Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


monorailmedic last won the day on January 3 2018

monorailmedic had the most liked content!

About monorailmedic

  • Rank

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    South Florida, USA, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way
  • Interests
    Cruising, Disney, Nerd Stuff - Running www.CruiseHabit.com & Shop.CruiseHabit.com

Recent Profile Visitors

2,973 profile views
  1. Awesome job - tons of great info and pics! Glad you enjoyed the sailing.
  2. We enjoyed Seaside quite a bit - which isn't to say there weren't things we'd have preferred differently. MSC still really over-complicates (in my opinion) some things, such as drink packages, the different "levels" such as Fantastica, Aurea, etc. It's already hard for people to try anything new with the right expectations, and the way they do some of these things adds to that challenge. That said, we enjoyed the cruise quite a bit, finding the food and service good. Many complain the buffet is repetitive, and to some extent it repeats more than other lines, but like the packages complicating things, the fact that around the large buffet you'll find two or three stations with unique things every day - but not market well and with changing locations, many don't notice them. For our tastes, Edge and Seaside have had the best entertainment at sea. Of course, if you don't like the style of performances (more into acrobatics, dance etc than story-line) then that doesn't matter. This is like saying that a line has the best food because their seafood is off the charts - if you don't like seafood, then the quality of said offering doesn't matter. Our friend Ric sailed Seaside and didn't love it though, he found service and food very much lacking (but he did enjoy the entertainment like we did). Is part of this personal preference? Probably, but he and I are reasonably well in sync on most things, so I suspect that there is a lack of consistency as well - something that I'm confident any RCI cruiser can relate to. He recently sailed Meraviglia though and had a much better set of experiences. As for their loyalty program, I honestly don't pay too much mind to them. It's nice that they allow a generous transfer status from other lines, but do keep in mind you need to sail again within a certain period (48 months?) in order to "keep" your matched status, or it goes away forever. You can find the live blog from my sailing at the link below, but I'm happy to answer any specifics I can. https://www.cruisehabit.com/tags/msc-seaside-live-blog
  3. For any dining request, I recommend heading to the station at the entrance to the MDR. There should be someone there as soon as boarding starts. Just let them know what you'd like. Unless traveling with a group, whenever we've had fix seating/traditional dining, we always request a two top, and out of hundreds of nights at sea, we once dined with another couple on the first night (though we could have just gone to another venue if we wanted).
  4. Just saw this today after disembarking. While I don't know for sure, I am reasonable sure the answer is no. They're different business units, and I think they may actually use different companies to manage the casinos as well. I recall reading once that there is a process for redeeming them by mail if this happens - but that was a long time ago so not sure if it's still in play, but it's worth asking.
  5. Great commentary. I explain RCI vs X this way often. If you want those high-energy activities, like rock walls, flow riders, etc - then you won't find it on X, and RCI does a GREAT job here. If you see those spaces and wish they were used for things a bit slower paced, then take a look at X. They are both great lines, each with their strong points and differentiation, but it's also quite comfortable switching between the two depending on the occasion, who you're traveling with, etc. We're back on Edge for the third time in just a couple days. Excited to be back, but we'll be on Brilliance soon as well.
  6. I can't speak to bourbons, but for scotch they're selection has become much better over the past couple of years - mostly in the pub, but if you ask the right person very nicely, they'll move bottles around. We mostly drink Islays and were delighted they started carrying Ardbeg 10 and often Talisker 10. They've got some Highland and Speyside offerings as well. Here are a couple of the more recent (post addition of other scotches) pub menus from some ships in the fleet, which will also show you the bourbons. https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/menus/king-country-pub-menu-brilliance-of-the-seas https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/menus/two-poets-pub-menu-navigator-of-the-seas
  7. This is true. Your "building" of points starts at zero even though your loyalty level carries over. Would it be nice if this were handled differently? Sure, that'd be neat. Would it lead to all the more people having top tier statuses, which seems to upset those that have said statuses? Probably. (this gets to the "when everyone is special no one is special" paradox) Do I personal think it matters? Nope. For me, I've yet to identify a reasonably attainable loyalty perk that is worth compromising experiences for. Others may hold a greater value to certain perks and feel otherwise, which is fine too.
  8. I was there this past April and had a nice time. It's been a staple for years and my visit made me realize that this is the case for good reason. No, it's not one of the all-inclusives with a lot of entertainment options and such (though there is an $18 option to enjoy those things if you're so inclined). It is a nice beach however, with friendly folks service reasonably prices food and drink. Matt's write up from July 2018: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2018/07/25/excursion-focus-paradise-beach-cozumel My visit there in April 2019: https://www.cruisehabit.com/holland-america-line-nieuw-statendam-live-blog-–-day-6-cozumel-mexico
  9. Yep, I've only driven to the port for a cruise out of Miami/Ft Lauderdale once in the past five years or so, and I regretted it. For me personally, the convenience or curb-to-curb service is worth it to the point that if the cost to park there was 20% less I'd probably still take Uber/Lyft. As for Brightline, I want to like it - I really do. Right now the cost is a bit high in my mind considering the length of the trip. That said, the cost from WBP to PM compared to NE Boca (I'm right on the Delray Border, E of 95) is as much as $30 more. So for me, curb-to-curb is $120 RT. If I had a Brightline station close to me (which may happen in the next year or so), and that ride was $90 RT plus another $25 RT (estimating) in Uber to/from the train stations, it gets into "I'll consider it" territory. Either is a much better option than dealing with the parking garage, extra long luggage schlep, etc. I actually just updated some ride share prices today for Miami/Ft Lauderdale area rides - but I didn't graph stuff as far north as PBC. https://www.cruisehabit.com/uber-lyft-cabs-shuttles-how-get-and-your-cruise-easily-cheaply
  10. Yep, it's happened before - it's just not terribly common. In Jan and Feb of 2021 Constellation will be calling on Labadee.
  11. You can find a few posts from a live blog on Infinity along with some other info at the below link. https://www.cruisehabit.com/tags/celebrity-infinity I'm happy to answer any Celebrity questions I can. We've sailed several X ships and will actually be on Equinox in less than three weeks. You'll find a lot of similarities to RCI, but quite a few things setting them apart as well. The more favorable passenger : space and passenger: crew ratios, we find, result in better service than on contemporary lines. If you're a dessert person, make sure to try a few of the pastries, cakes, etc at Cafe al Bacio, Celebrity's coffee shop.
  12. Very true, and that's because out of all the perks (save for the free Pinancle cruise, which falls into the "not reasonably attainable" category in my mind), the diamond drink benefit is probably something most would agree to be the most valuable, regardless of how much or little it might move the needle for any individual. Hey @Matt, when was the last sailing you didn't buy a drink package? (honestly don't know) That's pretty awesome. I'd love to see that work out for others. Like I said, for me, a few drinks from a selection that isn't interesting to me doesn't help. If they added to the numbers and the options (which I don't anticipate one bit, but who knows) it'd be a different deal for us - but everyone's mileage may vary. I am jealous 🙂 Absolutely! That's one of the things I really love about RCLB message boards! No one being honest with themselves loves or hates every aspect of an experience or product, and other communities that hold a "my way or the highway" stance just confuse me. Well, there was that time @Matt banned everyone on the site who didn't pledge their undying love of falafel, but I can get behind that.
  13. First, I should clarify that I mean the value to the cruise line. Of course they want to offer things that have at very least a perceived value (if not actual) to the guest - that's how they aim to hook people into coming back again and again. To some guests, sure, that perk may be the difference between buying a drink package or not, but I'd bet that's the case for a reasonably small number - in part because of the restrictions on the number of drinks, in part because of the restrictions of what the drinks are. If tomorrow you gave me diamond drink benefits, I'm sure I'd not use it a single time, as it doesn't cover anything I drink. I may be one extreme, and someone who would stop paying a thousand dollar bar tabs because of this perk (via drink packages or not) is the other. In your example however it isn't clear that this decision even occurred, instead you're talking about your friends who were talked into the drink package (at the most costly time I might add) compared to you who didn't get it. The real question is if you would have spent more if you'd not have had the diamond. I'd guess that answer is that you'd almost certainly have spent more - but how much? If you'd have purchased the drink package, how much would have have drank and of what? To RCI: What are the margins on those drinks? If you'd have purchased a la cart the same type of questions apply. It would be interesting to see how onboard spend and margins change as guests climb the loyalty ladder. I'm confident RCI and other lines figure this all out, but find it unlikely we'd ever be privy to those stats. If you find value in it, then that's awesome - and I'm glad. The calculation I am talking about has to do with guests compromising on new experiences (trying other lines for example, let it be a direct competitor like NCL, or a sister brand like Celebrity) by spending more money to cruise with RCI until they've given them enough to start saving, for some, $30/day (for example) on a few drinks. Another example of this is where I see some guests considering moving up to suites to get double points - quite certainly negating any savings had from a few well or call drinks during diamond hour. Perhaps another way of articulating the way I see it is that I have a similar reaction to when someone says that x thing on a ship is free (frozen yoghurt, for example). It's not free - you paid for it in your fare. For loyalty perks, none of them are free, they're just something that's been slowly paid for over a long period, but which represents a minute percentage of one's cruise fare - making the cruise, rather than the perks, a far great consideration when figuring value prop (for me at least - everyone is of course, different).
  14. There are a few points that I can't shake when thinking about cruise line loyalty programs (for RCI and others): I've yet to find any reasonably attainable perk that is worth compromising new experiences for. Companies have loyalty programs because they can offer things of less than consequential value to keep customers. If the benefits held that much value, it wouldn't make any financial sense for a line to offer them. Digging in deeper for a loyalty program is, in a funny way, showing to cruise lines that they work - they can offer something of little value and get you to shell out more money. Loyalty program perks/rewards are benefits one gets FOR cruising with a given line, and shouldn't be seen as THE reason to cruise with a certain line. The reason TO cruise with a given line is because you like their product! If I have a local ice cream place that gives me a free scoop after buying ten, it'd be odd to keep going there for the "free" (definitely not free - you paid to get that perk), it makes sense to go there if you like their ice cream. That's why you went the first and second time, right? Now, all that in mind, I recognize that there are certain circumstances in which "strategic escalation" might make sense, but they're very slim cases. An example might be if after your next cruise you'll be just a point or two away from Diamond, and you know that the cruise after that you'll be sailing solo. Since you'll get a much more favorable solo rate on that next sailing if you move up, you might do the math and find (depending on the rates), that a suite upgrade on your sailing has somewhere around a net-zero cost (or you might not - many variable exist here). Again though, those are fringe cases. Remember why you cruise a given line (or lines) in the first place - the things you like about that experience are the reasons to cruise. The loyalty perks are just that, perks - not the part of the offering anyone is trying to sell. A final thought (from me at least) on this: While I don't aim for loyalty levels, I'll of course welcome the benefits as they come. This is much easier to do with Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society, as they do have much more to offer than some other companies. Ric and I went over perks of various lines on the below/linked podcast, and I think most here will see that they don't have it too bad at all. https://www.cruisehabit.com/podcast/loyalty-programs-do-past-passenger-programs-keep-you-coming-back-more-episode-5
  • Create New...