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About cynbar

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    North Falmouth, MA USA
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    travel, reading, pets

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  1. cynbar

    Dining “class” issues with a group

    I don't know which of your group are in the Royal Suite, but the ability to dine in Luminae is one of the main perks they are paying for. Have you talked to them about this, and whether they would mind forgoing Luminae to dine with the rest of you in the MDR? It is true that suite passengers can ask to bring guests to Luminae for a fee, but I don't think it's designed for that many extra people at once, even if you all are willing to pay. At least, I wouldn't count on it on a regular basis. Luminae isn't that big, it would likely make it more crowded for those who are in suites, or mean they would have to wait. Would the Royal Suite people be willing to downgrade their cabin for this trip? We have occasionally traveled with a group and gone along with the consensus, even though we usually take a nicer cabin or hotel room. I do agree with you that now is the time to figure this out.
  2. It does seem to cheapen the recognition levels if others can get them so easily. Do these people keep their newfound status level, or is it just for the cruise when they are sharing a cabin with an Elite ?
  3. I agree with the above posters, get the drink package. It covers all drinks, not just alcohol, and things like bottled water and specialty coffees and fresh squeezed juice do add up. Then figure in a cocktail, a glass of wine and an after dinner drink. I think you'll find it is more than you expect. Plus, we love the freedom of no checks to sign, and the chance to try some drinks or glasses of wine we would not if we were paying by the drink (I discovered mudslides this way!). It has an elegant feel to it, similar to the feeling of trying different foods on a cruise without thinking about a bill.
  4. cynbar

    Hotels in Barcelona, Spain

    Here's another vote for the Hotel Colon. We loved it, perfect for strolling the Gothic quarter and close to Las Ramblas, convenient to lots of restaurants. We did pay for a cathedral view room and weren't bothered by the bells at all, but I have to admit we were pretty tired after travel, sightseeing, etc. It was great to be able to look out at the old cathedral, especially lit up at night.
  5. cynbar

    MDR Menu substitutions

    This might only be me, but I ask for menu substitutions in moderation. I do often ask for gravy or sauce on the side because too much or the wrong taste can ruin a meal for me. This has always been done with a smile, by the way. But other things, such as a little more broccoli, I stay away from. I do believe the meals are produced in assembly line fashion and it is extra work to make changes. So if something is not likely to ruin my meal, I leave it as is.
  6. cynbar

    Questions about regal princess

    There seems to be no consensus on the shorts policy at dinner in the MDR. It is against Princess' stated policy, and almost all cruisers I've seen are good about following the dress code. There have been some reports on these boards about shorts being allowed, but also reports about cruisers in shorts being turned away. I would certainly plan to bring long pants for a man, capris or slacks or dresses for a lady. Then, if you find shorts are allowed, go for it! I should add that shorts are always fine at breakfast or lunch.
  7. The ship may well vary the direction it docks, because we were on the starboard side, and we faced the pier in Greenock. That was the place the piper played us in on a misty morning.
  8. We did the British Isles cruise a couple years back, and arranged our transfers to and from LHR with a private car, Smith's for Airports. Although we didn't tour Windsor (we've been there before), I remember that the car company offered to include tours of Windsor, Stonehenge and some other places. This might be worth looking into, it would certainly be a more personal experience and I'm guessing better organized, too.
  9. Starboard side. The ship will sail clockwise around the British Isles after you leave Southampton. Especially for your 2 sea days, you'll be ab;e to see land with some lovely sights most of the time. Also, go out on your balcony when you are sailing into port. We were on the starboard side and had a great view of a lone piper on the pier, playing us in. I should add that this assumes you are doing one of the standard 12 day cruises that go to Guernsey, Ireland, Scotland.
  10. cynbar

    Princess vs NCL

    I just have to say, we prefer Princess and Celebrity but we have enjoyed our NCL cruises. Yes, NCL is different than the other two lines but does have its strengths such as more varied (and cheaper) specialty restaurants, very flexible dress code, friendly staff and a great suite experience. I don't like seeing people say they would never sail NCL --- if the price and itinerary are just what you want, grab it and concentrate on the good points of each individual ship.
  11. I was unsure about Uber until I tried it -- now we love it! So easy to use, and it has the advantage of coming to you wherever you are --- no need to look for a taxi. Download the app and register a credit card. The, when you want to hail a ride, log on and punch in your destination. It knows where you are already. The app will quote you a price and show you Uber cars on your area. You accept the price and then the app tells you which car and driver will pick you up, and when. At the end of the ride, just get out (perhaps adding a tip online) and the fare is automatically charged to your credit card.
  12. We enjoy staying on 17th Street, where you'll find an assortment of hotels and restaurants. It looks out on the cruise port (not walking distance, though.) There are a couple of casual seafood restaurants there too, and a Sun trolley that runs up and down 17th St to the beach for a very low rate, I think it was $1.00 per ride. You'll also be close to the water taxi which is a lovely way to send an afternoon, sightseeing and getting off at various stops including downtown shopping. Embassy Suites is popular and includes free breakfast and evening happy hour. We have also stayed at the Renaissance and Hyatt Place, enjoyed both --- you'll just have to check prices for your dates. You don't need a rental car unless you want to see more of the area, taxis and Uber are plentiful and reasonable. Edit: Las Olas Boulevard is the downtown shopping area I was referring to, there is a stop on the water taxi that will take you there.
  13. cynbar

    Princess' Club Class Suites vs NCL's Suites

    It depends on what you use the butler and concierge for. True, there is no one to make reservations for you, but you'll be treated very well when you call yourself. True, there is no one to do special little things like leave your favorite snack in your suite without being asked. But other tasks will be handled efficiently. Your steward will take care of picking up/dropping off your laundry. You will still be able to enjoy full meals in your suite, but here they will be served by room service. We have usually sailed in Celebrity suites with a few in NCL's Haven, but we chose Princess in a Vista suite for our 2 week British Isles cruise. Sabbatini's for breakfast beats out the other two lines, but overall I have to agree that Princess lags behind in suite perks. We chose that cruise for the itinerary, and we had a wonderful trip.
  14. I'm not sure what specialty restaurants are on the Ruby, but you can find out on the Princess website and view the menus there. Decide if you want to try them. We find the MDR food just fine, and you'll be in Club Class so you should have an upgraded dining experience (we try it for the 1st time next winter.) The International Cafe is a nice addition to the dining choices, and almost all is free. You'll get donuts and other breakfast pastries in the AM, plus a breakfast sandwich option. The rest of the day, you can get sweets and small plates such as salads, small sandwiches, soups. The coffee bar is also here, and it's on the ground floor of the atrium.
  15. cynbar

    Another tipping question - sorry!!

    The only time I think extra tips are expected is if you order room service, and then it is only a couple of dollar bills. There is no receipt to sign so really no way to add it onto your shipboard account. In addition to that, there have been some staff members whom I felt went above and beyond, and on those occasions I did slip them a little extra cash at the end of the cruise. Certainly not required, however, since the basic tips are already paid. Even though you had hoped to avoid it, do bring a little cash in case you feel the urge to recognize some of the staff.