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Everything posted by h-sar

  1. Golden Princess, New Yrs 2007, out of New Orleans, for the following reasons: 1. Our first ever cruise. My parents were with us and the kids were 8 and 10, still full of wide eyed excitement. Well, so were all the adults, frankly! 2. This was all before Cruise Critic came into my life, so had no visions in my head of food, activities, the sheer size of the ship. Everything I knew about cruising came from having watched first run episodes of the Love Boat back in the day. Nothing beats the wonderment of stepping onto a cruise ship for the very first time, having seen no YouTube videos, no Instagram pictures, etc. Will never be able to experience that feeling again. Now, I do so much research beforehand, I could probably walk onto most ships blindfolded and find my way around, LOL. Definitely something to be said for going in without any knowledge. 3. This was about 16 months after the devastation of hurricane Katrina and cruise ships were just starting to sail again from New Orleans. The devastation in certain parts of the city was still evident, but it was good to see the economy rising up and tourists like us returning. In fact, princess was using large tents for the check in process as the port had not been rebuilt. 4. The most fortuitous part of this was that our first ever cruise happened to be on a Princess ship. We became spoiled for any other line and will be elite after one more week (which was supposed to have happened this coming Christmas 😔; fingers crossed for Dec 2021!)
  2. Did CarrieB during the day, pre-cruise 4 yrs ago, a couple of days before Christmas. Loved it!
  3. Relative just had Princess cancel their Alaska cruise for Sept.
  4. Lumiere Chef’s Table on Regal New Yrs 2019 - probably the singular best dining experience I’ve ever had (service and food) and I’ve eaten my way through most of Italy, Spain, and Greece multiple times on land trips 🙂. Definitely an experience my family will never forget and hope to replicate on the Sky this Christmas 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼. The last two are from the Crab Shack on Regal on this same cruise.
  5. A few random bits and pieces from this past Christmas on the Sky 🙂.
  6. I agree with the above poster. Not sure I would want to spend a week in Mexico to be able to spend a few leisurely hours at the ruins. On the other hand, I definitely know I would want to spend a week on a newer ship to be able to spend a couple of perhaps rushed hours at the ruins. While we never do ship excursions, preferring to find our own at the port, this is one that I would definitely book through the ship. We did Native Choice at Costa Maya a couple of years back and it was one of the best excursions we have ever done. We did the one that takes you to the ruins and then to a home in a native village for a lunch feast prepared by locals. Definitely an excursion I would repeat again.
  7. We were on for Christmas and New Yrs, the height of the child season 😁, and didn’t see a single young person in there during the two weeks; in fact, never saw more than 2-4 adults in there at any given time. Young people don’t really seem to hang out in that aft area at all.
  8. We just got upgraded from an inside to E505 for our upcoming Christmas cruise on the Sky 👍🏼👍🏼. Do you happen to have any pictures of your balcony obstruction?
  9. Have watched Sunday’s and Monday’s Vlogs. Today’s (Monday) was particularly interesting about how the casino crew has been spending the last couple of days without passengers on board. It was also heartening to see these hard working young people enjoying some of the guest facilities.
  10. Just google Chris Wong Vlogs. Or search for it on YouTube.
  11. A few months back, I came across a young British YouTuber, Chris Wong, who was vlogging from the Royal Caribbean ships he was working on. Currently, he is the casino host on the Oasis. Yesterday, he said the ship would be docking in Miami today to offload the last of the passengers before the 30 days of no cruises. He said he would be vlogging every day during that time, if you are curious about what the crew will be doing. Not sure that I am allowed to mention his channel, but I’m sure the mods will take my post down if need be. His vlogs do really give a good insight into working on a ship, although I am never sure how honest he is being about the negative side of it as he is currently still employed by Royal Caribbean and seems to be looking to move up the ladder. However, he’s very engaging to watch and getting insight into crew life (filtered as it might be) is very entertaining.
  12. So excited for you and hoping for the best in regards to CV. I have a three week land trip to Italy in July that I’m keeping my fingers crossed for. 🤞🏼🤞🏼 Can’t wait to follow along on your journey. We absolutely love the Regal. Did 6 Christmas vacation cruises on her before switching to the Sky this past year. Great Amazon/TJM shopping hauls! You’ve purchased necessary, practical items, most of which I’ve got in my travelling tote bins as well. Nothing more exciting than an Amazon delivery associated with a trip! 😁
  13. Doing the dance of joy (in my head as I’m truly not a dancer and would make Elaine from Seinfeld look graceful).... Prior to this past holiday cruise, chronicled above, we’d already booked next year on the Sky - 2 eight day back to backs for Christmas and New Year’s. After this past Christmas cruise with all 4 of us in the same quad deluxe balcony for 14 days, we went with two double interiors for this coming Dec ($14,200 all tolled, CDN, for 16 days). I was hoping for some price drops, but the price actually went UP about $1200 per cabin. Today, I received an unexpected email from my TA that we’d been upgraded to two obstr balconies on deck 8 mid for the first leg. Woohoo! Thank you, Princess! Now, I’m greedily hoping for something similar for the second leg 😁. I love the Princess product and I hope they weather this storm only to come back stronger. Feeling a little bittersweet about my good fortune as it came about because of the misfortune the entire world is facing. Sending good thoughts the way of all the crew members from across the fleet who have been temporarily displaced from their positions and looking forward to seeing some of them again on the Sky.
  14. Received an email from our TA earlier this evening that we received an upgrade for our Christmas 2020 eight day Sky cruise, from two double interiors to two double obstructed balconies on deck 8 mid!! Fourteen Princess cruises since 2006 and this is our 2nd free upgrade (first one in 2014 was the same type of upgrade and got us hooked on balconies). Thank you, Princess! Being able to only cruise at Christmas break, we pay the highest rates for both cruises as well as flights from Canada to FLL, so this is definitely a nice reward. I don’t want to be greedy, but am keeping my fingers crossed that our second leg for New Yrs week might also be upgraded. Good luck to all those who are hoping for upgrades.
  15. Happy 80th! May you celebrate many more birthdays on a Princess ship 😊💐🎂.
  16. Kids loved Goff’s Caye and all your details helped make it an even better experience. As for being primitive, I think that’s what they all loved the most about it. One of their uncles, who was on the excursion, described it later as Gilligan’s Island (my early 20’s kids wouldn’t have a clue about that reference) and that just made me wish I’d gone, too. Grew up watching Aaron Spelling shows all though the 70’s. In fact, I’m pretty sure my little immigrant self learned English from Gilligan 😆. Oops, just realized autocorrect changed Brayden’s name to Brandon 😬. Hoping you have a quick recovery and that you get full enjoyment from the cruise...cause, the more you get to enjoy, the more we get to read 😁.
  17. Ahhh, the leg might keep you close to the hotel. I don’t think you’ll have a problem having the hotel shuttle give you a lift. Or the family can bring you back something from one of the restaurants. Looking forward to another Mitsugirly instalment 👍🏼. I feel like I’m a part of your family, having watched Sakari grow up and reading about Brandon’s antics over the years, seeing your utter exasperation with, and unconditional love for, your family. You’ve also given me (and everyone else on CC) a tremendous amount of planning assistance with your detailed descriptions of excursions, how to get to a certain location, public transportation info, etc. My kids did the Goff’s Caye excursion this past Christmas based on your excellent review. Thank you for all that you do here! Not sure where you find the time 😁. I hope we get to continue to be a part of your family for years to come. Y’all would make for a great sitcom 😁.
  18. Have stayed there the last 4-5 Christmas cruises. Basically, a Motel 6 experience, usually the best price point for us, rates are always cheapest if you are a government employee or a senior. Is on the northern edge of Oakwood plaza, a very large shopping complex which includes a Ross (always good for picking up a couple of very cheap formal night dresses), Marshall’s, and a Big Lots within a minute or two walk of the hotel. There is a McDonald’s, Taco Bell, chipotle, and Starbucks very close by. There are about four restaurants, including TGIF, which are about a 15 minute walk into the other side of the plaza. There’s also a brand new plaza across the main street (Stirling Rd) which has many stores, incl TJ Maxx. We always take advantage of the free pickup from the airport (you will need your cell phone to call them when you’ve picked up your bags) and the free drop off to the port. This past Christmas, we had 14 family members staying there and it saved a small fortune in transportation and breakfast costs. We usually get in around midnight and have never felt unsafe at that end of Oakwood plaza. Make sure you sign up for the port drop off as soon as you check in. They try to slide you in to a specific time slot, but I always insist on seeing what the other options are. They have a decent free typical hotel breakfast in the mornings and there’s always Starbucks across the street if you need a better cup of coffee. Coming from the far north in the dead of winter, we always enjoy sitting under the palm trees by their pool pre-cruise morning. Google Oakwood Plaza, Hollywood and look at the map to see what shops are in the plaza. We find everything we might still need for the cruise. Like you, I’d rather get my info about a pre cruise hotel from fellow cruisers who better understand my needs during a pre cruise stay, rather than random trip advisors.
  19. Excellent choices all around! Was going to get all judgy on you and say that a 5 nighter isn’t worth the horrendous airfare from Canada, but you saved me the trouble 😁.
  20. We’ve stayed at LQ many times, but in the past 4 yrs, have stayed on the north side of Oakwood Plaza, which is busier (less isolated), less residential, closer to more of the businesses. LQ is on the south end. After dark, I agree with above posts, you’re totally ok walking as a group if you stay right and head north into the plaza after the bridge. We’ve done very late night Ross shopping sprees there many a time. Aside from the previously mentioned restaurants, there’s also the Moonlite Diner Oakwood Plaza, which is very popular. Do look it up on trip advisor. At the opposite end of the plaza from where you are, there is a Ross, Marshall’s, liquor store, Dollar Plus, Old Navy, etc; McDonalds is at the very far end from you (closer to Stirling Rd). There’s also a Starbucks and a Chipotle on Stirling Rd, across the street from the Plaza, but might be a bit of a walk. There really isn’t much to your left at the bridge other than the little gas station and Dunkin D. We stopped staying at LQ when they did away with their free port shuttle. Now we stay at the Quality Choice on the other side of the plaza as they still do free to the port and free from the airport shuttles. What I liked about LQ was that it is more of a hotel style rather than a motel which Quality is. I would advise an Uber over the hotel shuttle to the port. Hotel shuttle appears expensive for a family and they invariably involve a lot of mayhem 😆, at least in our experiences. We love staying at Oakwood Plaza (even though the locals aren’t crazy about the area) as it serves all of our needs without a car. Bummed that the Kmart is (or maybe already has) shut down as it was our go to for soft drinks and toiletries.. There is a Big Lots, but about 2/3’s of the way up the plaza from you. However, you are very close to a Subway and a nail salon, as well as a small movie theatre. Do be warned that your hotel, if you want to go to the far north end of Oakwood (at the Stirling Rd end) is a bit of a hike, but I think your family might be up to it...unless a certain daughter and grandson are along 🤣🤣. For us, it was always worth the walk as all the shopping was over there. You might want to check ahead as to which restaurants are open if you’re getting in later.
  21. Thank you for the great information! I will definitely explore this option.
  22. Great review! So happy to have found this thread. Just this morning, booked our first ever flights from Edmonton to West Palm Beach return as, similar to your experience, it was significantly cheaper than Fort Lauderdale for next Christmas break. There are three of us on that flight. Considered the train to Fort L, but was able to snag a car rental for about $40, so will drive into Fort Lauderdale around 9:30 PM, spend the night at our usual hotel there, and then use the car for some pre-cruise shopping the next morning, getting to the ship around 11:00 AM. I’m thinking I will drop the others off at the ship with the bags, instead of using the mayhem-y free hotel shuttle, drop the car off at FLL, and take an Uber to the ship. Now have to figure out how we are going to get from the ship to PBI for our return flight. Will not be spending the night; rather, going straight back home after the cruise. We have a 2 PM flight out of PBI. Can you please provide more details about the train? Pricing, where to get it from in Fort Lauderdale, etc. Thank you so much!
  23. Also my experience on the Sky with those missing events over two weeks at Christmas. Was really looking forward to having the entire extended family experience Pub Lunch as I’ve enjoyed it on the Regal many times. For me, having it in the buffet would have taken away from the experience and ambience of the Crown.
  24. What is the loyalty credit? Looked it up on the Princess site and not able to find it.
  25. Very back of 17, like on Regal.
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