– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
One year ago Crystal Cruises was, by its own admission, not doing very well. It had an excellent product, but fairly empty ships. What a difference a year makes…and Crystal Cruises has made the changes in some rather elegant ways.
Yesterday, at the Cruise Shipping Miami Conference (a/k/a “The Home Port of the Cruise Industry”) Crystal announced its new dining option: Perfect Choice Dining. It is not “open seating”, but rather a reservation option, where you are able to reserve dinner at different times on different days and at different sized tables. Crystal calls this opening dining with a reservation.
When combined with its continuing fixed seating (main or late) option, it allows its guests to mix it up a bit. So one evening you may dine later with your spouse, but another evening you may arrange for dinner with a group of people you are cruising with or just met or have not yet met (as sort of an open/fixed seating mix). This is assuming, of course, that as with any restaurant there is a table available…hence the need for a reservation.
When this is combined with the hefty onboard credits offered by Crystal with its “As You Wish” program I think Crystal Cruises has elegantly allowed for the newer, more inclusive, product to be meshed with the mainstay fixed seating and pay as you go product, it allows for those that wish to have their drinks included, included in the price, and those that do not drink alcohol (or not enough to justify it being included in the price), to use their cruise fare toward tours or the spa.
Both of these enhancements actually fold quite nicely into what it unabashedly touted at the Conference is its focus on families, children and multi-generational cruising. This is, once again, balanced against a truly noteworthy array of intellectually and culturally challenging onboard experiences.
Combining that with its significant refurbishments to the Crystal Symphony and plans for the Serenity and you have a true force in the luxury cruise market. Yes, there are the issues of larger cabins vs. suites, 1,000 guests vs. smaller capacities, etc., but what is certain is with these two major changes (dining and onboard credits) Crystal has added its flavor to the selections available for the new breed of luxury traveler that want what they want, when they want it and how they want it. (But more on that in another post…hint, hint!)
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