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do_not_spindle

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About do_not_spindle

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Northern Virginia
  • Interests
    Dancing, cycling, ham radio, shopping (wife's), beach days.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    RCCL, Princess, HAL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean (so far)

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  1. You should. Wife & I have been on GoS several times. Baltimore is very convenient for us (1hr drive) and we seem to prefer the smaller ships. It will be a very different experience than the Allure. We find the crew to be extremely friendly. Also, IMO, more make your own entertainment and less waiting for the cruise staff to entertain you. An advantage for us is there seems to be more at sea days which we like. The 1st and last days can be inside days depending on the weather. Enjoy!
  2. We had an inside cabin roughly across from your cabin on our 12-day GoS. Agree, it's a very convenient location. We're also on the 1/24 trip, looking forward to your reports.
  3. Early December trip on GOS. The wives wanted a simple beach day. We negotiated a cab ride outside the port area and spent a few hours at Marigot Bay. $1 or so water taxi ride from where the taxis wait to the resort area. Excellent calm beach and several large catamarans came in & out also one of the faux pirate ship rum cruises. Taxi driver waited for us and other than the STEEP & NARROW roads, no issues with ground transportation. Do allow extra time for coming back as traffic or an accident can back up the roads quite a bit (not as bad as what we've experienced on Dominica but enough to think about it).
  4. On last cruise, I packed one bottle of wine in carry-on and our 2nd in checked (brain fade on my part, I knew the policy says in carry-on). That checked bag showed up at the cabin rather late (during dinner) with a polite note reminding us of the policy.
  5. As "recently" as October 2016, AMSAT held their annual meeting on a Carnival cruise out of Galveston with satellite ops on-board (5W HTs/FT817, hand-held Elk/Arrow antennas). The AMSAT office or folks who were at the 2016 Symposium at Sea could possibly advise how they handled licensing and approval to operate at sea. My reading of the info on ARRL's site is you need: 1) operating permit/license from the ship's country of registry (Panama or Bahamas mostly). 2) official copy of your license (for US hams, d/l & print from the FCC ULS site). 3) Some written advance-approval from CCL could be helpful, 4) a copy of the exceptions to the prohibited items list to get you through embarkation. 5) The Captain's permission, and 6) comply with whatever requirements are set onboard. 7) To operate within territorial waters or ashore at any foreign ports, the appropriate license/CEPT/IARU documentation for that country if it isn't the country of ship's registration. 😎 The OP can presume "radio may be part of our vacation" approval from their spouse! Worth the effort and risk of confiscation? YMMV and I have not so far. While I'd ***love*** to activate wet grids on a few satellites, or operate from a beach while my non-ham wife and her gf shops, most of our cruising has been on lines that blanket prohibit ham radios. Risk of permanent loss has so far outweighed a few hours of fun at US-jurisdiction or other ports where I could get a license or permit in advance. 73 de ks1g
  6. Can confirm. On our 12/1 cruise, they were not checking carry-on bags in S.Pacific (or anyplace else). I had used it previously and specifically asked several cruise staff. However, cabins were made accessible approx 1:00PM.
  7. On our 12 /1 cruise: There was some sort of daily morning class to music in Centrum, also several line dance and ballroom classes used Centrum on at-sea days, also a "Learn Michael Jackson's Thriller" class. There was an adult Quest game. Music & dancing: A section of the daily Cruise Compass will list all the performance times & locations for live & recorded music. Real Time Band (singer + 3 instruments) I think is on until March, expanded song list from 2017 and playing more requests, also hosting "rock-aroke" sing with the band sessions. Calypso band is decent, ship's orchestra put on a big band dance and a jazz show in Centrum. Strings duet was enjoyable for listening, and the piano player/soloist in Schooner I'm told was a hoot. Viking Crown seemed vacant for dancing late when we bothered to check (we preferred Real Time).
  8. Don't know about water 1st-hand [I bring reusable bottles, the filling of which is another issue entirely!] , but Baltimore does scan carry-on AND checked luggage (last cruise I erred in packing a permitted bottle of wine in a bag I checked at arrival, resulting in delayed delivery of that bag to our cabin and a polite gentle reminder to use carry-on next time). Our travelling companions brought a 12-pack of small cans of coca-cola (for digestive relief) without any problems. Bottled water in sealed containers *should* be OK; I'd call RCCL to verify if you can check the bag with the water or need to carry it aboard.
  9. The At-sea days are among my favorites on the Baltimore sailings because I can just relax! My experience is RC does a good-to-excellent job supporting services for religious groups. For Jewish observances, they've always been good about supporting Hanukkah observances (latkes, jelly donuts, and having a rabbi to lead services each night). On our last cruise, they moved the services to a larger space to accommodate a larger then they expected turnout. On other cruises, Friday night Shabbat service have been lay-led. The ship provides a usable xerox'd set of prayers, as well as wine and an excellent challah for Kiddush. Usually a passenger who can lead services well takes charge. If having a priest lead services and the special Mass is important to you, I'd say that to Guest Services and in your post-cruise feedback so they're encouraged to keep on doing it. Enjoy your cruise and the special midnight Mass tonight.
  10. In comparison to larger ships (your experience, and RC's Freedom of the Seas class, etc.) Grandeur has a minimal gym as described. Spin bikes available only with the cla$$ . Besides treadmills, the running track on Deck 10 is claimed 1/4 mile per lap. Promenade (Deck 5) is a bit longer, but running discouraged and the bow area will be closed off at times. I don't recall the gym hours and don't have my Cruise Compass that I kept handy to check. I recall the gym was closed on 2 (?) at-sea days due to rough weather (ship's rolling and pitching more noticeable where the gym is located on Deck 10/aft). It will be pretty empty on port days. If I were your husband, I'd plan my workouts so the cruise is a recovery or cross-train (walking, stair climbing (Centrum repeats from Deck 2 to 11!), use port days for a run or ocean swimming?) period and not worry about losing fitness. Maybe enter the "belly flop" contest in the trim & ripped division?
  11. We were recently on GoS (12/1 12 night S Carib.) and after some serious issues in MDR (another thread) had several dinners in the 3 specialty restaurants. I have to say the service in all 3 was excellent, and the food quality significantly superior (arguably as good or better as we've experienced in MDRs on multiple lines going back to 1990s). Worth the upcharge? YMMV. They were hawking the specialty dinning throughout the cruise, and had some special deals (esp. on the port days) and on the last 3 at sea days. Never saw any of them crowded, either.
  12. I was thinking "sails up the scenic Hudson River to the Poughkeepsie Bridge where it turns around..." (old Circle Line Alexander Hamilton TV ad...) Although the Tappan Zee bridge might also be in the way!
  13. We received something similar in our stateroom on GoS 12/1 sailing. No problem zooming in (on desktop monitor) to readability (and I need reading glasses).
  14. Thanks all for the feedback. Points: - I think we started cruising RCL approx late 1990s, so we missed the "glory days" while experiencing the economizations of the last decade or so. Comparing Dec '18 to Dec '17 and earlier was night vs day, sadly. - Our table did escalate to the (Acting?) HD and we got some resolution. - WeatherFix - nice to know some of the MDR issues remains dependent on who's working your table (we saw some of that too esp. with the different staff you get at lunch over the week). Now considering MyTime for Jan cruise. Maybe a few specialty nights (helps RCCL's plan to separate us from a few more shekels and shillings).
  15. Just back from Dec 1 12-day on GoS. Is it just us, or has the quality of service in MDR, especially 1st-seating dinner, collapsed? We've always expected breakfast and lunch to be sedate; breakfast is becoming glacial. Our experience with dinner service until now has been excellent - capable and efficient without feeling rushed; even a late return ship's tour did not prevent us from making the 7PM show (yes I know that is for 2nd seating but we like having our dinner, show, and evening free). This sailing was totally different (not in a good way). MDR service felt haphazard, overall slow, with a lot of extra effort and a dinning room captain pitching in required to get back to something tolerable. We (us and 2 other cruise-experienced couples) thought MDR seemed understaffed. I wonder if more experienced and capable staff are now in My Time. Typical errors - long delays between ordering and meals arriving, incomplete orders (when ordering 2 appetizers or a 2nd dinner as a side), long delays for expected/requested condiments, beef consistently under-cooked (did I hear a "moo" just now!). And the coffee at dinner sucked (WJ or Park Cafe were always better). The dinner menu continues to shrink, but we expected that. On paper it wasn't bad (kitchen had a problem with poor-quality sole and switched fish dinners after the 1st time). Execution was where they had problems. We discussed the service with dinning room management and we saw some incremental improvement on last few nights, but it remained sub-par compared to prior experience. Specialty (Chops, Giovanni's, Izumi) had EXCELLENT selection, food quality, and service. Get a steak in Chops, lamb chops or veal in Giovann's, and the "rolls" and sashimi in Izumi. Come hungry. Worth the up-charge? Maybe. YMMV. I'd appreciate hearing from recent repeat GoS cruisers in particular if they also think MDR service has deteriorated unacceptably, or if we just had an earnest (they worked their tails off) wait staff who would benefit from more experience and mentoring. Also wondering if My Time is now preferable. We have another GoS cruise booked in late January so we'll get to see if any improvements made. Other than the MDR dinner service, the cruise was excellent and we had a great time!
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