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Everything posted by cantgetin

  1. No, but the lines move very quickly. Walk ups are either seated (if possible) or offered a time later in the evening, and leave the line. Those with reservations are promptly seated. My experience has been 30 seconds to a few minutes in line....or none.
  2. In 43 nights on board, we've never not been able to get a reservation. On our most recent 15 night, the app crashed after I made 3 nights of reservations--my TA took over and booked the rest. But most importantly, we did not stick to those bookings. We made MANY changes after during the cruise based on which restaurants we liked, planned activities, etc. When we couldn't make the changes we wanted thru the app, we found the crew member at the restaurant podiums to be very cooperative. And we never ate as early as 5 or as late as 9. We did have days when one of us would say "I don't feel like doing X tonight," and we'd go to the app to see what else was available. We did eat at The Galley for dinner based on the special of the night, but not because we couldn't get a restaurant reservation. Good luck. I do have an issue with shows. I missed one show because I couldn't get reservations, and the next day learned that the show had been almost empty. People were making reservations for the same show multiple times. They really should fix it so that you can only make one reservation per show and after that use the stand by line if you wish to see it again.
  3. First of all with a terminal arrival time of 4, I'd plan to show up about 3. You can expect to board sooner than your time in most cases of a late time. THe general advice is to show up 30 minutes in advance of your time, but odds are if you arrive at 3, you'll have little or no waiting. Since you were able to book late, I'd guess that the cruise is not full. We've not had trouble booking once on board, and if you are not seeing what you'd like, go to Razzle Dazzle where they can assist you. Other things for now...if you booked thru a "first mate" (VV speak for travel agent), contact them and see whether they can get anything for you. I don't know if there is a UK VV Sailor Services number, but they can also assist. Many people who have booked in advance will change bookings after boarding. For instance, if they are going to one of the dinner shows, they'll cancel their reservation for that night. Another hint--if you know the restaurant you'd like to eat at on a particular night but don't have a reservation, go down to the podium about 6 and ask if there is a time that they can work you in. THey'll usually be able to do something.
  4. That applies to Sea Blazer status. I'm pretty sure that Sea Rover is only good thru 2024.
  5. I choose my TA for service. Yes, she is in the top 10 again this year, but I think she is there because of her service. Sure, $100 in loot was nice, but she has saved me more than that twice by doing a cancel and rebook when VV came out with a better pricing deal, and does this automatically for all of her bookings. She re-runs the numbers and contacts those who could get a better price to verify this is OK with them. She deals with VV for me....and their shoreside service is a pain. She makes my dining reservations thru her portal when the app crashes. She loads all of our info into an app so I have everything at my fingertips--addresses, phone numbers, confirmation numbers and I can track members of my party who are flying from other places (we often do this and meet up in Miami). My first VV cruise, I booked on my own. Sure, I can do it...but her service is well worth using. The extra $100 has been nice, but VV not allowing it any more is not a reason to not use a super agent.
  6. Why guess? VV has announced at least 3 previous ending dates for the program with the promise of launching their permanent program. There was a short time of their "tokens" thing. No one knows what they are going to do or when it will happen. We will know when it happens. THe only word from VV previously was that their program would be based on how much people spent, both for bookings and while on board, rather than number of nights or sailings. Time will tell......
  7. You can see probable shore things on the website for each location. Unfortunately those listing don't include prices.
  8. Interesting. On our first Valiant cruise, Premium wifi was not available and the standard was pretty awful. But once they switched to Starlink, the premium has been good. If this is better, so be it.
  9. I agree with the above comments by Travel And Sea above. We were disappointed in the revision of the dinner menu in Razzle Dazzle as they removed several of our favorites. THe new deserts are a nice change though. Celebrity has more "normal" food done well, while Virgin has more "foodie" food, sometimes amazing, but other times the same item can be disappointing. While I don't like the buffet style where others can potentially touch food, the variety quality of the Celebrity buffet is top notch. The consistency in quality and service is better on Celebrity. BUT when VV has good service, it is GREAT service. Same with food....and really friendly crew. One issue on Celebrity--if you order a diet coke at dinner, they bring a can and pour half of it into a tiny glass; they won't let you keep the rest of the can. Then, I'm convinced that they ration you on the package by making you wait for 20 minutes or more for a refill. This did not make my cruise partner happy! And you are paying for it on their beverage package. At the buffet, they just hand you a full can.
  10. We've done 3 VV cruises of 14 nights or longer. On each, we booked dinner in advance, but made so many changes after booking that where we ate did not resemble that initial schedule. The first time, we scheduled rotating thru the 6 twice with the additional nights where I thought our favorites would be. We discovered that places I thought would be great were "just OK" and places I didn't expect to love became favorites. Also, I followed the instructions that Shoreside Sailor Service gave as to which nights were A and B in Test Kitchen....and they were wrong, so that was changed. If you book Ship Show, that is a dinner event....another change. Bottom line, for my next cruise, I'll still book reservations for each night, but I'll also know that they won't stay that way. As far as how to book--you can curse your way thru the app as it crashes. You can contact your TA and have them book for you (their portal opens when the app does). You can call Sailor Services the next morning and do it thru them. My TA has me send her my preferences in advance. Then after the app crashes, I message her and have her finish it.
  11. Were you able to check in at 10 (get the red bracelet) or just luggage drop? I've never heard of checking in before 1 pm.
  12. I am able to book our arrival time usually as soon as I've booked the cruise. It didn't need to be paid in full first. YMMV. That app is funky. For our upcoming cruise, I entered everything for both of us. Some months later, I found that it had kicked out my travel partner's info, so I needed to go that again. There is NO logic to that app. If it crashes when trying to do your dinner reservations, you can also have your TA book them for you (at midnight thru their portal) of call VV the following morning. DO remember that a lot more reservations open up at boarding, so you can change times or do whatever after you board.
  13. I vowed several years ago after a bad experience to not sail Princess again unless I had a really good reason like something I couldn't get anywhere else. I don't think Princess compares to Virgin at all, but they do have a lot of ships and go a lot of places. So, in fairness, my experience with them is pre-covid. Of the lines we've sailed, I'd rank Celebrity as closest to VV. They do have kids, but generally not a lot. I like the entertainment better than VV. You can read comments from others above.
  14. No more use of World Trade Center. We were at Terminal A at the end of last season.
  15. That's why I like long cruises or B2Bs. I figure if I spend the time, money, and hassle to get to the port, I may as well enjoy the ship for a while.
  16. My TA does it whenever she can and has quite the collection....most, if not all, done as Disney characters! The creativity people put into these is amazing.
  17. I would suggest you ask that person. As above, it depends on department as well as whether they are departing the ship for a day off or whether this is the end of their contract. I have seen the LONG line of people lined up at 5am to begin a new contract. This was in Miami after the crossing; many people ended contracts either in Europe right before we headed out to sea or upon arrival in Miami.
  18. They have stopped issuing the status match as of 2024--people who signed up prior to that time will keep the match thru 2024. Also, I've read that DBE will be discontinued at the end of 2024, to be replaced by another set of benefits for those who have qualified with 2 cruises during a specified time frame. Unfortunately, they have changed the various dates so many times that I now figure that it will be what it will be. I have heard that Sea Blazers (those who sailed in 2021) will keep their bar tab bonus for life although the other benefits may change.
  19. Yes, DBE is what you get with either status match or two prior VV cruises.
  20. I know, as and a veteran VV cruiser, that's what I told her. She just found it very frustrating as a newbie to be trying to do things correctly and have them not work.
  21. In my experience, the decorating session is a separate time. It does not immediately follow the bidding. I suppose it could vary from one cruise to another. The bidding and the race are things that people not choosing to be involved can/will come to watch. The decorating is just the bid winners, the artist, and some alcohol. People get really serious about their decorating, planning their designs in advance, bringing stuff from home to use on their seahorse (in addition to what The Artist makes available), etc.
  22. Prices have increased greatly. I bought a cruise 16 months ago. The price to buy the same cruise today is 4 times what I paid. Most have not increased that much, but if you are basing it on prices 6-9 months ago, you are not going to like what you see now,
  23. On various cruises, I've seen bids from $75 to $500. I think they cut it off at $500. As above, 6 horses are auctioned off at the first session. You then get a decorating session with "the artist," and then a "spin the wheel" game race. Winner gets 90% of the pot of bids, house keeps 10%. Payout is in cash, not loot. And you keep your seahorse.
  24. My sis and BIL are scheduled for their first VV cruise. Today I got an email about how bad the app was after she stayed up a good part of the night trying to make dinner reservations. With help from her travel agent, she was later able to get "something" for each night of her cruise and does understand the possibility of changing to a time that they might prefer after boarding. She knows all about the "held back" reservations and stuff, but this level of frustration is not a good look for VV. I guess they think that things are so good after boarding that people will forget the stress that went into getting things set up. Makes me feel really sorry for new cruisers who don't have someone to fill them in on the "tricks."
  25. Exactly--my final bill on VV has been in the single digits each time, while is typically in the hundreds on other lines. Each of my sailings, as well as my upcoming booking has included some level of complimentary bar tab and loot. On my first sailing it was "some." but on following sailings, it has been $600-800 in each category. Our tips alone on other lines would have been $500, and the internet several hundred more. Still, the new pricing model increased the cost for a new booking on our upcoming cruise to 4 times what we paid. We knew the old pricing model couldn't last, but that doesn't justify the new prices even with all the inclusions. I could honestly justify VV doubling their prices; that would put them reasonably in line with other companies. But for now, our plan is to cruise what we have booked, then take a break from cruising for a while.
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