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Cruise Critic Chris

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About Cruise Critic Chris

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    Managing Editor

About Me

  • Location
    Bucks County, PA
  • Interests
    Foodie Spoken Here
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  1. Absolutely no kids on our Thanksgiving cruise on SeaDream II last year. In fact, barely any people at all! It was so pleasant that we booked SeaDream I for this Thanksgiving, although who knows.....
  2. Hi all - I'm currently working on a story for Cruise Critic about the private and charter air programs that the different luxury cruise lines have -- and whether these will become more popular in the post-COVID-19 world. Would you be more likely to splurge on private or charter air, once cruising resumes? Let me know your thoughts.
  3. Wanted to update everyone here with our article. The economist said that it was an assumption for their model, and not a government policy. Also statement from NCL: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/5371/
  4. In case you missed our article: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/5362/
  5. Hi all! Our crack UK staff was onboard. Here's our First Impressions: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/5124/. Also Cruise Critic has a great walkthrough video that we did. If you click the Scarlet Lady story, you'll find it: https://www.instagram.com/cruisecritic/
  6. Well, I enjoyed SeaDream II so much over Thanksgiving last year....I'm going again this year! This time, I'll be on SeaDream I. Some overlap in islands, but I'm particularly happy to be going to Bequia, which is one of my favorites. Now that I found an excellent St. Martin hotel, too, I think we'll stay an extra night there after the cruise. This is another wine voyage too. I have more than a few cruises before now and Thanksgiving, but my husband and I will definitely be looking forward to this one.
  7. Just a note that we here at Cruise Critic are tracking the ship too --- we've been told it's going to happen but you never know until you know!
  8. My second article from the trip, about the wine voyage program with Armand de Brignac, is now live: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/4834/
  9. Jumping in to say hello. I'll be on this inaugural sailing (with a colleague to follow on the first seven-day voyage). Looking forward to the hoopla and excitement of a new ship, particularly on the West Coast!
  10. 🙂 It's fun to read this! Don and I did what we always do, which is float between all the groups and say hello. Just call me Switzerland. 🇨🇭 I did miss the incident with the older man swimming off the back, although another passenger told me about it. Good on you, Tiki, for being there when you were! That sounded rather scary. We did show up for trivia night, having slept through the entire music "Battle Royale" the night before, and no one was there. Oh well. I apparently channeled all my competitiveness into Jenga at Foxy's! 😂Gareth took a photo of me with my "game face" on. My family won't let me live this one down for a while!
  11. Hi all! I'm pulling together an article on Cruise Critic about the absolute best things to eat and drink on Norwegian Encore -- and would love your suggestions! I was on the ship when it was in New York a few weeks ago, and was able to dine at a few places (including Onda by Scarpetta -- yum!) But some of you have been on the ship for longer voyages, and so I'd love your input. So how about it? What dining delights, specialty or complimentary, would you tell your friends and family not to miss? Any favorite cocktails onboard? (I love almost any of the spicier drinks from the Sugarcane Mojito bar!) Chris
  12. Here's our article. Not much more to add, unfortunately: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/4817/
  13. Hi all - I'm just off SeaDream II. I was on the same Nov. 23 sailing as TikiMan and MrsTiki and had fun meeting them and everyone else onboard. Rather than hijack his delightful thread, I'm going to put my coverage from the sailing here. As TikiMan noted, there were only 31 people on our sailing. The other ship had low numbers too. Mass kudos to SeaDream for not consolidating these sailings. I think a publicly owned cruise line would have gone down that route with numbers so low. Other luxury lines also report low numbers during Thanksgiving -- I was on Silver Muse two years ago with low numbers and I had a friend on Viking Ocean this week who told me her cruise was also undersold. So it's a good time to go on a luxury ship, if you want to avoid the crowds. That's also the inspiration for my first SeaDream article: Six Reasons to Take a Luxury Cruise at Thanksgiving. With such low numbers and an amazing crew:passenger ratio, the service onboard was unbelievable. Truly, the best I've had. I mean, it should be with those numbers but it was still worth noting. What I like about SeaDream is that you get to know the crew -- other luxury lines can take a more hands-off approach. I like this version of service. I'm now following several of the crew members on Instagram, for example, and I can see why people book to sail with certain crew. The dining, too, was excellent. Again, it should be with this number of people, but it's noteworthy nonetheless. I love that they've replaced the raw menu with a vegan menu. I sampled some of these dishes and found them delicious. This cruise was also a wine voyage -- I have a separate article coming out about that, and will post the link once it's live. The ships do feel old, and it's a bit of a downer not to have a balcony. I understand that they'll be refurbing in 2020. This isn't a cruise that I'd recommend to people who don't drink or who expect more in the way of entertainment. Luckily, my husband and I are fine with a more low-key approach and had plenty of fun with outings to Foxy's and the bike ride to Sunshine's. The splash party at Jost Van Dyke was super fun. On another note, I hadn't been back to some of these islands since the 2017 hurricanes, so it was nice to see their recovery. I had visited St. Martin on the first cruise ship back to the island after Irma and it looked awful; I was concerned that it would never come back. I'm happy to report that Grand Case is still one of the culinary capitals of the Caribbean; it's worth staying on the French side before or after Marigot embarkations/debarkations. Also great to see the beach bars rebuilt on Jost, and St. Barths back to its normal self. We had so much fun, in fact, that we're eyeing next year's Thanksgiving itinerary on SeaDream I. 🙂
  14. Hi all - We at Cruise Critic just received word that SeaDream is canceling their contract to build SeaDream Innovation. Here's what they told us: "SeaDream Yacht Club and Damen have in good faith and with mutual understanding decided not to proceed with the building of a new ship for SeaDream. Both parties are open to potential future projects and collaboration. All guests booked on SeaDream Innovation will be contacted and issued full refunds in the coming days. SeaDream is actively pursuing other newbuild opportunities and hopes to announce a new ship in 2020. The existing fleet of two ships, SeaDream I and II, continue performing well, with the company seeing record revenue years. Current plans of refurbishing the suites on SeaDream I and II will proceed as previously announced and planned – starting with SeaDream II in spring 2020." We're getting a story out and will put up a link when it's live. Some context that a lot of the small ships are having trouble being built on time and to spec. That's because the cruise business is booming, and the big shipyards like Meyer-Werft and Fincantieri are booked up for years. Expect even more delays for Ritz-Carlton, for example.
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