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About XBGuy

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  1. We always choose Anytime Dining (Princess nomenclature). Keep in mind that there can be a wait at the Anytime Dining Rooms at peak times. There are a few strategies for avoiding a wait at the Dining Rooms are: Some ships (it depends on the policy of the Maitre d' for that cruise) allow you to call the "DINE Line" and make a Dining Room reservation for that evening. Dine later in the evening, say, after 7:30 pm Ask to be seated at a table with other passengers rather than requesting a table for two. Another strategy is to dine in the Restaurants. In addition to the upcharge restaurants, the Royal Princess also has a nice no-charge venue called Alfredo's which offers Pizzas and a few other Italian-style choices. Have a great cruise
  2. 👍 Isn't that the great thing about cruising? You get to do what you want to do. You don't have to do what everybody else wants to do. You doing your thing does not affect them doing their thing. I just love that aspect of the whole experience.
  3. I am with the OP on the cobbler. I was SOOOOOOO disappointed the time we went to the CG and found that it was no longer on the menu. It was the best. Backup choice is the one that comes with the UBD:
  4. We, usually, book a starboard-side balcony, and like others, we enjoy wine (Sparkling wine) and noshes on our balcony during sailaway. Being hailed from the Ports O' Call restaurant was always a highlight. I truly hope that when the new construction is complete, that tradition is reinstated. There was one time when we noticed that they were setting up for some sort of event on the fantail of the U.S.S. Iowa as we were passing. They were, apparently, doing sound checks at the time, and they also hailed us.
  5. Yes. Nothing to be baffled about. Have a great cruise.
  6. As usual, I am a complete outlier, here. When we started cruising, there was no such thing as "online." We drove to a travel agent and chatted with her about what we wanted to do. We reached an agreement and handed over our credit card. She made sure all the "i"s were dotted and the "t"s were crossed. It all went great. In the last few years, I have made my own reservations at the cruise line's web site. We are terrible shoppers. Spending hours comparing itineraries, prices, perquisites, options and all the rest is not fun for us. We have an idea of when and where we want to go. We check the line's web site, and it just takes us a few minutes to book. I am of the opinion that a first-time cruiser should find a travel agent with a brick and mortar presence so that he can meet face-to-face with the agent. Let the agent ask questions so that an appropriate cruise line and itinerary and price can be proposed. Now, if the OP is considering this first cruise because he has friends who have been coaching him, then, maybe, my suggesting a brick and mortar travel agency is not needed. Have a great cruise.
  7. Bon Voyage, TC. I was tickled to see that your first cruise was on the MS Southward. For our honeymoon in 1976 we decided to try a cruise. We took the Western Caribbean itinerary on Norwegian Caribbean Line's (you guessed it) MS Southward. Since 2011 all our cruising has been on Princess. After 40 years of corporate life, I am done with airports and airlines, and it is just so easy for us to drive to San Pedro and get on the ship. I've never purchased any of the beverage packages and, so, I can't help you out, there. I'm a wine guy, and Princess is very liberal about bringing on your own wine. Since, I don't deal with airlines, this is very easy for me. MedallionNet is just a generic name for their new on-board wi-fi capability. The Regal Princess was one of the first ships equipped with it. Yes, initial reports is that it is quite fast, and, yes, the package that you purchased will give you unlimited access. When you reach your cabin, you'll find instructions for logging on.
  8. I know you weren't addressing me, tawtaw, but, if I may be so bold, let me give you my experience. Typically, for complimentary dining, there will be a note in your cabin with instructions. These instructions tend to vary slightly from ship to ship (different managers), but, yes, you call room service once you are on board. I'll bet that the note will ask you to call 24 hours in advance. So, you probably don't have to rush to call on embarkation day. As I recall the UBB consists of Half-bottle of Champagne Selection of Pastries Fruit Platter Small Quiche Smoked Salmon Carafe of coffee I really don't remember but I would be surprised if the smoked salmon did not come with a bagel and associated condiments such as tomato and onion slices, lettuce and capers. They always have those in the buffet. I don't think there are any menu choices, but I never asked.
  9. We did it the first week of May last year on the day that we were cruising in Glacier Bay. I can say that, more than likely, if you are not in port when you do it, then it will, probably, be too chilly to enjoy on the balcony. We just set up inside the slider and were happy as clams at high tide watching the scenery go by. Since I don't know your tolerance for cold weather, I really cannot advise whether you would be comfortable having it on your balcony while in port. I am pretty sure that it will not be warm in May, and it might be rainy. I think my wife would be OK, but, again, I can't speak for you. If you are uncomfortable, you can always move inside. The price is now $45 for two people. The two times we've done it (second time was on a Mexican Riviera cruise) we used the cruise personalizer and pre-ordered prior to embarkation. Whatever you decide regarding the breakfast thing, you will have a great cruise to Alaska.
  10. Interesting. Your information is more recent than mine. Thanks for the update. I'll learn the current truth in April when we will be on board the Ruby Princess, again. However, I don't think they'll be using the medallion for my next cruise.
  11. In the Vines wine bar they have events called "Stammtisch." There is no regular schedule for these events. They may or may not be publicized in the Princess Patters. I learn about them by wandering by Vines and finding a sign-up sheet-. I often see sign-up sheets on embarkation day. Participation is limited to 10 (I think) people--the number of seats around that big table in VInes--and the tariff is $15 pp. Various Stammtisch events will have different topics such as: Old World Red Wines White Wines New World Red WInes Sparkling Wines Chocolate/Wine Pairing Typically, three wines are tasted along with some noshes (often, cheese), and the session is facilitated by one of the Vines persons. The number of Stammtisch events that are offered on any given cruise is not fixed and may be zero. I think it depends on the Vines Manager and, also, the entertainment schedule in the adjacent Piazza. If there is something loud going on in the Piazza, it is difficult to hear the conversation at the Stammtisch table. I really don't know about the ad hoc chocolate/wine pairing that the other poster has mentioned. I've never seen anybody doing it. That doesn't mean much, though.
  12. I'm not sure that you are correct on that last part. The cruise card that Princess is now distributing is also a near field communication device. If you hold the cruise card up to the reader on the public displays, it will read it. I was on the Ruby Princess in December, and we were issued the new cruise cards. The cabin doors all had the new readers, and the door was opened by holding the card up to the reader. In the elevator lobbies were the new screens that are going to be part of the Medallion roll-out. You can see the reader right on the screen. It is circular and is surrounded in blue. As a test I held my card key up to it, and, sure enough, the blue outline turned to green. The kiosk itself did nothing, but the fact that the reader turned from blue to green told me that the reader can, in fact, read the card key. A few days before the end of my cruise, I wanted to print out my folio. I went to Deck 6 and used the kiosk near the Guest Services Desk. That kiosk had the same kind of circular reader on the screen. I held up my card key next to the reader, The blue outline turned to green, and I was able to print my folio. Now, when the Medallion system is fully rolled out the Ruby Princess, will a kiosk allow a person with a card key and not a medallion be able to find the path to his cabin? I don't know that it will. However, I also don't know that it won't.
  13. Click on this link and look at page 10 https://www.princess.com/downloads/pdf/ships-and-experience/food-and-dining/beverages/Wine-Menu.pdf I am a wine buff, but that is WAY over my budget. Since the Petrus was added to the list, last autumn, I have wondered if each (or any?) ship actually has it in inventory--or even the low-dollar (by comparison) $1600 Lafite. It just does not fit into what I perceive as the Princess demographic. I read a report here on Cruise Critic from a wine geek (and, from the way he wrote, a very personable guy) who brought a Maybach cabernet sauvignon (at retail, I'm guessing about 1/20th the price of Princess' Petrus) on board once. That is the only report of anything close to a high-end wine that I have ever read about any Princess passenger enjoying.
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