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Everything posted by loge23

  1. Surprised to see the Vines disappear as I thought that the Vines was a positive $$ maker. Also, there were several wines available there that weren't anywhere else onboard, which was a problem to begin with on Princess once you settle in for pre-dinner quaff and then have to transport your glass of wine to the MDR where it's not available. We prefer wine over beer. I see that Celebrity did a similar switch to a gastropub onboard some their ships, but their excellent wine selection and service continued unabated in their MDR. Hope Princess takes a cue from them and does the same - when and if this all gets back to normal. The dinner service for wine leaves much to be desired on Princess.
  2. As far as I know, that's the policy now for bev paks. I can relate that our last three cruises with the package all abided by the pay the difference standard. A couple of the bartenders have told us that it is indeed a policy now.
  3. There's a lot to like about Viking Ocean - the food is terrific and plentiful, the ship is beautiful, no kids, and the access to the awesome spa is open to all. For a World Cruise however, it may get a bit small. The cabins are well-appointed but tight unless you're in a full suite. The entertainment is heavily geared towards classical music and rather amateurish stage shows by the crew entertainers, not counting the local acts that they bring in which are usually quite good. There's usually a "pop" musician as well, often a solo guitarist - it can get a bit repetitive on a long cruise. They do have a swell jazz club, but we didn't hear any live jazz on our 28-day jaunt as none was to be heard. As noted on this thread, all-inclusive does not include the Silver Beverage package which, if you are a tippler, is a great deal (much less than the big cruise lines) and needed. Our 28-day cruise was just enough personally. I really wouldn't to spend 180 days on a ship this size with the limitations as stated.
  4. Domaine Chandon by the glass at the Vines only is included in the package. Or, for a dollar or two extra, there's a real Champagne by the glass at Crooners.
  5. Our much-anticipated Rome to Fort Lauderdale Maiden crossing on the Enchanted (10/25/20) was cancelled and our July 2021 Island Copenhagen-London remains in the balance, although we're not as optimistic as we usually are about such matters. Still a full year away, but skeptical that full airline service, open ports, and fully functioning cruise ships will be up and running by then, particularly after another fall/winter wave if one should occur (let's all hope not!) The cancellation did give us time to reflect on the past cruises, which were kind of blurring together after a while. We were talking the other day that this may be the longest period we ever went without cruising after our first cruise - could be over two years, maybe more. Strange days, indeed.
  6. If you call in your breakfast order, you can order a plain or cheese omelet, hard or soft boiled egg(s), or a fried egg. Of course, this was all before March.
  7. We switched back as well after years of ATD also. Princess changed the late seating to 7:15 or & 7:30 from the previous 8:15 slot which helped our decision. We agree that the whole ATD process became a bit uncomfortable after a while. It should be interesting to see how the whole cruise experience changes once the ships return to service. I think the return really won't come until an effective preventative for the virus is available. Let's hope sooner than later.
  8. May I add another: supply chain. Over the past few long cruises that we've been on, we have become attuned to the resupply issues that a ship experiences. The cruise lines have a robust international supply chain that delivers fresh foods, spirits and wines, paper goods, and a whole host of other goods to the ships on an on-going basis - at a variety of ports. These purveyors, in turn, rely on their own supply chain to have these goods in stock for exactly when they needed. Recently, on a Hawaiian/Tahitian RT out of LA, we were amazed at the number of fully loaded containers that met the ship in Tahiti - God knows where the goods came from to get to Tahiti! It took the crew all day to unload these containers aboard. On another cruise, we missed a port that was deliver goods to the ship - some of the staff shared their concerns about this us, although short-lived; the goods were somehow moved to our next port to greet us. Point is, there's a whole network of buyers, producers, purveyors, and transport people involved and these folks haven't seen a cruise ship in months - some may be out of service permanently. Not an exaggeration to suggest that whole new network will have be cobbled together to support the return of cruising.
  9. I think one thing is for sure - it is the end of cruising as we knew it. As several posters in this thread have opined, there are many other alternatives. The cruise lines not only compete with one another, but with many other forms of travel and leisure that arguably will be better positioned to rebound in a post-pandemic environment. Of course, that is if we ever reach that promised land. The first casualty will be the recent ship-building boom - we are seeing, at the least, significant down-sizing of the industry with perhaps less cruise companies. Demand will slow, and the public will be less forgiving for being exposed to any contagious illness while on vacation. Frankly, the only times my wife and I have been ill with virus and/or flu-like symptoms in the last few years has been on or immediately after a cruise. A few years ago, on a TA, my wife and many other passengers experienced a respiratory illness onboard resulting in a expensive visits to the ship's MD and a course of treatment. It happens - a lot. The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated these little annoyances to a grand scale. On each of out last three (3) long cruises, the ship had to divert back to it's home port earlier than scheduled to deliver critically ill passenger's to a hospital. Yes, people do get sick on long cruises but this problem has increased in recent years to where it's almost expected that we will have to divert or experience a airlift rescue at sea. That's not hyperbole, that's a fact. The Great Cruise Boom is over just as it was taking hold. We are so glad we took the trips that we did when we did. We always justified them by agreeing that we should do it now, while we can, before we are too infirm to travel. Well, we did and we would do more if this hadn't happened, accepting the risks by preparing as much as we could to avoid them. The last cruise, in February, we carried hand sanitizer everywhere. We avoided touching the handrails on the ship as much as possible - handrails being one of the prime hot spots for virus transmission and one of the most ignored ones by the cruise companies. My wife wrote to Princess about the handrail problem last year. She got a nice reply back stating that the line would enact additional procedures to counter this problem - taking her suggestion that hand sanitizer stations should be stationed at every stairwell - they didn't follow through as far as we could see on our last cruise. With increased vigilance on our part, we finally broke our streak of getting sick onboard. No matter how much the cruise lines do, however, to mitigate the threat of contagion on ships, the bigger problem always be careless, unsanitary passengers. And that too is a fact. How the cruise line addresses this issue is anyone's guess. We have already seen some rather clumsy suggestions from the industry. It's a big world out there. The future of travel is spreading out, not clustering. As much as we enjoy cruising, we would be very hesitant about getting back onboard without significant changes in providing a safe, sanitary environment on any conveyance post COVID-19.
  10. I agree. I don't see any significant change in behaviors without a vaccine or quick-acting cure. Are we going to wear masks onboard? What fun! And what port would allow cruise ships to dock? We're sitting this out until the payment is due in July hoping, I suppose, for a miracle. More realistically, we expect another suspension announcement from Princess by July. Obviously, very sad times for thr cruise industry.
  11. We left LA on February 1st aboard the Emerald for a 28 day RT calling on Hawaii, Samoa, and Tahiti. During the five day trip to Hawaii, we were informed by the Captain (Steven Lewis) that the Samoan ports are not allowing us to dock without a comprehensive health check/clearance, so those ports (Pago Pago & Apea) were off the schedule. Princess quickly reacted and added two more ports in Hawaii (Kona & Hilo) and some extra time in Tahiti. The cruise was wonderful - although there was some coughing and what appeared at the time to be minor illnesses aboard, there was no widespread viruses that we knew of then. In hindsight, there may of been Coronavirus aboard based on what we recall seeing from a couple of friends that we met onboard went through. We all kind of kept our fingers crossed on the way back to LA - by then the crisis was all over the news - but made it back OK on the 29th. The airports at that time were operating a full capacity. Seems like a long time ago now.
  12. Bottom line on this situation and on any event that includes crowds. I can't see how anyone would take a chance without an effective preventative. We're in for long, long period of social distancing and self-directed preventative measures. Sad, but true.
  13. Let's face it - without a vaccine and/or a quick acting cure med, it's going to be social distancing and face masks for the foreseeable future. A vaccine is a minimum of one year away, probably longer.
  14. jimmieg: According to the Princess Wiki page: " It was previously a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, and is currently under Holland America Group within Carnival Corporation & plc , which holds executive control over the Princess Cruises brand." Certainly Jan Schwartz appears to call the shots for Princess, but apparently she reports to the Holland America Group's CEO, a chap named Stein Kruse. Mr. Kruse oversees, under the Holland America Group umbrella, Princess, Holland American, Seabourn, and the P&O subsidiaries. Holland American and the others have their own CEO's as well, as you noted. I suppose Mr. Kruse in turn reports to Arison of Carnival. Here's a link to Holland's Exec profile page: https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/our-company/executive-team.html Now where their responsibilities cross over is not clear - that's a lot of bosses!
  15. That's an interesting scenario given that none of us can predict the demand level after this crisis. Some folks on SM have been declaring the end of the cruise era. I'm not in that corner, but I do think that the peak demand we saw before this situation will not be seen again for some time. This will result from a combination of factors: economic, societal, and the lingering effects from cruises being at the forefront of recent communicable diseases. That said, we should all find it interesting that Princess and Holland have been under the same management team since 2013. Arguably Princess has had, up until now, the higher brand profile of the two but this crisis may change that perception among consumers. It would be a shame to see the brand expire but that's among the least of our worries now I suppose.
  16. We're on the Oct 25th as well. I have to wonder not only about the readiness of the ship, but the readiness of the company at that point. Not to speculate, but clearly we're in uncharted waters (no pun intended) throughout the world right now. It's difficult to imagine how another two weeks (if we're lucky) of an international shutdown will affect our plans - plans which seem like folly right now.
  17. Nice idea, Steelers0854! There have been many great moments, moments that last forever, that have occurred on Princess ships. We're just off a 28 day LA-Hawaii-Tahiti-LA run on the Emerald that produced a few more. Funny how the trip seems a blur when you just get off, but the moments slowly come back to you over time - or is that just old age?! But the the best, as many other things in life, was the first one. That entire cruise, in 1992 for me (my wife goes back even further to the Sitmar days), on the old classic Star Princess was one great moment. We sailed from Venice to Rome, into the Black Sea and Odessa, Yalta, and Istanbul in addition to several of the Greek Islands. Pure magic. One moment does continue to stand out and is the basis for so many great moments over the years: It was in a lounge/caviar bar on the Star. There was a waiter there named Bong. I ordered a martini one night and the night after, Bong greeted me by name and asked if I would like a martini, extra dry, straight up with olive - just as I ordered it the night before for the first time onboard. I felt like a star! I often wonder what became of Bong and I'm reminded of him every time a bartender or waiter/waitress on Princess greets me to this day. The staff and crew of Princess are what brings me back - they are wonderful people who do a very hard job graciously and with heart. Yes, there's a few less so once in awhile, but overall it's the great service that stands out.
  18. We disembarked the Emerald, after a wonderful 28 day cruise, yesterday. We were informed a couple of days ago by Captain Steven Lewis that we would be speeding up our return to San Pedro due to a dire medical emergency, hence the early arrival. Additionally, there were hearsay reports of a passenger falling in their bathtub and fracturing his/her hip. There was no widespread illness aboard although the medical office was quite busy with various maladies as unfortunately fairly common on a long cruise with many elderly folks. I can understand the media attention but the Emerald did not have any of the dreaded cruise afflictions that has everyone's attention these days - let's all be clear about that. The long delays in disembarking and embarking on the next cruise were the result of Customs personnel simply being overwhelmed by two large ships at the same time. Hats off to the polite and efficient Customs personnel for handling the situation as good as they did. I'll end with best wishes for the passengers who required medical attention, for there but for the grace of God go all of us.
  19. As far I know, no. We're on a 28 day now and it hasn't been replenished. Interestingly, it is replenished for back-to-backs.
  20. Aboard the Emerald 28 day LA RT Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti. Just received word from the Captain that both port calls in Samoa (Pago Pago & Apia) have been cancelled due to the coronavirus issue. More details are forthcoming but the Emerald will extend in Hawaii in place of the Samoan ports. Cruise is wonderful so far!
  21. We've been on many ships as well and also noticed a lot more movement on the Crown than the others during our TA cruise last September. It was never bad really, but considerably more unstable than we have been used to. Of course, there was the usual grumbling about the ship among some of the passengers. My wife opined that if we had satin sheets she would have slipped out of the bed a couple nights!
  22. Yes, no problem. The bartenders at the Vines will ask you to switch your glass from the Riedels used at the Vines to a standard wine glass to go. Sometimes, you may get a wait team in the MDR that will go to the Vines for refills for you, but that's not standard procedure - and sometimes you may be allowed to take your Riedel with you as long as you return it to the Vines, but that's not standard procedure either.
  23. It should be noted that by-the-glass selections are considerably broader in "The Vines" bar, than in any other bar or restaurant on board.
  24. For men, no open-toe type of shoe. For women, comfortable flats are fine it seems.
  25. We used to do the same - only the embarkation photo, we had a collection of them. But guess what, they don't do the embarkation photo anymore in the manner that they used to. They now take the photo and put in a porthole frame but no itinerary or ship name anymore. So, no photo for us either.
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