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About OlsSalt

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  1. A few points: 1. I have sailed HAL almost exclusively; only others were Crystal and Voyages of Discovery 2. I will never sail on a 3000 passenger ship, no matter what the brand. 3. I will never sail on a Celebrity ship because it features, size and itineraries are of no interest to me. 4. It is perfectly reasonable to state the Celebrity Edge is an ugly, gimmick-laden behemoth. 5. This is a HAL board; not a Celebrity promotional board. 6. I will never sail on the larger HAL ships, for the same reasons 7. Once the smaller, older HAL ships are gone we will seek other similar equivalents.
  2. Actually, it is not unconscionable. It is only ten bucks. $100 bucks MDR surcharge for regular menu entrees would be unconscionable.
  3. The industrial port of Goteburg Sweden was one of the most fascinating we haver ever witnessed - they really move a lot of containers round like so many Leggos with speedy precision. Nice to check in on the cargo side of sea travel, and the vital underpinnings of our world economy. While Burma was under US trade embargo, we watched tons of logs get loaded on to ships in Yangon harbor port to Singapore to "sanitize" their origins, before ultimately going on to the US -so we were told. History of containized shipping is really history of our modern consumer economy. Plus I love the romance of the different cargo container names which makes it fun to see some of them show up on trucks stateside. Keeps your fingers on the pulse of who is trading with whom. That being said, it is always a bonus to get docked right in town and save transit time and hassles for sight-seeing. Just don't sell some industrial ports short. We were stuck in Puntarenas, Costa Rica once because of general strike and forced to ply our way up and down the various tourist stalls which we would have missed if we had been able to go on a shore excursion. Lo and behold we found a very delicious brand of premium high altitude coffee on that forced port march - Shade Lady. Always remember some excellent travel advice I got years ago, "there is no uninteresting street in India" before I left on an extensive solo tour of that country by train. Indeed, this advice has proven itself right over and over - you never know what can turn up in some highly unlikely port areas. They are "real" that is for sure. Just don't go outside the gates in Callao (Lima), Peru. That is a bit too real, and did come with ample warnings.
  4. That was your choice up front, was it not?
  5. Did they improve their itinerary or are they just fire-saleing their ugly, gimmick laden mega-ship. Me thinks the cruise industry may well be on the verge of over-saturaiton. One market is going boutique and upscale. One market is going large and ludicrous. HAL put their money on the wrong team and destroyed the one thing that set them uniquely apart - value cruising for travellers.
  6. 7 Day Florida RT - Western Caribbean Moving from lowest to highest cabin categories: Celebrity Edge (3000 pp): $849--- $-1199---$ 1349---$3549 (These are the senior over 55 discount prices, about $100 more if under age 55) Holland NS (2666pp): $521---$749--- $806 ---$1186 Holland Oosterdam (1964 pp): $684 --- $959 ---$1091 (No senior discounts) Bonus: HAL offering more interesting ports.
  7. Exactly. All good considerations, before making a choice one way or the other. We just like balconies and always book them, but on our upcoming Zaandam Antartica we booked an ocean view in the middle of the Lower Promenade deck - we expect rough passage, learned last time the Humboldt Current down South America keeps things very cold so being center and lower looked like a good choice. Plus being able to quickly get out to a lower ,more "sea level" deck and easy access to both sides of the ship seemed like a good idea on this unique trip too. Price difference, yes that was material too because this is premium, seldom offered itinerary that will be among the last ones HAL can offer on this wonderful ship. So, is a balcony worth it ....you are very right, it depends. No one fixed answer.
  8. Raising the (voluntary) Hotel Service Charge fairly routinely is one way HAL does "increase their prices modestly year on year". Personnel costs being one of their larger ongoing expenses. Both in terms of longevity rewards, and a more competitive labor markets in their traditional feeder countries. But even that now routine revenue tweaking is not enough to create the appearance of their entry level pricing. Hiking more onboard revenue generators once on board is obviously another way of tweaking the bottom line. We need to appreciate all the drinkers and gamblers, art buyers and spa folks who help the entry level bottom line too..
  9. Are the Celebrity Solstice class "new" Celebrity ships, as referenced in the prior post?
  10. Depends what part of "Asia" - Oct/Nov can be their most pleasant outdoor weather months.
  11. 7 day RT bus trips out of Florida hold no interest for me. Let's see how this behemoth holds up on a TA in order to start grinding our her summer Mediterranean season bus trips - again of no interest. I continue to only judge from afar - a big, ugly gimmick laden ship, needing many heads to fill those beds.
  12. The difference between fressen and essen is something it appears only the Germans appreciate. Tierfutter für alles Cruise Lines.
  13. Celebrity has a new big ugly, gimmick-laden ship and it now has to put heads in all those beds. Any publicity Celebrity can gin up for their brand is a good thing..
  14. Keeping control on costs, which therefore allows keeping control over entry cruise prices, is now a bad thing?
  15. Celebrity and Princess can meet their own bottom line anyway they want. If those who continue to demand unlimited food, including unlimited food hours which both those ships offer, then they have found their favored cruise lines. HAL does not need to compete with either of them and should not let their dining free for alls set the standard practices on their own ships. Time for HAL to get out of this spinning squirrel wheel competition with either Princess or Celebrity - let HAL carve out its own niche for travellers who can and do survive, knowing it is reasonable to expect moderation in all things offered while onboard.
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