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About phoenix_dream

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  1. I'm curious as to why your son was questioned, as the sea pass cards themselves are different for those old enough to drink versus those underage? Was someone thinking he stole a sea pass card? I'm confused. I was not on this cruise, so I have only the words of the posters above to consider. If what they said was accurate, I think calling the children 'feral' might have been an understatement. I don't like chair hogs either - think it is very selfish to do that - but I don't think that compares at all with some of what I've read above (presuming it's true). I'm glad you and your family had a good time - it sounds like your son was not one of those acting up.
  2. You also can just pay the difference per drink if you want to. More hassle, but possibly a lot less $$ depending what and how much you drink.
  3. We rarely sail suites due to the high pricing (usually do Aqua Class), but I can give you my opinion on our one sailing in a Sky Suite awhile ago, which happened to be on Reflection, which is very similar to Silhouette. The extra cabin room is wonderful, as is the additional storage, larger bathroom, and larger balcony (I believe we had an S1 but don't recall for sure). Having a butler doesn't do much for me but it is a nice to have. We also liked the atmosphere in Luminae better than Blu, and thought the service was a notch above. But as to the food? We did not like it nearly as much. In fact for literally half our dinners we ordered off the MDR menu. We had a couple invites to sail-aways, but then as Elite Plus CC members we often get those anyway on longer Caribbean sailings in particular. We really enjoyed spending time in Michael's Club as well. Value for money is so very subjective. For us, unless the cost is only a couple hundred $$ more, we will stick with Aqua Class. And as it happens, suites are usually way more than that. As to whether it is specifically worth doing as the ship has not been revolutionized yet, I personally would not even factor that into the equation. The suite experience is still lovely. (but then we are not sit in the sun, or by the pool people, so I can't speak to that topic vis a vis the revolution and its changes).
  4. Hope our cruise on Sept 1 is a little more quiet! We had a similar experience on Constellation several years ago - made the mistake of going on a 5 night cruise during spring break. We had 700 college students onboard. OMG - it was like living Animal House. Older students passing along shots of liquor to the younger ones - all drinking like animals. Lewd, suggestive dancing on the pool decks, mostly by the young 'ladies' in bikinis that were barely there. Broken deck furniture. Drunk teens running down the hallways in the middle of the night banging on doors. Table shouting wars between tables in the MDR. The management actually called a 'take back the ship' meeting to figure out how to deal with it, it was so awful. It improved after that but not much. Part of the issue is that the Celebrity staff has it drilled into their heads that the customer is always right, and in most cases that makes for great service. In this case it made them hesitant to discipline for fear of bad reviews. They finally tightened up on the drink package usage which helped a bit. All in all, will never make that mistake again! In the case of the cruise mentioned, it seems like the real issue was lack of parental oversight. Shame on them!! But Celebrity could have stepped up a bit more it sounds like
  5. It is frustrating these days to try to figure out what pricing hits your sweet spot and which does not, which things are combinable and which are not, and on and on. The good part is you have more options than ever . The bad part is you need a masters degree in finance to figure it all out😊. I understand the part about the craziness of perks being "free" (and to me, when the cruise line advertises them as 'included' that is the same as saying they are free). I remember when the 4 perks suite pricing first came out, so many people here on CC argued that suite pricing was not really exorbitant as it included four free perks. Huh?! When you did the math the base price was still considerably higher than it was before that nonsense started on most of the suites I reviewed at the time. People are so easily fooled by tricky marketing. The most important part of analyzing pricing is to determine what value perks have to you. If you drink little, have a lot of Elite+ internet minutes and don't need all-time access, etc., then the value of those perks isn't that important to you. Would you have bought the 'free' perks anyway? If not, then that needs to be considered in your evaluation. So many options; so little time to analyze them all.
  6. In fairness, this could be a connection problem with Cruise Critic and not the Celebrity IT department. Then again...…………………………………..nah.
  7. I have sailed more than 50 times on Celebrity. I don't really care who the Captain is as it is always a good time. That said, the couple of times we have sailed with Captain Kate the cruise was elevated from the usual very good to excellent. It seemed like there just was a happier, more customer oriented atmosphere overall. She was very visible, and in turn expected her staff to follow suit. The communication was excellent, which is not always the case. I believe the good manager of a company, department, or in this case vessel does indeed make a difference. They set the tone, behave exceptionally, and therefore set an example and expectation overall. Do I book by who the Captain is? No way. But is a sailing with Captain Kate a notch above the others? IMHO yes (and I am just a regular, Elite+ passenger - did not get any special treatment because of being in a special suite or anything.
  8. We just booked a B2B on Constellation in an S1. When we considered the pricing versus AQ with all 4 perks, it was only $200 more total for the Sky Suite for each leg. It was a no-brainer for us - it has been ages since we could afford a suite. If we had picked an A2, we actually would have SAVED money by booking the suite (allowing that we were upgrading to all 4 perks). Looking forward to the suite life for a change! (although we love AQ, especially the cabins on Deck 11)
  9. One thing I learned on our B2B's is not to leave valuables out in your cabin. Last time we did a B2B, our room steward forgot (I assume) that we were B2B and left our cabin door unlocked when he was done cleaning it. Glad we did not have anything of value laying around. Just a word to the wise. I think you got a lot of good advice, above. To the person inquiring about Miami - keep in mind that unless you arrange to get off the ship early, there really isn't a lot of time to do much. Nothing is really close, and you can't easily just get off and walk around casually like you could in many of the Caribbean ports or Key West. With the next group starting to board before 11:00 am, and the ship sailing probably at 4:00, that doesn't leave much time. Personally in that port I recommend just staying on the ship and relaxing.
  10. Regarding transportation, unless you plan to sit by the pool or beach most of the time and not sightsee I highly recommend renting a car. Most cities in the US just do not have good transportation options like Europe does. In fact, none of them has quite as good options, and many have very few (Tampa being one of the latter). Florida has Uber and Lyft, but that can get expensive if you want to sightsee. I believe you are used to driving on the right? That helps. And roads are well-marked so getting lost is pretty unlikely.
  11. Until recently, we would regularly get a post-cruise thank you of $100 or so (I think the amount varied by type of room you applied it to, but can't recall for sure). Have sailed quite a bit the past couple years and nothing except an email. That's yet another example of those of us who have sailed Celebrity for years getting annoyed when prices keep rising, but things keep getting taken away. This is one of those things (in a long line of things). Individually, no big deal. But they add up.
  12. My opinion is to book the Tampa cruise. I generally go for more days rather than less, but the opportunity to cruise out of Tampa with great itineraries (especially the ABC option) is too good to pass by, especially in a suite. We just booked a B2B on that ship as soon as we heard about the new deployment. Also got a Sky Suite, which we are so looking forward to as suite prices have been outrageous as of late. We got the Sky Suite, with all four perks, for roughly the same price as our original quote of AQ with four perks. In fact, had we chosen and S2 if would have been $100pp cheaper!! I love Tampa, and am glad to have an option other than FLL or MIA. It is true that it will not be as warm as San Juan - if that is your primary factor pick SJU. But it will definitely be warmer than Sweden! It may or may not be warm enough to swim, but is rarely really cold. There are a number of nice places to visit while you are there, so I suggest you come in a few days early. In addition to what is already mentioned, they have a nice large amusement park there, an aquarium, a great casino (Hard Rock), and nice shopping. I recommend a day trip up to Tarpon Springs, which is a Greek heritage town famous for it's gathering of sea sponges. Very interesting and wonderful Greek restaurants.
  13. In response to people who shame us for doing this because we should just enjoy the adventure - first of all, what I do or do not bring is my choice. At this stage in my life I am primarily looking for peace and relaxation when I cruise, rather than 'adventure'. Second, perhaps if you cruised as much as I do (2-3 months total per year now that I am retired) you would want a couple of "comforts of home" along with you as well. Three weeks or more onboard in a row is a long time to be away from some of those comforts. And lastly, as someone who is getting up there in years, there are some things that I bring along because travel is more difficult and less comfortable as one ages. I don't sleep as well as I did when I was 30 or 40. I bring along a couple things to help with that for example. So to the OP, no, you are not alone. And if it makes you happy and does no one else harm, don't give it a second thought😄
  14. So if this is true that a gratuity is no longer going to be included with the perk, then as a gratuity I should be able to take it off and then just tip independently as I drink if I choose to do so. If not, why not! If you can't take it off it is an increase in price, not a gratuity. By definition gratuities are optional. To quote Webster: "Definition of gratuity : something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service" People do it with the room steward gratuities (a process I do not agree with as that tip is split among several people). I would rather just tip my bar tender or waiter every time like I do in a land based bar if this is the case. I know they include the tip when you purchase the package and I didn't fight that so perhaps this seems a bit hypocritical. But at the same time, I feel the same way regarding whether it is optional; I just didn't get angry about fighting it before as it seemed reasonable. This change, if real, does not seem reasonable to me. It's a money grab/price hike plain and simple.
  15. Seems every time I read about another change with Celebrity, they are taking away something I like or charging me more for something. Very frustrating. They are mostly little things, but they add up. Yes, I know companies need to make money or they wouldn't stay in business. But the economy is good and lots of people are sailing but this process continues. Nothing but greed.
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