It’s Friday the 13th of February, and I’m in the Charlotte Admiral’s Club waiting for my connecting flight to Jacksonville, FL. I just flew in from frigid Pittsburgh, although it’s only 27 degrees here in Charlotte.
As I was walking to the club, I saw tis US Airways plane pull up, painted with the new American on it, and the old Piedmont Airlines colors. Thought this was cool, so I posted it. I’ve been flying US Airways since 1984, and remember the good ole Piedmont days. US Air has painted some of its planes over the years with the colors of former airlines it has merged with – gives it a bit of retro cool look.
Steve DOS will meet me in JAX when I arrive this afternoon and then we’re driving an hour or so up to Jekyll for a President’s Day weekend getaway. We haven’t been to Jekyll in a couple years, and I’ve really been wanting to go back. I’ll blog more about it in the next post, but Jekyll is one of my favorite US places to go for true relaxation, good food, history, nature, and walking round, and biking.
For the last 4 years we have done a Celebrity cruise on one of the M-Class ships from Ft Lauderdale over President’s Day weekend, and unfortunately some nudist cruise ‘stole’ our Penthouse booking this year and next. I say stole, because they literally did – Dos books as soon as bookings come out and we had reserved and put a deposit down on the Penthouse 6147 and adjacent cabin 6145 for by brother Andy, the very day the booking opened up for Captain’s Club members. Well several MONTHS later, we get a call from the Celebrity resolution department that another group had chartered the whole cruise and we could not sail on this date. Celebrity didn’t even offer us to keep the cabin, only select an alternate date. Well, we didn’t want an alternate date – we wanted our original holiday, Valentine’s sailing date. They offered a measly $200 credit for changing, but we canceled the booking altogether.
It was only later I found out via searching, that Celebrity Constellation (our favorite ship) had charterd the cruise to ‘Bare Essentials’, a nudist cruise! Talk about infuriating – we were bumped from the Penthouse for a freaking NUDIST cruise. This is wrong on some many levels I can’t even fit them all in to a single blog, but for starters try hygienic issues (can we say noro-virus), unfair treatment to the crew (they have to put up with all this viewing), business reasons – don’t think it looks very good for a classy cruise line stooping this low for business – and I’m a stockholder of RCL, no loyalty shown for Elite Plus members who are already booked in the Penthouse, and have done this cruise for several years etc, etc, etc, nor told us the truth about the group that was bumping us out ; i.e. a NUDIST cruise! We were told only a large group had booked it, and I guess our loyalty or guests booking the Penthouse Suite be damned.
On my cruise past Valentine’s on the Constellation, I asked the Captain about this upcoming sailing for next year, and he knew nothing about the nudist cruise. I expressed my displeasure for what it was worth. Of all things, I think it is most inconsiderate to the crew – there are so many nationalities aboard with different religions, customs etc, and I think it’s highly offense to push this on the crew.
This cruise had become a classic for many passengers, and we had met several repeat passengers who had taken this every year, including our group of friends and family. Last Valentine’s we even had an engagement announced in our room last year, from a wonderful couple we had met on the cruise in 2013. last year, while my brother Andy provided accompaniment on the piano!
Here were some of our friends we invited to sail-away last year, including people we had also met on previous Valentine’s cruises.
While a cruise line may have the ‘right’ in their contract to bump us like this, it doesn’t make it ‘right’. We’ve started dong river cruises in the last two years, and I think this will be our new niche. We do have one more Celebrity cruise booked next month from South America on the Infinity, also in the Penthouse, this time for 14 nights. Fortunately we weren’t bumped out of this cruise, but it really makes you wonder booking so far out if this is a possibility. I’m usually very positive about Celebrity, but being bumped out of the Penthouse for Valentine’s to a nudist cruise really has me thinking twice about sailing with them.
Anyway, I digress. Actually I’m much happier going to Jekyll this Valentine’s weekend. I have to go catch my flight now. I will write more later.