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About eroller

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    Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
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    Ships, ocean liners, aviation
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    Cunard, Celebrity, Disney, Royal Caribbean
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    Australia and Greece
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  1. I think if legally then can, they absolutely will. It's very important to the Chinese especially. Even the new Crystal expedition ships will have a casino, which is very unusual for this type of vessel. It's obviously meant for the Chinese/Asian guests that Genting will be promoting the ship to.
  2. Good information. Honestly I don't think I would need a balcony on a river cruise ... but I don't like those cabins that are halfway below the water line with that small window at the top of the cabin. Kind of like a basement. I know the Crystal ships don't have this, but many riverboats do. I do love the idea of the French Balcony and the window dropping down. Interestingly enough this is what CELEBRITY EDGE has. They basically got the idea from European river boats. As for rafting, I suppose it's just part of river cruising and not something you can really escape.
  3. Thanks for the info. I'm anxious to do a European river cruise but haven't pulled the trigger yet. This rafting concept kind of makes getting a balcony seem useless. I wonder if rafting is less common during off-peak season, say April or October when perhaps there are less boats sailing?
  4. Yes that doesn't sound attractive at all. I'm a bit put off by the concept of "rafting". It seems Viking is able to fill all those boats, and are building more so obviously there is a market for them. Also they are not bargain basement in terms of pricing like Carnival is. They might be less than Crystal, AMA, or Uniworld, but I still wouldn't call their cruises cheap.
  5. Thanks for coming back and summing up a few things. I do think you encountered a series of blunders, and it's no secret that MSC gets a failing grade on service recovery. Probably a one and done for you which is fine, but at least you got to experience it. One thing I don't agree with is your expectation regarding the status match perks. You should not expect them to be the same as Celebrity, Royal, or any other cruise line. I'm at the highest tier of many cruise lines, and the perks are all different. Some are better than others but I don't sail on NCL and expect the same perks as Princess, even though I'm at the highest levels on both. MSC clearly states what their benefits are, which is quite fair. Now you should not have to fight for them once onboard. That is a problem. Personally I think it's quite generous to offer the status match. No other cruise line does this. I have to agree with sidari though and say it's probably a mistake. It sets the wrong expectation and also it's a great way to piss off your loyal client base. I know if Royal, Cunard, NCL, Carnival, etc. offered a status match to some other cruise line I would be pissed. I earned my status the hard way, one cruise at a time. For this reason I was grateful to have to Black Card benefits with MSC by status match. In no way did I earn them, so I certainly cannot complain about them, and I certainly don't begrudge those that actually earned them to feel betrayed by the line. I know I probably would.
  6. Well the fact is that the modern cruising market in North America has been established and built up far longer than Europe. The market penetration is also deeper as we have been a cruising market for longer. So yes there are more experienced cruisers here. I'm not saying there are not experienced cruisers in Europe. There are obviously. I am saying that North America is a more mature cruising market. Its been around longer. Simple as that. Also most of the established cruise lines are located here and in the past at least, have catered to the North American market. That is changing as the world becomes more global. Along with that are expectations. Some of the MSC product is not up to North American standards, no matter how much they say it is. It might be acceptable to European standards I don't know? I can assume maybe it is since MSC has been operating in Europe far longer than North America and that is its foundation. Format changes have been made to make MSC more appealing to North America but they seem to fall short. At the same time MSC doesn't want to lose its identity and become just like every other cruise line. I know one of the things I enjoy about MSC are its differences. I know not everyone appreciates that. But bad service and poor service recovery should not be an excuse because "we are a European cruise line". I'm not saying one region is right and one is wrong, just different. BUT, if MSC wants to continue to grow in North America and complete against power houses like Carnival, NCL, and Royal Caribbean they will have to better adapt. That means better management that are empowered to resolve issues and a crew that are properly trained. Either that or continue to offer cruises at rock bottom prices that only attract the inexperienced cruiser with no preset expectations. One and done in many cases. My experience is that an MSC cruise is great if everything goes as planned. The minute you have an issue you are screwed. Their service recovery is dismal.
  7. And you have summed up the sort of person you are by making a quick judgement based on one line, which you did not even interpret correctly. All I need to know about you.
  8. I knew it was only a matter of time for this response. Of course I was generalizing but like most generalizations there is truth to it. As for what some crew members think of North Americans I really don't care. I treat people as people, regardless of their nationality and expect the same in return. America is a huge and diverse place, made up of people from everywhere. You can't pigeon hole it into a single generalization. I'm also a flight attendant for a major airline so I'm very used to dealing with various nationalities. I can assure you that North Americans are not the worst, not by a longshot ... but that is a topic for another thread.
  9. No surprise, as North Americans in general are experienced cruisers and know what to expect, and will voice their opinion if expectations are not met. I see nothing wrong with that. The OP is an experienced cruiser and was well prepared in what they should have received. MSC dropped the ball in so many cases. In Europe there are so many nationalities sailing I'm sure it's much easier for the crew to say "no" and get away with it. Many are probably first time cruisers as well and don't know what to expect. The hassle factor is so high in trying to get a problem resolved that most people (not Americans) will simply move on. Also in Europe MSC will embark and disembark pax at various ports during a single cruise, creating a bit more confusion and probably making it a tad easier to get away with just the bare basics. MSC did the status match in North America to pull market share from established cruise lines. The problem is by doing that MSC also pulled very experienced cruisers that are used to cruise lines that are very well run. They quickly notice the short comings of MSC which mostly stem from management structure and lack of training. So in some ways MSC shot themselves in the foot. They may get these experienced cruisers once, but perhaps never again. Also you should not have to book into the YC to have a decent experience. That is not the case with other lines and it shouldn't be the case with MSC either ... at least if they want to be successful in North America. Meanwhile more MSC ships are coming to Miami (the World Class) and a new two-ship terminal will be built at PortMIami to accommodate the growth. The terminal looks amazing. It might be better than the ships themselves!
  10. Do you think they have overcrowded the European rivers? I've heard of this "rafting" but never experienced it. I know that 2 or 3 boats can be tied up alongside each other. Seems so strange to me. With so many riverboats, I can only think that Viking is largely responsible for this phenomenon.
  11. To give them some credit, they have opened up European river cruising to the masses (just like Carnival to ocean cruises). They certainly would not be my first choice (just like Carnival LOL). The Viking ocean ships and operation look wonderful though.
  12. Interesting. I had heard that Viking had dedicated a few of their boats to the Chinese market, but didn't know the extent of it. Of course they have the hardware to spare, with something like 50+ "longships". Truly the Carnival of European river cruising at least by size.
  13. I don't think it's being sold. It's a wonderful boat that people seem to love and that Genting spent a lot of $$ on. In fact almost universally I've read that Crystal passengers that have been on MOZART and the new smaller boats prefer MOZART. Anyway I think it's just being redeployed to a yet unknown venture within the Genting group. I'm guessing she will stay cruising the exact same itineraries she is now, but marketed exclusively to Asian passengers, perhaps even under the Dream Cruises banner that Genting also owns. I agree MOZART had limitations, just as the new AMAMAGNA does, but there seems to be a market for those itineraries. They are probably the most mainstream itineraries and a likely great pick for those taking their first European river cruise. In any case I'm sure Ama Waterways is happy about this decision.
  14. Well MOZART doesn't matter much longer, at least as far as Crystal is concerned. For those seeking a larger river boat experience, AMAMAGNA might be the answer. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it's probably the closest river boat in Europe to MOZART based on size and amenities (specialty restaurants, pop up bars, cabin size, pool, gym, spa, etc.). As I mentioned before more cruise ship style than river boat and that was the intent.
  15. It's 100% from Genting putting up the Capital. Crystal was making no money, and Genting has consistently had losses, but they knew when they purchased Crystal they had to expand the brand. The initial plans (under formal leader Edie) were even more extensive. Some might even say far fetched. It seemed money was no object. I believe she got the boot and someone more fiscally conservative was brought in from Disney to run Crystal. Plans were scaled back but they are still ambitious. In the case of CRYSTAL MOZART I'm guessing Crystal had no choice. The parent company dictates what will happen, and they wanted MOZART for this new venture. So bye bye Crystal. I don't think it had anything to do with performance as I believe the ship was doing quite well and is very popular. FYI CRYSTAL ESPRIT came from Genting as essentially a private gambling boat. She has a sister that still operates for Genting in Asia. I'm guessing that eventually we might see ESPRIT go back to Genting, as Crystal's new expedition ships come online. ESPRIT is an older vessel, without the amenities (like balconies) that newer luxury ships coming on the market offer. The new SEADREAM INNOVATION is a prime example. She will outclass ESPRIT in practically every way.
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