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  #1  
Old January 8th, 2005, 12:47 PM
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Bequia Bequia is offline
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Default Returned from NCL Sun 1/8/05...Any Questions?

Just returned from the western caribbean on the NCL Sun today. What can I tell you?
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  #2  
Old January 8th, 2005, 12:57 PM
Looking for Sunshine Looking for Sunshine is offline
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Smile Just back from the Sun?

I would love to know the following:
Did you enjoy the ship?
How were the restaurants?
What did you do at your ports of call?
Overall impression of your cruise experience?

Anything you would like to write....I will read with enthusiasm
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  #3  
Old January 8th, 2005, 12:57 PM
cruisecap cruisecap is offline
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Hello,

Hope you had a wonderful cruise. Tell us everything. What did you do in the different ports? Did you book your excursions directly through the ship or on your own? What was your experience with the shore excursions? Also, if you purchased alcoholic drinks, what was the standard price?

We sail in March and any information or specific highlights would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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  #4  
Old January 8th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Talking Sun

We are interested in anything pertaining to the Sun....we will be spending 29 days on her in Sept. 2005 from Alaska to New Orleans....so we will read all you have to say about the ship...Kronk
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  #5  
Old January 8th, 2005, 02:46 PM
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We had great expectations after reading about the NCL Sun CC reviews for the past few months. Nary a negative post about this ship.

Embarkation at Port of Miami. All I can say is NCL definately has their act together when it comes to getting you on board. We arrived at 11:30am and were in our stateroom just after noon. We were on the 10th floor (BA)forward port side balconey. The room was well sized for the three of us, the couch turned into a bed for my 12 year old daughter. The room had a small refrigerator. It was well decorated and suited us fine. We've been on half a dozen cruises and this cabin seemed larger then most. The balcony seemed to be larger then other lines.

Here's a tip for you. First, If your traveling this itenerary, Western Caribbean on this ship get a room on the PORT side. Every port we stopped at we were facing land. Those on the starboard side faced the ocean at every port except Cozumel. In Cozumel we faced the dock and a RCCL mega ship. Second, I recommend staying in the forward section. You have eight elevators available versus four aft.

After we checked in we went to the lunch buffet. The food was just fine.
We remained on deck until the life boat drill at 3:30pm. That went smoothley and we departed at 4pm sharp.

We decided on dinner the first night at the Seven Seas Restaurant. The restaurant is in the very back of the ship. You can feel every movement of the ocean, engines and props in this restaurant. That was the first and last night we ate there for dinner. We did eat breakfast their most mornings and it was fine.

After dinner we went to the Observation Lounge for cocktails and called it a night. This lounge is a well kept secret. On the 12th deck forward it commands spectacular views, a private balconey and decent hotel lounge act type music.

Day 1, at sea: Not much to report. We hung out at the pool reading, drinking, eating and people watching. They keep the pool deck immaculate. I'd been on other cruises where the decks were littered with empty glasses or leftover plates of food. The staff keeps the pool deck spotless. (in retrospect, I can say the same for the entire ship, always spotless) The poolside entertainment was spotty, if non-existant. The caribbean band rarely played carribbean music. I'll get into that a little more when I talk about day 6 at sea. Dinner that evening was at the Four Seasons (midship) it was formal night and I'd say half wore dark suits and half wore just shirt and tie. The hostess that greets you at the door and handles the seating arrangements did not represent the best the ship has to offer. The food fom this restaurant is the same that is served in the Seven Seas.

Day 2, Grand Cayman. This was a tender port. Once again this ship has its act together when it comes to moving people. We waited until the people with scheduled excursions disembarked then we got off. We walked around town and got back onto the tender returning to the ship. We've been to the Caymans numerous times. Try Captain Marvins stingray city tour if your going to spend time on the island. They are simply the best. While the bulk of the ship were on the island we sat around poolside enjoying the ship to ourselves.We arrived at 8am and departed at 2:30pm. Dinner was at the Four Seasons once again and once again the hostess was just plain nasty.

Day 3, Tuesday in Roatan. This was our favorite stop. We arranged our own
2 1/2 hour horseback ride through the jungle and on the beach ending at Fosters Resort. We had to laugh when we passed the ships horseback riding excursion. There were perhaps 50 or 60 people riding single file at a snails pace on the beach while the six of us were galloping in the surf passing them in the opposite direction. I felt bad for them, they paid close to a hundred dollars for their tour, ours was a third of that. We ended up at Fosters next to Tabanaya Beach. Our beach was empty, theirs packed. When we got off the ship in Roatan we were at the dock, when we returned to the dock the NCL Sea was in our spot and we had to tender back to our ship. No problem, real smooth.

Day 4, Belize.Tender about 2-3 miles to the port.Could not believe how far out all of the ships had to anchor. I guess its to protect the coral. We shopped, walked around town and returned to the ship. That evening we ate in the specialty restaurant, IL Adagio. All I can say is this restaurant is not one to miss. 5 star, hands down.

Day 5, Cozumel. NCL docks right in town. Hassle free. We reserved a mid size car for $33 from Avis. When we got there they tried to give us a sub compact as they were out of mid sizes. We explained to them that if you don't have the size car we reserved you go to the next size up...not down! We ended up with a mini van for $33. We spent the day at our favorite restaurant and beach in Chen Rio. Few cruisers know of this spot and I hope it always stays that way. We returned our rental in town, shopped at the square and returned to the ship. They are reconstructing the roadway that runs from town to the ports, it will look great when its finished.

Day 6 at Sea. Days at sea on the Sun can be summed up in one word -quiet. On past cruises days at sea we're filled with contests, ice carvings, music and dance. They were always filled with exciting things to do. We never once saw the cruise director (Colin) everyone raves about. We did see him on TV when he announced that he was transferring to the Dawn. Saturday was his last day on the Sun. The band seemed to play 3 songs then take a break. Instead of putting on a music tape there was nothing but silence between sets. This ship seems to cater to the night people and neglects the day people.
We had dinner at Pacific Heights. I should have taken other posters advice and avoided this restaurant like the plague. The "light" food was plain, unimagitive and on the bland side. This must be the training restaurant for the serveers because they had trouble getting anything right.

Day 7 arrived at Port of Miami at 4:30am. Off the ship by 9am. We were home in 45 minutes.

We will probably not do a Freestyle cruise again. With traditional cruise you get to know your servers and your servers get to know you. They anticipate your likes and dislikes and work hard to please. With Freestyle, there is no allegiance. The servers know they will not see you from one day to the next and as a result, its reflected in the service. We had one waiter, Astley, who was the best. We wanted him the next night and he was unavailable. We asked again the following night and again he was unavailable. This waiter was so good that you had to "reserve" him in advance. Everyone wanted him because he represented the type of waiter you had on a traditional cruise. The food itself was inconsistant. On some nights it was very good, other nights just ok. I hate to say this but I feel the food on Carnival is better (not the Carnival cruising experience, only the food).

The ship itself was beautiful. The layout of the specialty restaurants was awkward but eventually you find your way. The buffets were fine. I felt bad for the handicapped pax trying to get from the Garden Cafe to the pool deck. The doors were not automatic you had to open them manually. When it was windy, pax were having problems going from the cafe to the pool through this only door to the pool. I have to commend NCL for doing their best to prevent norovirus onboard. Their are hand sanitizers everywhere and the staff insures that everyone uses them. This had to be one of the best maintained ships I've ever been on. This cruise, the pax were 50% US resident and 50% foreigners. That made disembarking especially easy.
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  #6  
Old January 8th, 2005, 04:19 PM
Looking for Sunshine Looking for Sunshine is offline
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Smile Thanks Bequia!

Great trip report!!

I feel very comfortable with our decision to book our cruise on the Sun. Sounds like a great ship!

Just curious about two things:
1) what tour company did you go through for your horsebackride on Roatan? Can you give a description of your tour?

2) did you have that seafood lunch caught fresh while in Chen Rio in Cozumel?
Would love to hear more about your experience there!

Thanks again for taking the time to post your experience on your recent cruise. I'm glad you had a fantastic time!
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  #7  
Old January 8th, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Thanks for the great review. We can hardly wait for Feb 5th. Did you make any interesting purchases? I always try to get something that is native to the area. Basket, doll, spice,etc.
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  #8  
Old January 8th, 2005, 07:22 PM
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1) what tour company did you go through for your horsebackride on Roatan? Can you give a description of your tour?

2) did you have that seafood lunch caught fresh while in Chen Rio in Cozumel?
Would love to hear more about your experience there!

Its not a tour company, its a private ranch. I think they only have 10-12 horses and they only take them out twice a week. They were well taken care of. They are slightly smaller horses then in the States. We booked online at http://barriodorcasranch.com/ . We had six in our party so we had them to ourselves for the day. The ride started at their stables on top of a mountain. We rode through West End, through town, into the rainforest/jungle to the shoreline then along the beach back into the jungle through a plantation ending up at Fosters Resort. We booked for an hour and a half and rode for approx 2 hours. They had a driver pick us up at port and then pick us up at Fosters when we were ready. We spent a couple of hours snorkeling and swimming at Fosters.

In Chen Rio, we had the fresh seafood lunch with lobster and shrimp. Carlos fed the six of us with more lobster then we could finish, too many Sol's to count. Our bill was under $100. The surf was ripping when we first got there but calmed down by the time we finished lunch. The protected cove always remained calm. They've added a lifeguard tower that was not there on our last visit. We we're the first to arrive around 11am. We left by 4pm and they were packed. I can't wait to go back. Carlos collects pens. If you go, bring him a pen from the ship or a hotel stateside and you'll have a friend for life.

Quote:
Thanks for the great review. We can hardly wait for Feb 5th. Did you make any interesting purchases? I always try to get something that is native to the area. Basket, doll, spice,etc.
My daughter collects hand made dolls. She picked up a few nice ones in Belize at an artists co-op in town.
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  #9  
Old January 8th, 2005, 07:22 PM
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Default Question - Excursions

Nice Review. Did you see any of the shows? As far as Colin Kerr the CD, he was in every show and hung out after the show was over the week we cruised (11/13). As far as your excursion could you respond How you went about booking your excursions. Did you book in advance or did you wait till you got off the ship?
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  #10  
Old January 8th, 2005, 07:33 PM
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Bequia Bequia is offline
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Nice Review. Did you see any of the shows? As far as Colin Kerr the CD, he was in every show and hung out after the show was over the week we cruised (11/13). As far as your excursion could you respond How you went about booking your excursions. Did you book in advance or did you wait till you got off the ship?
We saw Jimmy JJ Walker (from the sitcom Good Times) he was a riot. The not so newlywed game was pretty funny as well. The first night we saw Great Adventure Showtime with the Jean-Ann Ryan Company. After seeing that show, we passed on the others. This was Colins last week. He had a great time everynight and was quite entertaining, however he was nowhere to be found during the daytime. We found this unusual compared to past cruises we've taken.

Our tours were booked in advance on our own. If you read these boards, search the internet, you can find anything you want at any of the ports. Keep in mind the ships tours are subcontracted out to independent tour operators who in turn sub contract with the locals. This results in higher fees for the same tour that you can book on your own.
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  #11  
Old January 8th, 2005, 07:39 PM
Looking for Sunshine Looking for Sunshine is offline
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Dear Bequia,
Sounds like you really know how to cruise!!! We'll be dune buggying with our teen on Cozumel or we would visit Chen Rio in a heartbeat!!! Only a few more years until he is in college.

The horsebackriding sounds inviting! Thanks again for all the info!!!!
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  #12  
Old January 8th, 2005, 10:19 PM
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We just got off the Sun today. We also had a wonderful time. The ship was very clean and everyone was very friendly. We had a aft starboard side balcony cabin. Our cabin was a little small for the three of us. Mostly because my 12 year had to sleep on the sofa. (no pull-down from ceiling) We got a egg crate and it was a little better. IMHO, the aft was great. We were close to most activities. We always walk the steps and loved being there. We ate dinner at the 7 seas 6 out of 7 nights. Never noticed any problems there.
Food was fair, but service was great. Our favorite port was Roatan. We booked a tour over the internet with victorbodder.com He was giving a tour to others but set us up with Roland and he was great. He took us for a tour of the island and beach for about 4 1/2 hours. Charge was 25.00 per person. He even stopped at a local food market so we could purchase vanilla, for .75 a bottle!
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Old January 9th, 2005, 10:25 AM
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Smile Loved the "Sun"

Also just returned from the Sun. DH and I loved the ship. It is clean everywhere. Ate at the two main restraunts every night. The only night the service was slow was the last night. I don't know why, but it was.

We booked one ship's tour, in Roatan, Tabyana beach and one tour on our own in Belize. I'll post about the Belize tour separately (waiting for the operator to respond to my E-mail before I post anything) I loved TAbyana beach. I know there were many people on the beach, but it really didn't feel crowded. Snorkeled around, but really didn't need to snorkel to to see the fish. Even near the shore the fish were swimming all around. It was like floating in a large bath tub of warm salt water! Just great. In GC we just walked around the town and returned to the ship for the quiet of the pool area while in port. and in Cosumel we stayed on board and enjoyed the ship's quiet. We've been to both ports numerous times.

Now I'm going to get my fireproof body suit ready because I know many of you will be flaming my after this comment, but I''m going to post it anyway.
NCL has not gotten in right in the area of children. There are too many unsupervised children roaming around the ship causing havoc. The room across from mind had four boys in it aged from about 7 - 11. They were so bad I finally went to the reception desk about them and it did quiet down after that. I don't know where their parents were but we think an older woman and young girl (about 12) were in the next cabin. I just hope they didn't do any perment damage to the cabin, but the banging and carrying on was something else. They also didn't speak english so telling them to be quiet was a waste of time.

On the last evening at 10:30 DH and I witnessed four boys 8 - 10 yrs old on deck 12 carrying on at the elevator. A young man quite intoxicated nearly fell on me as he stepped on my toe. He was goofing around at the restraunt. His "friends" stood there laughing. They were about 16 - 18 and all three seemed to have had too much to drink!

When did it become fashionable to allow a crying baby to remain in the dinning room during formal night? Well it has now. The people at the next table had their baby who was making a racket. Luckly for us we were finishing so we promptly left the restaurant. We could still hear the commotion when we got to the hall. Oh well enough of that. Now you may flame me. I don't care.

One other thing I thought was tacky was the way the concierge service was set up in the main Atrium. The gentleman was very well dressed and seemed to not notice anyone but his "special" passengers. Also on the last day I saw him falling all over himself after a line of people. Thinking we had not heard the calling for our group, the first to disembark after the "walk off passengers" I hurried down to where he stood. Before I got there he left and one of the other gentleman in charge of the disembarkment told me that gentleman only spoke to "VIP" passengers (those guests in suites). Sure enough the walk off passengers had been held up to let the suite passengers go ahead of them. TACKY, TACKY, TACKY. As you can tell this left quite an impression on me. It's one thing to treat some passengers better, but it's quite another to do it in front of your other guests.

Other than the comments above which were an annoyance but really didn't ruim my cruise we loved it. The shows were wonderful. We loved the Jean-ryann company. Wow that company can do anything. They danced, sang, and did accrobatics. Awesome!

Enbarkmant and Disembarkment were a breeze. One of the posters was correct you want a cabin on the port side of the ship that's where our cabin was located. Most days we had wonderful sun rises and most of the time the window looked out onto the water. It had plenty of room for two people. I don't know what else to say other than we had a great time.
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Old January 9th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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Just back too! Marcy, it was great meeting you and Mr. Meziggy...too bad it was the last night of the cruise!

Well, I have lots to say about NCL and most of it isn't good. We've sailed several other cruise lines and try not to compare them but NCL is at the bottom of our list. THings started off badly when our 2 bottles of wine were confiscated after going through security. I had called NCL 3 times before we left to verify that we could bring wine on board and each person I spoke with assured me that it was OK as long as we payed the $10 per bottle corkage fee. The guy that took it said that we could pick it up on Sat. before we got off the ship! So once on board we had to spend quite a bit of time tracking down the bar manager to get things straightened out, which we eventually did. We didn't try to smuggle anything else on since when I spoke to NCL I had also asked about a bar setup for our room. THey even quoted me the prices. SO..once we were in our cabin, we called for the bar setup and were told that since we were not in a suite, we could not have one!! Another round of phones calls and we ended up speaking to the food and beverage manager. After explaining the situation and letting her know that we weren't happy, we did get our setup. Just seems like the NCL people on the phones and the ones on the ship aren't on the same page.

Food was inconsistant as was the service. We had the best service in Le Bistro which was equivalent to the dining room service we have gotten on other lines. Eggs on the buffet in the morning were pretty gross, some mornings worse that others!

Cruise staff seemed like it was almost a bother to "have fun". Rarely saw them and when they were out and about didn't make much of an effort to mingle with passengers. I did think Colin was very funny....

We did enjoy Bobby Hamilton in the Windjammer Lounge and Roots Link when they played, which wasn't very often.

Cabin was on the small side compared to others we've had...never did see the room stewards but they did a great job keeping the room clean and supplied with what we needed.

Loved the ports...Roatan and Belize were new to us so lots to explore. Booked through Vicotr Bodden on Roatan and had his brother George for the whole day. Showed us the island and took us to a great beach...can't remember the name of it! In Belize we did the Lamanai ruins which was great except for the driving rain in an uncovered boat going 45 miles per hour on the way back! Cozumel was a blast...6 hours in Carlos and Charlies dancing on the stage, the tables.......!

Would we do NCL again? Probably not.

Beth
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Old January 10th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Dee's Girl Dee's Girl is offline
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Thanks guys for your reviews.
Corl 4-Sorry you didn't have a great cruise It's
amazing how people on the same cruise can have
such different views.But again,sorry you considered this @ the bottom of your cruise list.

Can anyone tell me if there are any ports now
requiring Passports.I may be mistaken,but I think
I read some where that Belize requires passports.

Again Thanks for your reveiws......
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New Orleans Bound to See the SUN RISE!!!!!

IS IT CRUISE TIME YET????
NCL Sun 12'11'05(Kids 2nd Cruise)
Glory 7'30'05
Mariner 9'12'04
Conquest9'03
Pride 5'03
Inspiration7'02
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Old January 10th, 2005, 04:53 PM
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Bequia Bequia is offline
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Dee's Girl - passports were NOT required at any of the ports we stopped at. They say to bring your ship card and photo ID but we were never asked for our photo ID by anyone.

Corl4, My luggage was set aside for the wine I had. I paid them the $10 on the spot, they gave me a receipt and said to show it to the staff if I took the wine to the restaurants so that I would not get charged again. (by the way, I took the bottle of wine out of the bag myself, had they hand searched the bag themselves they would have found 2 bottles of Myers rum that was at the bottom of my bag.)
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Old January 11th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Dee's Girl Dee's Girl is offline
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Question Pre-Resgistration

Bequia-Thanks for your response.
One more ???,Is pre-registration available on line,as on other cruise lines? Thanks
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Glory 7'30'05
Mariner 9'12'04
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Pride 5'03
Inspiration7'02
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  #18  
Old January 11th, 2005, 03:58 PM
meziggy meziggy is offline
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Default I got the PCD BLUES

Hi, folks.. i agree with most of the reviews Hflors and Bequia wrote. I do disagree with some comments tho...and Corl4 it was nice to meet you and your family and hear the beautiful singing of your Temple Owls DD.
However my main question now is...IS ANYONE ELSE SUFFERING BADLY FROM PCD BLUES....POST CRUISE DEPRESSION AND BLUES!!!
I keep looking out the back window of my home and at my swimming pool and just keep imagining being on the ship's balcony looking out at the rolling waves, except i can't get my pool water to "DO the WAVE"
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Is pre-registration available on line,as on other cruise lines
You bet, NCL.com. Definately speeds up the process.

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IS ANYONE ELSE SUFFERING BADLY FROM PCD BLUES....
Sure am, if you can figure out how to get that wave motion going in a home pool let me know. That was a blast, I can't believe no one got hurt. The kids sure had fun.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:42 PM
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Corl4 Corl4 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Akron, PA
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Hi again! How do you deal with the PCD? BOok another one! I've already been on the phone with Costco getting info. about a cruise for June. Kids loved the ports so much that we are going to do the same ones again only on Carnival this time!

Meziggy and Bequia....at least you can look out at your pools...it's 30 and raining here in PA!!! Maybe we should move to Florida!

Beth
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