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kelmac

Six Ships and 60 days in the Caribbean

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4 hours ago, kelmac said:

Hi molemaui,

We always felt that, in the past, disembarkation day was a little sad and very stressful for people around us, but when you know you are leaving one ship and headed to another (or a hotel) that excitement of beginning a new cruise on a different ship kicks up the motivation and makes the whole process fun.  Earlier in the year, we did a 87 day "around the world" cruise on the Cunard Victoria and loved every minute, so this bundle of cruises was a piece of cake.😉

Have a great time on your February cruise!

 

Wow, I'd love to try Cunard, but dressing for dinner every evening would be a pain.  How did you handle that?

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Excellent review and great detailed analysis and rating scale for each ship and elements of cruising.

 

We have only done three cruise lines, Celebrity, NCL and Royal Caribbean.  We don't pick our cruise because of the specific ship, although we do try to avoid a couple of ships that we don't care much for on NCL (not too fond of the Star or Epic).  Itinerary and price are what we base our decision.  We prefer Celebrity, then Royal and finally NCL.

 

We have loyalty status with those three lines, but check Princess & HAL.

 

I would score  dining on the basis of several cruises as follows

 

Celebrity    MDR   9.0,  Buffet  9.0      

Royal C.     MDR   8.0,  Buffet   7.0

NCL            MDR   7.5   Buffet   6.8

 

Entertainment

 

Celebrity   7.5

Royal C.    9.0

NCL           8.9

 

 

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3 hours ago, Mike981 said:

Wow, what a great year of cruising for you two!
How do you handle the logistics of the mundane things that need to be taken care of back home, bills, mail..? Even possible medicine needs.

Excellent question for sure.  We have set up all of our monthly bills to be paid automatically, using our credit card or direct deposit with our credit union.  For mail, we have all our regular mail sent to our PO Box (called a temporary change of address), since the USPS will only hold mail for 30 days.  We picked up this PO Box last year and about 1/2 our mail goes there anyway. We live in a Condo and I have a four camera security system that I can check every day on my iPad.  Two outside and two inside cameras. Gives me peace of mind that I can look to see what's going on at home.  I see the weather, and every person who walks by, and every car that comes along.  In addition, I have a good friend come by once a month to check for problems, flush the toilets, and be available if a problem comes up.  I have an auto temp thermostat that keeps the inside at a constant lower temperature while we are away.  We have a year long supplemental medical + evacuation policy that picks up anything our regular medical won't cover.  In 79 cruises we have never purchased any cruise insurance.  No pets or house plants.

Did I miss anything?

Enjoy!

Kel

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1 hour ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

 

Wow, I'd love to try Cunard, but dressing for dinner every evening would be a pain.  How did you handle that?

Hi HC,

Yeah, they (Cunard) are the only truly formal cruise line left.  Bottom line, we only needed one additional rolling garment bag for the 87 days.  I have three designer tuxes that I picked up through the years online (most expensive was only $129) and my wife took 7 or so, nice dresses (no long gowns); in addition I had a couple of sports jackets, slacks, and two pairs of shoes.  My wife did it with only two pairs of shoes as well.  Very British, in that, the men dress up more than the women.  Usually, two formal nights a week and all the other days are now called Cunard casual (men still need a jacket, but ties are optional).  We embraced it and made it fun.  Not as much burden as you might think.  By the way, we did San Francisco to NYC, so no international flights.

Luggage was no big deal.

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3 hours ago, kelmac said:

 

Did I miss anything?

Enjoy!

Kel

 

 

Thank you for the detailed answer! Only thing missing is medications, if you guys need prescription meds.

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10 hours ago, Mike981 said:

 

Thank you for the detailed answer! Only thing missing is medications, if you guys need prescription meds.

We have to do the sit down and count pills thing.  If we don't have enough to make it through the trip, I call the pharmacy and request an additional 30 day, which most insurance plans will approve.  My doctor must okay the additional supply.  

I also leave my prescription medication in their original containers in case I had to visit a pharmacy along the way (never happened yet).

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On 12/30/2019 at 7:33 PM, NMTraveller said:

I would second that.  I just tried to get a quote on Crystal to replace one of my Celebrity cruises.  They did not have the itinerary I wanted when I could go.  I was pleasantly surprised at the Crystal pricing though.  Crystal should build some more ships.  Otherwise I may have to wait until I retire so that I can go whenever I want.

 

With Celebrity I always have a large balance at the end.  The difference in the pricing was less than the large balance at the end.  With Celebrity Specialty Dining was a must have.  

I think Crystal is well worth the cost for what you get. I also agree that Specialty dining is a must on Celebrity. I don’t agree that Crystal should increase their fleet too much as I think when lines “spread themselves thin” they decrease in the product they deliver and can’t produce consistency from ship to ship. Crystal now has yachts and river cruises also. Maybe a refurbishment of The Symphony and Serenity would be better than more ships.

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30 minutes ago, Travrat said:

I think Crystal is well worth the cost for what you get. I also agree that Specialty dining is a must on Celebrity. I don’t agree that Crystal should increase their fleet too much as I think when lines “spread themselves thin” they decrease in the product they deliver and can’t produce consistency from ship to ship. Crystal now has yachts and river cruises also. Maybe a refurbishment of The Symphony and Serenity would be better than more ships.

T,

That's a good point, but I would like to see Crystal build two new 65,000 ton ships, similar to Oceania's new ships, and sell off the Symphony and /or the Serenity.  At some point old is just old, but I must say they did a pretty good job keeping the Symphony in great shape.

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15 hours ago, kelmac said:

My wife did it with only two pairs of shoes as well.

 

OK, up to this point I was enjoying reading about your amazing adventures.  However, now I realize you made it all up! 

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4 minutes ago, helen haywood said:

 

OK, up to this point I was enjoying reading about your amazing adventures.  However, now I realize you made it all up! 

hh,

LOL!😃  I should clarify this.  She brought two pairs of evening wear shoes, a pair of walking shoes, and a pair of sandals.

She is my tall, blonde and beautiful wife, but she is not high-maintenance at all.🥰

 

Enjoy!

Kel

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I am not a shoe person, but when going on Caribbean cruises, even my husband takes 4 - 5 pairs of shoes.  We will be sailing on the Regal Princess (1 week) and Celebrity Edge (2 weeks) consecutively this winter.  I will take: 1 pair of flip flops (waterproof for the pool and beach, and used as slippers in the cabin), 1 pair of sneakers, 2 pairs of sandals, and one pair of flats (closed shoes).  That’s 5 pairs of shoes - at a minimum.  

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1 minute ago, kelmac said:

hh,

LOL!😃  I should clarify this.  She brought two pairs of evening wear shoes, a pair of walking shoes, and a pair of sandals.

She is my tall, blonde and beautiful wife, but she is not high-maintenance at all.🥰

 

Enjoy!

Kel

 

OK!  Thanks for the further info; that makes more sense.  I was about to think your wife was a genie!

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2 minutes ago, hurwitz5 said:

I am not a shoe person, but when going on Caribbean cruises, even my husband takes 4 - 5 pairs of shoes.  We will be sailing on the Regal Princess (1 week) and Celebrity Edge (2 weeks) consecutively this winter.  I will take: 1 pair of flip flops (waterproof for the pool and beach, and used as slippers in the cabin), 1 pair of sneakers, 2 pairs of sandals, and one pair of flats (closed shoes).  That’s 5 pairs of shoes - at a minimum.  

h5,

That sounds about right.  I take a pair of formal shoes; a pair of informal shoes; a pair of walking shoes; and a pair of sandals.

 

Kel😁

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1 hour ago, kelmac said:

T,

That's a good point, but I would like to see Crystal build two new 65,000 ton ships, similar to Oceania's new ships, and sell off the Symphony and /or the Serenity.  At some point old is just old, but I must say they did a pretty good job keeping the Symphony in great shape.

I like Oceania’s Marina and Riviera especially the food and itineraries. They aren’t really new though. Selling off the old ships and building new ones is a great idea for Crystal to keep their fleet updated but small. Most lines keep their old ships and keep building new ones and that is when I think the lines start to go downhill.

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Enjoyed you review.  I admire your style of travel.

I like the idea of side by side cruises as compared to back to back cruises.

The activities and routine would be different and the ship layout would be different.

The food and entertainment would be different. 

You have given us some good ideas with your review.

Thanks

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11 minutes ago, SHIP TRAVELER said:

Enjoyed you review.  I admire your style of travel.

I like the idea of side by side cruises as compared to back to back cruises.

The activities and routine would be different and the ship layout would be different.

The food and entertainment would be different. 

You have given us some good ideas with your review.

Thanks

Thanks ST,

We started this "side by side" thing back in 2004 when we discovered we could take a ship northbound in Alaska; spend a week in the Kenai + Anchorage; and take a different ship southbound.  Turned into a 23 day adventure and was cheaper than the cruise lines' land/sea packages.  At that time, the one way (north and south) itineraries were about 60% the cost of the roundtrip cruises out of Seattle/Vancouver.  We loved the switch from one brand to another.  

We always say -- "after spending that money to fly to ___________, why not say longer and experience two, three or four ships."

Of course, you have to have the time to spare!🙄

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I read this with great interest as I'm retiring in June. My husband is already retired. 

Our adult son has boomeranged back to us (with a job! whew!) and my first thought was "yay! someone to take care of the cats while we're off cruising!"

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21 hours ago, eyecantwait said:

I read this with great interest as I'm retiring in June. My husband is already retired. 

Our adult son has boomeranged back to us (with a job! whew!) and my first thought was "yay! someone to take care of the cats while we're off cruising!"

Sounds great ecw!

 

I say, go for it.😃

 

Kel

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One additional thought that some people do not realize is a factor:

When you are gone from home for 60 days, your hometown costs drop (my wife doesn't think this is a big deal).

For example, utilities are lower, purchases for daily items goes away (groceries, entertainment*, eating out#, movies, gasoline...,).

So yes, 60 days of cruising is expensive, but there are some savings on the other side.

 

Kel

 

*when I'm home I play golf three times a week, so that's a fair chunk of change.

# at home we eat about 70% of our meals at restaurants.

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Posted (edited)

Kelmac, I thoroughly enjoyed your comparison review.  My husband and I are also retired educators, but I still work several days a week.  We have been retired, but had a parent to take care of and now a dog with issues.  This year, I have a cruise with friends, but my DH is staying home with our little Kelsey.  Have you done anything like this overseas?  I am a fanatic about European travel, as I love all the history and culture...I also have a bit of a silver spoon in my mouth, but my DH is easy to please with a good gym onboard.  We are used to washing our own workout clothes...We have our first b2b planned for Oct/Eur...25 days...

 

What plans do you have for the future?

thanks so much for sharing!!!!

Edited by Lastdance

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My biggest concern re a b2b2b2b2b multi ship adventure like the OP’s is that it takes me forever to remember my room number and where my room is each cruise (and we usually book the identical suite on each S class ship we travel on)! 

 

I think I would need to go for some serious door decoration on an adventure like the OPs...either that or have a Paddington Bear type label saying something like “please return this guest to room xxxx”...

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2 hours ago, chemmo said:

My biggest concern re a b2b2b2b2b multi ship adventure like the OP’s is that it takes me forever to remember my room number and where my room is each cruise (and we usually book the identical suite on each S class ship we travel on)! 

 

I think I would need to go for some serious door decoration on an adventure like the OPs...either that or have a Paddington Bear type label saying something like “please return this guest to room xxxx”...

C,

It is a bit unnerving when you come down that stair case and can't remember if it's a left turn or a right.  Fortunately, my wife is a retired English teacher and she likes to post the "quote of the day"  on our cabin door.  Most of her quotes are about traveling from various authors.  We bring dozens of high powered magnets that we use all over our cabin (hang things on -- like drying laundry, hats, backpacks, message board, decorations....,).  We are going to be on the Reflection again in March and we are staying in the cabin next door to the one we had this time. Easy!🤗

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3 hours ago, Lastdance said:

Kelmac, I thoroughly enjoyed your comparison review.  My husband and I are also retired educators, but I still work several days a week.  We have been retired, but had a parent to take care of and now a dog with issues.  This year, I have a cruise with friends, but my DH is staying home with our little Kelsey.  Have you done anything like this overseas?  I am a fanatic about European travel, as I love all the history and culture...I also have a bit of a silver spoon in my mouth, but my DH is easy to please with a good gym onboard.  We are used to washing our own workout clothes...We have our first b2b planned for Oct/Eur...25 days...

 

What plans do you have for the future?

thanks so much for sharing!!!!

Hello Ld,

We usually combine land travel with European cruises. We love to ride the trains of Europe, but you really can't do that with cruise luggage.  We have a couple of strategies -- 1) When we cruise first, we have taken second tier clothing and luggage and at the end of the cruise we give away or trash most everything including the bag.  We then are left with our two Rick Steve's like backpacks and off we go to the railroad station. 2) We have arrived at our embarkation city and stayed at a hotel for a couple of days; we talk to the hotel staff and they have always agreed to hold on to our cruise luggage (a tip is usually helpful) -- off to the railroad station/airport and we do a couple of weeks of land travel and return to the same hotel, spend a night there, retrieve our luggage, and embark the ship the next day.  Both strategies worked well for us, but we have had hotels hold our luggage on four different occasions, and did the clothing dump only once.

 

Enjoy!

Kel

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Thanks for you  review!  

 

Even better thanks for sharing in general and  allowing me to NOW show DW that you can do B2B's over and over!  🙂

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