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    Upstate New York
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  1. I did notice the that in each of the bear cruises, there's usually a group of dedicated repeat regulars who form their own clique and dominate the social scene of the bear cruise. Sometimes it turns into a "Mean Girls" type of environment, but you'll find that at any gay bar/club too. That's just how gays are. Often, the bears get offended if you don't hang out with them 24/7 on the cruise. Sometimes I like to venture out on my own and dine elsewhere for variety. Then when I return to the group, the bears noticed that I was gone and will make comments that I don't like them, or some other dumb crap like that. I paid for the cruise, I would like to enjoy the ship at the fullest extent. I find that in order to maintain some peaceful balance, I usually purchase my own shore excursions that aren't included in the bear itinerary. It allows me to take some time away from the gay drama, while giving me time to relax. On one of my bear cruises, one of the hosts hit on me in front of the other bears at dinner and it make for an awkward situation. On the first night of the cruise, I was hitting it off pretty well with a bunch of guys at the dinner table. One of the hosts (cruise organizers) came over and asked me in front of the guys if I brought my sexy underwear with me. I chuckled. He then handed me a home made business card with him topless on the front of the card with his cruise cabin in the background, his cabin phone number was on the back. It was so goofy looking that I almost laughed, but I just said thank you and put the card down on the table as he walked away. Then the other guys at the table got angry and told me, "Oh, I guess we're just too ugly to get invited to your little sex party!" and they walked away. They were never friendly with me again for the rest of the cruise. That was a dumb move by the host, and I didn't ask for it to happen. See what I mean about the Mean Girl drama? Lately I have been taking regular cruises away from the gay groups and have enjoyed them immensely. Even with all the drama, I have met some awesome bears along the way and will venture back into bear cruise territory once again.
  2. I wanted to check out Elbow Beach so badly, but I didn't have time on my 1st trip to Bermuda 2 weeks ago. I'll go next time. I did manage to check out Church Bay (best snorkeling, lots of colorful and varied fish just a few meters from the beach), Tobacco Bay (has a bar with bathrooms, snorkeling wasn't as good as Church Bay on the day I went) and I went to Clearwater Beach (has a bar with bathrooms, but no snorkeling reef available). All of the beaches in Bermuda were stunning. I drove by a lot of the other beaches too. No such thing as a bad beach over there. I was pleasantly surprised. All of the tourists head to Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay. At Church Bay and Clearwater Beach, there were maybe 5 other people on the beach, while I was the only one swimming! It was awesome. Tobacco Bay had a very light crowd before noon, but they started showing up after noon when I was leaving. Horseshoe Bay is crowded all of the time, I'm sure you already know that. The best beaches for hanging out on beautiful sand beaches and snorkeling are located along the south shore, that's where the reef is closest to the shore. The north shore is not as popular since the reef is located miles away from the shore. Just my 2 cents! Here are the notes I collected from Cruise Critic before I went to Bermuda, hope they help! I was also looking for great beaches with snorkeling. ************************************************************************************************************************************ Bermuda beach snorkeling tips Church Bay for less crowded to snorkel and Somerset Long Bay to snorkel and see turtles. Elbow has a good reef. No turtles. In mid-August there were a total of maybe 10 people on the beach, more in front of the hotel-but still not crowded. less than 5 snorkeling the reef in a 3 hour time period. only porta potty. but you can buy a drink at the hotel beach bar and use their restroom. you can take the same bus that goes to horseshoe. it's a few more stops.SNORKELLING FROM THE BEACHAsk locals for guidance and they’ll be torn on which beach deserves top honours for snorkellers, but two places tend to stand out: Church Bay and Tobacco Bay. No matter which beach you choose, the water will be clear and warm (average 28 degrees Celsius in summer), the visibility excellent (up to 80 feet) and the marine life varied and colourful. Here are a few options:Church Bay: Close to the The Reefs hotel, you’ll find high cliffs and a ribbon of spectacular reefs close to the shore. It's a gorgeous location with thriving marine life. Bring your own snorkel gear and exercise caution, as the South Shore can get a little choppy.Tobacco Bay: If you’re staying at the East End of the island, this is your best bet. You'll find a sheltered bay with shallow water and lots of rocky coves to explore. Be ready to encounter a school of sky-blue parrotfish as you swim around huge rocks that jut out of the sea.John Smith’s Bay: A small, pretty beach 15 minutes from Hamilton that is popular with locals. Bear right (as you look out to sea) for the best snorkelling; the fish tend to congregate by the rocks.West Whale Bay: Close to the world-famous Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, tiny West Whale Bay Beach is secluded and never crowded. The snorkelling is great but check out the tide times in advance; the beach vanishes at high tide.Snorkel Park: This is a great, well-organized beach facility with chairs, umbrellas and snorkel gear for rent. It's located in Royal Naval Dockyard and is ideal for families.
  3. I just got off the Escape after a 10-year hiatus from NCL. The entertainment reservation system was new to me too. The reservation system was never available to me in my planner before the cruise. When I got on the ship, all of the shows were already booked solid! I was mad and angry on the first day of my cruise. I paid all that money and was not going to be able to see any shows. So I thought. It turned out, that my anger was just a waste of emotion. All of the shows (big production, comedy, etc.) had a standby line available for people without reservations. We were let into the shows 10 minutes prior. It turns out that 25-50% of the people with reservations don't even bother to show up! It seemed that way, since everybody in the standby line was able to get into every show I went to. Once you make a reservation, there is no punishment fee for being a no-show. The TV in the cabins allows you to make show reservations too, but they don't allow you to cancel reservations either. So all the shows always appeared to be booked solid, even though half the people with reservations weren't even going to bother to show up. What's the point in having a reservation system if it does nothing but piss off the newbie customers? They need to go back to the first come, first serve route again. If you must make a reservation, they will have touch TV screens and a table available on embarkation day, on the ship, to make show and dining reservations for the rest of the cruise.
  4. I'm taking your advice and heading to St. George's right away on Wednesday. Tobacco Bay needs me. I'm sure everybody and their mother are planning to head to Tobacco Bay and Horseshoe Bay too. I just got to make sure I get there first! I also looked up great snorkel beaches and I found Church Bay, Elbow Beach and John Smith's Bay are good for that too. I gotta squeeze them in somehow. I haven't been on a NCL cruise in 9 years, so it'll be fun for me to figure out all the new stuff going on. I can't wait for Sunday to get here already!
  5. KMVigs, hello! My first time to Bermuda, I'm getting pumped. Those beaches look amazing, I can't wait to hit them with my snorkel gear. Any must see sights for my first visit? Anything I should stay away from? I'm trying out those solo cabins on this trip, I was always curious about them. If you go to the FOD meeting, I'll be there drinking foo foo drinks and making a fool of myself. j/k.
  6. I did the bar hop two years ago, but with a buddy. Whatever your fears are, ignore them and go! That part of the island is so beautiful and not very developed, and its nice to get away from the big resorts on the main side. Plus, you'll have the safety of being with a group. The bars are located next to beautiful beaches, some with sand and some with big boulders to step on, that are wonderful for exploring with your drinks. The first stop had these cool hammocks and the last stop had beach chairs to chill out on. You don't need a buddy to do that with. Grab something to eat at the second stop. I think its called Coconuts. The food was really good. It might be crowded here, so you might have to share a table with somebody. Just ask, I'm sure they won't mind. The tables with the sea views are located farthest from the bar, so grab one right away when you arrive, if that is what you want. We sat near the back of the bus, so by the time we arrived inside, all of the tables with sea views were taken and we had to sit near the bar. It was still good. Cozumel has fantastic beaches and a wonderful reef full of beautiful fish to snorkel with. Please, don't waste your day wandering around the port looking at tacky tourist shops and restaurants.
  7. I just booked this cruise at the last minute. Checking for any LGBT party buddies...
  8. Hanginabout, please post a review of your Bearcruise.com cruise when you get back, I haven't tried them yet and I'm curious. I've been on nearly all the other bear cruises. They are all pretty much the same, the only difference is the preferred cruise line and the size of the group. Here is a quick rundown of my experiences: 1. AdventureBears. Small group, extremely nice. Especially one of the leaders, his name was Lazarus. He made a lot of effort to make sure everybody had a great time. Unfortunately, there was a bitchy twink passenger in our group who was very judgmental and rudely openly criticized all the bear guests, especially on their appearances. He made a lot of people upset, I wonder why he went on a bear cruise to begin with. Not AdventureBears fault. 2. Chumley's. Big group, it was hard to meet new people. The only problem I had was with the leader, Chumley. I complimented him on throwing a great party one night, and he rudely replied in a negative tone, "you think so?!?!" A simple thank you would have been sufficient. 3. Arno's. Medium sized group. I like his bear cruises the best. He really gets into it and is a great organizer that hosts varied themed events and parties on board. Everyone involved seems pretty chill and I always have a great time. He uses Royal Caribbean, and that's my favorite cruise line. Who else am I missing? What other bear cruises are great (or bad!).
  9. I've always done MTD and they always sit the two of us alone. If there's a particular set of wait staff you end up liking, you can always request them too. I've never done reservations. There's always a little line but they tend to sit everyone rather quickly. The longest I've had to wait is 10-15 minutes for the next available table. But I haven't been on the Allure yet, so it might be a whole different ball game.
  10. I was paranoid at first that I wouldn't break even on my drink package, but I did it with no problem. The drink package was nice because you could easily grab bottles of water from any bar before heading back to the room. We stockpiled a few in the mini fridge and it was nice to always have bottled water available. We drank them, they didn't go to waste. It was also relaxing not to have to sign a receipt for every drink order. They just swipe your card and go. It was worth it for this convenience factor alone. I got mine on a pre-cruise sale (Buy one drink package get one half off). I would buy it again if it was on sale, but at full price, probably not.
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