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  1. Couple of different things With Spirit and Miracle. The Spirit class are very popular because of their size and some unique features
  2. A true martini would be approximately 2oz of gin and 1oz of dry vermouth stirred (not shaken) until it is diluted with about 1.5oz of water (served with either olives or a lemon twist). The chilling generated from the stir tones down the ethanol notes so the more subtle/interesting notes of the gin and vermouth to be pleasant. If using lower end gin and/or vermouth then typically one would not dilute as much (as the ethanol taste will mask the inferior quality) or make it a variation on a true martini and add additional ingredients to be the forward flavors, i.e. lemon drops, chocolate “martinis” etc. Using vodka is also a “play” on a true martini. A true martini using good quality ingredients should never be shaken; while it may be more of a “show” it messes with the texture and more subtle aromas and flavors, which are what makes a great martini great. A lot of people who tend to order “martinis” with vodka or extra components haven’t had a true martini made with good quality gin and vermouth and well executed. Mediocre gin or a martini made poorly can really taste bad, whereas with vodka being a neutral spirit, a great “vodka martini” doesn’t exist but it is also more difficult to make a bad “martini” with vodka. A martini with excellent gin (Monkey 47 is my favorite) and good vermouth that is executed well is a treat.
  3. Well said. I am glad I experienced Alaska on the Sapphire Princess and never made the mistake years ago of doing the Carnival Spirit.
  4. Hi Frances. I found that Discover Burnie is a great site for info, bookings, etc. They'll give you info on tours if you email them. I'm about to book with a company called That's the Spirit, Tours since they offer a tour along the coast to Devonport and around. They're a local company of 2 guys, and are willing to customize the trip a little, which I like. They charge per person, whether two people or 6, moderately priced in my opinion. They have 4 or 5 tours listed, or you might be able to email them and ask about something different. The Devonport tour is one they offer, but to book it on their website, you have to use the "Sheffield in Color" line and note in comments you want Devonport. I considered going to Cradle Mountain but it just sounded too far, with perhaps not enough to interest us. But of course, everyone's different. And for Leven, I believe someone on your Roll Call or another for Aus/NZ mentioned Viator not showing tours in 2020 yet. I'm not sure if that's the case or not, but I just ran across Viator tours on my phone, and I was able to pull up tours for our 2020 dates. Didn't try to book and pay, however. I just thought I'd mention this in case people are still looking for tours offered by Viator.
  5. We have never stayed ( or seen) a Panorama Suite; from what I hear, they are rarely available as they are frequently used for Guest Lecturers, Bridge Hosts, and other people that would fall into this group. Sometimes they are integrated into the larger Suites to add a bedroom for families, etc and therefore have connecting doors. We have had Suites under the pool deck on the Spirit and Muse and never had any issue with noise from the pool - even when they are moving furniture in preparation for the evening meal service at the Grill or simply cleaning. We did have a Suite on one voyage that had a connecting door to the adjoining Suite and that was a bit unpleasant....we could hear noise from the neighboring Suite including, at times, their TV. Something to consider.....
  6. So I just got off the Miracle and I've never been more satisfied with a Carnival cruise. After my cruise on the Breeze in May I was pretty sure I was done with Carnival, but as long as they keep a Spirit class ship in Tampa I'll keep sailing on those at least. Compared to the Breeze: -The ship was way, way less crowded. Never had trouble finding a lounger, never waited in long lines, and didn't even have to arrive too early for the comedy club. -The Serenity is the best in the fleet and a great use of the aft pool area -There's so much more open deck space per person than on the Breeze -The service was much friendlier and faster, with more staff per passenger -There weren't sales pitches for the fun shops, casino, spa, etc every 5 minutes like on the breeze -I think Frankie is a better CD than Schwartz -Getting on and off in the ports is a lot faster since there's less people overall on the ship I just wanted to share my experience since I've seen a lot of the same complaints that I had about the Breeze on the other newer/refurb ships like the Horizon, Sunrise, etc
  7. Thank you very much Op, this thread is both inspiring and comforting. I am very impressed by all the other « wow » moments mentioned so far by fellow passengers and these keep me cruising. For us, our « awe » inspiring moment include: On Sovereign of the Seas in 1992, the midnight buffets. On Enchantment of the Seas: Helmut Dive in St-Thomas U.S Virgin Islands. I was so impressed, that having forgotten to bring my credit card, after returning to the ship, I returned to the site to buy the video of our experience. On HAL’s Rotterdam, besides the ship’s unique museum decor, while docked in Flam, we were able to visit Undredal and taste unique homemade brown goat cheese. On Maasdam, in Sydney, N.S., sailing on the Bras d’Or Lake as well as our excursion to Peggy’s cove while docked in Halifax. On Solstice: Our visit to the Haleakala Volcano. It was my first experience on foot above the clouds and the volcanic scenery really offered a Martian experience. In addition, the 360 degree turn the ship made in front of th Kileaua Volcano eruption at night, where lava met the ocean. Fabulous! Unique! Impressive and memorable! On Infiniti, the humpback whales welcome at Icy Straight Point as well as the view of the Spirit Bear and the pacific Coastal Bear. On Constellation, our excursions in Rhodes and Katacolon, including greek dances and mezze. In short, cruising allowed us to discover worlds unknown to us and we enjoyed every moments. From a simple sunrise or sunset on the ocean, to the viewing of wildlife and meeting people from foreign lands. We’re hooked on cruising!
  8. I had free fights from NYC to Miami. with a recent NCl Sky cruise. I noticed on my confirmation, booked before final payment and ticketing on my confirmation that theyhad listed a NYC to Wash DC with layover then DC - Miami. on my outbound flight, direct flight home. Obviously aware they will book cheapest flights available. However I called NCl;s air department.I explained nicely that I live in NYC. There are 3 major airports I can fly from easily and could they please check again and voila direct flights on AA magically appeared on my booking.I told them I would fly any major airline as in Delta, AA , Jet Blue. Not Spirit or Fronteir The bottom line is it never hurts to ask.
  9. I've only ever done a Thanksgiving cruise on RCI, so I'm not much help there. However I just got off the Spirit last Friday (Oct. 11) and had a great time, despite our sailing making the news for all the itinerary changes and disgruntled passengers rioting 😳 If you haven't already, it may help to check out your sailing's roll call to potentially connect with other passengers and find transfers, tours, etc. to look into and/or split with other groups. The Spirit was by far the smallest ship we've ever sailed on, but we really enjoyed how easy it was to navigate and the service/staff onboard. If you have any other questions regarding the ship itself, I'm happy to try and answer as best I can. Hope this helps & happy cruising!
  10. It sure does. Why is that? And is it any different than the other 3 Spirit Class ships?
  11. Do you have to call to add this on, it's not showing on my cruise on Spirit in December?
  12. But notice how Carnival doesn't send any other ship besides the Spirit class. This is because Alaska is a cold weather climate, meaning passengers do not want to spend 50 degree days in an outdoor pool. Spirit Class ships, as well as the Carnival Splendor, are the only ships that have an indoor pool. This is also why RCI and NCL both have ships with indoor pools in Alaska.
  13. B cabins were sold out when I made my reservation for a November cruise, so I went for BX #129. Final payment is due shortly and I'm thinking that if there is any a time when cabins might free up it would be at final payment. As in people who are thinking about a cruise and hold a place, may cancel more frequently then. Asked TA to take a look at that time. I've read that aft B cabins are noisy. Any thing forward to avoid just in case there's something available? Nancy
  14. Some Thoughts For FirstTime Crystal Cruisers This will serve as the new“Sticky” Thread for this topic. The former thread will no longer be a “Sticky” Thread, but can be found here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2272970 This thread has beenwritten with first time Crystal Cruisers in mind. I believe it can also behelpful to those who have not cruised Crystal in sometime as well and hopefullyto others who may have cruised Crystal a few times or less. While the information ismainly related to the Ocean Vessels, I have incorporated some information onthe River Cruises and Yacht. The information isprimarily focused on cruise preparation, the first day of embarkation with afew additional thoughts as well. In addition to thisinformation I would like to highlight the following. Cruise Critic CrystalCruises Threads =========================== MEET AND MINGLE PARTIES After you have booked yourcruise you can go over to the Meet and Mingle Board to register to attend aparty. If 10 or more people sign hope Crystal Cruises will host a complimentarycocktail party for that voyage which will provide a nice opportunity for you tomeet your fellow Cruise Critic Cruisers. A few days before the party, you willreceive an invitation noting the date/time/location of the party. Here is the link to signup for the Meet and Mingle (M&M) Parties: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=995584 After you have signed upfor a party if you need to make a revision/deletion you can update yourreservation by using this link. http://www.cruisecritic.com/rollcall/partylist.cfm FUTURE BOOKINGS After you have booked yourcruise you can go over to the Future Booking Thread, which shows all of thosefrom Cruise Critic who are booked on a particular voyage. You can post on thisthread asking that you be added to the cruise you have booked. It also willprovide a nice opportunity for you to see who will be on the cruise with youfrom cruise critic: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...935081&page=42 ROLL CALL THREAD Be sure to see if a rollcall has been established for your cruise. There is a roll call thread thatlists all of the roll calls. This link will take you to the first page of thethread and from there click on the last page to see the most current rollcalls. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1236633 Pre-Cruise Items ============ -Visit the Crystal CruisesWeb Site at www.crystalcruises.com as it provides lots of useful information to assist you inpreparing for the cruise. -Obtain a copy of CrystalCruise Hard Copy Brochures as they do provide a wealth of information. Thislink will take you to the brochure section on the Crystal Cruises Web Site. http://www.crystalcruises.com/order-a-brochure I would recommend orderingthe Worldwide Atlas. It provides a wealth of information. -For the best availabilityof cabins, book early. Booking early also has other advantages includinggetting your request in for either early or late dining or dining byreservation. -Utilize the shipboarddiagram found in the Hard Copy Brochures or on-line to determine category ofstateroom desired and to develop a prioritized list of stateroom numbers. -At the time of yourbooking be sure to request your evening dining seating preference (main or latedining and table size). If you prefer dining by reservation do not request atraditional dining time. NOTE: You cannot make your dining by reservationchoices until you have made your final payment. Please note that all of this isbased on availability so it is best to book early and to request your diningpreference at the time of your booking. -Dining time for maindining will begin either at 6:00 PM or 6:15 PM depending on the voyage. Latedining begins at 8:30 PM. -Tables available in themain dining room are typically configured for 2, 4, 6, and 8 guests andsometimes there are a few slightly larger tables. If you have any other specialdining requirements have your Travel Agent note them on your bookingreservation at the time of booking. For example, if you have allergies tocertain foods, have that noted on the reservation or for foods such as lowsodium foods or for kosher foods indicate that as well. If you are travelingsolo and prefer to dine with others traveling solo even though the RestaurantMaitre d’ normally takes that into consideration, be sure to have that noted onyour reservation. The same goes for any other preferences for tablemates. YourTravel Agent can also send a note to the on board guest services group at email address obgs@crystalcruises.com about any other special needs. -If you have any specialdietary needs such as kosher, gluten free or low sodium items, be sure thatyour TA notes this information on your reservation at the time of your booking.Also either write to on board guest services or have your TA do this and dothis a minimum of 90 or more before your cruise. They will then send you oryour TA a form to fill out. E Mail for on board guest services is: obgs@crystalcruises.com -Before booking air,compare prices that you can obtain by making your own independent airlinearrangements vs. those offered by Crystal. To obtain specific flights throughthe cruise line, ask for Air Deviation. There is an additional free for customair. Be aware that if you want to purchase economy seats and upgrade them tobusiness or first class that usually cannot be done when you purchase ticketsthrough the cruise line. Keep in mind that the Crystal air program includestransfers, which can save considerable money in certain areas of the world. Iwant to highlight that if you want to get the specific flights to your likingselect custom air -For long flights such asoversea flights, flights within the Continental USA involving long flightsdurations, consider flying in a day or more before. With most flights runningat full capacity, this will help to ensure that should your flight be canceledor significantly delayed that you will not miss the cruise ship and that youwill start the cruise with little to no jet lag. Personally no matter where thecruise begins, we always fly one or more days in advance. As they say, ifsomething can go wrong, it will go wrong. Also, if you have to change planeslook very closely at the connection times. Even those connections that areconsidered legal connections leave very little room for error and if yourflight is delayed and/or you have a long way to get to the next flight you caneasily miss your plane. -Likewise, when you makeflights to return home if you are departing the day that the ship arrives inport give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Be sure to factor inany delays that could occur including the ship arriving to port late, delays inclearing the ship for disembarkation, delays in claiming your luggage, thelength of time to get from the pier over to the airport and the times requiredto check in for flights. My view is there is no sense in spending half thecruise worrying whether or not you will make your flight so think verycarefully about the flight times. -Look carefully at thecruise pre-hotel and post-hotel program. Remember, that while the hotel staythrough the program is likely to be more costly than if you booked the stay onyour own, the hotel program also includes transfers between the airport and thehotel and then on embarkation day from the hotel to the ship. In some citiesaround the world transportation can be quite costly. We have used the hotelprogram several times. - Be sure to determinewhether or not you need travel/health insurance and what your needs are. If youwant insurance to cover say the impact of a catastrophic event (sometimescalled an act of god) be sure you read the policy carefully so you know what isand what is not covered so there are no surprises. -At the time of yourbooking, determine if your cruise requires any visas that have to be arrangedprior to your cruise and if any vaccinations are required. This information canbe obtained from Crystal. The availability of this information may varydepending on how far in advance you book the cruise. Crystal does anoutstanding job letting its guests know whether or not visas are required andif any vaccinations are required. Usually by around August the information isavailable for the following calendar year. Crystal Cruises will also let youknow if a Yellow Fever Vaccination is required for your cruise. This link willtake you to 2104/12015 Visa Requirements. Always remember this information canbe subject to change so be sure to have your TA verify this for you. http://www.pinnacletds.com/Crystal The information on thatlink is oriented to United States passport holders and there is an e-mailaddress so that those from other countries can check on their requirements. PCPC - Priority Check-in& Planning Center -Sign in to the PriorityCheck-in & Planning Center (PCPC), by clicking on the following link. https://checkin.crystalcruises.com/ You will need to enteryour first and last names and your booking number, which your travelagent/specialist should provide to you. You will complete four sections relatedto immigration such as passport information for each traveler, credit card, onboard profile and a transportation section. Make sure your credit carddoesn't expire during or before the cruise ends. The check in system will NOTlet you put in a Credit Card that expires before the cruise. If you use a debitcard to make your initial entries because your CC expires before the cruise,make sure you go back and put in your new Credit Card information. -The PCPC will alsoprovide you with other information about your cruise including a calendar thatshows the itinerary, along with other information such as whether you aredocked or anchored in port, and what the dress attire is for each evening. Besure to print out a copy of this calendar and bring it with you for check infor your cruise on embarkation day. -As you get closer to thecruise if you look for the section above the calendar marked “events” it will showyou the times of the evening shows which may help you with your planning.Please note that the actual times for the shows might be different on yourvoyage and once on board they will be duly noted in the daily ReflectionsProgram -After you make your finalpayment you can use the system to pre book one specialty restaurant reservationper specialty restaurant, a reservation at the Vintage Room, reservations foropen dining by reservation if you did not selected classic (fixed) dining, spaand salon reservations, signups for classes including those taught at thecomputer university and the ability to arrange for transfers from the airportto the ship if you are flying in the day of embarkation and not using theCrystal Cruises airline program or for the day of disembarkation if you areflying home that day and not using the Crystal Cruises air program. From PCPCyou can also go to other web sites such as one to ship luggage from your hometo the ship and/or from the ship to your home. You can also request anotherservice, which provided for a fee additional assistance at the airport. Pleaseremember that reservations are based on availability. -Approximately six monthsbefore your cruise starts you can make shore excursion reservations in PCPCeven if you have not yet made your final payment. -If this is your firstCrystal Cruise I do recommend making one reservation at each SpecialtyRestaurant (Silk Road which serves Japanese Cuisine and Prego which servesItalian Cuisine). If you are sailing Crystal Serenity you can make one dinnerreservation via PCPC for Tastes, which is a casual dining alternative. There is also an iMovieClass being offered on each voyage and you can sign up for that by using PCPC.If you do sign up for the class be sure to purchase and load the iMovie Appthat is listed on the PCPC at the signup screen for this program. Crystal provides variousnewspapers on line, and the ability to watch on demand lectures and movies onvarious devices such as the iPhone, Android and the iPad. Be sure to make sureyou have downloaded the Press Reader App to read newspapers and the dailyprogram Reflections, the movies on demand swank player app to watch movies onyour iPad, and the iMovie by Apple app to make iMovies should you sign upf orthe class while still at home. This link takes you to the Crystal Cruises Appcenter where you can download the apps you require. http://www.crystalcruises.com/app-center -After making your finalpayment if you didn’t choose classic (fixed) evening dining then you will usethis system for the open choice dining by reservation for the Crystal (main)Dining Room. For each evening you specify the time you would like to dine alongwith the table size and the reservation system will confirm this for you inreal-time as you make each reservation. Please note that if you book a tablethat is larger than the size of your party (for example if you are two peopleand book a table for six) then you are responsible for inviting that number ofpeople to join you as the Maître d’ does not seat others with you. Do not waitto board the ship to first make reservations. The times and overallavailability are capacity controlled so it’s best to make all of thereservations at the time or shortly after you make final payment. -Approximately two weeksbefore the start of your voyage you will receive an e-mail from Crystal Cruiseswhich will list all of the reservations you have made and will advise that nonew reservations or revised reservations can be made within seven days of yoursailing. -About six months beforethe cruise begins, under your voyage, the Crystal Web Site will list all of theshore excursions and provide the opportunity for you to sign up for theseexcursions. Most shore excursions can be canceled with no penalty. On the nightthat you embark the ship, your shore excursion tickets will be delivered toyour stateroom, and each ticket will note the last day in which the tickets canbe canceled to avoid penalties. Ordering the tickets ahead of time, saves youtime early in the cruise and also helps to ensure that you get the excursionsthat you want as some of the more popular excursions with limited availabilitycan be sold out prior to the commencement of the cruise. -Be sure that yourpassport will not expire less than six months after your cruise ends. If itdoes expire be sure to get a new passport. Also, check to see if you havesufficient available visa pages in the back. You can have pages added to your existingpassport for a charge. The key is to do this sooner rather than later to ensurethat your passport is back in plenty of time. Notify all of your creditcard and atm card banks of the dates of your vacation and your itinerary sothey do not think transactions from your vacation are fraud related. Make alist of your card numbers and phone numbers in case you need to reach the cardcompany should your cards become lost or should your card not be returned froman ATM machine. Attire ==== Often, there are questionsabout the evening attire. The following information about attire comes directlyfrom the Crystal Cruises Web Site. The web site also notesthe appropriate daytime attire for the Crystal Dining Room. Crystal Casual For women, Crystal Casualincludes a dress, or a blouse or sweater and skirt or dressy slacks. Men’sCrystal Casual attire includes a sports jacket (optional), dress shirt,buttoned down shirt, open collar or collared polo shirt and dress plants. (Notie required.) Black Tie Optional For men, this includes adark suit with tie or tuxedo. For women, this includes a formal cocktail dress,evening gown, or dressy evening separates. On Black Tie Optional evenings,Crystal requests at least a Jacket to be worn by men and dress, skirts ordressy slacks and blouse or sweater be worn by women. Jeans may NOT be worn inany dining venues or lounges, including the Casino on Black Tie Optionalevenings. Guests can expect thefollowing Black Tie Optional Nights: 7 days or less cruises:All Crystal Casual evenings 8 to 10 day cruises: Up to1 Black Tie Optional evening 11 to 13 day cruises: 2Black Tie Optional evenings World Cruise, HolidayCruises and Crossings may be scheduled differently. Your booking on PCPC willconfirm the number of Black Tie Optional Evenings for your specific cruise aswill your final cruise documents. Visitors ===== Crystal is one of the fewcruise lines, which permit having visitors on board the ship. This link willtake you to the Visitors Authorization Form. Please be sure to fill out theform in its entirety. Visitors are permitted on embarkation day and other daysof the cruise with the exception of the day you disembark the ship. The formnotes the costs to have visitors on board including meals. The visitor requestform is available on line and you can access it via PCPC. Always good to get itapproved sooner rather than later as the number of visitors who can board iscapacity controlled. Final Documents, and otherPreparations ========================= -Your final documentsshould arrive approximately 30 to 40 days prior to the start of your cruise. Itincludes the cruise passenger ticket, your luggage tags, and other importantinformation to read through including a book titled before you cruise. Be sureto read that book from cover to cover as it includes a lot of usefulinformation which will address many questions that first time cruisers toCrystal undoubtedly have. NOTE: Your final documents will not be sent outunless you have filled out the information on the on line PCPC system. Finaldocuments also include a shore excursion booklet. -You may want to type up alist of any special requests for your stewardess, which you can hand to her theday you first meet her. This could be the type of non-alcoholic beverages thatyou prefer be stocked in your refrigerator, or the type of fruit that you likein your fruit bowl or any other special requests that you have. If you arestaying in a PH or above category your butler will take care of your refrigeratorso you could make a similar list for your butler. -Think through what itemsyou will take with you on the cruise and think through what you will wear thefirst day of embarkation and take into account what you will wear to dinner thefirst evening should your luggage arrive later than expected. - You will receive luggagetags, which you will want to fill out and attach to your luggage right beforeyou go to the pier. Be sure to print out acopy your PCPC document and place it with your final documents. Getting Ready For TheCruise ================== In addition to the eveningattire, think through carefully what you will want to wear on the ship on seadays and what you want to wear while in port. Consider the weather that isexpected based on the time of year and the itinerary you are sailing. If you are on an extendedcruise we bring wire hangers with us, which take up less room in the closet andallow for more clothes to be hung. Complimentary laundryfacilities are available on most passenger decks. They include washer, dryersand an iron and ironing board and complimentary laundry detergent and fabricsofteners are provided. Pressing and Dry CleaningServices are also available on the ship for a charge. Complimentary pressing isavailable for those passengers booked in any of the three penthouse (PH, PS, orCP) categories and complementary dry cleaning and laundry services are alsoavailable for those in the CP Category. Free Internet service isavailable to those in the CP as is 2 hours of free in-suite phone service.Those in the PS received 2 hours of free internet service. Please note that thoseguests sailing in a standard stateroom or Penthouse PH category receive onehour of complimentary internet per day/per guest and you get all of the minutesup front on the first day you board. For those sailing in a Penthouse Suite (PSCategory) you will receive ninety minutes per guest of complimentary internetservice per day. The following providesinformation on internet pricing for those wanting to purchase additionalminutes of internet beyond what is provided comlimentary. You can use the planseither on the computers in the Computer University or on your own devices or ona combination of both. Pay as You Go” access for$0.74/minute 2 hours of access for $55($0.46/minute) 5 hours of access for $127($0.43/minute) 10 hours of access for$220 ($0.37/minute) Free Crystal (note onlyCrystal e mail) is available to those in the PH, PS and CP. This involves aspecial Crystal e-mail address that is assigned to you. We also bring some magnetswith us and they can be hung on some of the walls in the cabin, which we use tohang up reminders and various invitations and the cruise ship summary andpictures of the family. Be sure to bring yourcruise ticket with you. Embarkation is done on board the ship. We bring extra passportpictures with us and we also bring a copy of each of our passports. We do thisjust in case we lost our passport either before the start of the cruise orafter the cruise before we fly home. This will facilitate getting a newpassport. There are various apps youcan put on devices such as iPads and selected smart phones. This link will takeyou to the list of apps. http://www.crystalcruises.com/app-center Embarkation Day ============= -On most embarkation days,boarding of the ship begins at around 12:00 Noon. However, there are someexceptions to this. Usually they are duly noted in your cruise documents. -Your final documentsinclude a document that will be scanned when you arrive to the ship forembarkation. The embarkation process is now handled on the ship including thephoto of you being taken for your shipboard card. -If you embark at thathour, your stateroom will likely not be ready until approximately 2:00 PM to3:00 PM. -Before you board the shipthe ships photographers will be taking photos. This is optional and for thosewho do not want a photo of taken they can just pass on this. -After you embark, stop bythe front desk to get a copy of the Reflections daily program. This program isa keeper and I encourage you to read it thoroughly. While there will be one inyour room, often we read the one we pick up the desk during lunch. The embarkationReflections program not only provides lots of information about the first day’sactivities, but some additional information regarding the overall cruise. Readit cover to cover. You will learn a great deal about the cruise. There will be a one-pagesummary that will list each day, whether it is a sea day or a port day, whatthe attire is for dinner each evening, any theme meals in the Crystal DiningRoom and the type of entertainment for each evening. We keep this page handythroughout the cruise. -Go enjoy lunch. A niceplace for lunch is the Crystal Dining Room where a nice sit-down lunch isavailable along with complimentary flutes of champagne. While you are waitingfor lunch, this might be a good time to read through reflections. You can enterand still be seated in the dining room up until 1:30 PM. A more casualluncheon-dining venue will also be open on the Lido Deck. -If you want to makereservations at the Specialty Restaurants and/or also see where your diningroom table is located for the evening dinner in the main dining room the MaîtreD’s will have hours available in the afternoon when you can meet with them. Thehours and the location will be posted in Reflections. -If you have brought yourown computer with you this is also a good day to go by the Computer Universitywhere they will configure your computer for use in your stateroom. You can alsosign up for an Internet plan whether or not you have your own computer or usethe computers located in the Computer University. If you would like to sign upfor computer classes, stop by the Computer University to do so and to pick up acopy of the computer class schedule. -If you have spa and otherbeauty salon appointments that you need to make, be sure to visit the spa.Also, pick up a schedule of all of the fitness classes that will be offeredduring the voyage at the Fitness Center. -While you are waiting foryour cabin this is a good day to get learn about the layout of the public areason the ship. Take a walk to see what is on each deck. -When your room is ready,go by your room. Some or your entire luggage may already be in the room andthose pieces that are not yet there will be delivered throughout the afternoon.Your room should be ready sometime between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM. -Stop by the library tocheckout books, music CD’s, and DVD’s. -Your stewardess will comeby to see you sometime that afternoon. This is a good time to ask her anyquestions you have. If you like particular types of non-alcoholic beverages lether know. You can order up to two bottles of wines/spirit for your room. A listof what can be ordered is in the back of a Crystal Stateroom Book that can befound in your room. The same goes for the fruit bowl that she will fill eachday. And, if there is any other requests you have you can let her know. If youhave a list that you prepared mentioned earlier then this is a good time togive it to her. -If you are staying in aPH or above category in addition to the stewardess who is also assisted by astewardess in training you will also have a butler. The butler will stock yourrefrigerator with non-alcoholic drinks, will also provide selectedcomplimentary wine, spirit sand beer should you want any. -This is a good time tounpack and later in the day you will also attend the lifeboat drill. The timewill be noted in the Reflections Program and an announcement will be made aboutthe drill well before the start time. On your door there will be a sign notingwhere your muster station is. If in doubt, any of the assigned personnel in thehallways and near the stairways will be able to direct you to the appropriatemuster station. On Board Credits (OBC) All on board credits haveto be used as any unused credits cannot be taken as a credit to your creditcard when the cruise ends. If you are on for more than one consecutive cruisethe credit from the first cruise will continue to rollover to subsequentcruises until you disembark the ship at the final port of call. There are a variety ofways to use your on board credit. This list reflects examples of many ways youcan use your on board credit. I may have omitted some examples but this listshould give you some good ideas as to how you can use your credits. Shore Excursions includingPrivate Crystal Excursions Private Transfers PostCruise Booked On Board or Shared Transfers booked via PCPC or on board. Post Card Stamps Connoisseur Wine &Beer List Crystal Spa & Salon Personal Training Other Paid Services in theFitness Center Vintage Room Casino with the followingcaveats: http://legacy.crystalcruises.com/Sup...px?stb=2&fc=15 Tips Crew Fund Cigars Private Parties Flowers Specialty Restaurant Reservationsthat exceed the allotment based on the length of the cruise and the number ofcruises you completed. Special Silk RoadConnoisseur Menu Caviar Dry Cleaning, Pressing andWashing of Garments Medical Expenses On Board Stores includingSundries Hosting Guests On Board Private Dance Lessons On Board Visas if there isa requirement for them and the ship arranges them Internet beyond theComplimentary 1 hour per day per person that is included Long Distance TelephoneCalls Photos Photo items sold on board Photo Book The Cruise ======== -Each time the ship leavesport, if you go outside (on your own verandah, or on any of the outside decksyou will hear what has become a tradition for Crystal Cruises and it’s guestand crew which is a recording of Louis Armstrong singing "What a WonderfulWorld" -The wait staff in theMain Dining Room will include the Maitre d’ who has several responsibilitiesincluding assigning passengers to their respective tables, the Head Waiter whois responsible for an area of the dining room which includes several tables andwho you can see if you would like to order any special items, the senior waiterwho takes your order and ensures that all of the items you ordered are servedto you, and the waiter who assists the senior waiter in serving you your meal.There is also a sommelier that serves mixed drinks and wine and hasresponsibility for a specific section of tables. - Gratuities are includedwith your cruise fare. However, should you wish to you can give gratuities to thosefrom the cruise who you will to thank for the excellent service they haveprovided. You can either do this by giving them cash of if you would like youcan obtain a form at the reception desk so that you can charge the tips to yourshipboard account. -Wine. Complimentary wineis available throughout the day/evening. For those who might want to havesomething other than the complimentary wine you can order it at the time youdine or you can pre-order it. If you would like you can pre-order wine earlierin the day at the Bistro which is staffed with several of the sommeliers. Thatway if you are ordering a red wine it can be opened up ahead of time andregardless of whether you order a red or a white wine or both the table will beset accordingly. If you have a bottle of wine in your room that you would liketo send to any of the restaurants just let your stewardess know or in the PHand above categories just let your butler know. There is no charge for havingwine opened in any of the dining venues. Each night the CrystalDining Room will offer a couple of different wines. In general, there are about19 wines that are offered during the cruise in the dining room so if the twowines are not to your liking ask about these other wines. In the Specialty restaurantsPrego and Silk Road there are a few complimentary wines offered each evening.There are also a few others so ask about those if the ones are offered are notappealing to you. You can also have complimentary sake in Silk Road. On Crystal Serenityanother dining option is Tastes and they also have an inclusive wine list ofseveral wines. -Spirits. The inclusivelist includes a wide range of spirits and also includes other items such asliquors for after dinner drinks or to enjoy other times of the day. -Beer. For those who enjoybeer there are some offerings of beer on each voyage. - Most importantly, startenjoying your cruise knowing that the superb personnel on board the CrystalShip will take care of your every need. Enjoy the ambience of the ship and thefive-star+ services that awaits you from the outstanding cuisine to theoutstanding service. -Enjoy each and everyminute of the cruise knowing that you are in the professional hands of thesuperb Crystal Staff. For those who like to keep busy there is so much to doand to learn. For those who just want to sit back, read a book, enjoy the sea,there are many special places around the ship in which to relax. -In the unlikely eventthere is a concern with some item, be sure that it is addressed. If you are notsure who to speak with, just ask the reception desk for assistance. - At the end of the cruiseyou will be a member of the Crystal Society. As a Crystal Society member youreceive discounts on future cruises and you can achieve additional benefitsbased on the number of cruises taken. Also, this is the time to considerbooking a future cruise, as you will receive an on board-booking discount. Thediscount is on top of the Crystal Society discount and is the same percentage.So, if the Crystal Society discount was 4 percent then you would receive anadditional 4% for the on board booking discount for a total savings of 8%. -Assuming you enjoy yourexperience with Crystal Cruises, you can book another Crystal Cruise with theon-board booking consultant while still on the cruise and this will provide youwith an on board booking discount. If you are unsure what cruise to book youcan do an open booking which you can then apply to a specific cruise within thepublished time frame while back on land. -Once you are home, youwill have the opportunity to complete an on-line questionnaire. Take the timeto fill it out. This used to be a hard copy questionnaire that you had to fillout on the ship. Now you can complete it at home within the established timeframe, which allows Crystal Cruises to capture information on yourdisembarkation process and also allows you to take time to reflect on thecruise. There is lots of room for comments and also to recognize members of thecrew for a job well done. The comments are read by many people includingpersonnel in Los Angeles and on the ship and the results of the questionnaireare taken every seriously. Before you leave the shipyou will receive a letter in your cabin discussing the on-line questionnaireand noting the e-mail address they have on file for each passenger where theinformation will be sent. Sometime the day you disembark the ship you willreceive an e-mail about the survey and there will be an area that you click onthe e mail which will take you to the survey. My wife and I feel so veryfortunate to be able to cruise on a cruise line as special to us as Crystal.Through our many cruises with Crystal we have had the opportunity to learn sovery much about the world we live in. In our humble opinion there is no betterway to see so many places in a relatively short time as on a cruise. And, forus, each and every time we board the Crystal Serenity or the Crystal Symphony,and familiar faces, crew and passengers greet us alike, we know we are back home. Finally, as soon as youboard the ship, just start enjoying the cruise and I hope each of you will makememories that will last a lifetime. YACHT In late 2015 CrystalCruises launched their first Yacht known as Crystal Esprit. This link will take you tothe Crystal Cruises Web Site providing some very useful summary informationabout the Esprit Yacht. http://www.crystalcruises.com/yacht/yacht-guidebook RIVER CRUISING Crystal Cruises commencesriver cruising starting in 2016 with the deployment of Crystal Mozart. In 2017,Crystal Cruises will deploy two new River Cruise Vessels; Bach, & Mahler. For information aboutRiver Cruises: http://www.crystalcruises.com/river/river-guidebook I hope that each of youhas found this document to be of help. Bon Voyage! Keith
  15. I wish I could like this a whole bunch of times 🤣 Spirit class are my favorites, love the overall layout and ease of getting around. Plus, I’ve never felt like there were too many people in a space.
  16. Domestic round trips to and from the same airport will not same much. The big advantage is the ability to get a confirmed flight, but not have to par for it until final payment date, which usually is 75 days out. Some people say they get better fares by booking in their own, but one reason for those discrepancies is that Flight Ease does not quote flights from budget carriers like Southwest, Allegiant, Spirit, etc. Flight Ease only quotes the major airlines in the US and around the world.
  17. I'll take Spirit class for 1000 Alex.
  18. You are correct about the steakhouses, at least on Carnival and were originally called Upper Clubs. First debuted on Spirit class ships which started in 2001. For the vast majority of ships, the sauna is still free also. The rest are options, you can do them or not.
  19. The Overseas Passenger Terminal (Circular Quay) is now reserved for ships that cannot sail under the Harbor Bridge and also for those disembarking/embarking. The Port Authority website (https://www.portauthoritynsw.com.au/cruise/cruise-schedule/) shows the Ruby Princess at OPT on the 5th and the Carnival Spirit on the 6th. The Muse is scheduled to be at White Bay 4 on the 5th and at the White Bay Cruise Terminal on the 6th. White Bay 4 is merely a dock with no facilities. Last year on the WC, Silversea provided a water taxi that left from the dock and dropped you off very near the OPT. In prior years, SS ran a shuttle to the Aquarium at Darling Harbour.
  20. Hi, Thank you for taking these questions. We love Windstar Cruises as in our history of 25 cruises and 2 more scheduled in 2020. We enjoyed the motor yacht but our hearts and our souls are with the sailing ships. For us they are the perfect travel and vacation way to go. We have been asking this question for years, is there another sailing ship in the future? There always has been talk of buying the Club Med, sister ship to Wind Surf, and we recently heard one is in the plans to be built. Big question? Are you we hope and hope? 2. For us the ships have always been beyond perfect. However, for our European friends that travel with us they have a terrible time getting information, reserving and receiving returns on emails from the Seattle office. I happily end up doing it for them but sometimes they have pertinent questions for themselves. They are fluent in English and they have never received a return email. ( they have been on 4 trips with us since 2012 and are scheduled on one in 2020). We have met other Europeans in our travels and mentioned WS and have heard they tried to cruise with WS but getting information was simply too frustrating and they gave up. This happened with an Australian,as well, who we met on land on a Tahiti cruise with the Spirit. I wrote to WS about this encounter. This is not simply happening to them since we have been traveling with WS, 1999, Seattle has always been problematic, lagging way behind the service on the ships, it is like two different companies, returns and correct information are not always forthcoming. My question what is Windstar Cruises doing to remedy this? Of course we are interested in an improved and expanded Loyalty Program since the cruises are mostly longer than 7 days, and new itineraries. Thank you for answering these questions and we look forward to your answers.
  21. I need a minimum of 2½ins clear under the electric socket to fit my camera charger. Does anyone know or can anyone please check for me? Otherwise I will have to pack an extension lead. Thanks.
  22. My wife and I would are looking to join or start shared private excursions from the NCL Spirit sailing 10/26. Anyone have any openings?
  23. Glendale, it sounds as if you have got a good deal! It seems that Oceania are offering several cruises with their O Life Ultimate perks for next year, but I haven’t seen any for ex -UK cruises yet. Today I received notification of a couple of Mediterranean cruises which work out at about £320 per day with O Life Ultimate. You are quite right that comparisons are difficult as there are a limited number of Azamara and Oceania cruises departing from UK ports. As we are still happy to fly to the Med., but no further, I will go on looking at Azamara and Oceania in case a good deal comes up, but would be very happy if Saga have some fly cruises in the future, as I think the Spirit of Discovery is a lovely ship.
  24. I had meant to post this a week ago but you know how it is with life 😛 This is only my second review, so please be gentle and excuse the quickness of this review, but I'm trying to remember everything that we did two weeks ago. Quick background on us. There was myself 52 and DH who is 50. We've been married almost 30 years. This is our 6th cruise with Carnival and we're Gold. We have lived north of Atlanta for almost 6 years and have become hooked on cruising since our first trip on the Liberty in 2015. We are cruising with friends that we met on the Liberty and this will be our 4th cruise with them plus a group of their friends. We sailed on the Carnival Miracle out of Tampa on September 22nd. This was the last cruise out of Tampa before she was heading to the west coast. This is also our first cruise on the Miracle and first cruise on a spirit class ship. We drove down to Tampa on Friday, giving us 2 days to just hang out and start our vacation. We live north of Atlanta and we always leave early to avoid any traffic going through downtown, which means we were on the road at 4:00am. We like to take our time driving down but once we got notification that our room was ready at the Residence Inn downtown Tampa at 9:00am, we picked up the pace, arriving in Tampa about 12:00. The two days in Tampa were spent walking the River Walk, which if you haven't done is worth it and Saturday spending the day at St Pete's Beach and working on our cruise tan. Comments about the Residence Inn. We stayed here because we had points for free nights, plus it was less than 10 minute drive to port. There were plenty of places to eat within walking distance. We were upgraded to a 2 bedroom, which was way more room then we needed but who am I to complain, it was free. We did the valet parking since they were working on the parking lot across the stress and we were too lazy to park down the street in the parking garage. I think parking was $17 per day for the valet but we ended up getting it credited back since we had some minor issues with the valet. We didn't go out to eat Friday night since we were too tired from driving but Saturday we went to the Taps Restaurant Bar & Lounge which was only a block down. Was a little pricey for food but was totally worth it and would eat there again. Sunday morning arrived and we were itching to leave for the port, but it was only 8:00am. Finally about 9:50, we started to make our way down to the lobby to load the car and tried to drive really slow to port, but made it there about 10:00am. When we arrived at the roundabout, there already was a huge line of cars waiting to going in. We splurged and paid for the valet parking. We pulled up and asked where to go and a security officer directed us to pull to the left side. The valet attendant met us at the car immediately and called a porter who took our check-in luggage. He then told us to take our ticket and reservation confirmation to the valet counter to check it. I was surprised that we weren’t directed closer to the counter but turned out good. Once we checked in at the counter, we made our way upstairs which you had to do by elevator or taking the stairs (the escalators were not running) Once we got upstairs, we went through security and then were directed to the counter to check in and then we were directed to the FTTF seating area. From the time we dropped the car off to getting to our seats was about 15 minutes TOPS. We were a little nervous about going out of Tampa since it was a first for us, but they have their stuff together at the port and it was a super easy process. We knew we were going to have a wait since we got to the port so early, but ended up chatting with people from our FB group which made the time go by quicker. They started boarding a wedding party right about 11:00 followed by Diamond & Platinum and then FTTF which I think was about 11:15. The walk to the ship seemed longer than other ships but went by pretty quickly. Once on board, we headed to our cabin to drop our luggage and head to lunch. We stayed in a premium balcony room, cabin 7299. This was a GREAT room. I was a little concerned about it being right by the elevators & stairs but made going up and down super easy. 2 decks up and we were at food and serenity. Our cabin steward was James and even though we didn’t “see” him much, he was great about keeping our room tidy and ice buckets filled. The bed was also very comfortable (we're soft mattress people) and slept great for the most part. I know people don’t like the Miracle or spirit class ships because of the décor. We loved it!! I like the gaudiness of it. I find the newer ships to be too bland and contemporary looking. We did the steakhouse the first night which was awesome as usual. The service was a little slower than we’ve had in the past but we were fine just hanging out enjoying the meal, watching the sunset, and we got our 1/2 price bottle of wine 👍. The rest of the meals we did in the MDR and have to say this was one of the best experiences we had. Now we're not foodies by any means and we're pretty easy to please but some of our past cruises, the food wasn't all that great. This cruise, staff was awesome and almost every night, the food was delicious. We spent a lot of time hanging out in the Red Frog Pub, meeting new people, and listening to music and on some of the port days, they had a happy hour specials which we always took advantage of. On embarkation day, the fish bowl drinks, which are normally $20 were half off. Was funny to watch people walking around with their own pitchers. My DH stocked up on beer when he could 🍺 Our first day at sea, we hit serenity early but it started raining and we ended up giving up on getting any sun. Was a great day to explore the ship and get ready for not one, but two M&G's. We got tickets for the M&M through CC which was held in the piano bar at 11:15. We only had about 25ish sign up and about 17 show up. Now this was my first CC meet and greet and wasn't sure what to expect. Got to meet some great people and Carnival had a couple of staff members (one was on the entertainment staff) and the CD came by and answered questions about the ship, how living aboard was, and the trip they were going to be taking to the west coast. They also provided some coffee, juice, and water along with some pastries. Was actually really nice and wish more people would have attended. We had our other M&G in the Red Frog Pub later in the afternoon. We had over 180 in our group and about 50 of those came to the M&G. We met a lot of great people who we hung out with quite a bit through out the cruise. I wish I had taken pictures 😛 This was our first formal night, so gave me plenty of time to get dressed and then get some pictures taken. The music on board was great, the Wet Bandits being our favorite. We saw all the big “production” shows in the theater which were good. We cruised to Grand Cayman, which we didn’t get off the ship for since we’ve been there several times, and ended up spending the day in Serenity. Our second stop was Roatan which we signed up for transporation through Victor Bodden which took up to Sol y Mar beach club. It was only $20 for the bus ride & entrance to the beach club. The beach was nice but not sure we would do it again. We had a large group and they had put us all together which was nice. The food & drinks were a little pricey but service was great. They had several people walking around on the beach wanting to sell souvenirs which I was not a big fan of. When I go to the beach, we go to relax and not get hounded to buy stuff. The beach was nice but this was the only stop that we were going to snorkel at. We couldn't see much around the beach area and if you wanted to see anything you would have to take a $40 boat ride out to the reefs. The shuttle took us back to port in plenty of time for shopping. Our next stop was Belize which we didn’t plan anything but get off, have some drinks at The Wet Lizard, and buy souvenirs. We arrived into port early and caught a beautiful sunrise. We were the only ship in port, so there were plenty of tenders. Our last stop was Cozumel, which we’ve been to several times but we got off and grabbed a taxi to Paradise Beach. Paradise now does an all inclusive but we opted for the $3 entrance and then bought our food & drinks separately. The beach is clean, the food is good, and service is great. Stayed in the beach area for a couple of hours before moving to the pool area before leaving to go back to port to shop and get back on the ship. Our last day at sea, we definitely saw an increase of chair hogs 🐷 I made a comment to the towel station about how sad it was that people were so inconsiderate to do that and not 5 minutes later, someone was walking around tagging chairs that didn't have anyone on them. One lady next to us that had hogged a clam shell (who was absent for a good 45 minutes) looked confused why they had done this. Damn tourist! 😛 Our last day was spent hanging out in serenity, eating, and drinking. What better vacation!! Debarkation Day - The day we all hate. We were doing self assist and wanted to get off the ship as early as possible since we had a 7-15 hour (depending on ATL traffic) drive ahead of us. We were up at 6:00 but since we still weren't docked, just took our time getting up. We were told to be down in the dining room by 7:30am but DH gets impatient so we headed down around 7:00ish. Glad we did since there was already a huge group of people waiting to get off the ship. They had us separated by diamond/platinum and FTTF. Not sure what the hold up was but was about 8:15am before they started letting us off the ship. We each had two suitcases and we weren't allowed to go down the escalator with them and had to wait in a huge line for the elevator. Not sure why this was a problem since we've done this before in Canaveral. That took forever but once we were downstairs, we were through customs quickly and outside. This is when having the valet was worth it. Just told them our name and they ran to get the car and we were on the road in 5 minutes. We were on the road by 8:45am. Our drive home was long but made it home about 4:30pm. Overall, this was one of the best cruises we have done with Carnival. We had a great group of people that we traveled with, made some new friends that we hope to meet again, the weather was great besides our first day showers, and never had issues with crowds on Lido. I'm sad that the Miracle is heading west, but might be looking at sailing on her to Alaska in the future.
  25. We are going to Be on NCL Spirit on thanksgiving. Does anyone have experience on this ship or NCL in general on Turkey Day? What should we expect if anything? I know we will be in Naples Italy that day. Thanks!
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