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About DrKoob

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Redmond, Washington, USA
  • Interests
    Travel, Photography, Cooking, fitness, theater, film
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Azamara, HAL, Viking
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anyplace a ship can go...except the Caribbean
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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  1. With X, even in a suite, I am buying into the caste system they have created. Plus, I still have to put up with all the things on the ship that Viking has done away with, kids (no one under 18), smoking, casino, art auction, ship photographers. All those things I really have never liked about X. If I want to take a special cruise, after 30 X cruises, I will move up to a much more special cruise line.
  2. This is SO VERY TRUE! We have an ocean cruise scheduled for October 2022 but our final payment is due December 2020. That's more than 18 months in advance. I have tried like crazy to get an extension (I am in the travel industry) and no luck beyond 60 days. That's still 16 months in advance. Viking has incredibly loyal customers. The cruise in 2022 is already mostly sold out. So our choice is cancel or pay. We will pay but...we will buy travel insurance that will keep us safe should Viking have problems financially. It should be noted that it was recently reported that the founder and majority owner Tor Hagen has lost 66% of his fortune since Covid hit. Read about it here in Forbes. If Viking should cease operations we want to know we would get our SIZABLE investment back. Jim
  3. Never been in an inside. Had friends that can do that but we sailed in an outside once (on ship with no balconies) and didn't like that at all. When we started seriously cruising we became VERY close friends with two other couples. Out of the six of us, two have now passed. When we lost our last friend we decided to just take the trips we want to take in the cabins we want and on the cruise lines that make us happy. X no longer makes us that happy (although we are still booked on Flora July 21). We will always go with the best cabin we can get up to where we think it's a waste—like suites. Only had one once (on the old Century) and for the slight bit of extra room, it just wasn't worth it even though we got it at a bargain price. Have had friends we were sailing with have the penthouse. They hosted our entire group for a reception. That was nice but they were paying more than I paid for my first house. We have worked long and hard for our retirement and it's almost here, so we are going to spend a little more on travel (if this damn year would just end). Our new goal is for our last check to bounce. Jim BTW: We added up what we usually spend extra on (shore excursions, beverage packages, specialty restaurants, Internet access, etc.) and since Viking includes all those, we will just about break even.
  4. Thanks for the update. We are scheduled for July 2 to Quito so our hopes are high. We had heard that even though choices were limited, food was awesome. I am most looking forward to the ceviche that I have heard is amazing. Jim
  5. We had a Christmas Market booked for this year but you know how that went. So we moved it to 2021. We will post a full report on my blog at https://jktravelredmond.com if you are interested in reading about where you are going the year after. Hopefully we will get to go. We have what may be our last cruise on X booked for 7/4/21 on Flora in the Galapagos. We are hoping (if they open up cruising by March or April to do a 7 night on Konigsdam to the Mexican Riviera just to get on a ship. That’s me being really optimistic. When is yours? Saw it in your signature 😀. We were supposed to have done a Pacific Coastal on her with our buddy who is their Director of Communications/Brand Ambassador last April...but that was it. We have a VO cruise for 21 days Athens to Barcelona in Summer 22. Can’t imagine what it will be like...21 days and not a single sea day. We will be exhausted by the time we get to Barcelona. Three overnights though so that should help. Maybe we will run into each other sometime. Jim
  6. Check out Viking Ocean. No dress code and a bigger ship than Azamara. See my post above.
  7. I totally agree with you. Celebrity has gone more and more towards this "caste system" in recent years. We don't have 50 cruises but we do have almost 30 and after we do Flora next summer, we are done and moving on. I know in those 50 you have done the canal at least once. Remember getting up and going to the bow on those top decks or in the Sky Lounge to view the lock crossings? Well in 2021 Edge is going to do an in-and-out on the canal (not a full crossing) and unless you are in a suite, you have NO front-facing view. That is nuts. Not only did they take away the Solstice Deck, they took away the Sky Lounge...a VERY used place by everyone. We are gone to Viking Ocean. So many other great things they don't have and so many they do. A little more expensive but less than most suites on X. No kids, no casino, no photographers, no art auctions, no smoking, no upselling in the spa, casual dress, free shore excursion in every port, larger staterooms, all balconies, a nice size ship (960 guests—big enough to be able to move around but small enough to get into some ports that the big ships can't). Best thing is that once you are on board, there is NO difference between being in the cheapest stateroom and the most expensive suite. Well, maybe but they are things that don't restrict others (like having an extra FREE reservation for the specialty restaurants or getting their FREE minibar updated daily instead of every other day or being able to book shore excursions a few days before others) but that's it. You can go wherever you want on the ship and eat in any dining room (although you may need a reservation to eat in the FREE specialty restaurants). Jim
  8. Oh, I realize cruise lines are not selling their own insurance but let's say you have a policy you bought through them and they become insolvent and stop answering phones. You may have a really hard time just finding out who that policy is with and how to contact them for a refund. You are almost always better off buying separate travel insurance. One of the biggest reasons is that many cruise lines will not cover you medically if you leave the ship in a port and are not taking a ship-sponsored shore excursion. You are pretty much on your own. In the United States (not sure where you are from) travel agents never take money from you and keep it. So it makes no difference if you buy it from them or someone else. If you buy a cruise from X, your card is charged by X not the travel agency. In other places it is a common practice. This is NOT true of tour packages where the touring company may take your $$ and not give it to the cruise line until you sail. So you should never have to worry about a travel agency closing their doors. Just make sure your credit card charge is to the cruise line and that you know your cruise confirmation number and you can just deal directly with them.
  9. I wouldn't use any cruise line's insurance right now. If the cruise line goes out of business, you may not get your money back. But if you are insured with an outside company, you might. I realize that RCCL is doing better than others but why take the chance. Buy from an independent
  10. Frankly, my guess would be (if they don’t sell her) that it will happen in 2023 or 2024. The cruise lines are struggling to survive right now. No new ships or major upgrades until they get sailing again.
  11. We book Aqua on S-class because we want Blu. The advantage is the smaller room (much quieter than the MDR) and you can eat an amazing breakfast there (really early if you are going off the ship on a port day). You also have an outstanding service staff who greet you by name on the second morning. Best service I have had on an X ship. On an M-class we only book Concierge to get an aft cabin with one of those amazing and huge verandahs. We have been in them every single time we have sailed on an M-class ship (8 times) and we love them. If we can't get an aft, we skip both because we don't like Blu on the M-class as the dining room is carved out of the MDR while it is built from scratch on the S-class. Hope this helps.
  12. You got that right Liz. We fly BA whenever we go to Europe and we always end up paying for our seats in Business or First. It's crazy considering how much more you pay for them. Last year we paid $775 for our seats on two flights. If you don't pay upfront to choose them then they assign you to seats with no expectation that you would be sitting together. You could take your chances on either of you having a nice person sitting in the seat next to yours willing to switch but my bride does not want me to take that chance. Best of luck. Jim
  13. Hope you won't miss them too much as they are probably insolvent. Sad.
  14. We are in a domino situation that I have not been able to come to a solution that works for us so I am wondering if anyone has been able to deal with this. Here's the situation: We had a Celebrity Flora Galapagos cruise cancelled on us in August. Final payment had been made and we took an FCC and rescheduled to next July. Then we had a winter river cruise with Viking scheduled for December (European Christmas Markets) which has now been cancelled and moved to 2021 with an FCC. Now we are supposed to go to South America with X in early 2021. We want to Lift and Shift this to May of 2022 and X is saying that is too far. But due to the domino effect of cruises being cancelled and rebooked, we can't be away from my job for that many days over that time period. If we move it to May (instead of January when they want us to go) we will be fine but they are balking at it. Anyone been able to push a lift and shift into 2022? Would love to hear how you did it. Jim
  15. Are you talking about Nov of 2020? That ship is not going. Guarantee. Celebrity hasn't done it yet but I will be really surprised if any American cruise line sails before March or April. If it is 2020 then you have undoubtedly made final payment make sure NOT to cancel the cruise but to let them cancel you. That would give you the 125% FCC and you can use that when you rebook.
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