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Bob_KY

Options - Thinking about a Celebrity Cruise

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Exploring beyond Royal.  Confession upfront - I am a planner.  I am attracted to the Pacific Coast Cruise that Celebrity offers, a new experience beyond the caribbean, Alaska, and Hawaii. Questions.

1.  Anyone have a review or recommendation?

2.  Why is the schedule for this cruise always seems less than a year out?  Is this the norm?

3.  Anyone else have problems "crosswalking" Royal Stateroom categories to Celebrity's? (Prefer Royal's grand suite)

4.  Hate to say this, but Royal's website seems more user friendly?  Wow.  I never thought I would say that - could be what I'm am familiar with. 

Thanks!

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I can't say anything yet about Celebrity, I am booked on 2 cruises for 2019.  I researched them to death and am quite excited about them.  I too am in a Grand Suite on Royal this May and the Grand seems much larger than the Sky Suite we have booked on Celebrity if you look at dimensions for both.  I hope I don't get spoiled being in the Grand on Royal!!

I think both websites are a bit odd though! LOL! I hope you book and enjoy!! 

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3 hours ago, Boston Babe said:

I can't say anything yet about Celebrity, I am booked on 2 cruises for 2019.  I researched them to death and am quite excited about them.  I too am in a Grand Suite on Royal this May and the Grand seems much larger than the Sky Suite we have booked on Celebrity if you look at dimensions for both.  I hope I don't get spoiled being in the Grand on Royal!!

I think both websites are a bit odd though! LOL! I hope you book and enjoy!! 

You will most definitely be spoiled by the GS.  Trust me! :12_slight_smile: There is no going back after and if there is it is painful lol.

I have researched Celebrity quite a bit too (although I have yet to book one) and I agree the Sky suites are somewhat odd.  Maybe because they are at the back and some have that pole in the middle of the room? I have a friend who stayed in one in March and she loved it.  And she has been on Royal and Celebrity.

We're trying out the Yacht Club on MSC this summer.  A TA told me it is comparable to a GS in benefits but closer to a JS in size...

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10 minutes ago, Sabrinaklai said:

We're trying out the Yacht Club on MSC this summer.  A TA told me it is comparable to a GS in benefits but closer to a JS in size...

@Sabrinaklai, I was afraid of that! LOL Oh well, I got such a great deal on the Celebrity for Jan and April 2019 (both under $5K with premium drink package, Internet for 2, Pre-paid gratuities and $300 OBC with the additional on a Butler!! LOL  My husband and I are so NOT like the Butler thing but figured what the heck I work HARD! As you are too still teaching!! Can't wait to hear about the Yacht Club too!  Where are you heading?  

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1 hour ago, Boston Babe said:

@Sabrinaklai, I was afraid of that! LOL Oh well, I got such a great deal on the Celebrity for Jan and April 2019 (both under $5K with premium drink package, Internet for 2, Pre-paid gratuities and $300 OBC with the additional on a Butler!! LOL  My husband and I are so NOT like the Butler thing but figured what the heck I work HARD! As you are too still teaching!! Can't wait to hear about the Yacht Club too!  Where are you heading?  

That is exactly how the Yacht Club thing happened.  We got our suite for about $3600 (they give teacher discounts) for 2 people and it includes the entire Yacht Club exclusive experience plus the butler (which we feel a bit awkward about too).  Sometimes you can't even get a JS for that amount!  And the Seaside is a brand new ship so we figure it is worth a try. Going in July 2018.  Headed to the Eastern Caribbean for now.  I do feel weird about not cruising Royal though :2_grimacing:

My friend got similar deal as you on Celebrity when she had the Sky Suite and she ended up loving the butler!  Same thing, she said you cannot go back after that...

I will definitely try Celebrity one of these days.  I might wait till I reach Diamond in C&A first which will happen very soon and after I try Symphony.

 

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13 hours ago, Sabrinaklai said:

My friend got similar deal as you on Celebrity when she had the Sky Suite and she ended up loving the butler!  Same thing, she said you cannot go back after that...

That is a fantastic deal!! You must be so excited!!  I can't wait to hear about it!  I feel a bit weird too not on Royal, but got some cheap suites on Carnival for July so going on that!! It can't be that bad, and it's more my husbands cup of tea! I wanted to try Edge but she's going to Europe that's not going to happen with 2 Doggies still here, can't be away that long, was looking at Symphony but boy she's expensive. 

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My first and only cruise with Celebrity was a Pacific Coastal and it was one of my favorites even though I live in California. There were some differences from Royal, particular in terms of food quality, but if say they were more alike than different.

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24 minutes ago, DocLC said:

My first and only cruise with Celebrity was a Pacific Coastal and it was one of my favorites even though I live in California. There were some differences from Royal, particular in terms of food quality, but if say they were more alike than different.

This is the same as what I have heard from friends who have done both and also from the things I have read on other reviews and blogs.

1 hour ago, Boston Babe said:

 but got some cheap suites on Carnival for July so going on that!! It can't be that bad

Been there. Done that. Never again. No other comment. :2_grimacing:

1 hour ago, Boston Babe said:

 I wanted to try Edge but she's going to Europe that's not going to happen with 2 Doggies still here, can't be away that long, was looking at Symphony but boy she's expensive. 

I was thinking of Edge and Symphony but similar reasons, both are in Europe and with 2 kiddies left behind that's not going to happen yet.  So it's Seaside for us.  Unless the reviews start coming out in December/January/Feb and it's bad......

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2 minutes ago, Sabrinaklai said:

I was thinking of Edge and Symphony for summer 2018 but similar reasons, both are in Europe and with 2 kiddies left behind that's not going to happen yet.  So it's Seaside for us.  Unless the reviews start coming out in December/January/Feb and it's bad......

@Sabrinaklai, I seem to recall that @DocLC is sailing the MSC Seaside just a few weeks after she makes her launch. He's promised to provide a review of her here, so you'll definitely have a review you can trust. :14_relaxed:

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Just now, JLMoran said:

@Sabrinaklai, I seem to recall that @DocLC is sailing the MSC Seaside just a few weeks after she makes her launch. He's promised to provide a review of her here, so you'll definitely have a review you can trust. :14_relaxed:

Perfect! @DocLC if that is correct please provide all the details!  It would be much appreciated!  It's good to have someone familiar with RC comparing the two lines.  I have never sailed MSC before and have heard and read very mixed reviews.  And there newest ship the Meraviglia (out in June 2017) has not been received that well either.  That is why I have two sailings reserved for July 2018 in case the Seaside is a bust (Type A again :13_upside_down:).

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@Sabrinaklai, regarding the mixed reviews -- If they're posted by American cruisers who've never sailed a European line, you have to take it with a grain of salt. My TA made that very clear to me when I asked her about MSC a while back. The most consistent critique I've seen is about the quality of the food, and the most frequent of those complaints is that it's cold by the time it's served. Quality has also been described as hit or miss, although I heard that was a lot better on the Meraviglia than earlier ships; hopefully with Seaside it will further improve, since they're learning from Meraviglia and that ship was already moving its menu a bit more Western (e.g., they now have a Teppanyaki restaurant with the other specialty dining venues).

My TA also advised me that MSC still applies a very European style of service and entertainment, and by all accounts they're still trying to figure out what the American market likes while holding to those European roots. So you get things like the shows presented on board are still very much cabaret or Cirque du Soleil style rather than Broadway (including, per some reviews I read, occasional toplessness with the women performers). Service staff can seem (but aren't always) a bit gruff or distant. And I've seen some reviews that reported apparent "classism" in terms of the service level provided for Yacht Club (suites) level guests and the regular cabins.

Overall, my TA said that cruising on MSC can be a really enjoyable trip, but you have to change your mindset about what to expect and be prepared for something that doesn't give all those American bells and whistles. Definitely looking forward to the reviews from @DocLC for both Seaside and Meraviglia (which I think he's sailing in January).

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10 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

@Sabrinaklai, regarding the mixed reviews -- If they're posted by American cruisers who've never sailed a European line, you have to take it with a grain of salt. My TA made that very clear to me when I asked her about MSC a while back. The most consistent critique I've seen is about the quality of the food, and the most frequent of those complaints is that it's cold by the time it's served. Quality has also been described as hit or miss, although I heard that was a lot better on the Meraviglia than earlier ships; hopefully with Seaside it will further improve, since they're learning from Meraviglia and that ship was already moving its menu a bit more Western (e.g., they now have a Teppanyaki restaurant with the other specialty dining venues).

My TA also advised me that MSC still applies a very European style of service and entertainment, and by all accounts they're still trying to figure out what the American market likes while holding to those European roots. So you get things like the shows presented on board are still very much cabaret or Cirque du Soleil style rather than Broadway (including, per some reviews I read, occasional toplessness with the women performers). Service staff can seem (but aren't always) a bit gruff or distant. And I've seen some reviews that reported apparent "classism" in terms of the service level provided for Yacht Club (suites) level guests and the regular cabins.

Overall, my TA said that cruising on MSC can be a really enjoyable trip, but you have to change your mindset about what to expect and be prepared for something that doesn't give all those American bells and whistles. Definitely looking forward to the reviews from @DocLC for both Seaside and Meraviglia (which I think he's sailing in January).

Yes, this is exactly what I have heard Joe.  However, in all the things I have read, MSC promises that Seaside will be very different and very much cater to the North American market.  I think this is what I am most interested in hearing from people between Dec-March.  If they are successful with that or not?  I take the reviews I read about Meraviglia with a grain of salt too because that ship does not sail in North America so it's hard to compare.  To be honest, I would be slightly nervous to sail this ship without the Yacht Club as I have read about the "classism" you read about too.  I have really good friends sailing this ship in March 2018 (when I am on Anthem) so I will be looking forward to see what they say as well.  However, they have not sailed RC and it's that comparison between the two lines that I am most interested in.  

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11 minutes ago, Sabrinaklai said:

To be honest, I would be slightly nervous to sail this ship without the Yacht Club as I have read about the "classism" you read about too.

Well, considering that a medium to high end Yacht Club room on most MSC ships doesn't seem to cost much more than an ocean-facing balcony room on an Oasis class ship, this isn't necessarily a difficult thing. :3_grin:

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35 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

@Sabrinaklai

Overall, my TA said that cruising on MSC can be a really enjoyable trip, but you have to change your mindset about what to expect and be prepared for something that doesn't give all those American bells and whistles. Definitely looking forward to the reviews from @DocLC for both Seaside and Meraviglia (which I think he's sailing in January).

 

You are so right about the mixed reviews about MSC. Currently, only 31% of people who have reviewed the Meravigilia on Cruise Critic recommend it. I think this, in part, has to do with MSC's class/experience system where you pay based on what you want your fare to include (e.g., room service, beverages, spa amenities, etc.). It seems to me that many are disappointed in part because they didn't do their research.

We were scheduled to be on the Seaside for the 12/30 sailing. However, after seeing the issues MSC had with the early sailings of Meraviglia, we made a change. In addition, we weren't thrilled with the itinerary (Western Caribbean) especially since their private island was removed from the itinerary because of significant delays in its development. As a result, we ended up booking the Meraviglia out of Marseille, France instead as the airfare was only about $150 more per person and the cruise was $1500 less expensive for the same category of stateroom. We're also booked on the Meravigilia for July to Norway, but we'll reassess after our January cruise.

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5 minutes ago, DocLC said:

Currently, only 31% of people who have reviewed the Meravigilia on Cruise Critic recommend it. I think this, in part, has to do with MSC's class/experience system where you pay based on what you want your fare to include (e.g., room service, beverages, spa amenities, etc.). It seems to me that many are disappointed in part because they didn't do their research.

Given we all know the low-ish signal to noise ratio on CruiseCritic, I'd be curious to see what percentage of people who would recommend Meraviglia were if it was filtered to only those who did do their homework before booking, instead of just looking at the cheap price tag. If it's still that low even after factoring that in, it would not be a good sign that MSC is learning the lessons they need to know in order to successfully crack the North American market.

Guess I'll have to put my "numbers guy" hat on again tomorrow night, when the missus is at work and the kids are tied up with homework, and see if I can work that out! :3_grin:

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On 10/22/2017 at 6:45 AM, Bob_KY said:

4.  Hate to say this, but Royal's website seems more user friendly?  Wow.  I never thought I would say that - could be what I'm am familiar with. 

Thanks!

They realigned the website to be more similar to Royal's.  Now it's just downright WORSE!  Used to be better and easy to navigate.

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3 hours ago, DocLC said:

You are so right about the mixed reviews about MSC. Currently, only 31% of people who have reviewed the Meravigilia on Cruise Critic recommend it. I think this, in part, has to do with MSC's class/experience system where you pay based on what you want your fare to include (e.g., room service, beverages, spa amenities, etc.). It seems to me that many are disappointed in part because they didn't do their research.

We were scheduled to be on the Seaside for the 12/30 sailing. However, after seeing the issues MSC had with the early sailings of Meraviglia, we made a change. In addition, we weren't thrilled with the itinerary (Western Caribbean) especially since their private island was removed from the itinerary because of significant delays in its development. As a result, we ended up booking the Meraviglia out of Marseille, France instead as the airfare was only about $150 more per person and the cruise was $1500 less expensive for the same category of stateroom. We're also booked on the Meravigilia for July to Norway, but we'll reassess after our January cruise.

I think a large majority of negative reviews are done by people who have not properly researched their vacations ahead of time.  Enjoy your sailing on the Meraviglia.  I will have to scour the net for reviews after December.  Hopefully some will be RC cruisers.

3 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Given we all know the low-ish signal to noise ratio on CruiseCritic, I'd be curious to see what percentage of people who would recommend Meraviglia were if it was filtered to only those who did do their homework before booking, instead of just looking at the cheap price tag. If it's still that low even after factoring that in, it would not be a good sign that MSC is learning the lessons they need to know in order to successfully crack the North American market.

Guess I'll have to put my "numbers guy" hat on again tomorrow night, when the missus is at work and the kids are tied up with homework, and see if I can work that out! :3_grin:

Lol!  Make sure you post your findings Joe!

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7 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Given we all know the low-ish signal to noise ratio on CruiseCritic, I'd be curious to see what percentage of people who would recommend Meraviglia were if it was filtered to only those who did do their homework before booking, instead of just looking at the cheap price tag. If it's still that low even after factoring that in, it would not be a good sign that MSC is learning the lessons they need to know in order to successfully crack the North American market.

Guess I'll have to put my "numbers guy" hat on again tomorrow night, when the missus is at work and the kids are tied up with homework, and see if I can work that out! :3_grin:

Very true. Also, many of the reviews seem to be posted by first-time cruisers as they're complaining about standard cruise-related stuff like added gratuities, extra charge restaurants, a lot of kids in the summer on a cruise line that doesn't charge for kids, etc. The only other common complaint is with the international make-up of the guests, which changes the onboard demographics a bit. Perhaps some culture clashes, but I'm actually looking forward to a multi-national passenger load.

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1 hour ago, Boston Babe said:

Do tell, I'm still thinking of cancelling them and taking 9 night on Grandeur to new england!! Be honest

Ok...My apologies ahead of time if I offend anyone with this post.  

I tried Carnival in 2003 (a while ago...so maybe they are different now...but doubt it) just after I went on Adventure (which I loved).  Now this is all before I became I "cruise snob".  This is what my husband calls me now.  I prefer to think of it as we have cruised enough now that I know exactly what type of experience I want.

Back to Carnival...I found them to be "tacky" for lack of a better word.  The crowd is younger.  The atmosphere is not refined.  Lots of shouting, hooting, and hollering.  I am not exaggerating lol.  The decor was tacky (and I really can't think of another word here).  Neon lights all over the place.  I felt like I was inside a cheap Vegas casino the whole time.  Food was low quality everywhere compared to RC.  Shows and entertainment were low caliber compared to RC unless you want to party on the Lido deck the whole time.  We hated it.  And all those complaints might sound "prudish" but we are far from that.  I was only 25 at the time and my husband was 28.  But even then we hated it.

A good friend of mine, the one who sailed in the Sky Suite on Celebrity is a seasoned cruiser.  She mainly cruises RC but has tried Celebrity and Carnival (once).  She found her experience to be the same and she went just a few years ago.  However, my parents have taken more Carnival cruises than I can count so....

I really think you have to look at what types of cruisers you are.  What experience do you want?  What are you willing to put up with and what are you willing to give up?  Carnival just wasn't for us.

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No offense at all.  I've been on 11 cruises all of which ended in 1989 when I went to work for Caribbean Hotel chain so I am dating myself, so it's been a really long time. My husband has never been on one. Of course back then I wasn't a cruise snob, I wanted to party, now I want to be a cruise snob. I only booked the Carnival as there are only 2 ships leaving from Baltimore, Grandeur and Pride.  We're booked on the Grandeur in May, I don't think I'll mind the older ship. I like the smaller ships (at least in my mind I do! LOL) I'm inches away from cancelling the Pride (have 2 cruises booked) and booking either Grandeur again for NE/Canada or Anthem from Cape Liberty.  I know the bells and whistles of Anthem but I feel it may be too big for what we like (like the Equinox we are on Jan ad Apr 2019), so I think what you're saying is, if you are a cruise snob which I want to be I should stick with RC-celebrity etc!!  That's been my fear since I booked Carnival.  I'm going to call my TA in a bit.  I stand to lose about $200 but may be worth it!!  BTW I was on an inaugeral of Carnival way back and it was HORRIBLE! but that was 1984!!

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Carnival isn't the line I cruise most often - that in mind I'll tell you they've changed a lot over the last few years.  Also keep in mind that with any line, the experience on an older ship on a 3 night spring break sailing to the Bahamas is going to be very different than a 10 night European sailing (for example).  They clearly do some things right, as they still see more passengers than any other cruise line and they have a high repeat cruiser rate.  At the same time, Carnival Corp also knows "different strokes for different folks" and operates Princess, Cunard, Holland America, Seabourn, Costa, and others.  To this point, RCI isn't everyone's cup of tea (I actually prefer Celebrity).  It all depends on what you're looking for out of a given sailing (a party with friends, a romantic getaway, exploring new places, etc) and knowing that no two cruises on any ship, any line, any itinerary are exactly the same.  

Edit: I should add that I practice what I preach in enjoying what different lines have to offer.  In the next 3 months we'll be on RCI, HAL, and X.  We'll likely hit NCL and Carnival in the months right after that.  Really looking forward to Vista - we toured her a few months ago and she was a whole different animal.

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12 minutes ago, monorailmedic said:

Edit: I should add that I practice what I preach in enjoying what different lines have to offer.  In the next 3 months we'll be on RCI, HAL, and X.  We'll likely hit NCL and Carnival in the months right after that.  Really looking forward to Vista - we toured her a few months ago and she was a whole different animal.

Thank you @monorailmedic for your input. that's what my TA said too about them trying to get their act together. I too am looking forward to Celebrity and also my RC cruise. I'm teetering and it's making me nuts! LOL I keep checking the reviews too! You are so lucky to be living so close to so many ships too!  I will make a decision probably in the next day or two. We really want relaxing, exploring, a couple cocktails, and casino, that's about it! LOL  Maybe we're too boring to be taking a cruise! LOL

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I actually disagree about the Carnival food.  I've only been on two, so my sample is limited.  But the food was generally at least on par.  The buffet had a seafood area away from the rest that was VERY good.  The MDR was generally on par with some hits and some misses.  The famed "chocolate melting cake" I found to be mediocre.  The steakhouse specialty restaurant was one of the best experiences we've had in a specialty restaurant on any ship.  Top 5 for sure. 

I agree about the decor and the flow was just about the worst I've seen on any ship I've been on.  

I really enjoy Celebrity. To me it's super similar to Royal (for a reason, I'd say), but just a slight step up on classiness. 

I've been on one Princess cruise and I don't think I'll ever be on another.  There are gaps in the schedule.  What is that about???  I'm not saying I need to do something every minute of every day.  But I'd like to have options!  I've heard this has NOT changed.

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