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Everything posted by JimnKaren

  1. You also might look at air fares from various spots. Generally the cost is better when flying in/out of one airport. Day of the week makes a difference, too. Whatever you might be most comfortable booking might influence your decision. Jim
  2. Julie, welcome to cruise critic. You need to supply a bit more information as to the time of year and where in the Med you are going. For instance, there would be a big difference between Greece and Barcelona. And a big difference between May and September. Jim
  3. Vow renewal ceremony. Karen was not aware that I pre-paid for it. Captain did the honors, flowers for both of us, bubbly and a souvenir photo. Her comment when she discovered I had done this? "I don't have anything to wear!" Jim
  4. The longer the cruise, the less likely there will be children on board. There is never a guarantee. We just completed 51-day Tales of the South Pacific on Holland America. There were 2 children under 5. and 2 teenagers who were sailing with an officer dad. 1275 passengers and 4 children. And one service dog, very cute. Jim
  5. I have said it before and I might have to repeat it: HAL people are the best. Great attitudes and fantastic service, whether in a bar or not. Dining room service is beyond excellent and I appreciate the smaller portions in the dining room. It allows a passenger to determine whether to add a buncha weight or not. So glad that you enjoyed your time on this cruise. Please complete your online survey, it will help make things better. I gotta agree that somethings on the pier in San Diego could be better, but I cannot figure out how to make it happen. Jim
  6. We were on Zaandam March/April. 34 days from BA. Great service in the dining room. Wonderful lecturers. Great scenery. Zaandam is doing Voyage of the Vikings next summer (we booked that) and the New England/Canada itineraries. Happy hour in Ocean Bar was fun. When we were on, solo piano for the early happy hour and then a quartet for the later happy hour. They work the music so that it doesn't interfere with shows. Happy hour also in Crow's Nest. Jim
  7. Buy local. Our travel agent (found in the phone book) does not charge anything beyond the cost directly created by the cruise. I have learned to book insurance with her and she gets a commission off of that, too. I don't need discounts, I need professionalism! She and us have been doing our thing for many years. She moved out of town and we moved out of town. I have recommended her to others and they keep going back. She does what needs to be done and that is what I need. Deals? Specials? Rebates? That is not being a TA, that is a marketing person. Go local, even if it costs a few dollars more. You will be supporting your local economy. Ain't that the right thing to do? Jim
  8. No (in answer to your posting title). If you want the specific cruise, then book it. You might consider flying into FLL, renting a car and the driving to Miami. Or...drive down yourself, rent a car one-way and explore. Then fly home when you are done. Be adventurous. Jim
  9. Having cruised as much as we have, we care a bit about the ship: but ultimately, it is the itinerary. If the itinerary is something where we might have been, then possibly the ship would be a factor. If you ask folks on the cruise with you, there will be lots and lots of fervent answers. Only you can ultimately decide which is more important. Jim
  10. I am a local loyalist. I try as much as possible to keep my money in my community. $50? What the heck, support your local economy. Maybe you buy your food at one of those wholesale clubs. In that case go cheap, as the local economy means little to you. Jim
  11. I live in Florida. Where I live, there is not soil, it is sand down at least 3' (saw it when they were replacing underground electric cables). Sand is everywhere. Consider taking a small bottle of tap water. I will assume that you will have a towel. Wipe your feet, rinse them and then towel dry. If there is enough water in the bottle pour it over your head. Sand has a tendency to move around when the wind blows and it gets caught in the scalp. As for rocky beaches, go to St. Croix on the windward side. Ouch! Jim
  12. Ya know...there are lots of us CC people who live in the Bay area (that terminology is being debated locally). Ya'll can come down and stay at our houses and then we'll go out to eat every night, just like on a ship. It would be better than going to Key West or Cozumel or Belize or wherever. Jim
  13. But look at the great claim you can make on your federal tax return. Jim
  14. I am looking forward to flirting with women who will never have anything to do with me!!!! Jim
  15. We live north of Tampa by about an hour. We'll be back from our 51-day Tales of the South Pacific on 12/18. Ya wanna come to our house? We'll show you what living is like in the Sunshine State. Got some great places to goof off (we haven't been tossed out of yet). You need to let me know right away as we leave for San Diego on 10/25 in the a.m. Jim
  16. Maybe they heard you were going to book and eliminated all of them! Jim
  17. Ya know...I am sorta upset! We are leaving in less than a week...and I got nothing. We have Voyage of the Vikings for next summer...and I got nothing. I guess that giving them all of my money early on doesn't count for anything. Harrumph! Jim
  18. Biggest issue in my estimation is that the crew has not had enough time to become a team. They are all good people, however they have not had the opportunity to work together. That includes servers in the dining and workers in the kitchen; housekeeping teams are vital, if they have not had time to learn to work together, then things can not be as good as one might expect. Jim
  19. The longer the cruise, the older the demographic. That makes sense as who has lots of time? Older folks. Early December and early January are good times to cruise for a good price. I will reiterate what others have mentioned - find a good travel agent and spend a couple of hours with that person going over options. Jim
  20. The cost of the taxi is not outrageous. There is a Hertz van that goes around the port. How often is dependent on how many ships are in port. Once you determine how many, you might have a better sense of how often that Hertz van will come around. If there are more than 3 ships in port, take the taxi. If possible walk off with your luggage to get going early. If there are several ships in port, there just might not be enough officials on the pier to process you in a timely manner. You get there early, you get done quickly. If you get off about 8:00, you could still be on the pier well after 9:00. Jim
  21. As long as Karen is not with me, I have a tendency to create scenarios. She calls it slinging BS, I like to think that I could take it to the stage and make some big buck$. Once the word gets out on me, rarely do others want to engage in conversation with me. That's OK, as long as the bartenders will chat with me. Jim
  22. Two times we were on ships that indicated a stop at Puerto Caldera and both times we ended up in Puntarenas. Not sure why. You might want to look at the Ports of Call board to see if anyone has any insight on this. Jim
  23. One of the reasons that we moved to Florida from Illinois several years ago is that we would have an easy drive to several ports. Living a bit north of Tampa, we can get to Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Port Canaveral with an easy drive after breakfast at home. Being able to snag one of those last-minute cruises makes cruising reasonably priced. As stated above, Princess has Drop and Go pricing (and some are really, really cheap) and has the military OBC. Holland America offers 10 best deals on their Web site. Some are more practical than others. And there are more. Spend a couple of hours looking at each cruise line's Web site and then contact your TA. It is not always a 'Florida Resident' thing that makes the deal. Most (not all) cruise lines are willing to discount severely in those final weeks, they make more money on anyone in a cabin, rather than an empty cabin. Some deals are real quick and others are several weeks out. Jim
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