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cruisellama

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Posts posted by cruisellama

  1. 1 hour ago, RCIfan1912 said:

    Thinking of possibly trying Celebrity cruises after the 3 Royal Caribbean cruises we have booked. 

    It's not as straight forward as booking a Royal Caribbean cruise. There is a "just cruise" booking and the inclusive booking but as far I could tell it was like 250 bucks difference and included a lot like drinks and gratuities. Again this is only going off visiting the website once or twice. 

    How is the Celebrity Eclipse? The cruise I was looking at was May 2025 on the Eclipse. 

    Please let me know anything I need to know about Celebrity cruises. Oh we have kids, right now they are 9 and 15 months. Kids are ok on Celebrity or is it kinda we are gonna get rude looks from the regular crowd? Thanks for any help or advice. 

    You would find more information on the Celebrity/Silverseas board in the discussion area.

     

  2. 3 hours ago, Happy Cruisers said:

    https://abc7chicago.com/cruise-ship-celebrity-equinox-decomposed-body-do-ships-have-a-morgue/13170894/

    Since this blog now purports to cover Celebrity, too, this seemed relevant.  Absolutely disgusting, heartbreaking and barbaric story coming out of Chicago from a cruise last August.  Some poor lady lost her husband of 55 years at the start of the cruise, so Celebrity apparently stuck him in the cooler instead of the morgue.  Morgue inop or not, the way this was handled was 100% unacceptable and likely amounts to abuse of a corpse.  Shame on the parent company for even letting this lawsuit be filed - certainly, there would have been demand letters that pre-dated the lawsuit.  Since the widow had to file a lawsuit to apparently get Celebrity's attention about letting her husband rot for a week, I hope it costs them a lot more than $1 million to settle this outside of court.  Unfortunately, it probably will be that inexpensive.  Simply disgusting by any and all involved - to the crew who decided to shove that man into a cooler for a week, all I can say is what Galatians already does - you reap what you sow.  And boy am I glad I'm not them.  

    Yes the morgue fridge was broken so they used a beverage refrigerator.   There was an opportunity for the family to disembark with the body in Puerto Rico, but they elected not to to save transportation costs.   So they remained not he cruise for 6 days and the makeshift accommodations did not work out.  Not cold enough.

  3. 17 minutes ago, SPS said:

    I'm not sure it ever will. The Vitality Spa is actually a third-party business not run/managed by Royal Caribbean. While anything you book will show up in your website cruise planner calendar, their reservation system may not be able to sync up with the Royal Caribbean app. 

    We found this out just by chance because my wife wanted to return a skin product she bought onboard a few years ago. (I can't recall the parent company)

    I also heard that from a concierge.    The vendor's scheduling software was not linked to the app (but is connected through cruise planner).  The concierge thought it would be fixed in a future release.   Maybe not.

  4. 13 hours ago, Hunny1104 said:

    Hi all! 
    Wanted to share our recent experience with Covid. 
    My mom started feeling bad on day 4 and we called the nurse day 5 AM and they immediately came with a wheelchair to take her down. She got in right away and was given a Covid test. Positive. For the first time ever! They gave her an IV to get her hydrated and kept her for about 2 hours.
    For the rest of the cruise she was quarantined to the room. My son and I weren’t required to quarantine which was unexpected and when asked if we could be tested, we were told they only test with symptoms. 
    Disembarkation consisted of them sending us room service breakfast at 6:00 for a 6:30 debarkation. We were taken directly from where people exit for port days and there were only 4 other Covid groups with us though I know I heard a lot more coughing! Oh well. 
    When we got home, my son and I tested positive as well. So… there’s a lot of Covid boppin around those ships. 
    I have no complaints about how they handled it other than I think they should have tested us. They were all very nice, though!

    Appears it's now normalized.  Glad it all worked well.

  5. 22 hours ago, JeffB said:

    Thanks for the great Beyond review crusiellama. We've got 4 Edge Class cruises booked. Three on Apex and one on Beyond through January 2024. On our first Edge Class Cruise (Edge, Athens, June 2022) it took some getting used to the new design but we did. Just sailed Apex in January and had similar reactions to yours and another poster who found The Retreat "too crowded." Agree with that. Nice to hear Beyond has added a 3rd deck to The Retreat. The Retreat Lounge wasn't the "step above" you would expect for the premium being paid and Luminae was by far not our favorite restaurant - that would be Normandy. But as you noted, the staff that served us across the ship were outstanding and service at a high level. Glad to see the Martini bar improved as both Edge's and Apex's are small and there is insufficient seating. The special effects in the main theater were also a noteworthy addition to ship board entertainment.

    There's no question that Celebrity's food quality has declined post COVID interruption but is entirely satisfying. I tend to stick to long time menu "favorites" and I enjoyed them. The roasted pork chops is one of them. The Chilean Sea Bass was Branzino and that particular fish filet was thin. Lobster tails on Lobster night in the mains are smaller (tender and succulent)  but the Beef Wellington is still very good.

    WIth Celebrity trying to position itself as a "premium" line, the concept of "X" signifying excellence, Lutoff-Perlo might want to consider shaving the company's margins a bit to preserve the concept of "X." I know that's not what stockholders want and she's under pressure to keep margins high. Still, tread cautiously there. Competitors are offering similar premium cruises at lower prices. We've got a Princess cruise scheduled in June (Caribbean Princess) and booked the equivalent of Celebrity's Sky Suite (not as big, same perks but fewer amenities and called Club Suites) for around 60% of the cost of Sky Suite on an Edge class ship. Don't know about others bu, given the premium, I'm loath to book a Sky Suite on Millenium or Solstice class ships given the plus-up of the "suite life" on Edge class.   

    Watch item:   We sailed in a Sky Suite and gratuities are included.   We watch our cabin balance while sailing, and we were seeing a $21/pd/pp charge on certain days, then later -$21 for each of the daily gratuity charges.  Once we disembarked, we received the final folio which included a $21/pd/pp daily gratuity charge.   I called Celebrity while I was still in the airport.  The agent was congenial, but claimed a review couldn't be conducted until 4-5 days after the cruise (and she promises to research, then call back.  She did, 4 day's later, and by the end of the conversation she agreed we were improperly charged and processed a refund for $294 after a lengthy apparently manual process.  She noted I would see a refund in 4-5 weeks.  Other observation, despite having a "final" folio summary charge posted to my credit card, I had 3 additional "pending" card charges that were already comprehended in the final folio summary, but still listed on the card account as "pending".   So 3 in a "post status"  while being told by the Celebrity agent, they'll drop because they were already comprehended in the "final statement".   Still waiting for the drop, but this is the second time in 6 months something like this has happened with Celebrity.   A comprehended charge will be carried for about a month, then drop.   As this is the second occurrence in 6 months, I'm wondering if it's a nefarious scheme to bump/squeeze bump monthly revenue to show a higher review for  period of time.    Multiply by a couple of thousand of guests at sea and you're recording/churning a nice bank month-to-month on these floating (to be retired) charges.  And sometimes, the guest won't watch expiration and they get a tip.  Long story short - just watch the card charges as you're sailing.. 

  6. 50 minutes ago, SpicyCherry said:

    Nice review....We will be on Beyond next year. We were on Edge in December and loved it. Glad we have something even better to look forward to. The addition of Blu access is exciting. On Edge, we didn't eat as much as we should have at Luminae and regretted that because we found the food amazing. We also did the Chef's Table and it was a nice experience. While on Infinity, we ate at Blu and enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!!!

    If you wish to dine at Le Voyage, reserve as soon as possible.   They sell out very quickly.  It's a small venue with only 2 seatings per night.   Takes about 2 hrs.

  7. 41 minutes ago, BB1 said:

    We were on Apex and really enjoyed it. My only issue with the retreat was that it was too crowded.  Did they change anything on Beyond to help accommodate the number of people in the retreat. We could never find chairs in the shade so we would go to the solarium.  This was fine since we thought the solarium  was very nice but the retreat is still nicer.

    Yes.  Added an additional deck.  Retreat area encompasses portions of deck 15, 16, 17.     Deck 15 is the Retreat lounge as on the Apex, but a little larger enclosed as the patio is converted to inside space.  Deck 16 is additional Retreat sun deck with a connection to Luminae (more lounge chairs).  Deck connects with the previous with stairs or elevator and provides additional sun deck, bar and two hot tubs.   Shortfalls on Edge and Apex are corrected on Beyond and soon to sail Ascent.

     

  8. 39 minutes ago, SebagoSue said:

    Thanks so much for the great review and pics @cruisellama! I can’t wait to check out the new Retreat setup next month. One question….do you know if they were still allowing some more “classic” type foods to be ordered at dinner in Luminae? Thank you!

    Yes.   You can still get escargot, French onion soup and order from the children's menu for the filet.   As on other lines, the menu is getting less impressive.   Even our wait staff was brutally honest on some evenings, steering us to the "classic" selections.    Staff was excellent across the ship.  The all seemed to be in a good mood.  Other surprise was we were told on day 1 by our butler that we had full access to Blu (lunch and dinner).   I thought that was stopped, but not on Beyond.   Some nights they had a nicer menu.  Also you could get through breakfast much faster than Luminae.  (more servers)

  9. Chic night is as formal as you want to make it.  Primarily I would call it business casual , especially in the Caribbean.    No requirement for a dinner jacket unless you want to wear one.  We just got off Beyond from Ft. Lauderdale, and I didn't see a single tux.  Saw some suits and sport coats,  but a most just wore open collar shirts (many with tropical floral patterns)  w/o a jacket.  (and that was in Luminae).  

  10. Summary:  We sailed the week of 5 March 2023 with about 3200 fellow passengers.  Celebrity Beyond lives up to its name.  Its design and service goes beyond earlier Edge and Apex ships. Port visits included:  St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Puerto Plata DR.   At first glimpse, Beyond fixes some of the “nits” that Edge and Apex rolled out with.  For example, the Martini Bar is positioned into the center of the atrium, making it a focus while adding more seating, the Sunset bar is made over to give a Moroccan feel with various levels of seating on the aft starboard edge, and most noticeable for Retreat members, there’s an additional deck that holds a pool and two hot tubs.   The Retreat hits new levels now contained within 3 - decks with Luminae positioned between the Retreat lounge and upper pool deck (Decks 15-17 forward).

     

    Embarkation: Port Everglades Celebrity  terminal is  updated and easy to negotiate on embarkation day.   The suite lounge is comfortable, but even at 10:30 (the early boarding time) we couldn’t find any seating.  Service was great, but had to stand for about 15 minutes and embarkation commenced.  We were onboard before 11am.

     

    Ship Experiences

    Food & Dining:  We stayed in a Sky Suite so had access to Luminae and Blu for main dining.  Except for 3 specialty restaurants, we dined in those venues all week for major meals.  Also dined in the Aqua cafe, Eden cafe, and Oceanview cafe.  All venues were well maintained, but it was obvious the menu quality & strength has been reduced (just as on the Royal parent).  Its not the Celebrity dining of 5 years ago.   

     

    Le Voyage - Daniel Boulud’s intimate signature specialty restaurant on Beyond (and highest price).  Features assorted entrees a tasting menu and chef’s table.  We’re not fans of Daniel’s stye of French cuisine , but we needed to try the new venue.  Restaurant ambiance and service is first rate; however, the food is ordinary.  I would give a 10 to service and an ambiance, and rate the food between 7-8. The restaurant is a small space in the on deck 4 that has a rather hard to see front outer sliding door (think Star Trek).  It opens into a small space with the maitre’d and you then pass through a second sliding door into a very intimate dining area with about 14 small tables.  A small private dining room off to the side can accommodate a 6-8 person chefs table.  Its a 2 hour experience and service is old school cruise line style.  But the menu being the weakest part of the experience.  Not bad, not exquisite, just about equivalent to a Luminae offering at a premium price.

     

    Luminae - Visited for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If you’ve sailed Celebrity with Luminae in the past, you’ll notice a weaker menu.  (In fact our honest waiters confirmed our observation on several nights).   The Baja Eggs content/presentation was different from what I was used to on other ships.  When I attempted to explain to the waiter, he didn’t understand what I was trying to communicate (new guy with little English).  Second issue with a lunchtime Margarita Flatbread that had a blue food residue on the bottom.  Not knowing what this was (as it looked like mold), we informed the waiter resulting on a visit from the chef.  He apologized profusely, but admitted the blue material came from a placing the flatbread on a dirty tray  (that’s called cross contamination in a US restaurant kitchen).  We found out a few of the staff were on first contracts.  Which explained the low energy service and wait times.  Lunches could go 2 hours.

     

    Retreat Lounge :  All good and exceeded expectations with service and food / drink offerings. Three deck areas:  Lounge, sun deck, and pool deck with pool and hot tubs with connectivity to the Luminae on deck 16.  (The arrangement is far more efficient arrangement than the new suite neighborhood on Wonder of the Seas configuration).  The total area seems large enough to accommodate everyone.   The availability of pool, hot tubs, and food within the private area allows guest to pretty much homestead in the Retreat.

     

    Blu :   A lighter (maybe healthier) breakfast and dinner offering for AquaClass guests.   As suite guest, we also were given unlimited access and found the menu to be more attractive than Luminae on several occasions.   Service was also a little faster allowing you to not get too bogged down at a sit down dining venue.

     

    Le Petit Chef:  French “like” cuisine with a clever animated table projection story about the creation of the dish.  The meal contained 4 courses and a projected petit chef walks you through the making of the particular dishes and his path to becoming a chef.   Kids would love it.   Its more about the show than the food.  Food was OK, but again, nothing you could not experience in the complimentary Normandy “French” restaurant.  In viewing the menu, it seems than many of the items are actually available as complimentary menu items in other venues.  Box checked.

     

    Raw on 5:   As we enjoy shell fish, we really enjoyed Raw on 5.   We are raw oyster fans and had our fill.  They offer an Imperial Tower which is a seafood extravaganza of crab legs, oysters, lobster clams, shrimp, fish that will challenge 2 to finish.   Sushi is also offered with pricing well in line with what you would pay off the ship.

    Oceanview Cafe:  Main buffet.   Nice offerings, but not as many as pre-Covid.   More of less on the serving tables.  Also noticed they would let stations go “empty” about 20 minutes prior to closing so you were out of luck if you got there too close to closing.

    Onboard Activities

    Entertainment:  Very ample.  Three theater productions, a couple of aft Eden productions and top liners.  Ship entertainment venues offer great screens for effects and the production teams know how to make best use of the “special effects” offered by the screen.

    Service & Staff:  All good - no complaints.   They all worked to keep you happy.  They all seemed happy and enjoyed being with the guests.  Very attentive butler and room steward keep the room ship shape and ensured we had coffee first thing in the morning.

    Ship Quality:   The newest and brightest in the Celebrity fleet.  Ship is fantastic and it seems they applied practical lessons learned from earlier Edge class ships.   Lots of space and filled with very nice art.  Edge deck plans exhibit a noticeable amount of asymmetry so you find there are not necessarily direct walking paths from bow to stern on certain decks forcing you to go up - go straight - go down to get from bow to stern,    Just takes some thought to select decks with straight paths between forward and aft section of the ship.  Elevator capacity seemed ample for the 3200 passengers if you avoid dinner rush.  Elevator capacity is being challenged on all ships pushing capacity.   We did notice the ship structure itself was obviously “noisy”.  When the sea state increased a bit, everything seemed to “creak” in the cabin.   In fact just walking the decks you could hear creaking and cracking everywhere you walked (like the rigging on a sailboat) .  We overheard one family saying maintenance showed up at their cabin and made adjustments to panels and doors that were apparently loose.  Appeared to be a feature on the ship.   I wondered if its still under warrantee.

    Cabin/Stateroom: 10-215 port side Sky Suite with ample floor space and comfortable atmosphere.   Balcony was sufficient with lounge, chairs and small table.  Like the cabin, would stay there again.  Only nuisance was the creaking and cracking when seas were a little rough.  Room had plenty of light, and a very nice bath with a tub.

    Summary:  The best in the Celebrity fleet at this time.  Outshines Edge and Apex.  Service was superb.  I don’t think the food is at the same level as experienced prior to Covid (menus are weaker).  But I believe that’s probably across lines and ships.  I would sail Beyond again and look forward to Ascent.  Footnote:  If you want a real balcony room on an Edge class ship, you have to book a suite.  All other outside rooms use what’s called an infinite veranda which encloses and integrates the balcony area into the room.  Instead of an open space, the window can be opened to the outside.  As someone who’s used to balconies, and after seeing family members IV cabins,  I would not book one myself.  (Would bite the bullet and move to a Sky Suite)

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