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Everything posted by bigrednole

  1. You are correct that it is not a one-size-fits-all. But when it does happen, you list the advice that you didn't really need a passport, and you get stuck in a foreign country having to wait for your government, don't complain about the costs and waiting. Just accept that you cheaped out to someone else's advice, let it be a life lesson, and move on.
  2. We will be on the same cruise since there is only 1 8-night cruise that month.
  3. Needed? No. Recommended? Yes. If something crazy happens and must fly home from a foreign country, you will have to go through the embassy to get a temporary pass to return to the US. That adds time. Odds of this happening is low, but you probably don't want to be in it if at all possible.
  4. Just booked a cruise to the ABCs. We have 14-hours in Aruba and trying to figure out what to do. On our other 2 cruises, port stops were only 8 hours or less. With 14, there is a lot more that can be done. We are a year out. The next day is 14-hours in Bonaire which will definitely include snorkeling at Klein Bonaire. Curacao may be a car rental day to drive to a few beaches. I am just trying to get some ideas while I research. Renting a gold cart to go around or a car is definitely possibilities. Sunset catamaran cruise is an option. Just lots more to do than a get off at 9AM and get back on by 3-4PM.
  5. I just booked it this morning. ABCs here we come. Now, I have to decide when I will let the wife know.
  6. Actually it is. Our last cruise was Western. We pretty much were limited on the ports. Roatan, the main port we wanted to see, the captain didn't port while all others did. Belize we were pretty much stuck on NCL's island which was nice, but what we wanted to see we couldn't because of the time on the ferry. Costa Maya got cut back to only 4 hours. Cozumel had a wind shift and the main reefs to snorkel were shutdown. So, it was a big let down. We are planning our cruise for next Summer. Got a decent casino rate and trying to decide. The other factor was driving to Port Canaveral is easy at about 8-9 hours. Personally, I was initially leaning to the ABCs, but wanted to ask. I will be booking the ABC cruise this week. Driving to Miami is a bit too far at 12 hours. I would have to take 6-days off work for it. Driving down would be a little pain, but back would be worse. I would have to work the next day. Driving 12-hours, getting home about 8-9PM would make for a bad day. There are usually direct, non-stop flights into FLL or MIA from us. The hope is we have enough cc points to cover flights, but that shouldn't be an issue.
  7. I have several offers out there, but none like the $25 offers when we can't cruise. The best I could find when we can cruise again is for next Summer. It amounts to about $2600 for 3 people and $600 OBC. Since we can only go over the Summer, we are limited. For 8-nights and free drinks in the casino, that is about as good as we will find.
  8. I just received a few good casino offers. We cannot cruise until Summer 2023. The two cruises we are looking at are Mardi Gras 7-nights Western Caribbean or Celebration 8-night ABCs. We went Western Caribbean on NCL in April, but pretty much missed everything port wise. Roatan we didn't port, Belize was private, Costa Maya got cutoff by about 4 hours in port, and Cozumel had weather that blocked us from going to the good reefs and El Cielo. With that said, that is why we want to do Western again at some point. But, the Southern on Celebration gives 14-hours in Aruba, 14-hours in Bonaire, and I think it was 8 or 10 hours in Curacao. Price wise, the 8-nt is a little cheaper (~$100) but we have to fly in. But that could be the case with Port Canaveral as well. Which would you choose?
  9. We took our first cruise on Magic over Thanksgiving 2021. Our second was on NCL Breakaway over spring break. I still think I might have a different opinion if our ports stops weren't screwed over. Even that, we had much more fun on the Magic. People were just more fun and party type atmosphere. My wife asked about next Summer and I said I would only look at Carnival. We can't decide whether to do Western again to do everything NCL messed up on or do Southern to try the ABCs.
  10. I have to give credit to Discover Roatan. We did just receive our refund. We new the 4% penalty for any refund, so that was no issue. I do however give them a minus on it taking 7 weeks. When we do get to go to Roatan again, we will be using another service. But for those that have booked with them, I can assure you a refund will eventually come.
  11. Mirrorless or a Bridge camera are probably the best options. Bridge because it is all in one, but could sacrifice on image quality. Mirrorless if you are willing to invest in the lenses needed for an Alaskan cruise. Used work just as good as new and you can save a ton. You just need to determine which features you need. I chose m43 for price, features, and weight. Software solved the noise problems with the smaller sensor which makes the savings that much better.
  12. Cruising is a right, not a privilege. I am glad for the vax rules. If your not vaxxed no cruising. A teacher asked my daughter about going on a cruise now that his child finished preschool and starts Kindergarten next year. She told him what many on our first 2 cruises said: without the kids club open or kids activities, they will be at your hip the entire time. Since Disney is out of the price range by 3x, he is getting more info. The simple fact that many can't vacation on cruises because restrictions, means only those vaxxed should be allowed to go.
  13. I started with Nikon about 20 years ago, upgraded it to Canon a few year later, then upgraded the Canon to a much better one. After lugging around very heavy gear, I moved to mirrorless. Was thrown into m43 because that is what the camera place pushed. I liked the Olympus, but there were things I missed. I went to a Sony a6400 and absolutely hated it. To the point I sold it a year later with only 200 pictures taken on it. I told myself I was going to buy my next camera and keep it for at least 10 years. It came down to 2 options: Panasonic G2 and Sony a7iii. The decision was made when it came down to price and the capabilities in DXO. For $1,000 less, I went with the Panasonic G2. The weight difference was a big factor too.
  14. I had a Sony a6400 and hated it. I could never get a steady shot with it unless I was shooting at 1000 speed. I loved how my Olympus always had very steady shots with IBIS but there were things on it I missed from my old Canon dslr. After going to 3 camera shops, each pushing their own preferred brand, I bought the Panasonic G2. I really wanted the Sony a3, but it was $1000 more and lenses are much more expensive. I got the G2, 12-140 lens, and a 25 f1.7 lens for $1000. The camera body alone for the s3 (at the time) was near $2,000. I love shooting with the G2. Size, weight, IBIS are all great. Customizing the dials to what I was use to on the my old Canon was great. Yes, higher ISO and dark images have more noise in them. However, DXO's DeepPrime solves that insanely.
  15. Nice. I don't have PS. I got DXO mainly for DeepPrime. The auto stuff works fine for me.
  16. This is just me on my single specific cruise. ALL of the juices and available drinks that are included were super sweet. They all had to be cut with 50% water. It could have just been our sailing, but even after asking the crew working nothing changed. Just had to go with the fact that if you want lemonade or orange juice, fill the glass with half water and stir.
  17. Personally, I would not risk my phone for underwater unless: 1. It was rated as waterproof 2. Insurance would cover water damage. 3. That plastic bag does not interfere with the quality of the pictures. I am pretty sure 2 of those are No to begin with.
  18. I went through all of those thoughts too. We were suppose to snorkel 2 excellent reefs and the starfish sanctuary in Cozumel. Then, a full day in Roatan at West Bay. We got neither of those on our trip and it made the cruise far less enjoyable. I can honestly say, I probably wouldn't buy the TG6 for $450 that it is in the US. It went on sale to $375 (after discounts) and then my cc company had a $175 rewards for the purchase. In the end, I paid $200. I think that was a good price. I wouldn't pay more than $250 for it, that's for sure.
  19. There is a drastic difference in having your cruise in 3 weeks canceled vs over a year. They gave you price protection and $100 OBC. That is more than fair. Now, you just have to find what is available for your dates. I don't recall seeing the details of your specific dates, but if you publish them, I am sure the sleuths would be able to find a similar itinerary.
  20. This was zoomed in a bit if I recall at about 15-20 feet down. The water and sky were cloudy, so getting great pics was very difficult. The first picture is straight out of the camera. The second is with a few slight adjustments using DXO. I am not a photo editor. These adjustments are very slight. Most of it was DXO's automatic lens adjustments. About the only adjustment I did was the Red. Slight adjustment on that brought the colors more in line with how I saw this.
  21. I did get to try it out. The water conditions were not ideal: partly cloudy out, deep and cloudy water. I got about 5 keepers out of 25 shots. Where we got to snorkel was not what was anticipated. El Cielo, Palancar, and Columbia reefs were closed due to wind conditions and waves. The only reason I got it was due to the discounts. From what I did shoot, I am extremely happy with it and cannot wait to use it in better conditions.
  22. It helps to see how the different companies manage it. We are not at the point of traveling multiple times a year, but when we do we will get the annual travel insurance.
  23. When I was on CCL in November, it was extremely worth it for us. The breakeven is 4 drinks a day. I hit 15 once and close 2 other times (we had 3 extremely rough sea days where drinks helped). There is something about walking to breakfast in the morning and then seeing your favorite bartender have your drink ready for you as you come back by. It may sound a little crazy, but a 7AM cocktail is a nice way to start the day on vacation. We will always buy it, even if there is a chance we may lose a little money. The last thing I want to think about is...do I really want this drink because it will cost me $12-$15? Nope...it's already paid for, so thank you!
  24. Glad you made it home. I am sure it has been an adventure to say the least. Besides all the updates, I am very curious to hear how the rest of the story goes...the insurance coverage. It is not until you have to deal with insurance you realize how bad it is to deal with them. That was our experience in another situation and I can tell you that insurance companies are only your friend when you are paying them.
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