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mdpa

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Everything posted by mdpa

  1. We utilized the unlimited photo package back in January and we had a great experience. On the cruise I asked how much extra for the printed version, and it was only $50. Great deal...since we couldn't print that many 8x10's for less. About two weeks after the cruise you'll receive a link to all the digital photos, with access for 30-days to download them.
  2. I think the Solarium is more about "the vibe" than a specific age, although some people still tend too be noisy. So far our 14 year old daughter (almost 15) has been using the Solarium as a quieter place to do her homework with mom's help on every sea day. No issues, and from what I can tell she is one of the quietest people in the room.
  3. I'll also add that it depends on whether you can get an excursion on sale and whether you have OBC to utilize. On our Asia cruise we had significant non-refundable OBC and are using Celebrity for quite a few "on our own" style tours. We just did a really nice Celebrity excursion today and felt it was a good value. One nice option is the ability to reserve some tentative excursions, watch to see if any go on sale, and can always cancel if a private option seem like a better value.
  4. On our 14-day Millennium cruise it is $149 for single and $249 for two people.
  5. mdpa

    Bangkok

    We are doing a hybrid approach. We are using a Celebrity "drop us off in town and pick us up the next day" excursion. The price was reasonable and only about a block away from the St. Regis hotel (we are using points but the price also seemed reasonable). The hotel is located directly across from the skytrain so we are looking forward to exploring on our own.
  6. We boarded our cruise yesterday and the last few weeks they kept adding details every few days. Enjoy your cruise!
  7. It seems like everyone wants to be cooler/more hip in their own minds than in real life. This ad targets old people who want to feel cooler than they are...for me these attempts are way too transparent and offend my intelligence. I am not that smart, so I suspect other people find these ads a distraction from what they hope will be a decent product.
  8. My family just spent most of the day walking almost everywhere and taking the MTR/Star ferry. No issues. We are really enjoying ourselves. I did see graffiti in one area but I needed to point it out to my wife and daughter because neither of them noticed it. I do tend to be contrarian. I hear protests and think less crowds, lower hotel prices, and more personalized attention. 😉
  9. We just arrived at Hong Kong last night for our SE Asia cruise. Walked around a little this morning and so far very glad this is the start of our trip. One option would be to choose a cruise that ends in HK. This would allow you to get Celebrity transfers directly to the airport and might be combined with a mini-tour.
  10. I also don't like the idea of a list. The one time we had the services of a butler we used them to "enhance service". They are helpful if you have an issue or need to change dinner reservations, etc. Think of it as "personalized and attentive service", rather than having a servant at your disposal.
  11. One thing I would add....not sure how Celebrity compares to cheaper alternatives, but as a generalization the better quality (and smaller ships) tend to be more port intensive. For us we are all about activities (off the ship) and all about relaxation, great food, drinks, and service on the ship. Someone had explained it to me this way; the budget operations are about "saving fuel" and "keeping you on the ship" to increase revenue. The more inclusive, the more their goal is to "get you off the ship". 😉
  12. Shouldn't be...since a 20% gratuity is already included. Most people who tip extra on cruise ships are intentionally bribing crew to extract preferential treatment at the expense of other passengers or the cruise line (generous pours, or other free stuff stolen from the Celebrity). That said, I am not a difficult customer and rarely make unnecessary requests. So YMMV.
  13. I'll be on the Millennium later this week. Two random thoughts come to mind: - Will the service/staff be subpar knowing they are the vendor that lost the contract? - Will pricing change with the new vendor?
  14. mdpa

    HOHO in Singapore

    Hop On, Hop Off Bus. Basically a bus for tourists with audio guides https://city-sightseeing.com/en/106/singapore/130/hop-on-hop-off-singapore?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CjwKCAiAuqHwBRAQEiwAD-zr3VkqBLJHK775E4_o2341pnXvHudmUK96mOTjx5J0gAOlTbbS4UZ9zBoCeAEQAvD_BwE
  15. I'll just say that while modest, my family of 3 enjoyed nibbling on whatever little surprises arrived. My wife might have grabbed the olives, I might have had some hummus, and our daughter would have probably taken whatever was slightly sweet. After all, we are on an "all you can eat" cruise so anything more would have probably been wasted. Heck, on our most recent Oceania cruise we decided to take advantage of their generous rules with bringing on alcohol. I believe we took a bottle of bourbon and a box wine. We were always so full once back in our cabin that we struggled to drink any of it.
  16. A little over the top...you've never received or given a gift?
  17. I don't think this is an issue if it is above the built-in gratuities. In this case it is more about the gesture or showing appreciation. That said, I still have always been more concerned about the behind the scenes people (dishwashers, laundry, etc.). IMHO customer facing people are generally paid decently in comparison. Example: A server at Red Lobster is always going to make more money than a cashier at a convenience store or someone restocking the shelves. Personally, I don't do either. If a product doesn't include gratuities and service is provided (not walkup at starbucks), then I tip generously as it relates to local custom. If gratuities are "built-in" then I consider them built-in and my smile and a "thank you" are sufficient to show my appreciation for good service.
  18. Thanks for the review and feedback about the ports. We are doing Hong Kong to Singapore next week and looking at a map it would have been pretty neat to add this itinerary at some point to "continue the tour" in this part of the world. I think our SE Asia cruise has some of the same challenges with cruise ports being far from destinations (at least with larger ships) but since a few stops are multi-day it allows for overnight stays in hotels (which might make it more fun/interesting but also needs to be factored into overall cost). Interesting to hear how your itinerary took the opposite approach of "fast stops" which allows you to see more places and travel further with other compromises.
  19. Thanks, appreciate the great review. We did the same cruise as you the year prior and also enjoyed the itinerary. We will be on on 2nd Celebrity cruise in 6 days to SE Asia and looking forward to it.
  20. Just some thoughts about potential conflicts.... - Did you have classic or premium? If classic, then Celebrity may perceive "lost upgrade" risk - What if you shared a table with someone without the drink package? Variables might make it difficult to manage. - I believe there are a fair amount of wine connoisseurs, that do pay Celebrity prices for wine by the bottle (discount offered if on plan) and they would lose this revenue with changed policy
  21. Yeah, we had the classic package on our last cruise and very much enjoyed our 2 nights in Tuscan Grille. No issue with getting drinks and no need for additional gratuities.
  22. Misunderstood your question. Easy to check online. I don't think a week or so is a problem. It gives you a suggested date based on the cruise and then you simply pick something earlier than that to ensure on time arrival. In our case we are arriving 2-days early in Hong Kong for an SE Asia cruise.
  23. I'll also just add it is no more a marketing gimmick (or more properly; way to increase perceived value) than almost every upgrade available. After all people using inside cabins get the same ship, same pool, same food, same ports, and same level of service. If we were all accountants we would only choose inside cabins and pocket the savings. These are the "best deal" on the ship. Conversely, most people booking suites would be better off on a premium cruise line like Silversea where everyone gets butler service and airfare included as part of their fare.
  24. All great points but I believe you are downplaying the benefits a little too much....and I agree that it is primarily marketing (not much different than paying for different category rooms (2A, 2B, 2C, etc.) On our most recent cruise it was only $100-200 more which is often worth it for the upgraded location alone (we had one of the better aft balconies). We also appreciated using the shorter line for dining, enjoyed the lunch, etc. That said, in most cases the value for me would be $100 - $500 depending on room choice. I bid blindly for a move up bid for a family veranda or a concierge cabin @ $230 for our upcoming cruise. Most likely won't get it but either of these will be a good deal for our family of 3.
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