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About KmomChicago

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    South Chicago Area
  • Interests
    travel, family, gardening
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Premier, remember them?
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Labadee, Haiti

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  1. Years ago on Disney of all lines, which of course strives to never disappoint a guest, we had to miss Castaway Cay due to weather issues on a short, weekend 3 night cruise. We sailed Friday afternoon; were supposed to do Nassau Saturday and Castaway Sunday. Instead we had an unplanned sea day Saturday with a dropped anchor, literally just outside the international waters line in unappealing, gray, Atlantic water with a far off view of the Florida coastline. Late in the day they pulled up and we sailed overnight to Nassau for the weirdest day ever as everything was closed on a Sunday. And back to port Monday morning. No compensation, even though people sailed specifically to visit Castaway. Part of the cruise industry.
  2. I have heard that crew cabins are right next to passenger cabins, hidden by various doors from our view. A little surprising that they don't change these badly located rooms out during a drydock to crew/staff quarters for people who work the night shifts; i.e. sleep when the big showroom is typically quiet and mostly unused. Of course I get a paying passenger is better than a non-paying crew member in taking up valuable real estate, but is it worth it if they routinely have to move people, give OBC, get irate passengers, etc? I am to the point where I bring soft foam earplugs on all travel journeys, cruise or otherwise, though. Something as simple as weird floor / ceiling construction can sometimes mean you hear what should be silent footsteps above you all night on a creaky structure.
  3. As many have noted, noise is potentially a concern, though bringing soft foam earplugs is not a bad idea on any trip, anywhere due to unforeseen noise problems, hotels, ships, other people's houses, etc. . . we were on the same deck as the main atrium lounge on a Fantasy-class ship, about 8 rooms down the hall, and could easily hear nighttime music, and I have seen other reviews that mention if you are close to the atrium elevator lobby on any deck, any Carnival ship, this can be an issue. Think late night trivia contests and being able to hear the questions as you lie there trying to fall asleep. I would certainly avoid being one deck directly above or below the main show lounge, directly under a pool deck, and in the very far forward and aft cabins on the lowest passenger deck due to anchors, ropes, engines, whatever is going on down there during docking operations. But, if it came down to that, and say we had to get aboard a nearly sold out ship, and those locations were the only thing left, I'd still go for it, with the aforementioned earplugs.
  4. I am big on looking for hacks, so on our most recent RC cruise was looking at this situation. There are a few events which give you a small amount of free alcohol - read the cruise compass carefully every day, every line to see what exactly they are giving you free, and what is an extra cost; small mimosas during one of the party events and small tastes during various shop events, of course designed to lure you into buying package liquor but not at all necessary. If you go to the art auctions they usually give out small glasses of free champagne to show up and pretend you are excited about people overpaying for printed posters of actual art (a/k/a signed lithographs, and other fancy terms for reproductions of original work). We did a martini making class on our last sea day which was an extra fee (I think $25 per person plus gratuity) but it was a great value as it included four VERY STRONG martinis of different types made with mid-level call brand liquors, which I believe would vary by bartender preference. But we had a classic gin martini (I think it was Bombay gin) which was really straight liquor, a lavender lemondrop martini (I think they used Absolut citron) and he made a little too much so he topped us all off, a chocolate vodka martini, and an espresso martini, which I really don't know what was in it, being not much of a drinker, and completely drunk after the first three. I would say it was probably, at cruise prices, about $50 worth of booze in just over an hour's time. We saw a couple of other similar activities in the cruise compass on sea days but didn't partake so I don't know how the value compares, how much you got or the prices. They were typically offered mid-afternoon and focused on a certain type of alcohol, i.e. rum, tequila, etc. Personally I cannot imagine drinking enough to justify the package prices. I would be constantly drunk / hungover / missing out on most of the actual cruise if I drank that much / but of course that is an individual decision.
  5. Carnival caters to everyone which means every cruise is both suitable for kids and a booze cruise. You won’t be on the same schedule as the party crowd or in many of the same areas for the most part.
  6. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City a few years ago and it was a great location with both PATH and water taxi options to get over to Manhattan. Parking was valet only and a bit pricey. We had beautiful views of the city from our room; at night it was just stunning.
  7. Hi, KimboJam. Thanks for the response. Yes, that "real" part is pretty easy for me, having been accused of being too direct, or should I say, blunt, for the better part of the past 50 years. If my words are entertaining, it's because of a hard-learned gratitude for the laughs in life as better therapy than the tears. When my fabulous novel is available for 99 cents as an e-read, I'll let you know!
  8. Hi, batoryfirst. I appreciate your high praise! If you met me in real life you might dial back that "delight" term, but I will gratefully take it here in the virtual world. You are pretty delightful yourself, IMHO.
  9. Thank you bklvr99 for reading through and for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!
  10. Thank you Toras! I'm really glad to hear that. Sounds like a lot of fun, as it should be. Maybe the off-season crowd is more laid back and in a kindly state of mind. I have to wonder how much our travel dates impacted the moods among the rest of our passengers. It was a very family-heavy peak season manifest, the kind of cruise where every berth that can be filled is filled, and crowds are at their largest. The one show I attended was filled to the rafters, and I don't think much else was going on aboard at that time so it may have been a reluctant bunch to start with. Hope to hear more about your journey, all good times of course, amirite?
  11. Poutine at Smoke’s in Halifax. I believe we got one order of bacon ranch poutine, one of Philly cheesesteak poutine, and one of butter cauliflower poutine (as per Indian butter chicken sauce). They all still started with cheese curd and brown gravy under the additional accoutrements. You can see a few curds that hadn’t yet melted under my cauliflower. It cost almost $40 Canadian with a few sodas. I estimate each serving was about 4,000 calories as they each weighed a couple of pounds and we needed none of those as we were already overeating daily in the Windjammer, but you gotta make sacrifices sometimes.
  12. What ports are Are you visiting Saint John? If so, we rented a car for the day at the Budget office just a block or so from port - I walked over to get the car and drove back to pick up my mom. There is a secured drop off / pickup area but if you tell them what you are doing they will let you into it for pickup. We drove up to St. Martins to see the sea caves. You can get a look at them from a short distance without walking, though many people trek across the sandy beach at low tide. There is a mom and pop convenience store / bakery in town that sells homemade Nanaimo, a Canadian chocolate confection. My mom is also able to walk short distances so this worked well for us; she stayed in the car and watched the rest of our group as we explored the caves.
  13. By the way, if you are thinking, "if the kid is prone to carsickness, why don't they have a barf bag ready to go?" Thank you. That is a very helpful bit of advice. I asked myself that question many thousands of times over, like, nonstop over and over for the remainder of the drive out, occasionally during the cruise, nonstop during the entire drive back, and once in a while even now. We immediately fixed one up from an intact plastic grocery bag inside the sturdy structure of a handled small paper shopping bag, which, of course, she did not need as she was not car sick, as she explained, but merely had a sour stomach from the glass of milk Kmom forced upon her before we left the house earlier that morning. Not because she needed it, or wanted it, but because it was going to EXPIRE while we were away. I added strawberry syrup before "encouraging" her to enjoy it. Which gives you some idea of the contents of the, umm, substance projected across multiple surfaces of our auto interior. Kmom is a nut job in her own right, if you haven't figured that out already. I don't crave success so much as I fear failure. I think and rethink every decision and think everything that goes wrong for other people is my fault, and apparently I shut down and play the "victim" sometimes which I am working on. If you are a better human person than I am, well then I congratulate you and I am not really very surprised about that. Just stumbling through and doing the best we can here, like everyone else. I try to remember the old mantra and apply it to life in general: If you walked away, it was a good flight! Hey, it's only a $35,000 vehicle, what's to worry about?
  14. Marginally related. This is my meanager’s bedroom door at home and may help you get to know her better. Failure to follow instructions leads to direct or passive-aggressive protests up to and including door slamming, hollering, whining, and grumbling. I would not ever trade one second of my life with this wondrous magical kid. She has made my life complete. She puked in the car on the first day of the drive out to New Jersey this trip, did I mention that tidbit? All over my husband's truck. We spent about an hour and a half cleaning it up at a rest stop in Ohio. Then we skipped our planned (short) visit to the Football Hall of Fame that afternoon in Canton, where I stupidly booked a room about 40 minutes out of the way of the route for just that purpose. We used the time instead once mom and kiddo were at the hotel to buy white vinegar and baking soda and a soft scrub brush and work on the darn thing some more. A few years ago, we also drove out to NYC because this same kid saw the Statue of Liberty on an episode of Wonder Pets, saving a baby pigeon in "Yew Nork City" as she explained, and we went all the way up into the crown and everything to satisfy the first stop on a little kid's bucket list (which is now out of control, by the way, and I don't really want to fly all the way to gosh darn Japan. I told her, HOW ABOUT EUROPE FIRST, mmm-kay?) Anyway, somewhere in Indiana, about one hour from home on the way back, she puked in my little Mitsubishi Outlander crossover mom-mobile, which was only a couple of months old at the time. When she hurled all over DH's prized possession and we were standing out in the busy parking lot with I-80 traffic whizzing by, cussing a blue streak at the truck, each other, and life in general, I walked over quietly to him at one point and said, "We will look back one day and miss these years more than we could ever imagine."
  15. These are my pics of the room. No interior shots. I took the doorknob photo because you can see minor damage where it was once jimmied open. I would think that only happens when it’s bolted from the inside so you can guess why someone had to be broken out of their junior suite.
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