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About muggo11

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Woodside, CA
  • Interests
    art, blackjack, reading, theatre
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Carnival
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
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  1. This is the thread that doesn’t die and keeps on giving! We just returned from 3 weeks in Europe, the first of which was a YC interior on Bellissima. A near perfect cruise experience. Though, I would have liked another sea day. We embarked and debarked in Marseilles. We flew in two days early to enjoy Marseille. We stayed in an airbnb in the Vieux Port area. So, so easy to get in board. No crowds. On the ship within minutes of arriving at the port. (Well, after I downed two glasses of champagne in the small area set aside for YC) Our butlers, Teresa and Octavio, were super. They immediately switched out our mini-bar with our favorite beverages, brought us a corkscrew and were solicitous without being cloying. The cabin was always clean and made up. The interiors ARE small but plenty of storage space. upon arriving, I immediately booked speecialty restaurants and cocktail Cirque shows with front desk in Yacht Club. Again, easy! We much preferred SYMA over Varelia but both were fun. And the pre-show music was excellent as was other live music throughout the ship. Ports and excursions—We only used one MSC excursion—the Taormina Tour in Messina. It was excellent. Knowledgeable tour guide and some free time at the end. in other ports, we used Airbnb experiences—meat lovers’ tour in Barcelona, food tour in Genoa, we easily got a ferry to Capri on our own while in Naples. HOHO Bus in Malta was an excellent way to see the island. FOOD and booze—We had cocktails every night before dinner with the live music. The specialty cocktails knocked my socks off. The Chili Passion Capraina (spelling?) gave me goosebumps! We were well pleased with the food in the YC Dining Room. Nick had the paella twice. I liked the fish dishes and the moussaka. The salads were fresh. And I am a sucker for escargot and anything with duck. We decided to go to the sushi restaurant for our one free specialty restaurant. Well prepared and plentiful. Not big breakfast eaters, we mostly grabbed a cappuccino and croissant for breakfast on the pool deck. One morning, I had a tasty made-to-order omelette. Juices were good, as well. The next 5 cruises we have booked through 2021 are with Oceania, Carnival and Princess. But if there is an itinerary I like, MSC is staying on my list. A first-class experience. We liked the service, the ports, the food, the ambiance and our cabin. . . happy cruising.
  2. We have been on 17 Princess cruises and I can’t recall when I first experienced Sanctuary—probably on our Panama Canal cruise (we booked the full day during the passage). We generally book 1/2 days on sea days. I think my love for Sanctuary boils down to why I vacation and why I cruise. **I have an unencumbered view of the ocean. Which I can stare at for hours on end **it make sense financially, e.g. an interior plus Sanctuary is cheaper than a balcony **I have a guaranteed comfortable chaise with 3-4 waitstaff responding to food and beverage needs; my husband and I can come and go as we please and not worry about our stuff **Tea and scones show up like clockwork every afternoon **I am blissfully alone in a quiet space—no music, no kids, no loud pool activities. I can read, nap, listen to music on my headphones, go to the small pool/hot tubs 1 floor down. In the mornings, we sleep in, have sit-down breakfast, walk the decks, play trivia, go to the gym (we never go to the buffet). BUT at 1 pm? Booking Sanctuary for afternoon sea days is now an integral part of my perfect Princess cruise that defines relaxation for me.
  3. Style matters. When we compared pricing, we used our average daily spend on 41 Princess, MSC, Carnival, and Cunard cruises to do our math. I can easily handle our own visas, we organize our own excursions 90% of the time, first class air and hotels are nice but not critical. (And I have nearly 500K of Amex miles I have been hoarding for airfare!). And we don’t drink enough to make included liquor that valuable. I understand the value—financially and psychologically—of the perks included by Oceania and Viking but those things aren’t as valuable to US. And we haven't had a disappointing Princess cruise yet. For 108 days (40 ports), We have budgeted 4K for Liquor, 2K for Sanctuary, $3K for specialty restaurants and off-the-ship food, $2K for souvenirs and gifts, $6K for excursions With 3K for Miscellaneous, putting our all-in costs at about $50K. Will I be right? Ask me Sept 20, 2021 when we disembark in Sydney! And start looking for a bridge under which to live.
  4. Re: price and affordability. We are, by no means, wealthy. But, we no longer own a home and will own no cars when we sail. We will also be debt-free with a lot less stuff. We figure the costs of cruising with intermittent 1-3 month stays In various locations around the globe can be done within our $6K avg monthly retirement budget (2/3 from Social Security, the rest from savings). I have worked since I was 17 and saved here and there as I could. We figure the WC will cost us about $50K all in and we will offset that splurge the rest of the year with inexpensive apartments in Australia and then Italy. At least that’s the plan for Year 1. International nomads as long as our health allows.
  5. We booked direct with Princess in US dollars. I normally would use a travel agent for the extra perks but the ship was selling pretty quickly, I am traveling in Europe now AND the Elite booking window was closing so I felt I needed to act quickly.
  6. Well we looked and analyzed and budgeted and now we have decided. Booked Sea Princess WC rt Sydney for june of 2021.
  7. Wow. I had no idea. . .good to know.
  8. Re: internet minutes. Yup, you are right. I forgot . In any event, we had fun racking up the credits and seeing friends in Seattle at the same time. And it is the only suite I will ever be able to afford (we are frugal interior types) And we still enjoy Chef’s Table. Always a hoot. Each to his own!
  9. We wanted to get to Elite before a 31 day South American cruise so we took back-to-back 1-day cruises from Seattle to Vancouver (with a busride in-between). I got a suite and DH got an inside cabin—giving me 6 credits and him 4, I think, which nudged me to Elite. I did it mostly for the free internet (I like doing my own laundry!). And getting on early means I can book Sanctuary right away AND sign up for Chef’s Table. So, for us, it isn’t about the status per se but the perks.
  10. we just booked 2021 WC rt Sydney. Free gratuities and $1000 shipboard credit for each of us.
  11. we put our deposit down yesterday! looks like it is selling fast.
  12. aquadesiac, I din’t know. we will be flying with points and planning extended stay in Sydney upon our return.
  13. We are BOOKED! 2021 WC on Sea Princess Sydney to Sydney, June 3, 2021. Yay!
  14. We are booked on the 2021 WC on Sea Princess! June 3, 2021. Yay!
  15. Can’t begin to tell you how much I learned from your review. We are 4 days into the Med cruise on the Bellissima in a Yacht Club interior. Crossing the Med towards Barcelona on our first sea day. Our 7-day snapshot shares some experiences with yours so far. Be well! Happy vacation planning.
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