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Bruin Steve

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  1. With all due respect, I looked it up on a website too...and it said the average water temperature in Long Beach in October was 64. And, yeah, I live in Calabasas...I’m a whole 10-15 minutes from the beach...except when I’m at my beach house at La Jolla Shores—when it drops to 10-15 seconds...AND, I grew up right at the Beach—Will Rogers, Pacific Palisades—where my family lived next door to Getty for 42 years...and one thing I KNOW for certain...first hand...is that the water in October is COLD! But, thanks for telling me all about the ocean...I hope to visit it one day like you, Scott...
  2. Okay...let’s start with Long Beach.s Belmont Shore and neighboring Seal Beach. Yes, they have some nice beaches. I did say you could go a bit in EITHER direction and find a nice beach area. But, I suggested Redondo for some good reasons. First, it actually has some nice hotels reasonably close to the beach...not many in Belmont Shore, if at all. Pacific Inn in Seal Beach is only about three blocks from the beach...but “much closer” than Redondo? Absolutely not. Your cruise port is in San Pedro. The shortest distance to port from the Pacific Inn per Google Maps is 14 miles...but that is by all surface streets and a whole lot of traffic lights. Using the freeways, it’s 20 miles. The Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach is 13 miles from the port. AND, the Pacific Inn is 27 miles from LAX...The Crowne Plaza Redondo is only 7.4 miles from LAX. As to the October beach weather, I would disagree that it’s the “best” of the year...after averaging highs well into the 80s throughout July, August and September, those highs drop quickly into the mid 70s...which is definitely a fairly comfortable temperature...but you don’t exactly kick back to get a tan in the room temperature heat...remember those are the highs...it doesn’t stay 75 all day. AND...the average water temperature in October is a chilly 64. If the OP is accustomed to beaches in the Caribbean, better to know that this certainly isn't it...and it may be better to plan for other things in the SoCal area...
  3. First, if you want to spend time at a beach, know that neither San Pedro norLong Beach is really much of a “beach town”. The waterfront is, largely, industrial harbor. You can go a little bit away in either direction...say Redondo Beach, for example—between LAX and San Pedro—And find hotels near beaches...OTOH, October won’t exactly be beach weather necessarily...the water will be cold. As to San Pedro versus Long Beach, the trade-off is that San Pedro would be far more convenient...Stay, for example, at the Crowne Plaza and you could even walk to the pier. Their are a few “things to do” in San Pedro...the USS Iowa, a small marine museum and some other stuff...but, yeah, nothing overly flashy or exciting. Long Beach has a bit more...the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific, for example...and more restaurant and hotel choices and a little nicer area to walk around and shop...but you will pay more for taxis/Ubers and not have as much convenience. As to your $150 budget, beware, LA is an expensive hotel town...you may find it hard to find a decent hotel at that cost...depending on a lot of factors, of course...but DON’T take risks on a non-recommended “deal”... it may be a BAD hotel or in a BAD neighborhood... Good luck...
  4. I am okay with saving plastic...or recycling plastic...or anything else that helps the environment. I don’t care if it’s in a little bottle, a bigger bottle...or even a cardboard carton. What I do have a problem with is getting an inferior shampoo...especially when I’ve been charged a premium price with the advertising saying that one of the perks in booking the more expensive category is getting an upgraded brand of toiletries. It’s like if your car manufacturer charged you more for the “sports” version of the car telling you the car came with upgraded sports car tires, then delivered it with cheap retreads...
  5. Nope. Floor space and cabin layout are same as standard verandah. In fact, my prior standard verandah had a larger slant balcony. The main reason to book Aqua is Blu restaurant. Other than that, the advertised Concierge and Aqua perks are marginally worth anything...but, Celebrity needs to give you SOMETHING to justify the higher price...so...it’s little things like allegedly better toiletries...SO, as long as we’re paying for that, we might as well actually get something better...
  6. I’ve always read that a benefit of Aqua or Concierge was getting a better class of shampoo and other toiletries. But...right now, I am nearing the end of our second of back-to-back 12 night cruises on Reflection. For reasons I may eventually get to on another thread, we are in our third cabin. First, we were in a Concierge cabin...then we switched to a standard veranda...and now, we are in Aqua Class... in our first, Concierge, cabin, the toiletries we got were in little rectangular blue plastic bottles. On the back, they said made in Italy by Albatross. The shampoo absolutely sucked. Hard to squeeze the bottle, resulted in virtually no lather. We wondered how this could possibly be the “upgraded” shampoo and toiletries?? When we moved to the standard veranda, we suddenly found Bulgari toiletries in our cabin—oh, so much better. But, a couple of days of that and we were able to move to an Aqua cabin. Again, we found those lousy Albatross toiletries. My wife asked the cabin steward if we could get the Bulgari stuff instead...and was told, no, those were only for the suites! But, then, he managed to get us some anyway... In our Aqua cabin, we found only soft pillows. My wife asked for a couple of firm pillows and was told they were “out”... But...it gives rise to the question: What are we really getting for booking Concierge and Aqua cabins? Concierge: one bottle of cheap champagne and the ability to go to lunch in the MDR on embarkation day IF we get to the pier early enough? Aqua: Blu restaurant and a shower with strange nozzles aiming at our legs? It certainly can’t be a special perk to get THAT crummy shampoo???
  7. My preference...as an adult and not wishing to deal with Disney...is to stay in Santa Monica...especially if not having a rental car at my service...There’s lots to see and do in walking distance...and, if one wants to see the traditional LA tourist spots, it’s easy to find a tour or the HOHO bus from there...in the evenings and for dinner, there’s lots of restaurant and nightlife choices. I am not sure I would choose the Doubletree, though, not the best location...off the beach and “other side” of the freeway... The Loews, Shutters on the Beach, Marriott Le Marigot, Fairmont Miramar, Huntley House, Georgian, Wyndham and others are better located...If you’re looking for a Hilton product, I might prefer the new Hampton Inn next to the Metro Station. Renaissance Long Beach is one of my favorites in Long Beach...I’d stay there if you don’t really want to spend a lot of time in LA proper...it’s not all that close...but there is one tour company—Sunseekers—that will pick you up there for an LA/Hollywood tour... Disneyland is not particularly close to any of this. If part of your group wants to visit Disney (easily a full day or more investment), I would agree perhaps best to split up and meet at the ship on embarkation day...
  8. Depending on the exact dates you are looking at, you are right on the edge of the "330 day" period when the airlines first release their flights for booking. Sometimes, when they first post these, the fares are artificially high...When all of the airlines are on the board, those fares usually start coming down. Just take a deep breath and wait. Check back using a website like kayak or cheapoair and see what comes up...and be aware, even those rates will change, Patience!
  9. They also assume you are taking a cruise line transfer to the airport...and those sit around until they fill up and take forever unloading. Get an Uber...or, at worst, a shuttle service...but Uber will get to you quickly, leave immediately and drive you directly to your terminal...You will have time to kill at LAX...
  10. Take a look at Parker's Lighthouse: http://parkerslighthouse.com/ It sits on the point of the marina, with tremendous views of the Queen Mary, Carnival Terminal, etc. Call and tell them it'a a special occasion and see if you can get a reservation for a table with a view... Take the free Passport Shuttle from the front of the Maya and get off at Shoreline Village...
  11. Is the LA itinerary 10 nights as well? (You said "similar" itinerary). If they're BOTH 10 nights, then you likely get longer port times or more ports--and less sea days out of LA...If it's 10 nights out of SF and 7 out of LA, those three extra sea days are actually well worth 100-200 per person...We actually enjoy sea days--especially toward the end of the cruise...they can be relaxing...but you are only as bored as you make yourself... As to things to see on the coast, if you mean from the ship while at sea, you are not likely to see much but open water, they usually sail pretty far our from the coast line...though, if you are doing it during whale migration season and you get lucky, you might spot a whale (We have on one cruise!)... As to luggage costs, if you fly Southwest, there are no luggage fees...
  12. So, I always watch the pricing on my cruises after booking...in case they go down...But, just out of curiosity as well, I just watch it until the end... I have a cruise on Reflection leaving in less than 2 weeks...and, for that cruise, they are apparently down to one single cabin left (though, obviously, it could change...someone could drop out last minute or they may have a 24 hour courtesy hold on a cabin, etc.)...It's a Concierge cabin... They are showing two basic rates: A "Best Rate" at $2409 per person with zero perks...and... A "Sail Plus" rate for $2949 pp with THREE perks... Okay, those make sense since available perks are a) Drink package b) Internet package c) Gratuities (worth a total of $360) d) OBC ($300) Theoretically, it could all add up to about $3000 in perks (if you skip the OBC)...and worth the added $1040 to a lot of people... Here's where it gets bizarre: First (and a minor point), the "Best" rate says "Nonrefundable Deposit" and the "Sail Plus" says "Refundable Deposit"...Of course, with just 12 days to the sail date, aren't ALL deposits nonrefundable? In fact, there's no longer really a deposit since you'd have to pay in full by now... But even stranger is this: When you click on the Sail Plus link, it brings you to a page where you have the option of keeping and choosing the 3 perks...OR, you can go "All-Inclusive" and get ALL FOUR PERKS...For only another $420 per person!!! Excuse me...If you get THREE perks and choose the drinks, the internet and the gratuities, the ONLY one left is that $150 per person OBC...SO, you are paying $840 in up front cash to get $300 in nonrefundable OBC!!! Are there ANY idiots out there that would actually take THAT deal?
  13. Don’t you have points with ANYONE else? Okay, seriously...First, are you cruising with Carnival? If you are with any other line, you’d be sailing out of San Pedro...and the choice would be easy. Your points would work at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro. Between those two HIs, it’s a lesser of two evils thing. The HI Downtown is in an absolutely terrible location...an unsightly neighborhood, right between a major hospital (and sirens through the night) and Long Beach’s roughest high school. The HI at the airport is just dull and in the middle of nowhere. It’s encircled by a major freeway off ramp with very little nearby. A Subway is the ONLY place to get food within walking distance. And it’s a LONG way from the cruise terminal. I’d say it’s okay if you have a car. If no car, you’ll feel a bit stranded. That CP in San Pedro is actually closer to the Carnival Terminal than this HI. And has a bit more around it. But, if you were forced to choose between only the two HIs, clearly the airport one would be nicer. I’d also consider saving the points for another trip and just paying for one of the Hyatt’s, the Renaissance, the Westin, the Maya Doubletree, the Residence Inn Downtown or the Hilton...
  14. Natorious, You need to come over to THIS thread: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2504675-june-26-2019-baltic/page/12/ ...it is the specific Roll Call thread for this specific sailing. Lots of discussion about this sailing in particular...posts about ports, tours, info on how to get an invite to the “Meet&Greet”, etc.
  15. On our Southeast Asia Millennium cruise this past Christmas/New Year’s, we were booked in an OV. We put in a bid of $10 pp over the minimum for a Veranda. 2 days prior, we received notice our bid had been rejected. When we checked in at the pier in Hong Kong, we were surprised to find we were upgraded to a midship handicapped (not that we needed it, but it’s a larger cabin than standard) veranda...FOR FREE....not part of the MoveUp thing...they close the books on that with 2 days to go. This opening was, apparently, a last minute cancellation.
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