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ON cruiser

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About ON cruiser

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Toronto, Canada
  • Interests
    reading, dog-walking, community affairs
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Again, I beg to differ: As I thought I had quite clearly stated in my two prior posts, I have price-compared (per diem, all in, including air-fare) as I am very price-sensitive. Hopefully not exemplifying Oscar Wilde ("a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything yet the value of nothing"), yet I have compared prices. Again, not all the time, and not on all itineraries, but I have taken SB and RSSC cruises for roughly the same price as WS. I guess it depends on supply and demand for particular cruises and itineraries. Yet indeed, it can be done. I have done it. Given this real-world example, again my question is not to other cruisers or even to the learned host of this forum, but is (again, as I thought this was clear) to the visiting executive, Mr. Delaney: why should I try WS? Where is the value that you offer us potential customers? You already have your devotees. What do you intend to do to woo the rest of us?
  2. It appears that I kicked over a hornet's nest by simply asking the visiting executive guest a question. While I appreciate the perspective of the above two posters, if the line becomes more all-inclusive, yet roughly at the same price point, how does that interfere with their enjoyment of their cruise? As I noted, I can often find a cruise on Seabourn or even Regent (admittedly that is more challenging given the included business-class air and shore excursions) for about the same price as a cruise on Windstar. To return to the question of the first (original) poster, given that, what makes WS stand out? If I can have more inclusions for roughly the same costs, where is the "value-quotient" in WS? Convince me. As to whether WS is interested in moving to a more inclusive model, why ever not? Seabourn does not include shore excursions, while Regent does. Yet the excursions on those two lines are nothing like the large, "follow the flag/umbrella" gong-show on the mass-market lines. I have arranged my own shore excursions, through my excellent travel advisor, so have enjoyed many a private tour. Yet, the tours on our last two Regent cruises, small groups, were also excellent for the price paid (far less, obviously, than is a private tour). As for the included air-fare, or generous air-credit on Regent, this allows us to travel biz class to far-a-way destinations, knowing that (if we do the included air) our pick ups and drop offs are all taken care of. It is often a good value, as is the included top-shelf liquor, available both on Regent and on Seabourn. All I can say to the two other posters is, "don't knock it until you've tried it". For years my wife and I only cruised on one cruise line. We finally decided to branch out, and have enjoyed the different experiences and options. So, keep an open mind. I am certainly open to considering WS, but must be convinced the price-value quotient is present. It is also doubtful that I am the only potential customer who wants a more-inclusive model, and who dislikes signing chits. Happy cruising, on whatever model you prefer!
  3. To add to the above excellent question, for the price of a Windstar cruise I can often get the "small ship" experience on Seabourn or even Regent (at times), both of which lines are more all-inclusive. For me, the lack of always having to sign a chit, yet having high quality liquor/wines included, is a big plus. Would Windstar consider that model? Thanks for taking the time to respond to us avid cruisers.
  4. A reminder for timing: In Montreal (and Toronto and Vancouver), for those flying to the USA, you clear US INS right at the airport. After you check-in with your airline, you get a form and go to a sterile zone to be pre-cleared by US customs/INS agents. If you have Nexus, etc., then the process is of course expedited. Otherwise, the lines can be long, depending on time of day. So do allow yourself enough time to line up for check-in and/or baggage-drop with your airline, then to line up again to proceed through and be cleared by US authorities. Then, after security (yet one more line-up), you can go "duty free" shopping if desired, or head to your airline's lounge, or to your gate. The recommendation is to allow three hours from arrival at the airport to getting through all the various queues. From downtown Montreal to the airport can take about 45 minutes, much more at rush-hour. The benefit is that, having cleared customs in Montreal, you need not do it again upon arriving home.
  5. Very interesting thread and lots of inciteful comments. Re HLitner's post above, my wife and I are also 5 star on HAL. Yet lately we have branched out. We used to book a Neptune on HAL. On Seabourn, we book a verandah suite and, as Hank accurately writes, once one "does the math", Seabourn with its inclusive approach can be less expensive. Yet not to exclusively channel Oscar Wilde ("a cynic knows the price of everything but the value of nothing") , in addition to favourable pricing, the Seabourn experience was really quite positive--especially our second SB cruise. For cruises beginning our ending in far-away destinations, Regent, with its included air-fare (biz class when flying overseas) can make sense. We did our first Regent cruise last May and thoroughly enjoyed it--while we always liked the food on HAL, and liked it better on Seabourn, on Regent, we were truly blown away by the quality. To be fair, however, it is "ala minute" cooking for a far smaller crowd. The entertainment was also great, as was the general atmosphere and service. Regent also includes Shore X (there are a few optional-pay ones but most included). For a Caribbean cruise included shore excursions are not important. Yet when off to an exotic location, it is a bonus. When we add up what we would normally spend on HAL (even with the discount) on Shore X, dinners, drinks, wine, and other sundry items, as compared with a higher per diem yet far more inclusive approach on Regent and Seabourn, those two lines just currently seem to be a better fit for us. We do have a HAL cruise booked for next year, but given all the ongoing cut-backs of the experience we enjoyed, I suspect we will cancel it and book something else on one of the other two lines. We have fond memories of HAL, and hope to return at some point. Nice that there are choices out there for all. Yet, if one is flexible, one can get lucky and find "deals" on the higher end lines that make them worth a try.
  6. Re spa availability on day one, in my past experience the spa tours were over and the hot tub was available by or after 5PM. You can certainly inquire at spa reception after boarding.
  7. Hi Roz, thanks for your response, and for elaborating on the "issues" you had with your recent b-to-b cruises. My wife and I are five star with HAL, but our last cruise with them was in 2017, if memory serves. Since then we have cruised twice with Seabourn and once with Regent--and enjoyed them both (albeit our first SB cruise had some inconsistencies). It's comments like yours that make me wonder, "can we go home again?" (misquoting I think it was Thomas Wolf??). We have fond memories of our many HAL cruises. Yet I would not be happy to experience all those issues that you experienced. That is why, while we have a HAL cruise booked for next Spring, as we are within cancellation we are keeping all options open.
  8. Hi Frank (and Roz); I agree that a letter via postal mail will in many organizations go to "Customer Relations" with nothing much of substance by way of response. Yet what I was suggesting was using email to directly reach the executives, avoiding the corporate filters. In my past experience, HAL executives have been responsive. Conveniently, the other thread I noted, "luggage fail", which is now likely on page 3 or 4 or even more, had all relevant executive e-addresses noted. Finally, nowadays in many organizations, the executives delegates to his or her EA to be a proxy for and to read email addressed to the executive. That is not a bad thing as, often, the EA is empowered to resolve the problem, far more so than customer service. Yet I have learned that sending the email off-hours, on the weekend or evening (when the EA is usually off duty) makes it more likely that the executive will see the email personally--even if he/she has a more private e-address. Finally, "nothing ventured, nothing gained". Making a reasoned complaint, in my experience (not only with HAL but generally), directed to the right people, has often led to improvement for all, as well as acknowledgment of and recompense (if warranted) for the problem/poor experience. Call it "enlightened self-interest". Good luck, if you choose to take the matter further. In any event, happy cruising!
  9. Well, yes, it is one factor to weigh amongst others. I value the opinions of most posters. If I did not, why would I be on these boards, after all.
  10. Bebop, I suggest that you may wish to also complain to Marriott directly about your experience. It is a good organization, usually, and the head office should be aware. good luck
  11. Just a PS: on the “luggage fail” thread, another poster has posted a link with all relevant e-addresses of key HAL executives, including the SVP for port operations. Good luck and I hope those who experienced poor service get satisfaction.
  12. As someone 5 star yet absent from HAL lately (SB, Regent), I am really sorry to read this. What is especially disconcerting is the misinformation and deflection received by the impacted passengers. While time-consuming, hopefully those brushed off by HAL will follow up using other avenues: the Mariners society or directly emailing HAL executives ( the email formula is easily discerned). i have a cruise booked on HAL, final payment is due January. Will monitor these boards to see if things improve.
  13. Thanks, folks, for the feedback, and thanks, Bob, for linking my review so others could easily see it. Our next holiday this Fall will likely be a trip to the Holy Land (a land vacation) yet, if that falls through, a cruise will be the alternative. But we will certainly be looking at Regent in the future. Smooth seas, all.
  14. Hi all, we were on the May 15-30, 2019 Navigator sailing, a crossing from NYC to Amsterdam. I posted a review on CC, entitled (with an attempt at humour) "A Regent's Crossing". While you can read the review if interested (I am not technically savvy enough to link it here; it is the second one on the Navigator list of reviews), overall we thought the cruise was very good, and our first time on Regent thus a success. Of course that the ship has since been refurbished may make some of our comments, for example regarding the somewhat limited storage space, irrelevant as the refurb seemed to address that concern. While we felt some vibration, given we were on deck 10, forward, it was not at all bothersome. We would return to Regent, given the right itinerary and pricing.
  15. We are off the Navigator as of May 30/'19. There was still Chopin on board, available in the bars. Yet we initially could not get it for our suite. Eventually our Butler, bless him, got us a bottle instead of the Belvedere. My wife could tell the difference between those two. Chopin, made from potato, is quite different. Sadly, however, we were told that once the current supply of Chopin was exhausted, no more would be brought in. The senior bartender told us this was a corporate decision. In my view, it is unfortunate as Chopin is not only unique, it is also a premium brand, at the level of Grey Goose. Tito's definitely is a cut below, and not a top tier brand which should be available on a premium brand ship--the gluten free and unique flavours also make it great. More choice, rather than diminishing choice, would be appreciated. On that one comparison, Seabourn, at least based on our cruise in November 2018, wins out with a far better range of included liquor, including Vodka and Scotch. I hasten to add that on other points Regent wins, and Seabourn wins some others. Each of us will likely weigh all competing factors when choosing a cruise (itinerary, price, inclusions, etc.).
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