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About GottaKnowWhen

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  1. I have booked us for what are probably the same b2b on Summit that you are looking at. I have spent much time in Florida, though never in Tampa. I have had several trips in/out of San Juan. I will always opt for San Juan, much more interesting than Florida. Though I am not that pleased with these new Summit offerings, I found it hard to put together a decent 14-day trip. So that b2b may well get swapped out for some Alaska time...
  2. Absolutely! Sorry for the shorthand. What I was trying to get to is that the cost and hassle of travel away from home (including prepping the house for long-term absence, coordinating with house sitter and cat sitter, pre-paying bills, etc etc etc) for me is quite easy to put up with if the reward is great enough. A day and a half in travel mode on either end of a trip. so about 3 days. If we go for a week cruise, then three of our ten days, 30%, is wasted unpleasant time. If we go for a 14+14 b2b with time ashore before and after, then the in transit unpleasantness is only about 10% of the total, or less, and is easily bearable. I look at the cost of flights and hotel stays the same way, and try to minimize those. At this point, by my idiosyncratic set of computations, I will fly to NJ/NY for a 10-day or longer cruise, but nothing shorter. I'll fly to FLL/Miami for a 7+7 b2b but nothing shorter. I'll fly to San Juan for a 10 day but would prefer longer. For Europe, it has to be at least 3 weeks. For NZ/Australia, it will need to be at least 5 weeks. Of course finding a compatible Trans Atlantic or Trans Pacific changes the equations a bit.And as dubs said, combining with a land vacation also works for me. So, our week more or less in Italy before a 14-day Trans Atlantic.... Stan
  3. Of course! 7+7, 14+14, 14+14, 12+12 coming up... Why pack and travel and go through all of the hassle just for a few days on board? Longer is better. Stan
  4. My first experience - I had a Guarantee cabin, i.e. general category but no room assigned. Got my assignment. Called agent: that looks like an obstructed view cabin, what do you think? Answer: I don’t know anything about the cabins; if you want to change, tell me where and I will move you. Second time, different company. Will you alert me to price drops? Answer: no of course not, I don’t have time for that. If you see a price drop, tell me and I’ll fix it. Third time, different company. I’ve made a partial payment, will you send me an updated invoice? Answer: no, we don’t usually bother until after final payment. Since then I have dealt with Celebrity directly. I may miss out on a few perks but I also miss out on the aggravation of dealing with phone clerks who know nothing about cruising or about customer service. By the way, I did try local. One group said to tell them what I wanted, they would only charge $50 per reservation to set things up for me. The other group said they didn’t deal much with cruises and didn’t really want to bother. Do you expect too much? I don’t think so, but nevertheless your experience with shoddy service may be the norm. Stan
  5. About 30-50 days per year, 4-5 cruises with often a back to back or two. No way I will fly to Europe, or even to Florida, for a short cruise.
  6. We usually travel 4-6 weeks at a time, e.g. a week In Europe somewhere, 3-4 weeks aboard a ship on a back-to-back cruise, a few more days after debarkation, then home. We quickly learned that hauling too much “stuff” is a real pain. Less is better. She packs a standard four wheel hard-side carryon sized bag, which gets checked. And she carries a largish shoulder bag, almost like a tote bag but much more expensive. Her suitcase typically weighs in at about 26lbs. I travel with a 24” hard-side which gets checked, and carry a small backpack for my camera gear, chargers, and anything else that might trigger a TSA search of the checked luggage. My bag is usually about 30lbs. Both our bags have an “expansion” zipper but have never traveled with either suitcase in expanded mode. I prefer two wheels to four but either is ok. My general rule is to not rely on wheels. If I can’t lift and carry the bag some distance, it is too heavy. Wheels are of no help on a gravel path, a deteriorating sidewalk, etc. So I see the wheels as a luxury which may have occasional utility. I’ve never asked dockside or onboard staff which configuration they prefer, but I suspect that they usually carry rather than wheel. Whatever you get, do add a few identifying marks/stickers/whatever so that your generic bag will stand out a bit when you look for it in a stack of luggage... Stan
  7. No. No viable operation will risk its reputation and future business by bringing their clients back late.
  8. On my first cruise as an adult (in 2013) I was very disappointed because I could hardly tell we were at sea. Way too smooth! Since then I have been on a few ships which encountered higher winds and waves and there was a bit of rocking which, for me, made it more fun. Such conditions are quite unlikely in the neighborhood you are traveling to. [Side story - when I was 4 years old, and then again when I was 6 we did ocean crossings on ships considerably smaller than todays ships. My father and older brother got quite seasick during one stormy period, my mother and I did not suffer and we never ever let them forget it!] My suggestion, rather than thinking about any form of medication, is to challenge yourself a bit over the next 1.5 years. Ride the bus, and stand the whole time. Go out in a small/medium sailboat. Go on a friend's pontoon boat when the water is a bit choppy and, again, stand rather than sit. Learn to sway and bend your knees and ride with the motion rather than fighting it. If any of the above makes you nauseous, then my apologies to your friend, sorry about the mess in his boat! And then maybe you should go talk to your doctor about safe & effective treatment options. Stan
  9. The guidance from State Department is to have a Passport Book (not Card) with you on a cruise. Many, myself included, will place that in a safe onboard and leave it there. No need to take it ashore. Re-entry to the port is via photo i.d. (drivers license), re-entry to the ship is via your ship's keycard. If you should NEED your passport, e.g. for emergency travel from ashore back to the U.S., someone can go and retrieve your passport for you. Also note that on some itineraries the ship collects all passports and holds them through much of the voyage, in which cases you don't even have an option about carrying them ashore! Stan
  10. Sounds like a plan! Our favorite hotel in Old San Juan is the Casablanca. Casablanca During our first couple of stays they were streaming the Casablanca movie 24/7 on the TV in the reception area, our last time (in late 2017) they were still in hurricane-recovery mode and things were a bit rough. A nice looking place just across the street, called Milano as i recall, was just a bit more expensive. And they have a nice roof-top restaurant! The Convent is a nice looking place with a good reputation but also quite a bit more expensive. El Convento Enjoy your time there. And oh by the way have a nice cruise as well! Stan
  11. I would hate to be in that situation! I would probably complain to the Hotel Director, but still I would be nervous about retaliation from the steward if he became angry... Stan
  12. Did the steward know you had moved in? Or was he/she just cleaning up after the previous guest to make things shipshape for you?
  13. Old San Juan is a wonderful Spanish colonial remnant. On our several cruises to/from Puerto Rico we have always spent at least two days before and after just because it is a nice place to visit. Several nice older hotels in the central part of OSJ which are just as secure as the plastic international chains. Arriving at the airport, there is a taxi queue, a person in charge, you identify your destination, they tell you what it will cost, write that out for the driver and you are on your way. For embarkation it is a short cab ride from OSJ to thePanAmerican pier across the bay. Ask your hotel, they can arrange for you. DO get there early enough to at least have a chance for a dinner out in OSJ, many very fine restaurants and also some cafes serving more traditional food like mofongos. Try to get outside of your comfort zone and enjoy! Leave the helicopter at home and let your daughter enjoy as well! There was a big fuss in the news recently about the demonstrations that led to the governor’s resignation. That is done and over with, you can ignore all of that. Stan
  14. Besides the artificial sites likeDisney and the space center, there are natural sites/sights. Rent a car, drive to the bird sanctuaries in the area, including the one to the east of Orlando. Eagles, alligators, various water birds... Do a search on a term like Orlando area bird watching or Orlando area wildlife and check out your options.
  15. Yes. To confirm for yourself, download a book, any book. Then turn off your cell data and WiFi. Then listen to the book...
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