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Z'Loth

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About Z'Loth

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Richardson, Texas
  • Interests
    Techie
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Working on that

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  1. All of my cruises have been a minimum seven night cruise. My first (and currently only) solo cruise was a ten day cruise in the South Caribbean last September. My biggest gripes about that cruise: Flying cross country from Sacramento, CA to Miami, FL, having to pay double for an inside cave. Did I have an absolute blast on that cruise? You bet. This was booked as a birthday cruise, and as a badly needed vacation. I flew in on a Monday for a Friday departure, allowing me to explore Miami a little bit. It was great not having to worry about my mother who has been a companion on other cruises. Even though I had requested a large table, only two other couples showed up. That's OK. We had fantastic conversation. I think the key to surviving a solo cruise is to bring a sense of humor and an open mind. There was plenty of good conversations to be had and plenty of different viewpoints.
  2. I took a Southern Caribbean cruise last September from Miami that went to the Grand Cayman, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, and Key West. There isn't much of a temperature variation once you leave Miami, although the humidity is fairly high. Some recommendations... Grand Cayman - If this is your first trip, I highly recommend taking a tour which includes the stingrays. The water is absolute CLEAR. Bonaire - Strongly suggest going scuba diving at Woodwind Bonaire.
  3. Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Miami Brickell. Stayed here in September, nice hotel. I posted my thoughts on this hotel about a weeks ago. One thing that should be noted. The Metrorail system goes right to the Miami airport and is within easy walking distance (5 minutes) of this hotel.
  4. Count me as one of those who was on this cruise as well. I think the worst part of the cruise was the embarkation day (Celebrity was not using their usual terminal and was understaffed, thus the long conga line) and the disembarkation (was part of group 6 that had differing instructions between what was issued to the passengers verses the crew, plus I could not find the group 6 luggage). I did appreciate how Captain Kate was a participant in many shipboard events and greeted us as we left the ship. As for Key West, there were two groups... one for US citizens that took place on Deck 14 and one for everyone else in the MDR-Deck 4. The line moved fast, and I swear, the customs agent spent about 15 seconds total staring at my passport then telling me to go on through. This meant that no customs back in Key West. I could have caught a slightly earlier flight.
  5. I never purchase cruise line insurance because it's usually secondary coverage. My travel agent uses Allianz. Main reason I get it is for the emergency medical evacuation.
  6. I think it's rather clear from the State Department web site. They even state
  7. During my last cruise, I used the Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags set which included a cell phone pouch. It worked out great. Please note that a 5L bag was surprisingly bigger than expected.
  8. Try checking the California RealID Page by the DMV. :D Just to be clear... the RealID requirement is for all domestic flights and entry into secure Federal Buildings starting October, 2020 and applies to all state driver's licenses, not just California. California Drivers Licenses issues prior to January, 2018 are not RealID compliant. However, your passport card/passport book is RealID compliant.
  9. FWIW.... on my recent cruise on the Celebrity Equinox, I was part of group C1 which met in the Michael's Lounge. It was crowded. It would have been nice to have at least a bottle of water. As for the safety video... LlPxS415_6I But then again, there is always United's safety video... cuR-l2qCxBc Or this old Air New Zealand safety video... cBlRbrB_Gnc Of course, I'm one of those weirdos who pays attention to the safety presentation because I used to work in an industrial machine shop and the shop owner was constantly on safety. Can anyone name from memory any major cruise ship disasters since the Costo Concordia of January, 2012? I certainly can't without consulting the Internet, and there have been a couple. The rarity of cruise ship (and domestic airline) accidents makes it newsworthy.
  10. I think I got my full usage out of the Premium Non-Alcoholic Package. I loved the IGLU in the morning!
  11. It was a double bed even though I was a solo person. Air conditioning in the room worked quite well. WiFi was adequate. No in-room microwave or refrigerator. I had the Brisket & Short Rib Burger at the Batch Gastropub. Not bad. There are plenty of good restaurants in the area. Since I was flying from the FLL airport, I used the SuperShuttle to get to the hotel. (~$30). If I flew out of the Miami airport, I could have used the MetroRail to get to the hotel. Ah well. Your welcome. Glad to share my experiences.
  12. Just thought I would share my thoughts on the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Miami Brickell Downtown which I stayed at from September 10th-14th. This hotel came recommended by the posters on this board. They weren't wrong. First off... this was my first time ever in Miami and in Florida. I had chosen this hotel because it is close to Port Miami as well as close to the transit systems for both Miami Metromover and Miami Metrorail. While it is more expensive than what I usually pay, I figure... it's a birthday vacation.... I can splurge. I booked this hotel through AAA under a non-refundable promotion rate, which was charged about 90 days out. Nice hotel! Friendly staff! One of the nice things was that breakfast was included as part of the fare. (I liked the Bagel Guillotine Slicer so much, I ordered it for my own kitchen.) This helped reduce the meal expenses while I was staying in Miami. This isn't to say that the restaurants weren't bad in the area.... far from it. One of the best places to get a great snack was Coyo Taco which is located across the street from the hotel. When I arrived at 9:30 PM-ish on Monday evening, I headed over to Batch Gastropub which is located in the same building as the hotel. A Chinese restaurant is also in the same building, but was in process of closing, thus no comment on the food. (Side note: I saw that there was a Atlanta at Giants game that was just in the 2nd inning when I got to the restaurant. I was shaking my head.... why was the game running so late... then realized again.... I'm in EASTERN time, not PACIFIC time! duhhhhh) There are also a CVS, 7-11, Publix, and even a Ace Hardware within walking distance. If you are going to the CVS pharmacy, go east on SW 12th Street, then south on S Miami Ave, then east again on SW 13th Ave. Those intersections are signalized. (I had forgotten some athletic shoes, but picked some up at the Ross Store which is easily accessible via the free Metromover by the Bayfront Park Station) It should be noted that this is a very secure hotel. The bell desk is on the first floor, while the front desk is at the sixth floor. Parking is on the 2nd-5th floors. Hotel rooms are on floors 7 through 15, but require a key card to access. This hotel is equipped with smart locks that can be unlocked with the Hilton App which apparently communicates via Bluetooth to the lock within about six feet. I would advise opening up the app on your smartphone when you are entering the hotel so that it can sync up. I still had a key card as a backup. Another nice thing is that you can receive five packages at the hotel for free. I had ordered several items from Amazon and had them shipped to the hotel rather than try and pack them in my suitcase for my flight. The hotel does have a swimming pool and a spa on the sixth floor... something that I did NOT utilize until my last night in Miami, especially since Miami felt warmer than Sacramento due to the higher humidity levels. The hotel contracts out to a transportation company for transportation to the port of Miami. The cost is $8 per person plus gratuity, and leaves at 10 AM, 11 AM, noon, and 1 PM. You can sign up at the front desk the night before.
  13. Just to clarify what SRch said... the ship was at Key West on Sunday prior to returning to Miami on Monday. Because Key West was the first US port, everyone had to pass through customs. For US Citizens, it was the Sky Lounge on Deck 14, for everyone else, it was the MDR. We were all told three times that everyone has to go through even if you were not leaving the ship. I had the 8 AM US Citizen boarding, and it was 12 minutes of waiting in a line that kept moving followed by 15 seconds of the customs agent staring at my passport and 5 seconds of getting my card punched. The bonus part: Because we cleared customs in Key West, we did not have to go through customs in Miami.
  14. It's been about 36 hours since I landed in Sacramento from this cruise. I thought I would put down some thoughts... Worst part-Embarkation and Disembarkation - There was no escaping it... Embarkation was a conga line. Even Celebrity admitted it as it was not one of their usual terminals and they were slightly understaffed. It took an hour to check in. Disembarkation.... I was part of the cursed group 6 that had a transfer to the FLL airport. In the handout that was passed out to us, we were to meet in the MDR on deck 4 at 8:30 AM. The Celebrity crew had handouts stating that we were supposed to meet at Celebrity Central on Deck 4 at 8:30 AM... except that nobody was there. When it came time to pick up the luggage, I could not find the area because, unlike the other areas were it was posted clearly on the pipes, the group 6 sign was posted on a side wall where I could not see it. Wished I took a photo. Captain Kate. I can see why she is adored by frequent cruisers. On my past cruises, it was "Where's the Captain?" Captain Kate was clearly very much participating in the ship's activities. On disembarkation, she was shaking the hand of every cruiser who was leaving the ship. The Caribbean and Miami in September. Don't be fooled by the temperatures which can range from 80s-90s. Factor in high humidity, and it can feel worse than a hot Sacramento summer day with low humidity. My mother insisted that I pack a hoodie and a windbreaker. Those were the two most useless objects packed in my suitcase for this entire trip. On the other hand, the water shoes and athletic shoes were invaluable in port. Cayman Islands? You must do Stingrays and visit Hell at least once. And snorkeling in Bonaire through Woodwind? Wow! Just don't forget water-resistance sunscreen and aloe. Celebrity App. Needs work. Celebrity IT needs to adopt a "single source of truth" philosophy when it comes to designing their IT systems. At one point, there were two shows listed in the showroom occurring at the same time. I wish I could click a button from the app to add what I wanted to do to Google Calendar. Also wish there was a "ship's time" widget that I could add to the home screen. Food. Beef stir fry for breakfast? Yup... if you checked the India section at the Oceanview Cafe. MDR food was extremely good, and the staff for table 350 was excellent. Maybe it was because it was a table for 10, but at most for two nights, only five people arrived. Spot the kid. It must be the shoulder-season travel, as I spotted a total of eight kids on the ship the entire cruise. Oh, and cruise director Dan. :D Cruise for birthday? The staff made my b-day special, including setting up my interior cave with balloons and a special cake for the birthday.
  15. Z'Loth

    Isaac

    Yup, it was announced at the Equinox muster drill. No changes to our itinerary. Sent from my SM-G950U using Forums mobile app
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