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About cementhands

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    Cool Cruiser

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    New England
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  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    celebrity, ncl, RCL, Princess
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  1. Sad. It is sad to be around drunks. I’ve been around drunks my entire life and I’m sad at how they act. But drinking packages are the new normal. Functioning alcoholic people are everywhere. Young drunks are funny. Old drunks sad. Celebrity or Norwegian seems to have an abundance of drunks in tank tops in the evening in the elevators and elsewhere. The New Normal. We cruise less now because of it maybe or it’s because as we age we’ve seen enough. I’m thinking security has changed its tolerance level. What is now acceptable use to not be.
  2. We live in New England and always try to cruise in January or February to The Caribbean. Love it. Less kids onboard unless vacation time. Water is warm at beaches. It’s a great way to get through the winter. The prices are generally good then. Early December are very reasonable.
  3. If you’re immune system is at all compromised it’s best to avoid hot tubs and pools. Especially with drinks package being available. Often times drinks are delivered to passengers who spend their time in hot tubs and pools. Cancer survivors are at high risk for infections. A small cut can allow for infections. A good friend of ours nearly losses a leg from hot tub to cut foot infection. Cancer survivors should be aware. My wife avoids all hot tubs and pools. A nurse at Dana Farber gave us information on this on post cancer first cruise.
  4. Coming back to Tampa a few years ago we were stopped by fog. We enjoyed an extra night. Total mess for passengers waiting to board. Fog was severe. The bridge was the issue.
  5. I’ve often booked cruises on Wednesday before thanksgiving or Friday right after. Both times I found the lowest prices for inside cabins. I’ve also noticed that when the stock market takes a dip rooms become available and prices drop.
  6. First cruise hints. Bring a highlighter and mark next day activities schedule so you don’t miss anything. Bring cruise compass ashore for information if you have any issues. Read reviews for ship to get hidden tips from seasoned cruisers. Bring any prescriptions in pharmacy bottles. Any special medical issues have information document of doctors back home. Smile and enjoy your cruise and let loose. You’re never going see these people again. Buy new underwear and socks. Leaving them home. Take old underwear and socks and throw away onboard after using. Now have room for duty free booze or souvenirs. Go home to new undies and socks!!!!
  7. We’re looking at an 11 night Ncl cruise with 10 ports out of San Juan and are getting the cheapest inside cabin. We can get the drink package for same room for free but the room cost increase is about $1,000.00 for gratuity and up charge. My wife doesn’t drink and I’m not a big drinker. So being on shore every day it will be a waste of money. We’re diamond on RCL and we enjoyed the diamond lounge and never use up our 3 drinks in other bars. Cruising more often fits our lives.
  8. Good reason to keep prescription drugs in original containers. A few years ago I met a Doctor onboard and his wife who had medical marijuana. He said he had all legal documents. I’ve wondered about what could happen if overzealous police from a local country might do. A few years ago a cruise ship were on was searched and the crew was caught smuggling cocaine in the seat cushions in a lounge. Pre security cameras. What a scene. Scary.
  9. We have our own snorkeling gear and get off the ship walk to tent and buy round trip boat tickets for snorkeling at Klein Bonaire. The small island across water. Excellent snorkeling with the current. It’s a beautiful snorkeling reef. Sea turtles and deep drop off. $20 each a few years ago. Boat shuttle are constantly going back and forth on the 1/2 hour. One of our favorite places. Polar beer in restaurants in town. Very walkable. Enjoyed Bonaire several times. Can’t wait to return.
  10. MDR Breakfast the raisin bread. Lunch tutti salad. Solarium cafe roast beef sandwich and chips. Surf and turf lobster tails and beef. Caesar salad with anchovies. Mushroom soup in solarium cafe. Creme brûlée. Cheesecake. Shrimp cocktail.
  11. On the Grandeur February often we were greeted by a RCL staff asking to see our diamond cards. Different person nightly. On Visions October same. This is open up into the South Pacific lounge. On Anthem you swipe your card to get into the diamond lounge with overflow into upper dance hall. My wife used her loaded 3 drinks while on RCL Visions 9 night with our daughter a few years ago. Our daughter was with mom alone sharing a room and denied access. Rules are rules. I’m very happy with RCL perks. It took a long time to get to diamond.
  12. I feel your frustration. Contact Ncl for upgrade on the rooms you have. Ask for free specialty restaurant. Once back in 2013 we were going as a family reunion during thanksgiving week on the Epic. All had inside rooms. 9 rooms 17 family members. I called our travel agent about price dropping and nothing. I asked for room upgrade and got one for myself. Then I thought about it and got back to TA and requesting all upgrade. Low and behold we all enjoyed balconies. A few were back of ship. It might have been because of thanksgiving week and prices drop. But the squeaky wheel gets the oil!
  13. Baltimore area cruisers love the Grandeur. Multiple repeated cruisers. Loyal to RCL. I’m sure they know that in Miami corporate. The uproar would be overwhelming. We have enjoyed the Visions Grandeur and other RCL small ships multiple times. Certain ports can’t accommodate the bigger ship. But who really knows what RCL plans are? The bottom line is what fuels the industry.
  14. We started cruising on Carnival when we were 40. And throughly enjoyed it. Then one day in port I looked up at a Celebrity ship with tennis and basketball court and said someday. Long story short we enjoyed Celebrity for a while but found not enough activities. So we enjoyed Princess and then RCL. 14 cruises out with RCL. Several with NCL. One and done with HAL. We’ll be back when older. Loyalty program with RCL is great. Now diamond. 4:30 to 8 pm lounge with drinks. Elite on Celebrity gets us 2 bags laundry plus drinks lounge in evening. I would recommend giving RCL a try. You can always go back to Carnival. And I would never bash anyone’s preferences. To each his own. But once you get all the perks of RCL and enjoy the activities it’s hard to try out others.
  15. It depends on service. Recently on Grandeur $10 spot. Same for waiter and assistant. I even gave assistant maitre de each a $10. Excellent service. It is a personal decision. The cruise was 12 nights. Other cruises maybe not. It depends on service. When we were younger and cash strapped we didn’t. We didn’t have it. But now a bit more generous for great service.
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