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About Onessa

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    USA - Midwest
  • Interests
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    RCCI, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  1. Onessa

    Best Cruise tips/hacks/ideas for elementary aged kids

    First night of kids club is key if the kids want to use kids club -- it is when they are most likely to meet new friends -- there are a lot of games that encourage kids to meet and since everyone is new there is not the awkwardness. Some familiar snacks and pack a few "comfort" things. Keep an eye out for potential melt-down moments and retreat to somewhere with a familiar snack A budget for extras - souvenirs, treats, game tokens, etc. Most kids programs will have a pajama night (in addition to those mentioned elsewhere) so some "cool" PJs are generally a good idea. I always brought a bag of cheapo toys and stickers and stuff, for impromptu entertainment / surprises. I'd work out a daily scavenger hunt -- 10-12 items from the mundane -- like an umbrella or a NY Giant's tshirt or an orange purse; and then things that we should be "on the lookout for" because of the location we were in (a statue of a lion in Venice, or the French flag or whatever) It keeps the kids more involved in their surroundings. a separate list of 5-6 for each kid and then 5-6 that are "joint" Dress for your activities -- nothing is more miserable than having a kid who is too cold or who keeps stubbing a toe because they can't keep their flip-flops on.
  2. Perhaps you were unaware but this WAS an option in the old system. It is a personal preference and a very, very common option on many social media sites. When I was following the boards on a daily basis; it made a lot of sense. I followed many of the same long threads and by having the newest posts in a thread at the top of the thread, it was very easy to just view the new posts in each conversation. Rather than the posters stating that something seems "peculiar" or "strange" or whatever to them or you poking fun of something that you do not do; perhaps ask politely why someone might want to see the most recent posts first? Or otherwise maybe just resist the urge to post?
  3. Onessa

    Is celebrity a must for alaska????+

    I'd also take a look at the rest of the itinerary. We've done a variety of cruise lines to AK -- our last we chose a smaller ship that stopped at some of the smaller (less congested and less commercialized) ports - Love Sitka and St. Pete. Some of the other ports have just gotten crazy!
  4. Onessa

    55+ Crusing - Hope others are mad at us

    Why is that "unreal" when <80% of Americans consider themselves Christian? If it had been a Shinto, Hindu, Muslim or Flying Spaghetti Monster adherent, I simply would've remained silent for a moment. It's about respect. Would that one minute of your life have affected your cruise all that much? THAT is what's unreal to me. I'm sure he was as glad you moved as you were to move. Tolerance and respect goes both ways. I am not going to "bow my head" but I would remain silent for a moment. I would be uncomfortable if anyone of any religion expected me to join them or if they felt it necessary to "speak" their prayer. Many of the approximately 75% of Americans who consider themselves to be Christians also admit to not be "religious". And among even the devout Christians there are widely different practices and prayers. An Orthodox Christian's prayer may "offend" a Baptist (or vice versa). And for those of us who are not Christians, being asked to participate in another religion's rites is sacrilegious both to my belief's and to the other religion. As others have suggested, a moment of silence - to be used however everyone wishes - is fine. Even the least religious of us could use a few seconds of silence before beginning a meal.
  5. Cruise to where? Standard Caribbean may be a bit more difficult. I've never had any issues but during the school year for cruises - we've done Panama Canal (Language, History and physics), Hawai'i (History and natural science/geology), and three different Med cruises. If there are US ports, look into trips to National Parks, their kid's programs are excellent
  6. Both of our AK cruises were very early June - the pools were open but particularly on at sea times could be a bit chilly (but we are from up on Lake Superior and so chilly is a very relative term) There are a lot of opportunities to hike in AK - Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka in particular. Ketichan is pretty cool with the lumberjack stuff and the totem museum. The opportunity to visit a glacier is also pretty gosh darn interesting. Med - you've got a lot of cool spots, Roman and Greek ruins, beaches, etc. A Greek cruise could be interesting - some beach opportunities but the ancient olympics site from Kotocolon, exploring Santorini, lots of new adventures, but many spots in Europe do require a bit of a trip from the port to the sights
  7. Depends upon what made your carib cruises "fun" for your kids. We did two AK and three Med cruises with our DD while she was in elementary and middle school (+ one HI, one Maritime, and one Baltic). DD is NOT a fan of beaches, or amusement rides, but likes impressionist art, hiking, and photography. She really liked all of our cruises -- we balanced some museums with national parks and her father tolerated our shopping. She always liked the various kids club and still keeps in touch with some of the kids she hung with. Now that she is out of middle school, she has spent most of her travel time with marching band trips and sports trips. No time for cruising!
  8. No personal experience with Carnival. But typically kids programming starts after sail away on all lines on which I have travelled. As far as Step-D's reluctance to "leave" her kids anywhere, while kids personality vary, most kids prefer hanging out with other kids for at least a part of the day. And most will prefer the programs aimed for kids at the kid's programs more than the stuff we adults usually do. Give the kids some time to be kids every day and then they will be more likely to try other family-oriented stuff that includes the adults The staff is very well vetted and the program procedures ensure safety The kid's club counselors tend to be among the more highly paid regular employees on board so they aren't just there for the tip money. They tend to really like working with kids so they make the programs fun places to be. She should check them out and let her kids participate if they want to.
  9. Onessa

    Baltic or mediterranean please help

    With an 8/19 sail date, I would go Baltic. Many of the Med ports are uncomfortably hot in late July and August. Whereas mid-August is near the end of the comfortable temps in the northern Baltic ports.
  10. Onessa

    Included land tours - what are they like?

    Thanks for all the input! We have done quite a few land trips on our own in Europe, but really like the unpack once and travel while you sleep concept on our Med and Baltic cruises. So we have been looking at river cruises. The prospect of a much smaller ship, all by itself is SO appealing to us. Tour groups of 20-25 are a bit larger than I feel comfortable with, but perhaps some of the samller lines 12-16 is doable. And it is good to know there are lines with all ala-carte options. Our youngest is our of college and out on her own, so we have a bit more disposable income and a bit more time -- ready for some new adventures!
  11. Lots of factors enter into whether you will be asked for such documentation: 1) where you are traveling to/from. If an area has been ID'ed as a likely spot for illegal activities, there is heightened awareness. 2) gender of parties involved. My former boss was a single father with two daughters -- anytime they went anywhere the family was scrutinized. He carried a copy of his late wife's death certificate and a laminated copy of the obit. Sad, but he went through this for 12+ years - air travel, cruises, even a train trip! My DH often travelled 4.5 hours alone with my DD to see his parents, and once had a gas station attendant question my DD. 3) time of year, we did two of the "first of the season" AK cruises and both times (DD was 6 on one and 8 on the next) was asked extra questions -- the first time the officer explained aftward that there were some new procedures and since it was the first day they had no choice but go through all of them, the second time the Canadian guys asked if their trainee could ask her a few of the extended questions. Both those times we got explanations, but had done a first of the season cruise a years before (pre-kid), and had commented at the time that the at-the-dock process seemed to have been a bit more intense than in previous trips. 4) Suspicious actions - maybe you or someone traveling in your group did something or said something that raised suspicion. Perhaps someone misheard or misunderstood something you said and reported you. Innocuous actions or words can flag you. 5) Random - The officers are expected to do a certain number of specific types of "stops" in a given day or week, Sometimes you are the Xth traveler that came past his/her desk that day. Other times the system will randomly flag folks on their system.
  12. One thing that is keeping us from a river cruise is the port tours that are "included". We typically do not do ship's tours -- The thought of being one of 40+ people following the pink umbrella through cheesy tourist traps and being held hostage at gift shops, has kept us from doing the on-board excursions. So most of the time, we do our own research and use a taxi or hoof it to where we want to go. Sometimes we will hire a private guide or use Cruise Critics meet and mingle boards to set up small groups for a private tour. I know we can always "do our own thing", but since the tours are included in the cruise, I am stuck paying for something that we are not going to use. So how large are the groups? How many different options are offered in most ports by most lines? Are they better than the mass-market ocean type lines' tours? Are there any river lines that do not include tours? Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks
  13. Onessa

    Thanksgiving aboard Oasis of the Seas

    We've done multiple T-giving week cruises - primarily HI and Med. Have never noticed any over-abundance of kids -- just enough of them to make the cruises fun. We've really enjoyed our holidays on-board. Thankgiving dinner features a turkey meal (and lots of other options as well). Preparation/sides may not be as traditional as you would get in the US on land. They tend to have some interesting riffs on the traditional desserts. Always a good time
  14. Onessa

    55+ Crusing - Hope others are mad at us

    Our first cruise ever, we were assigned to a 6-top with an Uncle/Nephew and two women in late 20's, my DH and me (29 or 30 at the time). Uncle in mid to late 60's, Nephew in 30's but very awkward. When the two women found out that DH was "not available" and had sized up the Uncle and Nephew -- they did not even make it to dessert the first night! This was an Alaskan cruise in 1989! Crazy place to be looking for a man. Years later, my DD was 13YO. We ended up at a large table with two UK couples traveling together and another couple (Costa Ricans who had just moved to Southern CA). All of the adults were within about 15-20 years of each other. One of the women from one of the UK couples was visibly irateate at having a "child" at "their" table - but the other three of the couple were nonplussed. DD has always been a polite kid who has been able to hold her end of a conversation. By the end of the cruise the original stink-face still was not happy, but her friend had struck up a relationship with my DD and confided to me that she really enjoyed having our DD at the table and a few weeks later sent DD a Christmas card with a clipping from a London Newspaper about a topic the two of them had been debating.
  15. Onessa

    Toddler toys and activities to bring?

    Small containers of playdoh were always a hit with my daughter -- you have to get her used to it (not for eating, for example) but it is convenient size. She might be a bit young for chenille stems but they are also great -- something like Wikky Stix could be fun too.