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Everything posted by loge23

  1. Happy Anniversary M&JfromSDL! Thank you for posting the great pix of your cruise. The pictures from (I believe) the first night of dining ( the short ribs, and strip steak) were terrific, yet your comment was "just OK". What am I missing there? Also, how casual was the couple that may have gotten a "what for" from the staff? We're sailing on 10/23 and don't do formal anymore on any line, but we will be neat - your description of a button-down shirt and slacks will work for me, albeit a "Tommy Bahama" type of shirt. Enjoy the cruise and thanks for sharing!
  2. Yes, of course! Thank you for that, my bad!
  3. I'm pretty sure they didn't do it to lose money, but that $$ has to come from somewhere and Harding isn't doing it to lose money either.
  4. Yet another significant change for Princess, following Jan Swartz's ascension to Group President. Keep in mind that Jan was hired away from Bain where she served as a outside management consultant. I mention this because management consultants are rarely concerned with brand legacy and more focused on brand efficiency - not necessarily a bad thing, but it does always bring significant change to a firm's operations if their recommendations are taken. Obviously, hers were and are still. As for this change, think of the Princess shops as Mom & Pops. Comfortable, friendly, and fairly predicable. Then, Effy changed the paradigm. So the Mom & Pops are being replaced with the Big Box stores - scaled down, of course, but the comparison is valid. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but different it will be. Will Elites lose their 10% discount, for example, and what will become of the merchandise mix? Meanwhile, the competitive environment is forcing its' own changes as Princess will now try to differentiate itself in a sea (no pun intended) of highly corporatized offerings amongst the high-occupancy cruise lines. All of this is creating new opportunities for smaller ship lines, like Regent, Viking, etc. Of course, all of this is occurring before most of us have had a chance to return to cruising. I think we'll be a bit surprised, but hopefully delighted, at what we find when we do. But don't expect the same experience that you were used to before the plague.
  5. I think we'll starve ourselves before our Naples port call next year and take a food and wine stroll through Naples, having previously spent a day in Pompeii (highly recommend btw). Naples is known for the best pizza on the planet, as well as the pinnacle in southern Italian cuisine. Several good options online available. Mangia!
  6. Likewise. We're booked on the July 2022 Fire & Ice sailing. Not optimistic - about this ship or the cruise line for the matter at this point. About a year ago, we were discussing the cost of maintaining the inactive fleet. Here we are a year later and Princess has two (soon to be three) ships in service; one in Alaska and the other two out of Southampton. This company is hemorrhaging serious cash. Princess has had two new ships come out since the pandemic began: Enchanted and Discovery. Something has to go, and the Island and Coral (2003) are among their oldest in service now (the Caribbean Princess is now the oldest, 1998). Princess has all but ceded their Caribbean cruise business to Celebrity for now. Hope I'm wrong here, but this isn't looking too good for the Princess Cruises we all knew and loved. The latest cancellations really hit home for us - or I should say, kept us at home.
  7. Seriously, I have to wonder if the Island is heading to the auction block.
  8. Ship cam shows the Island in dry dock today.
  9. Yes, there are very good options out there now. We're currently booked on three Princess cruises, primarily for the itineraries - we are long-time Princess cruisers. In recent years, we tried other a couple of other lines - Celebrity and Viking Ocean - and enjoyed the difference in services and amenities. We're currently booked on the Edge for October in a Sky Suite, based on pretty much what you described, similar to which we had heard from friends. The suite itself, an S1, resembles our usual digs on Princess, a mini-suite, but the amenities significantly outshine that which we have on Princess. The cuisine of Celebrity has also seemingly been upgraded, while Princess has slipped a bit, imo. Viking is really a whole different experience from the big ships, but one which we thoroughly enjoyed as well and we will almost certainly return for the right trip. Point is, good options! Princess keeps us because the perks, but the other lines are snatching folks like us away by meeting or exceeding those perks - loyalty or not.
  10. So true. Surveys were developed to find out areas that needed improvement in a operation/business/service. Nowadays, lazy managers who don't know how to manage use them as a cudgel to berate the staffs that they failed to develop or train properly. You mentioned the car dealers. Several years ago we purchased a new vehicle from a dealership that we only used because our pre-purchase research matched us up with them. We used Consumers Report and AAA "Best Price" tools. Of course, upon arriving, the dealership used every trick in the book to wring as much more out of us as they could - we stood our ground. The salesperson was a young man who predictably had to run virtually every conversation we had with him through his "manager". It was unnecessarily taxing but completely unpleasantly consistent with most car dealerships. Then came the survey, and the almost begging by the salesperson for five stars on every question. A few weeks later I got a phone call from the salesperson guilt-shaming me for the accurate rating I gave! Needless to say, I'll never go there again! I often wonder about that experience when the cruise surveys are sent out. They know who you are. Does the staff know too? We all know about the one bad apple metaphor!
  11. That sounds fab! Thanks for the very tasty review! If you have time, could you answer a couple of questions? Did you have to book this onboard? We're unable to book it online as of now for some reason. Does the wine pairing work off the premier beverage package or is it a separate charge?
  12. Of course, all of this legal maneuvering will be moot if even one more COVID variant worse than Delta arises, and the chances of that occurring are high. We're teetering on the brink of yet another shutdown once again if the current situation continues unabated. The irony is that if the cruise lines can reject unvaccinated passengers, the ships may well be the safest place to be!
  13. Like many on this board, we're long-time Princess cruisers and have been quite loyal to the brand. We currently have three future cruises booked, with an additional one on Celebrity. Frankly, we don't really know how different the experience will be when we finally return, but we expect it to be different - noticeably different. We hope it's not different in a negative way, but if it is...c'est la vie. Mr. O'Brien's sudden departure - at such a early stage in the return - is not a good omen, imo. While we don't necessarily care much as to who is the CD or ED on our cruises, we do notice that some are much more - let's say - corporately orientated than others. The job clearly isn't for everyone and if you take it, you are expected to carry the water for corporate, like it or not. MattO clearly did not. But the bigger point is competition. After we tried another couple of lines, we did miss the things we're used to with Princess, but we also really enjoyed the differences. Things change, people change. cruise lines change. We're all free to come and go as we please. I suspect that the long disruption of service will change the concept of "loyalty" in cruising as well. After all, even Princess has changed their concept of loyalty as noted on other threads. Best of luck to Matt in his future endeavors though.
  14. Thanks to Jeremiah1212 for the breaking news. We immediately called our TA with this information. She, with us on the other line, immediately called Celebrity for clarification. The Celebrity agent who handled her call was not aware of this! The agent asked for time to contact their manager for further info and, after several minutes, came back on the line confirming NO B2B's! They added that an official notice will be issued next week to all reservation holders. We're not about to fly to St. Martaan, at a considerable expense, for a 7 day cruise - which we normally avoid anyway as we like long cruises. So, the adventure ends. Good luck and safe sailing to all who go through with this cruise! On to December with fingers firmly crossed!
  15. Hi Ken, condolences on the Tide's exit from the Big Dance (or are you an Auburn fan?!) Hate to keep rehashing the b2b saga but we're still holding our two for July 10 & 17. It's a big Anniversary for us and we really would like to go. Must tie it all up by April 6, so we keep going back-and-forth on the planning. One day it's on and the next it's off. Today, we planned our beach days. We have spoken with a couple of Celebrity agents on the phone and still - we're being told it's no problem. Frankly, I don't know what to think at this point. Out TA is very nice and efficient but in the same fog regarding b2b's as we are. I do wish Celebrity would clearly state the policy before we commit as we would rather not sit on FCCs when we have 2022 already accounted for cruise-wise. Hope your Edge sailings are a go! We're booked for December out of Lauderdale on a 14 day Princess and I'm getting skeptical of that sailing now too. Some times we're living through these days.
  16. Appreciate your work on this, Anne. We just called Celebrity - again - this AM to confirm our b2b booking for the St. Martaan sailings in July after seeing your updated info. We were told, again, that our b2b reservations are perfectly fine. Where is all the misinformation regarding b2bs coming from? Certainly the St. Maartan insurance mandates requiring additional $30 payments for each reentry into the country are prohibitive enough as it is! (That's at least two purchases, three for a b2b.) This is starting to fall apart quick!
  17. Jet Blue flies direct to St. Maartan from Fort Lauderdale - it's about a 3 hour flight. Both coming and going are day flights.
  18. We didn't attempt any trickery as we had no idea, based on everything we read from Celebrity, that b2b wasn't being allowed. Frankly, we're still don't. We have spoken with a Celebrity agent regarding flights and some other details - they obviously seen our reservation - and still no pushback. As far as we know, the 7 day limit is a CDC rule and this cruise is outside of their jurisdiction. Our TA did book the cruise(s) this AM - she didn't mention any restrictions either and she booked the two legs - with Celebrity - with us on the phone. We use a cruise-centric company and the agent is well experienced. We have no reason to think that our reservation will change and if it did, we would probably cancel the whole thing. I'm not paying the airfare to fly to St. Martaan for a one week cruise. Like for everyone else, the air fares and trip insurance will have to be finalized and paid for very soon. If there's a one cruise restriction, I certainly hope we're notified pronto.
  19. We're booked for the b-2-b's for 7/10-24, although it's booked as two separate reservations, in one cabin thankfully. Suites were already sold out for those dates by 9am - we're going concierge level.
  20. I agree with just about everything in this thread so far, so I'll add my little peeve: wine service. Can we please get all available glasses or bottles of wine onboard in the MDR - and served (without asking, in a whisper, for a real wine glass) in a proper glass? Of course this would require dedicated wine/beverage service in the MDR which is sorely needed back again. It's a folly to have to run over to the Vines to get a good glass of wine while eating. While they're at it: include a Vines on all ships, please. The newer ones have apparently eliminated this popular spot.
  21. I would think that anyone of us who love to travel would be sizing up alternatives to cruising these days. That said, cruising is still our preferred vacation and we are anxious to see the industry rebound. The cruise lines have an interesting problem ahead of them, aside from the obvious current layup, and that is how to regain their market. Many folks on these pages are "givens" to cruise lines - we cruise whenever we can and more than a few of us already have several bookings in the que. We're ready when they are. It's everyone else that the cruise lines must attract back. To that end, they must "wow" us, not repel us with noticeable cutbacks in service and quality. It's a rather delicate predicament for the industry after well over a year without revenue outside of deposits. I expect differences at sea much in the way I see differences in everyday life on land. But back to alternatives. We recently began planning a road trip that would take us about ten (10) days to complete. We got as far as the first stop with the planning, detoured, and ended up booking another cruise, our third in the future category. We'll stick with the day trips for now. Cruising will change, just as many other facets of our daily lives will also change - including alternative forms of vacation. But don't think that that cruise lines will use this layup as an excuse to cut back on amenities when amenities are their (sorry, but) bread AND butter.
  22. Agree - it was a pretty nice card too! Happy Birthday!
  23. We were halfway through our 28 day RT LA-Hawaii-Tahiti. Valentine's Day was fun onboard. Hard to fathom - a full year of this.
  24. We like them long now - at least 21+ if possible. The last one, Feb '20, was 28 days RT from Long Beach to Hawaii and Tahiti. We've had several 25+ TA's with the first or last European cruises added on. Whatever the length - it goes too fast!
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