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barb in ga

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About barb in ga

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    Cool Cruiser

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    cruising, land travel
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  1. Carnival Fantasy was our first cruise, in 1991. We decided after that to focus on land trips, but returned to cruising in 2006. Since then we've cruised 2-3 times per year, moving up to newer and larger ships. We cruised on Monarch twice and enjoyed those cruises, but I'm glad we've had a chance to sail many of the Voyager, Freedom, Quantum and Oasis class ships. We were looking forward to our May 2020 Baltic cruise from Amsterdam, but we'll see what happens for next year. I'm a major planner, usually 2 years in advance, but I haven't booked a replacement cruise yet. Oh, well, we'll see what the new year brings. Meanwhile, we still are healthy and grateful for that. Barb
  2. We live just north of Atlanta(Sandy Springs), so PC is drivable for us, although we do typically leave in time to spend the night just east of the Orlando airport, then we can sleep well and be on the ship shortly after 11AM. Tampa is also a drive to port, but we prefer the big ships, which don't do Tampa Bay. Fort Lauderdale and Miami are fly-ins for us, but we usually choose FLL, as the airport is small and the port is so close. Barb
  3. Jewelry purchases can be part of a great vacation experience, but too many people don't do a little planning/researching in advance to prepare. You certainly can't expect to become an expert, but a little familiarity will make you a smarter shopper. I've been in the jewelry/watch business for 27 years, and while I love looking at the beautiful things in all the shipboard and port shops, I can honestly say I have never found anything that was such a good deal that I couldn't resist purchasing. Watches--if you are looking at better brands such as Tag, Omega, Breitling, Baume et Mercier, and higher end like Rolex, Zenith, IWC, Breguet, Panerai, Patek Phillipe and others, then you should know that while you will save sales tax, you aren't likely to save much more when buying off shore than you can by shopping at an authorized dealer in the states.(I can't speak for European or UK residents). Especially now, few dealers want to risk losing their lines and may be willing to offer a discounted price. Just do some homework, then enjoy the beautiful items you choose. Barb
  4. Hi SNIT13-- Thanks for the comment about Jewel being a sister ship for Brilliance. I was confusing her with Vision, which is the smaller class ship. Chances are I'll plan this Baltic itinerary again, but clearly there will be a lot of changes to the travel industry. Meantime we'll look back at our photos and memories of our many cruises and land explorations and be thankful that we're still among the healthy. Barb
  5. SNIT13--We're booked on Brilliance May 17th Amsterdam 12 day Baltic. RCI appears to still be selling this itinerary through the summer, but I received an email from Delta cancelling our ATL-AMS flights. I'm checking Royal's website every day, figuring that my trip will be cancelled, especially now that CDC has published this updated directive on cruising. I'd certainly be willing to take 125%FCC, but I'm disappointed to see that based on current schedules, next year's Baltic cruise itinerary will be on Jewel instead of Brilliance. I love cruising, and will go again when we can, but I miss the daydreaming and planning, since we have no clue when this will be a possibility again. Just an added comment: I know my inability to take my long-planned vacation is a small inconvenience next to the severe health and economic distress currently affecting so many, but a person can dream ... Barb in GA
  6. We're booked on Sky for January and are really looking forward to being on this beautiful new ship. Most of our cruises have been on RCI and Celebrity who do a good job with providing gluten free options. This is our first Princess cruise, so wondering if other cruisers can share their experiences. DH has Celiac disease, so this is important. Comments appreciated for MDR, buffet, pizza and specialty venues. Thanks, Barb in GA
  7. Does Royal still provide the buffet lunch with burgers, bbq, and sides? Thanks, Barb
  8. Go to your cruise planner on Royal website.. It shows the daily itinerary with arrival and departure times as well as any shows , shore excursions or restaurants that you have booked. You can print it. Barb
  9. I usually carry a good size open tote with one of our bottles of wine and the bouquet of flowers. Sometimes I get one or two stems bent, but having them wrapped in cellophane or tissue helps. Amazing how many people comment that they wish they had thought of the idea. Renee--we're booked on the May 17 Amsterdam cruise as well! I'm really looking forward to it. Barb
  10. We also asked for Savory Bites(small triangular poppy seed rolls) and had them for the rest of the cruise. You can order ice cream(one scoop or two) with berries, and my favorite chilled fruit soup--peach. Barb
  11. Park Café is in Central Park, with both inside and outside seating. There is also a bar in Central Park--get your drinks and go to Central Park Café, sitting outside for some awesome people watching. Light menu--soups, sandwiches(including panini), great roast beef on a bun(Kemmelweck), salad bar(they mix the items you choose, no self serve), cookies, cut fruit, and other sweets. Barb
  12. We sailed the 7 night on Symphony in 2018. We flew into Rome and spent 3 days pre-cruise; We loved Symphony and all that Oasis class offers. We had been to Barcelona and Rome previously on land trips and we knew that you can see more of Barcelona as a port stop, especially since it its so close to many key sights. The hop-on bus works well in Barcelona since the streets are wider; Rome's ho-ho bus leaves you with a longer walk to the central attractions. Embarkation in Civi was a breeze, with far fewer passengers to load than in Barcelona We have also sailed Explorer, most recently to Alaska, and she is a beautiful ship as well. Oasis class just offers more for kids, teens, and adults, too. If there is a significant price difference, that would influence me since the overall experience will be great on both ships. Have fun whichever ship you choose. Barb
  13. I loved the Savory Bites; when I asked for them they provided them for the rest of the week. Another favorite is chilled peach soup; they brought it to me several nights on my Oasis cruise in January. Not MDR, but the paella in Windjammer on day 1 for lunch, and the cream of mushroom soup in Chops. The mushroom soup in Central Park café is very good, also. Three weeks from today(wishful thinking--6 weeks) we sail on Harmony, loved it last time and we felt the food all over the ship was really good! We were on Celebrity Edge in April and are glad to be back to an Oasis class ship--our favorites! Barb
  14. I don't know about the VIP sticker, but the orange Seapass card may indicate that you boarded in Civitavecchia on your Med cruise, not Barcelona. We sailed Symphony last September, and I just checked my Seapass--it's orange. Barb
  15. Thank you so much for the wonderful report and pictures. We are booked for the May 17, 2020 cruise, so I'm really starting to do some serious planning. We booked this in December of 2018. We'll be flying from Atlanta, Georgia on a direct flight, and will spend 3 nights in Amsterdam along with 2 other couples. So far, my main focus is to decide on a hotel in Amsterdam, so I'm making a list of the key places there that we want to see. We plan to use one of the guides in St. Petersburg, and may see what it will cost for the six of us to have a private tour. DH sometimes has knee issues and can't always walk at a brisk pace. Thanks again for the info; if you post again, let us know more details. Barb in GA
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