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Everything posted by iancal

  1. Pack light. Carry on only. Really.....you do not need all of those shoes.
  2. We do not care what happens at HAL. It is just another cruise line to us. Lots of other cruise lines and ships in the marketplace to choose from. Competition is a good thing.
  3. Agree. If you are looking for a quiet cruise, really quiet then HAL is the choice. Hardly a soul about after second seating. You can have the ship to yourself! Some say that this is refined. Others disagree.
  4. We have had great cruises on all three of these cruise lines. Service was comparable on all three. We often read read snide comments about Carnival.....party’s, drunks, Walmart of cruise lines. On our two Carnival. cruises this simply was not true. Everything about both cruises was first rate. Same for Our RCI trips. Anything but an amusement park with screaming kids. We choose our ships and our times carefully. These three are mass market lines. Your experience on any of these cruise lines could vary from poor to wonderful based on ship, crew, cutbacks, ship maintenance etc. In some respects it comes down to luck of the draw and expectations. The industry is is changing so much that we came to the conclusion a long time ago that the ship was more important to us than the cruise line. There are some HAL ships that we would never consider. Ditto for Carnival and for RCI.
  5. We have been to Sydney several times. The last time was this past Feb. We spent five nights there. Lots of walking, lots of ferry rides etc. We did not think that five nights was too much. We could have stayeD longer but trained to the Blue Mountains on a prior trip.
  6. We cannot imagine buying any form of travel insurance from a travel vendor. Who really knows what the situation will be in the event of a bankruptcy? If through another company what if the travel vendor charged it’s customer but failed to remit the requisite fees to the insurer? We never buy insurance from a travel vendor or a TA.
  7. I believe that the issue is expectation gap. Fares have remained fairly constant for years. Clearly HAL an others cannot continue as they have been in the past without adjusting price. I suspect the big issue is that HAL (and other cruise lines) set, through their advertising and marketing campaigns, a set of customer expectations that fall well short of reality.
  8. We are also from Canada. At DW’s suggestion we stopped packing clothes for formal night about twelve years ago. Perhaps more.We went with casual only. We got tired of the charade and felt that it was hardly worth the effort to drag along those togs for a few hours. And we did not hide in our cabin or miss any shows on formal night as a few anal cc’ers suggested at the time
  9. In my business the watchword was always to dress up to, or just below, what the client will be wearing. In the case of a large law firm or bank it was a suit. In the case of a technology firm it was a big ‘it depends’. Could be anything from country club casual down to jeans and a T shirt for the C level folks that we dealt with. The other huge difference was location. The business dress standards in the cities that I worked, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and in between varied considerably. As did the attire in fine dining establishments. My experience in San Jose and SFO was that both were extremely casual business environments. My experience was that business attire was very different between Boston and SFO. So I can well understand why people have differing views.
  10. The challenge is that I suspect a certain number of the HAL boosters expect a champagne cruise on a beer budget. They still believe that HAL is a premium line and cruising on HAL implies that they are special people. They have not read the news...cruises are within many people’s budget. HAL knocks them out for as little as $300 for a seven day cruise. How special is that? Instead of accepting the change or paying to move up to a premium line they either whine , complain, or spend their time judging what others wear. I simply cannot imagine going on a cruise or any vacation and taking a photo for the sole purpose of criticizing what someone else is or is not wearing. It speaks volumes to me. May as well stay at home if you are that bored or that self centred. Why not live and let live. And MYOB!
  11. We substantially reduced the cost of our OZ/NZ cruise a few years ago by calling directly to RCI’s Australian office. We substantially reduced the cost of our air from BA to Iguazu by calling the Aerolineas call centre in Buenis Aires. We substantially reduced the cost of our Kruger safari by dealing directly with a tour operator/ TA in South Africa. We realized a good saving by arranging for a Cyprus hotel early next month by booking it in the UK vs using an on line NA booking site. there can occasionally be substantial savings to be enjoyed by shopping travel products in other countries.
  12. ...we did numerous Jetstar fights in/to Oz, Tasmania, and Hawaii this past Feb/March. On some flights our carry ons were checked and weighed twice! Once on the departure floor and again at the departure gate!
  13. One of the main reasons why, since retiring, we do far less cruising and far more land travel is because the culture on shore is so much better than the sterile environment of a Marriott like cabin on board a cruise ship. Or a NA style hotel dining room where the quality and taste of the food often falls well short of the embellished descriptions on the MDR menu! Who’s kidding whom? Not knocking cruising, just the comparison between shore based culture and NA based cruise ship culture. And yes....we travel extensively. Currently into week four of a seven week land trip in Europe.
  14. I suspect that they believe that there is nothing wrong with it, they feel comfortable doing it, they are not so insecure that they spend their time worrying about what others think, nor do they care particularly about busybodies.
  15. It would not surprise me if HAL migrated their entertainment options solely to user pay jukeboxes and user pay movies.
  16. It has been 27-30 C every day for the past two weeks in northern Greece. I have only worn slacks and a sweater once.....at night because we were in a restaurant beside the sea. All other days have been shorts and sandals. Two short hours of rain in the early AM a few days ago in Lassi. We go to Zanthe for a week and then to Athens on the 6th. F’cast is for sun, highs of 27/28. This is is what we have experienced on prior trips.
  17. Absolutely do not depend on the misleading labels. They all seem to say lightweight these days however our experience is that there is a great deal of difference between brands labelled as light weight. I ended up with a 38 litre Eaglecreek rolling duffle (two wheel). So far, after four trips and multiple flights it has passed the occasional size and weight checks. DW has a Rick Steves rolling carry on. It is a good bag but unfortunately sized for US carry on refs, not international.
  18. We live in Canada. We usually book with a US TA. We have had quotes from Canadian TA’s in BOTH USD and CAD. We routinely useTA’s or direct in other countries to book travel products, including cruises. We have saved a fair of money amount by shopping across borders for the identical product.
  19. Also be aware that not all airlines have the same guidance. Many European and Asia height vs the NA height guidance. Weight restrictions are all over the map. More often either 8 or sometimes 10kg. We have done carry on only on five flights in the last month. Transat and Aegean. Never had our carry sized or weighed. This is not the case with some other airlines. We are ok for size but usually hit 9-10 kg on weight. If they weigh we simply carry some heavier items in our hands or pockets.
  20. We have traveled by land extensively in both countries. We we would not consider a cruise if we wanted to see Thailand or Vietnam. If you are still undecided you might want to take a look at the port stops on your Asian cruise. Compare the port times and most especially the distances from the ports to those places you want to see. Keep in mind that land transport in Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam will take longer than you are probably accustomed to.
  21. We do carry on only. We very much prefer soft sided. Carry on is a little different inasmuch as it does not take the abuse that hard sided take. I really do not think there is a perfect answer. It comes down to personal preference.
  22. It is a math question for each cruiser. Just like all of the offerings and sales from the industry. Simply determine your break even price, or your net bottom line price. No magic to it. We pass on the drink and the soft drink packages. No cheese for us in these offers. Others jump at them.
  23. The challenge lies in attracting new customers who may not have the knowledge to suss out the true value of each competing offer. They revert to price. This has to be a challenge for the mass market cruise lines who are trying to attract first time cruisers and families. When we compare cruises value is more important than cost to us. A great deal of our perception of value comes from the experience of many cruises on different ships and brands. New cruisers do not have this. And it is probably compounded by internet booking and the seeming decline in the number of knowledgeable TA’s
  24. Probably residents of a country with lower levels of taxation.
  25. The writing was on the wall for Thomas Cook a year or so ago after the last financial crisis. It will be interesting to see if Germany bails out their Condor subsidiary.
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