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About midwestman

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  1. Yes, I'd think that this could be a change that comes to all cruise lines, especially the Carnival family, if it is considered a "success." I think we all know that this change is not only for the purpose of "decreasing food wastage," which is a marketing camouflage for its actual purpose. Clearly, the unstated but primary concern is cutting costs.
  2. If you are paying under $670 per person for a regular balcony on a 7 day cruise, then yes you got a deal.
  3. Its short-sighted not to have some kind of travel insurance, whether you use Carnival's or find a different policy. I had to use it once due to my mother's death 4 days prior to sailing. And I've read of the horror stories of not getting it. The case last year of a couple that were gifted a cruise through friends. They chose not to get the insurance. One of them got sick and had to be hospitalized in the Bahamas. Sadly, their medical coverage was Medical Assistance, and the hospital would not accept it. Another story I read. A family trip to Mexico from California. The family decided not to get the insurance for whatever reason. The grandmother in the group did not want to pay for a hotel room the night before the cruise and they decided to drive to the port (4-6 hour drive,) on embarkation day. Along the way, the car broke down. Once that was resolved, they got to the port at 3:15pm, and final boarding was at 3pm. TSA and Carnival denied them boarding. When they tried to get their money from the cruise back, they were told that without the insurance, nothing could be done about it. Travel insurance sure is a waste when you don't need it (and you rarely need it.) But then it sure comes in handy in those rare circumstances.
  4. The difference between Carnival and MSC comes down to personal preferences. I've done both, and prefer Carnival. Sailing with MSC once, my wife and I both felt that unless you booked the expensive Yacht Club "experience," you get treated like a modern day equivalent of steerage. I'm not saying that it was terrible, but you definetely tell the difference For example, on the MSC Seaside, a large part of the ship is reserved for Yacht Club only, and only the Yacht Club dining room gets complimentary lobster. I felt that MSC was good overall. They had good drink specials (such as buy one, get one free beer on tap,) drink prices were fairly good, and I liked the shows, which are slightly shorter than traditional cruise shows. The overall price of the trip was pretty good too. MSC is geared a bit more to Europeans. You'll hear more European languages being spoken by crew and guests, more wine being served, bottled water at dinner is more common, etc. If you decide to go with MSC, here is a tip. MSC will give you a "status match" for their loyalty program. They will base it off your loyalty status with another cruise line or hotel company, but you can only do it once. (And you need to cruise with MSC at least once every 3 years or you lose your loyalty status and have to start over.)
  5. If there is a deal that includes on board credit, and the base fare has not been raised (as Carnival does sometimes to make it look like a "deal" when it acutally isn't,) it's probably the time to book now. Carnival does not offer many freebies these days. Most of the "deals" only include reduced deposit, or "upgraded rooms" (which is just inside room for "better" inside, "better" balcony for a different balcony, etc.) Book it now. On the plus side, most deals offer price protection, so if a better deal with the same or better price comes along later, you can get the better deal/price.
  6. No big shocker here. Most "sales" offer little or nothing in terms of value and savings. Its a sales pitch to make you think you are getting a value. I noticed the whole "past guest offer" didn't offer any real value years ago.
  7. I've done Brimestone Hill as well and loved it. The views are amazing (assuming it isn't raining or foggy.) That being said, I'm a history lover, even more so regarding military history. There are some steep steps, and some of the fortifications are on various parts of the hill that will require walking some steep slopes. As for what you will see (and I do see the pictures that have been posted,) you are looking at colonial-era buildings and fortifications. If you like history or scenic views, you should absolutely do this excursion.
  8. When the wife and I sailed on the Seaside in January of 2018, we could choose whatever we wanted on the Trio package. You don't have to use Ocean Cay. Of course, this assumes that nothing has changed since that sailing.
  9. I virtually always fly to FLL for Miami cruises. I prefer to use SAS Transportation for port to airport transfers. Last month, it was $13 if paid in cash per person (although I was travelling with a group of 6 which may have given us a small discount.) It's $15 max if paid in cash with SAS. I've also used QLS (Quality Limousine Service.) Their prices and service are about the same as SAS.
  10. I was on the seaside January of last year when it was brand new...I've heard that they changed a lot of things due to problems mainly with service, but I do have some thoughts. I believe that right now MSC is offering a "Drinks on us" and free wi-fi for the Seaside (just remember, the drinks on us is not as good as it sounds.) Now probably is the best time to book. I don't recall smoking being a big problem. It is a huge ship and there are quite a few smoking areas, but I think they can be avoided with some planning; and they are mostly outdoors. As for dress code, its essentially the same as other cruise lines. As long as you look decent you should be fine. I would suggest slacks as opposed to jeans on formal nights, but as long as the jeans are clean and in good shape I think you will be fine. As for the service charge, I think it's comparable to other cruise lines. There is the daily gratuities (which they call service charges.) And I don't recall ever having a gratuity added to any drinks I purchased, unless they were sneaked onto the final bill. Hope that helps a bit.
  11. Based only on the itinerary, I'd go with the Legend. Magic is a newer ship, but two of those islands are Carnival's private islands (unless you like those kinds of islands.) Sensation is an older ship.
  12. On the one MSC cruise I did in January of 2017 (on the seaside,) I went to the medical bay and was given a partial gallon of distilled water for no cost. Also consider this, the fresh water on board is distilled from the ships water system. Worst case scenario, use the tap water. The only difference between that and getting it from the jug is on the ship it will have traveled through more pipes. Otherwise its the same.
  13. WAY WAY WAY too early. Anything before 10:30 and your odds of missing the flight climb fast. 10am would be the earliest I would even consider, and I would consider that a bit of a gamble.
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