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fishin' musician

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    upper midwest

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  1. DW and I have sailed mostly Princess, but also several HAL, RCL, NCL, 2 Costa, 1 X and 1 CCL. We've also recently enjoyed 3 Windstar cruises aboard their 212 passenger power yachts. These 3 formerly Seaborne vessels are all suites and have 150 crew members, so guest to crew ratio is huge. The size of the ships allow them access to tiny ports and harbors so the itineraries are incredible. I wouldn't call it luxury, but it is certainly a more upscale experience than the mass-market lines we've been on (great service, amazing food!). So perhaps premium?
  2. Consider the term mass-market; I'd consider any cruiseline that has ships with a capacity of 2500+ pax to be mass-market. I think rather than a subjective term like premium, a more quantitative term would be "targetted demographic". CCL and RCL are going after the 25-40 something with kids; Princess and X are adding 15 years to that and HAL is taking the seniors. (NCL seems to target all age groups.) Each line caters to their target demographic. Of course the lines are blurry, and more so during peak periods. My thinking is that in this thread "premium" is misconstrued as more mature taste and preferences. ???
  3. If I can figure out how to send a private message I will provide the name. Their niche is being behind the scenes, name recognition be damned. Their coaches carry the logo of the company using them be it NCL, RCL, X, Regent, etc... So to a Celebrity customer you will board what appears to be a Celebrity coach.
  4. For me, if the Royal is sailing out in the ocean, around Vancouver Island that would be a very large strike against it. Last year when awakening the first day on a northbound we had whales blowing between us and the shore. Also, regarding Celebrity's land offerings, the company they use is based in Alaska, has a huge fleet of modern, clean coaches and a lot more Alaskans than college kids as drivers and guides. They also have two private rail cars similar to HAL and Princess, with viewing on the top level w/ bar and coffee station and dining on lower level. Cruise companies that don't have ground operations and lodges in Alaska use this company, including the cork sniffer, luxury varieties. To me, it trumps the huge lodge/complex/campus experience. Having said all that, Princess does do an excellent Alaska program. I've done Princess(3), HAL(1) and NCL(1). NCL had no naturalist. HAL had a joke of a naturalist. Princess had incredible naturalists! And throw in a full day in Glacier Bay... WOW!!! I do have one suggestion, depending on Seward or Whittier. If Whittier, do Phillips 26 Glacier Cruise upon arrival. If Seward, do the Kenai Fjords Tour. Oh, and splurge for some decent binoculars (2 pairs).
  5. It happened prior to 12/27 sailing. I was on that cruise and we were notified prior to departure that we would not be calling on Grenada because the could not reach full speed. A generator issue was cited as the cause. According to my gps, we maintained 19+ kts throughout much of the 10 days.
  6. I had silver salmon tacos from this place that were amazing! Better than anything I had on the ship. I'm salivating just thinking about it!
  7. I've done both the White Cross and Yukon RR and the drive. Both are spectacular. Last year I rented a car for the 2nd time (was traveling with my mobility challenged father in law) and we went all the way to White Horse! (See pics and vids in youtube links below:) Also Ketchikan whales while dining at a buddies, Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls, and lots of antics from once we got to the big part of the state! Similar things in the link in my signature from 2010 aboard the Sapphire Princess when our kids showed up on the ship, sending my wife into shock! For about the same dough as the Skagway Train you could do the Phillips 26 Glacier Tour in Whittier (there is a 2016 Alaska video on my youtube channel), which is beyond spectacular.
  8. I'm guessing the fancy packaging may cost more the electronic doo dad thingy. How many glossy boxes? 4? And they are 10x larger than required... I guess it's an effort to get folks all geeked up the electronic doo dad thingy. But in all fairness it is nice to have the door open up with a cup of coffee in each hand! It's too bad the phone app didn't work as well as the door opener. It sometimes took 10 minutes to load and then it might work on certain parts of the ship. This was on the Crown, it seem to be better on the Regal last spring.
  9. I've sailed about all the US based mainstream lines (MSC excluded, but trying it in few months) including Costa. I've sailed the Regal 4 times, it is a spectacular ship (but the standard balconies are ridiculously tiny). I was on the Summit in 2013, just after it failed a CDC inspection and DW and I were less than impressed with about every aspect of the ship/cruise (aside from the destinations). I'd try a Solstice or Edge class, but it would have to be incredibly cheap with an incredibly desirable itinerary to get me on one of the Millennium Class ships.
  10. I guess different strokes for different folks? Dominica is my favorite island (Tortola, where DW and I spent 8 days hitching hiking around is a close 2nd). No Diamonds International, no KFC, no Marriott, it is just unspoiled mountainous rainforest. It did get decimated by Marie in 2017, but it is coming back. This was my third time here and look forward to the next time. Below are a couple of pics from this trip and a video link of Titou Gorge (where I'm told some Pirates of the Caribbean scenes were shot). I did not take the video, but I did visit for the second time. Absolutely stunning!
  11. At 1 p.m. we were just rounding the north tip of the island, it was after 2 when they got to the dock. According to my GPS, we went over 100 miles east and slightly north of the island, then WSW to the north end of the island, then down the west side to the port. Does anyone know if this is the normal approach? Had they gone directly to the port from St. Thomas it would have shaved a couple hours???
  12. We were one deck above, c742, last balcony room on port side. My thinking is the obnoxious vibration is an issue with the side thrusters and not related to the generator problem. Thankfully I'm an early riser and was out and about when the back of the ship started oscillating/rattling/shaking... pretty bad! This vessel is in dire need of attention.
  13. FWIW, on the last cruise it was 2:30 when we finally reached Grand Turk (everything stated 1:00 arrival). With 3400+ clamoring to get off at the same time it was a severe cluster. I don't understand how, with modern navigation systems, they can miss by 1.5 hours???
  14. I was on the cruise that departed 12/27, the announcement was made during the muster drill that we would not be calling on Grenada due to a generator problem (we only got the first part of the drill ...very odd!). The ship maintained 19kts throughout the cruise.
  15. I take an old standard size Leatherman and more often than not it is discovered in my backpack when reboarding after a day in port. Only once in 30+ cruises was it confiscated. It was returned at the gang plank on the final day when disembarking (I had to ask for it).
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