An American and a Bunch of Europeans Walk onto a Cruise Ship

December 12, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

Not happy at all - photo courtesy of PathDoc/Shutterstock

A funny and heartening conversation took place on our forums recently.

Somebody felt they’d been mistreated on a cruise, got grumpy and came on the forums to vent about the injustice of it all. Sounds pretty standard, right?

However, in doing so, the original poster generalized that all of Europe is full of rude people lacking in manners and that the staff onboard MSC Poesia were “dimwits.” And the debate that ensued was fascinating — if not least for the fact that it was, on the whole, full of thoughtful and considered (and usually considerate) remarks.

The initial volley came from forum member misterscrubs: “Been on the MSC Poesia last week Feb 11-18 2012, and what an experience that was.”

Read on for more

    Hot on the Forums: Too Close for Comfort?

    December 12, 2014 | By | 2 Comments

    crowded table - image courtesy of Corepics VOF/Shutterstock

    How many times have you been shown to an onboard table for two and discovered the romantic dining spot you had in mind looked more like a sawed-off section with barely enough room to squeeze in?

    When you’re virtually sharing salt shakers with the people next door, it can be hard not to eavesdrop into their conversation (especially if it’s more interesting than yours!). And if they decide to talk to you, when you just want to converse with your dining partner, things can get awkward.

    Following an uncomfortable meal on Ruby Princess, hasbro raised the subject on the Cruise Critic forums.

    “The first night we were seated in one of the long rows of tables for two where each table is only a few inches from the next one. The lady really wouldn’t leave us alone, asking us everything from what type of bread was in our bread basket to what type of stateroom we were staying in. We did our best to give only very short answers and tried very hard not to make any eye contact with her.

    “On subsequent nights we were seated in the same area, but not next to her. She and her husband were always at the same table. We watched as she annoyed every diner who had the bad luck of being seated next to her. We noticed that several of the diners ate quickly and left.”

    Read on for more

      Steal of the Week: Wave Season Starts Now

      December 11, 2014 | By | No Comments

      piggy bank cruising
      Everyone is looking for the deal of the century. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Check the Lido Deck each week to get the scoop on our favorite deals — then grab the phone and pack your bags.
      THE DEAL: With wave season deals already released by Princess Cruises and Holland America, we’re expecting an earlier — and longer — wave season for 2015. Deals include onboard credit, drink packages, significant savings and more.
      WHAT WE LOVE: Wave season — a promotional period typically beginning in January — has begun in early December, and with it comes three to four months of savings, credit and bonuses at booking. While other major cruise lines may wait to roll out their deals to kick off 2015, Holland America and Princess are already offering wave season promotions that include hundreds in onboard credit, savings on shore excursions, free specialty dinners, drinks packages, you name it. Read more about why wave season is changing and why its a good thing for cruisers.
      WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: As CLIA states in our recent blog, wave season isn’t the only time to book a deal, so make sure the ships and itineraries you’re looking to sail are covered by the line’s promotion.
      HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here for Princess or click here for Holland America.
      Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
      * Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got ‘em listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
      * Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

        Has Wave Season Come Early This Year?

        December 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

        money boat - image courtesy of ConstantinosZ/Shutterstock

        Whether it’s the end of wave season as we know it, or simply a longer booking frame, talks of a different wave season for 2015 have been brewing all year. Typically, the period of cruise line sales and promotions known as wave season begins in January and extends through March. This year, we saw our first wave season deal launch on December 3.

        “For cruise travel, January to March have traditionally been months when cruise lines put together their best packages to entice travelers to book early. For a long time, it really was the only time to get a really good price,” says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of Cruise Critic. “But these days, cruise lines offer sales as capacity warrants, so wave is no longer the only time to get a deal.”

         “Wave season was intended to stimulate cruise sales at the beginning of the year and also to serve as an indication of success for the year,” according to a statement by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). “In recent years, and while wave season is still supported by cruise lines, it isn’t as important in terms of stimulating sales or creating more awareness for the benefits of a cruise vacation — since cruising is year-round and more global than ever before. Consumers are booking their cruises based on when and where they want to cruise, the ships they want to sail on and new ships that have captured their interest — including river cruising, which is in demand and requires significant advance booking to get the most desirable itineraries.”

        What does this mean for the consumer?

        Is this the end of Wave Season as we know it?

          Wanderlust Wednesday: All By Myself

          December 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

          Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas anchored off the coast of Santorini - photo courtesy of Cheese2525/Cruise Critic Forums

          Every Wednesday, we’ll be taking you on a journey around the world to some of the most interesting places our members have trekked, swum or merely witnessed from afar while cruising.

          Whether these photos inspire you to plan a relaxing escape or walk on the wild side, we hope they ignite your senses and give you ideas for your next cruising adventure. If you have a photo you’d love to share, send it to us at photos@cruisecritic.com or post it in our member photo gallery. Feel free to send us your Twitter handle. Maybe you’ll get a shoutout next #WanderlustWednesday!

          Cue Celine Dion’s power ballad. We love this photo of Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas anchored off the coast of Santorini, as seen by Cruise Critic member Cheese2525. Despite the look of it, this port is far from desolate. Arguably the most scenic Greek island, Santorini is bustling with charming restaurants, shops and luxury hotels and is known more for its natural beauty, whitewashed buildings and views than its beaches.

          Find interesting places to visit based on region.

           

          Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.

           

          Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

            Destination Spotlight: 8 Quintessential Things to Do in Dubai

            December 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

            Aerial view of Dubai's skyline - photo by Chris Gray Faust

            Not exactly known for its subtlety, Dubai comes at you with a host of superlatives. All developments in this construction-happy city seem to have an -st on the end (biggest, largest, most expensive, etc.). Designer labels and high-end brand names dominate; even the police officers drive Ferraris.

            Yet the Las Vegas of the Middle East has a soulful side, evidenced by its religious conservatism. Emirati women are rarely seen in public without head-covering abayas (albeit tinged with luxurious lace and beadings), alcohol is only served in hotels and a handful of restaurants and even the malls have dress codes. If you look hard enough, you can find some authenticity among the manmade islands and designer handbags (although it’s not a trip to Dubai if you don’t indulge a little bit).

            After four days spent wandering the sprawling city, from Deira to Jumeirah, we’ve come up with a list of eight quintessentially Dubai experiences that capture the essence of this cultural crossroads. The good news is that many cruises stay more than one night, giving you plenty of time to explore.

            8 reasons to visit Dubai

              Member Review of the Week: Leaves are Falling, New Ports Calling

              December 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

              Montmorency Falls, Quebec City, Canada - photo courtesy of Jane Rix/Shutterstock

              Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week. In the spotlight this week is Cruise Critic member rubysue’s recent cruise to Canada and New England aboard Oceania’s Regatta.

              Overall Impression: Experienced cruisers rubysue and her husband were drawn to Oceania’s "Radiant Retreats" cruise for the chance to visit new ports. From Montreal to Miami, the couple sailed through the seasons exploring unfamiliar cities like Boston and Quebec. The ship was more familiar — it was rubysue’s second time onboard but first since Regatta’s recent refurbishment, which welcomed new carpet and furnishings, an expanded Terrace and new Barista’s coffee bar. Read on to see how their cruise unfolded.

              Onboard Highlight: All of the dining impressed, especially dinner at the specialty steakhouse Polo Grill and lunch at Waves.

              Port Highlight: A stroll through Old Quebec, lunch in Ile d’Orleans overlooking the city and visits to Montmorency Falls and St. Anne du Beaupre Basilica made Quebec City a favorite.

              Don’t Miss: Tom Drake, the comedian onboard.

              Watch Out For: Steep drink prices, especially for wines by the glass. 

              More: Read rubysue’s full review for more details about the ship and each port of call.

              For their efforts, rubysue, cainweb , 3664shaken , teecee60 and cruisininpa receive Cruise Critic logo items.

              Read more reviews or write your own cruise review

                How Much Did You Pay for Your Cruise?

                December 8, 2014 | By | 15 Comments

                Admit it: you love a bargain — and you love telling people you’ve got a good deal.

                We admit we’re guilty of it, too, but it’s high on the list of Most Annoying Conversation Topics Onboard.

                On a thread on the P&O Cruises forum bemoaning moaners, a sub-thread was started by Tayscot about those people who go on about "how much they and others have paid for their cruise."

                He writes: "I have no interest in finding out that others have obtained a much better deal than me or broadcasting to others if I have managed to secure a really good deal. When asked outright how much I have paid I have taken to replying that we have been given a free cruise because we are such good customers (not true of course) but it has elicited some really quizzical looks and bewilderment in the posers of the question.”

                Other members also share some great ideas for stopping price comparison cruisers in their tracks.

                We like Corfe Mixture‘s tactic: "I intensely dislike those people who get their pleasure out of proving to others that they got a better deal than the person they are talking to. As a result, I always reply to anyone who brags about their good deal with the words ‘really, you paid that much?’ When they then ask how much I paid, I always decline to say on the basis that I don’t want them to feel that they did not get a good deal."

                But mds143‘s is definitely the best: "I hate it when people go on about how much or little they payed. If asked directly I think I’d say that my holiday was paid for by the social security people to help me fight depression, which was caused by me being out of work and on benefits for the last 15 years. I could add to that, that they needed me out of the house for a couple of weeks anyway so that they could put in a new kitchen and redecorate. What do you think, would I get away with it?"

                What do you think? Would he get away with it?

                Let us know below.

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