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About jeromep

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Eastern Washington State
  • Interests
    Cruising, rail travel, home improvement
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  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  1. We've never called the dine line for seating times in Club Class. Consider that Club Class dining is composed only of those who have booked a CC Mini-suite or a full suite. So, there really aren't that many people on board who are CC and would be in this area of the dining room. We only call the dine line if we are reserving a speciality restaurant or calling for MDR room service (a suite perk).
  2. We had a suite on the Star in 2017 and on our cruise, embarkation lunch was in the MDR. We did Club Class for that lunch (first cruise of the season out of Vancouver and first sailing with Club Class for that ship). It was excellent. We walked the ship pretty extensively the first day and didn't notice any life in the Crown Grill until dinner time (where we used our suite perk for complimentary dinner there that evening). Suite breakfast was in Sabatini's. Also excellent. Be on the lookout for the Club Class dining room entrance on embarkation day because that is where you can avoid the crowds of the buffet (I also hate trying to get embarkation day lunch at the buffet).
  3. I agree. I'd love to have Baileys Irish Cream as an available chose for both room service and inclusion on a suite bar setup.
  4. My wife and I have done suites twice in a row, so far, with one more booked for next year. After the first time, which was something of a reward cruise for paying off the house, we realized we would never cruise lower than that again. Ok, strong words, but it's hard to imaging cruising any other way, possibly a mini-suite, but we'd rather save up. It also meant that we probably wouldn't cruise that often, either. Once you have a suite, you are unlikely to go back, unless your motivation for cruising is to be traveling and on the water, and accommodation type and "perks" don't matter much. Princess is pretty good at detailing what you get with a suite. There isn't a "secret recipe" or "hidden menu items", like a fast food joint or coffee place. There are a couple things I've noticed when booked in a suite. I've always been impressed with our cabin steward in suites. This isn't to say that the cabin stewards I've had in non-suite cabins haven't worked hard and done a good job, but I've found that the cabin stewards assigned to suites are, how do I say this, more personable, generally have a long tenure with Princess, really work hard to do everything they can for you. It's impressive. Take full advantage of laundry service. It also includes dry cleaning. We typically build a laundry bag on embarkation day with the clothes we have worn during our travel days and any extra days we spent in the port city prior to embarking. Your steward will take all those dirties and get them to the laundry that day. You'll see that clothing again, generally morning of your 2nd day on board, sometimes the next day, depending on how busy the passenger laundry is. Lots of perks you have to ask for. You'll have a fruit basket and flower arrangement in your room at embarkation. You can get your fruit refreshed each day if you want. We typically move from the variety basket they provide on embarkation and move toward strawberries and bananas for subsequent days. Do try the evening canapes. Some are excellent, others are ok. It's personal taste. If you find one you really like you can order a plate of just one or two types each day. The chocolate covered strawberries are also excellent. You'll get an invitation card to the "captain's evening reception", which is held every night, frequently in Skywalkers, or another fairly large bar space. The reception is for elite and suite passengers. Depending on the sailing and the food and beverage staff, the snacks can range from pedestrian to excellent. They can really ruin your appetite for dinner. There is usually a drink special there also. I've never seen the captain at the evening reception. The invite will usually specify the snack for the evening. It's worth dropping by and seeing what is up prior to heading to dinner, even if you don't like the food offering or drink special. Don't be afraid to ask for all MDR menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can get all MDR meals delivered to your room during that dining room's normal service hours. If you do take advantage of room service, although a tip is not asked for, you can choose to tip on the order receipt or you can hand the room service attendant a couple bucks when they arrive. If you are going to carry extra cash for tips, this is a good reason to do so. I typically hand room service staff a couple bucks with each delivery, and a 5 if they bring MDR dinner to us (there are a lot of plates and dishes and they do a little setup on your coffee table to try to make it accommodating and attractive). Breakfast in Sabatini's or another specialty restaurant is a nice experience. It is very low key, you have a dedicated wait staff there and they offer a lot of flexibility in what they can put up for breakfast. They have some special breakfast items available on the menu, and they can "short order" just about anything else you want for breakfast. Because there are so few suite passengers relative to the size of the ship, you may only be having breakfast with a handfull of other passengers. On all of our previous cruises we got a little breakfast club of suite passengers. We saw each other at breakfast every morning, traded stories, talked about ports, talked about home. It was delightful. We had the same waitstaff every morning, and they got used to us and often would ask if they could put up the same breakfast as the previous day, get us the same coffee as the previous day. You also get espresso drinks with suite breakfast at not additional charge. Oh, and I think Mimosas are also included with suite breakfast. Most Princess ships have some kind of on-demand video now, and the Medallion equipped ships have all had their in-room entertainment upgraded, but if you are on a ship which hasn't been upgraded, your suite will have a DVD player (yes, not Blu-ray, at least not the last time I sailed) and you have access to a catalog of movies on disc. All you have to do is let your cabin steward know the movies you want and they will go get those for you. They will generally allow two movies checked out at once, and they typically they want the disc returned the next day to put back in the library and make available to other suite passengers. If your ship has a thermal suite in the spa, you can head to the spa reception desk and get a sticker put on your cruise card which gives you a free pass to the thermal suite for the entire cruise. If you were paying for it directly, a daily pass could get expensive. That is about the only perk you get in the spa. Suites are included in Club Class dining. I really enjoy Club Class. Its anytime dining, but you never wait for a table, and they have a couple of extra "off menu" or "fresh sheet" items each night. They also do some table side preparation of some dishes. It's pretty nice. Tender tickets are a great perk, if you have tender ports. Those will arrive in your cabin, either at the beginning of the cruise or the day before your tender port day. No waiting in a dining room for your time to board a tender. You just grab your tender tickets and head to the tender service dining room, the coordinator there will see them and put you on the next available tender. The only port in Alaska that would require a tender would be Sitka. Princess doesn't have Sitka on most of their Alaska itineraries. In Alaska, the only other way you'd be tendering is if Princess didn't have dock access in the other ports, which I'm not aware of them ever being demoted from accessing a dock in places like Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, etc. Next time we do a suite I'm trading out the mini-bar for something else. I can't drink all the booze they place there even though they are small bottles. You'll also have some beers and pop in the fridge. If you want different flavors don't be afraid to have the Dine Line swap things out. Upon embarkation you can look in your fridge and see what they have stocked and then ask the Dine Line to make changes. They will come around and make the swap some time on embarkation day. Can't think of anything else to add, right now.
  5. Thanks for the video. If you look closely at this still store you can see the sea walk windows in the floor of the bump out on what appears to be a rendering of the starboard side of the ship. So, if this is correct, it is no longer a walk with an over the edge view from outboard and inboard, but has filled the inboard void and is more of an extension of the two decks. I think it is an excellent evolution of the Skywalk concept.
  6. I'm hoping that Take Five will fill the gap in entertainment spaces I've been looking for. According to what I've read it will be a jazz lounge. One thing I've always felt was missing from Princess ships was a really good representation of non-classical instrumental music. A really good jazz quartet has always been missing in terms of entertainment options or music played on board. Sure the piano player in Crooners could sing a couple songs from the Rat Pack, but it wasn't really a jazz bar. I suspect they are going to use Take Five as a partial replacement for Crooners, but refocus the talent and entertainment to be more jazz oriented. Sure it won't be the same, but I see a lot of changes occurring on Princess right now. It's still a cruise, and by far the best vacation I can think of doing.
  7. Oh, trust me, you will meet, either here or someplace else, plenty of Princess cruisers with high Circle status who defend the line to the nth degree. You'll also find those that are very proud of their Elite status and "black card". Please don't be disappointed when you find that Princess loyalists are about the same as RCCL loyalists.
  8. Specialty restaurants are typically not packed or busy on embarkation evening. The suite perk of offering a complimentary meal in a specialty restaurant is a low cost way of providing a "perk" to suite passengers and putting employees to work on an otherwise very low traffic evening. Suite passengers are also considered the "high rollers" of cruising, which means that giving away a free meal in a specialty restaurant may encourage these passengers to come back again at another time in the same cruise and actually spend money. I'll happily take the complimentary meal in the Crown Grill, Sabatini's or wherever else, that is included in my suite fare, but generally stick to Club Class MDR dining the rest of the cruise.
  9. Anyone who has ever worked in a highly regulated or audited industry knows that prior to an audit there is always work conducted to "prepare" for the audit. This can be conducted in a number of different ways and a preparation can, and usually is, innocuous, not malicious or fraudulent. To not prepare for an audit is like being in school and being told by a teacher that a test is next week, but you are prohibited from studying for the test. As for falsified records, and dumping and discharge, that may all be factual, but to roll audit preparation into these charges is misleading and egregious.
  10. The CBS News article is from December 2, 2016. The Reuters article is from December 1, 2016. Just pointing this out for reference purposes.
  11. I generally agree, but I think a lot of that value has to do with the cabin class you have booked. Purchasing a spot in the Sanctuary is a great value if you have booked the most inexpensive inside cabin and use the cabin as a place to conduct your three S's (I can't take credit for that reference to sleeping and using the facilities as I read that here on CC some time back). If you have a balcony cabin or better, the value of the Sanctuary as a week-long booking looses its value pretty quickly. There isn't a lot of logic in booking a spot in the Sanctuary if you have a private balcony and lounge chairs of your own.
  12. I’m 42 and have told my wife I won’t sail on anything with princess unless it is a Medallion cruise. I can be persuaded to do a non-Medallion itinerary if it is going someplace I really want to see, but the 11-year-old in me loves technology and I can understand the attraction. The Caribbean Princess may be older, but she is well cared for. I think she is in dry dock now. She will feel a bit smaller than the Royal, quite a bit smaller, but has some nice features. I love the shopping cart handle location of Skywalkers. Great views. There is a wrap around promenade, which is so pleasant to walk on a sea day. Plenty of pools, and Princess is upgrading their kids and teen program areas during this dry dock. The reason the Sky Princess sailing is so expensive is because it is over Christmas, it’s on a new ship, during a high demand vacation time. It’s the perfect storm for higher pricing. On the other hand a July sailing in the Caribbean will have a number of weather event considerations, and is kind of outside the normal Caribbean cruising season. I think I’d stick with the December cruise and enjoy the new ship smell.
  13. Our first cruise was on the Golden. It was Alaska, RT Seattle. It was a great cruise. The ship was in excellent condition and had a bunch of new stuff, at that time, since it had just come out of dry dock. I will be sad to see her go. I think with 2 of the 3 original Grand Class ships scheduled to leave the fleet, it is pretty clear what Princess’s long term plans are; Royal class ships, and a yet unnamed new class of ships they have tentatively announced (that won’t use bunker fuel, either). With Golden and Star set for transfer, the. Rest of the Grand class ships, with the exception of the Grand, itself, will be the taller Grand class with the extra deck of cabins. I guess everything has its time and place.
  14. Of course, you are correct. I started poking around Princess's site and it appears that the Golden is doing 14 day RT L.A. Alaskan cruises in July and August of 2020. So, I don't know when the transfer is going to occur. Those two cruises are not listed as Medallion, so if Medallion hardware was installed during last year's dry dock, I'm not sure when they are going to activate it. I had read someplace that Golden's transfer to P&O Australia was supposed to happen in 2020. I was under the impression it was going to be in the spring, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
  15. If you are on a Medallion cruise, and you are willing to carry your smartphones with you, the Medallion will help you get around, tell you where you are, help you find others that are in your travel party, interact with screens on board to help with getting around.
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