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RSF Cruiser

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  1. We were on a holiday cruise a few years ago (Island Panama Canal) that was over both Christmas and Chanukah. The staff was very accommodating - we had the chapel every night for a short passenger led Chanukah service with an electric menorrah, latkes, and all the trimmings. The staff really doesn't know much about Chanukah traditions (e.g they brought us a challah), but they are more than willing to get you what you ask for. We requested jelly donuts, and the next night we had them. They even created little Chanukah bags for us with different Chanukah themed decorations and stuff. The photography staff went out of their way to create Chanukah themed backgrounds for the photos. This past year we did a holiday cruise to Hawaii and Chanukah was over by the time we got on the ship, so there wasn't any type of Chanukah celebration.
  2. RSF Cruiser

    Ideas for Maui?

    Buy or see if your library has Maui Revealed. It's an outstanding guide book and you can read various options/car trips and decide what you like to do. The authors explain why they like or don't like a particular entry. The Revealed books are available for each island. We go to Hawaii often, and always take our Revealed books with us!
  3. I highly recommend El Jardin (The Garden) in Liberty Station. As the name implies, the vegetables come from the restaurant's own garden to the side of the building! The owner/chef is an award winning chef and the food is upscale with a Mexican twist. The selections are in no way traditional Mexican options. We just ate there the other night and had three delightful, creative dishes. Some kind of shrimp dish served on a beef bone - you eat the dish by scooping out a bit of marrow with the shrimp and spread the mixture on yummy toasted bread. Then we had a selection of four stuffed peppers that were stuffed with either a crab or cheese mixture. Absolutely delicious. Our third course was a 2.5 pound roasted sea bass that was incredible. I've also had their guacamole, and it was the best guacamole I've ever had! There is no view, although they do have inside and outside seating. Liberty Station is a re-purposed military base and has a large people's market patterned after the public market in Seattle, lots of restaurants, some interesting museums (comic book, women's, and I can't remember the others), and just an all around fun place to visit. Liberty Station is adjacent to the San Diego Airport, so the planes taking off fly directly overhead. It's noisy when a plane takes off, but you get to see the belly of the plane up close and personal!
  4. The Island is our favorite ship - the staff is great and I love the size. The aft suites are the best we've stayed in - with the remodel they updated the furnishings and the bathroom has two sinks.
  5. The cost is $199 precruise and $249 on the ship. My e experience is they will credit you if you cancel the first day.
  6. You get the hard copy and a small digital file for the photos taken by the ship’s photographers. I make photo journals and the files are fine for that. They are generally in the kb size, rarely mb. That said, it’s fun getting the all inclusive photo program. The photographers het to know you, and often do fun shots.
  7. We've sailed out of all three, and as you are learning, each has advantages/disadvantages. For San Francisco, there's nothing more exciting than cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge! We even wake up before dawn to watch the ship go under The Bridge when returning to San Francisco. You do have more time at sea and in the open ocean from San Francisco. Seattle has less time in the open ocean than San Francisco, but there's no incredible bridge to sail under 😞 Vancouver has the Lion's Gate Bridge. Not as iconic as the Golden Gate, but fun to sail under none the less! In Vancouver you have the least days in the open ocean. The first time we went to Alaska, we flew into Victoria, stayed a few days, took the ferry to Vancouver, sailed out of Vancouver to Seward, stayed over night in Anchorage, took the train to Denali, then up to Fairbanks, and then home. The trip took two weeks and was incredible. We were hooked and have been back many times - land only, cruise only, and combo. We've sailed to Alaska from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver. We've loved every one of the trips for different reasons. I don't think there is a wrong way to visit Alaska! Bottom line is you really can't go wrong. That said, I remember the first time we went I was overwhelmed with all of the options. I finally made a spreadsheet with the ports for the various cruises and times in port to help figure out my priorities. I just reread your question; if you are talking only about embarkation, hands down, San Francisco is my favorite. I LOVE sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge...
  8. The balcony is better on D736- larger, and the beam isn't in the way. That said, our first choice is C750 😕 The balcony isn't as nice or large, but it still has a wake view. The beam is more in the middle and gets in the way more. But, the sitting room is larger and has a desk. In D736, the sitting room is slightly smaller and has no desk. We've never had any hallway noise in either suite. Both suites are nice; it just depends on what's more important to you. My husband spends a lots of time in the suite, so he prefers the second desk in the sitting room. Although I prefer the larger balcony, I'm not out there that much, so if C750 is available, we take it. We do not like the cabins on the other side since sometimes cigarette smoke wafts up since smokers can smoke in the back section of the promenade deck.
  9. I really enjoyed exploring the cemetery on the outskirts of town. The tombstones are interesting (Alaskan spirit houses and other interesting things) and there is a memorial to the people who have not made it back from climbing Denali. We probably spent about an hour there.
  10. We were on a similar cruise, and the day before we were to arrive in Ensenada, the captain announced we would arrive during the day - I think it was just after lunch. I don't know how often that happens, but with the change in arrival time, they added some tours. The winery tour is actually quite nice - it's a pleasant ride through the country side, and most of the time is taken up touring the facilities with an explanation of how they make the wines. The wine tasting wasn't that long, and also included bread, olives, and olive oil.
  11. We had an aft suite on the Aloha deck next to the youth center. There was absolutely no noise from the kids. The doors are not in the back hallway, so there wasn’t any traffic from the kids, either. We went over the holidays, so the kid center was busy.
  12. We stayed in an IsIand aft suite on the Aloha deck. The cabin was about the same aize as other ships, but the balcony was huge, although mainly uncovered. We loved the suite - our favorite of any of the half dozen or so Princess ships that we’ve been on. We always stay in an aft suite, and usually a Vista one. Although we prefer to be on a lower deck and closer to the water, we picked the Aloha deck on the Island because of the size of the balcony. I can’t wait to be back on the Island in the same cabin.
  13. We did the Panama Canal on the Island over the holidays two years ago, and it was our favorite holiday cruise. The staff was wonderful and the holiday activities were fun, especially New Years Eve - there were parties in all of the clubs, the atrium, and on deck at the middle swimming pool. We've been on other holiday cruises, and the one on the Island has been our favorite so far. We're one of the lone voices that loves the Island - we stayed in a Vista aft suite (Aloha 729). It's the nicest suite we've been in: well lit, modern, and a large balcony. Some people complain about the vibrations in the aft suites - we didn't think the room vibrated any more than any other aft suite.
  14. During the day La Patisserie did have small tea-like sandwiches. I often had one or two when returning from an excursion. This was two years ago on a Panama Canal cruise.
  15. We’ve sailed out of San Francisco many times and always stay in an aft suite, and are always on deck, up high, in the front of the ship when we approach and then go under the bridge. There’s an excitement generated from all of the people, and the view is far superior to a balcony. We also wake up early when we return and experience going under the bridge pre-dawn. Another exciting experience with not as many people and great picture ops! Another thing about being on deck for sail away - you can see 360 degrees of the sights. From your balcony, you only have 180 degrees. That said, no matter where you are for sail away, going under the bridge is exciting!
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