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Hi All,

Does anyone know if RCI typically run cruises between November and March in Europe? I can see there aren’t any currently scheduled but I’m wondering if this is a COVID thing and some may appear still or if it’s normal with it being off-peak?

Thanks!

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42 minutes ago, Scoular said:

Hi All,

Does anyone know if RCI typically run cruises between November and March in Europe? I can see there aren’t any currently scheduled but I’m wondering if this is a COVID thing and some may appear still or if it’s normal with it being off-peak?

Thanks!

Generally speaking, the fleet "comes home" to the Caribbean.  Similar to Norwegian.  Winter months always seem to have the non-mainland Caribbean homeports such as San Juan and now Barbados. Secondary ports such as Tampa get some extra service, and Fort Lauderdale is always busier winter as well and Miami and Orlando get some ships doing some more exotic (longer, smaller ports, etc) Caribbean sailings.  Australia typically gets a 3-4 ships in the winter as well. Used to, there would be some New Orleans service. 

For 2022 as an example (which should be relatively normal scheduling): Allure spends summer in Barcelona, then heads to Galveston.  Anthem repeats a summer Southampton season then back to Cape Liberty to replace Oasis which heads to Florida.  Brilliance is in Venice and heads back to Tampa,  Jewel spends the summer in Europe then back to Orlando.  Looks like Odyssey will alternate Mediterranean Summer and winter in Fort Lauderdale.  Vision and Voyager also spend the summer in Europe before coming to the Caribbean (in Voyager's case, I think its been a while after spending time in Asia).  

Its interesting to look at in totality.  Looks like 9-10 ships leave the Caribbean in April to Europe and Alaska and then return in the fall.  Looking through these also made me realize RCI is bigger in Europe than I had thought.  

2023 could be a bit different, but my uneducated guess would be to expect the normal pattern to hold.  But with all the freedom class ships seemingly on the Bahamas runs from Florida, Navigator to LA, Icon being delivered, and tons of China/Asia capacity with Wonder and Spectrum, it should be interesting.

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@Plumlee2028thank you! That’s really helpful! Unfortunately my Anthem trip was cancelled and I’m on the edge of booking Harmony in October if Italy let us in. Otherwise looks like the alternative is either wait until next year or check out another cruise line (which would be a shame as I really like the Royal ships!).

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10 minutes ago, Scoular said:

@Plumlee2028thank you! That’s really helpful! Unfortunately my Anthem trip was cancelled and I’m on the edge of booking Harmony in October if Italy let us in. Otherwise looks like the alternative is either wait until next year or check out another cruise line (which would be a shame as I really like the Royal ships!).

Azamara may have some ships stay there over the winter, but they are going to restart  little slower I believe.  There may be some similarities in style on them for you, but its definitely a different cruise idea, and more higher end then Royal. 

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@Plumlee2028the recommendation is welcome! Thank you. I did check out Celebrity but saw they seem to disappear in October too! P&O have the new Iona ship with sailings but I don’t know if I like the look of it. I’ve never sailed P&O but some people have described the hang out area as an airport waiting lounge ? I’ve also seen some MSC sailings which is a possibility but I’ve never cruised outside of Royal so I’m not too sure where to look that’s similar. I checked out the new Virgin Voyager ships online today and they appear too modern for me and not classic like Royal. You’d think being 30 the modern look would probably have my age range in mind too! ? we know what we like though, eh!

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48 minutes ago, Scoular said:

@Plumlee2028the  I checked out the new Virgin Voyager ships online today and they appear too modern for me and not classic like Royal. You’d think being 30 the modern look would probably have my age range in mind too! ? 

I read a report on the scarlet lady sailing by some journalist onboard!

Sounded good until they reported you had to pay to open the sex toy box in your cabin( no joke ) 

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50 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

@Scoular, your cruise with your mother on Anthem has been cancelled ?

Unfortunately so! We’re both super sad about it, especially after I bit the bullet with the upgrade. RCI didn’t even offer 125% FCC as a sweetener. We’re now pining our hopes on Harmony in October but so far Brits have been cancelled off these sailings due to restrictions in Italy on Brits. We can’t even just stay on the ship, it’s simply you can’t sail. The restrictions get reassessed at the end of the month so fingers crossed it opens up then, else we’re back to square one.

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47 minutes ago, Ray said:

I read a report on the scarlet lady sailing by some journalist onboard!

Sounded good until they reported you had to pay to open the sex toy box in your cabin( no joke ) 

Ha! That’s hilarious! I’ve not heard that one. Any idea who posted that?

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37 minutes ago, Scoular said:

Unfortunately so! We’re both super sad about it, especially after I bit the bullet with the upgrade. RCI didn’t even offer 125% FCC as a sweetener. We’re now pining our hopes on Harmony in October but so far Brits have been cancelled off these sailings due to restrictions in Italy on Brits. We can’t even just stay on the ship, it’s simply you can’t sail. The restrictions get reassessed at the end of the month so fingers crossed it opens up then, else we’re back to square one.

UGH.  I am so very disappointed for you.  I loved reading your posts b/c you were so excited about this cruise and about the upgrade. I am sick about this.  I know this is no consolation to you but I feel your pain.  I hope you are able to find something else that will bring you the same joy that you were feeling about your Anthem cruise.  When did this happen ?  I didn't even know about these new restrictions.  Again...so very sorry to hear about it.

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21 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

uUGH.  I am so very disappointed for you.  I loved reading your posts b/c you were so excited about this cruise and about the upgrade. I am sick about this.  I know this is no consolation to you but I feel your pain.  I hope you are able to find something else that will bring you the same joy that you were feeling about your Anthem cruise.  When did this happen ?  I didn't even know about these new restrictions.  Again...so very sorry to hear about it.

Thanks. I really hope so too! I felt so secure in knowing that my mum would have a fab time on Anthem too as I know the ship and Royal. If Harmony falls through I’ll have to go rogue and book with another cruise line which is a big risk as I’ve only ever cruised Royal and I just really want her to have a lovely time, especially with it being her first holiday in 17 years!

I hope the restrictions get lifted and Harmony goes through as I’ve wanted to try an Oasis class ship for a while, so it would be a new experience for us both!

The cancellation happened about two and a half weeks ago. I suspected it would happen as they all suddenly disappeared from the website for a few days. They then got cancelled and moved to British Isles cruises. For us and many others, the new itinerary didn’t appeal as sailing around the UK in late September won’t be the most enjoyable weather wise and I’d also really like to take her to places she hasn’t been before and the British Isles just felt like a bit of a cope out.

Unfortunately when we pulled out of the EU we lost the privilege of free movement so Italy and some other countries have imposed restrictions on countries outside the EU. Currently Spain and Portugal are fine, which is why no one understands why the Anthem cruise got cancelled. Unfortunately the one on Harmony has most of its port stops in Italy so they’re point blank refusing Brits to even sail on it currently. It’s now a waiting game to see what comes out of the discussions on 30th August. ?

 

 

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3 hours ago, Plumlee2028 said:

Azamara may have some ships stay there over the winter, but they are going to restart  little slower I believe.  There may be some similarities in style on them for you, but its definitely a different cruise idea, and more higher end then Royal. 

I’ve bookmarked a cruise for December. At least there’s an option. Thanks for the suggestion!

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@Scoular I'm so sorry you've lost your cruise on Anthem. ? and I hope you will manage to find a suitable alternative.

Royal do not leave their ships in Europe over the winter. I think they tried one once and quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth their while. What limited demand there is is all soaked up by the European brands.

That said, I think you should definitely look into MSC and especially their big new ships like Virtuosa. These even have a promenade on them similar to the ones on Royal's Oasis class and Quantum class.

We too like the Royal product but on two occasions in the past we sailed MSC essentially because they had the sailings that suited us at the time. I can tell you the ships are beautiful and the service is very good too. The difference is that it's what I call "European-style" service, by which I mean the crew are every bit as accommodating but will generally expect you to ask for what you want rather than being expected to anticipate your needs like on the US lines. 

Food-wise, it's also more generally European, so no pies and curries like you get on Anthem (you don't get those on Harmony either, mind you ? ) but also a lot of healthier stuff that I feel is sometimes in short supply on Royal's ships (think Mediterranean diet, with plenty of fresh fruit, salads, etc.). Admittedly, I found it to be a bit more hit and miss in terms of quality than on Royal's ships but any time you weren't happy with something you just had to say and they'd happily change it for you.

As far as fellow passengers are concerned, the demographic is much more multi-cultural than on Royal and you might find the announcements in five or six languages annoying at first but you'll soon get used to it tune out all of the non-English ones. ? This also means that the onboard entertainment tends to be much more visual or musical, since comedy or anything else relying on knowledge of a specific language is going to fall down flat when your passengers speak umpteen different languages. I found all of the entertainment I saw on my two MSC cruises to be very good. They sometimes have very impressive opera singers, who are usually rapturously received by the European audiences.

I don't know if you've ever seen any of the videos by cruise vloggers Ben and David but they did one very recently on the brand new MSC Virtuosa that will give you a good idea of what it's like (except for the passenger demographic since they were on a UK-only sailing). Here's the link if you'd like to watch it: 

 

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5 hours ago, Scoular said:

@Plumlee2028the recommendation is welcome! Thank you. I did check out Celebrity but saw they seem to disappear in October too! P&O have the new Iona ship with sailings but I don’t know if I like the look of it. I’ve never sailed P&O but some people have described the hang out area as an airport waiting lounge ? I’ve also seen some MSC sailings which is a possibility but I’ve never cruised outside of Royal so I’m not too sure where to look that’s similar. I checked out the new Virgin Voyager ships online today and they appear too modern for me and not classic like Royal. You’d think being 30 the modern look would probably have my age range in mind too! ? we know what we like though, eh!

 

I can relate.  Sometimes I feel like Im 31 going on 75.  I think my Celebrity Edge cruise will suit me next week.  Haven't tried them before.  Virgin doesn't appeal to me very much either.  There isn't much emphasis on there at this point in activities and venues I think I would be interested in.  With P&O may be worthwhile to look at the Britannia.  It's based on the Royal Princess platform, so its big ship relative to the number of passengers.  A little bigger than the Voyager class ships for Royal, with a similar passenger number.  Iona is based on their new group large ship platform, so it will have Oasis class number of passengers, but on a ship 45000 tons smaller. I haven't been on them so I know nothing about the decor or anything. That said the Iona Gin distillery would keep me pretty busy.

2 hours ago, Scoular said:

I’ve bookmarked a cruise for December. At least there’s an option. Thanks for the suggestion!

No problem, glad to hear it.  Azamara is definitely on my list to try at some point along with Oceania.  

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Cunard are also sailing this winter out of Southampton, UK. I'm on a cruise with them in December visiting ports in Spain and Portugal.  

I reason its bound to be warmer than where I love in the North of England! ??

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@Scoular not sure what the issue is (but a little worried now)...check out the Travel advise on .gov.uk for Italy entry requirements:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/entry-requirements

It states that British are allowed in for 36hrs or shorter, if travelling on private methods, without isolating etc...

I had my back2back cruise on Anthem cancelled a few weeks back (whilst onboard), and the customer relations person has just booked me on Harmony out of Barcelona on 24th October.  Not heard anything about British being cancelled off and would like to think customer relations would know more than other departments.  Fingers crossed.

I know that you can't book through the US website for Harmony out of Spain atm...maybe it has something to do with US passengers onboard...?

Also, if you don't step foot on land inside the borders of a country then you don't have to declare that country on any passenger forms you need to fill out when returning to the UK.

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4 hours ago, em.down.the.rabbit.hole said:

@Scoular not sure what the issue is (but a little worried now)...check out the Travel advise on .gov.uk for Italy entry requirements:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/entry-requirements

It states that British are allowed in for 36hrs or shorter, if travelling on private methods, without isolating etc...

 

Could be wrong ( probably am lol ) but the Wording for above is Transitting IN a private vehicle, to me this would relate to people such as HGV drivers. 

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@Ray may possibly be.  I was thinking that a cruise ship wouldn't be classed as public transport, therefore....private.  On further thought I also thought if you were in transit through an Italian airport then this would count towards the 36hr private transit requirement.  Therefore, again a cruise ship passing through...?

Agreed it is down to interpretation.

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