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Everything posted by Gatordad815

  1. Hi all! I’m looking at options for our family of 4 (two kids age 4 & 6) for our November Cruise and considering these 2 options. For our prior (and only) cruise day in Roatan, we went to Infinity Bay (West Bay Beach), which we arranged directly through the resort. The pros were: 1) Beach was absolutely gorgeous; 2) Resort was very nice with access to a beautiful pool; 3) Reasonably priced drinks and good bar service. Cons were: 1) it was a bit far from port (though not terrible); and 2) so many aggressive vendors (well more than a normal level you’d expect in most tourist places). Overall we loved the beach & resort & would be happy to return to even in spite of the cons. I now see our Royal Caribbean cruise ship has an excursion to Sol y Mar very reasonably priced ($83 for the 4 of us for round trip transport and entry). I’ve looked at reviews and as best I can tell the pros (in addition to great price) are: 1) much closer to Port; 2) no vendors; 3) new experience; 4) security of a ship-sponsored excursion (which we have never done as they’re always so much more expensive). The beach looks very nice, though not as beautiful as West Bay Beach in the photos I’ve seen. I’d love input from anyone whose done Sol y Mar or both. How does the beach at Sol y Mar compare to West Bay Beach? Which would you choose: the beautiful beach you’ve been to before or the new experience? Any input appreciated!
  2. Hi all! We will likely go to Secret Harbour on our St. Thomas stop next Spring based on the great reviews and info seen here. We are a family of 4, two adults, two children ages 4 and 6. We will be arriving late (11:30) on Carnival Breeze and will want to be back to port by about 5:00. My Questions: 1) Approximately how long does it take to get there from Havensight pier each way? 2) Are there any easy taxi options with doors and seatbelts, or are the Safari Vans about the only option? 3) Will we need to worry about traffic heading back if we want to be back at port around 5:00? Any input or other tips appreciated! Thank you.
  3. Any tips on how you managed this? Did you have to line up far ahead of time to get off quickly? I’m happy to plan if I know what I’m working with! Any input appreciated!
  4. Thanks all for the replies. It’s disappointing (but not surprising) this process is a slow process-especially with late arrivals. Do they typically have 2 gangways open, or just one? If 2, is there any difference in wait time between the two? We are thinking about Secret Harbour in St Thomas. If anyone has any tips on maximizing the time there with a late arrival and early dining, I’d appreciate any input! Thanks!
  5. Hi all! If we would like to be ashore relatively quickly after the Breeze is cleared at our ports of call, are we looking at long lines and back-ups to get off the ship or is it a relatively streamlined process? We we are considering plans for St.Thomas specifically on the Eastern itinerary. The ship doesn’t arrive until 11:30 AM and we will have a 6:00 dinner time back onboard, so the time on shore is somewhat limited. In a perfect world we’d just skip MDR dinner and spend more time ashore, but our daughter must eat gluten free so eating in the Dining Room really is best for us. Any insight into what it’s like getting off the Breeze in St. Thomas appreciated! Thanks!
  6. Thanks! That’s what I was hoping and expecting would happen if the merchant is Carnival. My CC charges show up as Carnival on my CC statement from this TA so I’ll do it. Another $75 saved is great for me. Thanks again!
  7. Hi all! Does anyone have experience using this type of offer when booked though a travel agent? The T&C’s are specific to the Carnival 1-800 number and website, though when the TA runs the charges, Carnival is the merchant. Would love to hear from anyone who’s used this offer when making a payment through their TA before. Thank you.
  8. I’ve done a lot of Thanksgiving weekend travel in Florida, and the entire weekend is really busy on the interstates, but Friday will be better than Saturday or Sunday in my experience, so you should be ok as long as you’re patient and leave plenty of time. And since Black Friday isn’t a typical “Work” day for many, the usual rush hour shouldn’t be an issue on top of the holiday traffic. For what it’s worth, the interstates in Florida are getting so congested just about all the time, that even on a non-holiday weekend, construction or an accident could cause big problems. Factor that in, plus the lack of a typical rush hour, and Black Friday may be no worse an option than any other Friday for the drive. Good luck!
  9. Our 6 year old daughter has celiac disease and must eat strictly gluten free. We have been on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises and had great experiences, though I’m not sure I’d classify them as “above and beyond”. They promise a safe gluten-free experience and they certainly deliver on that promise, and compared to most places on land, I guess that is above and beyond. But it if you’re thinking about “roll out the red carpet above and beyond” you may be disappointed outside of the main dining room. Some positives: 1) the main dining room will have safe food and will make off-menu food when they have advance notice (including desserts)-our service there has been the closest to the type of “above and beyond” you are hoping for; 2) at Windjammer, a headwaiter will personally take your order and it will be prepared by a chef in a special area and delivered to you; 3) they’re really nice to the kids and don’t act like it’s a hassle at all which is how I wish everyone would act! On the other hand, I wouldn’t expect areas where they don’t have trained head waiters and chefs, such as a cupcake shop or quick service restaurant, to be able to accommodate, much less go above and beyond. Our experience was kind of hit or miss outside of the main areas. Some places safely accommodated (Sorrentos) but others couldn’t (boardwalk dog house), which was ok with us. We were just glad to have safe options available to us. We never ate at specialty restaurants, so I cannot comment on those, but I bet those restaurants would open up many more options for you. I’ve never been on a Disney Cruise, but we are Disney annual pass holders, and for what it’s worth, I don’t find the service at Disney to go above and beyond either. They do a great job with allergies, no doubt, and serve safe food which is the most important thing to me, but there are occasional frustrating experiences, long waits, etc. I think if you go in with realistic expectations about what they can do, you’ll be quite happy. We certainly have been. Good luck and have a great cruise whatever you decide!
  10. This is very reassuring, especially given the fact you are so aware (my wife & I are similarly aware on our daughters behalf). Thank you for all of the input and for sharing your experiences. As I’m sure you know, with Celiac on vacation it’s important to know ahead of time what the path of least resistance will be to safe food. I research this stuff a lot to be sure our daughter doesn’t get stuck in uncomfortable situations, or even worse get sick. The type of input you’ve provided means a lot to this Celiac dad and I thank you for it!
  11. I’m feeling a connection here. Legit this describes like 50% of my interactions in life. I love you for understanding how I feel in these moments. Thanks for understanding and so eloquently articulating how I feel during these moments too. You seem to really “get” me. Looking forward to reading how this journey concludes!
  12. The hidden gluten is my biggest fear at quicker service places who have clueless (though well-meaning) staff who aren’t trained to know how complex it can be to decipher if gluten is inadvertently in a sauce or seasoning. It’s always reassuring to talk with a chef or head waiter to get confirmation. Or to just have the staff clearly explain how they avoid the cross contact, etc., so it’s clear they’ve had good training. I kinda wish they’d just be consistent so it’s easy to know it’s GF (kind of like boars head. I know it’s GF and I don’t have to read labels). But on the bright side, the fact we can get breakfast and dinner with trained head waiters and chefs is more than we would get out of most vacations, so I know we can make lunches work! Again, thanks for sharing your experiences!
  13. I hope this turns out to be a viable option, as it is on Royal Caribbean. Though the reports of cross contamination above scare me! I’ll try it out early on and see how they do (without promising a pizza to the kids until after I know if it’s safe!)
  14. Thanks for info! Any idea if they have hard corn tortillas, or just soft? Gotta admit I don’t love the idea of it being warmed on the same surface as the flour tortillas, even if wiped down. That plus my kids love hard tacos with meat and cheese!
  15. This is good to know. When we were on Royal Caribbean they would bring the kids fresh fruit and hamburgers from the back. I’d love if that was an option for us! I definitely wouldn’t eat from the actual buffet but if I could get them to make safe food in the back that would be great!
  16. Thanks to everyone for the great, albeit conflicting information. As the dad of a Junior Celiac, I’ve gotten used to things being different everywhere we go, so it’s not surprising to me to see that different folks have had different experiences at the same food outlets! Keep the info, anecdotes, opinions coming! It helps a lot to have ideas on how to make mealtimes efficient and enjoyable!
  17. Thanks for the Offer! She is just GF. Drinks lactose-free milk, but otherwise does not have to strictly avoid dairy. I expect the MDR will be easy for breakfast and Dinner; I’m just more concerned about lunches I’ll be getting for her at various places. Even with meats, I’m always concerned about seasonings (the hidden gluten) and cross contact. It’s good to know the meats at Pig and Anchor don’t use seasonings containing gluten. My additional questions, to the extent you have experience, would be: 1) At the quick service places that offer GF options (I’m thinking Pig & Anchor, Guys Burgers & Pizza Pirate), did the staff appear knowledgeable about exactly what was GF and proper procedure to avoid cross-contact? When staff appear clueless (on land and sea), we tend to just avoid as not to risk her getting sick. 2) I’ve read the Cucina place serves a pasta bar at lunch. Do you know if they can make a GF pasta dish at lunch, or is it just the bar? 3) Any experience with the deli? I know some deli meats are GF (Boars Head, for example), while others are not. 4) Any other input? Thanks again! Much appreciated!
  18. Hi all! We will be on Carnival Breeze for Spring Break with our daughter who has celiac disease & must eat strictly gluten free with no cross contact with gluten. I know the Main Dining room does this well, so I’ve got dinners and breakfasts covered for her, but I’m looking for lunch options! I’ve read Guys burgers does a safe GF burger and I’m sure we will do that, but I know we will want variety too! Can anyone comment on whether Pig & Anchor’s meat is safe for celiac cruisers (both in terms of seasonings and cross contact)? Any other comments on a safe variety of GF lunch options on board welcome!
  19. Yes. This. With an exclamation point! I love great writing, hence I love this review! I never knew that a good FICO Score, Lavender, and CrackerBarrel's Chicken and Dumplings had anything in common or anything to do with the weather, so thanks for teaching me something today! I’m particularly interested in your review not only to learn about Chicken and Dumplings, but also to read about your experience on Breeze after being on Oasis. Our family has been on 3 cruises-only Oasis class ships. But I just booked Breeze today for our Spring Break as I’m unwilling to sell one of my kids or vital organs to raise the cash to pay what RC wants for Harmony for Spring Break. So your review is particularly interesting to me! Looking forward to the rest! Carry on....
  20. Thanks for looking into this and the follow up here-much appreciated!
  21. Yes. Initially was leaning towards Breakaway, but when I put them side by side, chose Breeze. We really want the Eastern ports this time around and with our daughter’s dining needs, I really like having a set dinner time and the same dining team nightly. Plus we got a spa balcony on deck 11, so I’m excited my wife can have spa access we can all be close to all the action on the Lido deck! For our family I’m certain this works better all around. Thanks for the info on Arrival Appointment-much appreciated! Have a great trip!
  22. Hi all-just booked our first family Carnival Cruise-Breeze Eastern itinerary for Spring Break from Port Canaveral. I logged on to check out the cruise planner and I see that “Faster to the Fun” is not available. Assuming we do not (or cannot) get it, here’s my question: We like to start vacation as early as possible. What is the earliest Arrival appointment available at Port Canaveral? Is there a way to increase odds of getting an earlier time or is it based on status with the cruise line or something else that I have no control over? How does this process work on Carnival? (We are used to just showing up early with Royal Caribbean). Any input on this appreciated! Thanks!
  23. We are a family of four thinking of traveling on Carnival Breeze next Spring Break. We will have 6PM early seating. I see the kids clubs will open at 7 and our kids will be eager to get there. Is it reasonable to think we could complete dinner in about an hour if we show up on time ready to order? Any words of wisdom on getting through dinner relatively quickly? Would we be better off doing any time Dining and arriving at 5:45? Any tips from experienced Carnival cruisers appreciated!
  24. Wow that’s encouraging! We went on Allure this past year for spring break and even though we never were turned away, they did reach capacity a few times. The kids would be so disappointed to be turned away so it’s good to know it appears not to be a common occurrence on Carnival. Thanks!
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