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About kelmac

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About Me

  • Location
    Albuquerque, NM
  • Interests
    golf, travel

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  1. I like the free internet minutes as well.
  2. Hey Gang, Maybe MSC read this thread, as today my recalibrated invoice just arrived and we are all set. The dollar amount was off a bit, and for some reason they killed my Black Card status and I'm no longer Diamond, but it's close enough and a great deal. Thanks for all your input, Kel๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  3. Thanks Everyone for you input. Very Italian -- as the person with the largest perceived problem, who brings out the drama, will move to the front of the line. It's not the way I would do business, but hey, it's not my cruise company. I love Italy and all that implies, so I will hold on for now and generate some drama of my own, down the road. Enjoy! Kel๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. wf, Celebrity would be an excellent fit for most people. Not many kids and the demographic is close to HAL's, perhaps a bit younger. We prefer the food on X compared to HAL. Cunard is kind of like "HAL on Steroids", and is the last of the formal cruise lines. Even the ships of Cunard (Victoria/Elizabeth) feel like Holland ships. Not a Princess fan and NCL, RCL are all family-friendly with all the fun stuff. MSC in their Yacht Club is nice and all-inclusive -- not as expensive as Oceania, Azamara, Crystal, Viking..., HAL still has some of the best pricing and they offer interesting itineraries, but "bang for the buck" I would do Celebrity every time. The Edge and the Apex are a little bit expensive, but their S and M class ships are affordable. Good luck and enjoy, Kel๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  5. Just wondering how much success you are having with your "Future Cruise Certificate"? All of us that missed visiting Ocean Cay this fall received a FCC in the amount equal to 20% of what you paid for the fall booking. Our's was equal to $630. We booked a basic cabin for 14 days next December about a month ago, and we have not received our updated invoice showing the Certificate discount. My TA called after two weeks and they said it would take another week. He called back and they said it could take as long as six weeks. Anyone have better results? Our first two cruises with MSC were in the Yacht Club and it was a great experience, but dealing with MSC can be very frustrating. What's it like for you? Kel
  6. Jy1, We were on a world cruise last year (87 days total), and it included the perk of "pre-paid" gratuities. However, we would tip our key people additional funds every seven days. Even though this was Cunard and the vast majority of passengers were from the UK, the currency onboard was the US$. So, our cabin person, our assistant waiter, and our waiter all received these weekly thank-you cards with cash inside. Certain drink people, our area Maitre d' and a few others would get a bump from time to time. We were perhaps in the minority, and we did have some interesting discussions with our fellow passengers concerning this practice. Many from the UK, and certainly the Aussies, had trouble understanding why we would reward people working for an organization that did not pay their workers a living wage. There is a huge cultural gap concerning this issue, and the cruise industry seems to like this setup. I'm sure it is complex, and we all know it is cloaked in mystery. Contract workers, local tax laws, American Corporate balance sheets, international law, and flags of convenience. There is a good book for an investigative reporter in there somewhere.๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy! Kel๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  7. Don't use the upgrade program; way too expensive. I check prices every day between final payment and a couple of weeks before embarkation. I've got a great TA who will negotiate with agents to score upgrades/perks, but I have to be the one to initiate the process after spotting a price drop. Many times you will see "for new bookings only", but contact your TA anyway, as the cruise line may be looking for your current category or location for guarantee bookings, or to solve other inventory problems. I would say we get an upgrade for a small amount of money, or no additional money at all, about 25% of the time. Remember, last year Celebrity was trying to hold steady on their pricing for the Edge, but they were looking at multiple empty cabins going into the last 60 days before sailing. Works on other lines as well. Enjoy! Kel
  8. My wife and I have cruised 79 times, for a total of 741 days, and we both agree that the Edge was the best ship we have experienced. We were able to upgrade from a CAT 9 inside to a IV for no additional charge about a month before boarding. The best cabin we have experienced. Love the extended feel of the long room with a "glass wall", which was versatile, as well as private. We have cruised every ship built for Celebrity since 1993, and I'm sure we will book the Apex in the next year. Yes, the ship is unique and non-traditional, but we are ready to try something new.
  9. Hi CRQA, Glad you had a good time on the Edge. This past November, we did 7 days on the Edge, disembarked, and walked 100 yards south, and boarded the Nieuw Statendam for 7 more. Loved both ships, but the edge does go to the Edge!๐Ÿ˜‰ We, too, loved our IV cabin, as it adds so much space to the cabin. Feels more like a large cabin with a glass wall. We do like the 360ยบ wrap-around promenade deck on HAL ships; this is one big epic fail for Celebrity. Having said that, the Edge does have this unique "running/walking" track that winds in and out around the ship covering two different levels. For our needs, this did the trick. I would agree that the food is a bit better on Celebrity, and we like the flow of the buffet over HAL's traditional set up. The four MDRs of the Edge is nice, each having their own theme and speciality items. We were assigned to the Cypress dining room, but it was nice to order a few unique items from the other three (you just have to know their menus and request it). Because the Edge is so new, the price of the cruise was more expensive compared to HAL and other Celebrity ships. The Nieuw Statendam was a bargain, and I would say HAL prices are better at this time. We have a BtoB coming up in March where we will do 11 days on Celebrity's Reflection and then board HAL's Koningsdam for a 44 day South American cruise. As you can see, we like both lines. We've spent 295 days on Celebrity and 103 days on HAL; the reason -- Elite Plus perks are way better than three star perks. On Celebrity we enjoy a free two hour cocktail session from 5 to 7 every day; free laundry; free internet; priority tendering..., HAL's big advantage is they offer wonderful itineraries and Celebrity is stuck in the same old offerings. Enjoy! Kel
  10. I've booked over 60 cruises through my "email only" national TA with great success. I'm not going to abandon them just because they have to deal with MSC. If anyone can make it happen, it will be my team of Ray, Cy and Liz. I tried to work with MSC onboard the Meraviglia, but not only could they not help me, they wanted to cancel my Black Card Status. The Saga continues! Kel๐Ÿ˜‰
  11. Received my voucher two weeks after disembarking the Meraviglia this past November; last week I tried to book a cruise with my TA, and it's been seven days and no word from MSC. My TA said they won't charge me (deposit) until they get a invoice from MSC showing all charges and discounts. I'm trying to be patient as I know the quirks of dealing with the Italian way of doing things, but at some point I might just give up and book with someone else. Anyone else having any success using your voucher for a new booking? Enjoy! Kel๐Ÿ˜€
  12. Ate, Great Info! Thanks for posting. Seems like MSC expectations are similar to RCL/Celebrity concerning how much money they can shake loose for their upgrades. We scored a pretty good deal on our first two YC cruises, but perhaps those days are gone? Kel
  13. j, Do you have a feel for a minimun bid to go from a Fantastica Inside Cabin to a YC inside cabin? We've used the NCL upgrade program with minor success. The RCL/Celebrity upgrade program is excessively expensive. Not sure about MSC? Kel
  14. hcat, I agree 100%. The Edge is our new favorite ship and we even love the IV cabins. Not a balcony fan, but the IV really enhances the atmosphere of the cabin. Just got off Crystal, HAL, MSC YC, and RCL -- bottom line, Celebrity is still the best bang for the buck. We will be back on the Reflection in March and the Infinity (just out of dry dock) next fall. We like other experiences on different lines, but Celebrity is still our go-to favorite. Enjoy! Kel
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