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islandhalls

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About islandhalls

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Newport Beach, CA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Regent Seven Seas

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  1. I'm the OP, I was surprised when I saw the same offer again; 10% statement credit (up to $450) from the same card, my Chase United Explorer card. The first time I took advantage of this was on 5/31/19 and received the statement credit on 7/4/19. This time the charge was on 1/1/20 and I received the credit on 1/13/20. Nice! Keep looking!
  2. Hello! We too are looking for a hotel in Barcelona, I found this map from BarcelonaDayTours.com helpful, it shows the less desirable areas of the town.
  3. Hello Crystal Cruisers! Although I am primarily a Regent cruiser, I do have another Crystal cruise booked for June 2020. I have a United Airlines Visa, and one day I received an email about their "Chase Offers", where you can get statement credits from certain retailers. I saw that two of my local grocery stores were on their list, so I enrolled and received a small statement credit from my grocery purchases. They really got my attention when I saw that they were offering 10% statement credit from Crystal, limited to a statement credit of $450. After checking with my travel agent, I went ahead and put another $4,500 deposit on my June 2020 cruise, and in five weeks I got the $450 statement credit today (longer than the 14 business days in their offer.) So, keep a look out on credit card offers, Chase is offering it again, expiring 7/31! I would suggest making a screen print that you added it to your card and the offer, as proof. Happy cruising to you all!
  4. I like to bring magnets! Since there is often limited counter space, I like to hang papers I would like easy reference to on the wall! I have some that are straight magnets that look like push pins, and others that are clips.
  5. Thank you all for your responses, looks like a non-issue!! 🥳
  6. We are just choosing our stateroom for our next cruise, and I was looking at the deck plan and noticed that the stateroom that we picked had a convertible sofa. I can't think that I ever noticed a difference between sofas on any of our Regent cruises, but on our most recent cruise on Crystal Serenity the convertible sofa in our Penthouse was like sitting on a rock bench. Any input would be appreciated!
  7. The lectures we attended live were the iPhone / iPad / Mac computer lectures in the Hollywood Theater. We also attended a couple of the hands-on classes. They were all very well done and informative. I did watch some of the enrichment lectures on the TV, but honestly, not many were of interest to me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to discuss the different specialty restaurants, but yes, we did dine at all the restaurants. Actually, we were a bit underwhelmed. I guess we had too high expectations. I think the problem with specialty restaurants is you cannot get to know the menu or the servers since there are limited reservations. We only dined once so far at Prego. The food seemed like standard Italian fare, but our service could have been better. The service at Umi Uma was very good and I liked the feel of the restaurant. We were not wowed by the food, but I did enjoy having a restaurant that served sushi. We actually went to Silk three times for dinner, including on Christmas. We found the food the best on the ship in regards to preparation and freshness, maybe because it is under-utilized. We finally went to Churrascaria last night, we thought it was a very odd concept and poorly executed and we did not like it. You are right, the crew is very well trained and they really tried to make us happy at any opportunity. They are very impressive, but always saying “pleasure” seemed a bit disingenuous.
  8. We’re now two weeks into our cruise; we’re on our last full sea day on our way to our technical stop in Mexico before disembarking in Los Angeles. The crew is wonderful. What a kind and thoughtful group. My husband pointed out that they seem to be older than Regent, perhaps indicating good retention. The ship is very nice. Much of the ship was updated in dry dock in November, our suite was brand new and lovely, but other parts of the ship look a bit shabby as a result. But, it really is a beautiful ship, it was built in 2003, so very similar to the Mariner and Voyager in age. Our suite: We enjoyed our suite, one of the new SeaBreeze Penthouses. They had an open house yesterday of other rooms on the ship and we were very happy with our choice. It is very quiet, not a lot of creaks or whistles. I like that doorbell includes “do not disturb” and “clean up” display; so, no more door hangars! You can push do not disturb from inside. I also like that the safe in the room fits all of our valuables, including our laptops. It is even lighted. Food and Drink: The Regent Compass Rose menu really cannot be beat; since you have the daily specials and the “always available” menu is so expansive. I admit we really miss it when we eat in Waterside. Food is so subjective, but my husband and I we agreed that we prefer the restaurants and food on Regent. I also miss Regent’s house made ice cream; Crystal has Ben and Jerry, it is good, but not as good as freshly made ice cream. On the cocktail scene, the win goes to Crystal. They have a charming bar called the Avenue Saloon. It is all wood and cozy, the same bartender every night and often there is an excellent pianist playing. They have quite a cocktail menu, specifically a separate gin and tonic menu (my favorite), served Spanish style (in a balloon glass with lots of ice). It has 19 different variations of gin and tonics. They also have a separate Manhattan menu (my DH’s favorite); it has 14 different Manhattans. Entertainment: We found the entertainment very similar to Regent, but they may have more external entertainers. We found it interesting that they have two events that not everyone on the ship can attend: the Stardust Supper Club and Magic Castle at Sea: · Supper Club was only offered twice and it is limited to 100 people a night. It is dinner and a show. I will thank Cruise Critic for making me aware of it. I asked our butler as soon as we embarked if we could get tickets. I was amazed we got tickets, for both events, considering we are first time cruisers. (We declined the second since it didn’t seem fair to go twice.) · Magic Castle at Sea is very cool. There is magician onboard that does close-up magic. There are only 20 guests at a time, and it was amazing. There were two shows daily for seven nights, again, not everyone can go. You get tickets in the Library, which we stumbled upon on our first day. Crystal seems to retain many aspects of old school cruising; their afternoon tea is served by tuxedoed waiters (no buffet except for their Mozart Tea), they have dance ambassadors to dance the ladies who need partners and they continue to have professional photographers on board. We were invited to the Captain’s quarters for cocktails, along with about two dozen other guests. We didn’t know how we were invited, another guest told us penthouse guests are invited at some point in the cruise. It was a nice way to meet the captain and other officers, and see his very nice quarters. There is a Medi-Spa, offering all types of treatments, including wrinkle treatments and fillers. I tried acupuncture for the first time, along with cupping. It was something I had discussed with my massage technician at home and it was nice to be able to try it. Other: There were only two days that the internet was intermittent, which is much better than we have experienced on a crossing with Regent. It seems strange to me that the Cruise Director and Destination Manager wear officer uniforms on Crystal. The employees seem to have been trained to say “Pleasure” whenever they do something for you, assuming it is short for “It is my pleasure”, but boy, is it overdone. Also, I know there are a few jerks on every ship, including Regent, but there seemed to be more than this ship’s share on this sailing; some of the guest were so rude to the staff, and to the other guests. Also, some of the patrons that frequent the bars are loud and crude; but make a point of saying that they are on for 100 plus days, so I guess Crystal just allows it. We often had to move to get away from their negative behavior. Summary: Will we cruise with Crystal again? I wouldn’t be surprised, based on the timing and itinerary of the cruise. This cruise did teach us, like many have said on this board, that any of the luxury lines are probably worth a try.
  9. I have an iPhone and I really thought it should work too. No such luck, tried it again today and iMessages is working for other texts.
  10. Yes, but of course this happened just after we left Hawaii for four sea day on our way to the west coast. Good old Murphy's law! 🤣
  11. You know what just tripped me up, one of my financial institutions deciding to do an authentication and wanting to send me a text with a code to input. But since I am at sea (no cellular) I cannot get the code. No way to ask for an email instead. Ugh. I’m working through it by email, but frustrating.
  12. Honestly, I think they are still struggling how to do these events with the change to open dining. The Captain's reception was a 7:45pm and there was quite a rush at 8:25 rushing to the 8:30 show. (They keep moving around the starting times for the shows, early in the cruise it was 7:30 and 9:30, now it's more commonly at 7:45 and 9:45.) When we were invited to the Captain's quarters for cocktails it was at 5:30 (still not sure how we got invited to that, but it was nice. Only about 20 guests.)
  13. I can only speak to my experience, but we were told we would be able to have two devices each, but I have been able to login 3 without issue (iPhone, iPad, MacAir). There was no extra charges. I have checked SpeedTest several times, I just ran it and it was 6.54 Mbps Download, 10.1 Mbps Upload and Ping 616ms. That is consistent with what I have seen in the past week. I am not aware of limits on data.
  14. Our suite is lovely, it is one of the new Seabreeze Penthouses. According to our butler, we are only the second guests. There was limited availability since we booked so late. Actually, it is very similar to the Concierge Suites on the Explorer, nice double sinks, oversized shower (but no bath). The only negative is the couch, which is hard as a bench (I think it converts into a bed.)
  15. We are long time Regent Seven Seas customers who are on our first Crystal cruise on the Serenity. We have cruised with Radisson / Regent since 1997. We have done 23 cruises representing 259 nights. Regent suits us and we never felt compelled to try another cruise line; but, my Mom passed in November and one of our daughters suggested that my husband and I find a cruise to go on over Christmas. So, first we looked at Regent; their cruises were in South Africa, Indonesia, Caribbean and I forget where else. We were put off by the air travel or the cruises were sold out. Well, somehow, I thought to look at Crystal next and they had this Holiday Cruise, round trip Los Angeles to the Hawaiian Islands with a few suites available. Within 24 hours we were booked. The LA cruise port is less than an hour from our home. We can’t help but compare everything to Regent and I thought I would share a few of our observations. Our first observation is that there are far more similarities than differences. Even the key cards and the plastic holders are the same. Maybe it’s the same on all cruise lines. The service, food, and drink are all very good and comparable to Regent. Embarkation was less pleasant. The Serenity was using a temporary dock since there we too many ships in port so embarkation was from a very large tent. After you check in you are given a card with a group number, and we waited over 30 minutes for our turn to board. Maybe we’ve just been lucky, but we have never had a wait longer than a few minutes on Regent. It was very organized going through security and you were easily registered. Shocking, it turns out you can make good coffee at sea! The coffee in the main dining room (called Waterside) is delicious. We find the coffee on Regent awful and only get our coffee at the Coffee Connection or the automated machine. It is a much bigger ship, it holds up to 960 passengers. It has a lot of things that Regent doesn’t, like a separate theater that shows movies up to four times a day. It has another two other entertainment venues, another theater like the Constellation Theater (called the Galaxy Lounge) and a separate show lounge, so they can have more entertainment and dancing. The Galaxy Lounge is only one story, so smaller than on Regent, but they have two shows each night. They have a promenade deck, which goes around interrupted on Deck 7. It is an extra wide teak deck and 3+ laps is a mile. Very nice not to have to avoid people and obstacles. This ship just went through a month-long dry dock and part of that was to add more restaurants to allow open seating for dinner. Fixed dining was a deal breaker for us and I’m not sure we would have considered Crystal until they had open dining. Talking to long time Crystal cruisers, many are disappointed since they have found the set seating allowed them to make lifelong friends. One thing I am very impressed with is the digital experience. We have been able to easily connect all our devices to the internet and their onboard website is full of useful information. You can have it on your iPhone, iPad and computer. You can get access to the daily program called Reflections (their version of Passages) on any device, along with the deck plan, daily menus and your onboard account. The internet is better than Regent, in the past week there was only one day when the internet was intermittent. The in-room televisions are very nice. Everything is app driven and on demand. Meaning, you can select the daily update from the cruise director or an enrichment lecture and it starts to play from the beginning; unlike Regent where it is on an endless loop on a channel and you watch it where it is from when you turned it on. Also, the picture is much better. Newspapers from around the world are available free of charge on your devices. (You can still get the paper version, but there is a charge.) There are many activities to keep you entertained. They do have an extensive offering of classes for mobile device and computer devices. The have an entire classroom with 24 iMacs to teach computer classes. We’ve gone to three presentations and they were well presented and informative. We were surprised to see a ship photographer, that has been gone for so long on Regent; and I was a bit surprised that we posed for some picture on one of the Black-Tie Optional nights. We are also impressed that they have a rabbi, a catholic priest and a minister onboard. We’re a week in to our two week cruise. At this point, we are still Team Regent, but based on the itinerary and timing, I think we will happily take another Crystal cruise again.
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