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About AllisonJames

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Highland Village, Texas
  • Interests
    Golf, travel, wine, reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara, Seabourn, Princess
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Northern Europe

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  1. Can’t wait! We’re on Crystal Bach Amsterdam to Basel next June — our first river cruise — and are considering sailing Crystal Ocean for the first time so really looking forward to your posts!
  2. We sailed Viking Star out of Barcelona in December 2017 and for several weeks before there was a lot of media coverage on riots. When we got to Barcelona there weren’t any issues at all. We passed by one minor demonstration when we were walking around but that was it. We felt very safe and loved Barcelona! The food was awesome and the people were lovely.
  3. So impressed with how early Crystal gets itineraries released, really appreciated by those of us who plan way in advance. In comparison, Seabourn still doesn’t have Summer 2021 out for all its ships...
  4. Marmaduke -- my experience was just the same. I was actually glad to get the call since there was a shore excursion where the length of time was clearly incorrect and didn't match with the description and I was interested in the excursion but couldn't figure out why 12 hours were scheduled when we were going somewhere that was located only a little way outside the city. But they could not answer any of my questions or even direct me to someone who could. Just useless. And they had called and said "we were checking to see why you hadn't signed up for any excursions" and when they couldn't answer any of my questions I said "well, now you know why I haven't signed up for any!"
  5. Heartfelttraveler, we are also doing the Rhine Amsterdam to Basel in June 2020 — what boat are you on? We’ll be on Crystal Bach, our first-ever river cruise.
  6. Thanks for the link to the video. I’ve been following all the posts with great interest but after seeing the video, I am not excited about the interior design and ambiance. I’m sure they were going for very sleek and modern, but to me it is stark, lacks color and warmth and much of the furniture looks uncomfortable. So much black, white and gray. I’m sure it’s an amazing ship, just not for me.
  7. Regarding young adults on AZ -- only you know your kids and how well they do entertaining themselves. Ours are 22 and 27, have cruised quite a bit on the larger ships which they love and would be bored out of their minds on AZ so we'd never choose AZ for a family trip. Our last cruise with them was the Mediterranean on Viking Star, which is a larger ship with slightly more facilities (incredible, complimentary indoor spa area with snow room, hot tubs, steam room, resistance pool, etc. which they enjoyed). It was a holiday week so we thought they'd end up meeting lots of others their age but there weren't that many and we ended up spending a lot of time playing games as a family at night. Amazingly, we actually found Viking a bit quieter at night than AZ. It was nice to spend time together but they were looking for more dancing, music and fun activities at night with others in their age group. But it was a port-intensive cruise so we did a lot during the day. Some AZ cruises are so port-intensive and they can go out in the port at night so that would make a difference, too. And at the AZ price point, it's not a good value for us as a family, we choose Princess and NCL for our family trips, much more for everyone to do.
  8. Kudos to RCL for the quick response in sending ships to the area to provide disaster relief and how nice all the guests are pitching in to help feed everyone during this terrible time. May God Bless everyone impacted in the Bahamas and the situation in North Carolina is looking terrible as well. I am a property owner on Hilton Head, SC and we were lucky HH escaped major damage but others are suffering terribly. My heart goes out to everyone and Thank you RCL!
  9. I have been vocal on this board about the AZ "sales" due to the price manipulations so you really have to track your prices, know what you are willing to pay and know what you have previously committed to pay if you want to rebook. At this time, our May 2020 13 night Wine & Romance Perry Golf voyage we booked onboard last year appears to be at least $2,500 less than what we've already booked for, even taking into account onboard/LCV discounts. I say "appears to be" because the booking engine keeps skipping over the actual payment summary page and taking me to the page where you provide a credit card and make a deposit so I'm not 100% sure. So that would be a good deal for us to rebook. Unfortunately, as Murphy's Law would have it, it's a cruise we decided to cancel anyway. Just confirms my decision not to book onboard anymore and wait for lower prices. And tracking prices on a spreadsheet is really smart to save money! Also, for the poster who asked about cycles of sales, I have consistently seen the double upgrade promotion offered around September since 2015. It can be a good promotion for those of us who want the balcony category. I've just only had one instance up until now (our very first cruise) where the price was lower during the sale and we rebooked. So that's 2 out of 5 total cruises booked which is not a bad percentage. Worth taking a look if you have current bookings.
  10. Waltfan — thanks for your comments. We are finding lots of cruise options for that part of the world and will most likely try either Crystal or Seabourn next. I actually like Oceania’s price model with he O Choice because what we’ve spent for airfare to Europe during the summer has been ridiculous, so we might try Oceania sometime but we’re really interested to make the leap into the true “luxury” category and I’m seeIng plenty of choices in that category comparable to what we’ve spent on AZ. Yes, deals can be had on AZ but we’ve never had the flexibility to take advantage of them, so if I’m booking way ahead as we like to do, I’m going for luxury level now. We did not like Celebrity (we go on the larger ships when we cruise with our kids) as we did a sold-out holiday cruise that had some issues and also very full of very ostentatious, demanding, “show-off” type of people and the obvious class system on the ship “oh you only have the basic beverage package” “oh sorry, you don’t have a concierge suite” etc. After that experience we went back to Princess and NCL with our family and appreciated their value even more. Also, I highly recommend Viking Ocean and they’ve brought so many new ships on last few years that the choices of itineraries are really expanding — not luxury level but overall very good experience, not too many people and the ships are gorgeous with quite a few features not found on AZ.
  11. Really nice to hear about the new Chef’s Table and disappointed we didn’t get to try it (we were on Journey the cruise before yours). Unfortunately I found our experience underwhelming because it was the exact same menu we had last year on Pursuit so it’s good they now have a new option!
  12. Hi, the reason I didn’t give the link is I thought that was against cruise critic rules (directing to another site) however the video by the previous poster is the correct website but not the video I saw...go to the site, search Scenic Eclipse Maiden Voyage and it should come up — it was taken and posted 8/15 by a luxury travel company.
  13. Hi I just found this thread as I couldn’t find where the Scenic posts were on this board. I’m very interested in sailing the Eclipse in the future and surprised at these reports because there’s a video on another site that was taken on 8/15 (public areas only) and it all looks just gorgeous! But I guess there’s a reason those making the video weren’t allowed in the staterooms! Please keep posting, especially photos, we appreciate it. Usually Maiden voyages have their issues (although we were on the maiden voyage last year of Azamara Pursuit and the ship was spotless and gorgeous when we embarked with only a few minor issues like missing cushions for the pool loungers). But this sounds like a whole other level of “not ready for guests.”
  14. Still nothing out to consider for Summer 2021. Big Sigh. Crystal already has Summer 2022 out! I realize not everyone plans as far out as we do but we have to make a decision on rebooking a cruise on another line before our cancellation window closes and really would like to consider Seabourn.
  15. The concept of “worth it” is so personal. That being said, I agree with many of the comments here, we’ve sailed on many mass market lines and a few luxury and four AZ cruises — were truly disappointed in Celebrity as it did not meet our expectations and we really disliked the obvious “class system” which you will not find on AZ. Where AZ shines in my opinion is the intimate, relaxed atmosphere, no lines, and the convenient port access Including the length of time in port and ease of getting on and off the ship even when tendering. As some have mentioned AZ price to value ratio has been ebbing recently but at a price you like it is worth trying! And I love the decor/ambience of the ships even if they don’t have all the newer bells and whistles...
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