Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community


  • Content Count

  • Joined

About BWIVince

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Central Maryland, USA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. I was thinking the same thing, and thinking I MAY have fallen into that category before. To anyone I offended by not remembering them, I sincerely apologize!! I certainly wouldn't take your experience away from you, but my years of sailing on Crystal couldn't be more opposite. I personally couldn't be LESS like the composite Crystal passenger if I tried -- single, gay, liberal guy in his mid-40's -- and yet I've always found Crystal's passengers to be EXTREMELY engaging, friendly and welcoming... Even when it doesn't seem at first glance like we'd have a lot in common. As others have said there are jerks everywhere, and certainly some cruises have had more of them than others, but Crystal's passengers are one of the top three reasons I sail on Crystal. Vince
  2. Everything does go in cycles. I was including myself in the generation that was used to the communal tables and somewhat used to the idea of meeting people that way. I think the examples of the communal tables are probably the closest landside equivalent and I think you have a point there. That said, results may vary regionally... That was a really big fad here in my area in the mid-to-late '00's, and lately they seem few and far between. A coworker and I had lunch at a restaurant a few weeks ago that still had a communal table, and we took 2 of the 12 seats at the table, and everyone else that came in saw the only other seats were with us and either left or stood at the bar waiting for a private table. That's probably more a statement about how awful it would be to sit near me at lunch than it is about the demand for communal tables around here lately though. Vince
  3. I don't think there is anything wrong with the legacy cruise tradition of wanting to rotate dining partners with people you don't know, but the shock that people can't relate to that is quite interesting. I grew up in that world, but there's an entire generation of people entering cruising now that have no frame of reference for this and wouldn't have that experience. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting others this way, I'm not sure hearing the description of it quite does it justice, and you'd probably get a reaction like, "WHY?" Vince
  4. ...Or both! I don't usually do this, but when the mood has struck, I'll admit I've had them just add the lobster tail or crab legs (depending on the year/menu) as a protein-only (no sides) to be served as a surf and turf. <Oink!> Vince
  5. Just a reminder, if Crystal has cancelled your sailing they legally have to offer you a refund as one of the options. If for some reason your agent didn't catch that or Crystal miscommunicated that, just have your agent follow up with Crystal ASAP. This part really should be cut and dry -- no lawsuit or stress required. Even if the agent couldn't get it resolved -- which I can't even fathom in itself -- it's a really quick matter of a chargeback to Crystal to fix if the agent can prove Crystal refused the refund on the cancelled cruise. Vince
  6. +1 Patty! When it comes to the interior work, Crystal usually hires a company that pre-manufactures the pieces to be installed, and that work is done between 4 and 8 months in advance of the dry dock and the components are shipped in containers (slowly) to the shipyard for installation during the dry dock. It's like a room-in-a-box -- or in this case dozens of boxes -- it's really cool! Unfortunately in cases like this, there's not a lot Crystal can do at this point. Keith's post was spot on about the detailing -- it would mostly be projects like you see them doing around the ship on an ongoing basis -- like the replacement of Symphony's tender windows they did a couple of years ago. Projects that they already have the parts for (and have already been delivered or the containers can get to the port in time), or stock the materials for onboard (like restoration work). For sure the timing of the cancellations blows -- a lot of decisions on projects on Symphony went through a cost/benefit analysis based on the ship being in revenue service at the time, and if Crystal had planned the dry dock during an extended out-of-service period for Symphony, the refit program may have looked very different. Some projects that may not have been feasible to pull the ship out of service for may have tipped the other direction if you remove the cost to withdraw the ship from that project. Vince
  7. IME, the rooms on Deck 7 are in a lot better shape than the ones on Deck 8. The verandah staterooms get a lot more traffic wear with people coming in and out and the curtains and sheets getting brushed and caught with the doors, and both Deck 8 types have more UV fading (especially on the wall prints) because they have a much lower level of glazing on the windows than the Deck 7 rooms. Vince
  8. That wasn't meant to be as insensitive as it came off -- that was just my first reaction about the opportunity lost with the dry dock in the context of Crystal's future. Of course first and foremost if anyone could have known what was to come, the important thing would have been to save lives and suffering. My crazy mind just tends to go to ship construction before medicine and humanity. Vince
  9. Finally... Too bad that they didn't know that was coming a year ago when they were planning the dry dock, it might have changed the trajectory of their plans for Symphony and the dry dock work if they had known they would have the ship out of service for an extra month anyway. That significantly changes the cost proposition of refit work. Vince
  10. Weak by any measure, yes, but I also don't think 15% accurately captures the fact that the ship wouldn't have been full even without the virus. What was the occupancy when the ship sailed from Guam? Vince
  11. On point number 1, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying there are people that have not cancelled on Serenity that have not wished to cancel -- same as on Symphony. The numbers on Serenity, in a different situation, are different than Symphony's. On point number 2, that's also not what I'm saying. I'm saying it's months of work being crammed in to as quickly as they can get it done -- which in Crystal's case is weeks. Two things impact this timeline -- manpower and sourcing pull. Crystal doesn't have Carnival's resources to source new ports as quickly, nor do they do the volume of business with each port to get that kind of priority. That's not excusing Crystal, that's just showing where the delay gets caused by significant structural disadvantages. Darwin in action -- this is often where many companies fail. I HAVE had this year's flu shot, as have many of the sick and dead locally this year. It's more "the same" than you may realize. This is our second year in a row of having an outbreak of a strain (in this year's case two strains) of the flu mistyped with the vaccine. Sometimes you can still get shortened duration and diminished symptoms even with a bad mismatch, but based on my experience in December having the shot really didn't help with our strain of Influenza A going around. Vince
  12. +1 Paula... My deeper thoughts are along the same lines, I'm just trying to discuss the other half of the equation. That's exactly why I say it's not so cut and try, and why I say that I'm surprised that cancelling (or anything) seems like such a universally attractive option. IMHO, there are no obvious answers here. Everything has down-sides. I just feel like we seem to be on a roll whitewashing the HUGE downsides of just blanket cancelling seasons. I get the fear... But I feel every bit as vulnerable walking around my home town (which is being ravaged by the flu right now and had dozens of deaths this winter) and has unknown cases of COVID-19 because people are not really aware of it as a local risk despite having people travel through this region from all over the world daily, as I would in Singapore. We have a lot of very sick people right now that are not thinking to get tested for either the flu OR Covid-19, even though they need to be tested for one and screened for potential testing of the other. I'm not saying Crystal is doing an outstanding job of managing things either... My message wasn't a defense of Crystal at all -- they have their own hand in this mess. IMHO the future cruise credit should have been available for two years from jump, and that would have made things a lot easier. Vince
  13. I'm a little surprised that people think that cancellation is such a great option all of a sudden. For the lines that are just idling the ships right now, that means that most of the crew members (minus the skeleton crew to maintain them) have had their contracts cancelled and sent home. That's a whole lot of people's jobs up-ended. Personally, I'd rather sail than not. I know I'm in the minority, and I seem to have less to lose than others, but I'd sail in southeast Asia in a heartbeat if I could get away this time of year -- even with the unknowns. Apparently 100+ people currently on Symphony and everyone on Serenity's upcoming sailings feel the same way. I don't think automatically cancelling their vacations (plus putting hundreds of others out of work) just because others want a cleaner refund option is kind of rough. Crystal is still working through its options -- this is not a fast process, and it takes months (on a good day) to plan itineraries and book ports. I'm pretty sure these options are being studied or implemented, but considering how much fire they've been under for quickly rolling out half-baked plans for the past five years, I can hardly fault them for only revealing so much information at a time for a process that takes weeks to fully implement even in rushed conditions. Just my two cents... Vince
  14. That's not quite accurate. Passenger fares don't necessarily go into a trust account, but two entities require bonds against future performance. Both are partial, but one is pretty significant for a good reason. The first is the Federal Maritime Commission, which monitors the level of coverage against future bookings for all lines that embark passengers at U.S. ports (like Crystal). The other (and most significant) are the credit card processors. Credit card companies don't usually worry about most retail-type merchants which are selling goods and services, but when the merchant is amassing funds and holding them for some future date, the processors want money held against those future liabilities. After 2007, the credit card companies SIGNIFICANTLY boosted these bond requirements for deposits and fares for future travel and liabilities because they don't want to be holding the bag if any of these companies failed en masse to deliver the services that they collected the money for. Personally, I would always pay by credit card so I have a claim in at least the merchant processor pool -- and generally speaking the credit card route provides more stringent requirements and a clearer route of claim. Travel insurance that covers default of a provider is also highly recommended. The cruise line may have access to your funds, but it's only because they've bonded a large percentage of their future bookings and liabilities at any given moment. That gets lost in a lot of these discussions. Lastly, if you're looking for confidence in a cruise line based on financial performance, you'll have never felt good about Crystal. If pressed, I'm not sure I could actually name two moderately profitable years for Crystal out of the last 30! Fortunately for us, Crystal has served other needs for both of the owners in its history and enabled both companies to make money in other ways... Both owners have generally called it a win when Crystal's operations just pulled their own weight. Vince
  15. Not all cabins are in service at any given time. If Crystal knows occupancy will support it, they'll take entire sections (like a stewardess's assignment) out of service and count on them not being serviced. That usually involves some rearranging based on cabins passengers have picked, but even if they have to incentivize a couple of people to move and carefully backfill with guarantee assignments, they can usually clear blocks to reduce staff. In other cases where they can't remove a contiguous block, they also count empty rooms in the way they assign the stewardesses the cabins. So a stewardess may have an extra long stretch of cabins to cover, but that's taking into account that 4 or so of those cabins are to remain vacant. Every once in a while this will have to do with maintenance too, but staffing is a huge reason they may not allow lateral changes even when there are a large number of vacancies. Vince
  • Create New...