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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. Many seem to believe that Celebrity has declines significantly in recent years. Our last two Celebrity cruises were March/April 2019 and Oct/Nov 2017. In general, we are seeing the same level of service and dining. Since we have done so many X cruises, I must admit that production shows get tiresome after the fourth or fifth time. Changes like the end of the end of cruise brunch, the downsizing of the wonderful Crepe Suzette and a few other such items, we don't find a huge difference from 2011-2015. However, we are unhappy with the bundled pricing for promos that we don't want. Still we can find cruises without the bundled price, but they seem to be more inflated than they once were. We like Royal Caribbean's entertainment and their dining and service is close enough to Celebrity's. Their pricing is why we are going in that direction.
  2. Zippeedee, That confirms what i thought. That the sailaway isn't available until close to Final Payment. I have never seen it available on any cruise that I try to book. I don't like booking late, prices frequently have gone up, the worst cabins are what is left. Another reason to go with Royal Caribbean.
  3. In the most recent Conde Nast Traveler readers choice awards, Celebrity is slipping behind: Large Cruise Ships (2500-4000) 1. Disney 91.77 2. Cunard 90.39 3. HAL 89.55 4. Princess 88.00 5. Celebrity 86.44 6 Carnival 83.57 7. RCI 83.18 (excluding mega ships) We have cruised Celebrity (11), NCL (7) and Royal C. (2) Disney and Cunard are way too expensive for us and unless we had Grandchildren on the ship, Disney would be a waste. We haven't done HAL or Princess, but I always check their prices, still they are never the best deal. We still like Celebrity. Dining and Service is still very good, but its prices have pushed us to go with Royal C. Royal C. has better entertainment and its Dining and Service is just a little below Celebrity. NCL's prices have shot up with price bundling of promos (so called stripped down sailaway rates never seem to be available on cruises that I look at).
  4. We flew from the East Coast in 2015 to Singapore via Europe. It was a brutal trip with two flights exceeding 8 hours. No way would I want to deal with pushing the limit on missing a cruise. In any event, I would not do it. Yes, the airport to cruise terminal is probably no more than 30-45 minutes, but what if you lose a connection are late? Take some time to enjoy Singapore. We spend five nights precruise and loved Singapore. The Botanical Gardens are fantastic.
  5. I just checked five transatlantic NCL cruises for 2020 that I might be interested in doing. ALL FIVE had sailaway cabins SOLD OUT. So much for options on NCL!
  6. Does NCL always offer sailaway rates? For some years, they either did not, or only offered them close to the cruise sail date. Also, the ones that I have found with sailaway rates, the fares didn't come down as much as I expected.
  7. I would love it if cruise lines cut all the perk bundling and just sold us cruises.
  8. I was told that X repeats its production shows for five years. From 2011- 2015 we did 9 cruises on Celebrity. After watching some of the shows like the Disco one or one about Burt Bacharach, we stopped going to the production shows. Our last Celebrity cruise was in 2018 and we did go to a couple of the shows that were different. There are still some good shows on Celebrity, but NCL and Royal do have better entertainment.
  9. NCL does Alaska well, since their cruises go to Glacier Bay, which is amazing.
  10. A few years ago HAL was practically the only major cruise line that allowed smoking on balconies. Also, it had a reputation for attracting smokers, probably because of the policy. That did change. However, that is the main reason that we never cruised on HAL. I can remember when we did Alaska in September 2016, we were in Denali doing the shuttle day tour of the park. Our bus stopped at a hotel and picked up about 40 HAL passengers (they all had their HAL name plates on lanyards). The odor of cigarette smoke was awful. No smoking was allowed, but clearly the HAL passengers on the bus brought it with them on their clothes. We were not able to open windows much and had to deal with the smoke odor the entire day. Also, I have been on cruise critic since 2010 and read quite a bit about this policy and HAL, as well as other cruise line policies. At one time it attracted smokers because it allowed smoking on balconies as well as many other places on the ship. Celebrity and Royal have good policies with a few places set aside for smokers, NCL does as well, unfortunately they allow smoking in the casino, so if you pass through there or are near there, you get it. I always compare HAL, Princess, Celebrity, Royal and NCL prior to booking a cruise. Right now, I am looking at transatlantics and finding Royal to be the best deal. Perhaps I will have an opportunity to do HAL in the future, since their policy on smoking is in line with the other cruise lines.
  11. I lived in Riyad, Saudi Arabia for five years (81-85) working for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Living there was actually pretty good, we had our own compounds with armed guards. We were able to travel a lot. I know the country has five times the population now than in 85 and it is more modern. I know some changes have liberalized in recent years, but I can't imagine tourists going there. Non-Muslims can't go to Mecca. I do remember snorkeling in the Red Sea and the coral is fantastic. Taif, inland from Jedda is an interesting city, but I just don't see tourism. There were no movie theaters there. Alcohol is illegal. '
  12. We always avoid HAL because of their terrible smoking policy. That changed a few years ago. One thing that I notice about HAL's prices is they do offer discounts but usually don't cut much until a few months prior to a cruise. We like to book early.
  13. Peaches, We love it down here. Brunswick was my home town in Junior and High School. While in college my Dad passed away, Mom went back to Texas, were she was from. I didn't visit much until 1996 for our 30 year Glynn Academy reunion. My wife loved it here and we decided to retire here. I worked for the Federal Government and was lucky enough to get my last job here at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, so I worked three more years and that was great. We live at the north end of the island were lots are one acre and you worry more about running into a deer than a car on the highway. St. Simons is a little bit touristy, but still more a place where people live. I know you are from Atlanta, but some people from the northern part of the USA and Canada move here and the first Spring discover that we have serious bugs. The gnats in the Spring are not fun, so you must wear insect repellant. Some can't handle it and move. We do have some people that live here six months out of the year, usually the Winter and Fall. If you have more questions, email me at geovagriffith at comcast dot net
  14. We upgrades from our usual balcony to a Skysuite on Millie in our Japan and China cruise 2015. The suite was great, as was the huge balcony. Our stateroom had over 300 sq ft. and bathroom had double sinks, a tub and separate shower. We loved dining in Luminae. The food was great. One issue with dining in Luminae was that others that we had meet at the CC Meet and Greet couldn't dine with us unless they or us paid $50 per person. That didn't happen. The butler was nice, he came by ever day at 4pm with tea and cookies or a snack. Frankly, we got a bit tired of the extra food and declined it after a few days. When we were in port and missed, he always left cookies that we didn't want, since when we returned dinner was in a couple of hours. We only paid $800 total (not each) for the upgrade. I am glad that we had the experience, but we both agreed that we would never pay much for an upgrade like this again. We missed dining with our cruise friends. Luminae was great and the large cabin and bath were nice, but we are happy with a balcony. Had we had more than two persons in the cabin (we did 3 on an NCL cruise to Alaska-3rd person was free), we might want to upgrade.
  15. Yes, I have read all of his books.
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