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About fleckle

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  1. Since different people value different things, I would like to see them come up with something similar to the way they do Big, Better, Best. Offer a menu of choices and at Elite you get to choose one (or two or three) items, at Elite + you can choose (x number) more, and so on. Of course they would need to be add-ons or trade-offs, so none of us would feel we are losing anything we value that we already receive now. Maybe pick one item from column A and two from column B..... that sort of thing. Ed may want more internet time, Sam may want more laundry, Alice a beverage package upgrade, Bob wants a discount on a cabin upgrade, Sue wants a free (or discounted) tour, or a bigger discount on the price of a future cruise, and so on. With enough choices, there should be something to satisfy almost everyone, while keeping down the actual costs for the cruise line to provide them. Some of the features that were requested previously when this discussion came up would cost the cruise line nothing (or almost nothing), such as ability to visit the public areas of other cruise ships docked at the same port, which staff and crew members already get to do. By the time we reach Elite + we have been vetted enough times so that any additional security required should be minor. Then there are always the ego-stroking events, such as invitations to one thing or another with officers, or priority access to this or that.
  2. We feel the same way. There are many of us in this situation, between Elite+ and Zenith, with Zenith too far away to be realistically achievable anytime in the foreseeable future. Celebrity really needs to add another loyalty level half-way between Elite+ and Zenith. It is long overdue. Or even better, add two more levels spaced out 750 points apart, so that passengers always have the next realistically obtainable goal ahead as an incentive that is within reasonable reach.
  3. We love the Alaska cruises, with practically non-stop scenery from beginning to end. As others have mentioned, Vancouver is a great city and worth at least a few days. There are lots of good hotels and all sorts of restaurants in the downtown area within a few blocks of the cruise port, in various price ranges. Even those on a tight budget can easily check out the views from the Pan Pacific hotel and the cruise port area without spending the big bucks to book a room there. I would suggest checking with your ship's naturalist each day to find out when the ship will be cruising through the best areas for whale watching. Then make it a point to be out on deck, up at the front of the ship, with your binoculars at those times. The naturalist will almost always be out there at those times as well. We found it worthwhile to rent a car in Juneau so we could drive around at our own pace, spending as much time as we wanted at each location, without being restricted to bus or tour schedules. Also, you can plan out your route for the day and make the most efficient use of your time in getting from one point to the next without needing to backtrack. I also strongly second the recommendation to look through the Alaska forum at Alaska Cruises Q&A:
  4. The last we heard, crew members still get to do this. It would certainly be a nice perk to add for upper tier loyalty members (who have already been vetted multiple times) and it would cost the cruise line almost nothing.
  5. This escort discussion reminded me of the way they used to escort us to our cabins back when we first started cruising with Celebrity. You would pick up your glass of sparkling wine, mimosa or orange juice, and your escort would take most of your carry-on luggage. They had lots of staff members available to escort passengers to their cabins. Back in those days, the doors to all the cabins were left propped open on embarkation day until the occupants of each cabin arrived and closed them. We liked to walk down the corridors very slowly, peeking into each cabin as we went along to see what the different categories of accommodations looked like. Our escorts liked to walk quickly, apparently in a hurry to get us to our destination and drop us off so they could go back and pick up the next passengers to escort. So some of us would try to decline the escort, in order to go down the long corridors at our own pace. "No, thank you. We already know where our cabin is located and don't need an escort. Why don't you just escort these other nice people instead." Does anyone else remember being escorted to your cabin even if you were not in a suite?
  6. At hotels and resorts, where it is common to have a daily service charge or resort fee automatically added to your account. We just consider the standard gratuities on a cruise ship (a floating hotel) to be equivalent to the daily hotel service fee charged at many hotels on land.
  7. Serenade of the Seas Cabin 1102 (photo credit to cloudfront.net) It puzzled us that on sister cruise line Royal Caribbean we could book a cabin that came with a curtain to separate the bed from the sitting area, but if we want one on Celebrity, we need to provide it ourselves.
  8. I was also curious about this. We had always filled out all the info for the express pass for each cruise previously, so last year as an experiment I decided to fill it out only for the first cruise and see what would happen. We deliberately did not ask or mention anything about it once onboard the ship but just waited to see what would ensue. Sure enough, near the end of the first cruise we received all the B2B info and the invitation to the B2B meeting as usual without needing to say or do anything. They already had all the info in their system. So since then, for B2Bs we fill out the express pass info only for the first cruise and have not had a problem. They even transferred our credit card info over each time automatically too, so we did not even need to stop at Guest Relations to register the credit card again. They do take our photos again for each following cruise, but that only takes a few seconds when "dinging" in with your new card, much quicker and easier than bothering to upload a photo for each cruise in advance. (As backup, we had emailed copies of the Celebrity invoices for each cruise to ourselves in advance so we could have them available to print out on the ship, just in case we should need them, but we never needed them. But we do that whenever we cruise, B2B or not, to have the invoice available just in case there should be any question about anything.)
  9. You may order whatever you like, and request to have it brought out in whichever order you prefer. (Just thinking of the old saying: Life is short. Eat dessert first.) I am among those who will often order multiple appetizers, sometimes with salad and/or soup, and skip the entree. What can I say -- Celebrity has lots of appetizers that I really like. Unless you prefer a long, slow, drawn-out meal, I would suggest asking them to bring several dishes out at the same time. If we don't ask them to do this, it can be maddeningly slow sometimes waiting for them to bring multiple appetizers out one at a time. Hope that you enjoy Celebrity as much as we do. The staff and crew are great and delight in trying to please you.
  10. I find a large, inflatable beach ball is even better. Partially inflated it is much more comfortable than the footrests provided on the ships as you can set the firmness/softness to suit yourself. It packs flat in the suitcase, but the best part is its versatility. It does double duty as you can easily pick it up with just two fingers (holding it by that little knobby thing that sticks out where you inflate it) and bring it inside to use as a footrest with a couch or chair in the cabin while watching TV. Or you could even use it as a beach ball.
  11. None of that is actually necessary. Some people just enjoy making their own luggage tags, and even decorating them in unique ways. RC tags our bags for us when we check them in at the pier, just as the other cruise lines, including Celebrity, also do. Those porters tag the bags much more quickly and efficiently than we can do it ourselves. (Somebody expressed concern that a porter might tag a bag incorrectly, but all you need to do is glance at the tag to see if they put the right stateroom number on it.) We have been cruising for years, on different cruise lines, and have never printed our own luggage tags. At one time we used to request them by mail, but now we don't even bother with that.
  12. They can and will extend your final payment due date very easily when there is a valid reason to do so. The most recent time they did it for us was when we were trying to make final payment on the final payment due date and they were having system problems. (Surprise!) We called Celebrity and the agent who answered the phone immediately extended our final payment due date by 5 days, as soon as he acknowledged that the system would not accept our payment. It only took him a few seconds to extend the date, so apparently it is quite commonplace and done at the discretion of the agent as he did not need to put us on hold or get approval from anyone higher up to do it. The new due date immediately showed up in our account, while we were still on the phone talking to him.
  13. "Best" comes down to personal preference. They all have pros and cons. In general, deck 9 is "best" for shade lovers and deck 11 is "best" for sun lovers. The cabins across the back of deck 11 have larger balconies, but they also have drawbacks that many dislike. The view from those balconies across the back of the ship is like looking out at the ocean from a high apartment or hotel room located about a block away from the water, so you can't look straight down to the water. The downward view is obstructed by a large public deck that juts out below you, which some dislike while others don't mind. Those balconies at the back can sometimes be noisy. The tradeoff is getting a larger balcony and aft view in exchange for the obstructions. The deck below sticks out much further than just having a lifeboat below you would.. Also, there are exterior stairs at the back of the ship that go down to the sunset bar and oceanview cafe below, but those are very steep stairs, so not a plus for everyone.
  14. Yes, not only for Concierge Class but for some other passenger categories and visiting travel agents as well. We recently attended as B2B passengers. The quality of the food was good, but the options were extremely limited. The menu listed only one item in each category so our choices were essentially take it or leave it (except for dessert , which had 2 items listed. They had only one soup. one salad, one meat dish, one fish, one chicken, and one vegetarian. The 2 desserts listed looked good, but we wanted more choices, so we went up to Cafe Al Bacio for dessert, where they have a much greater variety of selections.
  15. I do the same. At the Pan-American Pier in San Juan, what takes time is standing in line waiting to check in your bags, (if you arrive when there are long lines). The tagging of the bags is the fastest part of the entire check-in procedure, so there is no need to waste our time bothering with getting luggage tags in advance at all. If you arrive with your bags already pre-tagged, the porter picks up your bags and places them on a cart. If you arrive with bags that are not yet tagged, the porter attaches tags to them, picks them up and places them on the same cart with the pre-tagged bags. Sometimes we pick up tags right there while waiting in line, fill out and attach the tags ourselves, which helps to pass the time as we have nothing better to do while we are waiting in line anyway. When we are lucky enough to be in a suite, we use the separate suite area for checking in bags. They take your bags, immediately tag them, and you go directly in to security with no waiting in line to check bags at all. But sometimes it happens that way for non-suite passengers too, if you arrive at the right time.
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