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4774Papa

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  1.  

    We have done 11 Celebrity, 7 NCL and 2 Royal C. cruises.  All were good cruises.

     

    I give NCL and Royal the edge for entertainment.

     

    For dining, food quality and variety, as well as service, I rate the three lines on a 1-10 scale.

    Celebrity 9.0

    Royal C.  8.0

    NCL         7.5

     

    Both of our Royal ships were the more modest size, not the mega ships.

    We found more consistency with Celebrity and Royal.  With NCL, we have been on cruises were it seemed most of the service staff were not well trained and the dining was up and down.   On some NCL cruises, we found the dining and service on par with Royal.

     

    Royal C. had excellent MDR dining, but sometimes their buffet included some items not worthy, such as lasagna, but generally was good.   Also, on Celebrity and Royal, we found the servers properly addressed the ladies at the table first, as well as serving them first.   On one NCL cruise, it seemed that wait staff couldn't remember what I had ordered.

    • Like 1
  2. 2 hours ago, Sixtytwo said:

    If travel in Europe is a bit challenging, buy Rick Steves book on Europe. It gives some great advice and, we found, that it was easy peasy.

    Traveling in Europe is not so hard.   Never had an issue with the language, English is widely understood.

    Travel gets easier, the MORE you research and plan your trip.  If you are doing it yourself (not on a tour), plan in detail.  IF on a tour, still research what you will see and where you are going as well as issues in the countries you visit.   

  3. On 10/8/2021 at 10:43 AM, MistyRo76 said:

    Hello all! I'm a seasoned cruiser (#19 booked for next fall - our COVID rescheduled cruise!) - but I've only ever sailed on Carnival and mostly in the Caribbean, once out of California to the Mexican Riviera. 

     

    My hubby and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary in Spring, 2023 and I've started to look ahead at vacation options. We've never been to Europe before (he's been once as a high schooler and I've never been at all) and I was thinking a Europe cruise would be a great way to see a few places there! So I started looking at Europe cruises. Carnival has some decent itineraries - but the prices are really high! So I started looking at other lines and Norwegian caught my eye! There are some great deals out there right now include free drink packages, free specialty dining, free shore excursions, free wi-fi and second passenger flies free. But since we don't have any experience with Norwegian, I thought I would come here to get some feedback and opinions! 

     

    Ships - The itineraries that we are looking at are on the Epic, Gem and Breakaway. Any obvious pros/cons between these three ships? Anything that would make one standout over the others? 

    Cabins - We are balcony people! Love being able to sit on our balcony and watch us come in/out of ports or late in the evenings unwinding with a drink! What are the main differences between the regular balconies and the club balconies? Is the club worth the price difference? Any particular areas of the ship we should avoid or cabins that are highly favorable? We will likely be bringing our then almost 9 year old daughter with us - so need a cabin for 3. 

    Kids Programs - How are the kids programs on the European cruises? Are there many kids on these itineraries? We'll probably still to one that's under 10 days, so hopefully that may help with having more kids on board than the longer Europe sailings. 

    Dining - How does the dining work on Norwegian? We are typically set dining time people - usually cause we are sailing with a large group. How does it work on Norwegian? 

    Booking Air Thru NCL - In looking at cruise pricing on line, NCL is running some specials for 2 guest free airfare right now. Hard to know what airfare pricing will be 18 months from now, so it's tempting to just let NCL book our airfare. Are they flexible in adding on a day pre or post cruise? We obviously would like to arrive a day or two early to explore a bit. Is there any flexibility in carriers that they book? I have never booked airfare through a cruise line before, so this would be all new to me! 

     

    Anything else we should know about sailing this line? 

     

    Thanks! 

    Misty

    We have done 7 NCL cruises, but none since 2018.  NCL's pricing changed to include hefty prices for drink packages and other perks that we don't want.  It's prices, like Celebrity (also went to a similar pricing strategy) are now not generally competitive with Royal C. or Princess.

     

    I still check NCL to compare, but haven't booked with them in three years.

     

    The Epic was our least favorite ship, its design is awful, with a very small pool area and few places inside to view the ocean.  Also, the cabin toilet design is not nice with the toilet separated and frankly not as private if  you have visitors.

    We liked ships like the Gem and Jade the most.

     

    We always liked NCL's entertainment, which is excellent, like Royal C.    Dining is generally good, but not as consistent as Celebrity or Royal C.

     

    We like transatlantic cruises and usually fly to Europe  and do a land tour prior to taking the cruise back to the USA.

     

     

  4. 4 hours ago, the penguins said:

    .The basics are simple. Discounting tips  AI  pricing adds $100 per person per day to over drinks and Internet. If you opt for Simply Sail ( guarantee rooms only) it reduces the AI price by around a max of $30 per person per day. Unless you are Elite+ and above you would also have to pay for speciality teas, coffees and juices out of your $30 saving. Elite also get 90 minutes internet (240 mins for Elite+) per person.

    If you would prefer the old system of a basic price plus options to buy drinks, internet etc tell Celebrity now.

    Incidentally with AI solo passengers pay for 2 lots of tips, 2 internet packages and 2 drink packages and that cannot be right.

    We are moderate drinkers and Elite.  AI gutted our loyalty benefits and dramatically increased cruise prices.  Compared to Princess and Royal, X is not competitive.  I have been telling X this for two years and they aren't doing much.   I never see simply sail for any cruise that I am interested in booking.  Also, don't want a guarantee cabin and simply sail rates are still too high compared to Royal and Princess.

  5. 11 hours ago, Airbalancer said:

    Are you upset that you don’t eat all the food on the buffet, or see all the entertainment ?🤔😁

    Yes, moderation can be a virtue.   We are modest drinkers and don't use the internet much on a cruise.  AI stinks for us.   It has pushed X out of the competition when I check Royal or Princess.

     

     

    • Thanks 1
  6. On both of our Royal C. cruises, we very much enjoyed the Diamond benefits, especially the happy hour, which goes from 5pm until 8:30pm.    We are moderate drinkers and did not pay for a drink during either cruise.  Now Royal has increased the 3 drink per day to four and they are included in your cabin card.  Also, Royal C, allows you to book without perks and their rates are Very LOW compared to X.

  7. 10 hours ago, canderson said:

    I'm curious to know if you have any X cruises booked.  We've seen the comment above or similar in a couple of dozen different threads, so I think you can assume that we 'get it' now.

    We had a TA from Rome to Florida booked for this month, but it was cancelled.   Right now we have no X cruises booked.  OK, you get it, but does X?

  8. 19 hours ago, Floridastorm said:

    In April of 2022 there are 5 Celebrity ships making the transatlantic trek out of Florida ports:

     

    Constellation to Barcelona

    Silhouette to Southhampton

    Reflection to Rome

    Edge to Rome

    Apex to Amsterdam

     

    Pricing goes from low to high in the exact order listed. Although the pricing for Oceanview and Balcony are within reason. Even a Sky Suite is not really that bad for what you get.

     

    Considering the amount of days at sea my wife is always concerned that there will not be enough to do on board and with short stops at ports. Myself, I don't need things to keep me entertained 24/7. We are both 81 and 73. 

     

    Would appreciate any first hand knowledge regarding life aboard enroute the US to Europe for these ships or for any one of them. Our only transatlantic was aboard Windstar Star Pride 3 years ago. I loved it but my wife is not a big fan of a smaller yacht style ships mostly due to the lack of quality entertainment. 

     

    Thanks again in advance. 👍

     

    We have done three transatlantics and one transpacific.   We prefer to fly to Europe and take the TA home, that way, we have a nice land trip for 2-3 weeks then a relaxing trip home.

     

    Celebrity's pricing for TA cruises (prior to the advent of AI) used to be really great.   We used to pay from $70-100 per day per person.   Now, we find Royal and Princes are much cheaper for TAs.

     

    As for enjoying a TA, we usually make friends at the meet and greet (even before on the cc boards) and socialized a lot.  We did trivia and went to most seminars.  I usually did the fitness center or walked the decks to burn some calories.

     

    I always take books with me to read and love reading on the balcony with the ocean breeze.   It does get chilly you take the northern route, but the southern routes have great weather.

  9. 19 hours ago, spork1958 said:

    Hi, first time Celebrity cruisers (previous on RCI, Carnival) with a Sky Suite upcoming on Edge.  Just received the “move up” offers and while we see that the costs are significantly cheaper than actual suite costs, our question is whether (especially with just the two of us) it’s worth it.  Already have “the suite experience,” not sure of the value of simply more space….what do you think?

    Frankly, we don't care for the extra hand holding you get with a suite.  The space is nice, but we don't stay in the cabin a lot.   We did a suite once, but will never pay more than a veranda or aqua.

  10. I see cruises that I would like (in 2022), but it is hard to get excited and plan for a trip, with the uncertainty of the COVID19 restrictions that will be in effect.    We like to combine a cruise with a land trip and that adds to the uncertainty, since if we buy airfare and either the land trip is not possible or the cruise, we are in a pickle.

    • Like 2
  11. On 9/21/2021 at 11:25 AM, fizzy1 said:

    Will be interesting to see what rules and regs will be introduced once COVID vaccine boosters start up . In the uk they begin this week . It appears that a different brand from your original 2 doses will  be given as it offers greater immunity.  For us that would be 2 proper dosses AZ followed by a booster of Pfizer . Hopefully this won’t be classed as mixed doses as the original jabs were same brand 

    My wife and I both had the double doses of Pfizer, but we are going to wait a bit on the boosters.  We had no serious reaction to the doses, but we know some people that have had serious issues with vaccines.  

    We will likely decide before next March, when we have a tour of Israel and Jordan.

  12. 1 hour ago, seahappy08 said:

    Hopefully we will be arriving in Sydney in October 22, on the Eclipse. We have been to Sydney twice before but this time would like to see Melbourne. We have about 7 days to explore. Would you hire a car and drive to Melbourne on the scenic route or fly there and hire a car or book trips in and around Melbourne?  We have looked online at journeys etc but would like advice from on the ground!

     

    We have visited Australia twice and did cruises at the beginning or end of our visit.

    The first time, we stayed five days in Sydney and took in the nearby Blue Mountains one day and the wine country north of Sydney as well.  We didn't see all that we wanted on that trip.

    The second time, we flew into Sydney, then immediately  flew to Melbourne and spend over a week in Melbourne, but that included a three day tour that included the Great Ocean Highway and the Penguins at Philip Island.  Also, we did another visit to a nearby wine area.

     

    1) Don't even think of driving a car from Sydney to Melbourne, the distance by car is about 550 miles.  You would spent a full day just driving to get to Melbourne.

    2) With only a week, you might be better off staying in one city.  If you divide your time, you would have about three days in each city.   Not enough time to do any day trips to must see places.  There is a bit more to do in Sydney with the Opera House, we did an opera there.  Also, a harbor cruise and city tour that included going to Bondi Beach.   In the city there are several great museums, as well as checking out the famous Harbor bridge. You can climb the bridge, it is expensive, or for a minimal fee go up to one of the bridge posts that is about 2/3 of the height of the top of the bridge.    In Melbourne,  you need about two days to see the key sites on a city tour.  Also, did lunch on the tram.

  13. 9 hours ago, LGW59 said:

    Wondering how it is insulting if a person posts something that differs from your opinion?  You are certainly entitled to yours, of course, if the loyalty "title" means that much to you and you feel you're not getting something in return for that loyalty, find another line where you will feel more respected and welcome.  Best of luck.

    No problem with opposing opinions.  However, that post was over the top.

  14. 12 hours ago, Spif Barwunkel said:

    I can't answer your question. But I can offer a response. I believe that some cruisers are quick to pounce when afforded the opportunity by what they perceive as a reverse mutiny, if you will. As a loyal cruiser It is very easy, and quite selfish, to feel slighted, disrespected and no longer appreciated. Never mind the hard times, just make sure you give me everything I deserve once things get going again. You've had it tough, no cruises in many months, how is X going to make up for that? How dare them to take away my perks and my earned rewards. I say, how dare you, the cruiser, to assume that Celebrity owes you anything. Take what is offered for what it costs and pay extra for what you want above and beyond. Be thankful it's there. It's been hard times for everyone and if you cannot accept things the way they are, for now, find another way to spend your money.

     

     

     

    Spif,

    Never have I found a post on these threads that I disliked as much.  You didn't need to insult cruisers like me that point out X's lack of respect for its loyalty program.

    Loyalty programs include perks for cruisers that come back to a cruise line.  The perks are modest incentives to encourage more loyalty.

    I haven't found a Celebrity cruise that has a competitive price, since AI has largely wiped out our loyalty benefits.  I still check Celebrity against other lines, but book based on itinerary, value and price.

    The loyalty benefits did tip the balance before when I would find cruises where Princess or HAL (never cruised on either) were about the same cost as X.  The loyalty benefits were the item that tipped the balance.  Also, I love cruising on X.  

    No Celebrity doesn't owe me anything, but their pricing decisions don't demonstrate that they care whether I cruise with them or not.

    • Like 4
    • Thanks 1
  15. 22 hours ago, JamieLogical said:

     

    I am definitely done with NCL. At least until other cruise lines prove to me their customer service is just as bad. I know other people feel they have been mistreated by the other lines, so if I encounter that myself, then I will certainly reevaluate. But, as things stand, Princess has treated me very well, despite my never having even sailed with them, and Celebrity  has also done right by me. Here's what I mean:

     

    We were booked on an Alaska sailing in September 2020. That sailing was obviously canceled. We had only put down a $200 deposit, but they offered to double our deposit on a future cruise. We rebooked for the same week in 2021, I believe that one was supposed to be the Emerald Princess? Anyway, whichever ship it was, it was switched to the Majestic Princess. We were in an aft balcony and they gave us the same room for the same price, despite the Majestic being a newer ship with nicer aft balconies. Ultimately, we decided to cancel that sailing, though, so we could do this last NCL sailing with my parents this month. Princess gave us our $400 credit back on our account and we were able to apply it to our Alaska sailing for September 2022. So, despite us only having ever given Princess $200 a couple of years ago now, they have treated us very well in my opinion.

     

    Then we have Celebrity. I am booked on a 5-Day sailing on the Summit in November. The price dropped because of the current 20% off sail. Despite being past final payment, they are giving me 100% of the difference ($348) in OBC. By contrast, I am booked on this B2B on the NCL Breakaway coming up. The price has dropped on the October 3 leg of the B2B by $191 per person. I reached out about getting some sort of compensation. I was informed that usually NCL would give 25% of the difference as OBC, but because that works out to under $50/person in our case, we get nothing. Literally $2.25/person short of their $50 minimum! So for a $348 price drop on Celebrity, I am getting $348 in OBC. For a $382 price drop on NCL, I am getting nothing.

    We haven't done Princess, but I have heard good things about their cruises.

    We prefer Celebrity, Royal C. and NCL in that order.

    Service and dining are better on Celebrity and Royal.   NCL is inconsistent.   We have had great cruises on NCL, but we have had others where the staff seems to be untrained.  

    Royal and NCL excel in entertainment, Celebrity is just good.

    Ship design Celebrity wins, with Royal second.

    COST, now Royal wins hands down, both Celebrity and Royal have gone to price bundling that forces perks on you that you don't need.  Also, Royal's Diamond loyalty benefit program is the best.

    Unless Celebrity and NCL change their pricing, we may never do cruises again with them.

  16. 3 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

    Here's one reason why we would choose Princess over Celebrity if the itineraries are about the same.

     

    Today we just had our Celebrity Apr 2022 Japan/TP cruise on the Solstice cancelled by X. So we started looking for an alternative that had a high probability of sailing during the same Apr 2022 time frame and found a Vista Suite on an 18 day Panama Canal cruise on the Caribbean Princess for $6,898 pp (or $383 pp/day). We found a similar Celebrity Panama Canal cruise in a regular veranda cabin, but only for 15 days on the Millennium, for $5,616 with the current 20% discount and refundable deposit (or $374 pp/day). 

     

    For us the Princess cruise option was a no brainer, especially when we also get our dual military OBC perk of $500 along with an extra $300 OBC from using our $100 FCDs to book the cruise whereas with the Celebrity cruise it required a $900 deposit. 

     

    Don't get me wrong, we enjoy cruising with Celebrity. But when we can get a Vista Suite with all the trimmings for roughly the same price as a regular veranda, how can we pass up that deal! 😎

    I have never booked or cruised on Princess, but now finding their cruise prices more reasonable than Celebrity.  Royal C. is still cheaper, but Princess is more competitive than Celebrity.

    • Like 1
  17. 36 minutes ago, cruisnfool said:

    Papa…I have been doing to same comparison for months now.

    I narrowed my choices to 

    1. celebrity silly London to fla…highest price not best route, all perks included

     

    2 rci odyssey Rome to fla….least expensive but we are elite plus. So the bev pkg is not a biggie….just would have to fly from London to Rome and likely get a hotel for night prior…..itinerary similiar

     

    3 Sky princess..best route from London and price in the middle……reviews about food and internet are sketchy but they are just getting restarted.

     

    I really don’t know which way to go. I just read they are bringing the Silly home empty so they can do their quarantine. Wonder if that will happen in 2022.

    I am so uncertain about 2022, we like to fly to Europe, spend 2-3 weeks touring then take the TA home.  It is hard to predict the restrictions, testing requirements, etc.   I am not keen on cruising where we have to wear a mask outside our cabin or forced to take expensive excursions from the ship.

  18. 33 minutes ago, Turtles06 said:

     

    Really?  Those ships are stunningly beautiful, I love them.  But as you said, we all view things differently.   ☺️

    We agree and love the ship design of all the Celebrity ships.   Unfortunately, Celebrity has, like NCL gone with price bundling and their prices are even higher than NCL's.

  19. On 9/11/2021 at 12:50 PM, billdadm said:

    I am a platinum member of NCL and called to take advantage of the labor day sale. I was informed that I would get the "Cruise First" deal. Pay $250.00 and get the same in credit for a down payment. We did so on the 3rd. By the 9th our circumstances had changed. I called to cancel and get my $250.00 back. Nope," you now have a $500.00 credit to use by 2024. Not my idea of a good business practice.

      Also "Free at Sea" right. Drink package, hmn free except for a 7 day cruise it's $277.20 service charge for the drinks.

    Don't know if I'll go with NCL again.

    The service charge on drinks with the FREE AT SEA is ridiculous.  We liked NCL better BEFORE FREE AT SEA.

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