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Bruin Steve

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About Bruin Steve

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    Calabasas, CA, USA

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  1. Only a week ahead? Gosh, I go into this "syndrome" as soon as I get off my prior cruise...My next cruise is still 26 days away and my mind is already boarding the ship and ordering a frosty drink...
  2. First, congrats to the OP!!! As to those upsells, I've yet to get one that makes sense. Last Princess cruise (this past April), we were originally booked in a Caribe deck balcony...and started getting upsell offers to a Mini-Suite that would have significantly increased our cost...I just kept monitoring the fares instead, and eventually upsold myself--into a Club Class Mini-Suite--for almost no cost increase like $8 pp, IIRC. and that was while the upsell offer was still on the table for a several hundred dollar increase! The Club Class Mini-Suites DO have some extra advantages--midship location and special reserved dining room area with the suites.
  3. I hate the paper bags...they always seem to tear on us... But, we've put the 30 pieces in two bags...and we've also just filled a bag and left whatever didn't fit loose on top of that...with the paper form on top of that...as long as it's 30 items or less, they don't seem to care. OTOH, we're Elite Plus...So, for example, when we do our back-to-back cruises on Infinity this summer, we get 8 bags between us--potentially 240 items laundered. It's nearly impossible to hit that mark. More important is planning...We'll be in Europe 10 days before we ever embark on the ship, then back-to-back 7-nighters, then two more days in Rome...We'll likely pack ten plus days of clothing, send out most of it as soon as we get to the ship...then send everything we've worn out again near the start of the second leg...Maybe another bag on whatever the last day to send it on that second leg... It's not only a question of the size of the order, its planning on the timing...and, no, it is by the 30 item bag, really...not by the piece--so you can't send three 10-piece bags rather than one 30... Of course, you could always just pay to launder extra items outside of the perk.
  4. It's all called "Marketing"... Rule #1--There is no free lunch. I've been dealing with this sort of marketing for a while now--since I also cruise on Celebrity--and they've been doing this awhile. Actually, Princess sort of has too... No cruise line is just throwing in free drinks or free internet or OBC "just to be nice". It is all very, very calculated. You take a cruise fare, then figure an approximate value for the freebies...and you increase that cruise fare to account for it. Some of the logic for the cruise lines: People get excited about getting something for free--or thinking they are getting something for free. Drink packages: People seem to love the idea of not having to pay more for every drink they order. But they lose sight of the idea that, at $70 per day--as it is with my upcoming Royal Princess cruise--you and your spouse would each have to drink about 7 drinks a day in order to just "break even". The cruise lines know that very few people really average that. But say you did...then all you are really doing is "prepaying" your bar bill. The cruise line will take that every day of the week--You are guaranteeing you'll buy 14 drinks a day between the two of you--and paying for them up front. Then, most people never even collect on all 14. And, the people who DO drink more than 7? The cruise line doesn't mind all that much...because each drink they would otherwise charge $8-10 for really only cost them 50 cents or less. Think about a bottle you buy at home, what it costs and how many drinks you get out of the bottle. Now remember, Princess buys that stuff at large-volume wholesale prices. Their profit margin is SO BIG that they wouldn't even mind discounting that package price a bit--if they could get more people to opt for it. It's all good for them. So, might as well throw it in on a booking deal. OBC? They love it. They really don't discount it much when throwing it in on these sales. And, so, you've basically just prepaid that amount and now they are guaranteed that you spend it on the ship--and they profit from everything you buy. And, mostly, they hope you use it in the casino--because that's a sure winner for them. Gratuities: They are really just having you prepay these under the guise of it being a perk. Assuming we're paying them anyway, it doesn't matter much. Internet? That doesn't really cost them much of anything, so it's profit anyway. So, after all that, what is the pricing? Probably, the total bump in price is equal to any gratuities, at least 80% of any OBC given, and at least 60% of the drink package. To the consumer, assuming they were going to buy ALL of that anyway, it looks like a nice discount. If you only drink 3-4 drinks a day max, don't really waste that much time on the internet during your cruise, or have little you want to use the OBC on, then it may not be worth it. As to whether or not the sale saves you anything, again, it depends a lot on what you really need...and also keep in mind that prices ALWAYS fluctuate. ANY current deal may be better--or worse--than whatever you booked it at. But, whatever it is, it's not because the cruise line suddenly decided to become overly generous. No, they are just marketing--trying to book more cruises, trying to sell (and, remember, they are selling them, not giving them away) more drink packages and more internet packages...and more stuff on the ship...and trying to get more people to prepay their gratuities. There is a good chance it all works for you...and a good chance it doesn't really work for you. But, remember: There is no free lunch.
  5. I'm sort of shocked... I've gotten surprise upgrades within the last 60 days before a cruise--because it wasn't selling out and they couldn't get people to bite on an "upsell", I guess...And last year, on Celebrity Millennium, I got a major surprise upgrade AT THE PIER in Hong Kong on embarkation day... But, 15 months out?!? That's totally shocking... Someone at Princess HQ must REALLY like you!!! Congrats...
  6. From my recollection from past cruises, they set the clock back/ahead on the ship to match port time... But, beware regarding Puerto Vallarta: Mexico has three time zones: Baja California Norte (Ensenada, for example) is in the Pacific Time Zone--time is same as in California. Baja California Sur (Cabo), Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa (Mazatlan) and Nayarit are in the "Mountain" Time Zone (same as Denver, for example). The rest of Mexico is in the "Central" Time Zone (same as Dallas, Chicago, etc.). Problem with Puerto Vallarta is that the city of Puerto Vallarta is in the state of Jalisco--hence it's in "Central" time...But the northern, newer suburbs of Puerto Vallarta (ie Nuevo Vallarta) are in the State of Nayarit--so, technically, they are in Mountain time. This, of course, could lead to a lot of confusion. People staying in hotels in Nuevo Vallarta were missing their flights home out of PV Airport...People were showing up an hour early or an hour late for restaurant reservations, etc. So, a few years ago, they got smart. They just decided that all of the PV northern suburbs would ignore that they are in Nayarit and just go by Puerto Vallarta time...But, still be wary if you venture a little further to the north--the local time zone will change.
  7. I booked all of my shore excursions today for my upcoming back-to-back Adriatic cruises. Normally, I'd prefer to do mostly private tours, but I've got a ton of nonrefundable OBC, so why not? When we looked a few days ago, the Naples shorex we wanted--Amalfi Shore by Motor Coach and Pompeii--was $160 pp...today it was $115.33 pp...Our Messina shorex-- "Small Group Lovely Taormina" that was listed last week at $110 pp was down to $77 per person today. Most others were discounted as well...though a couple of them weren't (like Golden Island Krk")... All in all, we saved $293 on eight excursions--Spent $1327 rather than $1621!
  8. "Frisco" is what they hate even more..."SF" probably won't work either... Locals refer to it merely as "The City"...
  9. Next month we'll do our first cruise on Royal Princess (or its sisters). I notice they don't have a Skywalker's...SO, where do they hold the Elite Lounge drinking hours?? Thanks...
  10. I'm on the Royal about a month from now (Jan 4)...Would love to know what the entertainment will be on that ship...
  11. Several things YOU should have/could have done: 1) On the earlier thread you started that got deleted, you said you knew about the "hands free" thing. You could have complied from the start...and/or NOT put your child on the escalator in front of you. 2) Rather than making your priority arguing with the employee, you could have shouted to your child to wait for you at the bottom of the escalator--She's ten years old, certainly she could have understood to do that rather than going off with one of your fellow passengers (that's who has access to that point). 3) Rather than arguing with the employee, you could have told your daughter to turn around as soon as she got to the bottom and to walk right back up the stairs to join you in the elevator. She would have remained in your sight the entire minute or so that way. 4) You could have stepped back for a few seconds, unzipped your carry-on a little and stuffed the bear partially or fully inside, then followed your daughter down the escalator almost immediately. BUT, it appears to me that your priority here was to argue with the attendant--who was only doing his job. As I told you in the prior thread, the cruise line and the port authority need to have great concern over the possibility of an accident on the escalator by someone falling. The potential liability from such an incident is extremely high. Their employee (and again, here, I sincerely doubt it was a Princess employee--most of the employees you encounter in the terminal are employees of the port authority--especially ones with tasks like enforcing the escalator policy). AND, to the extent you think you deserve compensation from Princess, AGAIN, I ask you how you were damaged? Were you or your daughter injured by their actions? Did you lose property or have property damaged by their actions? Did the events described cost you financially? Yet, you really think Princess owes you something here? We have all run into an employee here or there who, for whatever reason, we may have considered rude--even if they, and not us, were completely in the right--as clearly in this case. You were very fortunate that, as you disregarded your daughter, some nice fellow passenger made they effort to look after her. Thank THAT person...and brush off the small bit of imagined rudeness by the person properly doing his job. Be thankful that Princess supplied you with a great cruise...and that you and your daughter survived this minor incident and are safely home... It might have been a lot worse had you entered the escalator with a suitcase on one arm, cradling a stuffed bear with the other and took a tumble down the escalator falling on your daughter and other passengers on your way to the cement floor at the bottom. Next time, consider the elevator.
  12. When our daughter was living in the Marina District, we got accustomed to staying at the Cow Hollow Inn...Reasonably priced, large rooms, free parking (I know you won't need that, but a BIG bonus in San Francisco). The small local chain actually has several properties in the Marina and Fisherman's Wharf area--which puts you in a nice part of town, near shopping and restaurants and not very far from the pier (short easy ride with an Uber)... http://cowhollowmotorinn.com/sister_properties.html
  13. It should be a van or larger SUV...Remember, "six passengers" means SEVEN people including the driver. It's a 7 night cruise, right? (The Royal Princess--Which sailing? We're on the January 4)...So, hopefully, that means only one piece of luggage each. Most vehicles of that size should be able to hold 5 suitcases in the rear area...plus, remember you can always put stuff inthat empty seat as well...You should be fine.
  14. Lots of reasons cabins shown as sold suddenly show up as available...but most often, that's as the cruise gets closer--especially when hitting final payment date, Ten months prior is unusual...but there are some good possible explanations (other than conspiracy theories) for that as well. Travel agents block cabins for "group rates"...but they usually don't have a reason to release those this early...BUT actual "groups" do. For example, there are some groups that will plan or schedule an actual group cruise--that you may never know about, even when you are on the cruise. I've seen corporate "retreats", Doctor or Lawyer continuing education seminars, sports team' fans events (I was once on a cruise with a large group of New England Patriots fans--and they had some retired players on board and venues reserved for autograph and photo sessions), singles groups, religious groups or other special interest groups. These ventures don't charter the entire ship, just large blocks of cabins...Then, they line up the presenters or participants, then advertise among their customer group and start filling up cabins. Eventually, they either run out of blocked cabins or they have a cut-off date at which they release the remaining blocked cabins. BUT...sometimes, they block a whole bunch of cabins and then the thing never gets off the ground--The seminar presenters or the special guests back out on them...or, if a corporate event, the corporation suddenly has financial difficulties and has to walk away...or, if a certain affinity group, they find they've hit a schedule conflict with some competing event...or they just never pick up enough early interest to be sure the thing is going to work. Those things happen and they might scrap the plans very early in the game...say ten months out. There may be some penalty in their contract with the cruise line--like set dates by which they have to guaranty some amount of money. My guess is that this is the sort of thing that just happened on the OP's cruise. Some large group had intended a "group cruise" and it fell apart. PS: If that is what happened, consider yourself lucky. Sometimes those really large groups can be especially irritating. Some tend to pretty much take over all sorts of venues--not just the ones reserved for their group activities. I was on a cruise with one of these large groups once...and "Karaoke", for example, became sort of a private party for this group...(But, yes, some groups are more obtrusive than others...and the size of the group matters--the larger the percentage of the ship thy take up, the worse it gets--in general).
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