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About AL3XCruise

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, RCI, X
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean, Alaska

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  1. Do you have any data on this? I'm not saying it isn't happening, but I'd be curious to seem some actual numbers.
  2. They can be, but there is no guarantee that they will be. Given the time of year and likely temperature, I agree with other posters that putting your vibe money towards a Spa pass would be a wise choice.
  3. Do they no longer close it for tastings? Last time I was on Escape they would close the bar for an hour or two in the afternoons unless you participating in a tasting. It was always empty when they did, and I always seemed to hit that window. Regardless, it is a very nice venue with good service.
  4. It has to be a distant foreign port, which is defined in the PVSA. In general, that means a port of call needs to be outside North/Central America (and they include Bermuda, the Bahamas, and most of the Caribbean except Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao as being North/Central America). Because of this, the specific itinerary matters. Many Panama Canal cruises do visit a distant foreign port, at which point disembarking early is at the cruise line's discretion (though it seems it is generally granted).
  5. On a recent excursion I had the pleasure of seeing an adult woman sit on an adult man's lap when he refused to relinquish his seat to her. She was late getting back to the bus (as she had been at every previous stop) and while we were waiting on her someone decided they'd had enough of the broken and uncomfortable seat they had been in. The driver seemed amused and just let the two occupy the same seat until we reached the next stop.
  6. I get that. I guess seeing Sony "catch up" to other brands isn't quite as exciting as when they are taking big steps forward, but they are important to be competitive. For most users those seemed like the biggest pluses to me, but I suppose the A9 isn't really meant for most users! It will be interesting to see how the AF capability compares with that of the A7RIV as both get firmware updates. I believe the hardware is better on the A9 II, but the other Sony models are pretty darn good. I think they make it without the flash...
  7. Between the A9 and the A7 IV it seems like the A9II is going to be a tough sale. I have Canon equipment but the innovation found in Sony has always interested me; I hope this isn't a sign of stagnation. Sounds like its time to reconsider your equipment 🙂
  8. I think it is odd not being able to understand folks interest. Senior executive leadership sets company strategy, which in turn impacts the customer experience. A change in leadership can change those priorities, though it is difficult for anyone without inside knowledge to accurately predict how so. I think Celebrity under its current CEO shows a great example of this: Lutoff-Perlo has gone after new markets and opportunities, and in doing so made some very controversial decisions. Some changes have had divisive appeal and negatively impacted the experience of longtime customers. I'm not saying management shouldn't change to focus on what they view as more lucrative opportunities, that is business 101. Such changes can happen at any time, but are especially likely with a new top executive coming onboard. If well thought out and properly executed, these changes should improve the bottom line, but it is almost inevitable that someone, somewhere will see something they like go away or prices increase. So frequent NCL cruisers have every reason to be interested in what could be coming down the pike. Just because a change is good for NCL does not mean it will be good for them; it doesn't mean things will be worse wither. Everyone has their own expectations and the more they know the better they can plan future cruises.
  9. Dock 3 is rated to lift ships of 50,000 tons displacement. RCI doesn't publish displacements, but that probably means it can support Radiance class and smaller. The image shows what I think is a Coral class ship, which is similar in size to Radiance class vessels.
  10. I like having pool/hot tub access, so I probably would not consider a Breakaway/BA+ class ship in cold weather unless getting a Spa Pass or Haven Suite. For people that are less concerned with pool access, this may be a non issue. The newest ships of the class have large observation lounges that look great for cold weather cruising. I think NCL is closer to Royal in terms of innovation, than, say, Carnival. The big NCL ships don't have quite all of the same bells and whistles, but they offer a lot. In terms of amenities, it really comes down to what the individual cruiser prefers. If you prefer go karts to ice rinks, etc... I do think that NCL's layout doesn't deal with crowds quite as well, but a number of small tweaks on the BA+ ships seem to help somewhat. The confusion might be that BA/BA+ ships really have two atriums. The forward one is two decks and called the atrium. It is used for certain events and is adjacent to O'Sheehan's and guest services. The aft one is a three deck atrium that is not referred to as an atrium by NCL. It is an open area connecting three levels of bars, entertainment venues, and the casino. Smoke from the casino wafts up and down the open area and can impact any of the venues that are open to this area. So there can be smoke issues in "an" atrium, but generally not in "the" atrium. As @hallux noted, improvements are being made on the newest ships. I can't really argue with any of those points, though it varies by ship and there are options (spa passes, vibe), that can improve things. Still, with the Haven up front and numerous venues (ropes courses, laser tag, go karts, etc. depending on ship) further aft, the "traditional" area of the pool deck is pretty tight. Newer ships devote even more space to the Haven and Vibe, further reducing available space if you don't have access to those areas. I think the waterfront is a wonderful area and makes up for this to some extent by providing comfortable, quiet outdoor space. If you want to read by the water, it is great, but if you want a sunny spot next to the band stand it won't really help! I do feel the Atrium is not well suited to the events they have in there. Not enough seating for popular shows, and the crowds of people watching block a major thoroughfare on the ship. I wish they moved the most popular events to the theater or another large venue.
  11. I'm not going to disagree with the premise that investors should expect maximized profits, but assuming profit maximization will benefit all other stakeholders isn't always accurate. On one hand improved profitability can increase employment opportunities, raise salaries, and increase spending on suppliers. But efforts to improve margins can also cut benefits and squeeze suppliers. It isn't always a win-win. Of course, sometimes failing to stay competitive means executive turnover or even bankruptcy, but my point is simply that the picture can be complicated. With regard to HAL and the issues on this board, it seems that the company's leadership is taking the approach of "how much can we cut without customers spending less or going elsewhere in numbers that exceed the gains from the cuts". If you are in a position to do that, it certainly makes sense from a business perspective and I don't begrudge HAL for doing it. Demand is high, time to increase margins. The big question is when the market shifts, due to new competition, recession, or other factors, will this current strategy have a negative impact in a future when HAL faces a more difficult time retaining customers. It is not always simple to change or reverse course. CCL shareholders need to hope that there is a strategy on how to deal with downturns.
  12. Agreed. It is also worth noting neither Ritz Carlton nor the shipyard they contracted with have built a cruise ship before (the yards closest previous experience is ferries). Celebrity (and by extension RCCL) and its contractors have a lot of experience building cruise ships. The Celebrity team is building another copy of a ship that is already sailing. The Ritz team is starting from scratch with less institutional experience. Something can always go wrong, but X/RCCL and their contractors are in a better position to anticipate and resolve problems.
  13. I don't have the time to seek out detailed financial data, but based on what I've seen here and on a few other sources it sounds like HAL was neither in danger of insolvency nor setting the world on fire. The cruise market was evolving, so HAL's owners had two big questions facing them: 1) could their management team devise an effective strategy going forward and 2) were they willing/able to invest/secure the funding needed to support such a strategy. There is nothing I've seen to prove the answer to either question was no, but they certainly both held substantial risk. Trying to improve performance while meeting new market challenges is always tough, and if peers are performing better financially options for securing capital become more restrictive and expensive. Presented with an offer that eliminated uncertainty and provided immediate cash, it makes sense the owners decided to sell and pursue other ventures. Given HAL Investments current valuation, it seems like it was a smart choice. Given CCL's larger size and and desire to create a broader portfolio, they had more options to secure capital and more incentive to accept the inherent risks.
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