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About XBGuy

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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    Diamond Bar, CA
  • Interests
    Fermented Grape Juice, Motorsports. Western Civilization Art Music

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  1. Not an excursion, but a "must do" activity for us in Juneau is to get fish tacos at Deckhand Dave's. Great fish tacos--and, actually, their french fries are also pretty good. It's a reasonable walk from the docks on the corner of Franklin and Front Streets. Since it is not right at the docks, there will be as many locals as tourists eating there. In Skagway there are some hiking trails that I like to do. At $0, it's hard to beat the price.
  2. It's their ball. They make the rules. If the deposit is refundable, then who cares? If the deposit is non-refundable, then we're back to it's their ball, and they make the rules.
  3. A couple months before our wedding, my sweetheart and I asked each other, "What should we do for our honeymoon?" I think she was the one who suggested a cruise. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise, and neither of us even knew anybody who had been on a cruise. Over the weekend, we dropped into a travel agency, and I don't think it took more than an hour for us to be booked on a Western Caribbean cruise on Norwegian Caribbean Line's MS Southward. I'm pretty sure the fare for the two of us was less than $700, and that included air fare to Miami. The flight departed at midnight, and, so, we arrived in Miami at about 8:00 am. However, also, included was a room at a Marriott hotel where we were able to nap for a few hours and shower before being bussed to the port in the early afternoon.
  4. The Georg Solti version of "Der Ring des Nibelungen," and, of course, a device with which to listen to it.
  5. Do it all the time. I also do it in our garage. There have been times when that was not very smart, but I still don't learn. 😉
  6. This is going to sound decadent. A few weeks ago my wife and I finished a 15-day cruise on Princess. I still have the folio that was delivered to my cabin on disembarkation day. So, this number is pretty good. $1197.38 These were all bottles of wine. It includes $75.00 corkage fee I paid for bringing a few bottles of my own wine onboard. The rest were for bottles purchased in the specialty restaurants or the wine bar. Happily, we had $950 in OBC for this cruise. It's been years since I've tried to pencil out the cost/benefit of the Princess beverage plan for us. One of the difficulties I have with it is that it is my understanding that it is not valid for use in the wine bar. I may be wrong about that. After cabin fare, this was our biggest expense for this cruise. Also, it was a great cruise. 😀
  7. No On Demand. Second Sea Day out of Los Angeles First Sea Day after the islands Last Sea Day before Ensenada
  8. The other thing is that in the dining rooms the people you are most likely going to infect are those at your table. In the buffets, an infected person can transmit the infection to quite a few others through the common utensils used to make food selections. Yes, the last two Princess ships that we have been on (the Royal Princess in September and the Star Princess in January) have had sinks at the entrance of the buffets. Last April we cruised on the Ruby Princess. and it did not have sinks in the buffet entrances. I don't know if that has changed since April.
  9. People keep harping that the alcohol sanitizers are not effective against the Norovirus, and, lately, that has been generalized to it is not effective against any virus. To which, my response is that there are quite a few bacteria that can cause gastric or respiratiory distress. As far as I know, alcohol-base sanitizers are effective as bacteriacides. Here is a question for the group. Have you noticed that when people get up from their table and go back to the buffet for seconds, they never either wash their hands again (giving them the benefit of the doubt that the did wash their hands when they first entered) or use the sanitizer? On our most recent cruise, I was happy to use the sinks located at the entrance to the buffet area, and, then, I would spritz my hands with the sanitizer as I entered the actual food pick-up area. My wife likes to sleep in, and, so, I go to breakfast without her. However, after having mine breakfast I will often bring back a muffin or some fruit for her to have in the cabin. I do repeat the hand washing and sanitizing when I go back for hers. C'mon, folks. I'm not distributing my bugs on the buffet utensils. Please show me the same courtesy.
  10. Mike, I was on the same cruise with ColoradoMom. I will vouch for her report that it was a great cruise, and every crewmember we met was outstanding. I am unable to provide the Patters as you requested. but I will try to summarize some things from memory. The regular trivia, bingo, art auction and karaoke activities were available with their usual frequency. Elua, the Hawaiian Ambassadors who are widely favored here on Cruise Critic, were on board. They hosted various activities on each sea day--port lectures, hula class, ukulele class, lei-making classes. {On the last sea day, the hula and ukulele classes put on a show at the Princess Theater.) They also gave musical performances, mostly, in the Piazza, but I recall at least one performance in one of the lounges. I have to say that these people are very hard working. I would see them setting up for the lea-making class as I would be heading to breakfast in the morning. The lei-making class would last several hours, and, then, they had to pick up and carry off their stuff. In the afternoons they would give the hula and ukulele classes. Then, in the evenings, they gave one or two musical performances. Also performing regularly in the Pizza was a very good pianist. She had a Chinese or Korean name, but I learned that she was from Malaysia. She mostly performed pop music from, say, the 1960s through the 1980s. Again, she was a very good pianist, but I was just not crazy about her repertoire. On the other hand, I, very much, enjoyed the Amethyst trio. Mostly, classical music. I caught several of their performances. I think there was a Voice of the Ocean competition. There was a Passenger Pop Choir, and they, actually, sang some different songs. They did wrap with "Sweet Caroline," though. Something I never encountered on a Pricess ship was a Passenger Flash Dance. They seemed to enjoy it, but in the only one that I saw I was happy that they were one and done. We don't do either MUTS or the evening Princess Theater productions and I paid no attention to them. One of the musicians, I think his name is A.J. something, gave a series of lectures on the first few sea days. I attended one of them, and it was pretty interesting. I'm pretty sure there was an Escape Room. There were various crew presentations Towel animals by the cabin stewards Vegetable and Ice carving by the galley staff The Maitre d'/Executive Chef culinary demonstration followed by the galley tour The Maitre d' and Grape Vine wine tastings by the headwaiters There was a party band called Pinnacle, and I heard from multiple sources that they were pretty good. There were comedians, but I have no report on them. We enjoy wine and, not surprisingly, spent a lot of time in Vines. If you are a wine guy, here is a tip. Around the seating area there are racks with, not surprisingly, bottles of wine. It is a very attractive display. On about the third day I took a closer look at these wines and was quite surprised to find some bottles that are not on the standard Vines wine list. I asked the bartender, Martin, if those wines were available, and found that they were. These are wines left over from their previous wine list. I will tell you that the three bottles of Chappellet 2013 Napa Valley Merlot are no longer available. They were great. 😉 However, I did leave six or seven Seghesio 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel. It is almost as good as the Chappellet. My wife reported that the Sushi served in Vines was very good, and I can equally vouch for the Tapas. They actually changed from day to day. I have been on cruises where it is the same every day. Finally, regarding Vines, they did offer multiple sessions of the Silverado wine blending exercise, but there were none of the Stammtisch events that I enjoy. I can give multiple thumbs up for both Sabatini's and Crown Grill. We had excellent experiences in both venues. A big shout out to headwaiters David (Sabatini's) and John (Crown Grill). I find that too often, the headwaiter in the specialty restaurants want to just "mail it in." The staff detects this, and, not surprisingly, they figure, "If he does't care, why should I?" David and John are hospitality professions, and they insist that their staff perform to the same level. I can't say that I recall any Hawaiian-themed menu items anywhere on the ship. I did get my Poke fix in Honolulu and Kauai. Also, though (and thankfully), we were never offered Spam. Additionally, I will report that we had very good see conditions the entire cruise--much to the disappointment of my foul-weather cruiser wife. We hit one or two little squalls that did nothing more than dampen the open decks.
  11. Apparently, that is the procedure. Over the years we have received three (I believe) "Congratulations, You Have Been Upgraded" e-mails from Princess. Invariably, Mrs. XBGuy disagrees. (More often than not, I agree with her, but, in case of a tie, she always has the tie-breaking vote.) I, then, call Princess and ask to be reinstated to our original cabin. I have never encountered any resisitance to this request because I've always called withing 24 hours of the e-mail transmission. Every time, the Princess telephone agent advises that he/she must fill out a form, but we would, probably be reinstated to our original cabin within 48 hours. I am happy to report that it has worked every time. Yes, I know that after I book a cruise, I can call Princess and have my reservation marked "No Upgrade." I just don't.
  12. Atlanta, I have never sailed on Holland America. So, feel free to ignore my comments. We have cruised the Princess Los Angeles-Hawaii roundtrip three times--most recently on the Star Princess in January. I can't say that I recall any Hawaii-themed menu items on the ship. I may have missed it, but I would have enjoyed Poke. (I did get some in Honolulu and Kauai). I am also happy that I did not see Spam on any menu. Princess usually has a hula show in the Princess Theater in Honolulu. I think the troupe is from a local hula school. People mention the Hawaiian Ambassadors. Elua (Leialoha and Tiki Dave) was on our most recent cruise, and, I have to say, they are very hard working. My wife attended the hula class and had a blast. They had 85 passengers in the ukulele class. There were lei-making classes on every sea day. They would perform regularly in the Piazza, or, less often, in one of the lounges. On the sea days prior to arriving at the islands, Tiki Dave gave some very informative port lectures. I have no idea if there were Hawaii-themed deck parties. There might have been. I might add that our most recent cruise was one of the best we've ever had. Fight FOMO. You'll have a great cruise regardless of which option you pick.
  13. I have never had a problem using the public restrooms on any cruise that I have taken. Yes, I am obssessive about washing my hands when we are on a cruise Also, on our most recent cruise, I had plenty of incentive to use the public restrooms for about 15 hours because the toilet in our cabin stopped working. It is, probably, no surprise to veteran cruisers to hear that 20-30 additional cabins adjacent to ours had a similar problem. Apparently, many people who use a product called personal wipes believe that the fact that these things are purported to be "disposable" means they can flush them down their cabin toilet. Well, maybe that gets them out of sight, but these wipes, then, clog up the ship's plumbing. The next day, our steward left a "tent" notice in our cabin's bathroom reiterating the only things that can be flushed (specifically, #1, #2, and ship-supplied T.P.) and what should, absolutely, not be flushed--wipes were emphsized. I first learned about this problem with the wipes a couple years ago when I went on a Princess Ultimate Ship's Tour and the Chief Engineer railed about this being one of the major repetitive problems that his staff had to contend with.
  14. OP, when I posted above, obviously, I was not thinking that you'd posted on the Princess forum, and that you were asking, specifically, about Princess procedures. My bad. Here is the "Disembarkation Information" that was delivered to our cabin a couple days prior to the conclusion of our recent Hawaii cruise. I have received similar documents for every one of our Princess cruises, and you will also receive a similar document during your upcoming cruise. Since I like to have our luggage picked up the prior evening, this document was accompanied by some colored luggage tags. You may or may not be able to discern from the upper left corner of Page 1 that our tags were "Purple 1." Specific to your original question, you can see available breakfast services towards the bottom of the right hand column on Page 1. Notice on Page 2 there are some tables that indicate meeting venues and walk-off times based on either the Self Assist Walk Off Group number or the Luggage Tag Color/Number. Walk offs on this schedule start at 7:30 am and the last group is scheduled for 10:00. Give or take 10 minutes, or so, Princess and the staff on the pier do a pretty good job of hitting these projected times.
  15. Welcome to Cruise Critic Tom and welcome to cruising. The specifics of disembarkment procedures will slightly between cruise lines, but, in a nutshell, they need to turnaround the ship for the next cruise. So, not surprisingly, they are going to encourage you to leave fairly quickly. They are going to want you to leave your cabin so that the stewards can prepare it for the next passengers. Breakfast will be available somewhere on the ship. If there is a buffet, it will, most assuredly, be open for breakfast. Dining rooms may or may not be open. More than likely, a few days before disembarkation, you will receive a questionnaire for you to complete in which you will give your preferences. For example, Would you like to walk off the ship with your luggage, or would you like to have your luggage picked up the night before for you to claim at the pier? Do you have an airline flight to catch? If so, what time does it leave? Do you have a cruise transfer to the airport? Do you have independent travel arrangements? If so, at approximately what time would you like to leave the ship? It is hard to be more specific, because, again, different lines or, even, different ports might have slightly different procedures. A couple days before disembarkment, you will receive disembarkation instructions which are customized for you depending on how you completed the questionnaire. Generally, those instructions will also provide information as to where breakfast would be available. SInce the ship is likely to be leaving on it's next cruise later that afternoon, and since a lot of work has to be completed, you can probably figure that they are going to want all disembarking passengers off the ship by about 10:30 am.
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