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About coastcat

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  1. Eeeeek! 😳 Yeah, I’ll be the one running in the opposite direction whenever Freddie emerges... lol
  2. Fingers crossed that you’ll be aboard! I think the newest ships will be returned to service first (more profitable at the lower occupancy levels expected for now), and that bodes well for Encore. My bookings have changed a bit since I started this thread back in July. My first cruise will be, if all goes well, in April on NCL Bliss’s repositioning cruise from LA to Vancouver.
  3. "Unsuitable" in this case means "something which is misaligned with my inclinations." I am a quiet person, introverted, introspective, and as my Birkman personality profile describes it, selectively social. I avoid crowds unless I can stay near the edges, avoid situations where conversation with strangers is the primary focus, and don't enjoy large parties/gatherings. Carnival is made for extroverts - it's the Fun Ship, right? Not my usual kind of fun, though. My idea of a lovely evening onboard includes live jazz or classical music in the background, classic literature on the Kindle app, and a Negroni in hand. Does any of that sound like a Carnival cruise? Will I have fun when the background music is pop, the literature is a scavenger hunt list, and the drink in hand is a frozen margarita? I've set a challenge to find out. A dare, even. I dare me to try having a more extroverted version of "fun." If I hate it, hey, it was just one weekend and the churros in Ensenada will make up for it. Formal night dress codes are why I have no current plans to book Cunard or other lines with such requirements, which is unfortunate because they otherwise are aligned with my preferences. I don't even own a pair of heels. The last time I wore makeup was... I can't even remember. Sometime last year? And that was probably just some lip gloss that wore off after 30 minutes.
  4. As I understand the PVSA, a port stop does not qualify if passengers are not allowed to disembark. However, you might have found the technical loophole. In re-reading the law, I don’t see any requirement that all passengers be able to disembark, nor that U.S. citizens be allowed to disembark. If the cruise lines could convince Canada to allow its own citizens to get off the ship in Victoria, and then get back on again before the ship departs, it technically might with the PVSA. However, at this time, Canadian citizens & permanent residents returning to Canada are required to quarantine for two weeks unless they meet certain exemption requirements. If they disembark in Victoria, they’re not going to make it back onboard for dinner...
  5. Who wants to give MSC a try? They have announced some hefty discounts for Caribbean/Bahamas sailings in 2021 (Trip & Treat sale). They’re offering shorter cruises on Armonia and Divina plus 7-day trips on Meraviglia. All of the discounted trips stop at Ocean Cay. I just priced out a 7-day cruise leaving August 7 from Miami, calling at Ocean Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Puerto Plata. It’s $384 plus fees/taxes for an Interior Studio (single occupancy cabin), or $684 for a balcony with the basic Bella experience. The balcony comes out to $834 with fees/taxes. Again, that’s 7 days in a regular balcony for a solo cruiser on a glitzy newer ship. If you’re adventurous enough to try the older Armonia, you can book a Fantastica balcony as a solo cruiser on her August 13 sailing for $669 (including taxes/fees). That cruise visits Ocean Cay, Nassau, and Key West - both Ocean Cay and Nassau are overnight stops arriving at 8am and departing at 6pm the next day. I think the sale includes cruises into early 2022 as well. My 2021 calendar is full but maybe March of 2022..?
  6. The standard ports are Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlán, with Ensenada serving as a useful PVSA compliance port when needed. They’re all safe tourist destinations. Funny you should mention Panama. NCL recently announced itineraries sailing out of there starting in November 2021. Well, let’s see what they reveal next week.
  7. In 2021 NCL and Carnival will continue to run big ships (Bliss and Panorama) along the Mexican Riviera routes, plus each line will sail a second smaller ship there. Princess is moving Majestic Princess, which is a little smaller than Bliss & Panorama, to that region for the winter of 2021-2022. There's definitely a market. Heck, I have two Mexican Riviera cruises booked for next winter because it's an easy "just gimme some sunshine" trip from the Pacific Northwest. Ovation has to be on the west coast next year for the Alaska season, and it seems unlikely that she'll get to do any of her scheduled Australia cruises this winter. Could RCL move Ovation to San Pedro in the next couple months to sail the Mexican Riviera until it's time to move northward? Meanwhile, it looks like Solstice, Millennium, and Eclipse will all be looking for somewhere to go before the Alaska season next year.
  8. This will be my first Carnival cruise. It’ll come a couple months after the 15 days in a Celebrity AquaSuite and a couple weeks before I’m back on the wonderful NCL Bliss. Should be an interesting comparison. I’ll likely fly down the afternoon before so I can spend a little time in downtown Long Beach - nice waterfront and aquarium, good place for simply wandering around while eating churros.
  9. Ensenada wasn’t that bad but it’s still underdeveloped as a tourism destination. I took the standard winery tour and discovered that they make decent reds and Chardonnay there. Too bad my preference is basically any white wine that isn’t Chardonnay! Still, it was an educational tour and an amusing return trip once people started opening the free bottle of wine we each received... I’m actually getting excited about sailing on Radiance.
  10. Oh, I’m definitely a hardcore introvert. That doesn’t mean I avoid people all the time, but they do wear me out quickly. At conferences I always scope out the venue looking for “re-charge” spots. Carnival is definitely upping its game and I really want to sail on Mardi Gras or Celebration in 2022. Panorama does the 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises and the cove balcony cabin is really tempting. However, I’m looking at short, cheap weekend cruises. On any cruise line, that’s going to attract more of a party crowd. And I booked a cruise this morning! I’ll be on the renovations-in-progress Carnival Radiance in early December 2021. They have small inside cabins which are reminiscent of the inside solo cabins with a twin-size bed, but are larger and have a second twin-size bed (either sofa bed or bunk bed). And for the same price they had this cabin type with dual portholes - so basically a cheap ocean view. I think there are only 4 per ship; 3 were still available so I grabbed one. Including taxes and port fees, it was a little under $500. Not bad. Alaska flies to LAX non-stop from Everett Paine Field, which is a 5 minute drive (Seattle Tacoma International is an hour away). I enjoy visiting Long Beach. This is looking like a fun break.
  11. Okay, solo family, I need some help making a silly decision. After looking at my booked cruises for 2021, I realized that all four would be challenges to an introverted cruiser and especially to an introverted solo cruiser: first trip under new protocols; group cruise with complete strangers; 15-day transpacific; and solo during Christmas week. I'd been contemplating starting a YouTube channel focused on solo cruising/introverted cruising, and reflecting on that list made me decide to do it even if only to document for myself how I muddled through four potentially awkward scenarios. Well heck, why not add a really awkward scenario for fun? Carnival is basically the least compatible cruise line for my personality type (looks like loads of fun for sociable extroverts, though), nor are they noted for being solo-friendly. Short weekend cruises attract people looking for booze and sun. Therefore, I would like to book a 3- or 4-day weekend cruise on Carnival sailing sometime between early November 2021 and mid January 2022. The candidates are, in no particular order: 3 days on Carnival Radiance (Long Beach) or Miracle (San Diego), round trip to Ensenada 3 days on Carnival Conquest (Miami) or Liberty (Port Canaveral), round trip to Nassau 4 days on Carnival Sunrise (Miami) or Elation (Port Canaveral), round trip to Nassau and a private island The trips to Ensenada would be the easiest since I'm on the West Coast, but it's not an enticing port and thus I'm more inclined to do one of the 4-day Florida sailings. Or perhaps I should do Ensenada so I can focus entirely on the ship. Any of these sailings would be, as the Brits would say, cheap as chips with inside cabins under $400 with the solo supplement. So, which should I choose? (I'm actually looking forward to trying Blue Iguana and Guy's Burgers)
  12. The deck 6 cabins are not fully obstructed, thank goodness. The lifeboats are on 5 so you’ll see their tops and some machinery on 6. Based on the photos I’ve seen you’ll still get a good view - but not a completely clear one. Deck 7 cabins are better and luckily that’s what I got. Yes, I’ve priced out some longer cruises and it’s easier to find 2F cabin availability on those. So tempting...
  13. Double points offer, most likely. I only received 5 points for my 5-day cruise in a mini-suite. In theory I will be getting double points on all three of my booked NCL cruises but only because I re-priced them during the current double points offer.
  14. A couple differences in the OL: On Bliss, the Garden Cafe has an open balcony over the OB and the noise can drift down during prime dining times. On Joy, the GC balcony is glassed in so it's quieter. On Bliss, the OL bar is circular and in the middle of the floor up front. On Joy, it's along a wall. Great place to get a Moscow Mule regardless of location. On Bliss, there's no Starbucks in the OL but there is a full-service one on 6 across from Guest Services. Joy has a limited-menu Starbucks here as well as the deck 6 full-service one. Otherwise, it's still the same magnificent, comfortable space with the inexplicable sleepers here and there. After having sailed on Bliss, I deliberately booked a deck 15 cabin on Joy so I could be close to the OL. I also had figured out on my Bliss trip that the OL is open for embarkation day lunch; on Joy I made a beeline first for the restaurant reservations to book my solo table for Ocean Blue, and then zoomed up to the OL (use the aft elevators on embarkation day!) for a stress-free lunch. Yum, flatbreads. If all goes well, I'll return to the cruise life aboard Bliss next April. Fingers crossed and masks on...
  15. That depends on the balcony cabin! I am very much looking forward to trying out the 2F Studio Balcony on Quantum next summer. These cabins are 120 square feet, 40% smaller than the standard balcony (200 sf). The 2Fs are only on the two lowest decks (6 and 7) that have balconies, and the ones on deck 6 are obstructed view because of the lifeboats. Not tragic but not ideal for location either. It's certainly nice to not pay that double fare, though, especially with balconies being in super high demand on Alaska trips. I had to book really early though - the twelve 2F cabins on my June 2021 sailing were sold out by August 2020. Worth it? We shall see. However, I am quite content to pay the full supplement when it's a corner aft cabin with a huge balcony for the same price as a regular balcony. Really, really looking forward to that... (Mariner OTS in January 2022) And at least RCL/Celebrity give you double points when you're paying double fare. NCL does not, boo!
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