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About Mud_Shark

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  1. We are heading to Curacao in November. We plan to visit the Blue Room. We are renting a car for the day and have ambitious plans. We would like to get to Hato caves first, then head off to Playa Santa Cruz (where you get the 1pm or 3pm snorkel trip to the blue room), then head over to Shete Boka national park to view the coastline. Not sure if we will get all 3 in, but will do our best and report back after we return and let you know what we thought. Our ship is in port from 8am to 10pm, so lots of time, but sunset will spell the end of sightseeing (or park closures), so not sure how much time we will have at each location. Don
  2. For the past few years, our vacations have been on Caribbean Princess and Emerald Princess. Neither had any novelty acts preforming in the Piazza (jugglers, hand balancers, magicians etc) like they used to. They might have a pianist perform for a little while, but we pretty much thought that Princess, as a cost cutting measure, had eliminated these extra performers. To our surprise and delight, on Royal last November, there was a nightly novelty act in the Piazza each evening. So maybe it is up to each ship. We enjoy these 20 minute performances and make a habit of swinging by the Piazza when they are on. There were also some fun "crowd games" where the cruise director would ask trivia questions and a stuffed bear served as a baton to indicate who's turn it was to try and answer the questions. Get 5 right in a row and you win. Fun to watch or play. And my wife was feeling a little sick on Thanksgiving day last year, so she was not up to eating. So I went to the buffet for Thanksgiving night, and the spread was absolutely fantastic. Of course there was a turkey carving station, but roast beef, shrimp, ham and a host of other things - so much good food that I couldn't try it all. It was without a doubt better than any of our MDR meals (and I am not complaining about any of them either). So yes, the buffet is very good. We always seemed to stroll through the dessert aisle of the buffet just before the late showing of MUTS and seek out "just one" dessert to take with us to the movie. Well you know, it's never just one... but good stuff. Don
  3. We plan to try both steamers and planks in Nov. They both sound good to me. Don
  4. Please add us to the list. We will be sailing on the Oosterdam for our first Holland America cruise next September (2020) departing Sept 27th for 26 days - from Seattle to Sydney (Via Fiji -- Yeah!!!!). I guess you call it a south pacific crossing. Will be our 9th cruise overall and our longest. Don and Allison
  5. Is it still true that only those residing in America can use the app pre-cruise and receive the medallions in advance? I assume for the rest of us we just show up at the pier as per the traditional way? Don
  6. Thanks all for giving your input. Sounds like it may be best to pre-purchase the cards to ensure we get the deal, and then use our OBC elsewhere when we get on board. Appreciate it. Don
  7. Haven't sailed with HAL yet. I see on the HAL website a $50 soda card available for $25. Is this deal available once on board the ship, or only for pre-order? We would like to use some OBC to pay for this if we can wait until we are on board and still get the deal. Thanks Don
  8. In our case - as soon as everyone was on board (around 5 pm or maybe 530) - they called the mustard drill and as soon as that was over, we were underway - about 6pm. Still got to view the sail away before dark, and it was a great cruise. Don
  9. We experienced this same thing a couple years ago at Fort lauderdale, as the Royal Princess arrived from across the Atlantic. With flight arrangements already in place to arrive at normal time (11am), we could not change things. We arrived at the port around 11am, and so did a couple thousand other people. For a while we stood outside. They let some in the main lobby of the terminal (terminal 2), but the rest of us continued to wait outside. After about an hour, they herded us over to another terminal across the street, where we waited (probably about 1000 of us). Some had chairs to sit on, others sat on the floor, and others just stood for the afternoon. At least it was air conditioned and had bathrooms, but no cafe or anything. About 3:30 or 4pm they began taking groups across to the main terminal to process them and get them onboard. We were in our cabin before 5pm. Long day, but we didn't really mind. Have done the same thing many times waiting at the airport for delayed flights. Hopefully with the renovation of the terminal a couple years ago, things will flow more smoothly now and the waiting will be a bit more comfortable. Don
  10. Yes you can. You cannot cancel the cruise booking or you will lost the deposit, but you can refare. I did it last month. No problems. Don
  11. Hmm - similar to last year for the most part except that it says the deposit is non refundable. That is a first for the 3 For Free sale. Don
  12. If you are walkers, consider just walking over from Canada place to Stanley park and walking the complete circuit around the park sea wall (you can see the park on the west side of the the Pier). It will total over 12 km from start to finish (all the way back to Canada place where you catch the sky train to the airport), but we find it a great walk. There are bathrooms along the way and a few park style fast food restaurants. Some great views and even third beach to dip your feet in the ocean if you desire. If you can't handle a walk of that distance, there are several places that rent bicycles and you can do the same circuit (but some of us find riding a bike now harder than walking). Another low cost fun option is to take the sea bus across the bay to the Lonsdale Quay (specialty mall). The sea bus departs from less than a block away from the cruise ship pier, and runs every 15 mins. Don
  13. We tried an escape room on our last land vacation - we were dismal at it. There is a kind of "knack" for how far to think on these things - and not to overthink them. We don't have it. But that said - i would certainly give it a try on a ship. Don
  14. We are in the "bargain" traveler category, and have booked a 12-16 day cruise once per year (we still both work) for the past 5 years. For us, hitting the 1.35 mark has felt like it crossed the line of affordability. We did not book a 2020 cruise with Princess, and find with general increases in cruise pricing and inflation, plus the reduction in exchange rate, the same cruise we have booked for 2019 (or as close as we can find) is up about 25% for the 2020 edition over what we paid for 2019. We switched and booked a longer cruise with Holland America for 2020 (at 1.3), and will just wait and see where the exchange rate goes before we decide any 2021 plans (which are still a year away from needing to be booked). Nothing Princess offers that is comparable in itinerary and length with what we have booked with HAL is even in the same ballpark price wise. Don
  15. when we were Ruby (not that long ago), they left a card for a free drink in our room. Don
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