Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

Everything posted by AstoriaPreppy

  1. We're headed out on our second Carnival cruise since the restart in a few weeks, and haven't received an upgrade offer for either. That said, on our upcoming cruise we were upgraded from a porthole cabin forward deck one to a deluxe oceanview near the aft elevators. The explanation from Carnival was that our "previous cabin will not be in service for guest occupancy." Assuming as others have noted that for the foreseeable future, some passenger staterooms will be reserved as quarantine zones.
  2. OP: Don't beat yourself up too much. It's not you, it's NCL. Having had extensive interaction with NCL's shoreside guest service team, I can say that in my experience, they are arbitrary, capricious, and snide, almost to a fault. The NCL CC boards are filled with many stories that are similar to mine, so I'm not surprised at all that guest services won't offer some level of flexibility to the original poster. When NCL changed the embarkation port and then canceled our 2020 Southeast Asia cruise four days before sailing, they reneged on multiple promises, forcing many passengers to eat thousands in last minute flight changes. They then offered us a 25% discount on a future cruise, with a one year expiration. Not a one year booking window... a one year sail window. When I explained this was non-usable as no cruises were sailing for the rest of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, NCL guest services could not have been more dismissive, flat out refusing to extend the expiration. We've been lucky to sail both Celebrity and Carnival this year, and have another cruise coming up in two weeks. We have multiple trips booked for 2022.Every interaction with shoreside guest services on all other cruise lines has been totally normal, even positive. They're tripping over themselves to offer great service, often going above and beyond to rectify issues. If I have the option to cruise with a line that values me as a customer v. NCL which often treats their guests with contempt when issues arise, it's a no-brainer.
  3. The cooking stations are set up for pairs, so it's likely that on a sold out excursion, you'd be partnered with someone to cook. On our excursion, there was one solo passenger. He was paired with the other solo person, who was a Carnival shoreex employee testing out the excursion. I'm not sure if a member of shore ex normally steps in with a solo cruiser, but it worked... he seemed to hav a great time. The age range was diverse, from 20 somethings in larger family groups to older couples in their 70s. It's a very social experience all around, especially afterwards when everyone is eating and chatting. My sister and I ended up eating with the Grandmother from a larger family group, and the solo passenger. Carnival passengers tend to be pretty social, so it helps make the entire experience a lot more fun. Since the transportation is by private taxi coordinated by the excursion, It's also very flexible. If you decide you want to hang out at the pool for a while after lunch, while everyone else leaves, you're able to do that.
  4. A few thoughts, having sailed on NCL and Carnival many times. Yes, you can easily upgrade any drink to top shelf with the beverage package. If there’s a specific drink you want on a menu, just request that they make it top shelf, or with specific liquors. No issued there. What NCL allows (and few other cruise line beverage packages do) is two drinks at a time. So Carnival and Royal brands don’t let you order a beer and a shot at the same time using your package. I think the waiting time is 5 minutes between drinks. Drink service in the MDR can be spotty… we’ll always take whatever drink we’ve got in with us, just in case it’s slow. re upgrade: this isn’t an option, but the included wines by the glass are *exponentially* better than the NCL included wines on the base package. re coffee: on the vista class ships, the ocean plaza bar also does espresso beverages to reduce pressure on Java blue. re the steakhouse: we’ve actually found the Carnival steakhouse a step above Cagney’s. Proteins tend to be higher quality, and the preparations on Carnival are a lot more inventive. Carnival is more in line with a modern restaurant in 2021. Cagneys has a 90’s vibe… not bad, just not a contemporary experience. And yes, most servers will let you try a bunch of apps and sides. HMC is amazing. Literally one of our favorite ports, and far better than great stirrup cay. Personally, we love renting a cabana: AC, shade, floats for the water, a shower, snacks, loungers, etc. A cabana is a great base for your day, and allows you to maximize your time on the island. One note: unlike NCL, Royal and Celebrity, Cheers doesn’t work on HMC, so plan accordingly.
  5. One thing I've never understood is the fawning about the food on NCL. Especially in the MDR, Carnival tends to be much more flavor-forward and thought out. NCL proteins are almost always lower quality with less creative preparations. NCL's MDR has a luncheon banquet at the airport Holiday Inn sort of vibe to the food; passable but not really up to any other cruise line MDR. Carnival also has great lido deck dining: Guy's Burgers and Blue Iguana are fantastic in comparison to NCL's burgers and hot dogs poolside. Specialty restaurants are a must when we sail on NCL... we'll take whatever "free dining" package we get and then buy an additional package to make up the difference in days, so we can avoid the MDR as much as possible. If you're paying out of pocket, the NCL specialty dining restaurants are ridiculously priced and you always pay a la carte. I still think the Carnival specialties are better. Jiji far exceeds almost any specialty restaurant on NCL, and is a fraction of the price.
  6. I think the port gets a bad rap from cruisers, because they're usually there for a few hours at night with limited options, and it's basically a service call. Personally, I find Victoria a charming/chill destination. It's kinda where people from the mainland go for a long weekend. So much of Vancouver is modern condo overdelopment, and Victoria is the opposite: slow and beautiful and much more British than the rest of BC. We also love how walkable the town is. Our last time there, we ended up spending a huge chunk of our time in the Royal BC Museum, which covers both the natural world and cultural history of the province, including a focus on indigenous people. It was remarkably good, and completely unexpected.
  7. That seems exceptionally odd. Glacier Bay is capacity-controlled, but subbing a ship wouldn't be a deal breaker. Southbound Princess itineraries usually hit Hubbard + GB, while northbound hit GB + College Fjord. If you're going Northbound, does that mean the itinerary is now Hubbard Glacier + College Fjord?? Again, that would be really odd as the line already has slots for Glacier Bay from the NPS.
  8. Whoa, hopefully that's not a typo and you actually *are* staying at the Backcounty Lodge. That's like a Conde Nast Traveler destination, v. the Expedia vibe of the Denali Princess.
  9. It seems like you might have a screwy booking issue... you definitely shouldn't have been downgraded from a mini suite to a balcony. I'd call Princess immediately. Also, I'm booked on the 2 May sailing, and they're replacing Prince Rupert with another day of scenic cruising in the Endicot Arm. Victoria was always scheduled as a full day stop at the end of the voyage (it's one of our favorite places and one of the reasons we booked this cruise).
  10. "AC shuts off as soon as you open the window" was not the case on our sailing. As long as you closed the folding doors between the balcony space and the rest of the stateroom, the AC stays on in the cabin with the window open. Otherwise, no one could ever be on the balcony with someone else in the room space... the entire room would just overheat. As long as those accordion doors are closed, the AC stays on for the rest of the cabin.
  11. I still don't get the (frankly) hysterical disdain some CC members have to Celebrity's infinite verandahs. I've been in many traditional cruise ship cabins on a variety of lines that were "much" worse than the infinite verandah. Based on much of the feedback here, we were highly dubious about the feature during our 2019 Edge sailing in Europe. Much to our surprise, we loved (LOVED) the stateroom. The infinite veranda space was incredibly functional: closed, it was like having an entire other room/space in the already large cabin. Open, it was largely like any other balcony. And the amount of light in the cabin was amazing! All of the "it's like a cave," "you feel like you're inside all the time," "my husband likes to sleep in total darkness until noon while I sit on the balcony and knit at 5 am" was entirely a non-issue for us. If anything, we loved the a standard balcony cabin was almost like a mini-suite sized space on most cruise lines with the addition of the balcony space while closed... such a value!
  12. Speaking from experience, Princess tends to be much more "traditional" than Celebrity. Formal nights that still feel formal, champagne waterfalls, balloon drops, etc. The food is good, but very straightforward. Entertainment is also very traditional. The styling of the ships is also more traditional: lots of brass and marble and wood. The one non-traditional aspect of Princess is Ocean Medallion, which is a truly astounding implementation of technology. Celebrity has a much more "modern" vibe: the martini bar has a DJ and not a lounge singer playing the piano. The food is more in line with what you'd find in an urban restaurant in 2021, especially in the specialty dining venues. Entertainment is often better, especially on the Edge series which feature full-scale cirque-lite productions in the main theater (WITH RAIN). The ships are incredibly innovative, and styled much more like a W Hotel than a Marriott. If you're sailing in a suite, Celebrity will far exceed the experience on Princess, with much more exclusivity. For lots of cruisers, the looser upscale vibe of Celebrity can be off-putting, but they're always trying new things. For a cruise experience that comes closest to an old-school experience, (other than Cunard), Princess is a great option. Either way, they're both great lines, and you'll likely have a great time.
  13. I echo these sentiments! The Royal class ships expanded size and seating in many of the public areas, compared to the older ships. I noticed this most in the atrium space, which reduced overcrowding substantially due to Piazza hogs who would stake out seats for full-days at a time on the older ships. It still happens, but there's just much more space and seating to go around.
  14. Maybe they'll be up and running soon? On the Vista in July, shoreex was clear with us that the mainland was off-limits for any ship-sponsored tours. When we docked, you could see the ferries tied up on both the Carnival and Royal piers, with nowhere to go.
  15. Speak for yourself, but if I can't pull at least one of my mattresses off the bed so I can sleep outside without touching any barriers and wake up to sea breezes and ocean air each morning, I refuse to sail on that class of ship. 😉 Seriously though, I sailed on Regal in early 2020, and being 6'1 with long legs, I also had no issue with the balcony. Going to go out on a limb here and guess the reason the docs are "hidden" is because they're still adjusting the fares/perks to carry over from the prior booking.
  16. As I've learned from past experiences dealing with NCL shoreside guest services, they *can* fix a lot of things, but they chose not to. It's almost like NCL guest services functions on some sort of metrics, where agents are only allocated X amount of issue resolutions a day. Once an agent has used up their allocation, it's blanket dismissal or complete dismissiveness. They're still the only customer service experience I've ever had that emailed the phrase "we consider this matter closed" after determining they were just done speaking to me about their screwups.
  17. As far as I know, Carnival isn't running any excursions through Playa Del Carmen right now. Tulum/Chichen Itza/anything via ferry to the mainland are a no-go during COVID.
  18. I can say, definitively, the best/most unique shore excursion in Cozumel is Tabasco Chef Maestro. It's a Carnival exclusive excursion; no other lines offer it and you can't book independently. The venue is spectacular. It's the top floor of a dolphin swim complex for tourists, in a space that was initially constructed as a port lounge for cruise ship crew. When that idea was nixed, Chef Louis retrofitted the space to a cooking class venue. You start making lunch in an indoor, air-conditioned space: ceviche, chile relleno, and a flambé caramelized apple taco. During this time, you get unlimited drinks: beers, margaritas, etc. After the cooking class, you head outside to the bar/dining area to eat. Before eating, the team demos how to make a pineapple frozen margarita, and everyone drinks more. Finally, after eating, you can hang out at the venue as long as you want: they have an infinity pool and the open bar stays open. Transportation back to the ship is by individual taxi (not one big shuttle,) so people can head back whenever they're done. The excursion is so much fun (and such a great value) that one couple on our recent Vista cruise was there for the fourth time. I don't know that I'd go back THAT often, but it's absolutely one the best excursions I've ever done. It's great alternative to the typical Cozumel experiences, and only available on Carnival. https://www.tabascochefmaestro.com/home/
  19. When we sailed the Celebrity Millennium out of St Maarten in June, the onboard testing was amazing. The line had contracted out rapid PCR tests to an outside company, and it ran flawlessly. Everything was booked via a QR code enabled website, and we were in and out of the testing within five minutes, with results delivered via email (and hard copy in your stateroom) in about an hour.
  20. Have you sailed on one of the revolutionized M-Class ships? Frankly, the transformations are astounding. The renovated public spaces are spectacular, and the stateroom stripping and total rebuild is nothing short of miraculous. My only gripe is that they ended up canceling the planed refurb of Cellar Masters into the craft beer pub concept that was initially planned... that bit of the ship sticks out like a circa-mid-2000's concept these days. As someone who enjoys unique itineraries, I'm so happy that Celebrity invested money to keep these ships relevant, instead of selling/scrapping them. Our last two Celebrity cruises were on revolutionized M-Class ships, and we've already booked our next for 2022 on the class.
  21. We sailed the Vista in June for around $325 pp in an ocean view room… our first Carnival cruise in 8 years. My husband and I both lost ~$30 in the casino during one afternoon of slot play. In August, we both received offers for comped week long cruises in inside staterooms, and free drinks while gambling. We booked and will be sailing in October. My brother in law also got this offer (although he hasn’t sailed in a few years). I can’t figure out what sort of win/loss metrics carnival is using to comp these cruises, other than desperation.
  22. Got it! I think a number of us are on the 2 May 2022, 12 day inside passage (with glacier bay) voyage which hasn't been updated with a new route map
  23. In the pastry world, petit four is a French term that translates to "little oven." Mignardises are like petit four, but usually aren't baked (but the terms can be interchangeable). So most of the time, a petit four is a little cake or other baked good, while mignardise are like a custard or (American) pudding.
  24. Can you provide a link to this? Royal's route isn't showing up in my account, or when searching for an Alaska ship for 2022 on the Princess website for me.
  25. Well, we are the most diverse county in the nation... although today we're mostly just waterlogged.
  • Create New...