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Found 3,727 results

  1. I’m a NI/UK resident and will be going on the Silver Spirit. Can anyone tell me, specifically people from UK, what plug adapters will I need to charge my mobile, camera battery, toothbrush etc. I have bought a double Uk to Europe adapter which has 2 USB ports. Is this enough?
  2. What toiletries are provided in the suites? I don’t want to end up bringing something that is provided in the cabin.
  3. At the top of these boards, it says “write a review”, so here goes, in live, blogging style. Below you can see links to our last two cruise blogs. One at nearly 159,000 views from the Med on the Solstice, while the July 2010 Norway coast review is at nearly 132,000 views. It seems that the visuals make a big, interesting difference, sharing the beauty and drama from these wonderful areas. Tell me what you like, any questions, suggestions, etc. Our party and experiences?: We are traveling with five other couples from Central Ohio and one we hooked up with on the Norway cruise from the DC area. That adds to fun and sharing for this 14-day cruise to be with good friends and wonderful, smart people. Our past cruising?: We have done just four cruises. Late June 2006 on 204-passenger Seabourn Spirit, Athens to Istanbul, enjoying the Greek Isles over seven days. Late July 2008 on the 940-passenger Crystal Symphony, Dover to Stockholm, enjoying the Baltics and Russia. July 1-16, 2010, was an adventure on the 296-passenger Silver Cloud from Copenhagen seeing the dramatic Norway coast, above the Arctic Circle, Land of the Midnight Sun, etc. Then, June, 2011 from Barcelona for Italy, the Croatian Coast on this same 2850-passenger Celebrity Solstice. All four lines are different and excellent with great service, fellow passengers, staff, etc. What’s best? The honest answer is . . . “It depends!!!”. Ports, schedules, timing and prices vary much, especially right now with this economy, high airlines costs, challenged dollar values, etc. You need to seek what best fits your exact personal needs, budget and interests. We enjoyed sampling a larger ship and we booked early for this early 2014 Australia-NZ trip to get the locations/rooms we desired. KEY DOWN UNDER PLANNING QUESTION: It is a long, long way (plus costly) to get down to this unique part of the world. You do not just want to fly here, do a cruise and go back home. That's why you'll see that we planned out carefully our options and schedule for pre and post cruise. AND, you cannot do it "ALL" in Australia or New Zealand on your first trip. Big, big areas with lots of diversity and great places to experience. Fortunately, we were able to do most all of our 15 airline flights via American Airline Frequent Flyer miles, and First/Business class. That saved lots and lots of money and helps fly the long hours in better comfort. OVERALL SCHEDULE/PLAN: Before arriving Sydney for our Jan. 20-Feb. 4 cruise, we departed Columbus on Thursday, Jan. 9 and had two nights and 1.5 days in Honolulu to break up these long flight times/distances, plus to be able to visit Hawaii for our first time. Then, we had three full days and four nights in NE Australia’s sub-tropical Cairns area, seeing the Great Barrier Reef, snorkeling the coral formations, hiking rainforests, visiting Port Douglas, etc. Then, going to southern Australia to visit Kangaroo Island, 70 miles southwest of Adelaide. More than half of this island has never been cleared of vegetation, and a quarter of it is conserved in National Parks, Conservation Parks, and five Wilderness Protection Areas. Our travel agent calls Kangaroo Island "the way Australia used to be before settlers from outside came”. She was right, but there is so, so much more there to learn about the wilds of Australia, it animals and birds, etc. Then, we are going this morning to Sydney on Sunday, Jan. 19 for 2.5 days before our Celebrity Solstice cruise ship departs from this super scenic harbor. Here are the more complete cruise/port schedule during these fourteen days: Jan. 20-21, 2014, Monday-Tuesday: Sydney, Australia; boarding cruise ship mid-day Monday, then after being docked overnight on this ship sitting next to the billowing white sail roofs of the famed (now forty-years-old) Opera House, we will sail away Tuesday at 6:30 pm. We will also be docked next to Sydney’s landmark, arched Harbour Bridge (famous for New Year’s Eve fireworks). Sydney is the South Pacific’s busiest port and one of the world’s most scenic harbors. Australia’s oldest and largest city was born in 1788 with the arrival of an initial 760 British convicts. Jan 22, Wednesday: Cruising Tasman Sea south to Tasmania; sea day on Solstice. Jan. 23, Thursday: Hobart, Tasmania, 8 am-6 pm docked. We will have a private tour to visit the Port Arthur penal colony with its historic reminders of its prison days, then to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary with wombats, emus and the famed Tasmanian devil, plus a little time to sample the 90 waterfront buildings with National Trust classification. As Australia’s second oldest city, Hobart has a a population of 214,000, sets in a scenic natural harbor and is at the base of the 3,600-feet-high Mount Wellington. Does an island with a name like Tasmania sound exotic? Jan. 24-25, Friday-Saturday: Cruising Tasman Sea to New Zealand; two sea days on Solstice. Jan. 26, Sunday: Cruising New Zealand’s Fiordlands National Park. We will get off of the Solstice in the morning during our visit in Milford Sound and go on a two-day ship excursion with an overnight stay in Queenstown. This community, with its dramatic setting on a large lake and facing a massive, sawtooth mountain range, is known as the “crazy capital of the world”. Why? This is where bungee jumping was invented 25 years ago. Plus, many other extreme sports started or are practiced here. We will stop and see the stone, suspension bridge crossing a scenic river gorge where it all started. But, no bungee jumping for us!! We will also see an old gold-rush town, a winery and a ranch sheep/dog program. Others on our ship will sail to Doubtful Sound & Dusky Sound. Lots of natural drama and sights here with the fjords, mountains, water views, etc. Jan. 27, Monday: Dunedin, NZ, 9 am-7 pm docked. For those doing the Queenstown excursion, we will re-join the ship in this town that means Edinburgh in Gaelic. This town retains its Scottish roots and has Victorian/Edwardian architecture, a legacy of New Zealand's 1860’s gold rush. Jan. 28, Tuesday: Christchurch/Akaroa, NZ, 8 am-6 pm tendered. Given the slow re-building after the major earthquake damage at Christchurch, we are not visiting this town. We will be taking the TranzAlpine rail trip to Arthur’s Pass National Park in NZ’s Southern Alps. We will then sample a high-speed JetBoat ride on the twisting Waimakiriri River gorge. We will also be sampling a little of this French-styled harbor town of Akaroa where our ship is tendered in its dramatic bay setting that is surrounded by mountains and major hills. Jan. 29, Wednesday: Wellington, NZ, 8 am-6 pm docked. Hugging the hillsides around a horseshoe-shaped bay, Wellington reminds many visitors of San Francisco. It is the NZ capital and is the southern most capital city in the world. There are a number of different museums, dining and exploring options in and near Wellington. Have not finalized our exact plan for this day. Jan. 30, Thursday: Napier, NZ, overlooking Hawke’s Bay, 8 am-6 pm docked. An elegant, art-deco city of 55,000, it has 19 miles to the south, Cape Kidnappers. This jagged promontory is near where Captain Cook anchored in 1769. Late January is the prime time to see here the 20,000 young and mature yellow-headed Australian gannets surf the wind currents. After the beach/cliff bird visit, we will head up above to a working sheep ranch and world-class golfing resort that overlooks this coastal setting for a private lunch of local specialities. Jan. 31, Friday, Cruising NZ eastern coast; sea day on Solstice. Feb 1, Saturday: Tauranga, NZ, 5:30 am-4:30 pm docked. This port is nearby for Rotorua, the geothermal wonderland that is also the heart of native Maori culture. We will visit Te Puia for a Maori concert. We will be focused in Rotorua that has been developed inside a crater. The area has 16 different lakes with dramatic scenery and wonderful photo opportunities. Feb. 2, Sunday: Bay of Islands, NZ, tendered, 7 am-6 pm. About 110 miles north of Auckland, this historic bay/island region has a charm connected with its unspoiled, simple character. Our Central Ohio group will be doing a private sailing adventure on the 60’ racing yacht named the Zindabar. We will travel around and along these scenic coastal areas, stopping once or twice for beach exploring, snorkeling, swimming and having a custom luncheon at sea. Lots of options and flexibility for seeing bird, wildlife, coastal sights, etc. Feb. 3, Monday: Auckland, NZ: arrive 6 am, completing our Solstice cruise trip. With 1.4 million residents, 31 percent of the country's population, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest, most urban city. It has a diverse population, including large numbers of Asian and Polynesian residents. We will have two days in and around Auckland, including Tuesday visiting via a 40-minute ferry ride to Waiheke Island for their stunning coastal vistas, as well as hillside vineyards, sweeping sandy beaches, an outdoor sculpture garden and various quaint shops/art galleries. Home? We depart Wednesday, Feb. 5, from Auckland and fly to Hawaii (at no extra flight cost due to using Frequent Flyer miles). This helps break up the long flight distances going back home. We will have four days on the Big Island there before returning to Columbus on Feb. 10. To come next, earlier pictures/details from Hawaii, NE Australia and the Great Barrier Reef and then amazing Kangaroo Island near Adelaide. Don't be shy!! Feel free to share your comments, insights, questions, etc. I love this "interactive" way of communicating back and forth. Our time sailing and touring will be a little limiting for being able answer all questions quickly, but I will try my best, especially on sea days on the ship. Love to get your feed-back, comments and suggestions based your experiences in these areas. Ready to roll!! THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio Did a June 7-19, 2011, Celebrity Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 158,547 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at: http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474 For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now over 131,830 views. http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923
  4. A few videos in case anyone hasn't seen them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6MtI6Y3hbc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUP8S_GJpCM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc-oXVKnHCQ She looks so shiny and new!
  5. Yesterday Spirit of Discovery left the sea lock at Emden to start her sea trials.
  6. Can someone please confirm that the Wind Spirit still has snorkel equipment available for use during the cruise. Can you take a set and keep it in your stateroom for the cruise?
  7. Hello Fellow Cruisers We have identified what look like good small group excursions from Haifa (on 27/10) to Nazareth and Galilee and from Ashdod (on 28/10) to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The cost is US$99pp for a min of six participants. If you are interested in details and possibly joining us, let us know. We are a British couple who have done a lot of traveling and have always tried to book our own excursions on cruises. All the best. Richard & Lorraine
  8. I see you are on the Spirit. Reservations will only have been available for La Cucina, La Trattoria and Cagneys, as they don’t offer online reservations for Teppenyaki. As has been said above, more reservations will be available onboard. As there is only one Teppenyaki table I would get your reservations done soon after boarding or you may miss out on that one. My guess is that the others will last for longer due to the length of the cruise, but you never know.
  9. I understand that construction on the Silver Moon is underway. But it ought not to be too late to register some hopes/wishes for new features on that ship. I’m not talking about major structural matters or including waterslides and climbing walls. 😊 rather, I am thinking of features that might fairly easily be added even now. I should say that I have cruised a good deal on the stretched Spirit and visited Muse briefly when she was in port. It may be that the features I will mention now are included on Muse and are likely to be on Moon. First hope: could we do away with door tags requesting service or privacy and have a simple electronic mechanism where one can register these requests by turning the switch inside the cabin? The corresponding light would appear outside. On a recent Spirit cruise I observed —and chastised — kids for randomly turning over the signs as they walked down the corridor. Second hope: I gather there will be another thermal suite available for a surcharge. The current arrangement is laughable. Access is not monitored. People can simply walk in from the gym. Paying guests can arrive to find that all of the heated chairs are taken (in one case several months ago by a couple boasting that they never paid and had only once been discovered and turned out.). It should not be impossible to have access to the thermal suite controlled by use of the key card. Another suggestion was that bracelets be given when one paid the fee – say a yellow bracelet for a weeklong purchase and a red bracelet for a daily purchase. Other thoughts?
  10. Just looked at some of the mock up photos of Spirit of Discovery. We have done 3 Viking Ocean cruises and I must say the ships appear to have some similarities with the new Saga ships. Differences appear to be that there is no retractible roof over the main swimming pool, but the Spa Pool looks exactly the same. Passengers on Viking 930 as against 990 on Saga. Both are all verandah. The Saga Ship is slightly larger and I realise was built in a different shipyards. Just off Azamara after our 10th cruise with them. However the Viking ships are beautiful. Will be interesting to compare as we are on Spirit of Discovery in early September.
  11. We recently returned from the June 8-15 Tahiti and Society Islands sailing on the Paul Gauguin, and I want to thank everyone on this board for all the helpful advice on a variety of topics over the last few months. Everything went off without a hitch and it was one of the most wonderful – if not the most wonderful – vacations we’ve ever been on. After cruising for the first time in over 11 years last fall on Azamara, I thought the bar had been set pretty high, but PG may have raised the bar even further! Here are a few of my thoughts and observations, in hopes that others can learn from us. Sorry for the length, but it was a great trip: Travel to Tahiti We opted to book the cruise directly with PG rather than using a travel agent, and also decided fairly early on that we wanted the 2-3-2 seating in Premium Economy on the 787. Since PG did not offer travel packages at that time for Premium Economy, we booked our air fare in PE directly with Air Tahiti Nui. We opted to use American Airlines AAdvantage miles to get from Charlotte to LAX, since we surprisingly found that the nonstop flights from CLT to LAX were actually available for the lower 25,000-mile MileageSAAver award level, which yielded a very attractive redemption value for our points. Since we would be traveling on two separate tickets (CLT-LAX and LAX-PPT), I opted to book an overnight at the LAX Marriott using an annual free-night certificate we had from Marriott BonVoy. I didn’t want to risk an inbound AA flight delay causing us to miss our LAX-PPT flight. We also had Marriott Suite upgrades available, and two days before our June 5 departure we received notification that our upgrade to a suite had been granted. As a result, our flight to/from LAX and the overnight in a two-room suite with VIP lounge access for complimentary breakfast would all be basically free (except for a few taxes on the free tickets and dinner at the hotel). On June 6, our ATN flight was not until 4:40pm, but as BonVoy Titanium, we were eligible for a late checkout. We were able to stay in our room until we needed to head to the International Terminal for check-in at about 1pm. Everything went smoothly, and we were onboard before 4pm. I think the ATN Premium Economy product is a nice compromise between regular Economy and Business Class. The seats have footrests and offer greater recline, as well as being slightly larger with more leg-room. All-in-all, for an 8-hour flight, I think it is worth the extra $600 or so we paid per ticket for roundtrip in PE. We also found out a couple of days before departure that ATN had switched our return flight from the 787 back to the older A340 which doesn’t offer PE, so we would be upgraded to Business Class for the return for free. More on that later. Pre-Cruise Stay While we booked our air ourselves, we did opt to buy a two-night pre-cruise land package at the Intercontinental Tahiti from Paul Gauguin, so we had bus transport from the airport to the IC, and then on June 8, on to the ship. The tour operator did a great job with both transfers. Overall, the IC Tahiti was an OK place to stay for a couple of nights, but compared to the Marriotts, Westins, and Hiltons we normally stay at, the IC was a notch or two below that. Having said that, for a short pre-cruise stay to help adjust to the six-hour time difference, the IC fit the bill perfectly. On June 7, after breakfast, we mainly just hung out by the Lotus pool/pool bar but did take a quick taxi into Papeete to go to Le Marche for a short shopping trip. My only real issue with the IC was the dinner cost at their Lotus restaurant. Our cost for dinner for two and a bottle of wine was about $265 (US), versus a comparable dinner post-cruise at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort (a much nicer property) that was only about $170. I also thought the Hilton’s breakfast buffet (included) was superior to the included IC breakfast buffet. The Ship and Our Cabin After cruising for a week in a Deck 8 Category B Veranda cabin, I can’t imagine ever booking anything else should we sail on the PG again. There was some debate a few months ago on this board about whether the deck 8 cabins really had king beds or not, and I can confirm that we had a full king in our cabin 805. I was really impressed with how efficiently the cabin was designed. With the nice seating area and the balcony, we never felt cramped or claustrophobic. After experiencing a 600+ square foot suite on Azamara last fall, I was concerned the PG cabin would feel small by comparison, but it was great. We also enjoyed a drink or a snack on our balcony almost every day. I also liked the easy access on Deck 8 to the pool deck and Le Grill for breakfast. We did hear several complaints from other cruisers about noise (mainly Deck 7 guests complaining about chairs being moved on the pool deck), but our cabin was exceedingly quiet. The crew is fantastic, and several of the waiters/bar staff called us by name by the second full day on the ship. Our butler on Deck 8 did a nice job as well, but I would say the butler service was maybe just a notch below what we experienced last fall on Azamara. We had to call and ask for a couple things that the Azamara butler refreshed without being asked. But when asked, our butler was very prompt and efficient. No real complaints at all. Our butler would have brought us breakfast every morning (as our Azamara butler did during the fall Azamara cruise), but the PG Category B cabins don’t have the dining table & chairs we had on Azamara, so it was just easier to walk a few steps over to Le Grill at our leisure. We thought the food was all excellent overall. We at four meals in the main dining room, L’Etoile, and felt it was superior to the main dining room on the Azamara Quest. We were seated with other cruisers the first two nights, and it was great to meet other folks. We also ate dinner at La Veranda twice (love the quieter atmosphere there) and we dined under the stars of the Southern Cross at Le Grill on Bora Bora. We loved both specialty restaurants but did feel the two specialty restaurants on the Azamara Quest – Aquafina and Prime C – maybe offered a bit more of the “fine dining” experience than the PG counterparts – but to some extent, I’m splitting hairs here. The restaurants were all great. We much preferred the “all inclusive” spirits and wine on Paul Gauguin to the “somewhat all-inclusive” spirits and wine on Azamara. Azamara includes all drinks and wine as well, but if you want something other the few liquor brands and wines on their “included” list, you have to pay an upcharge or purchase an upgraded beverage package for the whole cruise. It’s sort of clunky and requires the waiters to scan your guest cards to get an upgraded wine or spirit. Paul Gauguin’s approach is SO much better. We went to the show in the Grand Salon every night and thought the entertainment was excellent. We also enjoyed Alex in the Piano Bar and the Santa Rosa Band’s wide-ranging play-list of tunes. The Islands and Shore Excursions All I can say is “WOW!” We have loved Hawaii and have been going there often for almost 30 years, but for sheer natural beauty, French Polynesia is the most beautiful place we have ever visited. The green mountains set against the water in every shade of blue imaginable, is all so spectacular. We booked all of our shore excursions through Paul Gauguin and had everything set up prior to leaving home. We did make one change on the ship. On Huahine, we did a combo land/snorkel excursion, the Huahine Exploration by Boat and Jeep. We saw the blue-eyed eels, visited a former cannibalism sacrificial site, a pearl farm, and several other interesting and scenic stops. We then went by boat to a nice snorkel site. Overall, Huahine was probably the least impressive of the islands we visited, but that is only because the other three were so incredible. After returning to the ship, we enjoyed the Children of Huahine show and the Moonfish carving demo. On Taha’a, we spent the entire day at Motu Mahana. I think we were probably on the second or third tender over in the AM and stayed until mid-afternoon. The weather was off and on sunny/cloudy, but it was a great day with a great lunch. Our day at Motu Mahana made us feel like we were on Gilligan’s Island, just with a full bar and a buffet! Motu Mahana was a much more enjoyable way to spend a day of relaxation than the typical “Sea Day” you get on most other cruises. Our favorite island was Bora Bora, primarily because of the lagoon. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen, and it was more beautiful than I ever imagined it would be. The water is so incredibly blue. We did the Maohi Nui five-hour Lagoon Excursion & Polynesian Feast on Day 1. I snorkeled with sharks in a deep-water spot, stingrays and sharks at stop two in shallow water, and hundreds (thousands?) of reef fish at stop three. My wife is not a snorkeler and gets nervous in water deeper than about three feet, so she only tried stop two in water about a meter or so deep. But when she saw a shark, she was done, and I had to help her back to the boat! The feast on the tour operator’s motu was delicious with lobster, pork, chicken, and fish cooked on grills and in an earth oven. Day two on Bora Bora we did the Island Tour by “Le Truck.” While nothing could ever compare to the lagoon tour on day 1, this was a nice orientation to the island and a nice break from the water-based activities for my wife. When we returned to the Vaitape village after the tour, she was able to buy a nice pearl bracelet and single-pearl necklace at once of the shops a few blocks from the pier. After returning to the ship around mid-day, we put on our swim suits and spent a few hours at the Paul Gauguin Bora Bora Motu. With no bar or food, this time we felt like we were actually on Gilligan’s Island. The view of Bora Bora from the motu was incredible. On Moorea, we anchored in Opunohu Bay and took the tender to Papetoai. For day one we had chosen an afternoon Island Drive and Belvedere, so we slept in a bit and relaxed on the ship before time to meet for the tour. Unfortunately, this was the only day of our cruise with spotty weather, and it showered off and on during the mid-late morning and was very cloudy a foggy up at Belvedere. The weather improved later in the day and we got a good overview of the island with multiple stops. For Moorea day two, since my wife isn’t a snorkeler, we had originally booked the Dolphin Watching Expedition, but after the great snorkeling on Huahine and Bora Bora, and since we had done many dolphin/whale watches in Hawaii, we decided to switch to the Lagoon Discovery with Snorkeling. That way, I could snorkel again, and she still could enjoy the boat ride. The two stops were shallow water with stingrays and sharks and a second coral garden spot. The rays here were particularly friendly, and several approached me unprompted almost like a dog wanting me to pet them. It was an incredible wildlife interaction. My wife added a set of relatively inexpensive pearl earrings to her collection from one of the small vendors near the dock. Post-Cruise We had booked three nights post-cruise in a Panoramic Overwater Bungalow room at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort, so after departing the ship at 10am on the last day, we just walked with our luggage a block or so from the ship over to the ferry terminal and took the 11:40am Terevau ferry back over to Moorea. We picked up a taxi at the Moorea ferry terminal and were at the Hilton by about 12:45pm or so. After check-in, we hung out at the pool for about 30 minutes or so until our room was ready, and by 1:30 we were in our bungalow, sitting on our deck looking at the beautiful lagoon. The Hilton overwater bungalows are very nice, with a huge bathroom with walk-in shower/rain head/wand, a large main room with king bed, couch, and a glass floor area in front of the couch where we could see fish (and a shark) swimming below us. A mini-fridge has complimentary water, soft drinks, and beer that is refreshed daily. Outside is a large deck with a table/two chairs and two loungers. There are steps down to a lower platform where you can enter the water for swimming/snorkeling. The water around the bungalows is about four feet or so deep, maybe a little more in spots. The snorkeling at the Hilton is pretty good, although I will now compare every snorkeling spot against Bora Bora, and nothing really compares! Hilton provides complimentary snorkel, mask, and fins. On our first night we attended the Hilton’s buffet and Polynesian show. It was a very good show with decent food, and excellent fire dancers. We ate all meals on site and found the food to be good and reasonably priced for a nice hotel in French Polynesia. Breakfast was included since we are Gold/Diamond status in Hilton HHonors. At the Hilton, we primarily enjoyed the overwater bungalow experience. I snorkeled and we spent many hours sitting on our deck enjoying the great sunny weather and the amazing view. The only time we left the resort was on our second day, when we hired a taxi to take us back up to Belvedere lookout so we could see the view on a sunny day rather than the cloudy day we had on the cruise. The Trip Home On check-out day, June 18, our HHonors status also got us a 2pm check-out. We dropped our luggage at the front desk at 2pm, had lunch, and our taxi to the ferry terminal arrived at 3:30. We took the 4:40pm Terevau ferry back over to Papeete, and then after a short wait, shared a cab with another couple back to Papeete airport. We arrived at the airport about 10 minutes before Air Tahiti Nui opened their check-in counter at 6pm. Since we got the lucky Business Class upgrade for the return flight, it came with a pass to the Air Tahiti Nui VIP lounge. We hung out there and chatted with another couple who had also been on the PG, until our flight boarded at 8:40pm. The time passed quickly. The free upgrade to Business Class was great on the overnight flight leaving at 9:30pm. The seats in the A340 Business Class felt very similar to sit in as did the Premium Economy seats on the 787, but the A340 Business Class seats had much more extensive recline - 160 degrees - which means they are not quite lay-flat, but close. The meals and service were obviously better in Business Class than Premium Economy, and the amenity kit was nicer. If money was no object, Business Class is the way to go, but I've always been reluctant to pay that much for an airline ticket that still gets your there at the same time as everyone else! The free upgrade was a pleasant, unexpected bonus, and the better seat for the 7.5-hour flight from Papeete to LAX actually made that flight seem shorter than our five-hour flight home to Charlotte from LAX in American Airlines coach. We elected not to do an overnight in LAX on the way home but did schedule about a five-hour layover at LAX to allow some cushion for delays. As it turned out, everything operated on time, so we had a long wait at LAX. Overall Impressions This was a great trip, and we would both love to do another Paul Gauguin cruise in the years ahead before we get too old to really enjoy the activities. I just can’t stop talking about Bora Bora and that lagoon, so maybe an alternative would be staying at one of the Bora Bora resorts. But now that we’ve done the overwater bungalow thing and checked that off the bucket list (it was amazing), I’m thinking the variety and activities we could enjoy on another PG cruise might be the way to go. Maybe a longer cruise that includes the Tuamotus or the Marquesas. I would also love to perhaps combine a week in Hawaii with a future trip to French Polynesia. I heard from a family from Hawaii that was on the PG with us that Hawaiian Airlines is now flying twice weekly (rather than just once) from Honolulu to Papeete, so that may make coordinating the two destinations easier. In comparing Hawaii and French Polynesia, I think Hawaii wins for the variety of activities, for our many favorite Hawaiian restaurants, golf, and the great resorts we love. But French Polynesia wins for sheer natural beauty, the lagoons, and the snorkeling/water activities. I thought Hawaii was the most beautiful place on earth until I set foot on Bora Bora and Moorea, but French Polynesia tops it easily. Thanks again for the advice and answers. I’ll try to stay engaged in the board so I can help others as they try to sort their way through their next cruise. I also took over 3000 photos and haven't even begun to sort through, edit, and delete the rejects. But when I do, I may post a few of the best. I've attached one simple iPhone photo here, just because everyone needs something beautiful to look at. I now truly understand what you all mean when you talk about the “Polynesian Flu.”
  12. I apologize if the answer to this is buried somewhere on this board, but my search didn't yield much. My 6'1" brother might be interested in visiting Bermuda via cruise ship (probably because I can't stop effusively praising both the island and the thought of a floating hotel). Because of port reassignments after the kibosh on Cuba (franks, Donnie), Carnival is redirecting the Pride to Bermuda for some 2020 itineraries . . . including one that is in the sweet spot of when my husband can take time off. My thought was to book a Vista Suite so we could all bunk with (relative) elbow room. However, it only sleeps three -- a queen/single and a sofa bed -- and I know for darned sure my brother will not have enough room on the latter. My question is this: how long is the 'twin' if you split the queen? Neither my husband and I are very statuesque, so I have no way of gauging, but I hate the thought of my brother's feet hanging over his twin bed for seven days. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  13. Hi Everyone- I'm in the early stages of planning a cruise next winter to Florida/Bahamas with Royal Caribbean from New Jersey. My husband and I are not new to cruising but next year we will be accompanied by my in laws who have never cruised. It has been decided that my mother in law will be renting a scooter for this trip as she has some mobility problems concerning her balance/arthritic pain/frailty. She can walk unassisted with a cane but only over short distances. I want to add that going on a cruise is a giant step for her. She has never traveled much and is very apprehensive. She doesn't have much of an adventurous spirit and prefers the quiet of her living room but also doesn't want to miss out on family activities. She's mostly afraid she will be a burden to the rest of us with her mobility. I'm really happy to have her go on this trip with us and want to give her the opportunity to have an amazing time. I don't want her to feel like she's stuck on the side lines watching us all have fun or worse in the cabin because she doesn't know what to do, and so I wanted to provide her with some options of things she can do with all of us to include her as much as possible. Any thoughts, suggestions or shared experiences would be much appreciated to help me start my research. We will be sailing on Anthem of the Seas, a ship that my husband, son and I are familiar with having just cruised on her a few weeks ago. Information on excursions to do while in port (Cape Canaveral/Nassau) would be very handy. Does anyone know if she could get her scooter to Kennedy Space Center via the Royal Caribbean excursion? Or on the shuttle to Cocoa Beach? Nassau too seems to be a challenge for me to figure what types of things she could handle. When we were there, the pier was loud and chaotic which was fine for the three of us but it worries me when traveling within a group. I welcome any advice I can get! Thank you fellow cruisers!
  14. 11 days british isles out of Southampton r/t June 26, $549 zero supplement, NCL Spirit
  15. This doesn't allow as much time for stops as you'd think . On a good day it takes almost 5 hrs for that drive of 240 miles. I assume you'll be stopping for lunch. Check this site before you leave to check for hwy delays due to road repairs. http://511.alaska.gov/alaska511/mappingcomponent/index You'll need to be at the Denali around 3pm to get parked, pay your entry fee, then catch the shuttle to the sled dogs ( or walk). Most people would probably use this extra time to stop off in Talkeetna for a look around and have lunch. My favorite stop along the way is the Eklutna Spirit Houses and Orthodox Church. About 20 miles north of Anchorage, a 5 minute detour off the hwy. You can make this a quick stop by just viewing the spirit houses from the parking lot , or spend $5 and 30 minutes to walk around the grounds. http://www.eklutnahistoricalpark.org/ Veterans in the group would appreciate the Veterans Memorial just off the hwy, by Denali State Park .
  16. We just got back from a European cruise aboard the Spirit, the cruise itself and the crew onboard the ship were wonderful, however our room was a huge disappointment. We have sailed in mostly suites on our prior cruises so we have come to expect a certain quality when it comes to the suites. Our SF suite stateroom 10508 was is severe disrepair, the enamel coating in the tub was peeling off so anytime you took a bath you had chunks of enamel floating in the water with you, the shower had extreme water damage and was unsightly, the mosaic tiles on the walls were missing and falling out, the speakers in the room were falling out of the ceiling etc. We didn’t let any of this ruin our vacation but I was extremely disappointed in the room itself. We paid almost 10k for the cruise and to me the room was not worth half of what we paid, NCL should be extremely embarrassed by the lack of quality in this suite. I have attached a few pictures below.
  17. Our goal in March leaving the Spirit was to be 100% Bvlgari until our October return. Looks like we'll make it!
  18. I'll be traveling with a picky eater on Spirit this summer. Is the kitchen willing to prepare a simple chicken breast or pasta dish on request? I know he can find something he'll eat in the grill, but I'd like to enjoy at least a couple of special meals in the main dining room.
  19. We had the silver spirit package on our recent cruise on the Viking Sky. We purchased it on embarkation day. We were pleased with the package and thought it worthwhile. We enjoyed the choices at dinner. We ate at the Chef's Table 3 times, and liked the pairings.
  20. We have chosen the dining package as part of our 2 Free at Sea promotion. We are cruising 14 nights so can have 5 nights dining according to our TA. We are on the Spirit so will we have access to all the chargeable restaurants, which seem to be Teppanyaki, Sushi, la Trattoria, Cagneys and Le Bistro. When I log on to My NCL it shows some available reservation times at some of these. Can I book these online now or do you have to wait to you are on board to book as part of the package? I don’t want to reserve and then have to pay when we have the package nights to redeem. Also if these is no availability do they release more dates and tables on board?
  21. This picture was in my email today from Pinterest of former Nieuw Amsterdam in Alang. So sad to see her like this- I have many great memories on that ship. Anyone that posts about vibration on the current Nieuw Amsterdam should have sailed on her predecessor. She gave a new meaning to vibrating- in some places a drink would vibrate off of the table. One of the former CD's called her the "Magic Fingers ship" after the units motels used to have next to the beds. She was a beautiful ship with all of her flaws and lived through many challenges. She will be missed.
  22. In the spirit of moving forward, I would like to offer to help with some information on this board and maybe if it works, Andy would be happy to make a sticky out of the thread On the Celebrity board, there is a very useful spreadsheet kept up to date by one of the cruisers where others can search for information on a cabin. Here on Azamara, we have to try and search and trawl for information and I am offering to create and maintain with say forthnightly updates a similar spreadsheet. For it to work, everyone has to post information in a consistent way and also only use the thread to post information, not to engage in debate (pop over to the Celebrity board if you want to see more on how it works) For Azamara, I would suggest the information should be Cabin Number Ship Month/Year sailed Would you choose this room again Y/N Is noise an issue Y/N Balcony size Normal/Larger/Smaller Any other comments (keeping these succinct so the spreadsheet does not grow too much) How do others feel about this - if you think we do not need it here, please say, I will not be offended!!!!
  23. Very interesting! We are booked on the upcoming Silver Spirit voyages Venice to Athens to Dubai and will be at the Ashdod port on October 28 and 29. I also saw several days ago that the Ashdod tours had been eliminated , except for the privatos, on the Silversea website and have been very concerned. We are still three days away from being able to book tours on our My Silversea account, so we are now hopeful that they will reappear there, as they have for you. This is really bizarre. And thank you, Master Echo, we will also check out Tours By Locals.
  24. My partner and I are planning to go on a Silver Sea Spirit cruise later this year, could anyone tell me if Silver Sea cruise line is gay friendly or not ?
  25. We are a group of 5 adults & 11 (all under 12 y.o.) kids on a Spirit Baltic cruise in late July. Before anyone jumps in, yes we know Silversea is probably the wrong line but the dates/itinerary/pricing fitted perfectly into our European stopover on a much longer trip around the globe and most days are in port. The school vacation cruises apparently attract more families so my question is whether there is anything on board which might be an appropriate diversion during the single sea day other than wi-fi & TV? I understand from this board that the evening entertainment doesn't start till 10 (after my bedtime, let alone the kids!), so I guess it's a case of bring lots of books & board games. We're planning to skip the formal evening and are pleased with the range of catering choices, but any advice from previous family cruisers on Silversea would be most welcome>
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