Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About YOW

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Ottawa, Canada
  1. This was our impression the last time we sailed with Celebrity, nearly two years ago. While it wasn't to the level of an all-inclusive resort, the "modern luxury" concept seemed to include dumbed-down (and salted up) food; many of the 'little things' gone or cut back; and an overall chain-like feel that may be appreciated better (or at least overlooked) by those more inclined to maximize their drink package efficiency.
  2. Thanks for clarifying. Humour can be tricky, eh... and when it bombs, all bets are off. Take that from someone who's been giving it a go in stand-up comedy for the past couple of years. FWIW yours wasn't the comment I found so egregious. That prize goes to:
  3. THANK you. I felt much the same way. At best, the commentary was politically based, which contravenes CC rules. From there we can only speculate, and I'm willing to give the individuals the benefit of the doubt, but I found the comments to be out of line.
  4. Probably a racked out telephoto, which can give the effect of distorted distance and objects appearing closer than they really are. Here are some similar images: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2154779/A-giant-cruise-ship-endorsed-Sophia-Loren-swept-Venice-sparking-protests-spoilt-views-air-pollution.html
  5. Hey Terry, enjoyed your Hawaii photos as well. We were there in May. Here are some images (Big Island, Oahu and Kauai): www.ariphoto.com/hawaii Hope you're getting in some good shooting (with the camera that is) in Colorado. Your Africa adventure sounds like it will be fantastic.
  6. If it got to feeling more like an all-inclusive resort: subpar meals, hot all the time (underpowered or no AC), lots of bugs... yeah, hot and buggy ships, that would be our deal-breaker.
  7. Just following up to this... Got a call today from Patsy at Royal/Azamara. The folio had been retrieved in-house and initially she was still insisting that our friends had received two $50 credits, one being from us. After some polite back and forth, however, I convinced her otherwise, as it turns out she had been looking at a $50 charge for Prime C and not a credit. So they will be refunding the $50 to our card. Our friends will also be receiving a $50 credit on an upcoming cruise. I will add that Patsy and Alex, and all reps with whom I've spoken in this process, have been polite and patient. Our friends also got their apology letter from Azamara (albeit with some incorrect/outdated info, but I've passed along the good news to them). Glad to see a positive outcome. :)
  8. One of my students has a 6D and shoots concerts and whatnot in low light (fast lenses of course). The results are great, and the same could not be fully achieved with 'lesser' gear, at least not without noise reduction in post-processing with some (albeit less and less nowadays) loss of detail. Speaking of post-processing and Ansel Adams, something that dates back to his time and before... The big difference is that we have so much more at our fingertips with digital means, and sometimes it's taken too far. Nonetheless, I encourage people to shoot in raw (getting it right, or as 'right as possible' in camera) and finish (not fix) images in post. Going back to the "color and sparkle" to which the OP refers, this can be a helpful step in the process.
  9. By "big old Nikon," what kind do you mean? Film? DSLR? I'm a big proponent of the it's-not-about-the-gear approach. Whether you're shooting with an iPhone, a point-and-shoot, or a high-end DSLR, what will take you furthest is your eyes. So if you feel like you're seeing photos that are better than yours, I'd say that gear may not be the reason, and would suggest investing in education and training -- through websites and online courses (e.g. Kelby Training), books, and/or at your local schools/colleges. (I teach photography at a community college)
  10. Ah, the many times that Mrs. YOW and I have joked on a cruise about "a wafer thin mint." :D
  11. I'll preface this by saying that we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on Azamara Quest back in December, and have been looking forward to sailing with Azamara again. I was ready to post a glowing review, but cannot do so at this point due to an unrelated yet frustrating experience. While the following involves a relatively small transaction, is also about a missed opportunity by Azamara and yet another example of poor shore-side service. Our friends (both of whom are travel agents) were sailing aboard Azamara Quest on January 29, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. I called Azamara earlier in January and arranged a $50 onboard credit in honour of their special occasion. Having heard nothing, however, DW finally made inquiries -- and it turns out our friends got neither the onboard credit nor the anniversary card. Our credit card, however, had been charged $50. Again, it's not a large sum we're talking about here, but what's right is right... right? Let's consider my 'first' call to Azamara as the call in January to place the order. On my second call to Azamara (first request for refund) last week, I waited on hold twice and was eventually transferred to 'Alex' in Corporate Guest Relations, who looked at the final bill and said that our friends got their $50 credit. He apologized to us (and promised to write an apology letter to our friends) if in fact the card hadn't been delivered. After consulting with our friends, however, we realized that another friend had also given a gift of $50 onboard credit; our friend emailed me a scan of her folio, which showed the one credit for $50, along with a image of the card from her other friend. So our credit and card were never delivered. For the third call to Azamara, the next day, I spoke with 'Patsy' in Corporate Guest Relations, which as I understand is a department that encompasses the Azamara, X, and RCI lines. I explained what had happened and offered to forward the email with the scanned information. Patsy advised that she'd have to wait until Friday or Monday (so by Feb 17) to get the folio back in their office. If the $50 credit was missing, she said she'd go ahead and refund the $50 to our card but would not be doing anything else for our troubles. At this point I relayed my feelings that (a) this issue has become 'work' for myself and for my friends, and (b) more importantly, our friends' 50th anniversary had come and gone, and Azamara dropped the ball. While I realize it's not a large amount, it's the thought that counts. Emphasizing that these people are travel agents and send a fair amount of business to RCCL (and we do our small part as well, as X/RCI/Azamara pax), I asked Patsy that, in addition refunding our card, please give a $50 onboard credit to our friends on a cruise they have booked for September. Patsy said she 'understood how I felt' and that she'd get back to me within a day or two. A week later, still no call from Azamara/RCCL, so I phoned in today (call #4, for the record) and spoke with two different reps, wasting another half hour. Eventually the 2nd rep said that he worked with Patsy, that she was on a call at the moment but they were messaging back and forth and she would be calling me back shortly. And yet, here we are, past end of business today, and nobody from Azamara/RCCL has called back. I am now disputing the charge with the bank, and of course I'm sharing this story with you here. We've spent hours on this, between ourselves and our friends, and as of yet all we have is a $50 charge -- no refund, no credit, nothing but the absence of the anniversary gift and the presence of mixed feelings towards Azamara. Unfortunately, many of you here have posted about worse stories than this when it comes to Azamara's shore-side service. What a shame, that a company with an onboard product that good can have shore-side operations that mediocre. Should these stories deter one from booking a cruise with Azamara? I want to say, "I would hope not." I want to say that you should ignore the potential pitfalls of the pre- (and now post-) cruise experience, that you should just go and enjoy yourself aboard an Azamara cruise, with the amazing service/soft-product they deliver. I want to say those things... but I can't say them in an emphatic, glowing tone. I wanted to come back here and say that Azamara eventually stepped up and made this right. Sorry, Azamara, you dropped the ball, and you stumbled further when given the opportunity to pick it up. And instead of writing that glowing review in this space, I'm writing this.
  12. Sorry your parents didn't enjoy themselves more. This is another example of those who do their homework being able to create better travel experiences -- and set their expectations accordingly. We look at Asia as a place to travel by land, not by sea. The distance between the ports and (some) cities is a big factor, but there are others. For us, Asia is as much about the food as it is seeing the sights, and being on a cruise (especially one with so much transit time to/from city) takes away from that experience. The same can be said for Europe, and thus we tend to travel more by land in Europe as well, and when we do cruise it's port-intensive with easier access to where we want to be.
  13. I'll concur with what others here are saying about packing less. Each time we go to Europe, we take less and less. Our most recent trip was in the winter (packing for snow/ice/cold), and even so we got by with one medium-sized suitcase and one smaller one. Consider how you will be getting around, how you will carry your bags, the extra costs associated, etc. OTOH, I'm not sure there's any need to sacrifice a day (or half-day, or whatever time) of valuable destination time in order to do laundry. If you pack strategically, you should be able to go nine days without a visit to the laundromat, but rather washing some items in your room and/or using hotel laundry services. There's plenty online about packing light, packing smart, etc... try Rick Steves for starters: www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/packing-light/packing-smart
  • Create New...