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About ABoatNerd

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  1. A very good morning CruiseCrazies: Interesting reasons for preferences of table size. Thank you GottaCruz for your query about my reasons for posting on a cruise board. You are most professional in your approach. I cruise because I adore ships. The people on the ship are far less of importance than the ship and the sea. Myself and others I know cruise because we are "boatnerds". We are an anomoly (ie outside the bell curve), hence why most people on cruise boards can not fathom our approach to cruising. I enjoy these these boards are excellent venues for sharing information and keeping abreast of cruising changes. I do love the observation by one poster that most people only want to hear "good information" - absolutely true - hence the entirely predictable backlash when a poster posts something "negative" about a cruise line. Oh well. Another poster noted the tendency for folks from large cities to become "anti-social" - well of course. Folks in smaller communities are more friendly and social and genuine. I am counting the days towards my retirement in the small town I have selected. The "forced association" dining tendencies in cruising are as old as the first passenger ships. However, they are the reverse of land based vacations - and from what I can see "forced association" dining is no where to be found in travel, other than cruising and bus trips (I am sure someone will inform me of other examples, if there are any). I recently adored my golf vacation at the Arizona Biltmore. No "forced association" on anything, other than coupling up for golfing. So, I will continue to cruise and request the table for 2. Happy and safe cruising to all ABoatNerd
  2. Benchmarks For Cruise Reviews. Thanks to all who have/will respond to the post. It is a topic I have not seen raised on this or other cruise sites. Interesting perspectives on doing reviews - some based on formal elements (me), some more casual. Just like the range of people Kindest Regards to all who post Happy and safe cruising ABoatNerd
  3. An interesting question. Thanks for the poll. I only want a table for 2. My husband and I are not interested in conversing with other people on our cruises or any other vacation for that matter. We are not very "social" people. We adore each other and desire maximum privacy to yak, analyze, dream and be together. We cruise because we are ship lovers (hence my "handle") and we adore the ship, its construction, the movement and the roll of the waves off the bow. We are very much not interested in the "group" stuff. This is why the 91,000 ton ships are as large as we will sail on. The big ships will not be patronized. Since we seem to be (thus far) in the minority, here is the reasons why we want only a table for 2 1) We are very private people 2) Food and service are very important to us and we do not desire to be distracted during dining 3) We live in a very large city and are quite frankly fed up dealing with people. We take a 2,000 person commuter train to work and have truly had it listening to peoples cell phone conversations and loud discussions etc. The last thing we want to do on vacation is deal with more people. Perhaps if folks live in a smaller place, talking to new people would be interesting. For us it is a hardship. Thanks ABoatNerd
  4. A good afternoon CruiseCrazies: Question - When Undertaking A Review - What Benchmarks Do You Use? I am a Celebrity and Crystal cruiser. I am intrigued as to why cruise reviews can be so varied. I suspect: 1) Most folks provide a review based on THEIR view of what they SHOULD receive VS 2) Reviewing on what they ACTUALLY received based on THE ADVERTISED product offering from official cruise lines information only My cruise reviews are constructed to highlight the VARIANCE between the advertised product offering (the words, pictures of food, etc) and what I actually received. I do not "personalize" my review, ie on what I thought I should have got. It is my impression this is a different approach from most of the cruise reviews I have read over the years. WHAT DO YOU THINK FOLKS????????? _____________________________________________ Some background on why this is interesting. I believe most consumers are entirely too lenient on the providers of products, consumers excuse poor product delivery because most consumers are timid/consumed by political correctness/lazy/worried about creating a scene - and generally refuse to demand their entitlements. In every industry, and cruising too, this of course, allows the service providers to extract maximum price while continually providing less value. Having cruised since 1989, I have provided many cruise reviews. Warning to people reviewing this post, I am a very informed and highly demanding consumer. I stand up for my entitlements that I purchased and I adhere to the parameters of the cruise product (dress code, courtesy, timeliness etc) without complaint. I show only moderate lattitude for those with poor attitudes or those who are ill informed in the basics of their job or for lazy service providers. Before booking a cruise, I examine the precise attributes of the cruise lines product, service, and experience offering from the web site, brochures, ads. I identify key words and pictures that seem to describe the experience that I CAN PURCHASE - ie like quiet ambiance, discreet service, attuned to your every need, exquisite food etc, etc, etc, etc. I then decide if this is what I want to purchase. I take a copy of the promotional information to ensure I have a hard copy of the product offering I purchased. On numerous cruises I have used this promo information to extract concessions from the line when I did not get what I was promised. Handing over the promo information at the customer desk is quite intimidating and usually gets immediate attention. Note, THIS IS KEY!!!! Customer Expectation - I expect the cruise line to provide me their advertised product offering from the moment I set foot on the ship - every single time - all year - on every cruise. Unless the cruise lines makes it clear in their advertising that certain times of the year the product will not be exactly as offered or in stated extenuating circumstances, I will not release the cruise line from providing exactly what they said they would and what I paid for. I will not exempt a cruise line from every deviating from their advertised product offering due to the typically offered excuses: 1) It is the summer/holidays - To excuse away the nusiance of hords of out of control kids 2) We need group bookings - To excuse away the lack of use of public rooms/dining rooms to service large group bookings The excuses from the cruise lines go on and on and even customers repeat them. Consumers, demand your entitlements and do not let the cruise lines off the hook. Ann Landers said it best - "No body can abuse you without you having given them your permission" Good sailing to all ABoatNerd
  5. :cool: Hi There, ABoatNerd again Thanks for the posts after my response. Good stuff. I learned alot! Passports are a big deal and will be absolutely necessary for international travel. JoeyandDavid, you make a very significant query in your last post "I thought all Americans were into counterterrorism after 9/11" Sadly, not at all. That is why people involved in national security and law enforcement are disheartened and fed up - I am. Not to make this a political discussion on a cruise travel board - but the broader implications of this item will affect our cruising future. A goodly % of Americans support and encourage terrorists by participating in maintaining the status quo on immigration, cultural practices of new immigrants. Many left leaning Americans (and particularly Canadians) absolutely refuse to believe there is evil and that some immigrants are bad. To the a) surprise then b) horror of the Netherlands, France and now England, they are learning the folly of not integrating new persons into the principles and practices of a western democracy. The old ideas of multiculturalism, political correctness need to be frankly addressed relative to risk. The more terrorists are allowed to move freely in G8 countries, the more and more restrictions (and costs to us) will be placed on our travel and our cruising as we respond to each incident of terrorism. I wish it were otherwise, but frankly, many of us are now "intellectually disarmed" via notions of multicultural, political correctness, moral relativism and therefore we become "physically disarmed" to. It is these lofty notions that allowed the enemy to arrive and flourish on our soil. The cost and efficiency of cruising may well rise in the future as the G8 countries respond to world politics. The passport is just one cost item implemented by G8 governments to know who is where. Unfortunate, but it will soon move into iris scanning to absolutely know who holds the passport. Anyways, good cruising to all. I am off to the cottage Cheers ABoatNerd
  6. PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS Good post JoeyandDavid. I presume from your post that you take issue with the trend towards more personal identification. My posts as ABoatNerd will always be provocative as I do not take the wishy washy, inside the bell curve, politically correct approach to analyzing any situation. There is a huge amount of "lemming like/group think/in denial" behavior amongst consumers today and I am not one of them. On the subject of "change takes time", then in some matters like international travel, people had better wake up fast. A passport is a necessity and a safe guard for travelling in corrupt countries (which are the vast majority on the planet today). Being "reduced to a number" is quite acceptable to me. Why would it not? Question for you - Do you let strangers into your home without identification, do they get to stay for unlimited periods of time? The past free flow of people into/out of the G8 countries is exactly why our enemy is within our borders today. My travel agent refuses to service clients who "don't get it" ie they fuss over passports etc. The amount of wasteful queries from travellers today simply takes time away from servicing other more informed and prepared clients (me). Our cruise only travel agent is blunt, when you desire to make a booking, the rules of the road are clear - have a passport by the time or booking or you are on your own. Travel agents have liability and they need to defend against ill informed or frankly stupid travellers. If a cruise client does not have acceptable identification, and is refused entry to a site, it follows that many of them go back to "blame" (since blaming others is a big trend these days) the travel agent for not "having told them". JoeyandDavid, if you were a travel agent, would you not have all clients sign a form indicating they are accountable to have the appropriate identification for all countries visited on a cruise? Since cruising can take individuals to many countries (most of which tend to be rife with corruption I may add), it makes total sense to maximize one's protection and identification. Oh, by the way, I work in counterterrorism, therefore I am not naive about international travel risks and requirements and I am agast at the continued ignorance of the American public regarding what it takes to travel internationally. ABoatNerd
  7. :huh: NEW PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS I am astounded that some individuals are still living in the past. Get with reality people, if you plan to travel outside your country... GET A PASSPORT This thread is evidence that some people have not clued into the new world reality. If you can afford to cruise, you can afford to purchase and renew a passport. Is there something truly wrong with some of the posters here? Why would you spend 30 minutes arguing with a cruise representative about whether or not one should have a passport. It is 2005 and the answer is obvious With the disgusting bombings in London yesterday, a passport is a greater requirement than ever. Quit wasting people's time with stupid issues and equip yourself to travel internationally. If you are fussing about a passport, why don't you stay at home. ABoatNerd
  8. :rolleyes: Hello CruiseCrazies: A number of work mates are just back in the office having just come back from cruises on RCL. They reported the cruise experience was reduced due to the negative impact of out of control kids (I call them "free range kids" - I travel generally Crystal, Oceania and sometimes Celebrity to avoid them). Have people: a) Noticed more out of control kids than previous years? b) Experienced a "loss of use" of hot tubs, pools etc ? RCL, in particular, have decided to "load up" on the nuclear family target market, but now have lost my two work mates as future clients (they are moving to Celebrity). I for one do not put up with any human being (of any age) being disruptive. I have personally tripped a number of "heathens" running in the halls at 12 midnight (sticking the leg out the door when they come your way does wonders!!!!). I have also grabbed more than one shrieking kid running around my chair and shoved them towards their stupid parents with a stiff warning to keep their "monsters" out of my space. My philosophy is that if the "reasonable and respectful" people do not fight back the "riff raff" will take over. This approach takes guts and fortitude but generally results in thanks from the related people in the area who were simply waiting for a leader to take control. What do people think? ABoatNerd
  9. Hello Cruise Crazies: Re: Dining Time and Protocol Some individuals may take offence with the following, so you are pre warned! Basic principle which applies to all - be in the dining room at 6:15 with 5 minutes to spare. If not, dining proceeds without you and you will not be allowed to inconvience others if you arrive late. Second, if the ship offers other food offerings, then one should presume that tablemates might not show - and therefore, no one should wait for anyone. Therefore, it should not be necessary to pre advise anyone of your intentions for the following day. What many threads like this are REALLY addressing is the issue of increasing rudeness (arriving late, not dressing appropriately for the night etc)/ What about that do people not understand? This is not dining on land where a traffic accident could delay you. It should be very easy to arrive in the dining room on time (except for those selfish individuals who think protocols apply to everyone else - SEE BELOW). For example: My husband and I do not tolerate any dining table mates arriving late. We commence our dining experience whether people are there or not. Our last cruise on Millenium required a hard line approach with the dining staff and 2 table mates. 2 table mates were very late for the first 2 nights (40 and 42 minutes late) which greatly affected the rest of us and created stress for the waiter. I put an end to that. My husband and I advised the dining room staff to assign the individuals to a different table and I personally told the individuals that they were denied access to my table due to their rudeness. The staff and specific individuals were agast (of course), but no one walks over me, particularly when I follow the stated and published protocol. The dining staff were useless, hobbled by political correctness to avoid offending a customer. The dining table service and enjoyment was greatly enhanced thereafter. And the inevitable complements to me from my table mates and folks from adjacent tables followed. There you go! ABoatNerd
  10. :cool: HOW WOULD YOU RATE PRINCESS? Answer - Princess is at the top end of the mass market lines together with than Celebrity - they offer somewhat different, but equivilant products. Here is one example that distinguishes the two lines............ At the casual food area on pool deck - Celebrity provides trays with cloth napkins with staff taking the tray for female guests. Princess provides NO trays and no staff help. Depends which experience you want..................... For the benefit of the poster ATHENA86, an assessment of a cruise line depends upon what you are looking for in product, service and ship board culture. I have cruised all mass lines repeatedly starting in 1989. My work mates also cruise extensively, so I benefit from alot of lunches comparing cruises - with all our cruising we are able to keep track of the variances between the lines. Here goes: If you prefer... A) MORE TRADITIONAL, HIGHER LEVEL OF FORMALITY (ie european service), HIGH LEVEL OF MASS PRODUCED FOOD AND LESS INTRUSIVE SERVICE, QUIETER SHIP EXPERIENCE, MORE ADULT FOCUS, AND LESS IN YOUR FACE ENTERTAINMENT AND SHIP ANNOUNCEMENTS = CELEBRITY B) MORE FLEXIBILITY, LESS FORMALITY (more chatty staff), BROAD RANGE OF PASSENGER, GOOD MASS FOOD AND SERVICE, VERY EXTENSIVE ENTERTAINMENT = PRINCESS. Regarding RCL = focus on nuclear family with entertainment and the poorest food of any mass cruise line. All cruisers in my office refuse to patronize RCL as they attract too many out of control kids Regarding Carnival = attempting a change in their product offering away from the "fun ship" to more like RCL and Princess - food quality has surpassed RCL and approaching Princess Regarding HAL = OK, but trying to broaden their market (away from seniors - which is the growth demographic of the future) to include families (the declining demographic) which may not turn out too well. In the past known for excellent service, bland but good food, quiet ship experience I prefer Celebrity because I desire the formality, I require the best food and the more adult environment is a must. Princess is excellent if you want a less formal, more flexible cruise with excellent food. ______________________ In monitoring many cruise boards, the BIG issue with reviews is because: <]People do not know what they want, they usually buy on price and or have not been served by a cruise savy travel agent. There is a greater than ever mismatch between the cruise line product offering and the passenger aboard which = greater dissatisfaction = cruise reviews where one person loved it and another did not. Trust this helps ABoatNerd
  11. Dear Cruisecrazies Members: Kindest Regards To All. I am a new Member, ABoatNerd! I adore ships of all types (gee, hence my name) and my husband and I have been cruising since 1989. We generally sail Celebrity (although have been on all lines, including Oceania recently) and have of course seen many changes in the industry and on Celebrity in particular. Question For Recent Celebrity patrons on European cruises - What is your opinion - Does Celebrity attract more Europeans on their cruises VS say Princess? Why my question - 2 people in my office sailed the Med this year on Celebrity (they are very experienced cruisers and are able to compare Celebrity to the Golden Princess and the RCL ships) - They were NOT HAPPY with the impact of many patrons from Europe (ie very significant amounts of smoking and high levels of rudeness, butting in lines, loudness) which neither of them experienced on their Princess and RCL Med cruises. I am not interested in being exposed to the experience they had - so I am attempting to increase the "sampling" from 2 people to many! Be so kind to share your experience with myself and others on this board. I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
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