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About Europeantraveler1

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    Cool Cruiser

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    All types of travel; stained glass; flower gardening;
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    1. Oceania; 2. Holland American; 3.Princess
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Interesting thread... We are set to sail on the new ship, Grandiosa, for a June cruise in the Mediterranean (with our family/a total of five adults and two teenagers) to help us celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary! ALOT of planning has gone into this cruise/trip as we will be spending several days in Rome pre-cruise! We are very excited and hope our family has a memorable and incredible time with us old-timers!! ;0) What I find to be a tad disappointing is that when we booked the cruise (and we booked this 2020 cruise way back in Feb. of 2018), MSC listed what all would be included in the price of our YC cabins. Now we are seeing some slight changes....and this particular one is not a ‘deal breaker’ by a long shot. As many have posted already, if you seriously want a snack, YC travelers only have a short distance to walk to get snacks at the bar and bring them back to their room. I guess we just expected that MSC would honor what amenities/services that were originally included when we first booked and paid our deposit. My suggestion to MSC would be to post “start dates” as to when the change(s) become effective - and thus everyone is on the same page and no one is unnecessarily upset/disappointed. What’s most interesting at this posting is that if you access the MSC website, “unlimited drinks in all MSC areas including a mini-bar” is what they are advertising in YC for their new ship, the Grandiosa. Hmmmm...
  2. Does the Cirque Du Soleil at Sea play every night? We had made CDS evening reservations on an ‘at sea’ evening and our reservations came back on a different night. So thought maybe it wasn’t playing every night. Thanks!!
  3. Well, we’re all set to go on the Grandiosa and we are all excited to experience MSC! I think I’ll make myself a little notebook with common, Italian phrases in it so I have an easier time communicating with our Italian crew members. However, depending on our experience, this may be a “one-time” attempt at MSC. My husband and I (both retired) cruise at least once a year, but the cost for seven people in the YC, as opposed to any other line, made it possible for us to pay for/ plan for this. We knew Grandiosa was set to sail this November so we thought a new ship would be awesome! I also got word that the individual assigned as captain is exceptional! I believe his name is Captain Massa (or something like that) and since that info was posted, there have been only glowing and positive responses on CC. We have sailed on Princess; HAL; and Oceania. If I could afford to,...I’d sail on Oceania (Riviera or Marina) every time! There is literally nothing I can find that is a negative with Oceania. The Marina will be refurbished next year and when we sailed on the Riviera (sister ship and same size as the Marina) in January of 2018, we did so not for the itinerary (Caribbean) but for the ship. And it was fabulous! We stayed in a room with concierge perks; the cabin/bathroom were great; the “dine at any specialty restaurants w/o extra cost” was wonderful and the food....was EXCEPTIONAL; the staff always cheerful and wanting to please...I could go on and on. The only downside to the cruise...my husband’s kidney stone decided to make its way through his system and he was indisposed for the last two days of the cruise (sea days). It was horrible and once back on land, we got home as quickly as possible and he had to have surgery. UGH! Our cruise plans for 2021 are to sail to Northern Europe,....and I very much wanted to see the fjords (the significant ones) near Bergen. Cost-wise, HAL’s Nieuw Statendam offers a 21-day cruise from Amsterdam up that way and then back down to include Oslo; Helsinki; Copenhagen; St. Petersburg; etc..etc..for a much more affordable fare than Oceania. You get what you pay for but we just can’t afford the $20,000+ it would cost on the Marina for a somewhat similar itinerary. I’m still trying to figure out the logistics...maybe we can stay in an interior cabin??? ;0) Thank you, Georgia-Peaches and all those wishing us well on our 50th anniversary! As we get older, I’m starting to think, “How much longer will I be able to cruise ANYWHERE? We are seniors - I’m in my late 60’s and my husband early 70’s - and for the most part, in good health. But, I don’t know how many more sailing years we have left, so there’s somewhat a desperation in our planning.....I’m trying to squeeze everything to do with traveling into the years we have left. So there’s more of an urgency NOT to make any mistakes of choosing the right product for us. Not everyone will relate to what I just said but they will most certainly come to that point in their lives when they might begin to understand our thinking..... In the meantime,.....Happy Sailing to you all on whichever cruise line you choose! We appreciate those who take the time and make the effort to post their detailed experiences and pictures!! It’s been so helpful!!!
  4. Good to hear such positive and encouraging comments about your YC experience! I read a later post (from a gentleman who had a virtual BTB on two different MSC ships but both were YC) that was very detailed and much less favorable about the entire experience, but especially the inferior quality of MSC’s food. We’ll be sailing next June on the new Grandiosa with five other family members in YC to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We’ve been planning on this since last year and had high hopes it would be fantastic! After reading your review, I’m once again encouraged that it will be a memorable and positive cruise!!! Thank you!!
  5. Thank you for your detailed account of your cruise on MSC. Our 50th wedding anniversary will be next year so we’ve booked a short, seven-day Mediterranean cruise on the new Grandiosa for next June with our family of seven-all in the YC! I was a bit more excited about this very special celebration prior to reading your reviews concerning, especially, the quality of food in the YC restaurant/deck. I have read so many favorable reviews of those who had cruised on MSC ships in the YC section and who had been impressed by the service; ambiance; and food! I remember one particular passenger that raved about the unending supply of lobster that was being served at poolside! It seems to be that the emergence of the YC was, at the onset, the creme de la creme! And as word spread, more and more people booked into YC for this fabulous, very affordable luxury cruising. Unfortunately, it seems that the luster and once unbelievable luxury of the YC is beginning to fade (?). :0(
  6. I am a retired high school art teacher so the art I come across while cruising on various lines is one of the highlights of my trips. I’ve cruised on a number of different lines including HAL; Oceania (Riviera); Princess etc.... About 1-1/2 years ago, my husband and I took a Caribbean cruise on the Riviera (first time on Oceania) and the art on the Riviera was/is absolutely amazing! What was REALLY fun....the cruise activities director had a brilliant idea in that he developed an activity that involved a game of identifying all of this ship’s artwork! Let me explain.... Passengers were asked to locate and identify the artwork AND write down it’s creator and the year it was finished (included sculptures; paintings etc...) but the only ‘hint’ we were given was a small photo of a teenee-tiny part of that painting or piece of sculpture. So, when we’d come across a painting (and remember; paintings could range from very small to HUGE and could be located in any of the specialty restaurants or MDR; any of a dozen landings; in an obscure corner of the casino; tucked in the corner of the library; etc..etc..)! Many times the only part of a painting we ended up identifying turned out to be a small, 1/2” by 1/2” part of that piece of art so we really had to study each piece very carefully. The packet of all of the small, color photo hints comprised approximately 4-5 pages-front and back. This activity was SO much fun and really fascinating because it required that we scour every deck on the Riviera for each deck’s artwork (which was plentiful)! By the time we finished, we had been all over the Riviera and knew every nook and cranny of it but also became thoroughly familiar with every piece of sculpture and every painting! This activity was a great, innovative way to learn the layout of the beautiful Riviera and its many works of lovely art! From the get-go we were totally hooked and determined we’d search and identify every piece of artwork in that packet! It took us nearly FOUR DAYS to finish and we ended up with a perfect score! It would be a treat if HAL’s cruise director offered an activity like this on the beautiful Niew Statendam, since according to your posts, the artwork on HAL’s newer ships is amazing! This is a great way to become more familiar with the ship and all of the artwork! We are seriously considering a 21-day cruise in 2021 on the Niew Statendam that takes off from Amsterdam and includes the lovely fjords; Stockholm; Helsinki; St. Petersburg, etc...
  7. Enjoyed reading all the different perspectives about river cruising. As one posted earlier, you pretty much know within the first few days whether you like river cruising or....not so much. As stated, river cruising is a “different animal” so if you like seeing the same group of people (approx. 156 passengers??) each day/evening; generally paying a higher cost p/p for the experience; cruising on a river with questionable and ever-changing water levels; traveling through locks on a regular basis; cruising through both heavily industrial areas and the more advertised picturesque landscapes; etc...etc... We found that ocean cruising gave us the chance to meet different people all the time! When we go to dinner on our ocean cruises we always ask for the larger tables of six or more because we enjoy meeting new people so every night we’d look forward to new encounters and conversations. Just an observation but we noticed that on the river cruise, by the second evening people had scoped out a favorite table-usually close to the buffet line-and group to sit with for the entire length of the cruise. To each his own but one of our joys is meeting new people! Let me say that those we did meet on this cruise were lovely and we did have some interesting conversations! Many of them had not cruised on the ocean! I have a friend who asked me about our experience. She and her husband are celebrating an anniversary next year and are considering a river cruise. I told her of our Avalon cruise and suggested she look into ocean cruising. She is deathly afraid of being on the high seas so that was that and I understand completely! The beauty of all of this is that whatever you choose; river or ocean cruising; each has it’s own pros and cons and everybody has their own story to tell. So,.....keep on sailing and enjoy!
  8. Just returned recently from an Avalon cruise from Amsterdam to Basel. We usually cruise on the sea but thought we’d give river cruising a try since we saw the ads on tv and read many positive reviews here and there. Our cruise was short; only seven days. We figured if we liked it as much as sea cruising, a short river cruise would be a good beginning. None of us had ever been to Amsterdam, so our little group of four planned on a pre-cruise visit there for four days prior to sailing and a post-cruise adventure to Lucerne (I had been to Lucerne on five previous land tours) with a final day/night in Zurich. On the day of boarding we were surprised that we weren’t assisted with our suitcases as we tried to pull them behind us as we climbed up the plank! Perhaps with new passengers arriving there just weren’t enough staff to help everyone? We found the stateroom to be roomy (panoramic view cabin on the topmost deck); bed very comfortable and the bathroom very nice with a great shower and plenty of room for bathroom supplies on either side of the sink. Although we had a very nice young lady as our room steward (and she kept our room spotless) not once did she call us by our names (I guess we’re spoiled...on ocean cruises we’ve always been amazed that our room stewards knew our names immediately and greeted us by name throughout the cruise). The ship itself was clean and the staff helpful. THe food was good; not great. Both breakfasts and lunches were buffet with the dinner handled by the waitstaff. The wines offered were mediocre, at best. The ‘happy hour’ 1/2 price drinks were a nice perk, though and “Robert”, one of the bartenders, was the best! The rest of the staff was always helpful and the cruise ship’s activities director was very professional with a good sense of humor. We saw him frequently out and about during our excursions and he even showed up on his bicycle to help us when my husband and I were confused and taking the wrong path back to the ship! He was great! Most days consisted of an excursion in the morning; lunch; and then ‘downtime’ until Happy Hour. Obviously, because of the restricted size of any river boat, there is little additional room for additional decks and thus, additional activities onboard. That was a difference we missed. Ocean cruises are great because they DO offer many activities for many different people. On this river cruise we enjoyed ourselves (particularly because we were with our friends and we have a blast wherever and whenever we are with them) but found the afternoons to be, frankly, boring. The pace of the cruise was too slow...the evening entertainment after dinner was a hit and miss with the exception of a brilliant group of two violinists and a guitar player-WONDERFUL!! Otherwise it was dinner and then bedtime! “Different strokes for different folks” is certainly alive and well! We had a nice time; not a GREAT time on our river cruise. Will we ever plan another river cruise....most likely not. I have always wanted to visit Prague but would plan a land tour instead of a river cruise. We are ocean cruisers. I love to look out from the veranda and enjoy the vast ocean view. We enjoy the smaller to medium ocean ships and their itineraries and the fact they offer many activities which we can chose or not chose to take advantage of. The food on our past ocean cruises are not limited to one dining room experience but rather you have several other venues to choose from. And, the list goes on. Happy sailing to you all whether you chose river or ocean cruising!
  9. LHT28: Yes..at this point we are planning on using our points for the airfare but your point is well-taken! Bergen, actually, has an international airport so it is a possibility! Thanks!
  10. Thanks everyone! I do believe we are leaning strongly towards the Marina itinerary called “North Sea Artistry”. London; Kristiansand; Oslo; Copenhagen; Berlin; Tallinn; St. Petersburg; Helsinki; Stockholm. We would arrange a flight out of London to Bergen several days beforehand; stay in Bergen and schedule a fjord tour for a couple of days when there. Then, fly back to London to board the Marina. The BTB on Oceania was awesome but would cost us a fortune. We just LOVE Oceania! HAL and the Niew Statendam had a 21-day cruise that combined the fjords with the other destinations BUT.....you have to pay extra for a lot of things like specialty restaurant dining, etc... Yes, Oceania is more expensive but....we took a cruise on the Riviera a few years ago and absolutely fell in love! Marina is going to be refurbished in 2020 and our cruise will be in 2021....so an updated version of her beautiful sister ship, Riviera!
  11. Ok guys.....is Club Orange really worth the outlay of money (from what I’ve read....ranges from $35-$50 p/p a day)?
  12. My husband and I are contemplating a cruise to London, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden (London to Stockholm) on the Marina -July 7-19, 2021. If I’m going all the way to Norway, I would have hoped that Oceania would include Bergen so we could see the more majestic fjords. ;0( I’m a bit disappointed about that and am wondering if there are any of you out there who have done this itinerary? I definitely wanted to take Oceania (either Riviera or Marina) and that part is great but was this itinerary a ‘winner’ for any out there, or just a ‘so-so” cruise? Please respond! We are in our early 70’s and our traveling days abroad are limited. That is why I am so very interested to get someone’s opinion who has traveled this route as I feel we are spending a lot of $$$ and I want it to be a memory-making cruise. Thanking you all very much in advance.....
  13. THank you for the responses! We are excited for our 2020 Med cruise on the new Grandiosa and in YC! I’m hopeful that the new head chef and management will combine to make our celebration of our 50th year of marriage with our daughters and grandchildren in tow, will exceed all our expectations!!
  14. Our Avalon river cruise beginning Sept. 3rd in Amsterdam and ending in Basel, Switzerland on Sept. 10th, is fast approaching! Any predictions on the Rhine River’s water levels for that period of time? Many thanks!!!
  15. I am going on a YC adventure with my grandsons in 2020. Will I have to buy a youth drink package for then or will they get a comparable youth package included?
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