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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 15th, 2008, 02:44 PM
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Default Bad Cruises: Ships that are Under Par?

Every once in awhile we see certain ships that start to get regular complaints from people.

We receive cruise reviews from our readers, and while many of them are positive or mixed, some of them are frankly pretty negative.

The ones that we have received somewhat negative reports on lately are

Carnival Victory

Sapphire Princess

Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Anyone have a comment on these, been on them lately, and have anything to share about them?

Or does anyone have a ship they want to add to the list?
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Old January 15th, 2008, 03:18 PM
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You can add MY ship to that list Paul.
You know the one, THAT ship.
Too many passengers complain we are slow-moving!


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Old January 15th, 2008, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Bad Cruises: Ships that are Under Par?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
Every once in awhile we see certain ships that start to get regular complaints from people.

We receive cruise reviews from our readers, and while many of them are positive or mixed, some of them are frankly pretty negative.

The ones that we have received somewhat negative reports on lately are

Carnival Victory

Sapphire Princess

Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)

Anyone have a comment on these, been on them lately, and have anything to share about them?

Or does anyone have a ship they want to add to the list?
The Carnival Destiny used to get horrible reviews. Just awful. Recently though it appears that the reviews have been, for the most part, pretty good or at least mixed. I believe that has a lot to do with the new extreme port-intensive itinerary. With no sea days, the staff is not quite as over-worked. Dealing with the passengers on sea days must be rough. Much of the staff gets time off while in port.

The passengers are on the ship a lot less and out and about much less. After day after day after day of a new island each morning, my guess is that only the truly diehard partygoers and gamblers will be out late after dinner and the show.

Also, air fare to PR has become much more obtainable and affordable so the passenger mix is become more balanced (i.e. PR local/mainlanders). From NYC, it is now no more expensive to fly to PR than it is to fly to Miami ($200, give or take a few dollars), when you catch a sale.

I have been on the Destiny (10/06) saw many of the things people complain about. However, I am going on it again in 06/08 because of the ports. I am cautiously optimistic that I will see a better cruising environment this time. And, even if I don't, I will be on the ship literally only to eat, sleep and maybe catch a show or two. I am a party animal and usually up until the club shuts down each night. However, with a new island every morning, even I will have to curtail my trolling of the promenade and lido decks in the wee hours.

I think some of the ships are just getting old and, in an effort to cut cost, the cruiselines may be doing just a little less in terms of maintenance, upgrading and customer appleasement.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 08:58 PM
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I was on the Victory last year and I found absolutely no problems at all. The staff was great. Heck, there were four social hosts and activities were everywhere because they had four social hosts to have multiple activites at one time. I liked the ship and the food.

I also heard bad things about the Triumph and I couldn't complain at all about it. Yes, is close to dry dock and it was obvious some work needed to be done, but it wasn't something that would ruin a cruise!!! I don't think a non-fuctioning door to the Lido is a major problem....Heck, I was checking everything out and I didn't have anything to complain about...except the flight to Miami and they could pick a hotel closer to the port and no so close to the airport...
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Old January 15th, 2008, 09:42 PM
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Default Carnival Glory

I have always read great things about the CCL Glory. However, I took that cruise in October 07 and was more than a bit disappointed. In fact, all in all, that was probably my least favorite Carnival cruise.

First, this ship's itinerary includes 3 1/2 sea days. That is way too many sea days for such a short cruise (7 days). The shows, productions and performers on this ship are identical to the Liberty and several others CCL ships. IMO, with so many sea days, more effort should have been put forth to offer the passenger something other than the standard Carnival entertainment package.

The service in the dining room was way below what I expected (and I not picky about service at all). One evening we never did get a complete meal with some folks eating salad while others were ready for dessert.

That was the first cruise that I was secretly happy to see end. More than once, I wandered the ship bored. As a result of this experience, I doubt if I ever try the Miracle. Too many sea days. :evil:
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Old January 16th, 2008, 07:05 AM
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The Titanic comes to mind.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougR.
The Titanic comes to mind.
I think I might have heard that word before, Doug

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Old January 16th, 2008, 11:55 AM
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IB...

I agree that the new focus on port intensive itineraries is a positive thing.

It seems that the cruise lines had a little "thing" going on in the Caribbean with making the ports less than enticing, like in Jamaica you HAVE to book a shore excursion or stay on the ship, Grand Cayman, once you have been there and seen everything, has little appeal as a shopping place because it is so crowded, Cozumel is the same, you have to pay to get to the main city or just shop in the terminal - you pretty much have to take a shore excursion.

The upshot of THAT was passengers would be more likely to stay on the ships and spend money - on whatever they could do, like bingo, art auctions, spa, drinking by the pool, movies,video games (kids), etc...

In the East caribbean, at least you can walk around from the ship and shop or enjoy the local flavor.

But the best change is port-intensive itineraries in the southern Caribbean cruises such as the Destiny 7-day itinerary out of San Juan that offers a port every day. This is "european-style" cruising - where the focus is on the ports rather than the ship. And I think that is a great idea.

This cruise has:

1 San Juan, Puerto Rico 10:00pm

2 St. Thomas, USVI 7:00am 5:00pm

3 Dominica 10:00am 6:00pm

4 Barbados 8:00am 5:00pm

5 St Kitts, WI 10:00am 6:00pm

6 La Romana, Dominican Republic 3:00pm

7 La Romana, Dominican Republic 5:00pm

8 San Juan, Puerto Rico 7:00am
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Old January 16th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
.......................the focus is on the ports rather than the ship...........

This cruise has:

1 San Juan, Puerto Rico 10:00pm

2 St. Thomas, USVI 7:00am 5:00pm

3 Dominica 10:00am 6:00pm

4 Barbados 8:00am 5:00pm

5 St Kitts, WI 10:00am 6:00pm

6 La Romana, Dominican Republic 3:00pm

7 La Romana, Dominican Republic 5:00pm

8 San Juan, Puerto Rico 7:00am
Sounds just like an Easycruise itinerary!


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Old January 16th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
IB...

I agree that the new focus on port intensive itineraries is a positive thing.

It seems that the cruise lines had a little "thing" going on in the Caribbean with making the ports less than enticing, like in Jamaica you HAVE to book a shore excursion or stay on the ship, Grand Cayman, once you have been there and seen everything, has little appeal as a shopping place because it is so crowded, Cozumel is the same, you have to pay to get to the main city or just shop in the terminal - you pretty much have to take a shore excursion.

The upshot of THAT was passengers would be more likely to stay on the ships and spend money - on whatever they could do, like bingo, art auctions, spa, drinking by the pool, movies,video games (kids), etc...

In the East caribbean, at least you can walk around from the ship and shop or enjoy the local flavor.

But the best change is port-intensive itineraries in the southern Caribbean cruises such as the Destiny 7-day itinerary out of San Juan that offers a port every day. This is "european-style" cruising - where the focus is on the ports rather than the ship. And I think that is a great idea.

This cruise has:

1 San Juan, Puerto Rico 10:00pm

2 St. Thomas, USVI 7:00am 5:00pm

3 Dominica 10:00am 6:00pm

4 Barbados 8:00am 5:00pm

5 St Kitts, WI 10:00am 6:00pm

6 La Romana, Dominican Republic 3:00pm

7 La Romana, Dominican Republic 5:00pm

8 San Juan, Puerto Rico 7:00am
The 2 days in Dominican Republic has been replaced with Antigua and St. Lucia so it is truly a port a day cruise.

This itinerary is really all about the ports. The ship is little more than a floating hotel with entertainment.

I think the cruiselines should look more into these types of cruises. I know sea days are big money makers for the cruiselines but port days are also cash cows with excursions and passengers too tired after a day in a hot sunny port to demand much attention or service. Also, this type of itinerary extends the life of an older ship. I am curious how they will have the hair chest, belly flop, newly wed games and contests since we will all be at port every day.


I am curious as to which type of cruise the crew prefers. My guess would be port-intensive.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 01:38 PM
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I prefer sea days! Ports are secondary to me. I enjoy being on the ship. Everyday is a big pool party. The only money I spend onboard is at the pool bar. No auctions, bingo, casino or spa treatments for me.

Worst cruise would have to be the Sensation. My one and only Carnival cruise. I felt like I was at a NASCAR, tattoo, buffet-eaters anonymous and redneck convention. Ship was a letdown after many RCI cruises, pooldeck crowded (not by people, by the stupid slide and stage and lifeboats up top make it too squinched in). The purple made me sick and I couldn't find my cabin steward to keep me with ice.

I may try them again when they redo all the pool decks and update the decor.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
I prefer sea days! Ports are secondary to me. I enjoy being on the ship. Everyday is a big pool party. The only money I spend onboard is at the pool bar. No auctions, bingo, casino or spa treatments for me.

Worst cruise would have to be the Sensation. My one and only Carnival cruise. I felt like I was at a NASCAR, tattoo, buffet-eaters anonymous and redneck convention. Ship was a letdown after many RCI cruises, pooldeck crowded (not by people, by the stupid slide and stage and lifeboats up top make it too squinched in). The purple made me sick and I couldn't find my cabin steward to keep me with ice.

I may try them again when they redo all the pool decks and update the decor.
You probably would be happier on a longer cruise on one of the newer ships. The Liberty is beautiful and has the calmer, just a tab classier feel to it. The short Carnival cruises are for newbies, those on strict budget and the very young and party hardy folks.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IBCRUZIN'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
I prefer sea days! Ports are secondary to me. I enjoy being on the ship. Everyday is a big pool party. The only money I spend onboard is at the pool bar. No auctions, bingo, casino or spa treatments for me.

Worst cruise would have to be the Sensation. My one and only Carnival cruise. I felt like I was at a NASCAR, tattoo, buffet-eaters anonymous and redneck convention. Ship was a letdown after many RCI cruises, pooldeck crowded (not by people, by the stupid slide and stage and lifeboats up top make it too squinched in). The purple made me sick and I couldn't find my cabin steward to keep me with ice.

I may try them again when they redo all the pool decks and update the decor.
You probably would be happier on a longer cruise on one of the newer ships. The Liberty is beautiful and has the calmer, just a tab classier feel to it. The short Carnival cruises are for newbies, those on strict budget and the very young and party hardy folks.
and I tell ya, from what pics I have seen of Dave, the gentleman fits right into that category!
Please take that as a compliment, Dave!

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Old January 16th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Old January 16th, 2008, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave the Wave
I prefer sea days! Ports are secondary to me. I enjoy being on the ship. Everyday is a big pool party. The only money I spend onboard is at the pool bar. No auctions, bingo, casino or spa treatments for me.

Worst cruise would have to be the Sensation. My one and only Carnival cruise. I felt like I was at a NASCAR, tattoo, buffet-eaters anonymous and redneck convention. Ship was a letdown after many RCI cruises, pooldeck crowded (not by people, by the stupid slide and stage and lifeboats up top make it too squinched in). The purple made me sick and I couldn't find my cabin steward to keep me with ice.

I may try them again when they redo all the pool decks and update the decor.
I agree with you Dave, I now cruise for the ship not ports. THe islands I have yet to visit are Aruba and Bermuda. Never did an excursion and never will. Like to do my own thing. Jamaica/cozumel is my favorite route. Hop in a taxi and go to the beach or shopping and get back to the ship when I'm ready.

Been on Carnival Victory a few years ago I really would not have any complaints about it. Service was good, ship at the time was nice, entertainment was good. I don't know what the Victory is like now.

Interested to see if anyone does post about the Explorer and if they would have anything negitive to say.

I could drive 30 minutes and hop on the Explorer for a 5 niter Bermuda however a 7 niter out of FL [with airfare] on the Liberty is the same price!
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Old January 16th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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Paul, what a great thread, but in my opinion it has to be taken within context.

That context being expectation of the person.

If you have never done it before and its all new, then you will maybe forgive a lot as you dont know any different.

But a fantastic thread for those that have been there and seen it, name and shame and why, especially at this level when some lines and ships are hitting towards the zero end of "acceptable" in public opinion.

Folks share why, it could save me money and a potential poor vacation.

One man's gripe is fodder for others to take into consideration when planning their ship or vacation
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Old January 17th, 2008, 07:21 AM
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Default Lets add the Pride of America

By far the worst crew ive ever seen,the hawaiin islands were great however the ship was dreadfull--how do run out of certain foods on a cruise? Thanx for the martini bar only good thing --talk about chaos
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Old January 17th, 2008, 07:33 AM
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Spoke to one of my clients last nite and we started to talk about cruising and she mentioned she has been on the Victory and Explorer in 2007. When she mentioned those ships I thought about this thread. She liked both cruises. I asked her if there was anything negative about either ship and she said not really. Food, service and entertainment good on both however Explorer had alittle better entertainment.

They are a couple in their mid 60's. Of course one person might love a cruise another person might hate that same cruise.

8)
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Old January 17th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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I will add the NCL Dream

Ship is not great to navigate around , not the best set up for freestyle dining, buffet is so small if you get 25 people in there it is too crowded

cabins are a decent size but really needs a good clean
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Old January 17th, 2008, 02:19 PM
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IB... you wrote: The 2 days in Dominican Republic has been replaced with Antigua and St. Lucia so it is truly a port a day cruise.

I don't see that reflected on the Carnival Website - where did you see this?

Everyone - funny, I read most of the reader's reviews that come in and I selected the ships I posted based on those, but so far no one has mentioned them. I have seen Victory mentioned over in the Carnival board, though.

Yes, the debate about sea-days vs ports. I personally can't normally take more than two sea days in a row without going stir crazy, and shopping in Jamaica or cozumel is good for about a 1/2 hour for me.

However, I DO understand the concept.

The thing is, cruising in the Caribbean is now dominated by mega-ships, the "the ship is the destination" kind of ships, and they are all going to the same islands. So - where is the variety? To me it is in different ports. I can cruise the same ship several times if it is going to different places, but I don't enjoy going to the same ports all the time, and the fact that it is a different ship only slightly ameliorates the boredom factor.

Give me new ports!
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Old January 17th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
IB... you wrote: The 2 days in Dominican Republic has been replaced with Antigua and St. Lucia so it is truly a port a day cruise.

I don't see that reflected on the Carnival Website - where did you see this?

Everyone - funny, I read most of the reader's reviews that come in and I selected the ships I posted based on those, but so far no one has mentioned them. I have seen Victory mentioned over in the Carnival board, though.

Yes, the debate about sea-days vs ports. I personally can't normally take more than two sea days in a row without going stir crazy, and shopping in Jamaica or cozumel is good for about a 1/2 hour for me.

However, I DO understand the concept.

The thing is, cruising in the Caribbean is now dominated by mega-ships, the "the ship is the destination" kind of ships, and they are all going to the same islands. So - where is the variety? To me it is in different ports. I can cruise the same ship several times if it is going to different places, but I don't enjoy going to the same ports all the time, and the fact that it is a different ship only slightly ameliorates the boredom factor.

Give me new ports!
When you go to Carnival's website, look up the upcoming cruises either through the "find a cruise" or use the "find a ship" but select a Destiny cruise that commences after March 1, 2008.

For some reason, Carnival dropped DR and picked up Antigua and St. Lucia. To be honest, I prefer Antigua and St. Lucia for the day over DR overnight. I am not sure how much I want to try to hang out and enjoy the nightlife of DR. I think I prefer the relative safety of the ship when the sun goes down.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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IB: nevermind, I see it now, the itineraries VARY depending on what week you are on. Yes, I would prefer going to Antigua and St Lucia myself over the Dominican Republic.

You have to be careful what weeks you book - the ports do change on both the San Juan and the Barbados itineraries.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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We sailed the Victory in December of 2006 and had a great time. Staff was great, Food was great, Beer was cold, and I won a little money in the Casino. Doesn't get much better.




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Old January 17th, 2008, 02:45 PM
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It is certainly about expectations. The more you know about cruising the more you expect a certain standard of service.

I think the cruise ships prefer to deal with the people who don't know cruising so well, because they are more easily wowed by average service. Those of us who have been around know when something just isn't right.

But I think cruise lines have gotten to be like high schools - there is so much paperwork and administration to be done, plus the sheer size of the staff, that a cruise director can't just call a meeting of the entire cruise staff like he once could and fill everyone in on everything. It is up to middle management to work together, and unfortunately on some ships there are often middle managers who don't want to interact with other departments.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 02:52 PM
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Hi Paul, well in my little opinion. These "traditional" ports for the odd small or reasonable sized ship in the past used to be able to deal with those coming ashore and give an "experience" to those that came off the ship to thier island. It was special

Today and after 20 or 30 years or cruise ships hitting them.. we are asking that same place to give that same exciting experience to people, when physically their port cannot grow in size, but the ships have and so has the number of people that they can dump 3 or 4 at a time on the place.

I cannot see how this "tight and controlled by some" industry can keep doing this,. Its like fire regulations, only so many people allowed in a night club at the same time. And if you go over that limit then there is a risk to safety. In this case its a risk to who is actually enjoying being here and visting that port.... as all I see are other vast numbers of body's from all those other ships coming ashore on tenders.

Did I enjoy the place, did I appreciate the place,,,no as I was so wound up about it, due to the numbers of others around me... I could not appreciate it.

So something to think about folks,,,why keep building even bigger ships, when the places you are taking your customers to ......cannot build or physically grow to match the increasing demand.

We do need new ports if only to spread the cruise line "load" if what was cruising is allowed to exist. If not and I fear the DTW approach is what people expect...ports are just a place in between what is happening on ship.

So clever when you think about it. Dont go ashore, stay here and spend
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Old January 17th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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I'll second adding the NCL Dream to the "sub par" list. We cruised her in '99 and found her to be a mess as far as design and deck planning is concerned. This is beacuse around '96 she was cut into two pieces and had a section inserted in the middle that contained nothing but cabins. Not only did this give her a fouled up deck plan, but it made her just about the most overcrowded ship among the major lines. She has a passenger-to-space ratio of only 28 or 29 (Here, the higher the number, the less crowded a ship is, as a general rule. To understand just how crowded this is, consider that RCL's Destiny class ships have such a ratio of about 39 and the old Norway had such a ratio of about 40. Celibrity's larger ships have such a ratio in the mid 40s. Oceania's ratio is in the high 40's Regent and Silversea have such ratios as high as the mid 70s! When crowded conditions on the Dream combine with messed up deck plans, it becomes very difficult to get from point A to point B.

Also, her condition in '99 was sub par, and just about every review I read on her since states that the Dream needs redecorating. Bottom line, I have never met, nor read a review by, anybody who likes the onboard experience on the Dream.

I have heard that she is soon to leave NCL's fleet. If this is true, it is a move way overdue.
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Old January 19th, 2008, 05:55 PM
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Add me and Mrs. Jones (The lovely Vita) to the group that LOVES sea days! That's why I keep booking the "Miracle" 8 day, with 4 beautiful sea days. The ship is the destination for us. When we cruise, people will always ask where the ship is going, and I honestly answer them with "I don't know". Give me sea days anytime!
We haven't sailed any ships in the last several years that I'd consider below par. Perhaps my expectations aren't that high, or perhaps we're informed enough to only book the "good ones". I'm not sure which, but whatever the reason, we continue to love cruising.

See y'all aboard,

Ken
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Old January 19th, 2008, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skymaster
Add me and Mrs. Jones (The lovely Vita) to the group that LOVES sea days! That's why I keep booking the "Miracle" 8 day, with 4 beautiful sea days. The ship is the destination for us. When we cruise, people will always ask where the ship is going, and I honestly answer them with "I don't know". Give me sea days anytime!
We haven't sailed any ships in the last several years that I'd consider below par. Perhaps my expectations aren't that high, or perhaps we're informed enough to only book the "good ones". I'm not sure which, but whatever the reason, we continue to love cruising.

See y'all aboard,

Ken
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If sea days are what you are after, come cruise with me, you'll love my ship, Ken. You know, THAT one! Plenty of sea days.....................

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Old January 20th, 2008, 01:57 AM
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Welll, I think we need to distinguish here between ships that are below par and itineraries that are below par. I mean, a great ship can have a poor itinerary, and a poor ship can have a great itinerary. I thought that here, we were talking about ships (not itineraries) that were below par.

Itineraries are a matter of personal preferences. A ship with a poor lay-out or one that is too crowded is a bad ship on any itinerary.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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Welll, I think we need to distinguish here between ships that are below par and itineraries that are below par. I mean, a great ship can have a poor itinerary, and a poor ship can have a great itinerary. I thought that here, we were talking about ships (not itineraries) that were below par.

Itineraries are a matter of personal preferences. A ship with a poor lay-out or one that is too crowded is a bad ship on any itinerary.
O.K.,,,you're absolutely correct. We did indeed, get sidetracked didn't we. The ONLY cruise I've taken in the last 4 or 5 years, that I felt was BELOW PAR, was the Mariner of the Seas. Yes, it's an absolutely beautiful ship, but so very, very crowded! You could go nowhere, without a wait! You had to stand in line to go to the public bathroom! All the shows were overcrowded, and all the activities were scheduled so that it was that activity, or nothing! The prominade was narrow to begin with, then they put all the tables full of watches, and other junk they want to sell, so that it's near impossible to walk by. Ride the elevator? Forget about it! Would I sail her again? Only if the price was a giveaway. I much prefer the smaller, older RCI ships.

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