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  1. Perhaps I was trying to do it in the Press Reader days, and it is simpler now. What is the format of the documents - Adobe Acrobat?
  2. Hmmm... How does one download and save the Reflections and Menus to an iPad? I asked in Computer University and was told I would need a PC, but I don’t travel with one.
  3. My husband dislikes mustard and vinegar, but loves the carpaccio in Prego. After I raved about the dish, he finally tried it and loves it. Crystal has perfected the melding of the flavors, and the carpaccio melts in your mouth. We both regularly order it in Prego.
  4. I visited Murmansk and the Solovetsky Islands with the Symphony a few years ago. At the entry /exit to the Murmansk Harbor it appeared we were being watched by a submarine. In Solovetsky I probably had one of the more interesting passenger experiences. Our morning tour of the monastery / gulag ran quite late, and there was not time to return to the ship before my afternoon tour to the botanical garden. The ship’s priest was also booked on both tours, and we were the only guests remaining on the island at that point. We waited at the tender docking area and watched a group of 8 to 12 year old military students running through drills. They were so young, and it was fascinating. We then asked to use a rest room and the priest and I visited the unisex rest room at the military school. Seeing these young kids in formation was more interesting than either of the tours we took that day. I am glad to have visited Murmansk and Solovetsky once, but unlike Geiranger, I don’t need a repeat visit. In general I love most of the Norwegian ports and have been fortunate to visit the fjords several time. I am always happy to return.
  5. Wonderful blog, Tracie! A great remembrance of your friends’ first Crystal cruise and your special milestone. Congratulations on your milestone achievement! What a special way to celebrate! I trust your friends have been Crystalized. Rhonda
  6. I was able to switch to Aveda products this year in April/May on Serenity and July on Symphony. As I recall Crystal was out of the Aveda body wash, but did have Aveda bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. There is no guarantee that they will continue to have these Aveda products going forward, so it is best to bring your own backup supply. We bring our own Soft Soap for the sink, and I have a small supply of my own shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. My husband brings his favorite bar soap and shampoo. I wish Crystal routinely offered a choice of at least two brands, so it would not be necessary for us to lug toiletries around the world, and that is a comment thatI I usually make on my post cruise questionnaire.
  7. The ETRO products give me a rash whereas the previous Aveda products were fine for me. People have different sensitivities to various ingredients in products, so it may be best to bring backup products in case you do not care for the ETRO products. If you do have issues with the ETRO products, housekeeping may be able to provide some of the formerly supplied Aveda products, but you can’t count on it so it is best to bring your own backup products.
  8. The footnote in the Terms and Conditions of the Amex Cruise Privileges Program state: 2Get one (1) extra point on each dollar of eligible purchases with American Express Travel and eligible Travel Associate Platform agencies; separate airfare and other charges associated with booking are not eligible. Payment must be made with a Membership Rewards® program-enrolled Consumer or OPEN American Express Card in the U.S. Platinum Card or U.S. Centurion Member's name. The extra points will be credited to Card Member's Membership Rewards account 8-12 weeks after full payment. Bonus ID: 3847 I did a bit more online research to try to determine the requirements for an agency to be an eligible Travel Associate Platform agency and found the following: https://www.travelpulse.com/news/host-agency-and-consortia/american-express-travel-rolls-out-travel-associate-platform.html Apparently in 2016 Amex established a two tiered platform for their affiliated agencies. The requirements to be at the higher tier are significantly more restrictive, and most agencies would not be able to comply. Those agencies, however, would still be able to participate in the Cruise Privilege Program and offer the additional Amex onboard credit on Crystal. The double Amex Membership rewards points would only be available when booking through Amex Travel or the eligible Travel Associates Platform. I have both Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards and was revisiting the criteria to decide which card to use to charge our Crystal cruises. For us it appears that for less expensive segments, charging with Amex is better than charging the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but the break even point is impacted by whether or not we would receive double Membership Rewards points.
  9. Parts of the Terms and Conditions of the Amex Cruise Privileges Program are contradictory. In order to earn double (2x) Membership Rewards, must one book directly through Amex Travel or can one also book through “an eligible Travel Associate Platform Agency” and still receive double MR points? Has anyone received double MR points when booking through “an eligible Travel Associate Platform Agency”? I realize that one can receive the onboard credit when booking through an alternate agency, but am unsure about the awarding of extra MR points.
  10. I made a note of your special cocktail in Sitka - along with some interesting variations. Perhaps I can get a Crystal bartender to make one for me next time I am onboard. 😀 We were just in Sitka a few weeks ago, and it seems like such a long time to wait until our next voyage. Enjoy your remaining days on the Symphony!
  11. We adore Noel too! He is the best and is very proactive in ensuring a great experience.
  12. There most likely will be a fair number of children on the 14 day round trip London voyage on the Symphony, and it looks like a great itinerary. The Crystal river boats are significantly smaller, so there will likely be fewer children onboard them than on the Symphony. The Symphony will have a wide variety of excursions in each port, and there will be some that would interest a 12 year old. Some of the ports would be easy enough to do independently. There will be fewer shore excursion options on the river boats, and the included excursions may not always interest a 12 year old. If you decide that a riverboat would be preferable, you might consider a Tauck Bridges sailing that would have excursions better tailored for kids. I sailed the Rhine and Moselle with Tauck (but not a Bridges sailing), and they have a good product. In particular I enjoyed the Moselle even more than the Rhine. The scenery is stunning on the Moselle and the towns are located right on the shore of the river. On the Rhine the towns are often a bus ride away, since the towns were built further away from the river due to flooding concerns. Parts of the Rhine are industrialized and not as scenic. My recommendation is to pick an itinerary that includes the Moselle combined with the Rhine. In my opinion though, for a trip in July I think the round trip London itinerary on Symphony would be the best option. It will be more relaxing and will offer a great deal of flexibility in activities and dining for both adults and a 12 year old. Enjoy your family vacation whatever you decide!
  13. I doubt that it would be financially feasible for Crystal to continue to offer the free cruise on the new ocean ship scheduled to be launched in 2022. The per diems will likely be significantly higher. It would be awkward for Crystal to stipulate that the free cruise would be applicable to only the two older ocean ships and not the new one. In addition, Crystal Symphony’s time as part of the Crystal fleet is numbered. She may leave the fleet when the new ocean ship launches or it may be a year or two later. Then there would be only one ship in the fleet where the free cruise concept would be viable. Crystal needed to revise the loyalty program before accepting bookings on the new ocean ship. We may wish the cruise credit allotment were higher, but in my opinion a cruise credit that is simple to interpret and works across all experiences and vessels was a good direction for the evolution of the Crystal Society program.
  14. The enhancement is that one can now apply the credit across ALL Crystal experiences / vessels. However, one can argue that the conversion of the free cruise to a credit is not necessarily “equivalent” as their write-up claims.
  15. Crystal has expanded its offerings to river, yacht, expedition, and soon a new ocean ship, it makes sense that Crystal would need to revisit its loyalty program. The per diems are significantly different across the experience / vessel types, and Crystal needed to find a way to provide equitable benefits to all Crystal Society members regardless of their preferred experience / vessel type. Before too long, Crystal will likely release the first itineraries for the new ocean ship, and it is expected that the staterooms and suites will be larger in size and consequently the per diem will probably be higher. Crystal needed to revamp the program in a manner that would allow one to apply the benefits across all experiences, not just use the benefits on the two older ocean ships. Crystal’s flat rate cruise credit, in lieu of a free cruise, is a practical and logical way of applying the benefit across all experiences / vessels. In some cases, the new loyalty program is being devalued, but that is the trend for most loyalty programs these days.
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