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About Hlitner

  • Rank
    30,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    New Cumberland,PA, USA
  • Interests
    International travel (77 countries at last count(
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  1. Hlitner

    Anytime dining doesn’t work!

    Just to clarify the situation on Celebrity, like Princess they do have both traditional (early and late seatings) as well as an open seating concept. If you are in traditional and try to go to the open seating (Anytime Dining) you will be stopped when they scan your cruise card and want to know why you are not at your assigned table in traditional. As to Aqua Class (on Celebrity) it does come with an additional cost which is sometimes substantial. Celebrity also charges up to $50 per person for their alternative restaurants. Celebrity has a separate dining area for the suites (Luminae) but keep in mind that folks are paying a lot of extra money for that somewhat better dining venue. The Princess Club Class dining does not compare to Luminae (Celebrity) as Club Class is essentially the same menu as the MDR plus one or two additions. We find the two lines alike in many ways, but also somewhat different. The Princess tradition of having 3 MDRs (on the Grand and Royal Classes) is really a pain when it comes to those of us who use the open dining scheme. If we decide to go to dinner at 7:45 we will sometimes run back and forth between the deck 5 and 6 restaurants (both Anytime Dining) to figure out which one has the shortest wait. On Celebrity one would simply go to a single entree point to access all the seating (on either level). Our liking of Princess is not about their MDR scheme which we find somewhat of a pain, but because of other things such as the International Cafe and Alfredos. We are completely underwhelmed by the Princess alternative restaurants and generally do not waste our money. On Celebrity, some of their alternative restaurants are excellent (especially Murano) although they do cost more then on Princess. But with Celebrity one can often get discounts in the alternative restaurants (up to about 50% off). Hank
  2. Hlitner

    Concierge class? Is it worth it?

    We are looking at a future S Class cruise and noticed that the C3 cabins were priced about the same as regular balconies. I suspect Celebrity is having problems selling Concierge Class cabins, on S Class ships, at a higher price then a regular balcony with a comparable location. We have previously been in Concierge and thought the extras were really not worth anything (although we do like the balcony foot stools). The embarkation lunch is just a normal MDR lunch and not special. The daily afternoon snacks have become real rubbish with things like a piece of celery with cream cheese, a piece of melon wrapped with a tiny piece of prosciutto, perhaps some olives, etc. The pickings are much better in the Lido. Hank
  3. I understand your DH's hesitation. DW had one total knee (with a perfect result) and is very hesitant to have the other one done. Hank
  4. This is what is currently (as of this very minute) says on the HAL Web site under Mariner's Club 4* Benefits. Of course the 5* folks get all the 4* benefits plus a few extras. An increase of a 50% discount on specialty restaurant surcharges and specialty coffees in all dining venues*, wine packages*, beverages in the Explorations Café* and all mini-bar purchases* (restaurant packages do not apply to discount and wine packages discounts exclude wine cards, Cellar Master packages, individual bottles, wine-by-the-glass and beverage gift cards) This is what is currently (at this minute) stated on HAL's web site under the Mariner's Club benefits for 4*: My suggeston would be to copy this and take it along on your cruise.
  5. Hlitner

    Which HAL sailings (if any) have Dance Hosts?

    The problem with what you say is how I, as a man, can I know. One day, a few years ago, I made the huge mistake of holding a door (to a mall) open for somebody who sure looked like a lady. She immediately, in a very loud voice let me know that "I can open my own doors." Since that day I have never held open a door for a lady. In fact when an elderly lady cut in front of me in a eggs benedict line on a cruise I told her that the line was in the back! Several others behind me clapped. It is a new world... I an a conservative old guy who was raised to be a gentleman and treat all ladies with lots of respect. But these days that is considered a bad thing (by many ladies). Men have been put into an impossible position. And we sure do not hear many ladies publicly asking for men to act like gentleman. I just hope that woman are happy that they are now getting what they want, which is to be treated exactly the same as a man. Hank
  6. Hlitner

    Which HAL sailings (if any) have Dance Hosts?

    So true. How a male host (assuming he identifies as "male") would have to ask somebody who appeared to look like a lady if she identified as a lady. If she said no, then am not sure what the host could do :). But I am thinking that soon everyone will have to wear a badge identifying your "pronoun." And we wonder what will happen when somebody who looks like a man, but identifies as a woman (at least for the day) decides to use the ladies room. I do not recall HAL having unisex rest rooms. Then again, how about a lady who decides to identify as a man (perhaps for the hour) so she can use the mens room. This is our new world. Hank
  7. Hlitner

    Pools in Port

    The question is really not silly. At one time, most of the cruise lines would close all their pools when in US Ports. They did not always drain the pools but simply closed them by putting nets over the top (the normal way pools are closed on ships). Hank
  8. When it comes to pre-existing conditions with any policy, the devil is really in the details. The policy usually specifies a "look back period" which in the case of the Chase card is 60 days! What does this mean? It is somewhat complicated but generally (with exceptions) it means that if nothing new had happened within the prior 60 days you would be covered. If your DH has a total knee....then once he has recovered (which usually takes 3-4 months) that is no longer an issue for pre-existing conditions unless his medical condition changes within the 60 days prior to a trip. Hank
  9. Hlitner

    Help me choose itinerary

    There are huge differences between these itineraries. It is not about one being better but about where you want to travel. We would lean towards the cruise that goes to both France and Italy....but that is simply because DW and I love to travel in those countries. But its just personal preference. Hank
  10. Hlitner

    I requested a Comic Sans fix

    It certainly is the highlight of my day to know this :).
  11. Hlitner

    Elite Status Pursuer Question

    Perhaps I have become very cynical at my ole age. When younger we used to dream about being in the upper tiers of frequent cruiser clubs. Now, we are in those high tiers on many different lines and have been Elite with Princess for over 15 years. Big deal! For the life of me I cannot understand folks going out of their way to achieve the higher status. On Princess we do swap out our mini-bar for 2 coffee cards which is about a $70 (per couple benefit). We get free laundry which we seldom use except on long cruises. The Elite cocktail parties are, to us, a big joke and we seldom attend. Those parties now have some cheap snacks (you can do better if you stop up in the Lido) and slightly reduced prices on a few silly drinks which we would never order. If we want a regular drink it costs the regular price at those parties. Yes, we get priority embarkation...but many times we see that the regular lines are shorter and just go to those lines. The Internet benefits are nice (you get them at the Platinum level) but hardly worth spending the extra money on a few extra cruises. So to the OP I say that if it is that important to you then do what you have to do. And when you achieve a higher level you will smile and take advantage of the perks. And eventually you will come to realize that its not a big deal. For those who think these levels are very important we sometimes wonder if they have a real life. My suggestion is to do what you would normally do and let the rest just happen when it happens. For decades we would cruise on many different lines (14 to date) and friends would tell us we were nutz not to be "loyal" to a single line so we could get extra perks. Eventually we got high levels on nearly all those lines....and our reaction is "big deal." In the scheme of things it is not that important. Hank
  12. Hlitner

    Pools in Port

    The ship absolutely functions when you are in port, there should be an open pool, open bars, and the Lido will be open for lunch :), You might be amazed at how many cruisers (including moi) like staying aboard ships when they are in some ports. On Carnival there will not be many folks aboard but you will not be along. Go on some other lines and you might find more than 100 souls staying aboard. In about a month we will be taking a 21 day MSC cruise that stops at about 12 ports. Our current thinking is that we may not bother to get off the ship in any port :). Why? Because we have been to all those places (often many times) and we often find the ship the best destination. Next week we are taking a short 10 day Caribbean cruise that stops at 3 ports and it is likely we will not get off at 2 of those places. My point is that what you are proposing is not that unusual. What do we do on port days? If the weather is good we will choose the perfectly located lounger near the ship's pool and relax with our Kindles. When we want a drink there will be no lines at the bar. At lunch time there will be relatively few lines. To us, this is when a ship is at its best. Hank
  13. Hlitner

    Disembarking Early.... I know, I know

    It sounds like you have some issues beyond the post but we will simply deal with your cruise questions. You can make a request from HAL (or any other cruise line) for early disembarkation. It is routinely granted in places like the EU, but in your situation we suspect they will say no. The cruise line would need to have the blessing from the country where you want to disembark. And since your cruise begins and ends at the same US cruise port it is covered under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) which is the regulation that allows for so-called "closed loop" cruises where passengers do not need to have a valid Passport. How this would work if they allow an early disembarkation...we have no clue. But we do suspect that HAL (and other cruise lines) would take the easy way out and not deal with such a complex issue for the sake of a single passenger. There is another way to get to where you want to go without flying which is to make the long land trip. That is not a trip I would want to undertake, but it is possible. You could actually drive the entire distance, armed with a valid Passport and enough money. Such a trip obviously has some risks but it certainly would be quite an adventure. Hank
  14. Hlitner

    Why did you decide to retire when you did?

    As I was nearing my 56th birthday, my DW came home from work one day (she was a Classroom teacher for over thirty years) and said "I have had it!" She then told me she was going to retire that June (about 6 months away) before she strangled somebody (she was talking about the administration...not the children). I thought about it for a few hours, did a review of our financial situation and said, Why Not" The next morning I walked into my bosses office (she shares the same first name as DW), closed her door, and told her I was going to retire in June (giving her about 6 months notice). We retired one day apart, and two days later were off on a long European cruise and driving trip. We had spent our lives as active travelers, so we were not kids in a candy store. Since retiring 13 years ago we have managed to travel (mostly internationally) for about 6-7 months a year including 75 - 110 cruise days. Hank
  15. Hlitner

    Whee, things have sure changed!

    Based on what we see on many of our cruises this topic should be changed to 65+ :). And on some cruises a 65 year old would still be among the children :). Hank