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About 5:00_Somewhere

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Boston, MA
  • Interests
    Besides cruising ...? :) Reading, SciFi, cooking, photography, world travel, and my 2 labs.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess & Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    French Polynesia, but the Caribbean is closer ;)

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  1. We also have booked directly with Princess for many years and have been very happy with our results. But, I must say out of the gate that we have discovered through experience that, while price is an important factor, control is even more important to us. We've used TAs for some vacations, including cruises - and even have friends who are TAs - but, while some of the experiences have been good, some have been very bad. We were contacted by an AMAZING Princess Vacation Planner after our 4th cruise, and we were hooked. He was eventually promoted, and we're now with another WONDERFUL Princess Vacation Planner. They have helped us get some good rates, take the best advantage of promotions, have helped us rebook to take advantage of price drops, have helped us make sure our "no upgrade" request is honored, etc. But, I'm also one who prefers to book my own air, rental cars, hotels, private excursions, etc. (friends come to ME for help with these things, I've become so proficient at it.) ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I confess I enjoy putting together the puzzle of all these elements for a trip, and looking for the best prices that fulfill our other needs. I think it's depends on what's important to an individual traveller. I understand that for some the price may be the most important factor, for others having a professional available handle the details may be compelling, and for others still - like us - having direct control is very important. I think you have to figure out which combination of these factors is most important to you. I don't think there is a "wrong answer". Best of luck and happy cruising!
  2. You might be thinking of my review of Sky cabin D222, here: If you click on "5:00_Somewhere replied to a topic" you will be taken directly to my review, which includes several pictures. This has been a very important issue for me, as we LOVE the Caribe deck balconies on the Grand Class ships, and very much dislike the standard tiny balconies on the vast majority of the cabins on Royal Class ships. I researched this extensively, and can confirm that the cabins in our section of Dolphin Deck forward on the Sky are very much like those much-loved Grand Class Caribe Deck balconies. In addition, while I do not have personal experience with the aft Dolphin Deck balconies the OP is asking about, based on my research and on my own visual assessment from the exterior of of the ship I am fairly certain that these balconies should be identical or virtually identical to our D222 balcony. We absolutely LOVED it! Hope this is helpful.
  3. I concur with what the others have said, including the fact that it's not guaranteed. That said, however, we have nearly 30 cruises with Princess over the past 20 years and have been asking to be marked no upgrade since about the 3rd or 4th, and in all that time only once did we get the unhappy surprise of being "upgraded" anyway - to a cabin that we did NOT consider an upgrade and that was no longer connected with the 2 couples with whom we were traveling - and I was able to get it straightened out, but it was a real hassle. We've developed a good relationship with our Princess Cruise consultant, though, and she looks out for us to try and prevent this (she's been successful thus far).
  4. Another recommendation from travel companions who flew on embarkation day and used a cruiseline transfer from the airport to the ship: They recommended attaching the luggage tags before departing on their flight to help make things a little less hectic once they landed, but took along an extra set of luggage tags in their carry-on in case something happened to them in transit with the airline.
  5. I agree, the Medallion app is terrible. We were on the Sky in December and had nothing but problems with the app to the point that I quit using it altogether. I will say that on the Sky the Medallion itself worked very well. It was wonderful for opening our cabin door; in less crowded areas, we didn't even have to pull it out for a bartender or waiter to identify us; and in more crowded areas - such as pool deck bars or the Int'l Cafe in the morning - you simply had to tap your Medallion on a pay pad; and waitstaff and bartenders were always able to locate us. But, yeah, the app is terrible. I hope they fix it, but won't count on it.
  6. I'm with grouchomarx and SeaLibrarian: I've sailed on the Coral and loved her; I've sailed on the Grand Class ships and love many things about them; I've sailed on the Royal Class ships and both like and dislike certain things about them, but if them all, the Sky was my absolute favorite. True, there is no promenade deck that goes all the way around the ship, but the Sky has many, many other features that are very nice, including features you won't find on the Coral or Island. I'd say give it a go; you'll never know if you like it unless you try. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck, and happy cruising. ๐Ÿ‘
  7. I have no qualms about using the public restrooms on cruise ships. As others have said, they are typically very clean and are cleaned constantly. That said, no matter where I go, I always make sure to wash my hands thoroughly and repeatedly, especially before eating; and I try to avoid touching my mouth (though I am not obsessive about it). One thing I can say about using a public restroom is that it is highly (and disturbingly) educational with respect to other passengers' hand-washing habits. In my experience, the vast majority of passengers I see "washing their hands" in public restrooms do no more than stick their hands under the water for a second, dry them and leave. This does absolutely nothing to actually clean their hands; and if that's how they "wash their hands" when they think others might be watching, just imagine what they do (or don't do) in the privacy of their own cabins. Regardless of where you choose to "relieve yourself", I highly recommend being conscious of your own "sanitation". That's the best way to help assure you will not become ill on a cruise. We have more than 30 cruises under our belts, have always used the public restrooms regularly, and have never once gotten Norovirus (knock wood), even on ships that were on alert because it was present. I don't know if that's helpful, but it's my 2ยข. Happy cruising.
  8. As Astro Flyer said, taste is subjective, so please take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I agree that La Mer's location was not great. Not only was it a bit disconcerting to have people walking past and gawking at diners, but there was a lot of "noise" from the entertainment going on in the piazza. It was not an enjoyable experience. And, to be honest, although our service was great, I did not think the food was all that good. We have always enjoyed Sabatinis, and were excited for the new menu. Unfortunately, our service was very slow and poor, with multiple mix-ups, and again, I found the food surprisingly bland and poor in quality. We also enjoyed the Burrata in the past, but found it extremely runny and unappetizing this time. The exception was the pasta trio, which was quite good. We were so disappointed in the experience that we didn't even order dessert, though on our way out we did see the dessert sampler and it looked good. We were also generally disappointed in the food in the main diningroom. Every time I ordered fish there it was so overcooked as to be inedible. But, we did have excellent service every evening in the MDR (I know you weren't asking about that, but thought it worth mentioning). We did not try any of the other specialty dining venues this trip. Wish we'd going to Alfredo's and Crown Grill, as we talked with folks who dined at both and enjoyed their experiences.
  9. I'm not usually a gin guy, either (actually, my saying is "I like gin but it does not like me"); but Whinn was so jazzed about it and so into explaining all the ingredients and the technique in making each cocktail, it was mesmerizing. Reminded me of the bartenders in high-end establishments in Japan. If you get the chance, I recommend you try just one. ๐Ÿ‘
  10. I can confirm that there are restrooms (2 if memory serves) within the Sanctuary on the Sky and they are HC accessible: quite large with grab bars. I hope you and your mom enjoy your cruise. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  11. Very interesting. We did not experience this when disembarking the Sky in December, even though we have Global Entry. But, when we flew to Germany last October, we had a similar experience when we boarded our Lufthansa flight at BOS: we looked into a camera-like facial recognition device (were were told) and passed through without the need to show either our boarding pass or passport. The future is coming. ๐Ÿ˜
  12. Ah, wasn't Whinn great (and Raisa and Emil)? And the Gin Cart was a fantastic addition to Take 5. I wish I'd thought to get the menu, myself. Hope someone can provide it for you.
  13. I just wanted to pop on and say thanks and, once again, I love CC for this and many other reasons. We currently have the Mardi Gras cruise booked on the Equinox for 2021 - and are very much looking forward to it. But, something has come up that would make it much more convenient for us if we could push it back a year, but I wasn't finding it listed on the Celebrity website. So, naturally, I came to CC, and sure enough, you wonderful people provided the information I was looking for. So, thanks for the info, and happy cruising all. ๐Ÿ‘
  14. I wish I could go back and edit to correct my original error but, unfortunately, the edit button had disappeared before I realized I'd made a mistake. But, in an effort to correct for anyone searching CC for that information, for the record, the price for loungers is $20/person for 1/2 day and $40/person for a full day. ๐Ÿ‘
  15. As the others have said, what a wonderful opportunity. We did the SA itinerary with Princess almost exactly 5 years ago, and it was absolutely spectacular, and I agree that the Falkland Islands was one of the highlights. But, as others have said, unfortunately the weather always makes it a gamble whether or not you'd be able to go ashore. For me, though, even the chance would probably tip the scales in favor of Princess; plus the suite. And the Coral Princess is a wonderful ship, with a very nice passenger-to-staff and passenger-to-public accommodations ration. That said, I do also have to say that the Silhouette is probably my favorite cruise ship on the ocean (have sailed her 3 times), and the Aqua Class cabins are wonderful (as is dining in Blu). You really can't go wrong with either choice but, based on what you've described, I suspect you'd probably be very happy with the Princess itinerary on the Coral. I have to admit I'm a little jealous. Oh, and I also agree that if you're embarking or disembarking in Buenos Aires, I would highly recommend adding a few days onto your trip to spend time in that amazing city. Best of luck, and happy cruising!
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