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Kartgv

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About Kartgv

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    San Diego County
  • Interests
    snorkeling, traveling, reading
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    RCI, Princess, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Australia/New Zealand

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  1. We were on Summit just 2 weeks ago and became very frustrated with Cellar Masters. We'd usually go around 6:00-6:15 for a pre-dinner drink; there were usually a few tables available, but not many. We enjoyed most of the entertainment groups they had there. We had some problems though: first, almost each night, we couldn't get served at a table - simply no staff around until about 6:30. We usually went to the bar and got our own drinks. The other issue was, for a supposed "Wine Bar", what staff there was knew or cared amazingly little about wine. The selection was very limited, they poured the wrong wines, used the wrong glasses, etc. We liked the location on the Summit (a great place to wait with your buzzer while waiting every night to be seated in Blu - but that's another story!), but on some other ships (I believe Solstice for example) Cellar Masters is somewhat closed off, so there's no activity to watch while you're enjoying a drink.
  2. MasterCard has a very good fraud detection system. A couple of years ago, I made a series of online charitable donations from my own secure home computer - 3 of them, all the same amount. Within half an hour, I had a call from my MasterCard fraud division asking about a donation - right amount, but to a group I'd never heard of. We verified the good ones and I asked how they knew that the 4th one wasn't legitimate, but they wouldn't tell me. Later, a person who worked in that field told me that they can identify the unique code of computers which initiate transactions; they knew that the last one was from a different source.
  3. Thanks for the review - we'll be doing the Royal for the first time in May. On the Doubletree questions: We've done it a couple of times and it works very well. As already noted - you must sign up when you check in. For the return after your cruise, they tell you when you are dropped off to make note of the location (an island across a couple of lanes of traffic). Once you have your luggage, walk across and make sure to sign the 'sign in' sheet - if there are too many people for one van, they take people in the order they signed the list. The shuttles run usually about every 20-30 minutes. As to the cost - to use the shuttle, I believe you must reserve your room using their "Cruise Package' rate. That provides you with the shuttle, free parking for the length of your cruise, and free breakfast before heading to the port, so it's a pretty good deal. You might be able to pay for just the shuttle - best to call the hotel directly and ask.
  4. I don't do streaming, but on our recent trip on the Summit, I was constantly being disconnected while doing simple browsing/email, etc. - at least every 10-15 minutes or so. It was easy to log back in, but still annoying. This was not in any particular location, but the whole trip (Bayonne>Quebec>Bayonne).
  5. Not that I remember, but they are constantly having one type of 'sale' or another. Considering the limited amount of merchandise they can carry onboard, it's unlikely you'll find anything really special. Ships are more likely to have sales at the end of a sailing season to get rid of destination-specific merchandise (such as Alaska, etc.). It would not surprise me at all to see them have one of their 'art' auctions labeled a "Black Friday" sale, but it would be the same old stuff.
  6. Both itineraries are great and Princess does them well. September in Alaska can have some rain, which is unlikely as you get farther south down the coast. If, as someone suggested, you are British, then rain probably won't matter much to you - just take appropriate clothing. My preference would be the 14 day (back to back) Sept. 5 cruise out of Vancouver - to Anchorage and return to Vancouver. That avoids the need to fly out of Anchorage and hopefully you'll get some nice weather that early in the month. Vancouver is also such a lovely city to spend a couple of days either before or after the cruise. Don't miss doing a whale watch excursion at one of the ports. The coastal cruise is also lovely - the weather can be quite warm (even hot!) as you go farther south. Here's another idea: Look at the Oceania Sept. 10 cruise out of Vancouver - 12 days, including Alaska ports, then heading south and visiting a couple of ports in British Columbia, then Astoria, ending in San Pedro. Oceania is a step above the mainstream cruises in service and food reputation and should be very enjoyable.
  7. We've seen many of the things already listed, but 2 occasions stand out in my memory. One was a massive pod (many hundreds!) of dolphins surrounding the ship leaving Catalina. The other was somewhere along the West Coast, had just finished dressing for dinner and walked out onto my balcony just in time to see a whale breeching about 50 yards straight out from the ship. That was spectacular enough, but it stayed right along-side the ship for about 15 minutes, matching our speed. I didn't hear anyone else out on their balconies, so it felt like it was just me and the whale. Eventually it gave a great tail slap and disappeared.
  8. The sail-away party would be my last choice. Where we go depends on the port. If it's a spectacular port for sail-away, like Vancouver, Sydney, San Francisco, or New York, then we'll either find a relatively quiet bar with great views, go to a top deck for sailing under classic bridges, or open a bottle of wine and enjoy it from our own balcony. Sometimes sail-aways are delayed for various reasons; if that happens, we may already be involved with dinner before sail-away. Best plan: No plan - you're on vacation and do whatever feels right at the moment.
  9. We did not include photos in the online check-in; it probably took an extra 45 seconds at boarding to have them do it - no issue at all.
  10. The laundry slip shows 3 choices: Wash, Press, Dry Clean. Can anyone explain how to get something such as a pair of khaki pants both washed and pressed? We sent out a bag to be washed and expected that items would be returned either neatly folded (underwear) or pressed and on hangars - this is what we've been used to on Princess (even had knit PJ's pressed and on hangars). Instead they were rolled up and stuffed back in the bag and unwearable. We asked our cabin steward but he didn't seem to understand what we were talking about.
  11. We're on this sailing and had heard nothing about the incident until reading it here. We left on a tour about 11:30 and saw nothing unexpected going on. The ship was not delayed leaving and we saw nothing unusual, though our cabin was on the opposite side from the pier. This is the second time this has happened on a ship we've been on. The last time was a Princess cruise out of San Pedro, where a ship's cook elected not to return from a shore leave. That time the cruise was delayed a couple of hours while they filed lots of paperwork with Immigration authorities.
  12. Stick to martinis and wine - no straw required!
  13. We're currently on the Summit and like you, this has been a Lobster Roll quest. I managed 3 days in a row - Legal Seafood in Boston, Boone's in Portland, and West Street Café in Bar Harbor. The best was West Street Café, especially when you included the outstanding pie - and I think it may have been the cheapest. We're finally seeing some very nice fall color as we leave Quebec, sailing up (down?) the St. Lawrence River. The next trip should hit peak colors in more areas.
  14. OK, it was nice and quiet until the couple behind us decided to call home and discuss the weather and what everyone in the family is doing, with their phone on speaker.
  15. We're sitting in the Sky Lounge right now in Quebec, enjoying peace and quiet and a beautiful sun-lit skyline. On sea days, it has been busy with activities like Progressive Trivia. Any specific questions?
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