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Luxury vs. Premium Plus cruise lines

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5 hours ago, English Voyager said:

It amuses me that people who are prepared to independently tour a country whose inhabitants speak a language they don't understand refuse to contemplate being on a ship on which the majority of the passengers speak another language.

I think that's because many people expect a lot of people in the places where they go on vacation to be able to also speak English when it comes to the common tourist things (like shops, restaurants, taxis, etc)......but they expect conversations, not transactions, when on a cruise. 

I live in a city where over half the population was born outside of the country, so hearing foreign languages spoken around me doesn't bother me - but I know some people (usually those over 50, which is still younger than the average cruising age) are bothered by it.

 

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4 hours ago, English Voyager said:

 

I had no one to help me in a pharmacy in Romania, but a combination of hand gestures, and sign language produced a successful outcome.

It was Spain for me -- I'd forgotten my prescription meds at home and was going to ask for directions to a doctor's office (one who could speak English), but it turned out that they had the medication available without prescription there.  By writing out the drug's generic name, things worked out.  It could have been a lot worse, had I been in a country that didn't use the Latin alphabet.

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1 hour ago, calliopecruiser said:

It was Spain for me -- I'd forgotten my prescription meds at home and was going to ask for directions to a doctor's office (one who could speak English), but it turned out that they had the medication available without prescription there.  By writing out the drug's generic name, things worked out.  It could have been a lot worse, had I been in a country that didn't use the Latin alphabet.

sign up for  Iamat  they give you a booklet  with English speaking doctors  in many Countries

https://www.iamat.org/#

We have not had to use their services  but at least I know where to look for  Medical services

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2 hours ago, calliopecruiser said:

It was Spain for me -- I'd forgotten my prescription meds at home and was going to ask for directions to a doctor's office (one who could speak English), but it turned out that they had the medication available without prescription there.  By writing out the drug's generic name, things worked out.  It could have been a lot worse, had I been in a country that didn't use the Latin alphabet.

I now use a phone App which enables one to input, amongst other things, details such as generic names, and required dosages, of one's medication

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I think people need to define it by itinerary rather than cruise line.  

Collectively, the Ritz Carlton chain is not truly luxury.  Some of their properties get to that level.  The rest just meet the RC standards.  Same with cruise lines and cruise itineraries.  A crystal cruise down the Caribbean is like a stay at the Ritz Carlton atlanta.  Not exactly luxury.  

 

A cruise down bordeaux while schlepping to third tier wineries is not luxury by any stretch of imagination.  Stay in bordeaux in a proper luxury hotel, get a driver to drive you to at least Montrose.  Luxury should be luxury by any standard, not luxury by cruise standard.  

 

Now, Galapagos, for example, you cannot do it any other way.  A cruise would be the most luxurious way to do so.  

 

Most of these cruises stop by the Maldives and Seychelles and hang out at the most basic and depressing location respective to that area.  How is that luxury cruising?  Just no.  

Edited by kent9xxx1

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12 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

Hi Paul,

 

Always enjoy your posts.  I would like to address the age of the luxury ships.  Viking Ocean ships are all under 5 years of age (approximately - give or take a year).  Seabourn ships are also on the newer side (newer than three of Regent's ships).  Regent's Navigator is really older - her hull is older than the rest of the ship.  I believe she launched in 1998 while the Mariner was 2002 and the Voyager was 2004.  Are these now considered old?? I guess that I must be ancient!

 

My first instinct is to say that these ships are still luxury.  Regent has not changed the size of their suites - they were always on the larger size.  Service, food and amenities are the same as their newer ships.  The one area that I can see the age of the ships is in the bathroom.    It seems that everything was updated except the ugly granite by the sink.  I believe that the upper category suites do have new marble but not the lower category suites.

 

I have no doubt that Celebrity's Edge is more fun than luxury cruise lines (even the older ship that we were on was fun).  If we wanted to do another "fun" cruise, we would select Celebrity over HAL or Princess.  In fact, we are looking at west coast itineraries for September 2020 and May do Celebrity.  However, as you know, I do not consider the suites with their great amenities* to be a luxury cruise ship experience since most of the ship is not as good as Luminae, Michael's Club, etc.

 

Anyway, I will be posting on the Regent board live from the Crystal Symphony beginning September 3rd (may start a bit early with pre-cruise details).  I do not plan on comparing everything from day 1 as we want to experience Crystal without comparing every single thing to Regent.  At the end, I'll do a comparison

 

Jackie 

 

P.S.  IOO (in our opinion) Celebrity has the best pre-cruise experience that we have seen on any ship.  While it may only be for "suite" passengers (not sure), they assign you a representative that you can call to get answers to the many questions that newbies have.  They even forwarded a photo of the area we should look for in the cruise terminal when we checked in.  We will be new to Crystal and are clueless as to what is going on. Lots of research to do in the next month -- no comparison to Celebrity!

Hey Jackie—

 

Always enjoy your posts as well! It’s certainly hard to argue that the lines you’re listing aren’t luxury. Of course they are! But after seeing the Crystal Serenity sail into Amsterdam the other day, an older ship with what I felt was a tired, uninspired design, it did occur to me that there is a trade off when booking these lines. You’re going to get better dining, service, more personalized attention, and all the features you associate with a higher end experience. But on many of the ships (not all, but many), you’re also going to get a traditional layout of space and features, lacking the imaginative innovation currently associated with cruise ship design. 

 

Its a point I haven’t seen discussed much that I just thought was worth making, mostly for the sake of debate. Or maybe I’m just being argumentative! 🙂

 

Alright, off to bicycle in Oslo!

 

paul

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2 hours ago, kent9xxx1 said:

 A crystal cruise down the Caribbean is like a stay at the Ritz Carlton atlanta.  Not exactly luxury.  

 

 

 

Why wouldn't a Crystal cruise be luxury no matter where in the world the ship is located? Is the Caribbean as interesting to many as the Mediterranean, probably not, but why do you think that anything on the ship would be of lower quality on one cruise than the next?

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12 hours ago, calliopecruiser said:

It was Spain for me -- I'd forgotten my prescription meds at home and was going to ask for directions to a doctor's office (one who could speak English), but it turned out that they had the medication available without prescription there.  By writing out the drug's generic name, things worked out.  It could have been a lot worse, had I been in a country that didn't use the Latin alphabet.

I am afraid Spain became also rather strict in providing medication - in the 80s people were buying lots of medication what was on prescription in my country but widely free in Spain.  and also particular  items usually  used or abused in "gyms"

Last year in Mallorca a Belgian prescription was refused  - the medication is 66 % cheaper in Spain.

I noticed once a lot of US citizens were buying medication - entire bags - in Mexico.

In Dubai Abu Dhabi   nearly everything also antibiotics are without prescription.

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6 minutes ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

Why wouldn't a Crystal cruise be luxury no matter where in the world the ship is located? Is the Caribbean as interesting to many as the Mediterranean, probably not, but why do you think that anything on the ship would be of lower quality on one cruise than the next?

I am not facing a particular cruise line at all, but local supplies in the Caribbean ? Fruits yes and rum and the French Isles are just onerous.

The same ship sailing around the Spanish , French and Italian coastline does have a lot of  possibillities.  

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3 hours ago, vistaman said:

I am not facing a particular cruise line at all, but local supplies in the Caribbean ? Fruits yes and rum and the French Isles are just onerous.

The same ship sailing around the Spanish , French and Italian coastline does have a lot of  possibillities.  

 

If you are talking about provisions on the ship, all in the Caribbean would be loaded in the US when the ship is back in Miami. At least with Crystal, when sailing the Caribbean, they return to the US, usually Miami, sometimes Fort Lauderdale or New Orleans, at least every 2 weeks. One reason Caribbean cruises are less expensive is that provisioning is much cheaper in the US than in many other places in the world.

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5 hours ago, BarbarianPaul said:

you’re also going to get a traditional layout of space and features, lacking the imaginative innovation currently associated with cruise ship design. 

 

That's a feature, not a bug.

 

 

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10 hours ago, BarbarianPaul said:

Hey Jackie—

 

Always enjoy your posts as well! It’s certainly hard to argue that the lines you’re listing aren’t luxury. Of course they are! But after seeing the Crystal Serenity sail into Amsterdam the other day, an older ship with what I felt was a tired, uninspired design, it did occur to me that there is a trade off when booking these lines. You’re going to get better dining, service, more personalized attention, and all the features you associate with a higher end experience. But on many of the ships (not all, but many), you’re also going to get a traditional layout of space and features, lacking the imaginative innovation currently associated with cruise ship design. 

 

Its a point I haven’t seen discussed much that I just thought was worth making, mostly for the sake of debate. Or maybe I’m just being argumentative! 🙂

 

Alright, off to bicycle in Oslo!

 

paul

 

Paul - you and I have a way of politely disagreeing and sharing opinions without it getting negative or personal.  However, I would love to say that you are being argumentative just so that I can use this emoji🙃

 

You definitely have an interesting point regarding old ships and Crystal ships are the best example.  I hear from some people that the ships look old and from others that the recent upgrades/refurbishments have made the ships look great.  I'll be able to judge for myself soon.

 

It seems that cruise lines could upgrade little things that the newer ships have like USB ports in the suite and next to the bed.  I don't care for the tiny computer rooms on newer ships (as cruise ship management seems to think that we all prefer being on our own devices which, at least for me, is not true - I like a full keyboard and printer).  

 

I just finished reading an article about the growth of the cruise industry in the U.S. and Europe.  I'm going to paste it below as it should be of interest to posters on this board.  It is particularly interesting to learn that a smaller number of Americans are booking European ships.  A thread could just about be dedicated to why the is the case.

 

"Forecasting for the North American market, industry capacity is expected to grow from about 15.6 million passengers (double capacity) this year, to more than 21 million by 2027. That means that the American market has to generate approximately 600,000 new passengers each year for the next nine years.

 

The European market, which is forecast to generate some 8 million passengers this year, will grow to an estimated 12.5 million passengers by 2027 based on the current orderbook.

 

These numbers will fluctuate somewhat by American brands sourcing passengers in Europe and a smaller number of Americans sailing on European ships."

 

Enough babbling.  Have a good day!

 

Jackie

 

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3 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

Paul - you and I have a way of politely disagreeing and sharing opinions without it getting negative or personal.  However, I would love to say that you are being argumentative just so that I can use this emoji🙃

 

You definitely have an interesting point regarding old ships and Crystal ships are the best example.  I hear from some people that the ships look old and from others that the recent upgrades/refurbishments have made the ships look great.  I'll be able to judge for myself soon.

 

It seems that cruise lines could upgrade little things that the newer ships have like USB ports in the suite and next to the bed.  I don't care for the tiny computer rooms on newer ships (as cruise ship management seems to think that we all prefer being on our own devices which, at least for me, is not true - I like a full keyboard and printer).  

 

I just finished reading an article about the growth of the cruise industry in the U.S. and Europe.  I'm going to paste it below as it should be of interest to posters on this board.  It is particularly interesting to learn that a smaller number of Americans are booking European ships.  A thread could just about be dedicated to why the is the case.

 

"Forecasting for the North American market, industry capacity is expected to grow from about 15.6 million passengers (double capacity) this year, to more than 21 million by 2027. That means that the American market has to generate approximately 600,000 new passengers each year for the next nine years.

 

The European market, which is forecast to generate some 8 million passengers this year, will grow to an estimated 12.5 million passengers by 2027 based on the current orderbook.

 

These numbers will fluctuate somewhat by American brands sourcing passengers in Europe and a smaller number of Americans sailing on European ships."

 

Enough babbling.  Have a good day!

 

Jackie

 

 

Not babbling at all. Interesting!

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On 7/28/2019 at 10:28 AM, Travelcat2 said:

While this could start some strong debates, perhaps it is time for those of us that regularly sail on luxury and/or premium/premium plus cruise lines to list what YOU think belongs in the “Luxury” or “Premium Plus” category.  The intent of this thread is to help people that may be considering one of these cruise lines.

 

You don’t have to prove that the category that you place a cruise line in is correct - only that you believe that it is.  It would be helpful if you posted why you feel the cruise line belongs in the category (think that we should not posted cruise lines that have not launched their ships yet such as Scenic Eclipse and  Ritz Carlton.  Obviously, I’ll start:

 

In alphabetical order:

 

Luxury

Crystal

Hapag Lloyd (German speaking)

Regent

Seadream Yacht Club

Seabourn

Silverea

 

Luxury/Premium Plus

Azamara

Oceania

Viking Ocean

 

 

I would have added Ponant to the second list

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On 7/29/2019 at 11:17 AM, Travelcat2 said:

 

When I said "familiar", I meant that I have done research on Europa 2 and decided that it was not for us but have no doubt that it is a luxury cruise line.  And, I'm happy that there are cruise lines that cater to people that speak languages other than English.

 

As an aside, did you read about the horrible fights that broke out on a P&O ship?  I don't know much about them but assume that they are not a luxury cruise line.

 

We would have no problem going on an Australian cruise line (like Scenic Eclipse that is supposed to finally debut next month).  In fact, we would prefer an Australian cruise line to a British cruise line (I would not tell my British DH this but it is true).  Aussies tend to be more fun!

Australians are good fun, but not very good at 5 star service. I will run a mile from Scenic.

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Adding Ponant to the second list:

 

Luxury

Crystal

Hapag-Lloyd

Regent

SeaDream Yacht Club

Seabourn

Silversea

 

Luxury/Premium Plus

Azamara

Oceania

Ponant

Viking Ocean

 

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7 hours ago, Toryhere said:

Australians are good fun, but not very good at 5 star service. I will run a mile from Scenic.

do Australian work on the ships?

We did a river cruise  with Scenic  the crew were European

Food was  MEH! 

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On 7/29/2019 at 8:01 AM, calliopecruiser said:

What about Windstar and Ponant?

 

I have never been on Windstar but on a b2b on Ponant's L' Austral. On the first leg, some of the French passengers seemed to be upset that "their" line had English speakers on board. It was not noticeable on the ship but on the excursions. The crew on the other hand was very accommodating, especially the waiters, the bilingual cruise director and also the hotel director. The line advertises in Australia and with more and more Australians on board, the international ambiance has probably taken hold. Our Ponant cruise was in 2015. Much can happen in 4 years.

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5 hours ago, Floridiana said:

 

I have never been on Windstar but on a b2b on Ponant's L' Austral. On the first leg, some of the French passengers seemed to be upset that "their" line had English speakers on board. It was not noticeable on the ship but on the excursions. The crew on the other hand was very accommodating, especially the waiters, the bilingual cruise director and also the hotel director. The line advertises in Australia and with more and more Australians on board, the international ambiance has probably taken hold. Our Ponant cruise was in 2015. Much can happen in 4 years.

 

Wow - that is so interesting!  While we prefer to sail on English speaking ships, non-English speakers are certainly welcome (by the crew as well as the passengers).  The only issue that I see with non-English speakers on the English speaking luxury cruise lines is that fewer crew members may not speak your language and announcements, menu's, etc. are written in English.

 

LHT28 - Scenic Eclipse is supposedly not going to be anything like Scenic river cruises (just like Viking Ocean is not the same as Viking river cruises).  Scenic Eclipse is a super luxury ship (according to the many brochures that we have received from them).  The only issue with the ship was in building her (so many delays).  She was due to debut this month.  Hope that she makes it.

 

Think that I'll add her to the list (tentatively)

 

Luxury

Crystal

Hapag-Lloyd

Regent

SeaDream Yacht Club

Scenic Eclipse (tentative)

Seabourn

Silversea

 

Luxury Lite/Premium Plus

Azamara

Oceania

Ponant

Viking

 

Had a heck of a time finding the "real" Windstar website.  While going through the wrong ones I found a rating for their ships (by one company).  Interestingly, the ratings the for the ships purchased from Seabourn are rated 4 star and the rest of the ships were rated 5 1/2 stars.

 

Windstar ships are old (build in 1986 - 1992).  They only serve breakfast and lunch in their buffet restaurants.  I do not believe that alcohol is included.

 

On the other hand, there are some nice things about Windstar.  IMHO, I could not rate them luxury but maybe Luxury Lite or Premium Plus.

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19 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

LHT28 - Scenic Eclipse is supposedly not going to be anything like Scenic river cruises (just like Viking Ocean is not the same as Viking river cruises).  Scenic Eclipse is a super luxury ship (according to the many brochures that we have received from them).  The only issue with the ship was in building her (so many delays).  She was due to debut this month.  Hope that she makes it.

 

Affirmative, she finally completed sea trials last month and has departed the S/Y. Now enroute to Rotterdam and is scheduled to commence the Maiden voyage on Aug 15th in Iceland. Only about 1 year behind schedule.

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1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

Affirmative, she finally completed sea trials last month and has departed the S/Y. Now enroute to Rotterdam and is scheduled to commence the Maiden voyage on Aug 15th in Iceland. Only about 1 year behind schedule.

 

Thank you for confirming that.  How nice that the Maiden voyage commences on my birthday!

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1 hour ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

Thank you for confirming that.  How nice that the Maiden voyage commences on my birthday!

Finally something else we have in common. We are both Leos.

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On 8/4/2019 at 11:36 AM, wripro said:

Finally something else we have in common. We are both Leos.

 

Now that is interesting!  Hope you have (had?) a great birthday.  Looking forward to celebrating with drinks that I only have occasionally (like a chocolate martini and a shot of a whiskey that has brown sugar in it ....... I sip it and it is like a dessert).

 

In less than a month (September 3rd) I will be posting from Crystal.  Lots of photos and comments ....... hope that you'll be around to stick in your two cents.  The posts will be on the Regent board!

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9 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

Now that is interesting!  Hope you have (had?) a great birthday.  Looking forward to celebrating with drinks that I only have occasionally (like a chocolate martini and a shot of a whiskey that has brown sugar in it ....... I sip it and it is like a dessert).

 

In less than a month (September 3rd) I will be posting from Crystal.  Lots of photos and comments ....... hope that you'll be around to stick in your two cents.  The posts will be on the Regent board!

 

Why wouldn't you also post on the Crystal board?

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7 hours ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

Why wouldn't you also post on the Crystal board?

 

Tried that - just to ask a few questions.  Unfortunately, I was treated quite rudely by some posters (one in particular that tried to accuse me of receiving Regent benefits that I do not receive - the poster is a transplant from Regent).  In any case, I like this board and the Regent board (Silversea is okay as well) but I'll steer clear of the Crystal board.  

 

I'll make a reference (again) directing posters on the Crystal vs. Regent thread on this board to the Regent board if they want to read the "live" thread

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