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Yankeeclipper1

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  • Location
    Lake Monticello, Virginia
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Crystal Cruises, Seabourn, Oceania

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  1. Actually I graduated in 1979 - started in 1975 so you did graduate before me. I was in McDowell and Anderson hall. Waffle House - yes I remember - convict employees or so the legend said. Yes Blimpies - they delivered to the dorms at all hours. Hogates and 2 other waterfront places - lasted into the 90's I think. The AU tavern - I am in one of the infamous Yearbook tavern pictures - dead center - during a rowdy night. Yes then it was 18 - many nights worshiping the porcelain god. Could not swallow gin for 40 years after all those dorm parties. Haven't had a taste for gin until I recently discovered Henricks cucumber cocktails. Ah teenage years - then went on to a career in the Foreign Service for 33 years, 10 posts and visiting 100 countries. Your Magic Pan comment jarred those pre "diplomatic" memories loose.
  2. Keith I remember Magic Pan Chevy Chase well - favorite item was a fried gruyere crepe with a sweet mustard sauce. I think it was in the same building as one of the original Booeymongers at Friendship Heights - on the 2nd floor - Jennifer St. side. Went to American University - 1975. Also remember Hamburger Hamlet down the street on Wisconsin Ave, Armand's Pizza, Roy Roger's. Back then some of the go to Restaurants (to impress dates) were, Dominique's (Dominique D'Ermo took a liking to me and I could always get the corner booth - Ruth Gordon one night plopped herself down at my table to "talk" and fine out who the pretty girl was - saw Liz Taylor in the private corner partitioned table.), Jaqueline's, Le Bagatelle Jean Pierre, Rive Gauche, Nathans, LaNicoise (waiters on Roller Skates - French Riviera beach style) Annamarie's Italian (open real late), China Town restaurants - can't remember but they were always open very late for "munchies" Booeymongers was also the 2 in the morning "munchie" place along with Tastee Diner in Bethesda. Too many place that just came swelling back into memory when you mentioned Magic Pan - all of 1970's Georgetown. Oh one other place that was fun in Rockville - gangster theme - G.D. Graffiti - Waiters dress as mobsters - and you got your "just desserts.
  3. Interesting - we are taking our first Regent Cruise March 3, 2022 - Belize route. I am going through the list of included excursions - (in my account on the website and from the list TA sent) - and I was surprisingly impressed. ( I am actually less impressed with Silversea’s foray into the included excursion arena - (have two SS cruises also booked) - but Regent’s list definitely is not a series of bus rides. Some of the included excursions on my cruise are: ATV Jungle Adventure, Self Drive mini speed boats, Dolphin Swims, Off Road Buggy Escape, Secret River excursion, horseback ride and beach, all types of Catamarans and beach days, Day use Turquoise Bay resort, Kayaks, snorkel adventures by boat - lots of cultural and Mayan excursions to the sites, even local cooking classes - the list each day goes on and on - unless I am reading it totally wrong.
  4. I agree and disagree - my point was taking - a payment in full - (not a deposit) - that can be returned 36 hours before the event serves no purpose to me. I would rather have them say its non-refundable (with the usual caveats -- like your cruise fare paid in advance etc.) - that would meet the goal of stopping people from just holding space. So far most of the justifications I see above do not meet that goal or say that's the way its been. Anyway - its a minor amount in the scheme of things - just torqued me to see a charge I was not expecting - therefore the venting conversation.
  5. Exactly - it makes no sense to me - of course it makes perfect sense to the accountant coming up with it. Until proven otherwise I see it as an unnecessary practice that just generates a small - several million dollar - free loan for Regent at the customers expense. (assume a small number - 50 passengers per cruise - book extras - at an average of $500 x 259 available cruises - that's total of $6.5 million in paid ahead revenue (not all at once of course) for no reason - since it is refundable or convertible). Anyway its the practice that is bothering me and the non-answer-answer I received.
  6. Does not mean the practice is a practical one - for the customer. As I said in a previous - a CC guarantee serves the same purpose, especially since these could be cancelled 36 hours prior anyway. At hour 37 prior I can say no - and the outcome is the same - I have my money back or I am not charged. Taking the money ahead serves one purpose - multiplied out and you have a free loan at my expense. Its not the amount its the practice that is irking me.
  7. Its not - I imagine if I was electing to use - Regent Choice excursions instead of their "free" excursions - then I would be saying the same thing. A guarantee CC serves the purpose of reserving - with appropriate parameters to active the charge. The only time a full charge should be utilized is when an item is non-refundable - then I agree with the full charge. I don't know about the paid out of pocket excursions but the culinary classes can be cancel 36 hours prior.
  8. Booked our first Regent cruise (March 3, 2022). So far so good until today. For onboard activities I booked 6 Culinary Arts Kitchen Classes for my wife (it's what she likes to do as an onboard activity). I was shocked to find that Regent actually charged my CC in full for the classes. When I gave my CC I was expecting it to be held as a guarantee - which is acceptable. I called Regent and the answer I got was that this was their business practice. I said that this particular practice is a bad practice because it is reasonable to take a guarantee but not reasonable to fully charge 10 months out. I will have about $1100 in OBCs. The customer representative informed me that I would get a refund to my CC if I elected to use OBCs at the final accounting of the cruise. I am fuming not at the amount - but rather - at the practice - of having my money for 10 months for something that should be a guarantee. If I don't show up or miss the cancelation deadlines - fine, charge me then - that’s what a guarantee is for. Anyone else run across this? Also I asked for - where is the disclosure for this? - I could not find it - neither could the representative who promised to send it to me.
  9. Hello - we made a deposit on 6/18 for our first time Regent cruise - sailing March 3, 2022 on the Explorer. Would someone like to "sponsor" us? Thanks, Ray
  10. Hello - new to SS. We have sailed Seabourn and Crystal in the past. Going to give SS a try as things open up - we have booked a Dec 9 Spirit (for the whole family) and June 2 Alaska (to start with). Question - I am confused by the above statement. I have started reading through this board and I "thought" SS was the same as Seabourn with regard to caviar service - basically anytime any where - just ask your butler. I am missing the point above about "higher price suites". Can someone clarify - thanks.
  11. Thank you. Yes my point is about food. As I said everything else was great - all our other Crystal Cruises great. But for us the food is a major component - ports are not (we have been to 100 countries and lived in 10). As I have pointed out - at this level food consistency should be across the board - short cruise/long cruise - all menu items should be the best representation with the best quality ingredients and preparation (even if I hate it ). As someone pointed out - whether you go to a Ritz Carlton/Four Seasons one night or ten nights the experience should be the same. If short cruises are causing a "dip" in quality maybe they should reassess or maybe I should reassess short cruises. In going back over the menus - i believe I could make an equation that the menus on the short cruise, on a dollar basis based upon their components/ingredients seemed to be - well - cheaper to make or commensurate to the cruise cost as opposed a 2 weeker. I am standing by with a flak-jacket for the incoming.
  12. First - thanks all for the interesting conversations. As I said - in our case food is a major part of the experience. My wife and I agree that the executive chef and overloading could have a lot to do with it but also we do not remember having to scan a menu to "find" something to eat vs. having them bring everything because we wanted to taste everything. There also seems to be a slight slant towards Symphony - which again may reflect executive chef and backside of the house. What I am surprised at is no one mentioned the not-so-ripe fruit. That is kitchen management besides procurement or a combination of. Maybe I am just too used to Mediterranean markets but many of you come from sunshine states so should be used to good ripe fruit. Since I am the OP I'll take the liberty of responding to a couple of comments. Well, that may be a problem also - Crystal turned that 10 dayer into two 5 day Cruises.☹️ But the good news is there seems to be a slight consensus to the Symphony kitchens. There is not much farther up to go except to rent your own yacht - so I believe at this level they should not be doing it - if it impacts on the experience or they can't handle it. I agree that the numbers of moving 900 people through all those tables over 6 nights is a hard task - but maybe a task that they should not attempt. They have pillow menus - so hypo allergenic and scent free can also be offered to those who want that - we are talking the top of the industry - a little variety could be in order - BTW as you know Seabourn offers you a selection of soaps and toiletries. I respectfully disagree - my point is you should not have to wade through knowing what to order figuring out what they do well - at this level everything should be an excellent representation of whatever it is they are offering on a menu. I may not like the taste of something because I do not like the ingredient but it should be the best representation of what it is - even if I hate it. 😊 So did we. Was not like that before in our experience - but to be fair we probably scanned the Waterside menu 3 times over 6 nights because of reservations at specialty restaurants. On 12 -14 night cruises that ratio was different so our menu exposure was greater. Agree - TK on Seabourn was over hyped - not bad but not something that I would remember for ever. Oops DW just interjected - she actually liked it a lot. Encouraging - back to maybe catering management and procurement management etc. is an issue more on one ship as opposed to the other. I hope so - but see my comment above - our 10 dayer was cut into two 5 days itineraries.
  13. Just finished a short Crystal- Rome – Barcelona cruise. Our last Crystal Cruises were in 2015. In the between years we have done 3 Seabourn’s, so we were excited to be back on the larger Crystal ship (Serenity). Let me preface with – the following is about the food and service – which for us is the most important part of our cruise – ports are secondary. The service was impeccable, the ship’s condition outstanding, staff incredible, enrichment great, shows and entertainment great, housekeeping great. Now the food. Well, we were just, Un-Crystalized by the culinary offerings. Was it the shorter cruise? We had already anticipated a different vibe and demographics with a short cruise – so that wasn’t our problem. We believe that in service and food 6 days 16 or 36 should be the same in this category of cruise, and it was except for the culinary side of things. The service was still great. No issues there. I liked (wife did not) the cocktails and cocktail selection better than Seabourn’s. Seems to have been an improvement there – or maybe I just never read the whole menu before – nevertheless I thought the bartenders were good. Inclusive wines were OK to good – after going through the whole list (we always conduct our own wine taskings the first two days and settle into what we like – polar opposite to each other of course) – we zeroed in and settled on our favorites. IMO Crystal’s inclusive are better than Seabourn’s – my wife’s opinion – opposite. When I compare to our 2015 cruises - the menus on THIS cruise were dull and very uninteresting – we actually pulled up all our pictures of food (we send our kids every meal) from the past and there seem to be a difference and not much picture sending this time, when compared to our recent Seabourn pics and past Crystals. In our opinions, Seabourn’s main dining room offerings were far superior to the current Crystal offerings. There was not one memorable meal – except for Umi Uma, which seems to have remained the same. Across most dining venues, the menus, entrees, seasoning and preparations seemed dull. There seem to be a lack of higher end ingredients/components and there seemed to be a lot of “dress up” to less complex offerings. Don’t get me wrong all food was good – just not great. Also small minor preparation issues that I find irritating at this supposed level - for example, I love their Brioche French Toast – but they did not serve real maple syrup in the MarketPlace – but yet they have a fresh squeeze orange juice machine. They served some thick imitation maple junk. They had to make a big deal to go to the Waterside to retrieve some real maple syrup (little jars) which took 25 minutes. I just pocketed some myself the next day for use in MarketPlace. Speaking of French Toast, in Water Side they could not get it right nor even understand that you need to soak the bread so the “custard” seeps in and cooks through the bread on the grill – or else you wind up with just hot dry bread. The MarketPlace did it right – I suspect by pure accident because they are probably sitting in pans soaking waiting en-masse to go to the grill. All fruit was completely under ripe - consistently. No excuse in the European market – all types of ready to eat fruit are available – and it’s a matter of timing ripening fruits (the ones that continue to ripen on the shelf) – they just served many of them too soon. Some of the lunch dishes in MarketPlace were tasty, good quality but not exceptional. I have to say buffets on our previous Crystal were better offerings and definitely better on Seabourn. WaterSide’s makeover/updating was pleasant and I think an improvement but was almost too boring - they even changed the beautiful colorful Villeroy & Boch show plates to boring white – the room just lacked a little color. Wife asked where were the beautiful show plates - she wanted a set – Maître’d thinks they moved them off to the river boats. We had to search the menu to find something enticing each night – rather than having so much enticing where we could not decide so we would order several half orders to taste everything – for this trip WaterSide was just OK. Lunch was on the lower side of OK. Had 3 French cousins come onboard – thought I would impress them with lunch – lunch was anything but impressive. Service was impressive, ship was impressive, but food was again overcooked and the menu was a little short on creativity. We were eating at a Hilton restaurant instead of Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton (but service was Four Seasons). Prego was one of the worst meals we had on any luxury ship (in the context of luxury ships). Again, the menu was uninspiring and it seemed like – in both the main dining room and Prego- that the menus were dumbed down which includes dumbing down high-end ingredients/components – one or two upmarket entrees interspersed with a greater number of mediocre mainstream entrees/starters/sides. My wife gnocchi were a solid potato mess, the sauce was terrible – jar worthy - rather than nonna ‘s pot in the kitchen. My Veal Marsala was way overcooked and the sauce was a sweet mess – seemed like the reduction was rushed. Again, the menu seemed more like a good Italian restaurant menu - OK but not “upscaled”. No way did we feel like we were eating at the top Italian restaurants in New York or LA – not even close. I would have taken good Italian neighborhood simple menu if they could have executed well. Overall there seemed to be a dearth of real high-quality seafood and meats – you had to search the menu or wait for a special menu offering of a particular item – there was a higher percentage of mainstream ingredients/offerings rather than an abundance of high-end offerings. I don’t know, but we felt like we were eating on another ship – it seems like we were eating a step above mediocrity – nothing memorable – nothing really bad -we just were not wowed – at all. The Asian Silk Kitchen for dinner was OK for me – not for wife. I did not mind it but again there was nothing memorable about it - tasty and OK. The Churrascaria was again – another OK venue – the tastiest meat was the Picanha – most of the others too dry or not marinated enough. Sides and self-serve - tasty. On a second visit we just had them just drop the whole Picanha into our plates. Some shore restaurants do a much better version of Churrascaria. In all cases – service was always impeccable. Burger at grill was great – fantastic actually. Coffee and snacks at Bistro great. Don’t mind Ben and Jerry’s would prefer Haagen Dazs. Tea very nice. DW adds “that besides dumbing down the food the toiletries were down graded – the brand ETRO was OK but the lack of scented products from ETRO was boring. We stayed at a Barcelona hotel (H1898) that had the same brand ETRO but wonderful examples”. She suspects that these were “house” brands created for Crystal but she swears are lessor quality even though the containers are larger. It seems like someone at Corporate screwed a little with the formula. Reminds me of what happened to Morton’s Steakhouse. If you did not know the old Morton’s you would never know the difference but when it was bought by Landry’s many subtle changes were made. So, for us - our jury is out on this. Someone else may find the food superb but have issues with room size or service etc. We definitely have different “food impressions” on this trip from our 3 previous 2015 Crystal cruises. We have another Crystal opportunity coming up on Symphony in December (from Costa Rica – to LA) – so we shall see if we have truly been UnCrystalized.
  14. Thanks for confirming what I was afraid of - a not so intuitive website. I also think the very short cruise compounds the lack of availability at this late date. Such are the uncertainties of last minute bookings and short cruises - but there is no excuse for the web-designers not fixing that issue - especially since they already addressed it the first go around.
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