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Everything posted by SoCalTraveler

  1. For the flight from Quito to Baltra, is there a reason to upgrade to "first class"? Is the plane full, or is it only hauling 48 pax plus staff and crew?
  2. You missed the point of the post. None of those answers, which are from actual trivia contests, are correct.
  3. That was the point of the post. Each of those were actual questions and answers given by the crew in trivia.
  4. We actually had a large number of Canadians playing trivia with us on that cruise. Some of them said that the correct answer was Newfoundland, as Newfoundland was a separate Dominion at the time of the Titanic sinking. In any event, I've been to Halifax twice, and while Halifax has a museum and cemetery dedicated to Titanic victims, it is not a country. Our host finally gave in and accepted, begrudgingly, Canada.
  5. We have also had: How many Israeli prime ministers were born in Russia. Answer: 1. (This question does not actually turn on how you define Russia. The answer of 1 is wrong with any definition.) How many notes are in a musical scale. Answer: 8. (On this one, an actual music professor corrected the tour director, and he accepted the correction.) What is the meeting called when a group gets together to select a new pope? Answer: conclave. (In this one, "Papal Conclave" was actually rejected.)
  6. I like the repeat questions with "correct" answers when the original answers were wrong. 1. When was the great San Francisco earthquake? Answer: 1908. 2. What country was the Titanic closest to when it sank? Answer: Halifax. 3. What country was Columbus from? Answer: Italy. 4. How many American Presidents have the first name of William? Answer: 3
  7. I assume two Ecuadorian fishermen have been given the Xpedition's tracker and are rowing about off the coast.
  8. We went with celebrity and the extension was great, but not anywhere near that price. As I’ve observed before, decide first his long you want to be at Machu Picchu. If you want to stay overnight, you need a private tour, not celebrity.
  9. I have not seen any posts by anyone who was bumped and did not get an offer to be re-booked on another ship. On our prior trip on the Xpedition we found the food and service to be very good. We never had a language issue with the staff. Oh, to be sure, we met Peruvians in the Sacred Valley with whom my high school Spanish was woefully inadequate. We had some other issues on that cruise, which we resolved with Celebrity. There are complaints to be made, for sure. In 2015 we had to sweat out the volcano. Celebrity did not create this mess deliberately. They could communicate better, but they don't. By the time of our November cruise, Celebrity will have solved the problem or not. If not, they will either offer us another ship or a refund. I've got no control over anything having to do with the situation.
  10. We went a few years back on Princess. (Look below in my signature for the Baltic cruise.) We used Alla, who was excellent. Small group, and we were able to do 50% more than the cruise ship tour. Payment was required in cash. Dollars in Russia MUST be new, with no rips, tears or marking, so I brought fresh $100s from the bank. A small group means shorter bathroom breaks, less chance of someone being delayed slowing down the whole group, etc. Look at Trip Advisor and you will find the top-rated tour companies.
  11. We did the Celebrity extension in 2015. It was nowhere near $6000 p/p. I think it was less than half that. What I tell people is that if you want more time at Machu Picchu (overnight, get up early to see the sun rise, etc.) arrange for a different tour or do this on your own. While we were very pleased with how Celebrity handled everything, and there is a lot to see in Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, the number one issue to resolve is how long you want to be at Machu Picchu. From our Xpedition cruise of 99 people, 29 did the Machu Picchu extension. One woman had some issues in Cuzco, which were quickly resolved. (The staff got her oxygen within 30 seconds of being alerted.) At Machu Picchu, after about 3-4 hours, 24 people went to the nearby hotel for drinks or hot chocolate. They had had enough hiking about. Only 5 of us kept going up to the Temple of the Sun. I pooped out twice, but eventually caught up with everyone at the top.
  12. We have had aft cabins on a variety of ships, and our TA reserves them for us when available. We are not sun people, so covered is nice. There tends to be no wind. However, a bit of exposed deck is nice when sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge or equivalent. Some ships with open aft patios will get some soot in port, so watch the railing.
  13. First, we always find we brought stuff we did not need. When we went in 2015 I don't think there was anything we had missed brining, and we were under the South American weight limit. Second, we are scheduled to go again this November. While I read these threads, this is clearly a problem over which we have no control. Celebrity will do whatever it is going to do, and will do it close to departure time. Thus, I try not to be concerned, because my fretting about whether the ship will sail is simply designed to annoy me, so I struggle not to give Celebrity that power over me. And we've been through this before. When we went in 2015, the volcano erupted, and there was concern about the direction the wind would carry the ash, which could shut down the airport in Baltra and, in extreme circumstances, affect air travel to Quito. In the end, things settled down.
  14. We went to both in June 2015. The weather was fine in both locations. In Peru, Celebrity provided an outstanding expeience in touring the Sacred Valley and in taking us on the Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu. Having said that, we were only in Machu Picchu for one day, for about 4-5 hours. It's a very long day as it was 4 hours to get there and 4 hours back, although the Hiram Bingham is extraordinary; it's like being on the Orient Express. It's a fine trip, but others we know have made independent arrangements and stayed overnight at Machu Picchu. And then you can get up at 4:00 a.m. to see the sunrise, if you want a really long day. So if Celebrity is doing only one day at Machu Picchu, and there are tours with an overnight there, that is the biggest difference you should explore. Price may be secondary for this once-in-a-lifetime trip. As others have suggested here, the price of doing it yourself may even be less. Keep in mind that there are 3-5 days worth of sites in the Sacred Valley, and that Cuzco is very high up and you won't move quite as fast as you are used to.
  15. President Lisa said look to the website for updates. I have looked. I've used every magic word in all the Harry Potter books. I've pointed my wand at the pages. I see no updates for any date. Nothing that says, we are sorry we had to cancel X cruise because of regulatory issues. The only way we know a cruise has been cancelled is because some folks post here.
  16. I'm happy she is here. On most lines, no executive is present to answer questions. And at least one fellow Cool Cruiser got a direct answer that his B2B2B did not violate the Jones Act, as Celebrity had claimed (even though the Jones Act does not apply to people), did not violate the PVSA (which does apply to people), and got things straightened out. My own parochial interest is that we are booked on the Xpedition. The Xpedition has had licensing issues and cruises have been cancelled, usually with just a few days notice. Many cruisers report generous offers with respect to substitute Galapagos cruises or refunds and future discounts. And it is certainly in Celebrity's own economic interest to solve this problem and start making money from the unique opportunity they have in the Galapgos. (And we are shareholders, so we want Celebrity to make money. No shareholder credit in the Galapagos.) When we book a cruise, as many do here, we need to arrange for time off from work, and coordinate other family, personal and business obligations. For us, there is often only a small two week window in the Fall in which we can cruise, and as soon as we identify it we are looking at our vacation opportunities. So what did the President say about Celebrity's problems in the Galapagos: "Hello! We have been going through the necessary regulatory process for Celebrity Xpedition and this is taking longer than anticipated. Please continue to check the website for updates over the coming weeks and months. Thank you and have a great rest of your day!" If you actually go to the website, the only thing you can figure out is that Celebrity is not booking the Xpedition any longer this year. And you figure that out by trying to book a cruise. There is nothing else. There are no updates. Other Celebrity reps have told our fellow cruisers that there will be no public posting, but that affected cruisers will be notified. (Anecdotal experience is that they receive a letter about a week before their flight to Quito.) So why say "look for updates" when there are none?
  17. Celebrity is unwilling to speculate on next week's cruise, let alone 2020.
  18. I'm joining my colleagues from Canada and England. The issue for us is time. We've blocked out the time of the Xpedition cruise with our respective employers, and our window for travel in the Fall is otherwise restricted. If Celebrity switches us to another ship within the dates we already have that may be OK. But being told a few days before departure that the cruise is cancelled leaves us with no alternatives for our vacation.
  19. We are scheduled on November 9 on the Xpedition. A search today using Celebrity's on-line booking engine reveals no sailings of the Xpedition for the balance of this year. That could be because it is (a) sold out, (b) not sailing, or (c) Celebrity's web site not working.
  20. We are booked in November 2019 on the Xpedition. Attempts by us or by our TA to get any accurate information have been unavailing. So we wait. We are fortunate (at least we think so) that we purchased our air arrangements through Choice Air, the very first time that we used a cruise line to make air reservations. But to put it in context, we previously went in May and June 2015, with air arrangements we made using ff miles. In late May 2015, just days before we went, Wolf Volcano erupted on Isabella for the first time in 33 years. So our trip became uncertain because the winds could have shut down air traffic to Baltra. Fortunately, they did not.
  21. For those going on the Novemnber 9 to 16 Xpedition sailing, our roll call is now to to three families, representing three countries. For others on that sailing, please pop over to roll calls and sign up.
  22. Did they offer the other ship for the same time period?
  23. I came to the defense of OP pointing out that reliance supported the OP's purchase of tickets, etc. However, reliance has to be reasonable. Given the details we have since learned through Chris Elliott, there is a serious question of whether reliance on what the reps said was reasonable. No doubt, Azamara could do a better job with its IT and with its reps, but Azamara came through and did not simply stand on its contract rights, but offered significant monetary concessions, which OP took. What would have been the reaction here if OP first posted: 1. OP bought two cabins, on two separate platforms (for which there has yet to be an explanation) at a price that was between 11% and 25% of the true retail price. 2. OP reached out to secure confirmation, and Azamara confirmed, several times. 3. Azamara's contract allows Azamara to correct pricing errors (pretty much no matter how annoying those are to the customer). I suspect that OP would have received less support here had that story been told. I would have qualified reliance with the requirement that it be reasonable. Because of the timing, I suggested a credit card dispute, which, given Azamara's contract with OP, was less likely to work. OP had access to the contract, because it is part of the confirmation process. Azamara offered OP four different options. OP tried to get us as well as Chris Elliott involved. When those attempts at intervention failed, OP took a great deal offered by Azamara. It's not like Azamara refused any accommodation at all. I've posted separately here of a problem I had with RCCL, Azamara's parent. When the dust settled, RCCL admitted that its employees had gotten things wrong about ten times in dealing with the promise of a future cruise credit. Did that stop me from doing business with RCCL again? Nope. We've booked an Azamara cruise, for example. We've been on several Celebrity cruises and have another booked.
  24. Absolutely right. The idea that other cruise lines or travel providers are somehow immune from website problems is not based on the real world.
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