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About 4774Papa

  • Rank
    10,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Saint Simons Island, Georgia
  • Interests
    cycling, history (especially ancient), reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, NCL, Vantage, AMA
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Some of the complaints people post on these boards are so petty, why do they waste their time? We have done 20 cruises (Ocean) as well as 4 River Cruises and never had a bad cruise. Yes, we have had a couple of times that we had to send an entre back and order another one, but even then the issue was resolved quickly, no big deal. One entre that I sent back was on NCL and it was Turkey Lasagna. It was awful. My wife makes a lot of dishes at home with ground turkey meat instead of beef and it always turns out great, but not this one. Still, the waiter expedited my replacement and the new dinner was great. To me the complaints about people having sewage back up in their cabin or a broken pipe, or even someone next door smoking on the balcony is something that can really put a damper on a vacation.
  2. We have run into this same issue, although not at that cafe. Ours wasn't handled that way, but sorry, I don't see the big deal.
  3. We do mainly cruises that are two weeks in length and the average age is probably 65. However, if you hit a school holiday period, even in Europe, you find more families and younger persons.
  4. We prefer the smaller ships. The Sun, Jade and Gem are better than the Epic. Don't like the ship layout on Epic, not many places to see the ocean. One smaller ship we didn't care much for was the Star.
  5. We have cruised 11 times on Celebrity (our favorite), 7 on NCL and 2 on Royal Caribbean. Celebrity clearly wins on dining and service. Also, it doesn't nickel and dine as much as NCL. Royal C. is our second favorite, since it has the best entertainment. NCL does have excellent entertainment. We don't care for or need perks and hate the price bundling of perks with the regular fare. NCL is the worst in this area. Most Celebrity or Royal C cruises we can pick the lower price without the perks. Also, NCL's beverage package doesn't include a good cabernet wine, which is our favorite. Further, NCL tacks on a ridiculous 20% gratuity based on an inflated daily value for the perk ($99 per day). When we do go on NCL, we never pick the beverage package, since we can bring our own wine, pay the $15 corkage and spend less on alcohol than JUST the gratuity. We pick our cruises based more on itinerary and price, not the ship. However, we love the Celebrity ship layout and design. The ship seem to maximize passengers being able to view the ocean. For example, just having the sunset bar outside the buffet in all Celebrity ships, while several NCL ships don't have this key feature. NCL does have several specialty restaurants, that once had very reasonable prices. NOT anymore, NCL has seriously bumped up those price. We rarely dine in Celebrity's specialty restaurants, since the MDR food is so good. The NCL MDR food varies by ship. The best we had was on the Sun. Don't ask us about the Star. The Star and Epic are our least favorite NCL ships. The ship designs for both are terrible.
  6. Sorry, but $3600 per person for a 7 day cruise is way too much. We don't care about t he perks, but in any event with perks that is too much.
  7. We were on a cruise where a very large group had chartered. The main problem was that the sky lounge was not available because the group had it the entire cruise. The elite happy hour was moved to a smaller location. Still, the overall effect on the cruise was minor.
  8. Those questions are too specific to the line and/or ship. You should re-post them here: We have done three transatlantic and one transpacific cruises. Only one was with NCL. I would go with a balcony. We prefer booking a balcony with other cabins above and below, to avoid being disturbed. Once, on an M class ship we had a cabin on deck 9, the deck just below the pool deck. Every morning we were awaked around 5:30 by someone moving around the deck chairs. We love the French, Italian and Japanese restaurants the most. All are good. I never thought that the spa package was worth the cost. TA cruises are great, cheap and save you on airfare as well. Still, you will have many sea days. I always take books to read. Also, I try to visit the fitness center to burn off some of last nights dessert.
  9. We had a great Alaska cruise on the Sun. However, after I booked the cruise I decided to book a land tour from Steward to Denali after the cruise. I was told by NCL that if I did that I would have to cancel my initial booking and rebook the cruise with the cruise tour. Since the prices had gone up since I booked initially, I declined and book a tour with an Alaska tour company that worked out well. I would not dally in Steward, but head up to Denali. The Wilderness tour is special.
  10. We have traveled to the Far East several times. 1) 3 week land tour (4 day river cruise included) 2) Celebrity Millennium cruise from Tokyo to Hong Kong (with 6 days of pre-cruise touring Japan) 3) Celebrity Century cruise from Singapore to Dubai (with 5 day pre-cruise in Singapore as well as three day tour of Malaysia) 4) Celebrity Solstice cruise over the top of Australia that spent two nights in Bali, Indonesia. 5) Back in the 80s, I did a land tour of Manila, Philippines, Hong Kong and Thailand. I would recommend doing China via a land tour, instead of trying to just visit some of its ports like Shanghai. If you want to see Japan, and a cruise, then do several days of pre or post cruise and don't miss Kyoto. Singapore and Malaysia are very nice and worth a trip, but not in the same class as Japan and China. As far as visas are concerned, we had to acquire Chinese visas twice, once when we did the land tour and also for the one day stop in Shanghai on our Japan cruise. The last visa we got was a 10 year visa. (we are US citizens).
  11. We did a two cruises in 2015 in East Asia, one from Singapore to Dubai and the other from Tokyo to Hong Kong (4 ports in main Japanese island, Shanghai, Okinawa, Taiwan and Hong Kong). Both were great cruises, but the flights were long and brutal. If you insist on arriving the day your ship leaves, try to find flights as direct as possible, or as few connections as possible. I understand working travelers that can only take off a certain amount of time, but frankly, it is a shame that you can't spend some pre or post cruise time in Asia. Japan is wonderful. You might consider waiting until you are retired and pick a closer destination. Many people love Europe and even Asia, but ignore South America, which has some wonderful places to visit, especially Peru, Argentina and Chile.
  12. Better that the prices of the cruises for these new ships goes down. We cruise for itinerary and price, not the ship. Perhaps, one day prices will drop.
  13. Before we book a cruise, we compare Celebrity, Royal C., NCL, Princess and HAL. We have never done Princess and HAL, but we are open to do if they have the best itinerary and price we want. We prefer Celebrity slightly above Royal C. We did NCL for Alaska because they do Glacier Bay and the other two do not. We did NCL for New England and Canada because they cruise from Boston instead of NYC. Celebrity has the edge on dining and ship design, while Royal has better entertainment and the Diamond Happy Hour is better than the Elite on Celebrity. NCL bundles pricing with promos we don't want. Fortunately, Royal does not and Celebrity now allows booking without promos.
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