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freddie

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    Camano Island, WA

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  1. Boblerm - I, for one, enjoy your writing style very much and have devoured your blog. As a fellow victim of readers not understanding irony or jokes, I empathize with you in that regard. I have found (not to encourage stereotyping, but to recognize that sometimes stereotypes are based on reality) that Brits appreciate irony and dry (even cynical) humor more than many Americans seem to be able to do. CC readers and posters can become a bit (or more than a bit) too literal and sincere with respect to comments made, with the result that disputes arise and feelings are hurt. In any event, thanks for taking us along for the splash.
  2. We absolutely agree that on SB, as on the other lines that we cruise (Regent, SS, & Crystal), the best options if one wishes to show appreciation for good service are the crew welfare fund and a positive comment on the mid-cruise and end-of-cruise forms. However, and not with the intention of throwing this thread wildly off-topic, I would like to respectfully make an observation with regard to "small, non-cash gifts" instead of cash. The crew members have compact, shared quarters with little room for such things as souvenirs from our various hometowns, about which they have quite understandably little interest. Therefore, I will be so brazen as to propose that if one does wish to tip in some fashion to show appreciation for a particular crew member having gone above and beyond the expected norm, then that tip is most useful in the form of simple cash, which takes very little space, is not fattening or in violation of a crew member's religion or health, and is something that the crew member can use on his/her next visit home to the family. Just a notion to consider...
  3. We had a glorious experience a few years ago on Xpedition, followed by a wonderful tour to MP. It was all in late April/early May, with perfect weather both in the islands and in Peru. As for the tour to MP, I would sincerely suggest that you consider booking a private excursion, rather than going with whatever Celebrity offers. That is what we did, to our great satisfaction. If you do a private excursion, which surprisingly might be well within the same price range (or even less) than that offered by Celebrity, you will have a great deal more flexibility. In our case, we flew from Quito to Lima at the end of our Galapagos adventure on Xpedition, and then on to Cuzco. We spent a night in the Sacred Valley to get a bit accommodated to the altitude and then took the train to MP, where we spent two nights at the wonderful Sanctuary Lodge at the ruins at MP. Finally, the train back to Cuzco for a couple of nights at the lovely Monasterio in Cuzco before flying back to Lima and on to the U.S. All of this, with private guides, was less $$ than a tour half as long (and not with the same luxe hotels) as the Celebrity offering. It's a bit of an effort to organize; but it you enjoy travel planning, you can make a marvelous trip of it.
  4. Perhaps, Wripro, you could be so kind as to simply skip this thread if it offends you, unless, of course, it gives you the occasion to add to your total post count by complaining about something that you can so easily avoid. Heaven forbid that any of your posts would be positive or non-snarky. Frankly, I have found it handy on a number of different cruise line CC sites to find an ongoing dress code thread running so that pax do not have to "do a search", which is not always terrifically effective on the CC format. Further, dress codes are in a constant state of change, even on our beloved luxury lines, which means that the statements of older threads may have been rendered entirely irrelevant by recent (and, thankfully, nearly always more casual) changes in a particular line's dress code. In any event, I am grateful to the kind posters who have confirmed my hazy (even though recent ) recollection that elegant casual is indeed the dress code du soir on the whole ship except for The Restaurant on Formal Optional evenings. Our friends who are joining us in a few weeks on Sojourn will be pleased to have my rather dotty advice verified by more reliable sources.
  5. I have noted that the venerable thread regarding Dress Code was locked for some reason several months ago. One of the waiters on our last cruise suggested that the lock may have been due to someone describing on the thread my last visit to the TK Grill, wearing a see-through singlet, ragged Levi cut-offs, flip-flops, and a Seattle Mariners baseball cap worn backwards. I do recall that the ensemble caused one of the waiters to faint into the tableside Caesar salad that he was creating, while another waiter was so appalled that he dropped the tray with that lovely roasted chicken splayed so dramatically across. I will humbly ask all of those offended to forgive me and have even tossed out my Mariners cap as an act of atonement. However, I am firm in my belief that a regular thread needs to exist to answer reasonable (or semi-reasonable) enquiries regarding what is required (not what would be required if a particular poster ran the world) by the cruise line for the various venues on the SB ships with respect to attire. Pillory me and my singlet if you must; but please be kind to people who make genuine requests for info. As a start, the friends who are joining us next month for 20 days on Sojourn are first-time SB pax and are concerned about the alternative dining venues on formal-optional evenings. I have suggested to them that on those evenings, The Colonnade remains elegant casual (i.e. no jacket required), whether or not it is an evening with a special TK menu. Further, the rest of the ship, except for The Restaurant, also remains elegant casual. Please be so kind as to advise me whether the accuracy of my recollection has gone the way of my Mariners cap and should be tossed.
  6. I firmly agree with Wripro that these sorts of policies and enforcement thereof should be consistent throughout the fleet and not subject to the whims of a particular HD. Similarly, the decision of whether to open The Restaurant for lunch on port days should be based on a company policy and clearly communicated to prospective pax.
  7. This matter of Edwin is somewhat concerning. Has anyone ever made a complaint (or even an inquiry) about him to X HQ? If he is such a seemingly useless fellow, can one request a different Shore Side Concierge? We are not at all high maintenance but would like to be able to count on the basic services that are included in our RS fare. Comments and suggestions would be gratefully received in this regard.
  8. As someone new to X and new to this recent Footstool Flap, I will admit that I don't quite understand the photo posted above. It does appear to be a very nice lounge chair; but where is there a footstool in the photo? Certainly, the OP is not suggesting that one of those potted plants in the background may be used as a footstool...
  9. Thanks, Vicky, for the delightful commentary. A particular thanks is in order for your excellent info regarding the alternative site for Tracy's in Juneau. The original shack is now firmly on our plan for the day in Juneau. We'd written off a visit to Tracy's because of the potential crowds at the site near to the port, but will now eagerly look forward to a crab feast at the original site when we visit in early October on the last SB cruise of the season. I guess from your DH's hat that you live in the Tri-Cities, where LW has a major office. I am somewhat familiar with the "flat brown side" of our lovely state as I went to college in Walla Walla (which is, however, quite green and lush, like a quaint New England town). I share your DH's predilection for souffles and have enjoyed many of them on SB.
  10. Gonzo - While I will not debate your statements regarding the quality of beef on X in general, I will suggest from direct experience that the beef served on Xpedition in the Galapagos (and sourced from those islands) is notoriously inferior to that served on any other ship on which we have cruised. Even the hotel director on the ship made jokes (and apologies) about the quality of the Galapagos beef, along with most of the other locally-sourced products. The Galapagos experience on X is quite excellent as a total experience; but the dining experience is the emphatic weak link. You might wish to add some research regarding beef production in Ecuador to your apparent expertise in beef production in Japan and the U.S.
  11. Floridiana makes a valid point that for some ports, it is not their lack of docks and infrastructure that leaves them off of most itineraries. Rather, to woefully mis-quote Winston Churchill, "They are modest little ports, with much to be modest about." While some small, off-the-regular-itinerary ports are delightful and true treasures, others are simply dull, with nothing more interesting than a fish cannery and a 50-year old wooden church. On the other hand, "touristy" ports and cities are generally so because they have much to appeal to us tourists. And, sadly, that does indeed lead to visitor saturation. I fondly recall the days of my first stay in Paris (about 100 years ago), when we could walk into Notre Dame and sit in the front row to listen to a Bach concert on the great organ or climb up the many steps in the side towers without waiting a moment in a line. Nowadays, to do either of those requires serious planning and often a long wait in a queue. (Hmm, in view of the recent fire at Notre Dame, the wait in the queue may be something like 5 years!! Please take this anecdote merely as an example of touristy places becoming crowded in a generic sense.) Frankly, there is no easy solution to this dilemma, aside from limiting the number of visitors to certain ports or attractions.
  12. freddie

    Lunch

    After many cruises on Regent, as well as a few on other luxury lines such as Silversea, Crystal, and Hapag Lloyd, we have enjoyed a couple of cruises on SB and are preparing to embark on another soon. However, the MDR lunch situation is an unfortunate aspect of SB that will likely be a factor in our choice of luxury cruising going forward. First, it seems quite bizarre that the matter is not uniform one way or the other across the line, but, rather, depends upon the whim of some officer on the ship (Hotel Manager or F&B Mgr.??) on a particular cruise. It can be so odd as on our last cruise, when the MDR was closed at lunch one day because it was considered "a port day", even though we were not scheduled to dock and did not do so until 1:30 pm, well after lunch. Hmm, the mysterious "MDR guru" decided that a "half-day" in port was equivalent to a "port day" for purposes of lunch service?? Geez, who makes up these rules? While I would agree with previous posters who suggest that "the MDR being open for breakfast or lunch is not what determines for me a luxury line", I would respectfully suggest that SB's failure to do so differentiates the line quite negatively from other luxury lines in that aspect of the many elements of what does in fact define luxury cruising. As for breakfast on disembarkation day, we have had the good fortune of having the MDR open for such on both of our recent SB cruises and certainly hope to do so on our upcoming B-2-B of 20 days. Of all of the days that it is useful to have the MDR open for breakfast, that day is the most useful, since pax are asked to vacate their cabins early and await the time to leave the ship. There is certainly not room in the Colonnade for everyone to have breakfast there. Therefore, the MDR offers a welcome respite from the madhouse which is Colonnade at breakfast on disembarkation day.
  13. Cynbar - You have astutely noted one of the serious weaknesses of the current corporate obsession with metrics: the necessity to have good reviews, irrespective of the context of those reviews. In our Yelp society, people can post negative reviews of services or people providing services without having to reveal anything about the posters' behavior. The only thing that we other pax can do when we see things occur that might put a crew member in danger of receiving a totally-undeserved online slam from some jerk is to go to that crew member's supervisor (or hotel manager) and point out the facts of the encounter. We have done so both with crew members on cruise ships and on airlines.
  14. Capri73 - One aspect of your question that is worth considering is that often The Restaurant (main dining room) is not open for lunch when the ship is in port. Thus, you are limited to having lunch with your guests in The Colonnade (self-service, aka cafeteria). That is why, while we have enjoyed lunching with friends in some ports on Regent and Crystal, we have not done so on Seabourn. Inviting friends aboard for a lunch in a self-service venue is simply not the same experience as hosting them in an elegant dining room.
  15. I must agree with TC2 that I appreciate Regent having taken the decision to cancel visits to this autocracy with its astoundingly repellent social laws. Even if the place was really interesting, which it is not, cruise lines should no longer stop there, as that would support the ghastly policies of the absolute ruler, the sultan, who lives an appallingly lavish life while many of the people in the country, particularly those who are brought in to do low-level jobs, live at a level that is close to poverty. Sadly, although the decision of cruise lines to avoid Brunei will not likely change the mind of the sultan regarding the strict sharia laws that he supports, that decision will at least provide a small note of international protest against such repugnant laws.
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