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Vineyard View

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Everything posted by Vineyard View

  1. I had an interesting dialogue with the TA we have used for years. I sent details on the price increases that I posted earlier on this thread, including dollar and percentage (ie:28% next vs this year same itinerary/cabin category). I suggested that future pricing more resembles luxury lines which are including excursions (which are no interest to us). They are big sellers of SB, and they are noticing the same, but apparently the new direction from SB is that this year’s January sales event will represent the best sale/price of the year. I sincerely hope that this turns out not to be the case (after all we just started April). Clearly I have no influence, but since we could not book in January, we may have missed out. If anyone hears differently, please let us know! We were sincerely hoping to rebook Seabourn post medical for next year.
  2. We are discussing land vs sea for next year. Pricing is really jumping up on all the lines. We had a 14 day Med cruise booked on Marina, departing next month, but a surgery got in the way of travel this year. Looking at a similar itinerary on Marina next May, and a 10 day itinerary is more expensive than the 14 day, same cabin category was this year. We love being on a ship, our floating hotel, and enjoying ports on our own or private. But these cost increases give pause….who knows, maybe there will be a Summer promotion more attractive than a hotel night included, which is of zero interest. If we decide on a land trip, we will DIY. The idea of traveling in a bus or van on a regimented schedule with people we do not know is not appealing to us. When we did safari, we went with friends and had the jeeps booked for just us four, and that worked out really well 90+% of the time, so it was a huge win. If we travel by land to Europe next year, we will find 2- 3 ‘home bases’ during a two week time, so that we aren’t packing and unpacking all the time. That has worked well for us in the past. No matter which way the coin lands, cost of admission has certainly gone up!
  3. We have always booked our own air (international, we do our best to use miles), and I always research hotels on my own. I actually enjoy that process, and have rarely been disappointed in the outcome. If I am, then I only have myself to blame. Cruise hotel packages are hugely inflated in pricing from what I have seen, and not always where we would choose to stay. I will give up included transfers to have those choices. That said, we have friends who prefer someone else do all the booking - air and hotel. Different choices for different travel styles.
  4. I sincerely hope that you find an alternative that is even better to honor your Mom, with your family. I hope that it will work out in a way, that upon reflection, it was supposed to. I am sorry that you went through all of this angst.
  5. Of course. It is simple math. That is why the cost pp is so low. I am guessing most on this forum, and other premium/luxury lines understand how this works. At the end of the day, I also think that most of us on these forums are here because we have no desire to experience that outcome in experience. In time, there will be a lot of factors influencing the bigger ships, and where they are able to travel. Will 1400 pax stay at the top end of premium cruise lines? Will people be willing to pay for the premium cost of sailing on these ships vs luxury smaller ships, of it comes to that? IDK. It,e will tell.
  6. Which is why this trend to increase ship size is head scratching to me. The huge monsters that are floating cities - I don’t get it. But even this announcement is a direction that I wonder about in the premium cruise segment.
  7. I have lived in Sonoma County for 45 years. Napa is 30 minutes away. Over the years, we have visited countless tasting rooms (we love good wine), in both counties. Here, tasting rooms are perceived to be wine tasting rooms. Restaurants are not called tasting rooms. So it seems to be a bit of a play on words here, or written by someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. Or both. Wine tasting rooms may, or may not have food. Some offer amazing wine/food pairings. But in general, ‘tasting rooms’ are absolutely associated with going to wineries. If the writer was referring to restaurants here, they run the spectrum from casual, to Michelin star. Do most of the ‘fine dining’ restaurants here offer tablecloths? Yes! I would say that they do. But those are not ‘tasting rooms’.
  8. The one thing that I would say is that the larger the ship, the larger the port required for docking…..which puts it at places/space requirements that are significantly different. The much smaller ships are able to avoid the large ports, which can be viewed as an advantage or not based on travel experience/objectives. 450/600 guests vs 1400 is a substantial difference regardless of space ratio - but again and to your point, it won’t be a big deal to some, and will to others.
  9. 1400 is certainly a bump up…..1200 was as well. I guess if the ships keep filling, it is a good decision. We personally prefer under 1k pax, but that doesn’t change these decisions. Not sure we would gravitate towards that size. Who knows. We will all be older then - decision parameters may be different than they are today. These new builds, understandably exciting to many, does put to question, at least in my mind, where the arguments go regarding all the current cost cutting in food, services, etc - -all due to debt post Covid that is justification. Hopefully the brand doesn’t change too much moving forward ‘due to debt post Covid’ that the value proposition changes even more by the time the new ships launch. That said, it is encouraging that significant investment is being put into Oceania with two new builds.
  10. My initial response is totally agreement. Then I had to erase my thoughts - If that passenger only drinks their wine or whatever in their cabin and does not want to drink elsewhere, it does not impact me ( unless they are totally irresponsible drinkers). But I don’t know their situation. DH and I totally enjoy having drinks on the balcony at times, but it has nothing to do with avoiding corkage fees!
  11. We love good wine. When we travel, and we are in a place that has good regional wines that we cannot get at home, we enjoy picking up a few bottles in port to bring on board. If we are land traveling, we do the same. It’s for us, about experiencing different flavor profiles that we don’t have available in our wine region. We are happy to pay the corkage fee to enjoy it at dinner. We also order bottles at times from the wine list on the cruise line offerings. Where we live, it is very common to bring a bottle of wine to dinner at a restaurant. I am sure that is quite a bit different from what you are referring to. I believe that I understand your reference. I just do believe that it does not need to be offensive, cheap, nor made a big deal to bring a nice bottle of wine to dinner. We pay for an upgraded package if we want to be able to enjoy cocktails and (on some lines) a wider selection of wines by the glass. We don’t bring it (or any other liquor) on board to drink in our cabin to avoid paying for it on the ship.
  12. OP never posted this cost. It was an arbitrary number as an example posted by blag. I was not referring to that at all in my post, as the $1,200 was brought up afterwards, but yes, if I saw an offer for $1,200 in a cc for 7 days I would question it. I have followed pricing for a few years, and average pricing on a 9-14 day in a cc averages much more. I still cannot find a way to defend the company, any cruise line, in the situation that the OP is in. The company owns the error. Legal loop holes or not. To do absolutely nothing just does not seem right.
  13. Thank you for responding to me. I appreciate these details. As I said, we are not looking to book SS but the comment about the corporatization made me wonder what that was about with respect to Azamara. Seems that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction with several lines. More so than in the past.
  14. No disrespect meant. I am curious if you have experienced SS recently with their changes you are referring from corporate vs how it was prior? While we don’t closely follow lines with included excursions (and pricing), I have read some very positive reviews regarding their new class of ships.
  15. As a prospective Azamara customer, I am not too far off from OP who has just one Az cruise in their history. In reading through this thread, there seems to be some interesting perspective that OP should have known the fare they booked was unreasonable enough to expect a huge additional invoice after full payment. For arguments sake, Let’s just say I am looking for a special cruise - to honor a special event/request, etc. and I find an itinerary that is attractive and listed on the website as a special sale. All cruise lines offer ‘special sales’. It fits my timeframe and my budget, and I can honor a special request for family. I book the cruise, thinking all is good and start the ancillary planning of airfare, etc. Fast forward and the money I paid is no longer valid, due to a website error, and if I want to take this trip I need to pony up significant additional money to take this trip. As that new person to Az, do I sincerely know that it was an obviously wrong rate? Am I all of a sudden the person in the wrong instead of the company that to seasoned Az travelers might wonder if it is “an obviously wrong rate” ? And even if I am a seasoned Az traveler, and I caught a great sale, should I just accept that it was a website error? IMO. Regardless of the legal loopholes sited, this just seems ethically wrong to a pretty large degree. I am having a pretty tough time finding the majority of fault here with OP. I sincerely hope that this all gets straightened out. Don’t give up!
  16. It’s really encouraging to hear that the quality and variety of food on Vista is mostly meeting - sometimes exceeding - expectations Hiltner! Thank you for your continued reporting. I would agree that the too often and too long CD announcements would be off putting- at best. Likely annoying. Makes one ponder why the CD feels that they are so important. When dining we usually are not in a hurry. We just mostly order one course at a time. We also do the same with starting with our wine and not ordering any food at that point. For the most part it allows us to pace our meal. If there is something that takes the chef a little longer to prepare we have found the server generally will inform us of that. I would not prefer my main brought as soon as my app is cleared away, or my dessert brought as soon as the main is cleared. For the most part, this has worked well.
  17. I read this happening quite a bit johnthomas. I would think that corporate, even in this short amount of time, has had the opportunity to recognize the input regarding the excursion piece by now. It is not sounding as it is uncommon with SM.
  18. This is all really good Information to have regarding drink packages. I can see why waiting a couple of days makes sense to decide, since O does not require the package for the entire cruise. We generally upgrade our drink package on lines that do not include most all offered. For is, it just keeps it simple. If we want a cocktail before dinner, or a port/after dinner drink…..or a Bloody Mary on a sea day by the pool….whatever, we don’t have to really think about it. Everyone has their different preferences, so it is really great to have options like Oceania offers. Including, and especially bringing wine on board from local ports!
  19. Thank you for your continued review of your first Oceania sailing. Your descriptions of lunch at Waves had me chuckling! If you and your DW ever find yourselves visiting Sonoma County, lmk! DH and I would be happy to provide a much better wine tasting experience at a more favorable price point! 😉 I look forward to your continued review!
  20. Again, consistent inconsistency. Is there a vehicle that Azamara has to provide feedback to Miami? From reading this thread, it sure sounds as if someone at the top needs to step it up in a big way. I know you have sailed Azamara a lot as well.
  21. Thank you for your review of your most recent experience. Your vast amount of sailing experience with Azamara brings a lot of knowledge of product and expectation. I am sorry to hear that your recent sailing missed the mark on multiple levels. That is disappointing. Not having sailed in that part of the world, do you think supply availability had any impact on food? I haven’t read that before but I don’t follow those itineraries. The inconsistent service, and cutbacks mentioned, I believe, would be noticeable to most people who sail in this category. I hope that your Onward journey in September proves to be much better for you and your friends on such an important occasion.
  22. Thank you Chucktownsteve for this analysis. We have not sailed on Regent, so I cannot compare. I agree that there are always complainers on the four boards that I mostly follow. When the same complaints become consistent (ie: inconsistency on Az, skipped/reduced ports on Oceania) some legitimacy tends to develop. That said, I agree that no line is perfect. I agree that first out itineraries aes generally the time to book. I missed that window for next Spring. I think it is a good thing to have a couple of lines that you are comfortable with and can enjoy. It opens up more itineraries and options. You finding that with Regent and Azamara provides that for you. Again, thanks for your comparisons.
  23. But if that happens, who does a person call who uses flightease given the time/hour question OP is worried about during the connection, should things go sideways during off hours for SB customer service and TA with time differences.
  24. Again, I thank you. I wasn’t completely clear on the party atmosphere statement. I honestly think that Azamara would be a fun line to cruise on. The R ship size of bathrooms and space prior to suites is my own, and DH, hesitation.. Yes, I clearly accept that this works for so many people. Not just with Azamara R ships.
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