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Everything posted by iancal

  1. We had a a balance of $200 usd on our RCI Oz/NZ cruise. Rather than loose it we cashed it in the casino. I think it cost us five percent but we were able to take the remaining 95 percent home. It was cruise line OBC...spend it or loose it.....unlike our TA provided OBC. Better than spending on board just for the sake of spending it.
  2. I have no doubt that HAL management pays far more attention to the feedback from their top bookers and agencies, from focus groups, and from industry experts than they do from many of the people on this forums who are on the wrong end of the age scale when it comes to determining short and long term direction. Lot of grumps on this forum who complain but are unwilling to either ‘pony up’ for a better experience, set in their ways, or simply like to hear themselves complain. We spend a fair amount on travel. We are in our late sixties. A smaller, high end cruise that caters to our specific demographic may care about our opinion. But I do not believe that a mass market cruise line would turn to us in developing a short or a long term business plan. We probably won’t be around for the long term part of the plan!
  3. We have had this message more than once. Always when travelling and booking on line purchases in SE Asia and Australia. Always with airlines. The card still worked for other purchases and we had on line access to the account. We simply used another card and it was accepted. We checked on this twice. Both times our card issuer’s fraud group checked. The transactions were not refused by our card issuer They had no record of the transaction ever being presented by the vendor’s bank. The problem, so we were told, was with the vendor and/or the vendor’s bank. I do not have enough knowledge to know if this is true or not. This is the reason why we each travel with three cards and three ways to access credit or cash.
  4. Keep your powder dry. Look at alternatives. We have often booked transatlantic flights a month or so out and had excellent pricing. Wait to see what happens in the next few months. If Condor is re-financed and are viable they will no doubt have a big sale to fill the seats. Then you will be in a better position to make a decision. I am somewhat conservative and would be reluctant to book even if the alternative means an extra connection.
  5. We are nearing the end of four weeks of independent land travel in the Ionian Islands of Greece and two weeks in Cyprus. We are glad we decided on a land vacation in preference to a Med cruise.
  6. We have cruised on both cruise lines. We very much enjoyed both..but for different reasons. We find RCI to be similar to HAL inasmuch as It pays to select your ship carefully to match your personal preferences. Both cruise lines have several different types of ships. Oasis, Radiance, Veendam, and Kdam are all very different from each other. As are the other ships in both fleets. We found the service and the food to be on par. The only difference for us was the perks...RCI was far more generous in providing perks that had value to us.
  7. My advice would be to get the cruise booked or re-fared ASAP. Don’t sleep on it. We took advantage of a similar offer on a Princess cruise two years ago. We booked immediately. One of the very few times we have booked outside the final payment window, The offer vanished by the end of the day.
  8. We find that we get a much better rate of exchange when we buy foreign currency in country vs at home. I checked prior to leaving home, then compared the rate we got from AlphaBank in Greece. It was about four points better. We do the same when we go to Thailand in the winter.
  9. I seem to recall that there was a laundromat in one of the small strip malls nearby. Just cannot remember If was the ones across the street or the one opposite the Renaissance just down from the ES. Google may provide the solution! Or...email the ES front desk and ask. They should know,
  10. We were recently in Greece for a month. Seldom used cash. Always credit card and more often than not it was tap and go. Big change from our trio three years or so ago. We are in Cyprus at the moment. Same. We will start using cash to deplete our stash of Euros since we only have another 10 days or so before returning home. We use use a credit card that does not add an uplift to the exchange rate. We always ensure that we have multiple credit cards and ways of accessing cash and/or credit.
  11. We have had five Aegean Air flights in the past six weeks with two more to go. DH8’s and 320’s. We both do carry on. On one flight DW was asked to check. Not because of size or weight. Really not certain but the DH8 was full. Last one was on a 320. DW was stopped at the gate. The agent weighed her bag and then allowed to to board with the carry on.
  12. I believe that I read something about the German Gov’t bailing out Condor. Not certain how that will work. We were in the Zakynthos, Greece on Oct 6 and saw a Condor flight from Germany deplane a load of holiday makers and take another group home. I was surprised at first because the aircraft had a fair bit of TC livery on it however the Condor logo was towards the back.
  13. We have done guys on several cruise lines, including Carnival. Always balcony cabins. We do not pay much attention to seniors rates, special offers, residents discounts etc. We only care about the bottom line. The rest is noise level.
  14. Our best transpacific flight cost, out of the last five trips, was booked ten days prior to departure. We booked an open jaw to Athens for early Sept and a return through London for next week. We booked six weeks out or so because we saw a price that we were happy with. Our ticket price did not increase. It was actually $10. Less expensive five days prior to departure. But....we were not boarding a cruise or doing a tour. Our schedule was/extremely flexible. Our advice is understand what a good price is and book a fare that you are happy with. Never expect to get the lowest fare, just a good fare.
  15. We have found that booking international air is very different than booking NA air. Some of the best fares we have scored occurred 2-4 weeks out.
  16. Amazing is one word for it. I can think of a few others as well. One would almost think that Carnival Corp has been loosing money for years because of their poor management practices and their business strategies.
  17. My firm belief that the executives at Carnival Corp,and in each of their subs, know far more about the industry, the financials, the operations, and indeed the future trends than the people on this board. it is no secret that the travel industry is closely geared to the economy. Both leisure and business. We took great advantage of the last recession with four last late booking European cruises. Prior to retirement business travel and entertainment were the first on the chopping block when targets were not met.
  18. It could also be oversupply. The general customer consensus about exiting or sticking it out may be a reflection of HAL posters but it is hardly a reflection of the market in general. Do do you really think that underperforming subsidiary management can hide from the financials? Certainly not in my experience. They are no doubt managed six ways to Sunday by various financial and operating targets, not to mention that they no doubt have a ‘best in class’ performance bar. After a quarter or two of missing their numbers the subsidiary team would get some ‘help’ from Corporate. A few bad quarters or a fiscal year of underperformance would probably be the max before underperforming executives would be replaced.
  19. My guess is the occupancy rates, the per passenger revenue numbers, the quarterly operating P&L, and the feedback from the top agency producers will speak far louder than this very unscientific poll that probably reflects some unknown fraction of one percent of HAL cruisers.
  20. We like Hal...but we would be very selective in what ships we chose to cruise on. Not at all interested in their older ships.
  21. We have been to Athens several times. This trip we opted for a change and are staying in Glyfada on the Athens Riviera. Good transport to/from the airport, port, and Athens. Very different from spending all of all of our time in Athens and very enjoyable.
  22. We have never experienced much difference between HAL, Celebrity, and Princess for that matter. Yes there are some differences but we have never experience any differences in service levels or staff friendliness between the lines that some people wax poetic about. Perhaps we were simply on the wrong ships. Having said that we are big proponents of trying other cruise lines and other ships. Competition is changing mass market cruising. The cruise line of seven or ten years ago is not the cruise line of today.....any of them. As you can probably discern we are not so called ‘loyal’ to any brand-cruising or otherwise. Go for it and book a HAL cruise. But choose your ship carefully to match your travel preferences. Would we book a cruise line because of free 24 hour room service, a library, etc. No, not on our radar.
  23. Bottom line...forget the claims. Do the bottom line math. I suspect that cruise lines hope that potential customers have little grasp of simple math.
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