Cruise Holidays - Attheta Travel

I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel

Friday, October 28, 2016

Trip Report: Regal Princess, Canada - New England, October 2016

This report was written after a seven day, round-trip from New York in October, 2016

As usual we had a wonderful trip.  

New York.  We stayed at the Marriott Marquis because of it's perfect location for us.  The hotel is very nice.  We saw Lion King which was right across the street. We got our tickets 4 hours before show time and got to sit in the front row which was fantastic.  WE love it.  The theater was a  one minute walk.  Closeness is becoming very important to us as we get older.  We took the 6 hour Gray line tour around NYC again because it was close and because it did exactly what we wanted to see. We had perfect weather in NYC which made the tour very enjoyable.

Airports-  LGA is not good.  They have solved some of the near term construction woes but it is still not good.  Cab fare was $62 to the Marriott.

Cab to ship was $49 which again is in line of what you thought.  Fares are traffic dependent and the traffic is awful all over athe NYC area.

We found out 2 days before the cruise that one of our old Air Force friends were also on the Regal.  I email and text this guy every week but we never talked about this cruise.  The messages on Facebook were classic on how we fond out that we were both going to NYC, both on the Regal and our cabins were close.   Their cabin was one deck above us and 4 behind.  We got in our cabin and looked up and there they were.  It was fun to see them. 

Embarkation - Brooklyn did a very good job.  They have plenty of people directing travelers.  Our Premier line was empty when we arrived at noon.  Then we were directed right on to the ships.  Friends that arrived from Newark at 1030 had a 30 minute wait in line and another 45 minute wait to get on the ship.

The cruise was impacted one day by the effects of Hurricane Matthew.  We learned a lot about the wide spread effects of the hurricanes that affect the seas long distances from the center..  The captain said he was getting weather information from multiple sources including Princess, other ships in the area, and their special weather companies.  They missed their forecasts. 

Regal - Very nice because it looks just like all the other Princess ships.  The Buffet area is larger but there are more people so there is the same problem of finding a place to sit. Large flat screen on the wall was great. Our balcony cabin was just like all the other Princess ships but very satisfactory.   We were glad to be in the middle of the ship when we hit the bad weather and huge waves.. HUGE.   The crew said that it was the most rocking they had ever seen on their ship.  The waves and swells were incredible.

Food - Princess continues it's slow decline in food quality. Nothing was really bad but things just aren't the same as they used to be. We have learned to love the anytime dining option.  We  enjoy eating dinners in the buffet because of the flexibility, the many choices and the time savings.  I could eat the shrimp  and french bread every night. The International Cafe is one of our favorite places.  Very good food.  Sometimes tough to find a place to sit.

Sabatini's Grill-  Boy were we disappointed.  Service and food were just not that good.  Won't pay again.  Friends ate in the Crown Grill and said the same thing.

Service -  Very good.  We only saw our steward twice the whole trip but everything was just fine. Crew was very good.

Photos -  Princess is way behind Royal Caribbean.  They still put pictures up on the walls and we never seem to be able to find them even with helpers.  Digital is the way to go.

Shopping - bigger area and nice shops.  But the price creep is slowing our shopping down. No bargains on board

Entertainment.  Plenty to do.  Theater was full for every show.  We couldn't even get a seat for one at 8 and had to go to the 1000 show..  Still too many people saving seats. We did enjoy the fountain show along with about 10 other passengers.  I guess it was too cold for the rest. 

Activities - Always plenty to do. Always very well run and they always have good attendance at everything we did.  

Excursions -  We did a Princess one in every port. The tender operation in Newport was a real adventure.  The driver had to make 2 passes before finally catching on to the ship  The waves in the harbor were mighty big.  Not sure what the captain was thinking letting folks in wheel chairs and walkers get off/on.  It was mighty rough.  The short cruise between Newport and Boston was another adventure..  The crew was forced to slow the ship down because of the very rough seas and that made us 4 hours late getting into Boston.  Princess did a fantastic job in rescheduling excursions.  They had plenty of folks in the Shore excursion desk area and in lines answering questions.  The ship got lots of compliments on how they handled all this confusion.  The folks that did not use Princess excursions were not happy because they had to either phone or email their companies. Not sure how they resolved the money issues.  Another vote for using cruise line excursions.  Bar Harbor was our favorite port.  Tender operation was smooth because the day was perfect.  Lots to do in that small town.  I had a lobster roll which is one of my all time favorites.  Saint John and Halifax were excellent too.  All our buses and tour guides were excellent.

Clientele-  Most of the Princess passengers were just like us.

Disembarkation - usually one of my least favorite parts of the vacation but this time Princess got it right.  The elevators on get off day are always full with luggage, walkers and powered chairs.  We were called 3 minutes after schedule which is the best ever.  There were plenty of port folks there to help us find our luggage.  Then the customs line took about 5 minutes. And then we were off to our bus which was very clearly marked.  We only sat on the bus for 7 minutes before leaving for LGA.  Our friends got off an hour before we did and had to sit on the bus for 40 minutes for their trip to Newark.  They were not happy campers. Both us had very bad Saturday traffic getting to our respective airports.  Our driver took all kinds of back roads because the regular freeways were gridlocked.

Value -  our friends were traveling with 3 other couples and non of the 5 couples paid the same for our balconies.  None of us got exactly the same perks.  Overall the price/value were close.

Platinum-  We sure like the perks of Platinum.  While the internet is still slow, it is nice to get a whole lot of free minutes.  We never did attend the special cocktail hours to get the free hors d'oeuvres .  They still charge for drinks and the lines were long.  The Captains reception line was again way too long for us.

Cruising-  Lots of talk about cruising and cruise lines.   Disney seems to be the best but everyone knows it is really pricey.  Carnival is probably the least popular.  Some have tried it once and usually won't do it again.  Viking was the most often river cruise line used by our friends.  This is based on a small sample size...
  
Ned and Carolyn