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Jedi Jason

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Everything posted by Jedi Jason

  1. I sadly canceled the Harmony group cruise, Nov. 21, 2021. I wasn't able to get the time off work. Still trying to get on my first group cruise. I did add a cruise on Explorer for December 24, 2022. It is a nine night out of Miami that doesn't return until January 2 so we get both Christmas and New Years included which are both the first time onboard for us over those holidays. It goes to St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts and Barbados.
  2. I cancelled my Explorer November 20, 2020 nine night southern Caribbean cruise before final payment expecting it not to sail and not having got time off from work approved yet. I had a refundable deposit but some of the family going with did not so they made final payment with the intention of going on the cruise or getting a full refund if/when it gets cancelled. I added the Harmony group cruise November 21, 2021 as a replacement since I don't think they would normally let me have the same holiday off for two years in a row but now that's not an issue.
  3. Happy soon to be retirement and hopefully some extra cruises for you.
  4. I have two cruises booked later this year that I would like to go on. I have the Brilliance GC and Explorer over Thanksgiving booked. I am willing and wanting to go on these cruises with the assumption that things will continue to improve between now and then. The one thing that may keep me from going on a cruise is work and/or CDC guidelines that would require a quarantine post cruise since I am a healthcare worker I can’t just work from home following the cruise. I plan on keeping my bookings and cancelling last minute with the cruise with confidence program if it becomes necessary.
  5. I have been on the Edge and it is amazing. I also think the itinerary for that one is pretty amazing as well. Alaska is one that I have done only once pre kids and now want to take them since they are old enough to appreciate it. It is quite different than Europe but it ranks up there and is just as memorable as my Mediterranean cruise.
  6. We love the four perks included promotions. I would normally purchase all of those thing but you have to pay for tips anyway and I will spend the money onboard with or without the OBC. The drinks and internet are a nice bonus. If you enjoy your cruise as much as I think you will then you should consider Celebrity Edge or Apex which sail the Caribbean in the winter.
  7. Yes prior to the cruise. I think that you have to do it in advance because they want time to set up your card with the casino credit and have the wine bottles in your room when you arrive.
  8. It was not a Chops lunch. It was a fairly simple menu but it was table service at a time when the buffet is usually super crowded so I appreciated it even though the food was not anything out of the norm for the main dining room.
  9. If you headed back an hour before all aboard you should have plenty of time to walk back (10-15 minutes max) plus make your way through the port and the pier to the ship's gangway.
  10. Maybe you can wait to defer your loyalty status match or just not sign up yet for Celebrity's Captain's Club unless you decide to primarily cruise with Celebrity instead.
  11. You need to go to the casino cashier and tell them you have the package with the casino credit. They will then ask each of you if you want you credit for slot or table games since they require you to pick one or the other and you may not change it after you decide. You will get promotional chips for the table games which you must play with them at least once and if you lose they are gone but if you win you get the winnings in regular chips and you should be able to exchange the promotional chips you just wagered for regular chips. If you chose to get your credit for the machines (slots and other games) it will be loaded onto your card and you will be given instructions on how to use it. Anything you win is yours to keep. It will keep track of how much promotional balance you have remaining. Just like the promotional chips on the table games you can't cash out your balance on the promotional money loaded on your card. You don't have to use it all right away but any amount unused by the end of the cruise is lost so you want to take advantage and use all of it.
  12. Check out my live blog from my Celebrity Equinox cruise. I answered most of your questions over there. Some of the photos include the embarkation lunch menu in the MDR and a listing of Concierge benefits as well. We did the second seating so I don't know about dining preference. I think it applies more to getting priority for preference on reservations. I never used the concierge service but there is a concierge available to help book specialty dining reservations for example but not sure what else to expect. The embarkation lounge if you use the term lounge loosely because it is just a reserved seating area but you will be the first ones on other than repeat cruisers and suite guests. We did not use the continental concierge breakfast but rather went to the buffet leaving only our carry on bags in the room and returned afterward to collect them and walk off the ship. Afternoon snacks varied greatly but included something sweet and usually some dip or spread and one other thing. They were just enough for a couple of bites of each item each. See my blog for photos of a couple of the deliveries. If you have dietary restrictions or preferences you can request them. I think you will enjoy your cruise and some of those concierge perks. Get ready to book another one.
  13. After hearing your three wishes podcast with @Matt I realized that I did not miss the dining room shenanigans in the MDR. There were no announcements over arguably the worst PA system ever encouraging you and/or your wait staff to stand up and dance or wave your napkins. It makes me cringe and I did not miss it at all on this cruise. I also was willing to give up the unique selections in the four different MDRs on Edge to have the same wait staff each night.
  14. I hope everyone enjoyed my blog and learned something about Celebrity and Equinox. I will continue to consider Celebrity cruises when cruising without my kids especially if they offer promotions that give free perks. I hope to see you onboard my next RC cruise which is the blog group cruise on Brilliance of the Seas in October. If you have any further questions please post them in this thread. Jason Peterson
  15. I forgot to mention the app which runs on the same platform as the RC app. It had the chat feature that we didn’t use since we ha had the internet package and have iPhones. It also had the unlock your room door feature which I don’t find to be convenient since I usually have pockets for my sea pass card. I am throwing in a picture of Symphony if the Seas departing Miami as we passes by the port on our way to Cozumel and some pictures of the pool deck, solarium and lawn club. Cabanas in the lawn club were $99 on port days and $249 on sea days.
  16. Equinox is one of the newer and larger ships in the fleet which has also been revitalized recently in the half billion dollar fleet upgrade program. It is a very popular ship in the fleet. I heard mixed opinions from people both onboard and online but I think it comes down to pre research and expectations and prior cruise experience to select the right cruise ship, itinerary and line. My opinion is Celebrity is a very nice and slightly premium cruise line that is a bit of an upgrade from mainstream cruise lines. It has a more elegant design and decor than the mainstream lines. The level of service is also slightly better and more refined. It does lack some of the signature activities that mainstream lines offer like rock walls. It is more of a relaxing cruise than the average ship, more adult oriented. There is also less of a hard sell to buy more stuff like specialty dining and drink packages except the first day. A few other random things. They only have paper straws and sometimes I wasn’t given a straw and had to ask for one if I desired it. The World Class bar had drinks that were mostly $12 covered by the premium drink package (up to $15) while the classic included drinks up to $9. This bar had higher quality ingredients including syrups made from scratch and several specialty drinks unique to this location. Specialty dining on a shorter cruise was almost entirely booked by the afternoon of the next to last day except for some parties larger than two. Curious that they didn’t want to seat us at a larger table to guarantee additional revenue as opposed to hoping a larger party might still make a reservation. They also didn’t charge us for our specialty dining we booked onboard until we showed up. I have heard some people book onboard at a significant discount same day but I would discourage this based on my experience on a shorter cruise unless you could make your reservation for later in the cruise. The casino was smoke free. It was not large but adequate. A little crowded at peak times and a $10 minimum for table games. I included a picture of the dining room chairs based on a request.
  17. Here are my overall impressions and random observations. Let’s start with the food since I haven’t had anything to eat in the last 2 hours so it must be time. Overall, when compared to Royal Caribbean, which hasn’t changed their MDR menus in a few years, it was a welcome change and upgrade from their food in the complimentary venues. The late afternoon options between 2:30 and dinner were limited to pasta, pizza, burgers, hot dogs and desserts primarily. The buffet or lunch and dinner always had dessert options including soft and hard ice cream, salad bar, pizza, customized pasta, meat carving, other entrees and sides, Indian and Asian foods, Mexican food, grilled meats and more. It was generally the same each day for breakfast with egg and omelette stations, traditional American breakfast options as well as some English foods and Indian cuisine. There was usually a rotating featured item at each meal. The MDR had options that are different and frequently more upscale than what you would find on RC. In addition the quality of the food and presentation was superior. The dishes were a little on the small side so Zi just ordered an extra app and emptied the bread basket. The most disappointing thing was the lack of variety of the bread selection which was mostly French bread and breadsticks but there was a plain and two flavored butter or dips offered each night. I rambled on a while about the food so I will have to put random observations in another post.
  18. room 1269 I haven’t described the stateroom much. We had a concierge ocean view balcony room. Concierge rooms are the same as the balcony rooms with some minor differences. They have upgraded toiletries and use of plush bathrobes. I believe theee is an upgraded shower head and pillow menu. They are found in preferred areas of the ship which I believe means higher decks. We didn’t have any available on the hump when we booked 10 months in advance. We were on deck 10 port side about 10 rooms aft of the aft elevators. There were several concierge rooms along our hallway. The bathroom had a good amount of storage and the mirror and vanity were along the length of the room. Closet space was pretty good with a small shelf along the top that we used for shoe storage. The chairs on the balcony reclined. The bathroom had a nightlight type of lighting that kept it from being completely dark inside. When the lights weren’t on.
  19. I am not a huge tiramisu fan and my wife dislikes anything coffee flavored. I had a peach tart that was pretty good instead.
  20. In no rush to get off the ship we had a casual breakfast in the Oceanview cafe and shared a table with a retired couple from Mexico City. We enjoyed a nice conversation and left about 8:30 to grab our remaining bags from our room. All the numbers had been called and there wasn’t any line in the terminal but a line on the ship which we cut in line because we couldn’t tell where the line started since our elevator dropped us off right next to the ship’s exit. We weren’t asked to present our passports probably because we had required immigration in Key West. They did stop us briefly to ask if we had anything to declare. We were in the parking garage and in our car in minutes. Now the depressing drive home began with the knowledge that our cruise was officially over. A short stop at home to empty the car and then out to get some lunch before heading to the airport to pickup the kids. For some reason my seapass card didn’t work at the restaurant nor did my drink package. There were actually prices on the menu and I couldn’t get as many things as I wanted without paying for them all. I passed on the dessert for the first time in a week. I will post some random observations/opinions and take any questions anyone has.
  21. Our last night was a realization that our cruise was nearly over. We skipped the evening entertainment which was a Broadway/Cabaret type of performance by the ships singers and dancers. It was a little disappointing that they used outside entertainment for 3 of the 5 nights. Needing more time to pack though we decided we were willing to miss the entertainment. We also went to the photo gallery to decide on any photo purchase. They have different loyalty discounts on Celebrity. One free photo is given to diamond Crown and Anchor members but the Captain’s Club gives a 20% discount for photo packages which include printed and digital starting at 6 photos in the smallest package. There was a special they were running on all the packages starting at $99 and the loyalty discount could be used as well. Since we don’t consider ourselves photogenic we opted for two printed photos. It used our remaining OBC to the penny. We walked off the ship without a bill or leaving any unused credit. Dinner was Italian themed and there were some nice starters like a wedge salad or caprese. I tried the turkey parmigiana. The pasta and sauce was really good but the difference in the turkey and chicken tasted just different enough to not fully enjoy it. Desert options included a tiramisu and a baked Alaska. We found time for one more trip to the World Class bar for a drink and to thank the two bartenders that worked there.
  22. Tervis store in Key West right next to Kermits near the pier. Check your local Tervis store or retailer or online.
  23. Key west is our last port so we took advantage. We’ve never been here before despite living in Florida which is a surprisingly long state. It is a four hour drive past Miami to get here so we went on a cruise that stopped there instead. It was inconvenient to stop there without it being the first port of call. The reasoning for that is the entire ship is required to go through customs but conveniently on the ship. Customs officers set up in the dining room. It seems like they instructed all of the passengers to arrive at the same time because the line went from one end of the ship to the other and then some. It went surprisingly fast despite the significant lines and they allowed you off the ship as soon as you finished. The Conch Train tour was our method for getting around while being told the history of the island. We only chose this one over the Trolley tour because it was $10 less each when I booked it via the cruise planner. We took it to the Southern Most point and our obligatory picture. Hemingway house was our next attraction we walked to from this stop. He was quite an interesting character besides being an award winning author. Tour guide Chris was very informative and passionate about the history. We got to pet some of the 6 toed cats that live on property. We hopped back on the tour vehicle for the remaining part of the tour and to get back closer to the ship. After the rest of the tour we did a little shopping and sampled some Key lime pie from Kermit’s. Sorry no picture because I ate it quickly since it was delicious and I hadn’t had lunch yet. I snagged a new Tervis cup featuring Baby Yoda. We also visited Truman’s southern White House but weren’t allowed to take photos. We had a late lunch back on the ship at Mast grill. While I am talking about food, the pizza in Oceanview Cafe is way better than Sorrentos. Better ingredients, better pizza. Sorry I couldn’t resist. It has a better crust, sauce and cheese.
  24. It was nice and tender. I think you would have an opportunity or two on a 14 night cruise since this was night 4 of a 5 night cruise.
  25. The remaining part of our sea day we enjoyed a few more things. The evening’s entertainment was Savanah Jack, a musical quintet that includes a drummer, two guitarists, violinist and a lead vocalist. They are based out of Nashville so they have country influences. The lead vocalist is also a songwriter. They played a wide variety of classic pop hits including country, Motown, and Jimmy Buffet songs to name a few. They engaged the audience well and the average age of the audience tended to fit their target. I thought it was decent but not that enjoyable for me. We left a few minutes early in order to make the captain’s and senior officers cocktail party for the loyalty program members that were select and above which I think is platinum and up for crown and anchor. Captain Tasos has made himself very available at various events around the ship attending at least one a day. It was a typical drinks and canapés with an introduction of the senior staff by cruise director Dan including a few words by the Captain. Dinner followed the cocktail party with a quick stop to get our favorite onboard cocktail, Tropically Yours, at the World Class Bar sling the way. We ordered the beef Wellington. It did not disappoint. They have a knack of cooking the meats evenly to get the same doneness throughout the piece of meat. Key West is our last port of call.
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