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Everything posted by chemmo

  1. Our well cruised friends booked the RS on Edge and found it limited in the following ways…I assume the RS’s are the same on Apex. Overhang on the balcony meant they hardly saw the sun. Also at night no stargazing. Balcony very small, chairs and small table only. Chairs by the window looked nice but were uncomfortable. Sinks in the bathroom again looked nice but were impractical. Like us they had done several S class RS and did find the Edge RS far less enjoyable. However, they loved the ship and the Retreat Deck and would love to cruise on her or one of her sisters. They did say that on a future cruise they may book a Sky Suite and then buy a speciality dining package. I don’t usually pass on second hand information but I am aware that RS queries on E class often have few responses. We are looking at booking an Edge class some time in the future but the balcony size and overhang are off putting. Again we may choose to book a standard Sky Suite in a good position rather than a RS.
  2. Availability of speciality dining varies greatly from cruise to cruise hence the differences in experience related by others. If you pre book the dining package then head to one of the speciality dining restaurants to arrange your dates and times. I would recommend you make your bookings early in the cruise. We always do it on boarding. On some cruises we have been on some of the restaurants only have very early or very late dining slots left by a few days into the cruise and we have cruised where Murano was fully booked by day 5 of an 11 night cruise. If you do change your mind the restaurants will do their best to accommodate changes. Some people do not book a package but then negotiate once on board. There is usually a member of the speciality restaurant team outside the buffet most mornings offering deals. We have spoken to fellow guests who have managed two for one deals for Tuscan and LPC, deals for the Lawn Club and Murano are usually harder to come by. These deals are very variable. If you like to barter and are willing to risk discounts less than package discounts then this is an option… We loved cruising on Reflection. I would also recommend a visit to The Porch one sea day lunchtime, much nicer than a busy buffet. Hope you have a fantastic cruise!
  3. If you are in a suite Luminae is also open. Other options include spa cafe at no extra cost. The menu is limited but includes a soup and healthy wraps, ideal if you have breakfasted and want to enjoy a real dinner first night. Light but tasty is how I would describe it. Sushi on Five with an a la carte menu. Sushi is not particularly expensive, it is easy to choose a few items to share and then perhaps a ramen bowl…Yes, it is a pay for but not over expensive, if you want to avoid a busy buffet worth considering….
  4. On boarding ask the M’D of Luminae for the menus for the full cruise (alternatively ask your butler or the Retreat concierge), all of these staff can do this for you. Peruse the menus and decide which ones you are happy with then book speciality dining or MDR dining around it. One of the real problems with the Luminae menu is the wording is quite ‘playful’…it can be difficult at times to work out what you are ordering…Another option is to simply at breakfast ask for the dinner menu and then discuss with your waiter or the M’D what each dish is actually like and if none are appealing how they can be modified or what alternatives are available. If you arrange an alternative or modification in advance it can usually be accommodated, less so during a busy service.
  5. Agree, exactly what we do. We will choose a couple of things to share and a ramen bowl…Ideal for a lunch sea day.
  6. The pay for what you want can work well, however, for a light lunch on sea days when the buffet is busy…
  7. The helipad is a staff area not a guest area so it will have different rules for health and safety. Having visited a few times I have always been glad to be in sensible shoes. Stepping over the bulkhead, walking up open metal stairs….Plenty of ways to stub your toe!
  8. I know this isn’t answering your specific question about specific routes and itineraries but I think lots of people (like us) throughout the world are asking exactly the same questions… After always following the strategy of ‘fly in two days early’ and you will be perfectly safe, a few years ago we were hit by ‘unseasonably East Coast weather’ and arrived just in time for our cruise thanks to some fabulous advice from CC posters and a couple of really wonderful AA staff. Since then we have tried to extend our margins by enjoying our ‘add on’ holiday pre rather than post cruise… In these increasingly difficult times we are reluctant to put ourselves in a stressful situation. At present we haven’t booked a cruise that requires a flight…we have compromised on itinerary for peace of mind… As things stabilise we will be more willing to book more adventurously but if you are ‘fretting’ pre, during and end of cruise about flights, testing…there becomes a decision about what you are comfortable with…
  9. It is some years now since we did this cruise so even if I could find my planners I don’t think they would be much use! However, we still fondly remember it as our best cruise ever… Activities varied. The usual quiz events, staff vs guests pool games, don’t miss the Polliwog ceremony! Also several groups had planned activities through roll calls. There was a bridge group, a craft group and a mahjong group that we saw frequently so if you have any particular interests I suggest you join the roll call. To be honest most guests didn’t seem to need that much entertaining…Most guests had boarded in Hawaii after some extensive sightseeing or sea days and were ready for a rest! Then at each port guests made the most of places they had never been to before and were unlikely ever to visit again so then again were ready for some rest and relaxation. To put things in perspective we boarded with iPads loaded, books, card games etc and hardly used them. I think another factor with longer cruises is you have time to bond with fellow guests, you arrange to meet up, you make your own entertainment…. Other points that may be of interest to you is that the speciality restaurants were busy on sea days. We had pre booked a dining package and had arranged our days on boarding so we were OK. However, we were aware that some guests towards the end of the cruise were struggling to get bookings let alone discounts. I hope someone finds some planners for you (remember there will be a missing day!). Regardless you are in for a fantastic time!
  10. Recently off Silhouette and we thought most guests were nicely dressed in the evenings as we moved from bar to bar and generally keeping to the smart casual theme. On the chic nights perhaps the ladies were a bit more dressed and we saw some gents with jackets but no real difference to other nights. We used to enjoy dressing up once or twice per cruise but as we have got older not toting too much luggage and being comfortable have had higher priorities… We were undecided when smart/casual was introduced if we would like it but we have found it does suit us well. Next cruise we have decided as a family group to be dressy the first chic night, it is nice to choose to do something rather than have to do something…
  11. The Summit is not an E class ship it is M class, much older. Treatments do not give you access to Persian Gardens nor does being in a suite. Aqua class rooms do have free access and Elite Captains Club can visit for free one port day. Persian Gardens is very attractive on S class with sea views and tiled loungers. In our opinion it is much less attractive on M class. I suggest on boarding you go to there and ask if you can see it then decide if it worth paying for. The three classes of ships are very different, when you do a search you need to be clear about what you are seeing/searching. For example, if you search Retreat deck you will see an area with a small pool (E class) but on Summit there is no pool but there is a hot tub…Similarly rooms are very different on the different classes, not necessarily better on one than the other but definitely different. Hope you have a fantastic cruise!
  12. We see Royal as a great venue for action, adventure and entertainment and Celebrity as a wonderful venue for rest, relaxation and great food…
  13. We used to book a bottle for our room before drink package days, we have always enjoyed a late at night balcony drink. If I remember correctly it was a 1litre bottle, that came with six sodas and a box of mixed nuts…Trying to remember when we last did it, perhaps 6/7 years ago.
  14. If you are in a suite the Retreat serves afternoon tea daily. If you visit cafe al bacio they have a wide range of teas covered by the drinks package and a wide range of cakes and cookies. If you are Elite, some cruises offer an afternoon tea one day of the cruise. Every afternoon the buffet offers a lovely selection of mini sandwiches and cakes, tea available (no cost). Very easy to take your selection and cuppa outside or back to your balcony to enjoy.
  15. Cruised both post Revolution. In terms of general venues, the revolution didn’t make that much difference. However if you book a suite Silhouette has a nicer Retreat lounge (more spacious feel, better furnishings) and the suite deck is far superior. As others have said the addition of the Lawn Grill and The Porch make a nice change. Would not hesitate to cruise either again. OP, if you are booking a non suite room and are not over bothered about extra dining venues then save the 15%. Just one final point. Remember Silhouette lost its basketball court for the Retreat deck so if you are travelling with children/young adults then Equinox may be better…
  16. We are recently off Silhouette (UK cruise). Fantastic! It isn’t just the cruise that is the pleasure, it is the looking forward to and the planning so go ahead…the sooner you book the sooner you get to enjoy the looking forward to!
  17. The Holiday Inn is very close to the ship. You could phone and see if you can book in there for breakfast then either drag your luggage over to the ship or it would be a cheap Uber. I am sure if you were breakfasting there they would look after your luggage for a short while. Just another option…
  18. Perhaps based on personal experience? To me it simply reminded me of the many restaurants we have called in for lunch when visiting Spain, the Balearic Islands, the Greek Islands….Not ‘high end’ venues but a pleasant spot with the smell and breeze of the sea. Obviously, it reminded you of East Coast seafood seafood places. Also we usually dine in The Porch at lunch frequently after a swim, the sun is shining…We are relaxed, happy and comfortable….Re the menu, the seafood tower reminded me of the shared platters you can enjoy again by the Mediterranean, particularly Spain and Portugal. Obviously not real fresh fish but enjoyable nonetheless…. I think the point I have tried to make is that (in my opinion) the Porch offers something different to the ambiance of the other speciality restaurants….A good place to enjoy a light lunch perhaps with a sangria or quality beer rather than a fine wine… Service does make a significant difference in how you remember a venue…when we visited it on Silhouette and some years ago on Reflection service was perfect…We are back on Silhouette next year and will definitely enjoy a lunch or three there!
  19. Fairly sure there is no dartboard and I don’t recollect a shuffleboard. There are boules some mornings on the lawn and a ping pong table near the lift top deck. Also Celebrity kids program has a good reputation.
  20. On both Reflection and Silhouette it is the range of ambiance of the restaurants we have enjoyed as well as the range of food…The ‘formality’ of Murano, the family BBQ feel of Lawn Grill, the Mediterranean cafe feel of The Porch… Like you, much as we enjoy any S class ship we do miss the additional dining options of these two.
  21. Never had that luxury! Perhaps because for most of our cruises we have crossed the pond and enjoyed an independent pre cruise stay… I do think that the ‘early days’ of ‘package’ vacations did have a luxury element whereas now a ‘package’ deal tends to focus on reducing costs rather than enhancing experience….
  22. Sincere best wishes for a fantastic b2b cruise…I must confess much as we loved (and were grateful for) our staycation cruise in the UK it leaves us longing for our next on board experience…. Enjoy!
  23. In these difficult times I think the two problems cruise lines will not have is staff recruitment and staff retention…. Firstly, many staff have families relying on their income, what they could earn back home is significantly less. Secondly, alternative jobs they could look to like hotels are still struggling as many people world wide are not travelling yet either because of restrictions or choice. Thirdly, cruise lines often offer an opportunity to build a genuine career path which many alternative jobs they could get at home don’t. Chatting with various crew members at all levels over the years many have expressed that not only does the cruise industry offer a career path it offers opportunities to further their language skills, understanding of alternative cultures, opportunities to mix with others…All so useful for furthering your career in any direction. When we chatted to staff on our recent cruise they were ‘resigned’ to their present terms and conditions. We heard lots of comments about ‘how great it was to be back at work’ but no grumbles. From our eyes the present restrictions may seem hard for the staff to accept but from a staff perspective not being on board the ship working would be harder still… Nothing but praise for the genuine warmth we always feel from all the staff at Celebrity, much as we love the ships it is the staff that makes us return!
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