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calliopecruiser

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  1. These days I typically cruise Crystal, which is virtually all inclusive, so my only real extra expenditure is an extra gratuity to their crew fund. If I have OBC from my travel agent, I do use it for other things as well, things that I likely wouldn't if I didn't have that OBC gift.....having them do my laundry for me, gifts from the on-board shop, maybe an excursion, . On a different line that wasn't all-inclusive, my extra expenditures would be food (i.e. specialty restaurants).
  2. I always consider my personal safety, and shore excursions aren't any different (though I rarely take organized shore excursions)......but I very rarely worry about my personal safety, and shore excursions aren't any different.
  3. I have found my "sweet spot" for vacations is around 26-27 days, after which I start to miss being at home. I haven't yet done a cruise that long, but I have done 30 day land trips and combinations of cruise/land trips, and I find in the last 3 or 4 days, I'm ready to go home, even if I'm still enjoying what I'm doing/where I am. I've happily done 3 week cruises and never bored of the food or my activities, and in about 6 weeks I'm doing my longest: a 30 day cruise (including arrival and departure days) - I'm guessing that will be my limit. The cruise ends in New Zealand and I'd love to spend an extra week in Wellington, but I know myself and I know I'll be ready to be home again. So: My issue is missing home, not being bored with the ship's options. There are always ways to mix up dining room options (I don't always have an offered entree with dinner, for instance), and I generally don't go to the evening shows (so they don't get boring).
  4. It sounds like my kind of rest home! Better than the other options for rest homes.
  5. Reviews do not have to be comparative, and in this case I see virtually no statements comparing it to other cruises (except for the age category). It looks to me like the poster was comparing their experience to their expectations and preferences, not to other cruise lines.
  6. I just got back from a 4 week trip to Italy, and this in particular stood out to me: Sorrento to Pompeii is an easy, but not particularly pleasant, journey with public transportation, so unless you want crowded half hour each way on an un-air conditioned commuter train, you should join an excursion or hire a private driver (if you don't want a tour through Pompeii). Well, it will be crowded in the mornings and late afternoons, since it's used by a lot of locals, including high school kids and commuters. I was fortunate enough to be taking it mid day, when it wasn't crowded. Livorno is much further from Florence than Sorrento is from Pompeii - about 1.5 hours, whether you take the train, a tour bus, or a private car. I'm a DIY traveller and generally don't take excursions, but sometimes I will hire a local guide for a small-group site-specific walking tour (I did that for the Uffizi in Florence). Be sure to see the Duomo Museum in Florence - it's kind of under the radar for first time visitors, but it was the most memorable and spectacular site I saw in Florence.
  7. I'm sure everyone does.......but the difference is in what "too much" means. Some people only look at the tangible things money can buy, but it's important to also look at the intangibles. It's much like the difference between renting and buying a house: While some people will look at the rent and say you're "throwing it away" because you are not buying equity in the house, one should also look at the intangibles.......While a renter is not buying equity, that person is buying freedom to move on short notice without worrying about the vagaries of the housing market, and buying freedom from maintenance and repairs on the structure. I'm not saying renting is better than buying, but there are definite benefits to some people, at some stages of life, and looking at the fuller picture helps people make a fuller pros/cons list in their minds. It's not about marketing or being taken advantage of, it's about choosing to value different things. Ah, a whole other kettle of fish......it's good that you know that about yourself and can plan accordingly.
  8. No, not worried........at least *I* never said worried (did anyone say worried?). I said "consider" and think about it - as in, pulling out my wallet to pay for it. Or, in the case of a cruise, having my card swiped. It's an accounting, and a type of connection to a financial world that I want to be free of for 3 or 4 weeks. It's one of the ways that I can better relax on a cruise, by leaving the expectations and requirements of the commercial world we live in (where someone is always trying to sell me something) behind me.
  9. If you can't imagine it, how do you know it's not a luxurious experience? LOL......I get that you can't, because thinking about what everything is costing us is a part of every day of life.......but that's what makes it such a luxury to be in a position not to have to think about it. I do all my financial planning and saving before I buy the ticket - and then once it's done, I don't need to even consider it at all. There aren't many times in life where we can do that; everybody, no matter how rich, has a budget. It's only temporary, of course.
  10. LOL! Of course, like this thread, the difference is in whether they choose to buy up all those hockey pucks, or they're given all those hockey pucks.
  11. It's pretty amazing what some people ship via cargo back home, or send as their checked baggage. And sometimes it's not for them or their family to use back home, but for family members to sell back home.......I worked with one guy who bought and shipped home 6 gross of dress shirts he found at a liquidation sale.
  12. I only have experience with Crystal among the luxury lines, and they have some levels of wine that are an extra charge - but you can request a particular type of wine with dinner instead of what they recommend for that evening. As I don't really drink wine and wouldn't know a super expensive one from a good, moderately priced one, I've never bothered. And I can't comment on how other luxury lines handle it. Crystal also has a level of spirits that incur an additional charge, but even my choice of a 20 year old tawny port is included. I don't drink enough to have developed a palate to discern between good and great spirits.
  13. It's certainly part of the description of luxurious for me.......once aboard, I don't think about money, and that's a freedom that I find very luxurious. Even if it would cost me less by paying piece by piece, I wouldn't have as good an experience.
  14. Good Lord, no! But nobody said, or even inferred, that it was. What they did say is that luxury cruise lines offer more luxurious service and surroundings than mainline cruise lines.
  15. All those things are available on luxury lines, so I'm not sure what you're not seeing on luxury lines that you think are luxuries offered on "mega ships". You can have a huge suite (larger than many apartments) with about 7 or 8 dining options and multiple evening entertainment options on a ship with about 800-1000 people. What am I missing.......is it that you prefer the exclusivity of being in a separate "ship within a ship" special area?
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