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Spif Barwunkel

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About Spif Barwunkel

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  1. I did not have the opportunity to speak to other passengers who might have taken a Celebrity tour. Perhaps the "X" dissuades peddlers from being bothersome.
  2. Just off Celebrity Reflection after a lovely 11 day ABC's, Cartagena, Grand Cayman itinerary. Cartagena, Columbia was the only disappointment. We booked a highlights tour through "Dora The Explorer", a well known local tour operator. After pick-up at the port, we proceeded to town where several stops were to be made and highlights visited. From the first step off the bus on to Cartagena city ground, until the last step back on to the bus and return to port - a little over four hours - the onslaught was constant and relentless. Street peddlers take it to a higher level here and will pursue tourists to the point of frustration and anger. What's worse is, our Dora tour guide did nothing to ease the unpleasantness. Even during lecture stops our group was infiltrated by persistent peddlers who made it impossible to hear and understand anything that was said. "Dora The Explorer" via JC, our tour guide and Jack, our driver enlightened us about nothing in Cartagena. Rather, it seemed that our group was just taken on an unwanted shopping spree amongst thousands of family and friends wanting to get in to our pocketbooks. If you must leave the ship in Cartagena, do not do it with "Dora The Explorer." The $70.00pp tour cost is not worth the HASSLE!!
  3. It's such a joy to travel. Unfortunately, each time we leave our local habitat we are at risk of predation from various irritants and foreign bodies that, systemically, we might not be used to. Environmental changes such as air quality and temperature change, along with confined spaces and lots of people, put us at risk for illness. Precautions and routines are varied with the hope of lessening the duration and severity, should we succumb to the onslaught. We regularly take vitamin supplements including vitamin C. A few days before a trip we increase the C supplement with daily doses of "Emergen-C". That continues during the trip and a few days after the vacation is over. I rub Vaseline on the inside of each nostril every day to stay moist and decrease the inhalation of irritants. Our doctor writes a prescription for a steroid, which will be taken if symptoms start in order to expedite recovery. If you normally have allergies and are taking medication, talk to your doctor about increasing dosage amounts prior to and for the duration of the trip. Nothing guarantees keeping a cold, the flu, a virus or an allergy attack at bay. But, with good travel habits and awareness, we just might get lucky.
  4. Being experienced cruisers, you know the process, the routine, what you like and what you don't like. Whereas you've developed your sense of style and what fits you best, embarking on any cruise with any cruise line is always subject to new and varied experiences. The opinions, suggestions and information provided by fellow posters is valuable in helping you to ascertain what might be forthcoming. However, I would tend to agree with those respondents who opine coming onboard a Celebrity ship with no pre-conceived notions, positive or negative. Meet a Celebrity ship up close and personal and let X show you what it's all about. A new adventure is always better with an open mind, a little information and a lot of personal discovery. Actually, it is easier for me to tell you the reasons why you should NOT choose Celebrity. Actually, I can't think of any.
  5. For those folks who have become accustomed to the Suite life and/or the restaurants associated with same, could you and would you enjoy everything else about an X ship in a balcony cabin and the MDR? We always live in a veranda room, sometimes Aqua or Concierge. We have always been satisfied. We are not able to speak to Suite comparisons but will one day give ourselves the opportunity to do so....I think.
  6. Weenah - Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that the committee has unanimously accepted your paper in it's entirety, with no changes or re-writes necessary. Your advanced degree will be mailed to you within seven business days. On a personal note, thank you for a thorough, incisive and interesting post. It not only relates to the topic at hand - from several different angles - but also weaves itself over, under, around and through other posts on this thread. Certainly, your thoughts and opinions are now an integral part of - in your words - "the collective wisdom."
  7. So, at this point in time, it seems we have the full thoughts and opinions spectrum covered in regard to cruising on Celebrity. Range goes from the Love-X-Boat feelings, to "rose colored glasses becoming a bit filmy", to X becoming anathema to some. It's a meld of judicious dialogue and fervent commentary, as provided by mutually involved and thoughtful participants. Whatever the reasons for staying or leaving, is it strictly Celebrity's responsibility to keep you or bring you back? Do we perhaps, whether willingly or unintentional, view everything else in a negative light because of a particular unwanted change to our cruising routine? Are there not enough remaining opportunities to continue the enjoyment of sailing on X? Although difficult at times, how can we approach change or modification to our process in order to help Celebrity bring us back? After all, we have apparently enjoyed our X cruises very much in the past. It would be a shame not to consider alternative ways to continue the relationship.
  8. Unfortunately, because of your close connection in Houston your bag did not make it. They will deliver it to your hotel when it arrives. Getting in at least one day before your cruise departure really helps in this situation.
  9. We enjoyed Reflection in May and June, 2019, on a B2B sailing to Norway and Iceland from Dublin. We will enjoy her again on a January 20 sailing to the ABC islands, Cartagena and Grand Cayman. Like her S class sister ships, she will provide you with a warm welcome, a hospitable, comfortable vacation home and an overall enjoyable cruising experience. Actually, you won't be able to avoid having a good time. Consider Maho Beach in St. Maarten if nothing else comes about.
  10. This thread has become a very interesting and informative read for me. Due in full to all responses from the fine folks whose cruising acumen has made it so. Far and away, the changin' economic and financial times are primary in what drives people away from Celebrity cruising. No surprise there. It is evident that others are on the cusp of change. For certain regular cruisers, the constant squeeze on their hard-earned dollar is not enough to dampen their enthusiasm for X and what it has to offer. It's what brings them back. Obviously, rising consumer costs make cruising financially unaffordable for some, while others whose pocketbook is not threatened, set a threshold limit as to what monetary amount becomes an unreasonable price to pay for the product offered. Once entangled in that cruising conundrum, everything else that we immensely enjoyed about the X product becomes magnified to the negative. Is it only a down turn in prices that will bring those that jumped ship, back? When the mind clears and the money box seems not as threatened, perhaps Celebrity will once again enjoy the pleasure of their company, in a modified and more tolerable cruising experience.
  11. Lot's of other threads on which to vent the negative, Hank. With so many of them out there - as they should be in order for everyone to have full disclosure - I am interested in knowing how X keeps it's loyalists and attracts new cruisers despite it's occasional shortcomings. We kind of already know why some X boat folks are considering going elsewhere. Here is an example, hypothetical of course. I find out through my extensive research and numerous sources that Hlitner is going to be a passenger on the same cruise ship as me. Definitely a negative that would not have come to light had my head been in a sand dune. Despite this misfortune, I am not at all deterred from maximizing the good times that are forthcoming. And, where Hlitner may be the crochety old sailing man swabbing the decks with a jaundiced perspective, I will be the good time guy offering him a cool refreshment to ease his troubled brow. Who knows, that might just be what keeps him coming back.
  12. As a fellow Floridian, I agree that the Caribbean Islands are no longer a strong pull for us. However, they are in the neighborhood and although we have been to many of them - both land and cruise vacations - certain ones remain enjoyable for a quick float-on-a-boat, whenever the mood strikes.
  13. Skyrocketing prices, increases in gratuities, decreases in amenities, just a few topics introduced on this forum by concerned travelers whose frustration increases with each change in the cruising routine and expense. All valid concerns and yet the affects on the cruising community vary from one cruiser to another. Economics is a crucial factor in life and certainly makes us all want more bang for our back. Celebrity's service philosophy is to provide it's passengers a comfortable, fun-filled sea vacation with personal attention and care. Celebrity's business philosophy - just as with any other corporate entity - is to remain solvent while keeping costs in-line with what the market will bear. Therein lies the economic equation that differentiates us seafaring folks from one another. What it's worth to me, may not be worth it to you. Is it strictly dollars & cents or is the product satisfactory at any cost? Times are a changin'. What keeps you coming back? Stay strictly in Celebrity's house, and make no comparisons with other cruise lines or land vacations. What keeps me coming back is the wonderful itineraries, the consistently good service and food, cleanliness of the ships and the expediency of embarkation and disembarkation. I do believe that X's entertainment could be better overall, but that is certainly not a deal breaker. In all cases, nothing is perfect all the time and a glitch will occur now and then. However, the overall experience remains, for me, a quality product that is very much enjoyed and a fair price to pay for play.
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