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soccermommy

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  1. I have been following this thread closely because we are nearing final payment on our cruise to Iceland in May. Yes, I know, Europe isn’t near China, but who knows what the situation will be in May? I am, truthfully, not worried and I am not going to cancel, but the idea remains, this is a truly scary situation. The funny thing is, there are loads of threads on CC about coronavirus, and every board has at least one discussion about how badly Cruise Line X, Y or Z is handling it. Nobody seems to be doing a good job it seems, and I would say that’s because no one knows what the best thing to do is (outside of shutting down all cruise operations in Asia....which is the worst thing they could do as a company with many thousands of employees affected, as well as shareholders, suppliers, etc.). I will say, if this virus turns into a true pandemic, corporate profits will be the least of our worries. But, mercifully, it doesn’t look like we are anywhere close to that scenario. Given that, it is hard to decide what the best option is, for passengers and the cruise lines. I really do feel for the OP, there are no good results to be had, especially since there is no cruise insurance. But I really feel worse for those people currently quarantined on the Diamond Princess, and for those other cruise ships at sea looking for a port. Good luck, OP, I hope there is a resolution you can accept.
  2. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Waterloo three years ago because we planned to take the train to Southampton from Waterloo station. At that time, it had been recently remodeled/reopened, and the rates were very reasonable for London. The hotel was great, clean and comfortable, and a five minute walk from Waterloo station. It’s also about 10-15 minutes to the river. The London Eye was very close, as well as the pedestrian bride over the Thames. At that time, the closest stop on the Hop onHop Off bus stop was at Westminster Bridge, also about a 15 minute walk from the hotel. We walked everywhere, but you can easily get the tube from Waterloo. We weren’t right in the middle of the London sites, but we weren’t that far away, either. We’d happily stay there again.
  3. Thank you for the wonderful review and stunning photography. DH is a New Yorker, exiled, he says, for 40+ years to the wilds of Massachusetts ( Boston suburbs) and he was impressed and excited by your pictures of NYC. In fact, your review has made us rethink this itinerary, even though we have been to several ports more than once. We’re Platinum, but have been sailing on Celebrity more recently. I have been curious about the mega ships since all of our NCL cruises have been on the smaller ships. I have to say the Bliss is a gorgeous ship, but the pictures of the couch hogging on the ship gives me pause. I just don’t know how much of the crowding will be an annoyance, but your pictures are a great selling point for sailing on the Bliss!
  4. Are you on the 5/18-5/28 cruise to Iceland on the Reflection? If so, so are we! But to answer your questions, I’d say it depends on a number of things. First, your airline arrangements. I don’t know where you are flying from, but one of our options to return was to fly to Heathrow, then direct to Boston ( which for us was a little crazy since we have to get back home and we’d rather fly nonstop). If breaking up your return is an option for you, you might be able to fit London in your plans, though I understand flights from Dublin to London are pretty easy to find if you are already set to do a round trip to Dublin. It’s my understanding that after an overnight, leaving the ship is flexible. You could get an early flight to England and spend more time in London. There are many ways to get from Heathrow (or Gatwick). Take a look at the London Toolkit site to get much more information on experiencing London. We used it and it has a lot of information. Be advised, though, that 2 days in London is going to give just a taste of that beautiful city. Have you considered renting a car and perhaps exploring more of Ireland, if you are okay with driving on the left. We visited Cobh on a previous cruise, and the area is beautiful, near to Blarney Castle, Kinsale, and gorgeous coastline views. Some people drive to the Ring of Kerry, or Galway. We haven’t had the chance to do that yet. I’m sure others can give you more information. Several tour companies in Dublin offer short trips to various parts of Ireland, too. I think it’s going to come down to how you’d like to spend your extra time, in a big city like London, or the countryside. Whatever you choose, you are going to have a wonderful time!
  5. I read your review, BostonGal, and I think I get where you are coming from. It wasn’t about the cheese plate, per se, it was about the service problem in the Haven. I haven’t sailed in a Haven suite, but I have on other lines. For the price you pay, you expect a certain level of service. I think we all feel that way, we want what we paid for, and what we’re promised. It doesn’t matter if someone is in an inside or a suite, either. Otherwise, we wouldn’t read some many complaints on Cruise Critic! NCL prides itself on its Haven program, so I am surprised they weren’t more proactive. I think ( hope) it was a fluke. I would be interested in any feedback you get from NCL.
  6. I find this thread fascinating, mostly because I am at the opposite end of Celebrity cruising. DH and I are booked on our third Celebrity cruise; we’ll be on the Reflection in May. Our first experience was on the Reflection to the western Caribbean, the second was on the Solstice on a fabulous cruise to Australia and New Zealand. We started our cruising with a 7 day to Alaska on NCL, stayed with them on cruises in the Mediterranean, round the British Isles, and to Canada. We noticed changes on that line, and for us, the experience just isn’t what we want, so our TA suggested Celebrity. We loved it. We’re Platinum with NCL, and haven’t given up on them. I have no desire to bash NCL, it’s a good line. We would cruise with them again if the price and itinerary works, but prefer Celebrity. It just fits us better and where we are at this point of our cruising lives. I have no experience with Celebrity before all the changes started, but yes, I do notice some of the “nickel and diving” that you see on other lines. We just like the service and the ambiance so we keep booking. Everyone has to do what’s best for them, and I’ve found that what I want on a cruise has changed. And for now, we like Celebrity (with maybe an eye on a good deal on another line) .
  7. Last fall, we booked a Sailaway inside on the Dawn's last Quebec-Boston cruise before she headed south. The price was insanely low for an after final payment booking, since we would be sailing the North Atlantic in unpredictable weather. We figured for a week's cruise and being Platinum, we didn't need the perks. We were almost immediately assigned a cabin on deck five. We're not picky about cabin location, but surprisingly we received an upgrade invitation, and I bid. We would up with a balcony for less than the price of the sail away rate for it. I think it depends on the things you are willing to trade for the price you want. We would do it again for a short cruise, and especially for one that doesn't seem full. But, there are only 2 of us, we don't drink a lot, we really don't care about location ( except over a lounge. I had that happen on the Spirit, and I was the one who booked it...lesson learned!) We'll be on the Star next May going to Iceland, but for a two week cruise, we did not do Sailaway. But that's us. I say, try it. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised. At the least, you will have a cheap(er) cruise.
  8. Last year I booked a sail away inside on the Dawn from Quebec to Boston. It was a late, spur of the moment booking, and I got a perfectly good inside on deck 5. Then I got an upgrade letter and for the heck of it bid $100 pp and was upgraded to a balcony on deck 10. I did not get any perks, but I knew you carry whatever perks you had, or in my case, didn't have, to the new room. The Sailaway rate for a balcony was advertised as more expensive than what I paid! Two years ago, there was a rate after final payment on my inside on the Jade for our cruise around Great Britain, and my TA got us upgraded to a balcony, and also got an upgrade for my sister to the balcony next door. No change to the perks. As far as I know, if you get upgraded, you do not get any new perks, you get what you originally booked, just a better room. To get better perks youhave to cancel and rebook, of course you can't do after final payment. I don't know if you could be upgraded again after being upgraded to a better category of your original booking. That might have been the problem, or maybe there really weren't that many minis to assign. So short answer, from my experience, you can upgrade from a Sailaway to a higher category of room if you bid, or if there is a price drop, but I think it also depends on availability for that particular cruise. Any good TA knows it, and should be working to get you the best deal possible.
  9. Welcome back to New England! I have followed your travels with great enjoyment and look forward to reading about your latest! You probably already know the weather has been really New Englandish this spring. We have had a lot of rain and cool to cold temperatures, but things are getting better. We actually had one hot day last weekend, and the weekend was really nice, but we are back to cool weather and chilly nights. But the good thing is we aren't expecting a lot of rain! I would love to know your opinion of the Summit enhancements (if that is what they are). We would love to do Celebrity NE/ Canada but not with a port day in Boston...I'd probably want to run home and check the house. So I really want to read your blog. Safe travels to the East Coast and be sure to get your share of lobster!
  10. I was on this cruise also, and I think no announcement might be the result of bad timing. I first found out about the attack on the way back from my tour to Hobbiton, and information was sketchy and constantly changing. By Friday night there was more information, but no real sense of the total horror until Saturday morning when we docked in Auckland. Should Celebrity have notified the New Zealand citizens and given them a chance to check in with loved ones? I would agree, but maybe Celebrity didn't have time or feel the need...remember, we sailed at 8 pm and people probably had time to call or be called, if they knew, since we were in port 2 hours later than expected because of the tides. I was in Auckland until Monday, and it was sad to see people cope with something we in the US have dealt with way too often. But I have so much admiration for how Kiwis came together and responded. Do I think it would have been nice if Celebrity had made some kind of gesture, or announcement of sympathy? Absolutely yes. Do I fault Celebrity for not doing so? No, not really, I have no idea what discussions went on, and I suspect the lack of definitive information and it being the last night of the cruise had a lot to do with it.
  11. Jim, I have been following your journey with great enjoyment, your blogs are so informative and so much fun! Thanks for the beautiful pictures of our lovely Boston. I'm impressed you covered so much ground in one day! Please come back, there is so much to see and do in the Boston area, and hopefully, the weather will be warmer.
  12. As a relatively new Celebrity cruiser, I have been enjoying following your blog. Your trip is my dream itinerary, so everything has been fascinating, especially your gorgeous pictures. Thank you so much! Living in New England, I am well aware of the uncertainty of cruising in hurricane season, and it looks like the Pacific in late summer/ early fall has its challenges! What are the odds of getting two typhoons? Thanks again, and may the rest of the cruise be less stormy!
  13. I was on the Star this last April and bid on an upgrade from an inside to a balcony, and did get double points, but no chance to my perks. I will say, it doesn't hurt to ask, though.
  14. We were assigned an enclosed balcony on the Jade two years ago, and enjoyed it much more than we expected. There is more protection from sun and wind, and felt much more private. In fact, on our latest cruise on the Star, a Panama Canal cruise, we found we really missed the protection from the hot sun! If you get one of these balcony rooms, enjoy yourself. You will be pretty far forward, but it is quiet, and you should be pretty close to the forward elevators. I would happily stay in one again.
  15. DH and I had our very first cruise together in 2006 on the Star( back when it had a forward lounge). We went at the end of the season, weather was definitely colder, wildlife was starting to hunker down, but Glacier Bay was spectacular. We absolutely loved it. Fast forward to 2018, and things have changed a lot. We have megaships, we have 6 different mass market lines visiting. We have a lot of choice, but Alaska in season has gotten a lot more crowded. Add crowds to shorter port stays, and some ports tendered, I can see why an Alaskan cruise can be underwhelming. And with the short season and high demand, prices have been climbing. Wildlife has never been a guarantee, or the weather. So, OP, it's perfectly understandable why you didn't have the greatest experience. I wish it could have been better for you. I will say you have confirmed my feeling that a 7 day cruise out of Seattle may not be the best way to see Alaska again, we're looking at cruise tours. Thanks for giving us an honest review, and I hope you have a fantastic time on your next cruise.
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