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About scampi

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    Princess, Carnival, MSC
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  1. We have used Stefano Costantini's Rome Cabs for tours to the Etruscan countryside & just last month to Rome once again. His Etruscan Mystery tour in the countryside is wonderful. You are picked up right at the ship in Civitavecchia & returned to the ship in plenty of time to board. You can adjust their schedule & even the itinerary. We have used Rome Cabs for the past 8 years & they are fantastic, so reliable & so economical especially if you are able to get others to join you. No deposit is required & your payment is made at the END of the tour. Here is their website: www.stefanorometours.com Select Civitavecchia Cruise Port & you'll see the various tours offered. You can e-mail them with any questions. Santa "scampi"
  2. scampi

    MSC Orchestra

    We found the MSC staff to be very personable & helpful. Hopefully, we'll run into several of them in February when we board the MSC Orchestra again for our Dubai to Freemantle cruise. The ship was spotless with cleaning, polishing & vacuuming going on nonstop. We took out the Alegrissimo package & felt it was great value. Enjoyed new cocktails & wonderful gelatto & specialty coffees. Our meals for breakfast & lunch were at the buffet. We had no trouble there with lines... we just took the advice of other Cruise Critic people & went to the aft area where there were fewer people lined up and more tables available. We loved the fresh pasta & pizza, the salads & fresh fruit but found most of the other food just o.k. We had the best dining experience nightly with a wonderful group of British/Scottish/Moroccan passengers who also spoke English & the food was very good. The entertainment was great...enjoyed the diversity of many cultures on our cruise...made hopefully some lasting friendships & we're looking forward to boarding the MSC Orchestra once again on Feb. 21st. scampi (Santa & Bob)
  3. scampi

    MSC Orchestra

    We were on the MSC Orchestra sailing just before yours & absolutely loved our cruise! but not the embarkation process!! I understand how upset you probably were with embarkation out of Venice but the main problem was mainly with Venice's security. When we were dropped off in front of the cruise terminal, a MSC staff member spotted me with a cane & directed us to the priority line but from there on we didn't know what to do with our check in luggage & we felt that our luggage should have been taken from us at that point (that certainly would have improved the process & it was difficult maneuvering our way to where you handed the check in luggage to the Venice porters to be sent through the screening machine downstairs.). Upstairs was bedlam!! & the fault lies with Venice Security itself. You would have thought you were going through airport security. They had videos overhead directing all of us to take out 3 oz liquids & to remove belts, etc. to put in trays. One elderly lady's jeans fell down in front of us as she tried to pass through security. The Venice security agents didn't assist us in giving us the trays & people were fighting for them. 2 weeks later we left on the Regal Princess again out of Venice & embarkation wasn't much better. But again I blame the Venice security for a horrible embarkation process. However, Princess employees were better prepared at taking our check in luggage from us as soon as we arrived near the docks. It was upstairs again that bedlam broke out. I must add that MSC's disembarkation process was the BEST process we have ever experienced. Our colored tags were numbered. The same numbered tab of each luggage tag was able to be glued on to our Cruise cards. I appreciated how a staff member led our group off the ship waving a colored flag. Thankfully we were done with Venice security at that point & easily made our way to our luggage & out of the Venice cruise terminal. Santa
  4. We did the same. As soon as the AF strike was extended to our date, Sept. 30th, & continually seeing one or both of our AF flights cancelled, we managed to find a flight with Emirates leaving Sept. 29 & Alaska Air was kind enough to rebook our rewards flight to Venice, Italy. It was too nerve wrenching waiting to see if the strike would end for our flight as we were too close to missing our cruise.
  5. Yes it's quite apparent that journalist got the information incorrect. Caroline Spencer Brown, editor in chief of our own Cruise Critic :) was selected and fulfilled the roll of Madrina, Godmother for the float-Out ceremony of the Regal Princess on March 26, 2013. I believe the Regal's first sailing with passengers will be this upcoming May 20th out of Venice, Italy. Will there be another official Christening ceremony before that date?? Will Ms. Brown be the official Madrina of the Regal??? http://www.princess.com/news/press_releases/2013/03/Princess-Cruises-Celebrates-Float-Out-of-Regal-Princess.html scampi
  6. For those on the next cruise, for my daughter & her family who might be reading this & for rtlk, the news, according to a Princess rep via phone a few minutes ago is that there has now been a decline to something like 85 cases from 137 cases and that there will be a 4 hour marathon of continued deep cleaning before the oncoming passengers board. Santa
  7. It is not fair to flame rtlk. He is voicing his concerns for his family. My family is boarding the same day as rtlk. Our large group includes 4 infants/toddlers & DH & I are joining them 4/26 in a Bon Voyage Day to see them off. My family is also very concerned due to the news reports. I have been busy assuring them that all is in control on the ship. That opinion of mine is based on the much appreciated "live" posts from those cruise critic passengers on the Crown & from those others giving informative links about the situation. These posts have helped me to feel that all the procedures of protocol are being handled dilligently and that my family will have a wonderful safe cruise. Those links have included information that the number of Noro cases are declining (something the news reports haven't included). It's a pity that the news sources are inflaming the public - reporting facts is one thing, but leaving out important information or embellishing is another thing.... scampi
  8. Bret, Do you have information on the MSC Orchestra? B3 15026 ? B2 10063 ? Thank you, scampi
  9. Thank you Rob, I think you're on the cruise when we get off. Only one other person has posted on our roll call and they're on the September cruise before our Oct. 3rd cruise. The OP cancelled & booked another cruise. Why don't you join us on our thread or do you have your own roll call thread? If our itinerary remains the same, we'll definitely use Yalta as a Sea Day & not exit the ship. No way can we support what has happened to Crimea. Odessa is very tentative although 2 cruise staff members from the Ukraine a couple of weeks ago on one of our sailings advised us strongly not to disembark in their country. There's a lot of fear and uncertainty and stress regarding ongoing events happening within their country. To us, Bulgaria or another port in Greece sounds like a great alternative. Santa
  10. IMO, I think the OP was saying they had a great time on their first cruise & found cruising & Carnival to be a good fit for their teenage children. But this time just the two of them are cruising & they are trying Princess because they have probably heard that it is geared more to adults. ( I don't know what a la carte means either). Likewise, we find Carnival, with the theme, having FUN & Fast to the Fun, & all the other activities geared to "fun", & the "fun" ships, a wonderful choice for the many family cruises we have taken on Carnival with our adult children, grand and great grandchildren. We have found that there is a much younger group of passengers on Carnival & our grand children make tons of friends. On the other hand when cruising by ourselves or with our Cruising friends, we enjoy Princess immensely especially because of their superb loyalty program. But the OP really wanted suggestions for the Ruby. IMO, the Ruby Princess, is a classy gorgeous ship, well laid out with a well trained staff that will make you feel special. Scampi
  11. Some of us with booked MSC cruises in September & October are wondering when MSC will notify us of itinerary changes due to what has happened in the Crimean Peninsula and the events threatening other areas in the Ukraine. We are booked on the October 3rd MSC Orchestra out of Venice. Two of our scheduled ports are Odessa & Yalta. We'd like to have the itinerary changes as soon as possible so that we feel comfortable about our upcoming cruise and so that we have time to plan our activities in the "new" ports. We have noted that the MSC office has already substituted a port in Greece and a port in Bulgaria for Odessa & Yalta for the April & May sailings. We hope they soon will make a similar change for us before final payment. Thank you, Scampi on Cruise Critic (Santa)
  12. I mentioned Odessa to some crew members who were from the Ukraine on our cruise a week ago & they each recommended avoiding Odessa, also. That was enough for me...They were visibly upset with what was happening in their country, the turmoil, being far away from their family, feeling helpless,, the uncertainty of recent events that appeared to be escalating with Russia's actions and various factions in their country.
  13. Maddle, This isn't helpful for your upcoming cruise but you might be interested in reading this review of a Christmas time sailing on Holland America for any future plans you make. The OP post by Infi on Jan. 5th, 2014 is quite informative & interesting. Sorry: It didn't work. I'll try to post the link again. http:// http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?=1965695&highlight=catholic+mass&page=2 scampi http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1965695&highlight=catholic+mass
  14. I can affirm what Sea Gypsies said. We were both on the same 28 day cruise. The Vista Lounge was packed every Sea Day when services were being held. We were also fortunate to have a Deacon onboard from Canada who volunteered and assisted Father Gold. Many who attended not only the services, but also his lectures, were of various faiths. I'd like to add that having a religious on board is most helpful not only for the crew and staff but in those cases it is most helpful when there is an emergency because of major illness or death of a crew member or passenger. Besides Holland America, that has Catholic clergy on every sailing, both Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have Catholic clergy on sailings from time to time. Regarding the Hanukkah services (as reprinted in my last post), from attending these, I can affirm that Princess does a superb job of providing all the amenities including printing out the prayers and songs for those leading the nightly services. And again, others than the Jewish faith also are welcome & do attend. Santa "scampi"
  15. We respect our passengers' religious beliefs and invite them to practice on their own or with their fellow passengers. Passengers who wish to lead religious services may volunteer by contacting the Passenger Services desk or a member of the Cruise Staff. In some cases, our shipboard staff will lead services. However, Princess Cruises does not place clergy on board our vessels. Clergy traveling as Passengers onboard our vessels are welcome to conduct services while sailing. They should leave their name, cabin number, and services offered at the Passenger Services Desk and they will be contacted by a member of the Cruise Director's Staff. Approval of services will be made based on schedule suitability, appropriate onboard supplies, etc. Please bring your Letter of Celebret or Letter of Good Standing with you to provide to the onboard staff. Please note that during Passover, there will be a Seder service (including Passover meal) held onboard. For Hanukkah, services are available and will be passenger-led with wine, Challah bread, prayers and an electric Menorah (no candles or live flames) provided by Princess. Supplies are present and available for anyone who wants to lead the service at 5:30 PM on Friday evenings. If you would like to bring on your own Menorah, you may. However, since candles are prohibited onboard all Princess ships, it must be electric (no live flame). Security Guide
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