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About sambamama

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    West Springfield MA
  • Interests
    dancing, reading, music
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  1. Actually, that $8000 sounds pretty reasonable for that long of a South Pacific cruise. Some types of cruises are very expensive. I was booked as a solo on a 20 day South Pacific cruise on the Maasdam in the cheapest inside as a solo for 6k, but ended up finding a roommate.
  2. Upgrades are free, upsells are not. My upcoming cruise has passed final payment, and so prices are dropping. I saw this and asked my TA to see if HAL would let me go from my L inside guarantee to an HH obstructed outside (I already got a $500 price drop about 3 months ago!). I got back cruise documents that I now have a C outside guarantee. You can normally only upsell to the category above you, inside to outside, outside to balcony, balcony to suite. Upsells usually start 4-6 weeks out-but normally in the 4 week range. If I am really interested, I will talk to my TA, and authorize her with a price range so she can grab one if she can't reach me. (I am a lawyer and am in court all the time, so it can be very difficult to reach me.) This system has worked well for me. As a single, it's always harder to find affordable cruises as I almost always sail alone. I've found the best system is to find a TA you like, and book with them exclusively. Mine has found me incredible single rates on cruises!
  3. The website even lets you add in a city you want to visit before you sail on your cruise. For example, I am booked on a TA in mid October 2020 sailing out of Barcelona. I can book a flight from JFK to Lisbon and then from Lisbon to Barcelona. I can fly in 2-3 weeks early and go visit Portugal and then go to Barcelona 2-3 days before the cruise sails.
  4. It also includes flavored water(the Vitamin Water sold on board), juices, fancy coffees, teas, and hot chocolate, and cappachino or expresso after dinner.
  5. There is lemonade and the ship sells flavored Vitamin waters. I got addicted to those when I had a beverage package. Those are sold at the place that sells the fancy coffees. They come in about 6 flavors.
  6. I've never had bad luck with any of my guarantee cabins. I've always gone up a whole category. I am not really picky, and I bring earplugs and always ask for a fan. I've started traveling with a white noise machine. The one thing I've noticed is I do get ajoining cabins a fair bit, so I have one less closet. I am usually sailing solo, so it's not an issue. Also, I am 4 star and I get free laundry so I don't pack as much. I've been booking insides, and sometimes get upgraded to an outside somewhat early. Then I am in a great position for an upsell to a balcony of my choosing!
  7. I specifically asked them this question in relation to 2 land tours I booked in April and May 2020 where I paid deposits, but need to pay the balance. I was told I was fine. I was this by the benefits department as I had called to cancel my Prestige card.
  8. No. There are almost no shipboard activities any more. They are getting rid of the libraries, which is the stupidest idea ever! They have elimanted the fruit soups from the menu. And although they have updated the TVs in the stateroom, the movies and shows available to watch on the TV are fairly limited, and they don't change them much from cruise to cruise. They now show a movie a number of nights in the Main Showroom as the main entertainment. The lecturers they book as speakers are many times horrendous!! And although Lincoln Stage is awesome, if you are on a 14-20 day cruise, the programs will repeat a number of times. Worst of all, if you have an issue on your cruise and write to the main office, first, they don't respond. Second, they don't read your letter closely to understand your complaints. Third, the compensation offers for your complaint are ridiculously low balled now and the letters written in reply show that your letter wasn't even read closely. It seems that management has no interest in making up for a bad cruise. For example, on my recent 20 day cruise to Hawaii, we missed 3 ports out of 7, had to return early to San Diego early (there was a 16 day cruise to San Diego), and sail out late. This meant we spent two nights docked at San Diego when we should have been sailing. This was all because the ship had a broken azipod the captain knew about before we sailed. I was offered $150 off a cruise I booked in the next year despite that I already had a cruise booked in 2020 and 2021!!! I've had issues before and have always received fair compensation and letters that showed my complaint was understood. None of these things happened before Mr. Ashford took over.
  9. I haven't sailed on Celebrity in a long time. I am 4 star on HAL. I prefer the smaller ships. I've done two TAs with HAL, and you can get great deals on those. The food is comparable. I love the Pinnacle Grill, and if you are lucky enough to sail on a ship with a Tamarind, it's great too!! Lincoln Center and BB King are great. Some of the lecturers are great, some not. The food is about the same. I think HAL has amazing customer service, and the staff is super friendly!! If you are looking for go, go, go, it's not the right place. But if you like elegant ships with a smaller passenger load, and like to read books, or play cards, or watch the world go by, you will be happy. They also have some amazing ports they go to as well, and pretty big cabins.
  10. I never had an aft suite, but I had an aft balcony. I had no soot issues, and the limited vibration never bothered me. My balcony was huge, but it was all sun and no shade. It would have been nice to have a bit of shade on it. Still, going out of Tampa and seeing the bridge from my balcony was amazing.
  11. I've done 4, 2 transatlantic Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale, one Panama Canal Fort Lauderdale to Vancouver, and one Hawaii, San Diego, circle Hawaii, on up to Vancouver. I absolutely vote for doing your TA Europe to the US. You fly to Europe, get tired with the long ports every days, and then have 7 or more sea days to relax and recover gaining sleep hours along the way. As someone who always loved sea days, this was perfect! I fly in early and go see some Europe before my ship sails, too!
  12. I love the NY pizza!! Thin crispy crust, lots of great ingredients like prosciutto, shrimp, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, salads right there-20 minute wait-what's not to love!? One of my very favorite lunches!! I just wish all the ships had one!!
  13. The spring Mexican Rivera 2021s are out!
  14. I had to dispose of a needle on my last cruise. They were happy to take it at the medical facility.
  15. Yes, I think using certain TAs absolutely matters. Although your TA is known for having very low prices, I think they specialize in selling unsold cabins at the last minute more than booking ahead. When I booked my 20 day Hawaii cruise, I checked with her on a price as it was a cruise I always wanted to do, but the price was very high and that was before booking as a single. Her agency had blocked off a bunch of cabins and so got me a super deal as a solo. I booked an inside guarantee, I was switched to an outside guarantee free since I booked so early and I snagged an upsell to a balcony and wound up in a spa balcony. I pay a bit more, but she always let's me know about upsells, and gets me compensation in either shipboard credit or upgrades if there is a price drop. She's gotten me the best solo rates I've ever dreamed of-somehow now I get casino rates, even though I don't gamble.
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