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Old 02-03-2016, 10:59 AM   #21
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Do they have good lecturers on any of these cruises? I am not so interested in Broadway shows but learning something while cruising might be interesting.


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The 2 transatlantic cruises we did there and back in 2013 had excellent lectures, we loved that aspect of the trips. On the Queen Mary they even had a subset of the London Philharmonic, with the conductor being the same chap who did that year's Proms in London.

They also had a shakespeare group giving performances. Really good stuff.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:26 AM   #22
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Do they have good lecturers on any of these cruises? I am not so interested in Broadway shows but learning something while cruising might be interesting.


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I took a Caribbean cruise on Celebrity Equinox the same day the Zcosta Concordia sank. As you can imagine, it was a hot topic! Several days later, one of the senior officers gave an excellent presentation about maritime navigation. On the same cruise, there were courses in computers and other topics that I did not participate in. But the most interesting one for me was the glassblowing studio on the top deck. Three glass blowers were there twice daily. One would narrate to explain what the others were doing. They started with simple stuff and worked their way up to very complex pieces, which were raffled for charity. There were giveaways too.

On a Danube river cruise in 2014 (Avalon) we had, amongst other educational offerings, a fascinating presentation about the science and history of canals and docks.
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:53 PM   #23
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Do they have good lecturers on any of these cruises? I am not so interested in Broadway shows but learning something while cruising might be interesting.
I've never been on a transatlantic but sailed with many of the big lines. I recall Norwegian having some decent lectures on a 7 day cruise back in 2008. Costa cruises and Celebrity had 1-2 lecture type presentations.

Carnival is completely devoid of any type of lectures from our experience on 3 cruises (2x 5 nights, 1x 7 nights). Still great cruises, but I would have appreciated something along the lines of a history lecture about the ports we are visiting or maritime history, navigation, cruise ships, life on board, the home countries of the wildly diverse staff on board, etc. They did have a few lecture-ish presentations but I'm assuming they were sales pitches for the on board art gallery, the spa, or the in port shopping (didn't attend so can't personally state with certainty - it just smelled promotional from reading the description in the ship's daily newspaper).
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Old 02-03-2016, 04:51 PM   #24
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Sounds like you should have booked a round trip and skipped the return portion.
Great minds...that's what I did! Or have the option of doing, at least. I might want to use the return to Spain for a westbound transit.

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You can get to London Gatwick from Barcelona for about $50 on EasyJet. Norwegian Air Shuttle fares in April to Orlando are as low as $385. Total flights would be $435--not bad.
Yep, that's roughly the pricing I saw. I didn't know they were flying those nice new planes...I might have gone for that instead of the "round trip and skip the return" thing. The flights arrive a bit too late to catch a plane home from FLL or MCO. So that means a night in a hotel plus the domestic one-way on the (higher priced) weekend (only time when Norwegian flies) that puts us up in the territory of the r/t & skip. Besides, the idea of not skipping, but instead going back in the fall kind of captured my imagination.
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Old 02-03-2016, 05:27 PM   #25
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Wow! You guys rock. Glad to hear positive reports from others who have done this.

We enjoy playing trivia and board games...like I said we are easily amused. We have zero interest in the casino....probably on a deadbeat list of low spenders on cruise ships, ha, ha. We also enjoy the Broadway type shows, I was a fan of Glee. So I think we would have a good time.

The return flights using frequent flier miles work. I think this is going to be a trip. Great to have the time to take advantage of an opportunity like this. We could never have even considered it prior to ER.


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Old 02-03-2016, 06:44 PM   #26
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Very hard with kids' school schedule so it might be 15+ years out when we're "old". Maybe it'll be a "the kids are out of the house; it's time to partayyy!" present to ourselves.
That's the situation we're in, also. But in less than 6 years the youngest will be in college in our house.... Let the cheaper travel begin. I'm eyeing up a repositioning cruise from the west coast to Australia... Nice way to get there with no jet lag or deep vein thrombosis.
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:55 PM   #27
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We enjoy playing trivia and board games...like I said we are easily amused. We have zero interest in the casino....probably on a deadbeat list of low spenders on cruise ships, ha, ha. We also enjoy the Broadway type shows, I was a fan of Glee. So I think we would have a good time.
That describes us well. The only thing we ever spend money on during a cruise is the alcohol we buy on board and take back home to drink. Otherwise, I can't recall spending anything ever (besides a few bucks in the casino on our honeymoon cruise 12 years ago). Definitely deadbeats here! I hope they don't blacklist us.

I was researching the cruise industry for a blog post on cruising, and after reading Carnival corp's annual report, noticed that they have about $600-700 per cabin in revenue from on board sales (spa, casino, drinks, on shore excursions, etc). And it's almost pure profit. Lose money on each room and make it up with upselling on board.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:36 PM   #28
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Definitely deadbeats here!
Here too! We spend nothing.......any onboard credits offered go towards offsetting the 'mandatory gratuity' charges.

We don't drink, frequent the casino/spa/specialty restaurants, etc.......oh, I lie..DW did purchase for herself, (as a safety precaution), those pressure wrist bands, to offset seasickness, when we encountered relatively heavy waves in the Norwegian Sea.
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Old 02-03-2016, 09:41 PM   #29
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Definitely deadbeats here!
+1
I think of cruises as an all inclusive vacation.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:00 PM   #30
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+1
I think of cruises as an all inclusive vacation.
+2

When we finished our Alaska cruise last year we still had money left in our onboard credit that we'd received as part of the incentive to book the cruise.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:03 PM   #31
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+1
I think of cruises as an all inclusive vacation.
Next time I'm on the cruise and see all you fellow frugal millionaire folks not drinking $12 sugary cocktails by the pool I'll stop by and say hi!
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:30 PM   #32
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Next time I'm on the cruise and see all you fellow frugal millionaire folks not drinking $12 sugary cocktails by the pool I'll stop by and say hi!
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:28 PM   #33
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Here too! We spend nothing.......any onboard credits offered go towards offsetting the 'mandatory gratuity' charges.
When I was trying to get something done with the purser on a Carnival or Princess cruise (can't recall which at the moment), I got a copy of a print-screen from their system. Prominently displayed on my record was "Average daily OBS" (on board spending). When you walk up to the desk, they know if you're a big spender or not!
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:50 PM   #34
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Prominently displayed on my record was "Average daily OBS" (on board spending). When you walk up to the desk, they know if you're a big spender or not!
That would explain all the surreptitious nudges, and incredulous looks, between those behind the desk.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:07 PM   #35
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When I was trying to get something done with the purser on a Carnival or Princess cruise (can't recall which at the moment), I got a copy of a print-screen from their system. Prominently displayed on my record was "Average daily OBS" (on board spending). When you walk up to the desk, they know if you're a big spender or not!
No kidding? I'll have to ask them if I can see my near-zero OBS on their displays next time we're on a cruise. I guess my $50-100 purchases of 5-10 bottles of liquor help keep me from complete deadbeat territory. It's like they are the pit boss and they watch what you spend so they can know how much to comp you!

I wonder if the high avg OBSers get better targeted offers for future cruises? I never get jack from the Carnival Club. I've heard big casino spenders can get comped future cruises if they are playing a ton on board. If someone loses $1000+ on average during a cruise, of course you should give them a free $300-500 room.
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Old 02-05-2016, 08:06 AM   #36
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Some of this may have been touched on, as I have not read every post. In the fall of 2014, we did a TransAtlantic from New York to England on the Queen Mary 2. We stayed in England for 11 days and came back on Royal Caribbean's Oasis, a 12 night transatlantic I believe.

I loved the fact that we did not have to fly .

What's many people do not realize, is that you can get additional spending money while on the cruise (onboard credit), from large online travel agents.

In many cases, you can make the reservation yourself directly with the cruise line and within a certain timeframe transfer that reservation over to an online travel agent . You can call several and ask them what they are willing to give you in order for them to receive your booking. Depending on the size cabin and pricing, you can get anywhere from $100 to $600 or more extra spending money. These onboard credits can be used for buying alcoholic drinks, specialty dining, gifts or shopping on board or excursions. You may also get free paid gratuities and or specialty dining wall on board.

When we arrived in England, we found a luggage storage facility and dropped off a lot of our luggage and picked it up just before boarding the return cruise. This was great because it made traveling in England and Wales by train much easier, because the Queen Mary 2 required more formal evening dining, thus more clothing was required.

I hope this was helpful and let me know if there is any other information I can share.



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Old 02-05-2016, 09:16 AM   #37
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When we arrived in England, we found a luggage storage facility and dropped off a lot of our luggage and picked it up just before boarding the return cruise. This was great because it made traveling in England and Wales by train much easier, because the Queen Mary 2 required more formal evening dining, thus more clothing was required.
Great idea!

We've been contemplating getting to europe via ship rather than plane. Pricing seems good and heck, we have the time to burn. Still haven't done it though.

We're more interested taking an ocean liner (Cunard) than a repositioning cruise of a giant cruise ship. Has anyone done both and can you share your observations?
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:24 AM   #38
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Definitely have this on my 'to do' list. Did our first cruise of the Baltic last summer and enjoyed it. Granted, trans-Atlantic would be different.
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Old 02-06-2016, 07:26 PM   #39
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When it comes to cruises we are definitely deadbeats. We spend very little on board. We bring along our own wine, do private tours etc. Always book late to get a good price and always use a TA who rebates some commission in the form of on board credits. Never buy the foo foo drinks, internet, etc.

Last cruise was in Australia. We had to get cash from the casino against our cruise account in order to use the money. Cost us three percent but we got 97 percent back. Otherwise we would have forfeited the cruise line provided on board credits!
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:16 PM   #40
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We are looking at a transatlantic-repositioning cruise to Europe.
We're already booked elsewhere, but if we weren't we'd seriously consider this one from VTG:

Pullmantur's Monarch

https://www.pullmantur.es/en/barco/MONARCH/galeria.html

Cheapest Inside $159
55+ Rate $151
Cheapest Oceanview $239
55+ Rate $227

$$$ Book now and all passengers will receive a FREE beverage package, which includes select alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages onboard.

Fri May 27 Colon, Panama 4:00pm
Sat May 28 Cartagena, Colombia 11:00am 9:00pm
Sun May 29 At Sea
Mon May 30 At Sea
Tue May 31 St. Maarten 9:00am 4:00pm
Wed Jun 1 At Sea
Thu Jun 2 At Sea
Fri Jun 3 At Sea
Sat Jun 4 At Sea
Sun Jun 5 At Sea
Mon Jun 6 At Sea
Tue Jun 7 At Sea
Wed Jun 8 At Sea
Thu Jun 9 Lisbon, Portugal 7:00am
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