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  1. An update, so we sent the online request form to cancel the Sept cruise (big online USA TA that rhymes with Snooze.com), didn't get any receipt confirmation after a day, called and they said they were working thru all the cancellations in order of cruise date, and right now they were working on May departure dates. So it will be weeks before it's cancelled and the deposit refunded. They will not be charging any fee to cancel any cruise before final payment date.
  2. Thx, looks pretty efficient. We bailed today using the TA's online form, will post when it comes thru.
  3. How long is it taking for you to get your deposit refunded (before final payment)? Our final payment is June but with all the hassle reports we're thinking of bailing now before MSC stops deposit refunds and gives FCCs instead. Our USA TA would be submitting it. Thx.
  4. We got to the first abandoned building, I think you went alot further than us. So we went up one of those rocky hills on the left, don't know which one was Gun Hill, we wondered what the white signs were on the posts, and they were real estate for sale signs. The abandoned stuff might be a clue it's not a great place to build. Yes we saw all the conch shells, we should have taken a bunch back on board, set up a table by the shops, and made a bundle.
  5. The shows on the IMAX were very loud but when we went inside we didn't hear them. Even if you walked forward or aft on an open deck from the show the noise didn't seem to carry. We didn't notice it being a problem.
  6. Yes that was probably us, I recognize several of those flamingos :-) Was your cruise Feb. 8? Were you the stealth couple that got really close? Awesome pics. Did you see the couple back near the boat ramp who set up a sun shade and blanket, and had folding chairs in the surf? Kind of cool, had the whole beach to themselves .... until we all came along.
  7. Very cool to see a cruise ship actually doing something about chair hogs.
  8. OMG, so if we had decided to use that deck to check off #6 on our bucket list ... "making out on a cruise ship deck", you would have had a perfect view from your OV window!! You would have closed your drapes, right? Agreed about smoke, and the casino gives off a good dose of it. It stretches across the whole width of the ship, and the only way to avoid it is to go up to deck 5 and cross over there. There is also an open area on one side of deck 5 for smoking, but you can skoot through there pretty quickly, and the smoke gets blown away, not too bad. If you are Anytime dining you are in the Meridien at the back of decks 3 and 4, and if you are set dining early or late seating you are in the Reflection, deck 3 behind the atrium. For Anytime dining you check in on deck 5 beside the Java cafe, and they send you down to the hostess on deck 4, not far, just down the stairs behind the Ocean Plaza.
  9. CCD228 is right, no open loungers by the pool after mid-morning. But the Horizon has a very good setup around the pool area. On deck 11 right above the pool there are orange colored padded club chairs and foot stools all in the shade, and then on deck 12 above there are tons of loungers in the sun, and not too hard to find open ones there. Just a bit of a walk if you want a dip in the pool. We like to sit in the shade and for sun we go for a walk. There is another pool at the stern but open loungers are scarce there too.
  10. Agreed. the 2 Lido buffets seemed to have the same things, but sometimes the rear one had an extra entree or 2. It sure made for lots of open seating, even some open tables outside at the back. With the restricted buffet choices it sure made the deli sandwich station popular, about 20 different sandwiches, hot and cold, maybe 8 different breads, a bunch of different cheeses, lots of toppings, and she would make customs changes. She was amazing, could remember 3 group orders in her mind, and worked faster than the eye could follow. Man we should have written her up on the survey. Interesting about the sick issue, yes one of us had the same thing as you, mild type of cold, cough, lasted several days, we often think we get them from the flights, re-circulated air. It's a myth that pilots get special cockpit air, our friend's dad is one and they get the same air as the pax. Or maybe he has to say that?
  11. Oops, forgot to mention something quite unique, on Grand Turk there is a way to see a large flock of pink flamingos up close in the wild. Walking in to the island down the pier, when you get to the end of the pier all the cruise loungers and umbrellas are on the left. Turn right and walk along the beach and there is a sign saying you are leaving the cruise area. Go around the sign and follow the path which goes to the left past a boat loading ramp and go down to the beach. Walk along the beach and look ahead to see if you can see a mass of pink along the shore, about 60-80 birds I'm guessing, and maybe 15 babies. Go as far as the 6 foot post in the sand where you can see all the way around the bend in the beach to see if they are there, the mass of pink shows up from quite a distance. They scoot in and out of the surf, probably looking for chocolate chip cookies. Moving slowly they will let you get within about 30-40 yards before they get nervous, and closer than that they will take off, but they don't fly out to sea or land, they fly along the shore right past where you can get a great video, and land about 100 yards away on the edge of the surf where you can start your approach again. One young couple spent about 15 minutes and got quite close, on hands and knees, and got a great video. There were 4 of us couples wandering around there, doing the walk to Gun Hill or just poking around, and none of us knew there would be flamingos. We took turns getting close so we wouldn't mess up another's video. We spooked them maybe 8-10 times but they weren't mad enough to leave the beach area. Very pretty, hated to leave.
  12. Just got back ... Embarkation – don't be bugged if you didn't get the early boarding time you wanted during online checkin. When you get to the terminal you fill out a China form on the sidewalk, then going into the terminal there are 2 lines, one if you arrived at your assigned time, and the other if you are early or late. We had to do the early/late line, arriving at 11:30 instead of 1:00, but our line was as short as the on-time line, no waiting, and we were on board in 30 minutes. There was one issue, photo police ... photographers always have a spot to take your picture, which could be by-passed by stepping around it. This time they created a narrow walkway leading to the photo setup, and the newbies in front thought they had to have their picture taken, or wanted it taken, and there wasn't room to get past them, so everyone had to wait until they were first in line before they could walk past the setup. 5 whole fun minutes we'll never get back. We booked the upgraded Havana Cabana (Cat HE) cabin. Nice big back yard, 9x12, One lounger, one slouchy chair with pad and footstool, and one padded hanging chair. No pad on the wicker lounger, and no pads on the wicker loungers in the restricted Havana pool area, strange. All other wicker seating on the ship has pads. Also strange that almost no one used their nice big balconies, they went to the Havana area instead, maybe for the pool and bar. Open loungers usually even on nice sea days. Also padded lay-flat cabanas and padded club chairs. Having these cabin back yards you lose privacy, people walk past you on the walkway, most say hi, and the side wall only goes halfway from the balcony door to the back gate, so from the back half of the back yard you can look down the row into all the other yards, like being on any open deck. The roof covers the first half of the yard for shade. We would rather have had 2 loungers instead of the slouchy chair, maybe that's why so few of the yards were in use. Our cat HE cabin on deck 5: been awhile since we had a shower curtain, thought the newer ships all had glass doors. 72” bed, halfway between queen and king. Lots of storage and lots of hangers. If you are a big person you probably won't want to sleep on the window side of the bed, it is 6 inches from the drapes. There is no night light in the bathroom, and no outlet to plug one in, has to be a glow light. As others have reported, the cabin stewards offer you morning or evening cabin service, no more auto service at both times, but apparently you can ask for and get both. We only wanted evening service with ice at lunch and evening and got that. Robes were nice. One sort of cabin problem, if you go from your back yard down the walkway to the Havana area you have to leave your cabin unlocked b/c you can't lock your balcony door from the outside. Small Lido buffet: we were surprised how small the buffet selections seemed, and then we saw why: there is no Asian station, it's moved to the Mongolian restaurant for lunch, but it's closed for dinner, no free Asian food for dinner, only pay places. And no pasta station in the buffet, it's moved to the Cucina for lunch, and becomes a pay restaurant for dinner, but there might be a pasta dish in the dinner buffet, just no station for creating your own. And there is no pizza station in the buffet, it's moved to a spot near the pool. And there was never an Indian station with korma, curry, etc, but one lunch there were some of these dishes. We wished all of these choices were still together in the buffet. But it seemed to cut down on the number of people using the buffet, and it was always easy to find a table at lunch or dinner when we checked it out. It had 2 rotating flavors of Gilatto ice cream for lunch, closed for dinner, but Swirls at the back had pull-handle soft ice cream and Fro Yo 24/7, no toppings. There are bacon police: the buffet has bacon police at each bacon spot. He's not too tough a cop, you get 2 slices, and if you want more you just keep holding your plate out and stare him down. Since there didn't seem to be a limit we wondered why he was there. Maybe bacon-shaming to reduce waste. Maybe just providing an extra service. No bacon cops at the Ocean Plaza breakfast. A different theatre: it has loose chairs on the main level so they can move them around and create different effects like a club effect for different shows where the performers come onto the floor and use this space. This cuts down on seating, and even when they put the chairs in the regular rows there are only 8 rows. The balcony only has 4 rows, It filled up very quickly for popular shows. Old school design, 10 large pillars obstructing views. Stage seemed small. No drink holders on the main floor chairs. Seats with the best view are row 1 in the balcony, those go fast. Event timing tip: main events like comedy and stage shows conflict, and the only way to see both in the evening is to eat around 5:30. For the comedy shows in the Limelight Lounge you have to line up a half hour early to get in. And after the first show people leaving just turn around and line up for the next comedian. MDR time-saving (for the staff) changes: no more white table clothes to change except on elegant nights, standard wooden tables, not very classy. Ice water carafs at each table, waiters don't need to run around filling water glasses. And you order your dessert when you order your mains, they don't have to come back to take dessert orders. Private MDR dining tip: if you have anytime dining and like private dining for 2 w/o another table right beside you listening to your conversation, there are a few. The nicest 4 are on deck 4 along the balcony with a nice view of the lower level dining on deck 3. We always asked for these by number, 642, 644, 645, 647, and were ok waiting for a bit if the hostess said one or two should be almost done. If they weren't gong to open for a while we asked for 751, 753, or 749 at the back by the window, no one on your elbow. You check in for dinner on deck 5 and get sent down to the hostess on deck 4 to be seated. MDR “dress code”: the last time we looked, shorts were on the no-no list for dinner in the MDR for any cruise line, but here they were ok if not gym or basketball shorts. On the no-no list were cut-off jeans, muscle (sleeveless) shirts, baseball caps, and flip flops, and bathing suits. We saw all of those except bathing suits anytime we were there. On elegant nights they add to the above no-no list jeans, any shorts, T's, and sportswear. We saw all of those on elegant nights, half and half men and women. But also lots dressed up for photos. Secret MDR menu: well sort of, if you like to go by the MDR before dinner and check the menu on the wall it won't be there. To see it you have to open the closed doors and it's on the wall inside where the hostess sets up. It's also on the ship app which they go nuts trying to get you to download so they can target you with ads. Best private 2 person steakhouse 555 seating: there are 2 cute private tables along the window so you can ppl watching during dinner. We asked the host to save one for us and he said no prob, hardly anyone sits there b/c they are bistro (high) chairs with a high table, and no one can or wants to climb up on them. No prob. Secret sun deck and secret hot tub tip: if you walk forward all the way to the bow on deck 5 and look over the edge there is a lovely big hot tub and a few loungers. It was always empty, just bubbling water, but no way for passengers to get to it that we could see, must have been for the crew (sign me up). For the secret sun deck, go up the 15 or so stairs behind you here, to deck 6, a strip of decking around the bow, maybe a dozen loungers, only saw 1 or 2 couples there. Then go up another 15 or so stairs to deck 7, a narrow strip of decking maybe 10 feet wide around the bow, and a small stack of loungers. Never saw anyone there, should be totally private. Sea-sick pills: have always been free at reception, but now CCL wants $2 for a sleeve of two. I'll bet half would say they don't owe ppl free pills, and the other half wold say it's tacky to profit off ppl's discomfort. No button elevators: most ppl were ok with them, some grumbled. If you miss the quick display showing your car letter the machine also says it. The main prob was ppl didn't push their destination button the number of times for how many were in their party, or if they had a scooter they didn't push it extra times, or they didn't push it quick enough. We liked them, it seemed we waiting about the same time for the elevator to come, but got to our destination quicker than the old way. Dedicated jogging track, not running through loungers. Good gym. Lovely Serenity adult-only sunning area, padded loungers, club chairs, cabanas, open to all, seats all gone by 8am on sea days. Least classy atrium, great big circular bar with services around the edges. Cute digital display in the middle. Mike, hardest working cruise director ever ... always cruising the theatre talking to people, and out at the terminal entrances to the ports welcoming ppl to the port, and again at the terminal welcoming people back at the end of the day. Disembarkation was a surprise, they asked for bags to be set outside cabins before 11pm. We put ours out at 11:30 and they were still there in the morning. We've put them out a bit late before with no prob, we heard the ships do a final luggage sweep in the wee hours, but not Horizon. Anyway we were able to muscle them through Express. Best pros: Havana area bar and pool, Guy's burgers (best on the sea), clear jogging track, nice seating around each side of deck 5, uncrowded b'fast in Ocean Plaza, lots of seating 2 decks above and around the pool, and no charge for SkyRide and SkyCourse. Cons: tight theatre seating, bare Havana loungers, small Lido buffet, event timing conflicts, short time in Grand Turk and Caracao, and we were disappointed that there was no bar or lounge at the top of the ship for a nice view, like the Observation Lounges on NCL. If you want port info ask away.
  13. Does anyone know if there is wifi at the La Romana port?
  14. Thx everyone. I guess we could also just keep the payment receipt with us to prove payment if we took the bottle to a bar or lounge. Or try drinking faster.
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