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About Aralim

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Northern NJ
  • Interests
    wine, craft beer, board/card games, reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Thanks, all! The specific port I'm concerned about is Akureyri, which will be a docked port. Our port time is 11 AM to 5 PM, and there is a whale-watching excursion via Saga Travel that leaves at 1 PM and returns at 4 PM. If all aboard will be 4:30, then I'm confident about being able to make it back to the ship on time since the tour operator confirmed via email that it's something like a five minute walk from ship to whale watching boat. Even if the tour gets back a little late, like 4:15, we can make it (at the cost of being a family of pier runners). I was worried that all aboard would be 4 PM and that there would be no way to book any third-party excursion since there are few that fit within our port window. If Celebrity offers this trip themselves for that day without a ridiculous premium, then I may well book through them for the security of knowing they'll wait for us if we're late. But I want to still have the option to book directly with a third-party if that works out better.
  2. Hi all, Really basic question, I know, but I did a search of this forum and found only a few mentions of all aboard time. I'm used to sailing on Royal, where all aboard has been 30 minutes before departure time at all of my ports on all of my sailings to date. But the few posts I found here that mentioned "all aboard time" all gave times a full hour before departure. Is that the standard on Celebrity? I'm trying to work out excursion windows for an upcoming sailing, and one of the days has an already short window that will be even shorter if I need to be back on the ship 30 minutes earlier than I'm thinking I do.
  3. Yeah, that's a boundary that even I will agree should not be crossed! 😨
  4. 49 years old here, soon to be 50. And techno is one of my favorite modern genres. Been a fan for almost 20 years now, and I’ve even written a song in that genre. Heard a great techno beat approaching Tobacco Bay beach in Bermuda and couldn’t have been happier. I find it energizing and love to play it as a pick me up at work if I’m in need of one. I’m actually glad to hear that they play it on Celebrity ships at times. And for what it’s worth, I find 90’s pop and hip-hop soundtracks annoying in the way you found the techno. And while I’m no stranger to the 50’s and 60’s music my dad listened to all the time, and have bought copies of several popular 60s songs for my library that I really like, I’d go nucking futs if I had to listen to it all day, every day. But I get where you’re coming from. Music is constantly changing, and those changes will invariably upset one group or another used to the older styles. But places that play music meant to cater to a wide range of humans have to change with it or their customers are going to age out and never get replaced as word gets out that the place is “old style” / “square” / “uncool”.
  5. I’ve noticed the lone cabin on deck 10 that shows up, and it’s weird because that block of rooms are the new AQ cabins that were installed on the refurb. No idea why that one cabin shows as Verandah instead of AQ
  6. So glad you were able to go there, and more so that you enjoyed it! I'm curious -- did they have techno music playing there at a good volume? That was blasting out when I was there last, but I happen to really like techno so I was enjoying it! LuAnn, I did this walk last October. It's about 1/2 mile each way from the center of town. There is a modest (to me, at least) hill to climb in the beginning as you make your way out of town and past the church. It's maybe the first 1/3 of the walk, but except for one or two very short stretches I didn't find it very steep and none of it was impossible for me to climb. I say this as someone with lifelong mobility issues that, as I've gotten older, make it hard / painful for me to walk more than 2 or 3 miles in a day, even with daily walking exercise at home, and never all at once. But I was able to do the walk to Tobacco Bay and back with no real problems; even after a day wandering around St. George's and the Crystal Caves, I only needed 2 Advil when I got back on the ship and 2 more when I went to bed. Jim, did you feel differently? I gather from your other posts here and other blogs I've read that you're a pretty avid walker, so curious to hear your perspective on the walk.
  7. Jim, if you and Iain plan to spend the day in St. George’s, and like sea glass, there’s a very nice shop in the center section of town with all the art galleries and craft stores. Sign on the road points it out, as the building is set back and halfway up the set of stairs in the middle of the cluster of shops. Very nice lady who runs the place and has lived there her whole life, and her daughter makes all the jewelry / works as co-owner. If you decide you’ve seen enough of town but aren’t ready to return to the ship, its a very easy walk from the center of town to Tobacco Bay Beach. I’m somewhat mobility limited and even I had no problem doing it. If you make your way from town center to the abandoned church mentioned earlier, and walk past it with it on your left as you continue down the road, it’s basically a straight 1/2 mile down that road to where the beach is. Keep to the left side of the road where is splits into two one-way lanes, there’s more shade and not as much of a hill to deal with. Heres a picture I took when I got in full sight but wasn’t yet at the beach entrance. As you can see it’s a small beach, but few people go there and it’s a nice spot to relax for a bit, have some food and a beverage:
  8. How much was Chef’s Table prior to this change? My younger daughter is a foodie but underage, so having a no-pairings price is a nice new option on one level. But $200 to have it with pairings is more than I’m willing to pay unless this is a Michelin-star-level meal I’m getting. I did Chef’s Table on Freedom of the Seas by myself for $90, and felt that was a bargain after the wines and food we were served; I would say the food was on par with a land restaurant I’d been to that cost me $75 for dinner with no alcohol. I know Celebrity is a cut above Royal for food, and wouldn’t object to paying a bit more; let’s say $150 for a round number, assuming the wines are also a cut above. But $200 for me and another $140 for my will-be-16-year old daughter is just too big a pill to swallow on a trip that’s already going to be stretching all kinds of budget boundaries. Maybe they’ll adjust the pricing over the coming year as they get guest feedback, but I’m not holding my breath.
  9. 😲 Is this just the sort of thing that happens when you reach Zenith on X?!? I've clearly gotta start sailing 3x a year, find the budget to do it in a suite every time, and get myself to Zenith!! What a great opportunity to just have happen while at sea!
  10. Wait, what?? If that's the case, I don't see how my 12-top table request is going to be satisfied. I'm in late-seating traditional, and as best I can tell all the large tables are in the lower level. I've got to say, that sounds completely backwards from my experience on other ships. I've always seen / had traditional seating in the lower level where they can accommodate large groups / tables, and upper levels were always My Time / Anytime / etc dining since 9 times out of 10 it's smaller groups of no more than 4.
  11. That sound like they put it in a microwave or maybe an oven, to try and warm it up, and the plate absorbed all the heat. Have that happen at home all the time with stoneware plates.
  12. Jim, thanks for the additional pics of the MDR! Won't be able to request any of those 2-tops by the aft window, since it's my family of four traveling; part of why I had requested the largest size table for us, I'm hoping maybe there will be a couple other families with teens who also want to have some dining company. 😊 I figure with it in the summer and such a unique itinerary, I have at least an even chance.
  13. Wow, I haven't been able to check in on CC since last Saturday. Finally caught up on your blog, really enjoying all the great photos and commentary! I realize you're dining in Blu for the most part, but wondered if you'd remember if all the largest tables in the MDR are basically by the grand staircase. Seems that way from the pictures. Asking because for our Iceland & Greenland sailing next year we've requested to be at a table for 12 so we have a good chance to meet a larger group and have good conversation opportunities each night. Was hoping they might have one or two of those tables by the gigantic window all the way aft so there could be some night views at night, but from your photos it looks like those are all tables for 2 or 4, with a few 6- or maybe 8-seat tables in the corners. Well, if nothing else we can get breakfast in the MDR each day and request a window table if we don't feel like company that morning. But I will say that I do really enjoy just requesting a shared table and seeing who I get sat with; have met some really fun / nice / interesting people and enjoyed a whole other facet of the cruising experience!
  14. I just logged into my Cruise Planner and saw two new options: Classic Wine by the Bottle Package -- $109 + gratuity for 3 bottles, $179+ for 5 bottles, and $209+ for 7 bottles Premium Wine by the Bottle Package -- $169+ for 3 bottles, $239+ 5 bottles, and $319+ for 7 bottles Has anyone seen / purchased this package before? It doesn't give an exact list of eligible wines for either package, just a couple of examples. I'm assuming that this is more or less a wine-only, bottles-only version of the Classic and Premium alcohol package. Honestly, this is kind of ideal in one sense, since I figure I won't be drinking a ton during my particular sailing as it's port-intensive, and will most likely just want to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine each night with dinner. I do plan on bringing my allowed two bottles of wine per stateroom; with two staterooms booked for my family, I'll have a total of four bottles (two for my cabin, two that my wife will bring for the other) and I figure that should cover me for between 6 and 8 of the 14 days of this trip (depending on the size of the pours). But it would be nice to have the option of another 3 bottles to enjoy, as long as I can find something that is in line with what I like. I'm pretty straightforward in my tastes and preferences, don't know enough about wine to call myself a snob or any kind of expert. You tell me that a particular wine has hints of cherries, vanilla, and cloves and I'll nod along politely while wondering what the heck you're talking about. I can taste differences in wines, just not to that level. 😅 I'm mostly a fan of dark / bold / dry reds: Tuscans / Chianti, Zinfandel, Malbec, Sangiovese / Syrah, sometimes Merlot. Don't typically buy anything fancy at home, just stuff that's $8-15 a bottle that I have as my day-to-day table wines. But I do like to branch out on vacations and cruises, and have enjoyed many a wine that (on Royal at least) has gone for $16-$18 a glass / $65+ a bottle. Those were really good and I enjoyed them quite a bit, just no way I can afford those as regular options at home, even with lower on-land pricing. So would this package be worth it? Or should I just stick with what I plan to bring on board?
  15. Can't answer to the variety, but can confirm that the price is exactly the same as you will find on land. On the plus side, you will not pay any sales tax for the purchase since it's counted as duty-free.
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