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Everything posted by amyr

  1. This is us too. We're Elite+ over at Celebrity, but so many itineraries on HAL are really really nice while Celebrity's seem repetitive and tired. HALs pricing is a lot better too, especially in the verandah category that we most often occupy. I also don't love how they've carved out so much public space just for use by suite passengers. I like the Neptune Lounge concept at HAL better for that. I find the food and service to be about the same, though the bar service went downhill fast at X once everybody on board had a beverage package and there was no hustling for sales and tips. I hope the same doesn't eventually happen at HAL. The only bars open during the day at all anymore on X are the one in the buffet and the one at the pool, and good luck finding a waiter. You just have to belly up to the bar and get in line. We have 10 weeks worth of cruises booked on HAL upcoming and only one cruise on X, and that's only because it's a transatlantic arriving in Tampa where we live. I always look, but I rarely find an itinerary at a price I like over there anymore. I do agree that you have to pick your ship though. We sailed on Rotterdam and didn't care for it at all. Very old and tired. 😞
  2. For that kind of money, take a look at the Azamara options for next Summer. We chose them for our Baltics cruise over Celebrity for the docking locations as well as the itinerary. In several cities (like Helsinki) we were the only ship in the city center while all the others were docked outside somewhere. In St. Petersburg we sailed up the river and docked in the middle of the city, which saved a lot of travel time for excursions. A balcony cabin for their July cruise is running about $4,699 per person. You earn status on Celebrity and Azamara concurrently, so it can be a really nice option when looking at cruises. Below are our docking locations in SPB and Helsinki:
  3. We chose Princess over X for this cruise in 2014 for the Falklands too, and I wouldn't trade the King penguins we visited for anything, but I also wouldn't choose Princess over Celebrity again if all other things were equal. Even though we didn't love the ship and food, it still remains a favorite cruise for us. It's one of the few I would repeat, and I would encourage anyone contemplating it to book it. We went from Santiago to Buenos Aires, and the glacier viewing day began at dawn with a naturalist speaking over the decks. Sadly, it was foggy and miserable outside, and the entire ship was up and crowding the decks and buffets, and the whole thing was over by mid-morning. Our favorite bartender, who had been doing the back and forth all summer, said that the glacier viewing was in the afternoon going the other direction (from BA to Santiago) and it was usually better. I might investigate that and see if it's the same on Celebrity if scenic cruising is important to you.
  4. I don't, sorry. I just have the price for our aft C1. I guess we won't really know until prices come out. Those aft cabins might be a lot higher than the rest because they're so desirable. Not sure why the cruise hasn't popped up yet on the X website.
  5. Here's a screenshot for anyone who hasn't been able to see it. Our rate was with two perks with a refundable deposit, but still too high IMO
  6. Okay, my TA was finally able to book us on the transatlantic this morning. It still isn't showing up on Celebrity's website, but I have a proper invoice. The price is outrageous, and if it doesn't drop we'll cancel. It's in the neighborhood of $3K per person for a C1 aft cabin. I have paid less than that for a Sky Suite on a transatlantic. I also asked if she could tell if there was a lot of availability or of maybe a group had some space and that's what took so long getting the cruise into the system and what was driving the high price. She said it didn't look like a group was booked and most of the cabins appeared available, so that's good news.
  7. Those look like Vionics to me, and they are a legit orthopedic shoe. They're not cheap, but if you've ever had plantar fasciitis or you'd know they're worth every penny, and you'd have at least five pairs in your closet. Lifesavers they are.
  8. It will be interesting to see what's really up with this cruise. Last week they told my TA it was 'with revenue' and she really felt like they were still working on the itinerary. The excuse that they still have to accommodate previous guests before we can book doesn't fly because all the cruises before and after were bookable with people on those previous cruises still blissfully unaware that they were cancelled. My only concern is that they're actually working with somebody to sell a large group on the cruise and that would mean that by the time it opens up for regular booking many of the choice cabins would already be allocated. As my father used to tell me when I was jumping up and down asking a million questions about something: "Be patient - in due time all will be revealed." Hard for me then, hard for me now. 🤣
  9. What is the Captain's Club Daily Coffee Lounge that I'm seeing on the list of benefits? Is that what the Elite Breakfast has morphed into? We used to love to go when they had a pretty good spread and a little menu with a couple of hot items, but the last two times we went it was just a small set up with pastries, fruit, and cheese, not even any cereal and yogurt.
  10. I had hoped today would be the day when the Celebrity Rep told my T/A "hopefully early next week" but surely by Wednesday??
  11. On the US site I can see a Venice/Venice Greek Isles and Turkey cruise departing October 12 and then a Venice/Barcelona Med cruise on October 22 to position it for the transatlantic on October 31. A CC poster got from Celebrity (?) and posted the transatlantic ports of Barcelona, Cartagena, Malaga, Cadiz (Seville), Lisbon, Ponta Delgada (Azores), Tampa. Of course that's not 100 percent confirmed until the cruise hits the books next week, but it's probably still correct. ETA: Ha, Cruise Junky, jinx 😃
  12. She heard back from her Celebrity Marketing Manger Rep person. The cruise is still 'with revenue' and will be available next week, but she couldn't get an exact day. So whether it's ports or pricing, it's not ready for prime time. The Venice to Barcelona is open, and the Caribbean cruises after it are open, so I guess it's just a matter of waiting and hitting refresh on our browsers!
  13. It was there, and then it wasn't. My T/A has been on the phone off and on all morning with her Celebrity rep trying to book it but it's not showing up at all. She can't even see the ports that we all knew about yesterday. So, maybe they're reworking the itinerary a bit, or maybe marketing got ahead of IT (more likely). Surely it will be bookable in the next couple of days?
  14. Here's the cabin as it was set up when my sister and I shared it. Each nightstand had two USB ports under the lamp (the silver squares), and there's a Euro style plug on the wall next to one of the beds. My husband and I had a cabin on the same ship, and the middle nightstand was moved to the outside of the bed on the right as the beds were pushed together. I don't think there were USB ports on the desk, just one Euro plug and another plug next to it with a dim lamp plugged in that we unplugged for all of our camera stuff. ETA: Come to think of it, the USB plug set on the left may have been one USB and one phone jack? I remember unplugging the phone and putting it away for the duration since there was also a phone on the desk and the nightstand was small.
  15. I can't help you with the best way to book flights like the folks on here can, but I can tell you the difference in the seat categories Delta offers, and I think this goes for that nonstop flight to Tokyo. There's: Delta One, which is business class, either a lie-flat seat or the new Suite. Premium Select, which is what I think you're looking for. There are eight seats across in a 2/4/2 configuration with 8" more legroom and recline and little footrests. Delta Comfort+ which is a standard coach seat 9 across in a 3/3/3 configuration, but it has about 3" more legroom, a little more recline, and a power outlet. Main Cabin economy, which is the same standard coach seat as Comfort+ but with standard seat pitch and recline and no power. The Tokyo flight as it stands now has all four types of seats, many Delta airplanes haven't been reconfigured yet and just offer Comfort+. When you're searching flights on Delta, look for Premium Select as a booking option and also the words 'new interior'
  16. We took a Danube cruise ending in Budapest in June and then flew to Romania to drive around for three weeks. We had plenty of cash in Euro and local currency and our chip and pin MasterCard. We found that we were able to 'tap' and pay nearly everywhere we went. We just waved our watches (or phone) in front of everything from the transit machines in Budapest and Bucharest to the handheld machines waitstaff brought us in restaurants, and in tiny rural grocery stores as well. It worked like that everywhere except the gas pumps. We even waved our watches in front of a turnstile into a pay toilet in Germany. My iphone/watch 'wallet' is linked to my Chase Sapphire, and we didn't notify them of our travels (they emailed me last year and told me to stop telling them where I was going) but we did notify the MasterCard company that has our chip & pin, which we ended up not needing like we have in the past. It's almost like those are more in use in Western Europe, and in Eastern Europe they're building new infrastructure. The internet speeds in parts of Romania were stunningly fast, up to 300mps, and they said it was because they're building new, not piggybacking on older 2G technology like we have (not sure if that's true, but it sounded legit). Anyway, I never ever leave home without enough local currency to take a cab from the airport to the hotel and a little bit extra. I learned that lesson the hard way, and also learned I don't want to be standing in front of a cash machine in a jetlagged state. The rest you can probably get at ATMs along the way if you need it. We had TONS of Romanian Lei, and ended up using most of it to pay various hoteliers along the way because they offered a discount for cash. We didn't need it out and about much at all. Oh, we used it for tips and the occasional private tour as well. When you pay by credit card there's no tip line, and, at least in Romania, they were sure to let you know that tips were extra and appreciated - 10 percent.
  17. We were on Avalon ending in Budapest, and our cruise director had said we'd be doing an illumination cruise on the evening of our overnight before disembarkation. She came back later in the day and said that we wouldn't be doing it after all, not sure if it was Avalon's decision or the Captain's. We made plans to do it on our own during the week of our post cruise stay, but the weather was terrible for it so we nixed it. That was the night of the horrible accident, and we realized just how heavily trafficked that part of the river is.
  18. We had a wonderful guide that was with us from Hanoi until he put us in a van to the airport in Saigon, and he received the biggest tip, in person, at the end. He also picked us up at the airport in Hanoi at midnight, even though we came in a couple of days early. We had local guides at each stop, one in Hanoi, one in Siem Reap, one on the ship with us (Cambodian) and I don't remember the one in Saigon, which is odd since we were there for three days. Anyway, those guides were all tipped individually too. I don't remember about any bus drivers, though we must have tipped them. I'm sure we also had small money for the ox cart driver and the rickshaw and cyclo drivers too. I feel like we gave them dollars, though I clearly remember having hundreds of thousands of dong floating around in my purse too. My memory's fuzzy on all that, but I don't remember not knowing what to do tip-wise. I'm sure they told us along the way.
  19. We did this cruise, and while I don't think the ship was full, it didn't feel crowded at all. Those of us that did the whole trip, land portion included, were divided into two groups for excursions. I think our little groups had 18-20 people, I don't really remember. We rarely saw the other group. We all went to the same places, but they paced it so we never ran into each other. By the time we got to the ship, the cruise-only people were there too, and then we had four excursion groups. Even then, we never ran into the other groups when off the ship. They had it down to a science. I wouldn't worry about excursion crowding at all, and the ship's facilities are meant to handle everybody. I wouldn't let that factor into my decision either way. I'd pay closer attention to the hotels (and locations) that the company uses, whether there's a Halong Bay cruise included, etc.
  20. That's a good question. I would probably head over to the Ports of Call Asia board and ask there, that way you'd reach more people than just the Holland America board readers. At the very least maybe you'd get the name of a tour guide you could email to ask?
  21. Hi Kenster, Not sure if you've seen it, I think it's dropped off the first page or two, but there's an excellent thread about just that, Danube water levels. I'll try to link it here, but if the link doesn't work, just keep scrolling, you'll find it. If you post your question in there, you'll bump the thread to the top.
  22. I promised to take some pictures of the bistro and come back here when we were done. I'm just now sorting through it all because we drove through Romania for 3+ weeks after the cruise. They put out at least three entrees off the main dining room menu, but none of the 'always available' things like the steak filet. They choose entrees that lend themselves to being kept warm in individual glass bowls with lids. They will have two appetizers, a soup, one or two salads, three entrees, two desserts, and cheese, crackers, and bread. We ate there the night of Hungarian dinner, and I was really pleased because we could choose two different entrees and take them to our table if that's what we wanted. The presentation doesn't look as appetizing as it actually is. We were exhausted and delighted to be able to sit down, eat, and be done in 30 minutes. The regular dinner takes from 7:00 to about 9:00. I realized after I got home that I didn't actually take pictures of the whole table, just about 1/3 of it. There's plenty of food.
  23. Thanks for the info. Was the only self-serve coffee in the aft lounge on Deck 3, or was there some near the mid in the forward lounge where the bar is?
  24. We did this cruise last year with no particular interest in beer, we picked it because of the timing. The cruise runs just like any other Tulips and Windmills cruise with the added bonus of a beer expert on board and free excursions to various breweries around. I can't remember if there was one in every port, but there were several of them. There were also beer tastings in the forward lounge and there was a beer pairing dinner towards the end of the cruise. If you love beer it's great, if you don't love beer it's also great.
  25. LOL, that's true. For sure, the white running shoes the European hip are wearing are definitely sleeker than the American Oldster version.
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