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Everything posted by sofietucker

  1. We do get the expanded menu in the Sig, including these past two weeks again on the Prinsendam (June 17-July1). The breakfast room service menus in our stateroom everyday offered steak and eggs, eggs with salmon (though I always just write in Eggs Benedict), bloody marys (also at no charge, btw), and mimosas. We also had the Bose stereo system, a pillow menu, the nice robes & slippers, binoculars. I'd say it's a fluke but it's been consistent on our cruises. We stay in Sky Suites on Celebrity and it's fairly comparable, in our experience (except no Luminae--and CO won't come close to tht, lol).
  2. Ok, did a fairly comprehensive search on this board, got nothing, and HAL itself is useless on this topic. So what is now considered a suite, for purposes of doubling Mariner points and for Club Orange free inclusion? Are current suite bennies for Signature going to be taken away? We've cruised HAL for many years, often but not always in Neptune suites, Signatures, and Vistas (just off the P-dam's final voyage Monday in a Sig). But looking at the current range of "suites" listed by HAL--including Vista, simply a slightly larger verandah--and HAL's language on their website, it appears that from now on, the word means nothing unless preceded by "Pinnacle" or "Neptune." While they haven't hit yet, we expect this most recent cruise's points to be doubled for the Signature suite, as has been done in the past... But any word on whether that will be honored in the future? The description of Mariner point accrual on HAL's website sounds like no. And re: Club Orange, which seems like a dreadful deal: In a Sig suite, we already get the expanded breakfast menu (plus free mimosas) via room service, fancy bathrobes, priority embark/disembarkation, and don't care about the concierge or priority tendering (we don't use those much in Neptunes either). Plus for various reasons, we have plenty of free Pinnacle and dine-around meals, So no reason at all to go CO, right? But will those current "suite" perks (minus arranging our own dinners) no longer apply to Signature? And then we would have to BUY them back? (And not that we would, but what comprises the "very small number" of non-suite pax allowed to buy a CO pass anyway?) Very confusing. Thanks for any insights.
  3. Book everything you want NOW. Those times are by far the most popular. Then if you get on board and decide you don't want to eat somewhere--or on a different night--you can cancel for a refund or switch if date/time are available. But we've found that the 7:30-8 slot is pretty hard to get once aboard. We changed a Pinnacle rez once, but there was nothing at all left when we wanted to change a second reservation as well. And that was on Day 2.
  4. Has anyone sailed the last voyage of another HAL ship as it left the fleet? What do you remember about the number of fancy evenings, types of events, etc.? We'll be on the Prinsendam for her final cruise in June (14 days in Norway); have sailed on her 2x before and will greatly miss the ship! Looks like several previous captains will be on the cruise with us, and there will be all kinds of celebrations! We're wondering about the festivities, specifically about the expected number of formal/gala nights. I will pack my waterproof mascara 😉, and my little black dress will be especially appropriate, but don't want to wear it more than a couple of times...While HAL site says 2 formal nights for up to 20 days, we've had 3 on a 12-day Prinsendam cruise... And should we plan to wear our medallions? Thanks!
  5. So we're on a 9-port (14-day) cruise to Norway, on the very last voyage of the 800-pax Prinsendam (waaah...). Have only been to Oslo before. Looking at several DIY port days, walking around & transport, including Hop-on Hop-off buses. A few reviews have said, don't use HOHO, you can walk everywhere (Bergen, for one). Others say they are so crowded, you can never board on the first try (Geiranger). We'll be alone in port except for Alsesund (where we have a tour booked) and Trondheim (3 ships), so not a TON of tourists in other ports. What's been your experience with HOHOs in Stavanger, Trondheim, Tromso, Narvik? Easy to get to from the pier? What about regular city buses? Can you get ONE pass for say, a month, and use it in all the ports? Thanks!
  6. So your cruise will likely be a "back-to-back"--2 cruises on the same ship, stopping in Rome to let off the first passengers and board the next ones on the same day. You won't have to change staterooms. Usually they will overnight in Venice before you disemebark, giving you 2 "free" nights in Venice. We like to go to Barcelona a few days early, to fit in what fun we can before boarding--there is so much to do! You'll have to look at some cruise line websites to get current pricing on their cruises for your itinerary. They all have various deals too, depending on when you go.
  7. Have done many cruises all over the Med plus river cruises; we usually go 2x a year. By all means, fall & spring are best. Avoid August at all cost: the Europeans go on vacay that month--and many get off the entire month. And so not only are all the port cities slammed, but many places are shut because their owners are gone. Cruise lines: We like HAL ships the best--Westerdam especially. And Celebrity's ships across the board. Royal's Brilliance of the Seas is very good too*. You may still very likely have the announcements in 3-4 languages because lots of Europeans will be on those cruises as well. We've done a Greek cruise line and they even add Turkish and Greek to the languages for announcements, lol. One line you're practically guaranteed to only have English is P&O, a British line. About 90% passengers are from the UK and Australia. * On Brilliance cruise, we had dinnner each night at a table of Irish, Australian, Bermudian, and English folks... We all spoke "English!" So much fun.
  8. And if you are planning to visit the Groeningen Musuem, do check its opening days. It was closed on Sunday when we were there. (Now we gotta go back, lol!)
  9. I second Delos! Have been there twice & still want to go back and see more! There's also an excursion that can take you both there and to a beach on a deserted island. But walking around the labyrinthine streets of Mykonos is wonderful too. Go deeper in and "get lost" if you have time.Try to get to the very top of town for a great view of the harbor (there's a church and a defunct big home near the plaza wall).
  10. I agree 100%. When we were there FIVE TIMES (not "one point") so far--and off to Norway again in June--plus various longer inland journeys, we've experienced the range of cool/windy/rainy to take-off-yer-clothes hot, all on the same trip. And this range occurring every time we've visited the Baltic during June-August. And Amsterdam--which we visit at least once annually, sometimes more--has the same weather range. Take a light raincoat/windbreaker and layer. Bring shoes you can get wet. And thanks for the link, Susan!
  11. We did exactly that last month and loved it. A wonderful day.
  12. And just prior, a cruise couple was attacked with a weapon and robbed in a church... We had found it to be a friendly port even once you got out of th tourist fake shopping area into the real town. Took a local bus for 1.50 each way to Valley Church beach and back, friendly folks on the bus. We were so glad to stop in that port as they were hard hit by the hurricanes... A real shame.
  13. Wonderful news, Elaine! I'm still going to try to hunt down that post, as it may be alarming folks who considered that booking.
  14. That was somewhere here on Cruise Critic a couple of weeks ago. Folks were upset that all they got was $100 OBC for the change; they were actually rebooked by Celebrity. Have you looked at your roll call? Maybe do a search for Summit drydock.
  15. We've done 4-5 Celebrity cruises, most recently on Equinox (another on Summit next week!). As davekathey said, no create-your-own salad, grill limited but fine. The LAWN, the lawn, the lawn way up top. Peaceful and lovely. One side is smoking but therefore less crowded. Put your towel on the grass to sunbathe, play croquet. Always a nice solo musician, lil Sunset bar... Parts will be cordoned off to give te grass a break from time to time but all good. Bocce. Hot glass show further forward. And Solstice deck for sunning & cabanas (one level up in front of ship).
  16. We're on the Summit ending in SJ on Jan 17th. Just heard that the first post-drydock trip was cancelled (pushed back), so I guess they expect it will take longer than planned. We were on Carnival Sunshine (1st & last Carnival cruise) immediately after the 2.0 renovation. Everything that could go wrong, did. Leaks--buckets in several elevator lobbies during the whole cruise--weird detours, etc. Temporary signs everywhere. Plus the raw paint smell and still-wet varnish everywhere. Would wait for the 2nd-after-dry-dock/renovation cruise; let them work out the kinks first.
  17. Allianz. We have had amazing complete coverage--for the trip, our own-booked airlines, hotels before & after. Covered several $$$ medical, a 3-day snow-in at Atlanta, etc.
  18. My question as well... Or are there other good spots with shore entry that are not really on beaches? (I'll check the scuba threads too) Thanks!
  19. You betcha!!! We'll just have to make do with fancy liquors too... As they say, first-world problems, lol. (On that front, we chose this itinerary to islands hit hard by the storms--Antigua, etc.--to spend our tourist dollars there.)
  20. Aw man. We leave on Summit in Jan...had gotten the premier package for the wines too (well, and the Absolute Elyx). We'd had bad luck sometimes on other cruise lines--v. limited choices, not what's on menu--but a fab experience on the Equinox (last winter? I forget.). The bartenders at various bars always opened the bottles in front of us. Cellar Masters had that vacuum system with spigots--we tasted some amazing wines as well as one that had gone off; told them & watched them change it out. Wine tastings/pairings were all excellent. Do agree that you can't always find wine X at each bar. We usually tracked them down and brought our glasses along to OV, dinner, or whatever, as well as ordering another glass immediately upon sitting--and telling the sommelier *which bar* they could find wine X, to save them time in their hunt. Most important thing we do is make friends with the head sommelier upon boarding and then engage in conversation from time to time. Plus of course bring our max # allowed bottles from shore; on Brilliance in the Med, we did this at every port & it was never confiscated.
  21. Right: we always make it a point to meet the hotel officer and head sommeliers & maitre'd for our preferred restaurants as soon as possible. Then we greet them--as well as other restaurant/bar staff by name, every chance we get. We overtip (that is, in addition to the forced gratuities, lol) at the bars after friendly conversation the first time or two. (And if there is a delay the first time, we just start going to the bars ourselves and waiting, swimsuit and all. Amazing how quickly you get served if you are standing there in front of them.) We always get EXCELLENT service. On the one cruise this didn't pan out--and we were eating at the MDR in a large table--the 4 of us started grabbing a cocktail/glass of wine at the nearest bar outside the DR and bringing it in, and ordering our wine the minute we sat down. After 2 days, it was all fine, they knew our preferences, service was swift.
  22. All good points. When we cruise on HAL, we can go to the Mariner luncheon, but you'd better be there on time because they stop serving while they introduce the staff (including the officer at your table, lol). I understand why embarkation is a more hectic day for the stewards having to completely redo the rooms, but otherwise the "feedings" should all be situation normal... Do you know if we can pop into the Retreat Lounge to grab a nibbler during embarkation day? The Neptune Lounge on HAL offers that--heavy hors d'oeuvres and desserts.
  23. Perfect! Thanks--our first time in a suite on Celebrity since Luminae/the Retreat opened. So are there limited times for each meal, as with the other restaurants & MDR, or is it open to walk in all day? I've seen "any time" posted elsewhere but that may have pertained just to dinner. (We'll be fooling around in old town, embarking after 1pm.)
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