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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:10 PM
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Default Az. Journey Oct 30 - Need Balcony?

We are looking at taking the Amazara Journey October 30 Barcelona return with # of stops in Italy. On our last (1st) cruise, we had a nice stern balcony on HAL Noordam but that was the Caribbean. As temperatures,
I assume, will be a bit brisk, how important do people think having a balcony is? I know even visually it seemed to give us a feeling of being less cramped even if we were not using it which we rarely did.

Also, I see prices being quoted: Do people have favorite sites for getting the best cruise prices?

Thanks,
nsbirdie

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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Az. Journey Oct 30 - Need Balcony?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nsbirdie
We are looking at taking the Azamara Journey October 30 Barcelona return with # of stops in Italy. On our last (1st) cruise, we had a nice stern balcony on HAL Noordam but that was the Caribbean. As temperatures,
I assume, will be a bit brisk, how important do people think having a balcony is? I know even visually it seemed to give us a feeling of being less cramped even if we were not using it which we rarely did.

Also, I see prices being quoted: Do people have favorite sites for getting the best cruise prices?

Thanks,
nsbirdie

Nsbirdie;

The SV (stern balcony) cabins are more expensive than the standard balcony cabin. The CC, 1A, and cat 2 cabins are identical in size. The CC cabins give you a couple more amenities such as Champagne and upgraded soaps.

My preference is to book a cat 2 balcony cabin because they are identical and are on Deck 6.

An inside or outside cabin on Quest or Journey, while functional, is not extremely spacious. They are well designed but can feel a bit cramped. This is my personal opinion and I am biased because I love balcony cabins.

I suggest using http://www.cruisemates.com/MBindex/bargainfinder.cfm and look for the best rate.

Take care,
Mike
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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:41 PM
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Thanks for the prompt reply with specifics. I tend to think we are a bit spoiled having had a blacony the first time around.
Any comments on early November weather in Med or balconies on cooler cruises?
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Old February 17th, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: Az. Journey Oct 30 - Need Balcony?

nsbirdie,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
We are looking at taking the Amazara Journey October 30 Barcelona return with # of stops in Italy. On our last (1st) cruise, we had a nice stern balcony on HAL Noordam but that was the Caribbean. As temperatures,
I assume, will be a bit brisk, how important do people think having a balcony is? I know even visually it seemed to give us a feeling of being less cramped even if we were not using it which we rarely did.
I don't think that a balcony -- or even a window -- is very important at all. These ships have plenty of public lounges and public open decks where you can look out or, weather permitting, go out to take in the scenery. In particular, the promenades should have deck lounges where absolutely nobody will bother you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Also, I see prices being quoted: Do people have favorite sites for getting the best cruise prices?
The cruise lines now have very strict policies forbidding travel agents from offering discounts or perks out of their commissions. Thus, your travel local "brick & mortar" travel agency should quote exactly the same fares as the company's web site and all Internet agencies unless one or another is forming a group.

Norm.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
The cruise lines now have very strict policies forbidding travel agents from offering discounts or perks out of their commissions. Thus, your travel local "brick & mortar" travel agency should quote exactly the same fares as the company's web site and all Internet agencies unless one or another is forming a group.
Norm.. that's not quite true. On some lines the price has to be the same, but the agents are allowed to purchase "perks" (from the cruise line) to offer to their clients... such as an onboard credit.
Agencies are allowed to offer other perks.. such as free insurance, or a pre-cruise hotel stay,etc.

And there are normally plenty of agencies offering group rates.

So... it still pays to shop.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 08:29 PM
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Kuki,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Norm.. that's not quite true. On some lines the price has to be the same, but the agents are allowed to purchase "perks" (from the cruise line) to offer to their clients... such as an onboard credit.
Agencies are allowed to offer other perks.. such as free insurance, or a pre-cruise hotel stay,etc.

And there are normally plenty of agencies offering group rates.

So... it still pays to shop.
According to Royal Caribbean's press releases on this a couple years ago and several travel agents with whom I have talked, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. now forbids such pracices across all of their lines. In particular, the press release said tha the parent company would reduce commissions paid to travel agents found to be offering perks by the cost of the perks.

But maybe they have since relaxed the policy?

Norm.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Az. Journey Oct 30 - Need Balcony?

"I don't think that a balcony -- or even a window -- is very important at all. These ships have plenty of public lounges and public open decks where you can look out or, weather permitting, go out to take in the scenery. In particular, the promenades should have deck lounges where absolutely nobody will bother you."

I tended to think that time of year it was less important too but, from what was said by an other poster who has been on the Amazara Journey, it sounds like the inside and ocean view (no balcony) rooms are quite small so that the balcony gives space that is important even if being out there often is not likely.
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Old February 19th, 2008, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Az. Journey Oct 30 - Need Balcony?

nsbirdie,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I tended to think that time of year it was less important too but, from what was said by an other poster who has been on the Amazara Journey, it sounds like the inside and ocean view (no balcony) rooms are quite small so that the balcony gives space that is important even if being out there often is not likely.
I stayed in a standard (non-balcony) cabin aboard sister MV Tahitian Princess (another ship built as part of the R1 class for now defunct Renaissance cruises) and thought that it had plenty of space for two people during my cruise to "French Polynesia and Samoa" in 2003.

But, of course, YMMV....

Norm.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 01:10 PM
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I personally love a balcony (since our first apartment as newlyweds had one!!!!). On our Princess Cruise (Dawn) my husband came down with
the "bug" and was quarentined to our cabin for 72 hours so "thank God" for the balcony - he would have gone crazy otherwise. He initially was
not convinced to pay the extra cost but on all three of our cruises, I think
he enjoys them even more than I do. Just something about standing out
there and coming in/going out of the ports and of course, the sunrises and
sunsets are not to be missed. Sometimes, you just want to have your
cup of tea - relaxing on the balcony - in your pj's and you certainly can't
do that in the public areas. JMO
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 05:04 PM
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The Royal Caribbean policy forbids agents from giving perks directly related to the cruise line (such as onboard credit) as part of the offer, but they cannot control whether an agency decides to cut the price or give away third party cruise insurance, for example.

In addition, cruise agents can negotiate and advertise group price that are below FIT on RCCL and Celebrity. The only issue there is that if the price is substantially lower than what they can get selling the cruise themselves the cruise usually takes any unsold group space back at the first opportunity.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 09:59 PM
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We sailed in the Med in mid-November as first week of a transatlantic. We had a balcony and loved it. For Med cruises which are port-intensive, you find very little time for just sitting on your balcony. However, for entering and exiting port, it was wonderful. This is especially true early in the day when you are docking. Weather that time of year can be wonderful or storm. Even in early October, we had 60kn winds on our approach to Rome. On our transatlantic in late November, we just missed a big storm that hit Lisbon the day after our departure. Still, I wouldn't let the chance of bad weather keep you from getting a balcony.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 11:53 AM
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Need a balcony. Life is too short to miss the sunrise in Barcelona while having a coffee in your Frette robe boys and girls. Remember that with the time change, it's hard to get out of your lovely Azamara bed for 7 a.m - you just got to sleep a few "minutes" ago.
Also, you can ask to have any meals served in your cabin. Our balcony neighbours loved dinner on their balcony with white tablecloth etc. We usually had breakfast delivered until we got "climatized' (jet lag always gets me)
Also opening that sliding door - gives the room some fresh air and you're not breathing air conditioning all the time.
It was also very special to watch Stromboli sail by while on the balcony.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 12:38 PM
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I totally agree - if I can't have a balcony then I am not going !! That business about not spending much time in your cabin is goofy, IMO. - you are in there at least 8 hours a day (6 to sleep and 2 to shower and dress)
- can't imagine being in a closet for a week or two - that's what an inside
or oceanview would be to me !!
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Old August 9th, 2008, 11:01 PM
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The cruise we took on Journey to Bermuda was my 15th cruise on various lines. I've stayed in all categories of staterooms from an Inside Cabin to a Royal Suite on Infinity. This trip we stayed in a Sunset Verandah. It was very small but comfortable enough albeit marginally comfortable. I would say you definitely need the balcony if you don't like feeling closed in.
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