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LandlockedCruiser01

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About LandlockedCruiser01

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Chicago metro area
  • Interests
    Baseball, board games, swing dancing, general aviation
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Royal Dolphin Swim at Cozumel

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  1. Wow! Love this! How did the passengers and the crew pull this off? Did they self-coordinate turning on the lights in all the right cabins? Or did an engineer plan this somehow?
  2. This sounds an awful lot like a Las Vegas or a Beverly Hills VIP yacht party. It's got proverbial Kim Kardashian written all over it. I highly doubt this environment will appeal to your average Americans, let alone Millennial hipsters, who have an aversion to anything not down-to-earth and grass-roots, or at least not appearing that way. (Like those pseudo-dive bars that still charge $7 a beer.) Like I said in another thread, VV is targeting The Beautiful People to the exclusion of other demographics. Well, more power to them, but I doubt there are enough Beautiful People to fill their ships. VV would be better off emulating Carnival of the days of yore: laid back, boozy party ships, with gimmicky games and college-style drinking contests.
  3. I second the Kalik recommendation. Imagine Becks with a very faint hint of coconut. I tried it in Freeport and Nassau.
  4. I was pretty much pushed into my first cruise by job burnout, that was starting to become medical. I was doing the work of 3 people. Not only that, I was getting calls in the middle of the night, due to the nature of my position. So I wanted to take a vacation where I couldn't be reached from the US. That's where a cruise came in. I didn't have anyone to go with, so I went solo. Singles' cruises were too expensive, so I picked a regular one. Well, there was a way to call shore-to-ship, and to give me wifi connectivity onboard, but I knew my boss was too cheap for pay me for it, and I pretended not to know those things existed. Wow! I ended up having so much fun! At the time, I was young enough to mix fairly well with the 20-something partiers, who I hung out with for a part of the cruise, in addition to the older crowd who liked my first-timer enthusiasm. And it felt really freeing to know that my boss can't reach me, since I was in outside the range of the US cell towers. When I returned, I found out that a critical server went kaput while I was gone. My colleagues and my boss worked 36 hours almost non-stop to put a new one in place and get it running. Karma!
  5. Yes, that's true, but bear with me. I meant to say that Scarlet Lady looks like Kim Kardashian's yacht, on an enlarged scale. Not to mention too much red in the decor. Which makes it look not only uninviting, but also overly glitzy and offputting to someone who'd be uncomfortable with VV's "reality show" vibe. I have cruised before. While there are snooty people everywhere, the social atmosphere overall on Carnival was very friendly, and lived up to its "fun ships" marketing ploy. I ended up meeting many fun people who I kept in touch with after the cruise.
  6. I don't think price is really the problem. Most Millennials are no longer college kids. They do have vacation money from career jobs. I said it before, and I'll say it again: Virgin Voyages are targeting The Beautiful People, rather than your average cruiser looking for a new line to try. Most of VV's marketing photos look like a hotel Kim Kardashian would stay in. And that backfired on them. Since most cruisers are not like Kim Kardashian, in looks or personality---heck, most people don't even like her!---they find such marketing offputting, rather than enticing. Probably because they think: "Hell no, I'm not cruising with VV. It's a bunch of realty star wannabes there. I'll never fit in."
  7. That makes a lot of sense. When Muslims pray, they have to face toward Mecca. (Which is east in the Western Hemisphere by Muslim law; they probably face west in the Eastern Hemisphere.) With the direction the ship was sailing, when that man faced east to pray, the east happened to be in the direction of your cabin.
  8. 1. I've cruised solo 3 times. Your best bet is to put yourself in situations that prompts you to interact with others, where you'll meet like-minded people. The situations will vary. One time, I got adopted by two friends cruising together. Another time, I got adopted by my tablemates. Third time, I met people in the piano bar, who liked my karaoke-style singing and off-the-wall comments. 2. Yes. The formal night is on day 2, the day you dock in Key West. 3. For men on regular nights, jeans and a collared shirt is sufficient, although slacks are better. For men on formal nights, upgrade it dress pants, shirt, and tie (optional). For women, wear the equivalents; I know little about women's clothes, sorry. 4. If you're talking about Port of Miami, I had a decent experience in La Quinta Inn Miami Airport North. It had a comfortable room, free full breakfast, and a Colombian restaurant in walking distance. The neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly (which is hit-or-miss in most Florida cities), but kind of iffy safety-wise. I was fine as a 29-year-old man, but YMMV. 5. It looks like you're cruising to Key West and Cozumel, which was Imagination's old itinerary. The easier way to visit the Southernmost Point is to walk there; it's about 1.5 miles from the dock. When you get off the ship, find Whitehead Street, and walk south. Keep going until you see the famous marker. For additional tips, click on the Imagination review in my signature, and read through it.
  9. You got a Schrodinger's Statement there: it's both correct and incorrect, until you find out what kind of dolphin swim it is. In some dolphin swims, you stand in waist-deep water, and a dolphin swims up to you to be petted. Or it jumps out of the water over you, but you remain mostly stationary. In others, there's a lot of movement required on your part. You might tread water while a dolphin pushes you out of the water by your feet, letting you fall back in. Or you might hold on to its dorsal fin, while it tows you through the water. Or something else movement-heavy. Either way, it's on you to control your own movements, as not to pull a muscle or something. Now, those are the dolphin swims I'd suggest abstaining from if you have a weak back. Some companies refer to the former as a "dolphin encounter" and the latter as a "dolphin swim". Read the descriptions carefully, to know what you're getting into.
  10. Galveston strikes me as a solo-unfriendly port, regardless of the ships sailing out of it. Ground transportation between Houston airports (Intercontinental and Hobby) and Galveston hotels is very expensive, due to the long distance and lack of public transit I know of. Which leaves solos in need of renting a car or calling Uber by themselves, and paying a high price that would otherwise be shared among two or more people. Since you'll be driving to the ship, this wouldn't apply to you (the OP), but just saying. That said, you don't need a designated solo cabin, like NCL's Studio, to sail solo. I cruised in regular porthole cabins on Carnival, and just paid double. Expensive? Yeah, but about the same as a Studio cabin on NCL. What you want to focus on is the onboard atmosphere. Namely, how friendly and welcoming are other passengers, and to a lesser extent the crew, toward solos?
  11. It's not that Freestyle actively encourages cliques, it simply enables them, because it's optimized for groups of people who already know each other. It's not optimized for solos. NCL did some damage control with solo gatherings for Studio and other solo passengers. But it really should have kept the assigned dining option. It would let solos have predetermined dinner companions, rather than make them look like the new kid in the school cafeteria.
  12. That's not entirely correct. Your statement is true only on Journeys cruises. On regular cruises, the MDR is open for breakfast on port days and for brunch on sea days. That it. There hasn't been a true lunch in the MDR since 2014. (With a possible exception of port days when the ship arrives in the afternoon.)
  13. Basic Lipton hot tea is free (included). It tastes meh, but adequate for average Americans. Any nicer teas, which they call "Art of Tea Selections", is extra. I never checked closely, let alone ordered one, but they're probably equivalent to the Bigelow brand (which I drink at home). Either way, they're tea bags, not loose leaf. This is true at all meals, even tea time.
  14. I've been contemplating trying RCI, but this is just... wow! I can't believe a mass-market line is discouraging solos from booking, in a time when even US Customs (which normally has a very backward mindset) pretty much ignored me last time I dealt with them by myself. Basically, RCI became the way MSC and Costa used to be. Well, not entirely: they still show available cabins, they just make solo jump through an extra hoop. Perhaps their IT department wanted to save money by removing a part of the website programming. Oh well, no big loss. I don't like RCI's new ships---they're too big! And their older, smaller ships don't offer anything I'm interested in that I can't find on CCL, which served my solo cruising needs smashingly. Perhaps the repeated good social experiences I had on CCL, which are far outside the cruise line's control, are making me biased. Oh, and it's not too difficult to find solo rates without a mock booking: multiply the double occupancy price by 2.
  15. I couldn't agree more. It seems like in most US cities, especially those outside the East Coast and the Rust Belt, historic sites are something you visit tourist-style, and many locals seldom, if ever, spend time there. That is, there's a historic downtown or a district, and you go there to see it, while the rest of the city is a modern, bland sea of chains and parking lots. But in New Orleans, the city is the history, the history is the city. It's an inherent part of the city's fabric. Without history, it wouldn't be New Orleans; it would be Blandsville, Louisiana. I went to New Orleans several years ago. It's not a cheap place. Although, we stuck to touristy areas, since the city's safety reputation is kind of iffy. We ate most of our meals at the French Market, since it was warm enough to eat outside, despite it being December. We also got snacks and beer at convenience stores. It was cheaper than restaurants, but not as cheap as, say, McDonald's or cooking your own meals. All in all, we spent $40 per person per day on food. Given the huge selection at the French Market, that's where I'd suggest for you and your husband to eat. You can get crawfish ettouffe (sp?) over rice, and your husband can get a roast beef sandwich. Speaking of sandwiches, do try a muffaletta. It's deli meats with an oily, vinegary olive salad, on a flattened crusty bun. That's something all but the pickiest eaters can enjoy.
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