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loge23

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About loge23

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Port St. Lucie, FL USA
  • Interests
    Playing and appreciating music, woodworking, food & wine appreciation, travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Viking, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Aruba

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  1. It can get a bit stale after a while depending on what your idea of fun is. Yes, there is plenty of great food and the lectures are quite good. Trivia, on sea days, is a lot of fun. It's the entertainment, or lack thereof, that we found thin. We don't go to casinos so that's a non-starter for us anyway, but we do appreciate a variety of live music and you generally won't find that on Viking. Viking tries very hard to present a refined, kind of elegant atmosphere on board which we found cloying. Classical music is ubiquitous throughout the ship. Their "late-night" club, Torchavn, will feature the ship's band - on our recent cruise this was a group of talented but somewhat limited musicians sort of what may find at a mid-stream wedding. Viking does bring on guest performers to varying degrees of enjoyable. We had a Billy Joel performer (meh), a clogging group (?!), and a really good Vegas-style performer (Savannah Smith) in addition to the local dance troupes in South America (very, very good btw). After 11 pm, the ship is essentially "closed". There is usually a solo musician - a guitarist and/or a pianist. On ours, the pianist was all classical and the guitarist, thankfully, played a wide range of popular, rock, folk, and jazz music during her daily gigs. If there's a lot of sea days and a long cruise, it can get a bit monotonous. I do recommend that you use the superb spa (inclusive) and fitness facilities if you are so inclined. On port days, don't expect much of the included tours - they're OK but the much better options are all the pay tours. We'll probably sail again on Viking Ocean - definitely on the River cruises - but will also look into other upscale small ship offerings.
  2. Was on the Regal 2/24 as well and shared your enthusiasm upon receiving the medallion package. That enthusiasm lasted until the first day on board. The medallions functioned primarily as a method of tracking embarkation and disembarkation. Mine had to be held against the icon outside our cabin door in order for the door to unlock, my spouse had to go down to the service desk (at a very inconvenient time) since her medallion didn't work at all (it was corrected, btw). I am aware that some medallions worked better than ours did. Drink orders were mostly taken by pen and pad with a signature or the wait staff would take your medallion to the bar area. No one, as far as I know, ever knew where I was - including the wait staff, whom often had to be flagged down for service. Inquiries went unanswered, suggesting that the training was not particularly comprehensive. Someone sold Princess a bill of goods with this system, but Princess - ever mindful of a away to cash in - now sells all kinds of crap to support the darn things: wristbands, necklaces, even the colored cardboard cards for the lanyards ($5 a pop) so everyone can easily spot what loyalty rank you have, if that's important to you. There's advertising for the system everywhere on board, including on the inside of the elevator doors. Maybe this will work as intended someday, but I felt the whole shebang was unnecessary and wasteful. I wonder how many staff positions were cut to implement this system?
  3. Beware of the small storefront on Harbor Drive opposite the cruise port entrance for tenders. It is called the RumStop. There are numerous warnings posted on the shop's windows for passengers of Disney, MSC, and several other cruise lines about how these cruise lines do not permit purchases from this shop - with good reason. Inside, there is a vast selection of just about anything you may want, but they are only props - you order at the desk and your order is delivered to the ship prior to departure. Of course, you won't see your order until the last night on most cruise ships. The prices are the lowest I have ever seen and therein lies the warning. If you Google the shop, you will see several 1 star reviews by people who have been scammed by this outfit. As for myself, my order was delivered half correct, with the bad half being a product far less costly than what I ordered. The attached receipt is correct to my order. Numerous attempts to contact them have been fruitless. I did stop payment on the CC and am awaiting the CC investigation results. There are many other places to purchase well-priced liquor where you will walk away with your purchase. AVOID RUMSTOP!
  4. Good job, OP! We were on the same cruise and I can concur with most of your report. We did have the pizza in Alfredo's on Day 6 and happy to say it was very good. I did not try the deck pizza this time out. We ate in the CG on night - the service was painfully slow but the veal chops were excellent. One adjacent table had significant service issues and the Maitre 'D had several conferences with the guests which culminated with a complimentary, unopened, bottle of wine being presented to them. When they left, they did not take the wine with them - yikes. Agree about the crowd - and it was a crowd. We were among the unlucky ringside patrons for the seafood bout in the HC. Not sure what provoked this, but I think a woman cut in to the line for the oysters. So we're all waiting for oysters and a platter of them go flying - nice. This was followed by an irate nitwit making threats to another guy (whom I think may have sent the oyster platter flying, but I didn't actually see that). Mothers were invoked - real ones, not the obscenities. We never go on 7-day cruises, but we had visitors from the UK with us and wanted to get in a little Caribbean. I'll never go on a 7 day again and I think the demographics were different for that reason. Shower curtains - ugh. We had to request a new one immediately upon boarding, such was the odor from mildew. Seems like an easy thing to fix, but it never gets done. For comparison sake, we recently returned from an extended run on a Viking Ocean cruise where we loved the excellent cuisine, but longed for something - anything - to do in the evenings. On that account, the food on the Regal was perfectly acceptable if not quite on the standard of Viking, but we did appreciate the musically offerings onboard the Regal, particularly hearing live jazz played in the Wheelhouse. Demographically, well if you think the consist was a bit past prime on the Regal you would've thought you were on a nursing home cruise on Viking. But, at least they don't fight over the oysters.
  5. Thank you - no offense taken! I would like to assure everyone that I am not a person that ever would abuse any service personnel. I totally realize how hard they work and I am always cordial to all staff members. In fact, on our last two cruises prior to this one, we became very friendly with both greeters on those cruises, tipped them, and both got warm hugs on the last night. We even waited then and had fun talking with them! They were just warm, engaging people. This time it was different. The individual was quite abrupt - not just to me - but to many. I should add that I did not argue with her - I simply walked in to the DR and sought out the HW for assistance. I should also add that the individual in question totally avoided me after the second night. She would see me coming and immediately get lost! In her case, an attempt at an apology or even an attempt at being friendly would have went a long way. Now, I will name her on the internal eval. But to your point, yes, there are many jerks that simply don't know how to conduct themselves in high volume service settings. But, on a positive note! The cruise overall was very good. We enjoyed the quality and selection of the food in both the MDR and Crown Grill (veal chop was alone worth the surcharge, have you checked the price in your local market lately?!) The entertainment was superb - something for everyone really. The ship's band was it's usual top-rate self. Graham on bass was the leader, with old favorite Ian superb as always on piano, a fabulous drummer and horns. At Cozumel, a terrific young guitarist joined the group - they were wonderful in the Wheelhouse for the Jazz combo breakout sessions. There was another small combo that was also very good in the Wheelhouse, a pianist, a young Irish woman guitarist and vocalist, a better than average party band, and a very nice steel drum player. Couldn't ask for more. I did not hear the pianist in the Crooners this trip; for me if Perry isn't onboard, I usually pass on that venue. It looked like many others felt the same way. The theater shows were very good, but I do prefer live music to the canned tracks. Finally, there was a Beatles tribute band that I really enjoyed - note for note musicians and vocalists, very much fun!
  6. Allegro is the only DR exclusive to traditional dining. The Concerto DR offers traditional early seating only and then opens up for Anytime at 7:30pm.
  7. Just off our first "Medallion" cruise and I have to say that this program needs work. The medallion will - sometimes - unlock your door as you approach it, but more often than not ours did not. In fact, once my spouse had to go down to the Customer Service desk to reprogram the darn thing. I had to hold the thing on the icon in order for the door to unlock. The medallion only functioned, all of the time, as the method of checking on or off the ship. Most of the wait staff either couldn't figure out how to work it or the medallion simply did not function for orders. Again, more often than not, the staff resorted to the old way of taking orders - on paper for your signature. One positive I did notice: the ship presumably had to upgrade their wifi signal in order for any chance of this program working so the internet service is better - clearly not the "best internet at sea" as touted, but better than it was.
  8. I am hesitant to publicly identify the "greeter", as I have handled the situation onboard during the cruise. One of the Head Waiters stepped up and defused the issue by assigning a 4-top to us, for which we were grateful. It is however disappointing that such an situation persists on such a signature service on Princess. I appreciate the advice on this thread and can assure you that we've have tried everything in our many cruises - except Club. It appears that that option will be our best bet for any future cruises - which I suppose is exactly what Princess intends. Bottom line is there's noticeably less staff onboard and the training isn't what it once was.
  9. Taking a short 7 day cruise on the Regal to introduce friends from the UK to our favorite cruise line. Thr entertainment and food is terrific but getting into the MDR (anytime) is the absolute worse experience we have ever had on Princess. There is a gate-keeper at the Symphony who apparently missed whatever customer service training that Princess may offer who actually turns people away without alternative or pager. Today, we tried to call for a reservation (anytime??) at 3:30pm and were told that reservations were already filled. Does Princess condone this ridiculous behavior or are they OK with pissing off their customers?
  10. We had the Silver package on our recent cruise and found it to be worthwhile. I think it was roughly $25 per day, each. As a value, probably broke even - somedays we may have went over😏, and somedays 👼 not so much. I should add that the daily included pours of wine and beer, in some cases, were as good as the "premium" wine selections. The beer, I believe, was Carlsberg on tap and it was pretty good. A good selection of "premium" beers was, of course, available. Viking also provided a variety of cocktails at special events, like brunch and the Brazilian party. I did note the generally tight selection of wines by-the-glass and lack of sparkling wine (only two, a private label Viking quaff and a Prosecco) on a questionnaire early in the cruise and the Bar Manager immediately called me to discuss. To that end, we appreciated the immediate reaction of staff to any issue. We had a nice conversation and the gentleman said he would pass the comments along at the next management meeting. As other posters have noted, only two single-malts were available - one a bit too smoky for my taste, and the other, Glenfiddich, a bit too generic. I actually found the Jameson's or Chivas Regal better alternatives after a while. As to the wines, a very nice wine list was limited to the $25 bottles only as by-the-glass option (all listed at $6 per glass) on the Silver program, while a perfectly acceptable Drappier champagne was tantalizingly just out of reach at a, frankly insulting, $16 a glass - $1 over the Silver limit (which is not a pay-the-difference system). If $6 per glass for a $25 bottle are available, then why aren't other wines up to $60 ($15 per glass for example) per bottle? To mitigate this for wine lovers, bring your own - Viking will take care of your wine (no charge) if you show up at dinner with your own bottle(s). We brought a couple of Vueve Cliquots aboard to satisfy our Champagne cravings, and purchased some nice Uruguayan and Argentinian wines along the way. I urge Viking to broaden accessibility to their very nice wine selection onboard by revisiting the Silver program options and cost - perhaps allowing for a wine package by the bottle as an additional option. Not a complaint, but an observation and suggestion. We did thoroughly enjoy our cruise.
  11. Well I suppose there's one in every bar, but we left in Buenos Aires (had a blast in BA on our post-stay, btw), but we didn't notice a bit of animosity onboard for out (relatively) short stay. In fact, we bonded well with a few couples who are sailing on and we miss them! Nice to be home, though - that's what keeps us at the 21-30 day limit.
  12. My impression of Rio, based on our admittedly cursory experience, is that either the city gets a bad rap or they have made substantial progress since hosting the Olympics. The city still shows considerable contrast of wealth, but the people appear to be busy, relatively happy, and proud of their town and country. Throngs of Brazilians crowd the famed Copacabana and Ipenema beaches and tourist-friendly Corcovada and Sugarloaf peaks. As crowded as they were, I observed no rudeness or anger - everyone was happy, hot, and enjoying the Brazilian summer. The ship hosted a wonderful local Samba school performance onboard on the overnight evening, followed by a festive sailaway party midday on Day 2. Last night night the party continued with a Brazilian-themed feast at the World Cafe and a deck party on the mercifully cooler open deck under a glorious full moon. Yes, the NFL games were also available. After a dodgy Salvador de Bahia experience, the port calls to beautiful Buzios and exciting, vibrant Rio left this traveler thoroughly appreciative and fortunate to experience a little bit of Brazil.
  13. Mr. McGuinn, and his lovely wife Camilla, are all about the ship and are both warm and friendly. Roger even participates in a trivia team. Roger's first (of three) presentations was brilliant - a multi-media show that chronicled his amazing career. Later today, #2 will be about the history of the seminal folk/rock/country group, The Byrds. Roger signed CDs for all those lucky enough to snag one before they sold out.
  14. Besides the dining options, lectures and workshops (today for example, yoga, writers workshop, bridge lessons, history lecture with excellent resident historian, documentaries in the cinema, trivia, wildlife lectures, game tables in the living room, the spa, the gym, sunning, swimming, reading, resting. Dining options include room service, buffet, and DR. Also pool grill and a revolving special offering wbich today was a Caribbean bbq at the Aft pool (other days featured a lobster salad made to order and shrimp with pasta and olive oil - both were superb as all the food service is.)
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