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About Tapi

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  1. I forgot to add. Like someone mentioned above, if you ever sail from San Juan, make sure that you allow a few days pre or post cruise to explore Puerto Rico. It’s truly a fascinating destination! You can spend a week there and you won’t have enough time to see everything that it has to offer. It may be the best destination in your itinerary!
  2. Trying to weigh itinerary and ship, I’d be inclined to go with the Horizon. Great itinerary and currently Carnival’s newest and largest ship, with the most amenities. I truly believe you have a winner with that one. About Royal and the Freedom, they do offer a refundable deposit fare, but it’s usually more expensive. What I do when I find myself in your predicament is that I book the refundable fare, and then once I get closer to sailing date. I switch it to the non refundable fare if the savings are substantial. But once again, I think that you have a wonderful choice with the Horizon and the 8 night itinerary. Just keep the Southern Caribbean in your bucket list for a future cruise. It’s truly a wonderful cruise, and it will give you a better glimpse of what Caribbean cruising is truly about. Sadly Caribbean cruising has shifted to the more commercialized, Americanized, cruise line built destinations. These days, the only way to truly have an authentic Caribbean experience is to sail deep into the lesser Antilles, either from San Juan, or on a longer itinerary from Florida.
  3. After our last cruise on a Fantasy class ship, and comparing that to my experience with Royal Caribbean’s larger and newer ships, I think that it’s money well spent. We did have a fun time on our last cruise aboard the Fantasy, but sadly, she’s aging and not so gracefully. Maintenance issues seem to be piling up. We were on a 5 night itinerary and after a few days, things do start to feel repetitive on these smaller ships, in terms of food options, entertainment and activities. But I want to reiterate that we had a fun cruise, and the staff was truly wonderful. They did an amazing job, specially when we were delayed 10 hours due to fog.
  4. Let me start by saying that I wouldn’t decline taking any of these cruises. They all have positives. About #1 Cozumel: Great port of call with tons of things to do, but it appears on almost every single western Caribbean itinerary. I’d prefer to go somewhere that either I haven’t visited before, or haven’t visited so frequently. Another thing about Cozumel is that it’s become too comercialized. On our last cruise (February) there were 7 ships in port (3 of which were sharing Puerta Maya). The hordes of cruisers were annoying and overwhelming at times. Grand Cayman - I love this island, and the snorkeling is blissful. Truly one of my favorite destinations in the Western Caribbean. But I’m always a bit leery about selecting an itinerary specifically because it goes to Grand Cayman because of the tendering issues and high frequency of cancelations. Of the 3 times I’ve taken a cruise to Grand Cayman, one time it got canceled, one time we anchored off Spot’s Bay after a two hour delay, and on the third time we finally anchored off Georgetown. Belize: Another beautiful destination, but with its share of challenges. The 5 mile tender ride is a minor nuisance, but one to consider nonetheless. Although Belize has some amazing and unique attractions, there’s very little within close proximity to the port. Downtown Belize is downright ugly. We took a city tour one time just to see what Belize City had to offer, and one time was more than enough. It was sad. Anything worth seeing in Belize requires a long drive more suited for a longer stay or land vacation. So based on those experiences, I place this itinerary at the bottom of the list. Now that the OP has changed itinerary #2 to the Southern Caribbean, that would be my first choice. But as others mentioned, this itinerary is on the Fascination which would make me have second thoughts. I just don’t get why Carnival has an aging Fantasy class ship on this itinerary when it’s comeptition is the Freedom of the Seas and the Norwegian Epic out of San Juan. Hard to justify selecting the Fascination over the others unless there’s a significant price difference.
  5. We sailed on the MSC Meraviglia in the Mediterranean last November. I read review after review about the “horrible experience” and how some people “wouldn’t suggest this cruise to their worst enemy”, etc, etc, Long story short, I didn’t cancel the cruise since we had secured an awesome rate. I’m glad I never even considered it. It was, without a doubt, one of the best cruises I’ve ever taken in my life (and I’ve been cruising for over 35 years). The Meraviglia was a beautiful, enormous technological marvel with great entertainment, great food, excellent customer service, and the itinerary was fantastic. We booked an Aurea Duplex Suite (equivalent to a Crown Loft Suite on Royal) and it was an amazing stateroom. MSC truly spoiled us. The best part was that it cost 1/4 of what Royal would’ve charged for similar accommodations and itinerary, At the other end of the spectrum, we sailed on the Carnival Fantasy last month. She had glowing reviews and was rated higher than the MSC Meraviglia. Review after review mentioned how wonderful this ship is and how well kept she is. What we experienced was an aging, 30 year old ship with rust bleeding from every window and vent, and a long list of mounting maintenance problems. We had fun, but it was apparent to me that the reviews about the ship didn’t match what we encountered.. So to answer your question, I love to read reviews, not so much to decide if I want to take the cruise, but more as a form of entertainment and to remind myself how different cruising experiences can be, even for the same ship.
  6. I wonder if it’s the same one I got. Mine wasn’t super thick, but definitely not super thin. It’s a decent throw blanket, and it does keep me warm. It’s blue with “Choose Fun” in big white letters and a platinum VIFP logo.
  7. #3 would be my first choice. #2 would be a close second. #1 would be dead last.
  8. I promised my wife that I wouldn’t plan another cruise for at least a year after we returned from our last cruise in February. I didn’t make it one month. I have now placed deposits for two more cruises! 😂 I’m going to hold off on telling her though. 🙊
  9. Car rental will be your best bet. In Ft Lauderdale, find a drop off/pickup office near the port with complimentary transportation to the port.
  10. Thanks for taking the time to reply! 😀 I just called them and they said that guests under the age of 21 don’t need to purchase the packages. Only the adults in the cabin. That applies for non-alcoholic packages as well.
  11. Thanks for taking the time to reply! 😀 I just called them and they said that guests under the age of 21 don’t need to purchase the packages. Only the adults in the cabin. That applies for non-alcoholic packages as well. Both adults must purchase the same exact package.
  12. Hello: I’m looking at the different drink package options, and when I click on the Quench Beverage Package, it allows me to get it for just one person. I’m reading on other threads that beverage packages must be purchased by ALL guests in the stateroom. There will be 4 guests in our stateroom (including two children) but at the most, only the adults will be using it enough to justify it. Does this rule only apply to alcoholic packages? When I do click on the signature and elite package, a message appears stating that all guests over 21 must purchase the package, and that if not purchased for all guests, they will be charged to the shipboard account. But I don’t see that for the Quench Beverage Package. Can anyone clarify what the rules are? Ideally I’d get the Coca Cola package for me and the Quench beverage package for my wife if allowed. Thanks for any input!
  13. I’m online now fiddling with the drink packages. When I try to click on multiple guests in the cabin, it only allows me to click on one guest. There are 4 guests in our cabin. 2 adults and 2 children. Total cost for the Quench beverage package is $144 for a 7 night Caribbean cruise according to the website. Once again, it only allows me to click on one guest but not multiples. Is the $144 total for the entire cabin, or do I need to do add the package to the cart, and then go back and purchase a second package for the second adult in the cabin? And do the children need to purchase the plan as well? Just a tad confused. 😔
  14. I’m an Atlanta based airline pilot. Knowing what I know, I would NEVER fly in on the day of the cruise, even less with a connection, and even less if that connection is in Atlanta. Anybody telling you that they always fly on the day of the cruise and have never had any issue simply hasn’t flown enough to become a statistic. That aside, for me those flights would mean that the first 24-48 hours of my vacation would be shut. Being exhausted and jet lagged makes for a miserable start of my vacation. I’ve tried it several times for similar reasons as yours, and the result is always the same. It sucks. Wife is grouchy and edgy. In response I’m grouchy and edgy as well, and we are not really enjoying the vacation. These days, if we can’t get somewhere on flights that are convenient and that allow us to begin and end our vacation on a relaxed note, we don’t take the vacation. And when we cruise, we allow minimum of 1 night prior to the cruise. I don’t even consider a cruise unless I have enough vacation time for the extra night(s) prior to the cruise. For our cruise last November, we sailed the Mediterranean, and I only agreed to do it if we could get nonstop flights and if we flew out 3 days prior. We left on a Thursday for a Sunday departure. Looking back, it was the absolute right decision.
  15. I don’t know if they do. Because we had booked the Aurea experience, our stateroom came with a complimentary drink package so I didn’t bother to check. Several people do like to upgrade the drink package for an up charge, but I don’t know what that amount is either. We chose to keep the package that came with the Aurea experience and it more than met our needs. When we sailed on the Meraviglia, we were stopped as we boarded the ship to “welcome us aboard” and scan our cards. If they determined that you didn’t have a drink package, they would try to sell it to you on the spot. They would also try to sell you on a specialty dining package. Since we already had our drink package, we skipped the sales pitch. They will have signs and a table set up during the cruise selling the packages. I absolutely loved crusing on MSC, but I do feel that they’re a bit pushy with the upsells.
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