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About JohnUK

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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    Near Southampton, UK
  • Interests
    Photography, walking, sightseeing.

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  1. We were booked on the same cruise to Norway next year and very disappointed that it has been cancelled, particularly as we had planned to take our 4 year old granddaughter with us. To make the situation worse the Norwegian fjords itinerary from Southampton will not exist at all next year. And, as others have said, prices for Anthem are much higher. My wife has received her FCC (sent to my email) and I don't expect to receive mine as, for some reason, Royal refuse to send to me at my email address. The FCC states that expiry is the 31st May 2021 so you should be ok. If under performance of the UK market was a contributory factor to the change, it might have been better for RCCL to reduce capacity by sailing 2 smaller ships from Southampton, say one Voyager class and one Vision class, rather than Anthem by itself. By the way, we are sailing on Explorer to the Norwegian fjords at the end of this month - and that sailing seems to be full, which means it can't be that unpopular.
  2. Yes, I had to book very early for this cruise - Panama Canal crossing seems to be popular - so the current promotion wasn't available. Thank you.
  3. Thank you for the information - that is very helpful. We will be in a Sky Suite (so bottom rung) which means, if I have got this right, that we will have access to the Retreat lounge but the premium drinks package is only included from the next level up. I hope reason prevails and the workload for butlers is reduced. I have seen on RCCL that more work is being covered by fewer staff now compared to a few years ago. As a result, a lot of staff end up very tired. Despite this, they are always pleasant, helpful, and efficient, with only a very few exceptions that we have encountered.
  4. Thanks for the update - I suppose a small area is better than nothing. I hope Royal doesn't go the same way. By the way, we were on Grandeur in February and had a great cruise. The ship may not be the biggest or best but all of the crew are first rate; it seem to be a genuinely happy ship. I wish you a fantastic vacation.
  5. I have made several attempts to get onto the email list but without any success to date. I will try the link when I am 30 days away from sailing and see if that works.
  6. Thank you. I would appreciate any feedback you can share when you get back in October. It is sad to hear that the Captain's Club lounge is no more - I thought the Retreat lounge was just an update to Michael's Club. It seems a shame that loyalty isn't worth so much these days.
  7. We will be sailing on Celebrity for the first time next year (Celebrity Summit on a Panama Canal crossing), so we do not know what to expect. In particular, it would be useful to know what drinks and facilities are available in the Retreat lounge and the Captain's Club lounge. Do they provide a comparable experience to the Suite, Concierge and Diamond lounges on RCCL? We do not usually purchase a drinks package as the "happy hour" on RCCL is quite sufficient for us. If the Celebrity lounges provide the same then we can adopt the same practice - and save some money. Any other advice on similarities and differences between the RCCL and Celebrity facilities and experiences would be most welcome.
  8. Good to know - there is hope for the UK yet (politics aside)!!!
  9. I would like to have the opportunity to try Royal Up but I have never received an email for it. Does anyone know if the program is restricted to US and Canada only?
  10. We have 10 lined up at the moment, but that includes one on Viking (ocean cruise on the sister ship of the one that got into difficulties recently) and one on Celebrity. As others have said, it is so comforting to come back from a cruise and still have something to look forward to. It takes the sting out of the end of a vacation.
  11. In general, I think your observation is correct. But there are exceptions...… for example, the total price I paid for a cruise next year on Independence went up by around £200 (for 7 days) when they changed the offer to include the drinks package. Usually, the new price rises to, would you believe it, an amount approximating to the old price plus the price of the drinks package (or more). I am sure that is purely coincidental!! It is always worth checking as some of the exceptions have saved me an awful lot of money over the years.
  12. Further to my last post (above), I continued to work with Stephanie of MEI to finalise a booking for 2021. In the event, I decided not to book the cruises on Anthem (the itineraries and dates were not quite what I wanted). Instead, Stephanie has booked B2B cruises on Freedom for me, sailing from San Juan in April of 2021. For information, I have given the details of these bookings along with a US to UK price comparison. As before, I have used a conversion rate of £1 to $1.30 and the comparison is direct for a J4 Junior Suite, with no extras (such as WiFi or drinks packages) included in either case. Freedom of the Seas 2021 US Price UK Price Difference 04/11/2021 £2,665.38 £4,070.78 -£1,405.40 04/18/2021 £2,505.36 £3,850.78 -£1,345.42 Total £5,170.74 £7,921.56 -£2,750.82 MEI have now booked this for me, so it is definite. There are three observations to make, however. The deposit required is higher than would have been the case in the UK; $250 per person for each cruise (total $1,000 approx. £770) as opposed to £150 per person with the 2 cruises together treated as a single booking (total £300). Obviously, these bookings are not covered by ABTA (ABTA is the leading association of travel agents and tour operators in the UK, providing expert travel advice, guidance, protection and help in resolving travel complaints.) Stephanie was able to place the Anthem and Freedom cruises on hold for 2 weeks whilst we tried to decide between the options. Our travel agent in the UK has not been able to guarantee placing reservations on hold for more than 24 hours in recent months. Again, thanks to Stephanie at MEI for facilitating these bookings. I will track the impact of US and UK offers, price changes and currency fluctuations as time goes on, and report back.
  13. Just to add to this research, I have placed on hold 2 B2B cruises with MEI. The price comparison is: Anthem 11 night Caribbean cruise from Port Bayonne 26th January 2021, Spa Junior Suite Current UK price: £6,494 MEI / US price: £4,106 (using conversion of £1 = $1.30) Anthem 8 night Bahama cruise from Port Bayonne 6th February 2021, Spa Junior Suite Current UK price: £3,292 MEI / US price: £2,108 This is a direct comparison as the UK price for 2021 does not include any additional offer - not even wifi. I noted, though, that 2021 pricing, is much higher than the same cruise on the same ship in 2020. So, there may be lower prices or drinks packages offered in the future. I will track this and report back. Total saving at current prices and exchange rate is: £3,572. That's a bit of a no-brainer! Thanks to Stephanie at MEI for a very quick response.
  14. Thanks for undertaking this comparison. I will follow this thread with great interest. I have only just realised that MEI will now accept bookings from the UK. Regardless of pricing, the level of service they provide, particularly when it is proactive, is superior to anything I have seen in the UK. As an aside, I often use Next Cruise on board ship for future bookings simply because they will give the choice of booking using the current UK offer or the US offer. I think the US offer has, in every instance, given me the lower price, even taking into account drink packages etc. If it looks as if I can gain the same advantage by booking directly with MEI, then that would be the way to go.
  15. It depends on the ship; some have moved to digital viewing of photos, which means only images that have been purchased will be printed, whereas others are still using the traditional method. We were on Grandeur in February and had the same experience as yourself i.e. the traditional method of print all pictures and display on the walls for selection. But Navigator, last September, used digital terminals.
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