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Ken the cruiser

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Everything posted by Ken the cruiser

  1. Thought I'd post an update. So as of today, the Azamara Quest (Feb 2, 2022), Celebrity Silhouette (Jan 30, 2022) and now the Oceania Marina (Jan 8, 2022) are all offering Antarctica "drive by" itineraries. With two cruise lines, RCI and NCL, breaking the Polar Code ranks and scheduling Antarctica cruises after Jan 1, 2022, it will be interesting to see what Princess and HAL offer once they release their early 2022 itineraries.
  2. Which cruise and time frame is this one? I can't seem to find it on the 2021-2022 itineraries just posted. Update: I found it. It's an Antarctica cruise starting Jan 8, 2022.
  3. Those sound pretty interesting. Unfortunately, when it comes to Cunard and their requirement for men to wear a sports coat (as a minimum) every evening after 6 pm in most parts of the ship, we have no desire to cruise with them.
  4. That's right. You mentioned that earlier. Did you enjoy them? The reason I ask is because HAL's entertainment offerings having been sliding for the past few years, but we were really impressed by our recent main theater experience on the Maasdam going around Australia. So it will be nice to hear the quality main theater entertainment experience we encountered on that 40 day cruise, both in the evening and on sea days, is expanding rather than continuing to decline across the fleet. BTW those prices I mentioned above were for upcoming Oct 2021 cruises.
  5. I guess that's what worries us the most when in comes to booking a HAL transoceanic cruise, especially when Celebrity offers 2-3 "guest" lectures on each sea day and we can get either a sky suite or aqua class cabin (depending on the TO cruise) with all the perks for around $200 pp/day. On a HAL transatlantic cruise, with only promotional perks included (if any), a vista suite usually runs $300+ pp/day and a signature suite runs $425+ pp/day.
  6. Is it fair to assume the refundable deposit on your existing booking became nonrefundable (or at least $100 pp of it) once you got the fare reduced to the nonrefundable rate?
  7. We just got off the Island and were in one of their aft-facing suites for 25 days! Besides the free laundry, breakfast in Sabatini's was one of the best suite perks they offer! They had unique breakfast dishes as well as quality pastries and rolls. They also give you a pot of coffee, if you like coffee like I do, rather than you having to continually ask for refills. Definitely one of the suite perks you do not want to overlook!
  8. Good to hear this. Hope you're right. Based on what you're saying, it will be interesting to see what itineraries both above and below the 60 degree parallel HAL and Princess will be posting post once they release their Jan - Apr 2022 itineraries. We've been to Greenland a few times, but the Polar Ice Cap is still on our bucket list.
  9. In the past we have initially booked different Celebrity Antarctica cruises twice and each time we have subsequently cancelled them to go on a HAL Antarctica cruise in Jan 2018 and then for an upcoming Princess cruise in Jan 2021. We have also booked another HAL one in Nov 2020 to go to Antarctica as well as see the solar eclipse on the same cruise in early December off the coast of Argentina. The only reason we cancelled the two Celebrity Antarctica cruises we initially booked was because when we looked closer, they only actually spend 2 days cruising around the Antarctica peninsula rather than 4 days like both Princess and HAL do. If you look at the X itineraries it looks like you spend time at 4 different stops. You do, but when you look at the actual dates of those stops, the time period covers just 2 days. We really enjoy X cruises, but, hey, it's Antarctica and we want to spend as much time cruising around there as possible. The wildlife and scenery is just too awesome!!
  10. We also enjoyed our Maasdam In Depth EXC cruise just before yours around Australia. We're hoping the positive feedback from the new Maasdam in-depth program, especially with regards to the lectures, would spill over onto their other cruises as the Maasdam only sails in the Pacific from what we can tell. You would think they would be able to entice some lecturers with a free cruise in one of their empty ocean view cabins.
  11. We have and they were GREAT!! We've also consistently had some very good ones on Celebrity, Oceania and Princess cruises. But, you are correct, Crystal by far has the best ones we've heard.
  12. We're in our mid 60s and find ourselves as of late enjoying cruises with a lot more sea days with 2-3 professional lectures provided on most of those days. For example we were really spoiled on a recent 40 day Maasdam In-depth EXC cruise around Australia and some New Caledonia Islands with 5-6 lectures every sea day. Also in Jan 2018 we took a 22 day Antarctica cruise and were treated to 2-3 professional lectures on most of the sea days. However, on all of our other 7-15 day HAL cruises we've been on, the only thing we would experience in this area were port talks which we're fine with if we wanted to know where to shop or find out about things to do at an upcoming port. Were these exceptions to the rule, as these were quite unique cruises, or is it common practice now for HAL to provide professionally given lectures on all of their 15+ day non-B2B cruises? BTW we do not consider a port talk or any talk for that matter given by the EXC staff as a professionally given lecture. We're really interested to hear if HAL provides professional lectures on their transoceanic cruises. Any thoughts will be appreciated.
  13. The reason the fares are now more expensive is probably because they added 2 more days (Lofoten Islands and another day at sea) to the cruise whereas the Oct 2020 one is only 12 days. And @Thrak is right, it's always best if you can to book as early as possible and make sure it's with a refundable deposit just in case something happens before final payment is due.
  14. Looks like they have opened the Oct 5, 2021 Northern Lights cruise back up for booking again. But still no replacement cruise yet for the 10 day gap created by the cancelling of the second NL cruise.
  15. Great review! Just curious as there were a lot of sea days, did HAL offer a wide variety of things to keep you busy? Also, because it was a longer cruise, did they have professional lecturers onboard with interesting topics speaking in the morning and/or afternoon on the scheduled sea days?
  16. @taxmantoo we agree with your analogy completely, although we find that for transoceanic cruises we get the best value for money and have the most fun when we book a Celebrity cruise in one of their sky suites. No need to worry about specialty restaurants when you get to eat your meals in their private Luminae restaurant. Also, when you book a sky suite, unless it's after the final payment date, you get free grats, free internet, free drinks and $300 OBC. And when it comes to entertainment, there is definitely plenty of options to choose from on sea days. I'd also like to point out Princess usually has 4-6 assistant cruise directors and Celebrity has 3-4 whereas HAL usually has only 1. That plays a big roll when you're looking for a variety of things to do on sea days. So my recommendation is to also check out Celebrity when comparing transatlantic cruises.
  17. Hope you booked at least a Premium Balcony cabin as any of their regular balcony cabins and below have only one desk chair to sit on.
  18. We use the RavPower FileHub Plus Dual Band Travel Router, USB Port, SD Card Slot, 6700mAh External Battery Pack, RP-WD03. The black one we use is $41.99 on Amazon.
  19. We have taken our RavPower travel router on 2 extended cruises now over the past 6 months, once on Princess and once on HAL, and it works great!! We can connect up to 5 devices to the router at any one time up to 50' away and it's very easy to configure.
  20. It would help to know which ships and which cabin categories you are comparing for your European cruise? We recently sailed around the UK on the Princess Crown and had a blast, but do love Celebrity transoceanic cruises. As far as MDR food goes, I would give the nod to X, but Princess has more fun things to do in the evening on the ship. However, on sea days, I would give the nod to X if you like lectures as they usually offer 2-3 whereas Princess usually has 1-2. Excursions are pretty much a wash as they both offer affordable ones and you can prebook them on both lines with OBC if you have some awarded to you in the form of cruise line perks, shareholder benefits and/or in the case of Princess if you are a military veteran. BUT if you are in a Princess regular balcony cabin or lower, you may only have one desk chair to sit in as they removed the barrel chair from most of their cabins. This is not the case with their Premium Balcony cabins or above, as they usually have at least 2 chairs and/or a chair and sofa. OTOH, X usually has able places to sit in their cabins.
  21. I believe the second Northern Lights cruise, originally scheduled to start Oct 17th, has been cancelled for good as the first Northern Lights cruise which starts on Oct 5th has also been extended for 2 days and now ends on Oct 19th. As a side note, extending the first one from a 12 to a 14 day cruise had an additional windfall besides the drop in price. It got us an extra $150 in shareholder OBC and $300 in military OBC as we are both retired. So if either of those apply to you, that's another perk to relook at the Oct 5h Northern Lights cruise.
  22. Makes sense. I'm sure COVID19 is causing them some serious concerns with all of their SE Asia cruises scheduled over the next 6-9 months. I know we have a cruise on the Grand booked in Oct 2020 that leaves from LA and eventually stops in Japan and at Beijing's port for 2 days before we disembark in Shanghai. From there it heads towards Singapore. With our final payment due in July, we're waiting to see if they change any of those SE Asia ports, especially if this flu pandemic continues on for months.
  23. That's what we were thinking too. But 3 weeks just seems like quite a lengthy time span to keep the cruise locked from new passengers wanting to book the cruise. But you're probably right.
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