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Caribbean Chris

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  1. Maddieking, Your review was great. It gets easier after you have that first cruise behind you. It was nice of you to mention the book Henry and I wrote! We had so much great input from people here.).
  2. Right you are, of course. It was the Nieuw Statendam. I’ve never even sailed the Nieuw Amsterdam, so who knows why I typed that!? Thank you for the fix. Chris
  3. I’m posting my opinion based on actual experience in an Aqua Class room on Edge last January in the Caribbean. There was a very long build-up and major hype about the ship leading up to its delivery, with (animated) people in an X website video mockup demonstrating the infinite verandah and French doors. The IV really sounded like a game-changer for the industry. The Magic Carpet also was a major focal point of the hype. Things I liked: -Using my iPhone on board in new ways like controlling lights, TV, verandah shade in the room, playing Trivia, checking lunch & dinner menus and so on. - Blu restaurant’s food & service (though I was sorry the shades were kept closed all the time because of the view being permanently blocked by machinery). We usually book Sky Suites and, for me, Blu was the equivalent of Luminae in food & service. -the novelty & fun of trying a brand new ship with a new look during its maiden season. -the big light show coordinated with music at the Martini Bar - loved that huge light fixture. -Having breezy drinks in the daytime on the Magic Carpet. -the attractive ocean view cafe had great windows and lots of seating. -Finding a new variety of items to buy in the shops than on the other ships, including a handbag I love. -The aft, multi-level Eden lounge green decor of live plants was unique and attractive. -Sampling all the spa’s multiple special steam/sauna-type novelty rooms (included in price of Aqua Class). Things I did not like: -the Infinite Verandah was a disappointment - smaller than a balcony, less feeling of being in the open air (because you were actually still inside the cabin with a big picture window). The verandah furniture was uncomfortable with chairs but no lounge, no footrest. The furniture had to be moved to operate the French doors. You could not step outside and enjoy the space while still keeping drapes closed to avoid disturbing a sleeping spouse or roommate. -the stateroom sofa also wasn’t comfortable, and was too low to the ground. It was decorated with large and very heavy throw pillows that were a nuisance to deal with. -Useless decorative items took up space on stateroom surfaces, such as a “vase” labeled that it was not to be used with water, and a sharp-textured faux coral in a niche. Aqua cabins had a carafe of strange-tasting room-temperature tea. -bathroom door closure was magnetic, making a “bang” inevitable when you tried to close it quietly to avoid waking spouse. -the closet had very minimal hanging space for any dresses or long jackets. -extremely loud techno music blared throughout the ship even at 7 am in Ocean View. -Odd layout of certain parts of the ship, with poor or almost non-existent normal elevator access to some levels. The route to reach or leave the Blu restaurant required walking through a dark fun-house style “forest” hall of mirrors with eerie music - which got pretty old four times a day. -There did not seem to be enough lounges and most chairs were not comfortable. -entertainment, including the costumed characters in the Eden Lounge and shows in the theater, went beyond novel into being just strange. A ship’s representative speaking at a program about the entertainment said, in effect, it was expected/created to cause discussion or get a reaction rather than to actually entertain. -Rather than go on with the negatives, I’ll end by saying the ship was more sizzle than steak in my opinion, and was decorated to make a designer statement rather than provide comfort. Trendy for the sake of trendy, form over function. It seemed created to create buzz and justify big price jumps at the expense of delivering very basic passenger service.
  4. I don’t have a problem with people staring at their phones/iPads on ships or in any other public place.They aren’t obligated to engage with complete strangers, and unless you have been in a coma for ten years, this is hardly unusual. It could be considered rude if it affects other people (as in the noise examples mentioned). For example to pull out a phone in the dining room, stop eating, and leave everyone else at your table hung up waiting for you to stop and finish eating so the waiters could serve the next course. Or looking at your phone in a dark theater, disturbing people seated nearby. I used to be shocked ten years ago when supposedly mature adults (ages 60s or 70s) I knew did not put their devices away. One example was taking a call in the middle of a Thanksgiving dinner and disappearing - so rude to our hostess. Or watching a football game on an iPad at the table in a restaurant’s private room between courses in full view of the 100 year-old birthday girl and her host family. Just common courtesy, which of course is now uncommon.
  5. From a few tries in Select, my experience has been if you like to eat early (before 6:30), you are usually fine, and may end up at the same good table with great staff nightly. But If you prefer to eat mid-evening or later, even with reservations, all bets are off. Fixed dining is better.
  6. “False Advertising” is a pretty strong term to use, and in this case, it seems unwarranted, along with the subtle threats about Trip Advisor and the BBB. ThE OP purchased something before investigating what she was buying, complained, got a full refund.
  7. I recall that the door was heavier to slide. I think my husband would hold it for me when I’d leave that way with the dog. The best thing about it is the big glass view of the deck and scenery beyond, which you could enjoy while relaxing on your bed or sitting comfortably in the chair or sofa. The beds in the non-Lanai rooms on that deck face away from the view toward the cabin door. So in those, you have to either stand or get up on your knees at the head of the bed and lean toward the window to peer out at scenery. But I’ve enjoyed many a great cruise in those rooms, and always have liked the ones at the end of a group, next to an exit door for easy access to the Lower Promenade Deck.
  8. We had a Lanai room on Veendam in 2018 and enjoyed it. The size is the same, but the layout is different from the other cabins along the Lower Promenade Deck and it feels slightly more cramped to me. The bed is crosswise, rather than against the window, as you probably know. But I would book one again. I love being right on the promenade. It really feels like ocean cruising as I imagine it from days gone by. (Or "Death on the Nile," without the murders.) When we boarded, the sliding door did not open, but later a man from engineering came by, activated it, and brought the card you can carry to enter from the deck into the room. You pushed a green button to exit from the cabin to the deck outside. (See photo for the cards in the cardholder, and the green exit button.) We didn't have issues with anyone using our chairs, but one reason is that we had chilly, rainy weather for part of our early-season New England/Canada cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Montreal. The first two days were sunny, and we met a nice couple in the room next door and chatted. It turned out that not only do they live a few miles from our home now, but the woman & I went to the same high school in Washington, DC one year apart. Small world! A lifeboat davit was right outside our room, so it was rather interesting to sit by the sliding door and watch the process. Some work was done out there during the cruise also. My service dog found all the activity fascinating.
  9. Celebrity typically doesn’t release rooms until about 1 p.m., with an announcement. So it gets very crowded in the Lido - people find a table, park their bags, and stay there after eating. Don’t recall the MDR being open on embarkation day. So HAL’s system is definitely better. The X Suite dining room Luminae is open for lunch, though, for a peaceful atmosphere and plenty of space for hand luggage while you eat.
  10. I wouldn’t unless you were concerned about times when he might not be with you. For example, at the kids’ program, you could just mention it in advanced to the counselors in case he seemed to not notice their instructions. I’m assuming It’s unlikely you would leave him alone in the room asleep, so you would always be with him during potential emergencies. I always ask special services for captioning on the room TV but it doesn’t happen (on Celebrity or Holland America) for live broadcasts like news programs coming into the ship via satellite. Very frustrating.
  11. Raylene & Henri are two of a kind! And Horty makes three of a kind, even though he’s a boy. Raylene plops down in the grass to soak up the rays when I let her in the back yard until I call her back in. And the same on the ship balconies.
  12. This reminded me that on my HAL cruise in April, there was a Welcome Aboard letter from guest services in the cabin specifically about port paperwork. Never saw that before on any cruise. A chart listing each date & port showed requirements. I just ignored it, as I had what I needed for ports where we planned to go ashore. It was so contradictory that it was funny, though. Half Moon Cay said, “Apply import permit 3 days prior - $50 agency service charge to process the permit.” (The ship was stopping there the very next day.) I already had my permit, but It seemed to suggest if you didn’t, you could get a quickie permit and go ashore if you paid $50 for their port agent to whip one up. For Cozumel, it said in the chart: “Present animal on arrival with documents.” Later on the page, it had - general questions: “Do we have to present ourselves with our service animal upon arrival in ports of call?” Answer: “At this time, there is no need to present yourself at any of the arrival clearances.” And of course, we DID have to present ourselves. Cindy, I guess I’m lucky they didn’t call me to fill out vet papers for Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman, where we weren’t bothering to get off with the dog. And it turned out that the seas were too rough in Cayman (as they often are) and the Captain called back the first tender trying to dock, and cancelled the port visit.
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