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Spif Barwunkel

TIMES ARE A CHANGIN' WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?.

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5 minutes ago, ABoatNerd said:

We are Elite Plus. Have not cruised Celebrity since 2015. The continual cutbacks, elimination of ship related venues like the Sky Lounge and the class segmentation will not allow us to book Celebrity.

 

We then moved up to the premium lines to acquire the real ships attributes like forward views, full access to the ship and excellent quality service and food - for ALL. Was good for a while.

 

Over the past 2 years, even the premium lines, especially Oceania, have cut back a lot on food and service, so do not think that moving up gives you a better product (check reviews for Oceania from long time regulars, yikes). They are cutting back because they know some patrons of the mass lines are dissatisfied and are moving up to them (us and our group in the past) - so yes more business, so cut back and enhance corporate profits, cause the newbies do not know the earlier product. Not.

 

Given the cuts backs at the premium level, like many who have posted here and elsewhere on CC, we moved most of our travel to land based vacations where we have received the quality and attentiveness and the link to the land, people, the food and history that cruising does not mostly deliver.

 

A trend I notice is that the ship has become the focus, not the itinerary. That is cool, if that is what you want.

 

Prior to 2012, we booked knowing the great food, service etc would be there, every year. That changed in 2012.. That certainty is not there any more.

 

Consider what you need and want from a vacation and look at your options, cruises are just one of many options.

 

 

I guess if you are not having a rewarding experience even on premium/luxury lines then probably I would agree with you that other vacation choices might be better for you.  I am no where near that point.  I love to just walk on a ship.  Still gets me excited.  I honestly do not really care if the food was better 10 or 20 years ago.  I am cruising and enjoying it now.  Why focus on the past and what your perception of it was?  Why start with that and be continually disappointed? Just enjoy today!  You are on a cruise!

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13 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

I guess if you are not having a rewarding experience even on premium/luxury lines then probably I would agree with you that other vacation choices might be better for you.  I am no where near that point.  I love to just walk on a ship.  Still gets me excited.  I honestly do not really care if the food was better 10 or 20 years ago.  I am cruising and enjoying it now.  Why focus on the past and what your perception of it was?  Why start with that and be continually disappointed? Just enjoy today!  You are on a cruise!

That is true...you are on a cruise and the alternative could be worst.  🙂

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1 hour ago, TeeRick said:

I guess if you are not having a rewarding experience even on premium/luxury lines then probably I would agree with you that other vacation choices might be better for you.  I am no where near that point.  I love to just walk on a ship.  Still gets me excited.  I honestly do not really care if the food was better 10 or 20 years ago.  I am cruising and enjoying it now.  Why focus on the past and what your perception of it was?  Why start with that and be continually disappointed? Just enjoy today!  You are on a cruise!

I feel just like you do when I "just walk on a ship", nothing better. Sure I like all the bells and whistles, good food, etc, on some cruises I have had them and some not (my first cruise - a solo - was in 1971 and since then I have taken many, many more, sometimes on my own, sometimes not). Yes, some cruises are better than others but bad ones are still experiences, and to me experiences are way, way better than things. 

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I love cruising, but budget realities and the rising cost of cruising has made it a serious luxury for us. We haven't been on Celebrity in years as a result. I am so looking forward to being back on my favourite ship, Silhouette, in March, because I know it will be a very long time before I get to travel again.

 

I've always enjoyed Celebrity's product, although it's definitely declined since I started cruising the line in the early 2000s. We were gifted an Oceania cruise for our honeymoon and liked a lot about it, but they seemed less able to cope with DH's allergies since nuts are more prevalent there. We opted not to go with them again for safety reasons. We have had one allergy issue on Celebrity but there are simply fewer nuts around since they're so expensive- it feels less worrisome to us.

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Oh well- I agree with some posters who mentioned their cruises with X are getting more rare! I switched to Cunard a few years ago, after sailing X for 15 years straight and exclusive - at least twice a year. Maybe it is me- getting on in years ( born 1968)- not yet in my dotting years- but still.

My two main reasons are:

1. Loud, canned music everywhere ( to attract a younger bunch of people... )

2. No more real Prommenade Decks anymore

3. The overall experience has changed- and not for the better

 

I still come back from time to time because X is still a touch better then the other mass market lines. I tried HAL- they failed totaly - two cruises were enough.

So it is Cunard- first choice and then X.

Cunard - as many friends of mine thing also- is a bit like the old Celebrity!

Cunards Queens  are - for ships buffs, like me- perfect!

 

 

 

 

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What I have observed first hand and via our group who travels together, as well as CC posts and reviews - is the past consistency of value of cruising is declining rapidly.

 

Having cruised from 1989 to about 2012, there were modest price increases but the product was consistent and could be counted on - no matter what cruise line. That encouraged our many repeat bookings.

 

From 2012 onwards were cut backs that increased over the years until now, where myself and our group do not TRUST any cruise line to deliver what they advertise. Hence none of us 35 consumers have cruises booked. 

 

While we too enjoy being on a ship, being on a ship does not offset receiving declining value as a consumer. We do not and will not overlook the declining value of cruising and being on a ship does not offset the ridiculous booking process and pricing schemes all deliberately crafted to hose the consumer.

 

Cruising is only one way of seeing the world, so we are now thriving on customized land travels.

 

It is interesting that people seem much more mobile moving from their prior favorite lines to other lines - a definite change from the past.

 

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On 12/30/2019 at 7:38 PM, Cruise Junky said:

A couple of people have mentioned Celebrity's fabulous itineraries... I don't see them that way.

 

 

I have to agree with you and when they do have different, unusual itineraries, they cut them and return the ships to the same old ports in the Caribbean 🙄.

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Not loyal to any cruise line.  Like many of them.  For us Celebrity works when they offer an interesting itinerary.  We like the large inside and outside cabins (compared to others like Princess, smaller Oceania ships, etc.); not interested in paying for a suite on any of the mass market lines; too pricey and delivers very little value for us.  So our loyalty depends on what kind of vacation we are looking for.  True travel, total relaxation, or a combination.

 

Nice to have the choices.

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4 hours ago, ABoatNerd said:

What I have observed first hand and via our group who travels together, as well as CC posts and reviews - is the past consistency of value of cruising is declining rapidly.

 

Having cruised from 1989 to about 2012, there were modest price increases but the product was consistent and could be counted on - no matter what cruise line. That encouraged our many repeat bookings.

 

From 2012 onwards were cut backs that increased over the years until now, where myself and our group do not TRUST any cruise line to deliver what they advertise. Hence none of us 35 consumers have cruises booked. 

 

While we too enjoy being on a ship, being on a ship does not offset receiving declining value as a consumer. We do not and will not overlook the declining value of cruising and being on a ship does not offset the ridiculous booking process and pricing schemes all deliberately crafted to hose the consumer.

 

Cruising is only one way of seeing the world, so we are now thriving on customized land travels.

 

It is interesting that people seem much more mobile moving from their prior favorite lines to other lines - a definite change from the past.

 

Outstanding!, one of the best post ever. We echo it 100%, in it's entirety. We started cruising in 2003, at the advice of many of our friends, and couldn't go often enough, until about seven years ago when the experience started to deteriorate. We knew about 15-20 couples that were "cruiseaholics", now we know none. We live in a very affluent retirement community and money wasn't the issue, the value for price paid is and that's what everyone  gives as a reason for quitting. Not everyone had the same favorite line, or ship, but when we got together nobody bashed anybody when they talked about their trip. We understood everybody has different wants and needs and if their particular choice made them happy, good for them. We have found a new favorite in MSC and none of our friends have ever been on the line, but the just sit back and listen, they don't bring up negative reviews or gossip they may have heard about it.

It's like quitting smoking, it's really hard when you first stop, but it gets easier with time and according to our friends, after awhile, it's just a fading distant memory.

 

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grandgeezer, thank you. Back at you on your many posts!

 

Also, thanks to the many Celebrity and other cruisers who post their analysis, all of it is all vital to understanding the cruise industry of the past, today and the future. 

 

Having spent my career in marketing - I understand, and acknowledge, but do not accept at all,  the bull that the cruise lines are pouring out of their pores today - all designed to extract money. It was not always this way in cruising - there used to be a pride in the product and care of the passenger - this has disappeared, particularly on Celebrity, our former favorite line. 

 

My point is this - it is not about cruising dear CC posters - it is about being a consumer of anything (cruises, cars, restaurants etc), and being vigilant about ensuring you receive good value for what you paid. 

 

I read many posts on CC where posters have stated they have received less product than before, but then have another cruise booked. This consumer behavior plays into the hands of the cruise lines - or restaurant owners, or vehicle manufacturers.

 

I am quite frustrated these days with consumers who seem to have abandoned their own interests - they have delegated it to the cruise lines, restaurants etc. Our household and friends have fired a couple of local Ontario, Canada restaurants - Milestones and Jack Astors because they eliminated quality entrees and substituted cheap bowel meals with no protein. Not on our time or dime you corporations.

 

Perhaps I am more vigilant due to my past career, but having retired from marketing, I am an advocate for consumers these days. 

 

Us and our large group moved from Celebrity to Oceania because of the cut backs in the mass lines - well that was a major disappointment - the food quality is not there, the Oceania tendency to miss ports/late ports was a big, big hit on us, the most arrogant on board management, not at all what we anticipated. Our experiences seem to have been reflected in the CC reviews of Oceania these days.

 

We can move around cruise lines, but there remains the same assault on the consumer - aided by a strong world economy.

 

Every consumer has a role in ensuring the consumer, YOU, not the provider, remains supreme. It seems many CC posters do not act on this vital principle of consumer behavior.

 

This is my analysis, everyone has their own.

 

I, and our group wish everyone great and safe travels.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ABoatNerd said:

grandgeezer, thank you. Back at you on your many posts!

 

Also, thanks to the many Celebrity and other cruisers who post their analysis, all of it is all vital to understanding the cruise industry of the past, today and the future. 

 

Having spent my career in marketing - I understand, and acknowledge, but do not accept at all,  the bull that the cruise lines are pouring out of their pores today - all designed to extract money. It was not always this way in cruising - there used to be a pride in the product and care of the passenger - this has disappeared, particularly on Celebrity, our former favorite line. 

 

My point is this - it is not about cruising dear CC posters - it is about being a consumer of anything (cruises, cars, restaurants etc), and being vigilant about ensuring you receive good value for what you paid. 

 

I read many posts on CC where posters have stated they have received less product than before, but then have another cruise booked. This consumer behavior plays into the hands of the cruise lines - or restaurant owners, or vehicle manufacturers.

 

I am quite frustrated these days with consumers who seem to have abandoned their own interests - they have delegated it to the cruise lines, restaurants etc. Our household and friends have fired a couple of local Ontario, Canada restaurants - Milestones and Jack Astors because they eliminated quality entrees and substituted cheap bowel meals with no protein. Not on our time or dime you corporations.

 

Perhaps I am more vigilant due to my past career, but having retired from marketing, I am an advocate for consumers these days. 

 

Us and our large group moved from Celebrity to Oceania because of the cut backs in the mass lines - well that was a major disappointment - the food quality is not there, the Oceania tendency to miss ports/late ports was a big, big hit on us, the most arrogant on board management, not at all what we anticipated. Our experiences seem to have been reflected in the CC reviews of Oceania these days.

 

We can move around cruise lines, but there remains the same assault on the consumer - aided by a strong world economy.

 

Every consumer has a role in ensuring the consumer, YOU, not the provider, remains supreme. It seems many CC posters do not act on this vital principle of consumer behavior.

 

This is my analysis, everyone has their own.

 

I, and our group wish everyone great and safe travels.

 

 

 

I come from a long hospitality background and also trained chef but moved to management as my path I wanted. Started working for four seasons years ago, ran Hilton’s etcI agree it’s the consumer who has the ultimate say   I been cruising on celebrity mainly since early 2000s.  Has there been a change yes but it’s still comes to value. I didn’t cruise for a few years while I decided to do hiking trips and other wine tours etc.  when I went back to celebrity in 2015 still found the experience n value great. Nothing I have seen on my past 2 cruises has changed that perception. Maybe I’m more savvy in a sense able to weed thru all the pricing easily and understand it. I look at other lines but been disappointed when I ventured.  I see why some like msc. I didn’t.  Cruise was fine n I enjoyed myself but I find celebrity more my style at this point.  Been looking for a Viking itineraries and will try them when I find o e that fits me. I se why some have turned away from celebrity but I’m good with change n like the things they are trying.  Food is subjective overall but still find service I’m given to be above other lines I tried. 

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I too love the suite life.  I enjoy all the perks and love the crew.  Love seeing people we know on the ship who have been making our sailing so pleasurable.   We mostly sail the Caribbean and now the ports don't matter any more.  There is only so many ports they can visit in the Caribbean.  I sail for the service I get from the crew.   

 

Pat

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We prefer Celebrity, but we compare cruises with other lines.  Thanks for competition.  Price is an important factor for us.

 

Also, Celebrity doesn't do Glacier Bay in Alaska, so we did NCL.  Celebrity's Norway cruises don't go all the way to the North Cape, so we did NCL.

Royal C. is great for entertainment and we are diamond due to being Elite on Celebrity.

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Everybody has their own perception of vacation value.  My only point back to some of you is if you still enjoy cruising then you cruise in today's environment on today's ships at today's prices.  If that is too much of a change from your past experiences and you find it difficult to accept to the point it is no longer enjoyable, then just choose what is best for you.  For me, even if some of my past meals and service on ships years ago was perhaps(?) better, I don't really care since I still enjoy the current cruise product on Celebrity.  I also enjoy the much improved safety features, communication (WiFi, streaming, testing,cellular, etc), and overall modernization of the ships.  A good tradeoff for me anyway.  One example- It is great to communicate by text and phone home with WiFi calling on my iPhone for free instead of $7-8 min using the stateroom phone in past days.  Lots of examples like this that make current cruising much more enjoyable to me now than in the past.

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Celebrity pulls me back like a magnet.

2015 Celebrity Eclipse

2016 Azamara Quest

2017 Crown Princess

2018 Celebrity Silhouette 

2019 Explorer of the Seas

2020 Celebrity Silhouette 

I spend too much time finding my way on non Celebrity ships. We have tried other lines due to expense of Celebrity, but go back because of Superior product. However, I would return to Azamara but for the cost.

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The thing that keeps me coming back to any crusie line is perceived value.  And I have to admit the perceived value on Celebrity isn't what it was.  I typically have 3 or 4 cruises booked (usually X) but after our Feb B2B on the Equnox we have nothing and even that cruise wasn't something we really wanted to book.  Our friends were going on this cruise and talked us into joining them. Originally we were booked on another cruise line. So will Celebrity get us back? Don't know, Im sure we will book more celebrity cruises but what was once a slam dunk to book Celebrity isnt anymore. If I can find a good deal on a cruise we want to do I'm sure we will book. Of course that depends on how the Feb cruises go. Right now the only thing I really prefer on Celebrity over the other main stream lines is the beverage package.  The service is typically a bit better and I like the S-class ships a bit better than most other ships. The food isn't that much better than on NCL, Carnival or RCCL, yes it's better but not by much but it's also gettting worse as time goes on. So how long will it be better? The entertainment isn't anywhere near as good as those other lines. Cost isn't that much higher on many sailings than the other lines but it's rising faster than the other lines, so the Value of Celebrity is erroding away in my opinion.

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On 12/29/2019 at 8:36 PM, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

The prices of their suite product are beginning to scare me away, but it is a good experience.  I love the people who work on Celebrity ships.  Caribbean itineraries are getting same old, same old.

That is  what my DW says too!  🙂

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I find this thread fascinating, mostly because I am at the opposite end of Celebrity cruising. DH and I are booked on our third Celebrity cruise; we’ll be on the Reflection in May. Our first experience was on the Reflection to the western Caribbean, the second was on the Solstice on a fabulous cruise to Australia and New Zealand.

We started our cruising with a 7 day to Alaska on NCL, stayed with them on cruises in the Mediterranean, round the British Isles, and to Canada. We noticed changes on that line, and for us, the experience  just isn’t what we want, so our TA suggested Celebrity. We loved it. We’re Platinum with NCL,  and haven’t given up on them. I have no desire to bash NCL,  it’s a good line. We would cruise with them again if the price and itinerary works, but prefer Celebrity. It just fits us better and where we are at this point of our cruising lives. 

I have no experience with Celebrity before all the changes started, but yes, I do notice some of the “nickel and diving” that you see on other lines.  We just like the service and the ambiance so we keep booking. 

Everyone has to do what’s best for them, and I’ve found that what I want on a cruise has changed.  And for now,  we like Celebrity (with maybe an eye on a good deal on another line) . 

 

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Posted (edited)

So, at this point in time, it seems we have the full thoughts and opinions spectrum covered in regard to cruising on Celebrity. Range goes from the Love-X-Boat feelings, to "rose colored glasses becoming a bit filmy", to X becoming anathema to some. It's a meld of judicious dialogue and fervent commentary, as provided by mutually involved and thoughtful participants.

 

Whatever the reasons for staying or leaving, is it strictly Celebrity's responsibility to keep you or bring you back? Do we perhaps, whether willingly or unintentional, view everything else in a negative light because of a particular unwanted change to our cruising routine? Are there not enough remaining opportunities to continue the enjoyment of sailing on X? Although difficult at times, how can we approach change or modification to our process in order to help Celebrity bring us back? After all, we have  apparently enjoyed our X cruises very much in the past. It would be a shame not to consider alternative ways to continue the relationship.     

 

 

Edited by Spif Barwunkel

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We have cruised on a number of lines but Celebrity is still our usual choice. We retired to Florida so 80 degree days and a backyard pool and spa is our new normal. A Caribbean cruise is easy to access with no flying involved, but it isn’t the same thrill as when we arrived having left snow behind. In a week a large group of neighbors board for a little indulgence and fun. We find the service to be consistently good, the food reasonably tasty, and the drink packages so often bundled are an added value for us. 
 

for European cruises we thoroughly enjoyed Azamara three wonderful trips, but their prices seem to have skyrocketed. We may try Celebrity for our next adventure travel...not cheap but better than many others.

 

And the Xpedition in the Galapagos was the experience of a lifetime. 

 

There are a number of cruise lines that tempt us...Oceana and Viking seem very well regarded and I hope we experience them in the next few years.
 

 

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16 hours ago, Spif Barwunkel said:

anathema

 

I've been following this thread since the 1st post and have been looking for a reason to respond. Thank you for providing that reason as I just learned a new word. Reading is fun!

 

I was hoping someone would chime in that has the same cruising experience I have on X or any other line for that matter. Unless I missed it, I don't believe that to be the case. I suppose the prevailing reason is the thread's topic of "what keeps you coming back". In my case I've never been on any cruise on any line. 

 

If the group will indulge me I'll share what led the better half and I to choose X over other lines. We're both in our mid-forties and in our nearly 12 years together have opted to focus on work and saving for retirement over vacations and experiences. Now that we're feeling more comfortable with our retirement nest egg we are less concerned about the stress I often feel when not focusing on our future retirement over the near-ish term.

 

We entered this experiment of choosing a line with almost no knowledge of cruising past rumors, anecdotal evidence, single-point analysis, and hearsay ie; Carnival is a party line, cruising is stuffy and for old people, ships are cesspools of germs and filth, et al. Our approach in choosing a line might be unique in that our search consisted of finding experiences we didn't want rather than did. We're of the mindset that it's easier for us tolerate something we can't predict than it is to tolerate something we flat want no part of Eliminating or reducing what we don't want often determines what we do want. I work in product development as an occupation so it's easier for me to determine what I don't want rather than do. 

 

Subjective experiences such as food quality weren't given consideration. Even with no cruising experience figuring out which line has the best food would be a waste of mental energy. Plus we're not food snobs and enjoy mediocre food just as well as exquisite dining. As long as the food doesn't suck we'll be just fine.

 

Did not wants in priority order:

  1. Children. We're empty-nesters and while ours are great, we're done with that until we're grandparents.
  2. We didn't want to feel that we'd miss something on our cruise. Oasis class ships are clearly off the short list.
  3. Sensory over-load. We're not affected by this but it can be a distraction.
  4. Rock walls, flow riders, et al.
  5. We don't want to think about things; we just want them to happen.

 

Wants in no particular order:

  1. On the bell curve of an age demographic we wanted to be on the left side of the curve.
  2. Slow and easy. This is a vacation and we want to relax. We love observing people and watching the world go by.
  3. 7+ day cruise. If we're making the vacation commitment, we might as well go all in.
  4. A simple, easy, and common itinerary that included easily navigable ports. Mobility isn't an issue, simplicity is a desire. Over-complicating our first cruise might turn us off from future cruises. We like to think of our first cruise vacation as "Cruising 101".
  5. Ease of travel pre and post-cruise.
  6. Affordable. Subjective to be sure. However, as we have no benchmark on what is or isn't affordable we had to use our best judgment here. Concierge, Aqua, and Suites are nice, but not something we need to enjoy our trip..at least for now.
  7. Balcony is a must have.

After a few days of research our shortlist consisted of:

  1. Celebrity
  2. Princess
  3. Holland (mostly because of the music which we love experiencing)

We directly booked our May 2020 10-day Equinox Southern Caribbean cruise in early September 2019 as we found the best deal with Celebrity relative to the two other lines at that time. We booked a refundable fare in the 1C category (cabin 83xx) with all 4 perks. We chose the 4 perks because it more aligned to our not wanting to think about much. We value not having to give consideration of paying extra at the bar for something we order on the premium beverage package. We probably won't drink enough to make up the difference in cost for the upgraded package and that's ok; we're not thinking about it. We received nearly 25% OBC through a few errors on Celebrity's end and for transferring it to a TA.

 

Further easing the stress of travel pre and post-cruise, we were able to use my airline miles for a direct trip to Miami out of Richmond, VA. There limited direct flights out of Richmond so this will be a great bonus. We are also able to use my rewards for a free night at the JW Marriott in Miami the night before we embark. 

 

Celebrity checks the boxes on experiences we don't want. This is why we booked it and this is why we're incredibly excited about our first cruise in May. I understand and do my best to empathize with those that say the value has decreased over time. However, this doesn't impact us as we can't miss something we've never had. But I can say that I've been watching my cruise fare like a hawk and was able to take advantage of the Veteran's Day sale and saved $900 moving the fare over to non-refundable with the same perks and cabin category.

 

I may have mentioned excitement about the cruise. We're that excited about it we even booked a 12-day Equinox trip in May of 2021 the day those itineraries were released. Relative to the May 2020 trip, the cost for this one on a per-night basis is less expensive by a decent margin with all 4 perks even with upgrading to a 1A slant cabin on deck 8. Our OBC isn't as significant on this trip but that's just because Celebrity IT hasn't screwed something up (yet).

 

The takeaway from someone with no cruising experience: I'm finding value in Celebrity relative to the things I want and don't want and the price I'm willing to pay for them. I'm still searching for decent pricing on the other lines and am willing to try them when the right offers come up. 

 

There is another thing I find value in; that's the collective wisdom of you folks. I visit cruise critic nearly every day looking to learn something new and you all provide it in spades. And to complete the circle in this War and Peace-sized post; I learned a new word!

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, Weenah said:

 

I've been following this thread since the 1st post and have been looking for a reason to respond. Thank you for providing that reason as I just learned a new word. Reading is fun!

 

I was hoping someone would chime in that has the same cruising experience I have on X or any other line for that matter. Unless I missed it, I don't believe that to be the case. I suppose the prevailing reason is the thread's topic of "what keeps you coming back". In my case I've never been on any cruise on any line. 

 

If the group will indulge me I'll share what led the better half and I to choose X over other lines. We're both in our mid-forties and in our nearly 12 years together have opted to focus on work and saving for retirement over vacations and experiences. Now that we're feeling more comfortable with our retirement nest egg we are less concerned about the stress I often feel when not focusing on our future retirement over the near-ish term.

 

We entered this experiment of choosing a line with almost no knowledge of cruising past rumors, anecdotal evidence, single-point analysis, and hearsay ie; Carnival is a party line, cruising is stuffy and for old people, ships are cesspools of germs and filth, et al. Our approach in choosing a line might be unique in that our search consisted of finding experiences we didn't want rather than did. We're of the mindset that it's easier for us tolerate something we can't predict than it is to tolerate something we flat want no part of Eliminating or reducing what we don't want often determines what we do want. I work in product development as an occupation so it's easier for me to determine what I don't want rather than do. 

 

Subjective experiences such as food quality weren't given consideration. Even with no cruising experience figuring out which line has the best food would be a waste of mental energy. Plus we're not food snobs and enjoy mediocre food just as well as exquisite dining. As long as the food doesn't suck we'll be just fine.

 

Did not wants in priority order:

  1. Children. We're empty-nesters and while ours are great, we're done with that until we're grandparents.
  2. We didn't want to feel that we'd miss something on our cruise. Oasis class ships are clearly off the short list.
  3. Sensory over-load. We're not affected by this but it can be a distraction.
  4. Rock walls, flow riders, et al.
  5. We don't want to think about things; we just want them to happen.

 

Wants in no particular order:

  1. On the bell curve of an age demographic we wanted to be on the left side of the curve.
  2. Slow and easy. This is a vacation and we want to relax. We love observing people and watching the world go by.
  3. 7+ day cruise. If we're making the vacation commitment, we might as well go all in.
  4. A simple, easy, and common itinerary that included easily navigable ports. Mobility isn't an issue, simplicity is a desire. Over-complicating our first cruise might turn us off from future cruises. We like to think of our first cruise vacation as "Cruising 101".
  5. Ease of travel pre and post-cruise.
  6. Affordable. Subjective to be sure. However, as we have no benchmark on what is or isn't affordable we had to use our best judgment here. Concierge, Aqua, and Suites are nice, but not something we need to enjoy our trip..at least for now.
  7. Balcony is a must have.

After a few days of research our shortlist consisted of:

  1. Celebrity
  2. Princess
  3. Holland (mostly because of the music which we love experiencing)

We directly booked our May 2020 10-day Equinox Southern Caribbean cruise in early September 2019 as we found the best deal with Celebrity relative to the two other lines at that time. We booked a refundable fare in the 1C category (cabin 83xx) with all 4 perks. We chose the 4 perks because it more aligned to our not wanting to think about much. We value not having to give consideration of paying extra at the bar for something we order on the premium beverage package. We probably won't drink enough to make up the difference in cost for the upgraded package and that's ok; we're not thinking about it. We received nearly 25% OBC through a few errors on Celebrity's end and for transferring it to a TA.

 

Further easing the stress of travel pre and post-cruise, we were able to use my airline miles for a direct trip to Miami out of Richmond, VA. There limited direct flights out of Richmond so this will be a great bonus. We are also able to use my rewards for a free night at the JW Marriott in Miami the night before we embark. 

 

Celebrity checks the boxes on experiences we don't want. This is why we booked it and this is why we're incredibly excited about our first cruise in May. I understand and do my best to empathize with those that say the value has decreased over time. However, this doesn't impact us as we can't miss something we've never had. But I can say that I've been watching my cruise fare like a hawk and was able to take advantage of the Veteran's Day sale and saved $900 moving the fare over to non-refundable with the same perks and cabin category.

 

I may have mentioned excitement about the cruise. We're that excited about it we even booked a 12-day Equinox trip in May of 2021 the day those itineraries were released. Relative to the May 2020 trip, the cost for this one on a per-night basis is less expensive by a decent margin with all 4 perks even with upgrading to a 1A slant cabin on deck 8. Our OBC isn't as significant on this trip but that's just because Celebrity IT hasn't screwed something up (yet).

 

The takeaway from someone with no cruising experience: I'm finding value in Celebrity relative to the things I want and don't want and the price I'm willing to pay for them. I'm still searching for decent pricing on the other lines and am willing to try them when the right offers come up. 

 

There is another thing I find value in; that's the collective wisdom of you folks. I visit cruise critic nearly every day looking to learn something new and you all provide it in spades. And to complete the circle in this War and Peace-sized post; I learned a new word!


To be fair, Celebrity does not exclude children, so there could be some on your sailing...so your number 1 “no” might not be met.

 

Also, I have never been on any cruise (over multiple lines) where you can do everything - there will always be something you will have to make a choice on.

Edited by WrittenOnYourHeart

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1 minute ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:


To be fair, Celebrity does not exclude children, so there could be some on your sailing...so your number 1 “no” might not be met.

 

Fair point and definitely understood. I should edit the post to say "Don't want a lot of children". I figure with 10 and 12 day cruises planned just before most schools let out should keep their numbers limited.

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3 minutes ago, Weenah said:

 

Fair point and definitely understood. I should edit the post to say "Don't want a lot of children". I figure with 10 and 12 day cruises planned just before most schools let out should keep their numbers limited.

That is fairly good "figuring." Another factor to consider is not booking a cruise where "Kids sail free" is featured. Although X has good kids programs, unlike lines like Disney, Royal, Norwegian, they aren't well equipped to deal with large numbers of them. In many cruises with X we've rarely seen many families with children on the longer itineraries we book. We also don't book during holidays, summer vacation or school breaks. By and large X sounds like it will fulfill your "don't want" list well.

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25 minutes ago, Weenah said:

 

Fair point and definitely understood. I should edit the post to say "Don't want a lot of children". I figure with 10 and 12 day cruises planned just before most schools let out should keep their numbers limited.


Fair point. Though more and more are getting “home schooled” or the parents think nothing of taking them out of school - but as I understand it Celebrity has fewer.

 

I will be very interested to see how things are on the Edge in Feb. I have cruised Disney 6 times now, and honestly the most I have ever seen of kids (on an “around the ship” basis, not talking about at shows) was on my first cruise to Alaska on Holland America because (per overhearing multiple discussions where their parents were trying to get them to go to the clubs) the kids did not like the programming and did not want to go. So it will be interesting to see what my Presidents’ Week experience is like on Celebrity kid-wise. (I teach so am limited to our breaks because unlike parents who can pull kids out whenever, I cannot randomly take a week or more off.)

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