    Bad show.


    I don’t recommend.


    - Joel



    We drove to NJ for a 14-day Canada/New England cruise and at 7:00 AM the morning of the cruise, my other half realized he had left his passport at home. It took a lot of people working together, but we made the cruise with an hour to spare. It probably took two days for my heart beat to return to normal.

  13. In the "for what it's worth" category: "fewer than 14 nights" rather than "less". Celebrity might consider offering English grammar classes on their longer trips, perhaps as a perk to the Elite++ folk.


    The Crusin Grammarian


    You may have a full time job on these boards, but may I suggest for your first mission.....should you decide to accept it.....that you tackle the cruisers that eat in the "dinning" room. That alone should keep you busy until about 2024.:D

  14. I'm also spending much more time researching and evaluating cruises on various websites. Now that the lines are going with 'refundable' and 'non-refundable' deposits and fares, it just throws another wrench into the evaluation process, because each line has different rules regarding NR fares.


    We have used many agencies we found online over the years. My SO was particularly impressed with one agency that advertises 'lowest fares', and without telling me, he booked a $15,000+ cruise with them and received very little....certainly not the 'lowest fare.' I later discovered that we could have received $1,000 OBC by booking that cruise elsewhere, but by that time we were in final payment and just had to eat it. Expensive lesson learned. (It still bugs me today.) We also tried the bid site, with mixed results, but at least we picked up one good TA in the process that we still use today, although not exclusively.


    I don't care if we get the best deal ever or if someone else winds up with an extra $50-$100 better deal than we have, as long as we get a fair shake. Knowing that we can easily receive an 8% price discount or OBC and possibly some other perks depending upon the cruise, makes it worthwhile to me to work with TA's. We're low maintenance and don't change our minds every 5 minutes, so we get a good response from the TAs we use.

  15. I just sent a request to Celebrity to have our spots reserved at the Captain's Table beginning 28 May on our cruise. I'm almost sure they know how important we are and how the Captain will want to be seen with us. He may have seen photos of us recently at a very large wedding in the U.K. :-)


    Good one.....still laughing.

  16. We currently have two cruises booked.....one with RCI in the fall and one with Celebrity next January. I have been back on both boards reading posts in general to keep up with current information and to read posts pertaining to the two ships we're sailing.


    Some of the information I've gleaned from various threads are that both ships have a lot of problems. The food has gone down hill, the entertainment is bad, the ship maintenance is being neglected, the staff is complacent, and because so many people have drink packages, there is a long wait for drinks unless you throw a lot of money around in tips, etc, etc, etc. On the other hand, there are people who just love both of these ships and many, many positive reviews and comments on recent sailings. Who should I believe?


    We've cruised enough to know that every cruise on every ship is a unique experience. There are so many factors that can influence your enjoyment level. We've had our share of disappointments, but there have always been good experiences that more than offset the bad. I expect these next two cruises will be good ones, too.

  17. Totally agree. The "craziness" of first night in the MDR is largely exaggerated on these boards. Most folks know exactly where they are going.


    Obviously your experience has been better than mine. For the last few years, we have chosen open seating on all of the cruise lines we sail, and we have had some very frustrating experiences on the first night or two in the main dining room, which includes standing in line for extended periods of time, being ignored by the dining room seaters, or being pushed to the back of the line because we didn't have a reservation, or....my favorite.....being handed a beeper and told to "step aside." On our fall cruise on Westerdam, we tried going to the dining room at 6:30pm, then 6:45pm, then 7:15pm, then 7:30pm, only to find that we still had to wait 15-20 minutes, even when we agreed to accept any type of seating. We finally started going at 8:00pm and were able to be seated within a few minutes. We've had similar problems on Celebrity and Princess.


    Some of the dining room staff seem to be able to handle open seating better than others, but for my money, none of the cruise lines does a great job. Our best experience so far was Azamara, where all dining is open seating. Certainly it's less problematic with fixed seating where you show up at a certain time and sit at a certain table. We enjoyed fixed seating for many years, but when we started being assigned to tables where people didn't show up for the whole cruise, it seemed pointless.


    Anyway, eating somewhere other than the MDR the first night has proved to be a good solution for us.

  18. I'm glad things went well for you, but a few years ago when we did self disembarkation on Eclipse, we had a much different experience. There was a very long delay, and those of us who were carrying off our own luggage did not get off at the scheduled time. So we stood and we stood and we stood and more and more people crowded into the disembarkation area. When we finally did get off, the taxi line was overwhelmed, and there was more waiting time involved. We had a 10:45am flight and just barely made it. Sometimes you just fly through the lines and get to the airport with time to spare, and sometimes you don't. Every cruise is a different experience.

  19. I love breakfast in Blu. To be honest, I really hate breakfast in the buffet on any cruise line. When we do go, we go late to try to avoid the crowd, but sometimes that doesn't even work. Walking around and around trying to find a seat while my food is getting cold is not my idea of a good time. Personally, I could wait until late morning or early afternoon to eat, but my SO is prediabetic and needs to eat earlier, so we have some breakfast somewhere. I really enjoy the smoothies and fruit options, as well as the quiet atmosphere and good service in Blu. On days where the times don't work for us, we go elsewhere. The beauty of cruising is that there are many options available.

  20. We always book open seating on any cruise line we sail, and we find that the first night is often chaotic. With that in mind, I did book Canaletto on our last cruise, and we did enjoy a great, relaxing meal in a half empty restaurant. Our 50% discount was immediately credited to our onboard account.


    It worked so well I think I'll continue to do this on future cruises.

  21. We use ships' laundry services often, and I have been happiest with HAL's. That is not to say it's perfect. I learned the hard way to be selective about the items I send to the laundry.


    On one HAL cruise before we were 4* and were paying for laundry, I decided to include some underwear I would normally hand wash. Like many women, I save the "new" stuff to use on vacation, and I was dismayed to unwrap the beautifully wrapped package HAL returned to me only to find that my brand new, bright white garments were a dismal shade of gray. Seriously gray. In fact, no amount of special washing or bleaching ever made them anywhere near white again...ever. I mentally kicked myself in the backside for sending them to the laundry but didn't complain. To HAL's credit, I never did get charged anything for that bag.


    Maybe this will explain why some of us don't mind spending an hour or so doing laundry on vacation. When you do it yourself, you can better control the outcome.

  22. We spent 35 days to the South Pacific on Westerdam in Cabin SS6117 (also a bump out cabin on the other end of the deck), and it was one of our favorite cabins of all time. It's surprising how much that extra "wedge" of floor space adds to the cabin. It just feels much more open, airy, and spacious. We volunteered our cabin to be included in the "cabin crawl" that the CC roll call organized, and everyone was pleasantly surprised by the layout.


    I don't think you'd regret booking that cabin for one minute.

  23. My first cruise with Celebrity was on Summit on deck 8 in a connecting stateroom, and I couldn't believe how much we could hear from the cabin next door. If I were you, I'd keep checking to see whether any non-connecting cabins become available and try to change cabins before your cruise. Your hubby will thank you for it.

  24. I think the price of the premium package is $65. So the $65 minus the sale price of $48.75 equals $16.25, and $16.25/$65 = 25%.

    Or looking at it another way, regular price $65 x 2= $130 + 18% = $153.40 total for two people. Discounted price $48.75 x 2 = $97.50 + 18% = $115.05.


    $153.40 - 115.05 = $38.35, and $38.35/$153.40 = 25%




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