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About Hlitner

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    New Cumberland,PA, USA
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    International travel (77 countries at last count(
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  1. Celebrity is a topic unto itself. Since Lisa Lutoff-Perlo became CEO she has imposed some huge price increases coupled with numerous cutbacks. Some of the pricing on the new ships were significantly higher then far better lines. We cruised on Seabourn for less money then it would have cost us in comparable cabins on the Edge. There are some Celebrity fans who will pay the ridiculous prices but there has also been a lot of “price resistance” resulting in some last minute bargains. Hank
  2. Posting a total price with no other info is worthless. Consider that the YC generally is priced around $300 per person/day. It does vary depending on the cruise and you can usually get some nice onboard credits if you book through the right cruise agency. That makes the YC all-inclusive. Is it worth the money? That depends on your own perspective and financial situation. Also consider that some of the luxury lines are priced in the $600 - $1000 per person/day region. Hank
  3. You will be fine. Take a good book for the hours you will sit at FCO. Hank
  4. So the OP asks about Rome and gets info about FCO which is a long way from Rome. If you want a private transfer from Rome you can use Romecabs.com which charges about 130 Euros. Shared shuttles cost less but may involve delays as they pick up folks from other hotels and possibly drop at other piers. You can also take the train from Rome, use the 2 Euro shuttle to the port shuttles and save over 100 Euros. Private shuttles are convenient but expensive. The choice is yours. Your Rome hotel concierge can also arrange a private transfer. Think of 130 as a guideline. Hank
  5. I do not want to get into the sea sickness issue. We have spent more than 1000 days on ships all over the world. Sea conditions are not predictable...by anyone. If you want to cruise, choose your voyage based on itinerary, cost, etc. Not based on your predictions on the sea. A storm 1000 mile away can cause long swells. You take your chances or best to stick to land. Hank
  6. Live music takes live bands :(.
  7. I actually will be in Black Tie on some formal nights in the YC. But many others will not be formal and a decent shirt and trousers is more common then formal wear. So why do I bother to dress? For me it is fun and I would rather be one of the nicest dressed then not. But it is personal preference and we happily enjoy cocktails with those not similarly dressed. Hank
  8. About 18 months ago, after reading quite a few posts such as yours, we booked 21 days on the Divina in the YC. At the time it was our 15th cruise line in over 40 years of cruising. Before we finished those 21 days we had already booked two more cruises in the Yacht Club. For the money we think it is currently the best value in all of cruising. That being said, MSC does not have a lot of exciting itineraries around the world...so we will only be using this line in the Caribbean. We also have some concerns regarding their European cruises because their ships have passengers embarking/disembarking at nearly every port. As they expand their itineraries and bring their new small "yacht club" ships into the mix we will reconsider using this line on more exotic cruises. Hank
  9. The question of booking direct with a cruise line vs using a cruise/travel agency often becomes heated, but there is no cause. So lets just cut through all the garbage and biases. In nearly every case you should be able to save 7-10% (sometimes more) by using a cruise agency...assuming you do your shopping and use the right cruise agency (one that gives generous incentives). In some cases you might save on the actual cruise price, and in other cases your money will come as generous on board credits. Whether you choose to book direct with a cruise line and later transfer the booking to a cruise agency (who offers generous OBCs)...or you just book with a cruise agency in the first place has long been the subject of debate. Personally we see little reason for the multi step process (book with the cruise line and transfer to an agency) but some do feel wedded to this process. For those who continue to insist that you cannot save money with cruise agencies, we have the records from more then 100 booked cruises to prove them wrong :). Since we tend to take longer and more expensive cruises our savings can often be in the thousands of dollars on a single cruise. Those that are booking 7 day cruises will not save thousands but should be able to get several hundred in OBCs (or reduced pricing). But the key is finding one of the cruise agencies that does have these great deals and that means shopping around. Unfortunately, the CC Board rules prohibit me from giving you some names or even hints. Hank
  10. Just keep in mind that October is the beginning of Venice's infamous "acqua alta" season. For those not familiar with the term it means flooding and this year the flooding was really nasty (5 feet high in some places). Personally we do not care too much about sea conditions (DW and I actually enjoy when a ship has some movement) but we sure care about heavy rain and flooding when in a port. Ironically we were in Italy this October and had gorgeous weather for the several days we spent in Florence. But a week later the heavy rains hit Venice and Florence (where they also had flooding).
  11. LOL that is actually very good advice. We generally check EZAIR once or twice a week (after booking) to see if prices have dropped or better flights are available. If really can pay off. But we have not found FREE flights. On the other hand, one can book Regent cruise and get free business class air. While the air might be free, the cabin will cost about $1000 per person/day :). What a bargain....LOL Hank
  12. Guess it is all relevant. When we only took 7 day cruises a 14 day cruise was "long." Now, we would not consider anything "long" until it was at least 30 days. We met an elderly lady on HAL who was on our 5th cruise which was the 62 day Grand Med cruise. Over lunch she mentioned something about our "short cruise." It turned out that her first 4 cruises (when her DH was alive) were each full World Cruises over 100 days. So that 62 day was short to her. Hank
  13. We actually find Free laundry one of the best perks on long cruises. Most cruise lines do not have self-service laundries and even when they do, neither DW or myself have any desire to spend our time dealing with a laundromat. The free laundry perk (we get this on many lines including Celebrity, RCI, HAL, and Princess) saves us several hundred dollars on a long cruise. Princess gives us at least 1000 free minutes of Internet on longer cruises which is a very nice perk. Celebrity does have a pretty decent free drink perk (2 hours a day of free drinks) for Elites and above although that perk is worthless for those who have their popular drink packages. I mentioned the HAL wine package discount (50% for 4 and 5 Star Mariners) but that benefit is like a two edged sword in that the wine selection on the list leaves much to be desired and the package prices are overpriced. But with 50% Off, it still is a good deal for those who can tolerate the wine selections. HAL also gives us 50% meals in their alternative restaurants which is an OK perk for those who like those eating venues. Many of the other perks are a big nothing. For example, much is made about priority embarkation but we have gone on quite a few ships where the regular queue was shorter (and faster) then the priority queue. Priority tendering can be valuable, but it can also be a joke. On one long HAL cruise over 75% of the passengers qualified for priority tendering which meant that nobody really got priority :). As I posted earlier, the various Loyalty parties sound like a good thing until you reach the level where you get all that stuff. By that time, having cruised for many years, many folks could care less (that would include me). I really have no strong desire to stand in line to meet the "hired help" who are only standing there because it is their job. We actually have a pretty good relationship with 2 cruise line Captains (1 of them is now retired) and even they are amazed that folks will wait in long queues just to rub elbows. Hank
  14. I mentioned that EZAIR often has fantastic international flight prices and I will give you an example. We recently booked a return Business Class flight from Prague to Dulles (Washington DC). Our one-way fare was about $750 and this was for a lay-flat Business Class seat on Lufthansa. That same ticket purchased on any legit online site would have cost us over $3000. Two years ago we snagged a 1 way Business Class fare from JFK to Singapore for about $1500. That fare would have been over $2500 on any other site. There are also decent savings for those booking economy or economy plus although the real dollar savings are not nearly as much as the more expensive Business and First Class fares. Hank
  15. We all know that the food issue is subjective. Also understand that the price point of the YC is actually not that high when compared to many other lines,,,,especially the so-called Luxury Lines (i.e. Silverseas, Seabourn, Crystal, Regent, etc). The food/service were certainly at a somewhat higher caliber then lines like RCI, NCL and Carnival. Otherwise, there are some items that were excellent (such as the risottos) but things like Prime Rib and Steak were not as good as we have experienced on lines like HAL and Celebrity. The veal I had in Le Muse was pretty decent and some of the seafood was pretty good. But I will post a "shocker." After more then forty years of extensive cruising (on over 75 different ships) there has been no ship that had the quality of cuisine I would expect in a decent land-based restaurant. In fact, the restaurant quality items we have had in over 1000 cruise nights would likely be less than 10. So, if you are booking the YC expecting the highest quality gourmet cuisine you will likely be disappointed. In fact some of the items served in Le Muse were awful.....especially the asparagus which accompanied many dishes. And the gravy (I will not call it sauce) that they slop on many dishes (such as Prime Rib) were about the same quality as I could get out of a can. When we returned from the Divina last year and a friend ask for a capsule description of the food I responded, "hit and miss." Hank
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