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About 4774Papa

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Saint Simons Island, Georgia
  • Interests
    cycling, history (especially ancient), reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, NCL, Vantage, AMA
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. If you pay attention to world events, terrorist attacks or horrific mass shootings take place frequently. Recently there were many innocents killed by the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram. While the Muslim Brotherhood ran Egypt for a few years thousands of Christians were attacked, mostly in their churches. Many innocents in Afghanistan are attacked routinely. Should these events been reported by cruise lines?
  2. Last minute bookings sometimes have some bargains. We like to book early and plan our trip around the cruise, including a TA. You have to book the one way airfare, which can be expensive, as well as a land trip. Unfortunately, we find Celebrity's overall prices are not as competitive as they once were. Royal C seems to beat them in 9 of 10 cruises that we compare.
  3. Since the horrific attack was so widely reported by news agencies, Celebrity probably didn't see the need to report it onboard. Personally, I don't take not reporting as a problem.
  4. We have upgraded from a balcony to AC once and to a Skysuite once. The AC upgrade was at not cost, while the Skysuite was for $800 total for a 14 day cruise. Luminae and Blu are both good restaurants, but Luminae was the best. The AC cabin was about the same as a balcony, while the Skysuite was almost twice the size and had a large bathroom with double sink, tub and shower. The butler was nice, but we really didn't need a butler. The spa privileges at the saunas for BLU was great. One disadvantage to dining in BLU and Luminae is that if you have friends onboard, you won't dine with them. While we enjoyed both, the Skysuite is clearly superior to AQ. However, after those experiences, we will never bid on an upgrade to pay more for anything above a balcony. Also, we would never pay outright for AQ or a suite. It just wasn't worth it to us.
  5. Is your TP one in the far north, Japan-Vancouver? That TP always seems to have low fares. We did a TP last April/May on Explorer of the Seas with Royal from Sydney to Seattle. It was 23 days and great. We picked it over Celebrity's TP due to length and price.
  6. We always book early, never last minute. We have seem guarantee offers, most are just prior to or after Final Payment. In fact, sometimes the guarantee offers are higher than what we originally booked. I check prices soon after the cruise is announced and NEVER see guarantee offers. In the few cases when we book a bit later than after cruise announcement, we never see guarantee offers.
  7. The NCL bundled pricing with promos is driving us away from NCL. The $99 per person per day value for the beverage package is ridiculous as is the 20% gratuity. Please give us the old fashioned stripped down basic price for a cruise.
  8. The $280 gratuity is not just what you are paying for the beverage package. The inflated overall price you are paying for the cruise is the main issue. Also, no way does the one free NCL cocktail party compare with having the Free Happy Hour EVERY NIGHT. I find Royal's fares to beat NCL for all the cruises that I have looked at booking. That is why I booked Royal. OK, I am not an umbrella drink drinker. I like wine and don't drink as much as some people. You are right about one thing, each to their own.
  9. Yes, NCL includes the beverage package as a promo (but you have to pay the 20% gratuity on an outrageous $99 value per day per person) but their fare prices are now seriously inflated. For a 7 day cruise, just the gratuity would cost you about $280 for two persons. We spent less than that for our last 7 day NCL cruise on alcohol since I brought my own wine. Also, Royal Caribbean has great loyalty benefits under the Diamond level. Equivalent of Platinum for NCL. Their FREE happy hour goes from 4:30 until 8 and you can order a drink or glass of wine for dinner at the MDR. On our last Royal C cruise we didn't spend a nickel on alcohol and enjoyed all the drinking we wanted. Royal does offer beverage packages, but we don't drink alcohol prior to happy hour and don't drink serious amount of alcohol. I would like to pick my cruises with a bottom line fare without the promos. Prior to price bundling on NCL, we always did the wine packages and rarely spent more than about $350 total on alcohol for a 14 day cruise. I know others have different preferences, that's fine, but NCL is pushing us out.
  10. Yes and Yes, Also, we find most of the NCL ships design doesn't seem to focus on allowing passengers to see the ocean (from public areas). We love ships that have a sunset bar outside the buffet were we can eat outside and watch the ship's wake. The last three NCL cruises we have done, the ships had the spa and fitness center blocking that area. Also, hate the bundled priced on beverage packages with limited choices on good Cabernet.
  11. NCL's prices have inflated seriously, much due to price bundling with beverage packages that just encourage heavy drinking.
  12. The NCL beverage package cost is up to $99 a day with a 20% gratuity. We have had several cruises where we didn't pay that for the cruise. NCL has bundled the beverage package with its fare, pricing out NCL when we compare against Royal Caribbean. We mainly drink wine and don't care for the red wine choices on the beverage package. Our last NCL cruise, we declined the beverage packages, brought our own wine, paid the $15 per bottle corkage fees and our bottom line cost of alcohol for the cruise was LESS than what JUST the gratuities on the bev package. Not sure when we will ever do another NCL cruise. I still shop around considering them, but they seem to strike out compared to other lines.
  13. We always avoided HAL because of their awful smoking policy. A couple of years ago HAL modified its policy banning smoking on balconies. I understand that smoking is still allowed in the Casino, which means we can't walk thru that area or go near the opening of the casino. We did Alaska in Fall of 2016 and an independent land tour that included Denali. Our day Tundra tour bus stopped and picked up about 40 HAL passengers. They brought with them a nasty smoker's odor that permeated our bus. I opened the window a bit for fresh air and people complained. I doubt if we would go with HAL unless the deal was a real bargain, since we don't have loyalty status with HAL.
  14. No big deal, get the visa online, like going to Australia.
  15. Celebrity has been our preferred cruise line since our first X cruise in 2011. We have done 10 on Celebrity, 7 on NCL and 1 on Royal Caribbean. We focus more on itinerary and price than the ship. Still we love the S class ships. However, both NCL and Celebrity have gone to price bundling with beverage packages that seriously inflate the cost of the cruise. We can still book a repo or TA with Celebrity (those are not bundled) for good prices, but in comparing Celebrity against Royal Caribbean, we find significant prices differences that favor Royal. We had our first Royal cruise on a TransPacific from Sydney to Seattle last year and loved it. The Diamond Happy Hour is even better on Royal than the Elite Happy Hour on Celebrity. The Diamond event runs from 4:30 to 8 and you can order drinks or wine in the MDR. For 23 days we didn't pay a nickel for any alcohol due to this. In looking at TransAtlantics, we were looking for a 2020 TA from Rome to Florida and even when the X cruise is not bundled, Royal's price is 40% lower than Celebrity's. The Royal ship we were on was Explorer of the Seas, it is not one of Royal's mega ships (we avoid those). While its design was not as good as an S class on Celebrity ( we missed the sunset bar behind the buffet), it worked for us. The entertainment on Royal was great. We even saw two great ice shows. The MDR food was slightly below Celebrity's but better than NCL's. Not sure when we will find another competitive Celebrity cruise?
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