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Everything posted by h-sar

  1. Some very good and interesting first hand information. Thank you!
  2. Organizers were bought at a dollar store for about $3.50 each.
  3. Yikes, excuse the large font. Gremlins again.
  4. Came back with a bit of a nasty cough. DD was sick prior to the cruise and I think she gave DH and I whatever bug she was still carrying around. Kids claim it’s another reason why we should never again share a cabin. Health reasons 🙄🙄. Can’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but we are actually booked for 16 days on the Sky next Christmas in two interiors. Not sure the kids would have come along, otherwise! Have to say, I am quite proud of us for getting through 14 days in the quad and nobody getting thrown overboard from the balcony. Helps that DH and I did the Enclave in the mornings and got ready down there as well, and most evenings, too. None of us really like to spend much time in the cabin, so that helped as well. Not going to lie, would rather have been in our typical two cabins, but being on the Sky for two full weeks was well worth the cramped quarters. We really tried to make good use of the space. I had purchased about a dozen pretty hefty magnets, and brought along two over the door organizers, which between the two of them, didn’t weigh half a pound. Magnets were great for hanging up all sorts of items and if we wanted to hang up something heavy, like a full backpack, sticking the magnet to the ceiling kept it from sliding down. We had Jhoy push the two twin beds together into the far left corner for my husband and I, and this really cleared up a lot of space in the middle of the room. DD slept in the bunk which went flush into the ceiling when closed, and son who at 6’1” was too tall for the bunkbed, scored the pullout loveseat. Both said the mattresses were extremely comfortable. It was a bit of a hassle having the sofa bed pulled out from approximately 8 PM until the room is done the next at around 11 AM. Impeded easy access to the balcony doors. Sometimes we would just push up the loveseat ourselves after DS woke up. Very easy to maneuver. Other than that, we loved the configuration of the room. Would not be eager to do a quad again, but we made it work. And if it is a matter of cruising in close quarters in a quad over Christmas break or not cruising at all, no question I will make the sacrifice. We kept our suitcases, three large ones and three carry-ons, under the bed with the small ones tucked inside the larger ones. Some of the shoes that we did not wear too often also went under the bed. There was ample space. Pictures of our two organizers on the last day, hence emptied for packing. One was hanging on the very sturdy hook that is on the wall behind the entry door. The second was hanging from a magnet that I had put on the ceiling. Those organizers were a lifesaver! Pic of a magnet holding some odds and ends. Note that the ones I bought (see Amazon pic - 7 pack for around $22) supposedly have the capacity to hold 80 pounds each if placed on the ceiling. They were strong enough to hold whatever I needed to when placed on the cabin walls. Some of the less strong ones have a tendency to just slide right off the wall. We put them in our carry-on luggage to reduce weight in the checked bags. Security scanners didn’t flag them at anytime as some posters have worried about.
  5. Have you had a chance to watch any of the YouTube videos by the bloggers from the very first three day Mediterranean cruise? There is some amazing footage in some of those videos.
  6. Of course, later found out, sadly, about all the deployments. They all looked like babies. 😔
  7. You have just opened up all sorts of possibilities for me 😋😋
  8. Do they limit the side dishes? Is there an extra charge for them or are they included in the price of the CG entree?
  9. Glad I: - went to Alfredo’s at least every other day for lunch to indulge my love of the Magro caprese style salad and my husband his love of the calzone - always managed to hit the fries at the grill as they were coming out fresh (a daily snack) - forgot to sign and give my brother his birthday card as it came in handy when I found out later that our lovely steward, Jhoy, had a birthday the second week (his wife was the room steward for the set of rooms next to his 😊. Made me really happy that they were together). Slipped him an extra tip in the card. He was really touched that we acknowledged his birthday. - took every opportunity to be outside as much as possible to get in the vitamin D - didn’t waste my money, for the first time, on the ever ridiculously rising prices of the soda and more card ($15+ CDN per day...really, Princess?) Keep your mocktails and healthy smoothies; I’ll just bring my 24 pack of Diet Coke on board. I actually ended up drinking a lot less pop as a result (had half the case left over after week two). - went to the Captain’s Circle party in the Vista - went to afternoon tea multiple times and indulged in cucumber and tomato sandwiches and scones (do you want some scones with your cream? Yup, really enjoyed that cream). - was able to keep Sunil as our waiter for the second week when we had to shift to a smaller table. Lovely, earnest man who appreciated all the conversations with DH in the mother tongue. - had a lot of late night family gatherings on the deserted pool deck with the entire extended family that first week when everyone was on board. Lots of laughs and I know it made my parents so happy to see us all together. - have kids who know me well and booked my belated bday massage for the Sanctuary. Bliss. Thinking that might be my yearly bday ask. - indulged my desire to do as little as possible some days other than to be a layabout in a lounge chair - was able to have Christmas with all the people I love most in the world.
  10. Regrets: - never did try the $5 Ernesto burger - didn’t try the chili cheese fries - didn’t spend much time at all in the old style wooden loungers outside on deck 7 - didn’t use the retreat pool (always had the best conversations with other passengers there in the past) - didn’t go to Sabatini‘s a second time for the prosciutto and deep-fried bread, the roasted bell pepper sauce, the Burrata, and the desserts. - missed signing up for the family gingerbread house making contest - didn’t go over to Anguilla from St Maarten yet again; one year... - didn’t attend many of the evening game shows in Princess Live or the Vista. The ones I did were an absolute hoot, such as the marriage one and Frisky Feud. - missed 5Skies the second week (it was on the late night in St. Thomas which was also New Yrs Eve - bad timing on Princess’ part). Again, why not have it on one of the two sea days later on? Glad I had seen it the week prior. Don’t let the talk of the video game storyline dissuade you from the production. I found the storyline to be totally secondary to the magnificent costumes, singing, dancing, and pageantry of the production. In fact, I found the storyline totally superfluous to my immense enjoyment of the show. You do realize what all these regrets mean, right? Yup, already booked...😆😆
  11. Champagne waterfall on a non-formal night, hence the captain in shirt sleeves (with his son, who often played a great straight man to his father’s antics!). Both champagne waterfalls we saw featured the Princess entertainers. It was a fun add-on to the event.
  12. Bought my FCD‘S (2 per each of us) on the OM app a few min before we disembarked. Only took a few seconds and the credit card you have on file gets charged in the denomination you paid your current cruise in. Hope these current promos without obc aren’t going to become a permanent fixture. We don’t drink, so the drinks package promo is wasted on us. Don’t always get the unlimited Wi-Fi as we have the platinum minutes for all four of us, so that’s not a huge draw. The free OBC is always the most lucrative promo for us. We had $1200 in straight OBC from Princess for the two weeks on the Sky (not including our FCCs or the specialty dining given to each of us for both weeks by our TA). As a result, our final bill was $22. We had paid in advance for gratuities when I learned that the price was going up by a bit a few months back. The OBC paid for a snorkeling/cenotes/lunch excursion in Cozumel for the kids, the unlimited wifi for both weeks, a soda package for DS for both weeks, the Enclave couple’s pass both weeks, bucket of beer for my brother’s birthday, some gelato, 4 uses of self serve laundry wash and dry, DD’s hair cut in the salon, and a second visit to the Ocean Terrace for lunch by the kids. The OBC was definitely well used and much appreciated.
  13. Oops, second week formals were New Yrs Eve and Jan 2, so Tue and Thu. (St Thomas and sea day). It’ll be nice to get away from our weather in the second half of Jan! Have a fantastic cruise!
  14. Completely slipped my mind to ask. Static, the band, is on til Apr 4 and then are on Caribbean Princess.
  15. Giving the Harmony of the Seas a proper send off in St Maarten. Make sure you’ve got sound on. I might just have to listen to this every single day until next year’s cruise as a form of emotional therapy ha ha. 5413AF99-001E-4E03-8CD8-1E72E24A0E1F.MOV
  16. First week was Dec 22 and 25. Second week was back to back, Dec 31 and Jan 1.
  17. it might be a bit of a hassle dragging luggage all the way up there. It is way at the back of deck 18. Would not be easy to maneuver large pieces of luggage through to there. I’ve heard some on Cruise critic say that they have asked their steward for the use of a small handheld digital scale. We take along a small digital one, but with all the toiletries and night clothes that need to be put back into suitcases after disembarkation, we still do the final check with the airport scales, as we’re always super close to allowance.
  18. Your in-laws will absolutely love the Sky. My parents, who are typically homebodies and hate going anywhere, love the few cruises they have gone on due to the level of service and the degree of independence they can have on board. And there’s something to do for every age group.
  19. PS: the above machine is very accurate and is found in the fitness facility, just inside one of the entries.
  20. And this was my final picture on board before disembarking. And that’s all you get to see of that picture LOL. Actually, I did better than I thought I would. Over the two weeks, I let myself have whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, which was not always such a great strategy, as sometimes my body was not entirely happy with me. I cruise for food, service, the sun, and the ports. Food is in the top two, so I let myself indulge. I did go on a very healthy clean eating kick with the kids for the three months prior to the cruise as we had all had summers with high carb eating. I had spent three weeks in Italy eating nonstop and my son had been doing an engineering co-op in Berlin for four months over the summer where he’d been carbing it up as well. We really reduced our sugars and carbs during the first semester of school. So, going into the cruise, we were all in a better place than we might normally have been. After 14 days, I am up about 8 pounds, and expect I will lose about two of that by tomorrow, in terms of salt and water intake, so will probably only have about six to really work off.
  21. The crews of painters were out all the time, touching things up. 👍🏼 Counted 24 treadmills (yup, just treadmills alone) in the fitness facility. Uh, you understand that doesn’t necessarily mean I used any of them? 😆 One thing that was missing on the Sky from the Regal were all of the little workout machines, some pretty cool ones that my husband really enjoyed, that were set up around the running track outside.
  22. Kids are not so gently letting me know that, now that they are at the stage of playing Tetris with configuring everything into the vehicle, I’m only getting in the way of their system. Have no problem making myself scarce.😆. Poor DH had to go into work today at 7:30. Some pictures below of our final dinner in the main dining room. It was also the baked Alaska parade. Was better than the half hearted affair last year on the Regal. However, a cruise critic post I read a while back lessened the enjoyment of the parade, LOL. Someone had commented on the fact that the swinging around of the white napkins during the parade just throws everyone’s food remnants at others in the room. So watching it in action, all the white napkins twirling around in the air, just kind of grossed me out a little bit. Ha ha. Can’t seem to get that out of my head now. 🤮 So much nicer to post the pictures from home where it takes a couple of seconds for all of them, rather than the many slow minutes it was taking on-board. First three pictures were from Alfredos. How will miss that place! The watermelon and feta salad with pumpkin seeds was very good. However, I wish they would go back to serving it in a bowl where the feta is in smaller crumbs on the watermelon. I simply dumped it on my plate and broke up the feta as it was far too strong in the larger chunks. I have loved all of the MDR fish I had on board, but the trout was a bit tougher and not as light and flaky as the other fish I’ve had. Or is that just typical of trout? I love all of the sauces and fruit salsas they do for the fish dishes. The kids had the surf and turf which they said was very good and husband had a chicken dish which he said was delicious. The baked Alaska was just ho-hum, but I really enjoyed the profiterole dish of the day, which had rum raisin ice cream and chocolate sauce. DH was not overly enthused with the Apple pie, but son really enjoyed his Creme Brulé.
  23. Woke up this morning, disconcerted as to why I was sleeping on the right side of the bed and my husband on the left, and disappointedly remembered that we were no longer on the cruise! Yesterday was, as expected, a crappy travel day. Living as far as we do from my embarkation port of choice, it is just something we have learned to expect. The process of having breakfast, getting off the ship, which was expedited by our Nexus cards, and getting to the airport was very quick, all-around. Even though the airport was pure chaos yesterday with so many going home at the end of the Christmas break, things actually moved along very quickly. Minivan taxi from the port was twenty dollars. The metre showed $15 and I had wanted to use a credit card, but the driver said he would take cash only and that it was twenty because there was a five dollar charge for getting a van. All sounded kinda fishy, but at the point, twenty dollars seemed pretty fair. We had not bothered trying to get an Uber as there was absolutely no wait for the cab. The line for the initial Security was incredibly long and they refused to use the global entry or TSA pre-check line, even though one existed. Everyone was put into one line. Does anybody know why this is the case? Even still, it moved pretty fast. I would say that from the minute we left the piazza to get off the ship to the minute we got to our gate, the process took approximately one hour. I won’t factor in the half hour of luggage weight distribution/shuffle time that we spent prior to security, getting all of the toiletries back in to the checked bags and moving things around to get under the allowable weight. Between the four of us, for the two weeks, we had three large suitcases, which all came in at 49 or 50 pounds. Yikes! We also had three very small carry-on suitcases which thankfully we were able to check in for free once we go tot the gate. Our philosophy on the return travel day is a little bit of divide and survive. We all agree to meet in the piazza at a specific time to disembark, but don’t get together as a full group before then, because everyone is cranky and the ship is a bit of mayhem anyway. I think the kids’ general survival mode for the day is to keep a bit of distance between them and us, LOL. With two layovers yesterday, we arrived in our driveway exactly 18 hours after we had left the piazza. Thankfully, the airport is only 15 minutes from our house. Huge thanks to my parents who drove one of our cars and parked it for the day yesterday in one of the airport parking lots. They had offered to come and just pick us up, but we were getting in after midnight. One of our small carry-ons, which they’d checked in, had a zipper get completely busted on the return trip . Fortunately, it remained fully closed, but the zipper Pulltabs on either end were completely sheared off. The WestJet baggage desk was right by the baggage carrousel and they actually just gave me a brand new, similar sized bag in return for my damaged one. Got a hard case, double sided bag. 👍🏼. Only took two or three minutes, so thank you Westjet! Will return later in the day with some final thoughts about our cruise and the Sky when DD is packed up and off for her four month stay in Calgary.
  24. You’ll love the location and size of the balcony!
  25. So, after two sailaways in the rain, the hottest day in Ft L was our leaving day 😕. Sun still made me happy 🙃
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