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Vagabond Knight

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Everything posted by Vagabond Knight

  1. Our MOA is to ALWAYS have travel insurance. However, it only covers the financial side, not the stress and disappointment of missing a cruise you've been planning and anticipating. 😪
  2. It is unfortunate that those anxious to cruise did not anticipate how challenged St. Maarten would be to accommodate the post-cruise crunch. When my husband and I heard they were going to cruise out of St. Maarten, we looked at each other wide-eyed and shook our heads. "No way will that island be suddenly able to handle that kind of incoming and outgoing crowd!" was our thinking. Port Everglades and the Port of Miami have years of experience and far more infrastructure than St. Maarten, and yet the process of getting in and out of the port is still almost enough to suck all the relaxation out of your lovely cruise vacation (and double that if you need to drop off or pick up a rental car). It sounds like there are kinks that may be able to be smoothed out down in St. Maarten and perhaps there's a bit more that Celebrity can do to help, but I'm guessing there may have been some overconfidence involved and well-intentioned but impossible-to-fulfill promises made by the local tourism folks who were anxious to bring tourism dollars back to the island. As much as we enjoy Celebrity, we figured we'd probably have to look for a new cruise line if they found it was cheaper to go out of St. Maarten decided to move operations there and forego Florida for the long term. We enjoy St. Maarten as a port stop, but we don't consider it a reasonable embarkation point.
  3. CELEBRITY would have to pay ME to drink a Coors Light.
  4. We're so risk averse that we go down the day before a cruise because of what should be a three to three and a half hour drive to the port. There are occasionally accidents on major highways that tie up traffic for hours at a time, so why take the chance? Even if you're in town the night before you sometimes hit one of those clogs near the port that sometimes becomes absolute gridlock, which is still a stressful way to start what should be a fun and relaxing vacation. This is why I hate going out of the Port of Miami or Port Everglades and reeeeeally wish Celebrity would expand their Florida footprint to Port Canaveral. I also don't fly to away football games the day of the game!
  5. I won't be the problem either. Hubby and I are IT professionals who've been doing "computer stuff" for decades (back before Al Gore invented the internet, ha-ha!) and one of the things we like about cruising is being able to unplug. Our usual online interaction during a cruise is to spend about 10 minutes when we go ashore on the Caribbean islands to check our email (gotta love that T-Mobile plan down there!) to make sure the house and the cat are OK and that's there are no family emergencies. And that's pretty much it for the smart phones during the cruise except to take some photos if we're not carrying a camera. Now I guess we'll fit in that 10 minutes a day sometime on the ship instead of wasting "island time," but I find the thought of spending any of my cruise time streaming anything to be extremely unappealing.
  6. I would LOVE having Celebrity set up shop at Port Canaveral! We love our Celebrity cruises, but we really dislike having to deal with the madness in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale port areas!
  7. The "Is it worth it?" question is always subjective. All I can say is that it's usually worth it to us, but of course it depends upon the price difference for that particular cruise and what's important to us may not be important to you. We've never found the cabin location to be a negative so that's a neutral item for us, and we feel that some extra overhang is a plus. We don't use the Persian Gardens, so that's another neutral item. What we really like are the calm, pleasant sit down breakfast in the morning and the enhanced dinner experience in Blu. We've found the atmosphere and service in Blu to be a definite step above the MDR (not that it's bad in the MDR... Celebrity service throughout the ship is wonderful). Blu feels classy and personalized, but still friendly. We've tried all the specialty restaurants on the S class ships (our favorite class) and we felt like the food was on par with Murano, but the service and atmosphere was not as stuffy as Murano.
  8. Personally, I could not imagine doing an Alaskan cruise in an inside cabin. Book those balconies, bring your binoculars and cameras and enjoy the views! For us, it's all about the breathtaking scenery and wildlife up there, and the other cruise activities in which we usually partake when we head to the Caribbean were unimportant to us as we used every opportunity to take in Alaska's beauty. We've gone twice and spent almost every waking hour that we weren't dining or grabbing drinks out on our balcony. It was a truly awesome experience. Sure, you can hang out on a public deck, but not having to deal with procuring a chair or a prime spot and being able to duck back into our own cabin when needed was wonderful. We approach the Alaskan cruises very differently than the Caribbean cruises. I could book an inside cabin for the Caribbean since it's pretty much just water, water and more water in between the ports, and we take advantage of many of the ship's activities during those cruises. However, we just want to take in as much of the scenery and wildlife viewing as we can when up in Alaska and consider a balcony to be a must for us. Of course, you may feel differently if you haven't cruised before and want to take in a wider variety of the cruise activities or if some of the other activities are favorites of yours.
  9. Even those of us who love Celebrity have pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that their IT department is fairly bottom of the barrel.
  10. NEVER: Carnival Caribbean cruises less than 7 days long. I believe the "party boat" atmosphere is not only a function of the cruise line, but also a function of the length of the cruise and the itinerary. Many of the Carnival cruises are 3-4 days, which attracts the "party 'til you drop" crowd. Did two 7-day Alaskan cruises on Carnival and had a great experience both times. Another never is RCCL's floating cities/malls. They're just too dang big with too many people on 'em. A probably never is Disney, since I think their pricing is ridiculous... when I've checked, it's usually been about twice what I pay for Celebrity. ALWAYS: I have no "always," though Celebrity generally has the lead with their excellent service. However, pricing gets kind of ridiculous sometimes and there's only so much I'm willing to spend per night. MIGHT TRY: MSC, since they sail out of Port Canaveral. Also might try one of the river cruise lines at some point.
  11. And yet we can spend 4-5 hours on a plane sitting next to a stranger whose face is about 18" from ours. I'm never that close to anyone on a cruise ship for that amount of time. Just to be clear... I'm not one who can't wait to get aboard a ship. I'm more worried about jobs than I am about vacations. I'm going to let others spend thousands of dollars to be part of the initial testers group, especially since they're not restricting these initial cruises to vaccinated adults only. As much as I miss cruising, I know it's not an absolutely essential part of my life. However, I live about 30 minutes from Port Canaveral and know that many people's livelihoods are directly or at least closely tied to the cruising industry. I'm also among the suspicious that part of this could be politics with the three busiest U.S. cruise ports all being in Florida (Miami, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades). I wonder if the top cruise ports were Atlanta, where the CDC is located (yes, I know that's an impossibility) or Washington, DC, if the cruise industry would still be shut down or if they'd been given a specific list of "must do" items to get things going again.
  12. Yes, I'm with you on this. So, apparently someone might catch Covid from an unvaccinated 18-year old, but not from an unvaccinated 17-year old. This makes about as much sense as when we were visiting California a few months back and county (or state?) had passed new laws that you couldn't just buy a beer in a brewery, you also had to buy something to eat... due to Covid. It seems that if I order a beer, I might catch Covid, but if I eat some potato chips with that beer I won't. Hmm... I'll think I'll let others spend a few thousand $ to be the Guinea pigs for this experiment.
  13. The Silver Moon luxury catamaran trip we did in Barbados in 2019 was one of the top two excursions we've ever taken on our Caribbean cruises, and definitely the top boating/snorkeling excursion we've taken. With such a small group, beautiful luxury catamaran and nice amenities, we thought the higher cost was quite worth it. Has anyone who's done a trip aboard the Silver Moon or one of its sister vessels (and so is familiar with the experience) found any boating/snorkeling adventures of the same quality on any of the other Caribbean islands?
  14. If they choose not to cruise just because children couldn't go along, the stockholders (and the adults willing to cruise without children) should seriously question the business acumen of those running that company.
  15. Well, that may be their target demographic under "normal" circumstances, but if there's pent up demand and they can fill the ship (as much as they are allowed to or choose to fill it) with vaccinated adults, I doubt that a temporary change of "cruising style" would be declined by the company.
  16. Does this type of thing happen frequently with MSC? We haven't cruised with them yet, but we were considering booking with them in the future.
  17. We've been sailing on Celebrity for a number of years now, but would like to consider MSC since we live near Port Canaveral, Florida and dislike having to drive down to Miami or Fort Lauderdale for the Celebrity cruises. On Celebrity, we have usually been in Aqua class (primarily for the Blu restaurant that's reserved for Aqua only). For those of you who've sailed both Celebrity and MSC, what are the primary differences (both positive and negative, as well as just plain "different") that we'd likely notice on MSC cruises from what you've experienced on Celebrity? Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide!
  18. Has anyone heard whether or not cruisetours are affected if it includes a 7-day cruise, but the entire "package" is longer? For example, we're currently booked on a 13-day cruisetour next August and although the cruise portion is only seven days we'd be with the same group on trains, buses and other transportation for the six additional days.
  19. Yup. No one uses ALL the services onboard. Celebrity has to balance what they provide and their cost with what their customer base usually wants and what they're willing to pay. As the targeted customer base changes and customers' needs/wants change, Celebrity's offerings will change. There soooo many aspects of cruising that could be picked apart and argued, but there is only so much "customization" that makes financial and practical sense. My husband and I work in IT, so one of the aspects of cruising that we've loved is the ability to "disconnect" and tell people we'll be unavailable. We'll do a quick check of email every few days in port (T-Mobile is great for international travel, especially in the Caribbean) and that's been the extent of our Wi-Fi usage, and we've never felt it necessary to specifically pay for it onboard. If it's included in the future, that's OK. If it's not, that's OK too. I don't care if they include it and add a few dollars to cover it, but our usage is not really going to expand. If my husband starts being too connected to his phone while cruising, I'll throw one of them overboard. You don't drink? Well, others don't eat seafood or steak (both of which are expensive) and many people don't eat breakfast, but it would be weird for Celebrity to start breaking down to multiple food plans. If I never use the hot tub or pool on my cruises, should I get a non-swimmer rate since I'm not adding to the cost of chlorine or maintenance? Maybe I've seen all the ports and no longer get off the ship at the stops, so why should I pay port dockage charges? And, if I don't go to shows perhaps I don't want to chip in for all those entertainers they bring onboard. Maybe I don't go to trivia or paper airplane competitions or dance lessons, so I would like the "no cruise director" discount, please. For any of you thinking about picking apart any of these specific examples, you're missing the general point. We all pay for some aspects of the ship and the services associated with a cruise that we don't use. Life's too short and cruising's too much fun to gripe about every little aspect of cruising. There will be parts of the product that you use and parts of the product that you don't on any cruise you select. Just find the cruise line, itinerary, dates, amenities/perks, vibe and price that best fit you, then choose to have a great time!
  20. I'm pretty sure the 13-day Alaskan cruisetour we booked quite a while ago for August 2021 will be off the table, at least for us, since we don't plan to cruise if we have to mask up all day (not that we would blame them for requiring it until this mess is over) and if we have to stick with cruise line hosted excursions, not to mention possible quarantines before and/or after. Also, there's the question of whether Canada will even allow cruise ships. However, if all that is either lifted or is acceptable to passengers, wondering if a cruisetour combo will be considered "legal" under the CDC guidelines if it's X number of days of touring with a subset of the cruise passengers with which you'll be onboard before or after a 7-day cruise. The cruise itself is only 7 days and falls within the current guidelines if taken by itself, but the entire "experience" with other travelers goes beyond that one week limit.
  21. A bit off-topic, but I noticed that a couple of people quoted my post and I have a few ugly grammar errors in it (mostly from being in a hurry and changing some sentences from "I" to "we" and not updating everything in the sentence). Just wanted you to know that "we was" is not the way I normally write a sentence. How embarrassing! 🙃 I didn't notice it until the "window of editing" had passed. - Laurie
  22. Honestly, some of the posts on here have me shaking my head. First, for those who claim to be heading to other cruise lines due to a change in perks, I think it's reasonable to assume that there may be changes in other lines as well since every line was hit by the pandemic effect. Yesterday's Viking, Oceana or whatever may not be tomorrow's Viking, Oceana or whatever. Second, some of you make it sound like you had to ENDURE many cruises to get you to your Captains Club level and getting to a higher level was the goal rather than the goal being to enjoy some wonderful cruises. I guess I have a different viewpoint. We cruise to enjoy the moment... to enjoy the views and destinations, the onboard entertainment, the food and drink, the interesting staff, and meeting other cruisers. If, along the way, we pick up some perks because we've reached a higher loyalty club level, that's cool. However, we chose our cruises for the destinations/itinerary and dates, and for what the ship offers in service, comfort level, entertainment, food and drink (and I don't mind paying for the level of drinks I prefer). We like the Celebrity experience because we feel they do very well in the service areas that are important to us. I think some of you may find that you enjoy life more if you make your goal to enjoy each moment of every cruise as much as possible and try not to worry about what level you are and what freebie/perk you might miss out on. Sure, Celebrity has gotten a lot of your money if you've achieved a high level in the loyalty club, but hopefully the cruises you've gotten for that money have been full of fun times and yielded great memories and friendships, and they haven't just been a stepping stone to a higher Captain's Club level. We was supposed to hit the next level after our next two cruises, but would be perfectly fine with them eliminating the Captain's Club perks if that would help the company survive. We cruise for the cruises, not for the levels and perks. Anyone who thinks the cruise lines can just bounce back to "normal" when they get the go ahead to cruise if fooling themselves. The world has changed due to this pandemic and we shouldn't expect everything to go back to the way it was before. Unfortunately, that includes the products provided by our favorite businesses, including the cruise lines. Sanity will be found in flexibility, acceptance that there will be changes, and figuring out how to best adapt. Life is too short to always look at the negatives.
  23. Interesting that Celebrity is still advertising itineraries that promote Key West as one of the ports for upcoming cruises. Of course, they always reserve the right to change ports anyhow. Also of course... we all know that many of these cruises being advertised are not going to sail at all, regardless of the promoted destination. 😟
  24. Does anyone else get the feeling that once we've done all this silly stuff they'll raise the number of points we need to reach the next level? 😉
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