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  1. Celebrity are, at best, being economical with the truth. We sailed twice in a two month period, one of which was in the Retreat with stream internet. On our second cruise it was painfully obvious that our Elite complimentary minutes were not giving stream performance (we couldn’t even send a photo by message apps). I went to the IT section and they set up my account so I could actively choose between the Elite stream and “Always” surf minutes but performance was identical regardless of which I chose. I went back and he admitted that the system is now set up to deliver surf minutes as a priority to anyone who has a surf package (which is almost everyone). This makes having Elite stream minutes irrelevant and, in some circles could be described as a con trick). The only solution is to upgrade to a stream package which is, no doubt the reason why they have done this. My problem is the fact that Celebrity think it is acceptable to do their very best to deceive us. The whole reason for a loyalty program is to create a culture of returning customers. This may no longer be commercially viable or necessary but I would much prefer Celebrity to come clean and tell me. I am not an inveterate complainer and have got 5 more cruises booked over the next 2 years with Celebrity. However, Celebrity gave an undertaking to provide me with some loyalty benefits and, if they have decided to take them away, I would appreciate it far more if they would just admit it. It is not about internet or other fripperies, it is about honesty. On a separate note, I was a communications system analyst and have a good technical knowledge of satellite communications. The cruises we were on were only 50% occupied and there was nowhere near enough bandwidth for everyone (which is absolutely to be expected and it would be commercially impossible to provide it without cruise prices being increased by thousands of dollars). Indeed, that is why internet packages were so expensive when they were first made available (by the hour!) So, the reality is that, when occupancy rates return to normal, there are going to be a lot of people whose internet will become unusable and the likelihood is that those who upgrade to the stream package will be allocated extra bandwidth to make it acceptable. However, unless Celebrity restrict the number of upgrades available, the uprated bandwidth allocated to stream packages will be diluted to the point where it won’t work either but Celebrity will probably make quite alot of money before people catch on.
  2. It seems like Captain's Club benefits have been eroded to the point where they have little or no value. This begs the question is this the result of a deliberate decision to negate membership tiers so that older, perhaps more discernible customers who, by default, cost the line more money are deterred from cruising with Celebrity? Are those Elite and Elite Plus members legacy dinosaurs that Celebrity has decided to deter from booking future cruises? It is very clear that Celebrity have reduced the benefits built up over years to being of little or no value. The pleasure of getting together in the CC lounge for happy hour and meeting like minded people has gone (and the one time lounge is now the exclusive domain for suite guests). The once prized complimentary Internet minutes, the last remaining benefit of any value, have been spirited away without any actual announcements. Inclusive Streaming minutes are no longer awarded to Elite and Elite Plus members who already have an alternative package (which is anyone on the “Always Included” package). I couldn’t understand why there was no discernible difference between my complimentary stream minutes and the Always surf minutes on a recent cruise so Asked Celebrity what is going on. The shocking truth is that the complimentary minutes are now replaced by the lower (abysmal) quality surf minutes but they don’t actually tell you. I messaged Celebrity to ask the question and received a fairly vague reply but the information is there. Complimentary stream minutes are no longer awarded unless you don’t have a package. Put another way, they are gone for most passengers. Even passengers who have cruised half their lives to reach Zenith have had their benefits cut. This is Celebrity's reply to my question about Elite benefits: It seems like they have purposely made it difficult to understand but the underlying gist is that complimentary stream minutes have been replaced by surf minutes whenever surf minutes are included in your “ticket”. My interpretation of the changes is that loyalty benefits for 20 years of cruising has been reduced to a free bag of laundry. For those of us who remember when Celebrity was a premium line it is very sad and very disappointing. It seems that it is time to move on. The complimentary minutes for Elite and Elite Plus members will still be available to guests beyond the first two who do not have internet included. For example, a Select member with an Elevate rate can get 25% off the cost to upgrade from surf to stream and the cost to add a package to a third device. If you do not sail with Always Included, you can apply the 10% - 35% discount to any internet package and the complimentary minutes for Elite and Elite Plus members will still apply. You may apply your internet package to one device, and the free minutes from your membership to another. These would be applicable for both guests in the stateroom.Zenith members will continue to enjoy a complimentary Stream internet package for one device. If a Zenith member has stream internet already included in their ticket, then they will get 1 device with stream from their ticket and 1 device with stream from their loyalty benefits so 2 devices total. If a Zenith member has surf internet included in their ticket, then they will get 1 device with stream from their loyalty benefits. They can’t have two devices with different speeds though – so the surf device from their ticket would go to someone else in the room if they are not also Zenith.
  3. I was just looking at the 20% US discount and at the thread running on the main Celebrity board. It seems like some people are making significant savings. We have two cruises in March and both are showing savings but we booked through an agent (a very dear friend) and she is on holiday at the moment. Booking in the US can offer a better deal and we have taken advantage of it many times but we have had our fingers burned due to currency depreciation. If we book on board (in normal times) I usually say that we have family in the US and spend half the year there (sometimes true) and ask if there are any better deals available for US passengers and then make a decision. We should have been on Constellation in November but decided not to make final payment due to the uncertainty of being able to enter the US. We booked a veterans day special offer on board which offered streaming wifi, $700 OBC, gratuities and premium drinks in a C1 for almost no extra but it was only available to US residents so it is best to weigh up any offers that may be available on board and then make a decision.
  4. I know quite a number of people who love Aqua because of Blu. It just isn’t for us but I recognise it that we all have different tastes and it is good that Celebrity has a range of options. We liked the service level and smaller feel (I couldn’t quite describe it as intimacy) of Luminae but we just didn’t like the menus. Indeed, experiencing the staffing levels in the Retreat areas reminded us that Celebrity service used to be like that across the whole ship and, sadly, you now have to pay extra for something that everyone experienced before Celebrity decided to become a mainstream cruise line rather than a premium one. We got a great discount for the suite which tempted us to try is and, if we saw a similar discount in the future for a warmer itinerary we would no doubt do it again. I’m not suggesting going back to the heady days of the magnificent midnight buffet (when people could file through before it opened to admire breathtaking displays and ice carvings) and when cabin stewards wore white gloves and dress uniforms on formal nights but I would happily pay more for our cruises to go back to the staffing levels that used to prevail when it was unthinkable to have to go and find a waiter or queue for lengthy periods at a bar where only one person is serving (and sometimes having to take time out to make cappuccino as now happens in the passport bar. Celebrity started a journey downhill some time ago and I think they went past the logical balance point and I hope they swing back up from where they are now.
  5. We didn’t discuss the Elite internet minutes and I only discovered the potential loss of them this morning.
  6. My mistake! I thought that is where I posted it! Fortunately someone has moved it
  7. I have just returned from a UK cruise on Silhouette and was dismayed by the extremely poor internet performance. In particular, the performance was no better regardless of whether I used my complementary stream minutes or the Always Included surf minutes. Reading the information on the Celebrity Captain’s Club website, it appears that the complementary stream minutes are now automatically replaced by any package included internet and only given to anyone without a package (which applies to very few people since the introduction of Always Included) and which would explain why there was no discernible difference in my minutes. I have emailed the contact centre asking for clarification. However, it would be extremely useful if any Elite CC members who are currently sailing could go to the internet centre onboard and ask the staff what they perceive is happening and whether they are or are not receiving any complimentary stream minutes if they are on the Always Including surf package. I am concerned this has been a quiet removal of yet another CC membership benefit. This is the excerpt copied from the CC website. I have italicised the salient sentence. Internet Discount applied to the total price of the internet package or upgrade purchased. Combinable with the 10% off pre-cruise advantage only. Complimentary unlimited internet for Zenith members includes a stream package and limited to 1 device only. If a Zenith member has stream internet already included in their ticket then they will get 1 device with stream from their ticket and 1 device with stream from their loyalty benefits for a total of 2 devices. If a Zenith member has surf internet included in their ticket then they will get 1 device with stream from their loyalty benefits. The surf device from their ticket will be applied to another device for another guest in the stateroom if they are not also a Zenith member. If both guests are Zenith members, both will receive the stream plan (without the surf plan). Complimentary 90 stream minutes for Elite and 240 stream minutes for Elite Plus will still apply for members that do not have internet included with their ticket.
  8. We are Elite Plus in the UK so, with less competition and Covid restrictions, it is difficult for us at the moment to make an informed decision. However, there is no doubt about it, Celebrity appears to have gone downhill and downmarket unless you are paying for the Retreat. I have to say that, although it saddens us, I think that is the business model they have decided on and, assuming it works, they neither want nor need clients like us anymore. They now seem to want to do more short cruises with a younger, less discerning crowd who don’t mind lower service standards because they are happy to go and stand at the bar and get their own drinks and grab a meal in select dining and get back out into “the action” rather than have a leisurely dining experience. A part of me hopes the “experiment” fails and that they go back to doing what we think they do best but, sadly, I think they are setting off on a race to mediocrity
  9. I was caught out by an internet bug on our recent cruise which affected my complimentary Elite Plus streaming minutes. Wi-fi performance was unreliable and, the first time I was logged in, the internet dripped out due to the wifi going down. However, the computer control doesn’t register an internet drop out as logging out and so my minutes kept on ticking away. When the internet drops out you have to sign back in as soon as possible and physically log out. All the minutes which pass before you are able to do so are lost. When I next logged in and realised what had happened I went to the internet office and my minutes were reinstated. The loss of a few minutes here and there is annoying. However, due to the unreliable internet this happened to me a number of times and each time I lost a few minutes but it is the need to re-establish a connection and log in again just to be able to to log out that is a pain. So, the lesson is, if your internet drops out whilst you are using inclusive minutes, you have to log back in to log out
  10. The worst part of the “always included” internet on our cruise last month was that a more accurate description would be “often unavailable”. We had the “free” surf package as well as complimentary stream minutes but, in reality, there was no discernible difference between the two. Based on our experience, the system has woefully inadequate bandwidth for the number of people trying to access it and, whilst it may be a geographical problem due to satellite coverage, performance around the UK reminded me of the old days of dial up! Performance on our last two cruises (both UK based) would make purchasing an upgrade to the stream package a complete waste of money. We couldn’t even send photos let alone stream video conferencing or media.
  11. You may not have paid more but you may have been billed more. Drinks in port in Barcelona used to attract Spanish VAT and VAT is charged on everything (bars, shops etc) on the UK staycation cruises. Drinks were still included in the packages despite attracting 20% VAT. The duty free shop was screened off and closed throughout too. Tax is also charged i port in Singapore and no doubt there are other places too.
  12. These were direct comparisons because I priced them both on the UK site for comparison and then again on the US site for the Caribbean cruise. I definitely agree that the cost of the AI has added significantly to the cost. We never used to purchase the drinks package and, although we both drink, we never ever ranup a bill that came close to the cost of the package. I have had US friends say that they like the package because it is so much more convenient than signing bar chits! Now it is even worse because I like craft beer and Sheila likes fizz and we both like San Pellegrino with meals so upgrade to the premium package works for us, which adds yet more cost. My biggest gripe is the lack of bar staff. Once upon a time t would have been unthinkable to queue at the bar for a drink. Indeed, we would sometimes almost complain that we got pestered by staff trying to get us to have a drink (and earn them commission). Now Celebrity take payment in advance so the business model has changed dramatically. It is now in their commercial interest to reduce the number of drinks served and so there are far fewer staff, particularly in Ocean View. I asked the Food and Beverage manager a couple of cruises ago if he would walk the ship with me and count how many bar staff we could encounter out on deck and in Ocean View and he said it would be pointless because he knew there was a chance we wouldn’t see any and blamed it on head office. As for “always included “, when it involves the internet, it would be more accurate to say “always paid for, often unavailable” when we had our week in a suite in July we said that the level and availability of service in exclusive suite areas was how it used to be throughout the ship. It’s just a shame that Celebrity has seen fit to reduce it everywhere else.
  13. I thought there would have to have been some price inflation. I found a week on Beyond in a suite next year for the same price as a 1A on the 27 September cruise
  14. Hi Geoff. I was thinking of the extra cost involved having to levy VAT on the UK cruises and having to have their accounts audited for submission to HMRC. It must add somewhat to their costs. I would love to know what their profit margin is on the Canaries cruise compares to the Caribbean one I used for comparison.
  15. Port charges are listed if you do a dummy booking through to the last page. UK VAT won’t apply as the ship is going to a foreign port. Fuel charges will be higher but nit enough to justify a doubling of the price. This is Celebrity capitalising on a captive market, something they can’t do in Florida due to the competition. I spoke to a senior Cunard sales rep before Covid and she said the volume of people who can’t or won’t fly enabled them to increase fares from Southampton by up to 30%. It will be interesting to see if there are enough people out there who will pay the premium just to get away. We have just done 2 of the round UK trips, one in Retreat and one in a standard balcony and neither provided an experience that I would be willing to pay £500 a night for
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