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About newpherchris

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  1. I'll throw my two cents in - In the past year I've been able to make WiFi calls using the Value plan while out in the middle of the ocean on both the Valor and Sunrise but noticed that the time of day definitely mattered. The calls were crystal-clear very early in the morning when few others on the ship were on the WiFi. As the day progressed and more people were up and on the WiFi, the calls would become increasingly more difficult to connect, and once connected were prone to dropping or sounding choppy / garbled. That said, I never expect to be able to make ANY type of call on a value plan while at sea, so any calls that go through are a plus.
  2. After 21 years of cruising exclusively with Carnival since I was 28, last May I finally crawled over 200 nights to Diamond VIFP status. My first Diamond cruise was a six-night out of Norfolk on the second sailing of the Sunrise; while the service was as great as I've always come to enjoy with Carnival, I didn't notice (or expect) anything else out of the ordinary that would reflect my shiny new status (i.e. above and beyond Carnival's documented Diamond benefits). I was invited to a tea service with the captain along with a handful of other Diamonds, but only received the invite a couple of hours before the event (and while I was out of the cabin), so I wasn't able to make it, and wasn't pressed about it. Yesterday, I returned from my second Diamond cruise - a five nighter in a porthole cabin on the Valor (fantastic price). As with my first Diamond cruise, I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. However, in addition to the expected great service I always receive with Carnival, I was surprised and delighted by a couple of small tokens of appreciation that I wasn't expecting: - a handwritten postcard of the valor by the cruise Director, Kevin Donohue (and two cupcakes from the Coffee bar) - a printed "you met the captain!" picture delivered to my room the day after the diamond get-together. In addition, we seemed to get premium tables by the window during Your Time dining and Brunch without having to ask or wait (which could have been luck or coincidence), and the Maitre D came over and talked with me a couple of times. Also, the Diamond Get Together was pretty awesome - it lasted about an hour, was attended by 11 Diamonds (and a plus one for each), was hosted by the captain and several of the ship's officers, and included a surprisingly larger and tastier variety of hors d'ouvres (including small desserts) than what are provided during the Platinum and Diamond party. (Drink service and options were better too - no rail cocktails or Andre', and made or poured to order). I will not expect these unexpected gestures on future cruises, but would certainly appreciate them. Have any other Diamonds out there received or experienced anything they weren't expecting? By the way - I loved my first time on the Valor - an oldie but a goodie - and I really appreciated the consistently great and friendly service I received throughout the ship. (However, the less said about Pregreso, the better 😉 )
  3. So, I had a 'placeholder' for a 5- night on Feb 15 out of Jacksonville on the Ecstasy. Originally supposed to go to Nassau and Princess Cay but got an email from Carnival that the itinerary has been updated to Nassau and Freeport. "We're confident you'll love Freeport because ...." It's by no means am even swap, so we're going to cancel. Fortunately we booked with the slightly more expensive Past Guest option so we'll just move the deposit to something else. The punchline: the price for the New and Not-At-All Improved itenerary for new bookings went UP since yesterday.
  4. I've been on 34 cruises (all Carnival) and was on the second sailing of the Sunrise, and we loved it. We wondered if the staff would be inexperienced / not able to handle the larger crowds but they were great. Never had to wait 45 minutes for the Liquid Lounge shows (saw three); walked in 15 minutes before show time and always got seats with a great unblocked view in the 'nosebleeds' (which aren't far away considering the smaller size of the theater). We actually PREFER the smaller theater, as it makes the shows feel a little more intimate. Yes, some buffet lines could get long but there were also non-line, fast-line, or minimal-line alternatives The omlette area in Cucina Del Capitano was ALWAYS empty; a new Asian Bowl station was lightning fast; the Guy's Pig and Anchor thing rarely had a line. We had an ocean view cabin but could usually locate a couple of chairs in the back pool area. The decor was great - less tacky (said with affection) than on older Carnival ships. Check out some pics I took - hopefully, you'll agree that many pictures reflect a shiny, polished ship that isn't overstuffed to the brim with too many people. You can ALWAYS find someplace quiet if that's what you're looking for. Here are the pics. Enjoy your cruise!
  5. thank you! we especially loved how Carnival 'softened' the back pool area - it felt very high-end compared to a typical Carnival ship.
  6. I'm so glad! no need to worry - she's a beautiful ship and it did not at all feel like Carnival had put lipstick on a pig. The crowds can get HUGE but as you can see in several of my pics, you can definitely find peaceful / quiet areas throughout the day.
  7. Hi! thanks! I loved the fitness room - it did have high ceilings but some equipment (mats, rowing machines were wedged into a slanted window that faced forward (i.e. same view as the bridge). There was a barrier in front of the staircase, but it looked like it only led to a small loft that could be used for consultations, etc.
  8. It's located where is say 'chopsticks' below. At some point the name must have changed. They had three breakfast options and three lunch options daily. I observed several repeats after a couple of days. Pho soup was definitely on the menu for several days. It's NOT like the Mongolian Wok, where you select your stuff and hand it to the chef. You basically tell them which of the three items you want, and you get it in a small bowl. I recall some roasted pork soup thing with rice noodles and a similar chicken option. I tried the pork option: it was quick, tasty, and very salty. (There are a few condiments like miso paste and roasted sesame seeds that you can add yourself.) etc.
  9. Thanks! Yes, it's still located next to the casino.
  10. I was on the Sunrise last week - my 34th cruise - and on the first night the rocking was REALLY strong, more than I can ever recall on my previous cruises. It woke me up a few times. From the next morning through the end of the cruise, rocking was minimal. The ship covered a pretty good distance overnight, so speed must have been a factor.
  11. It does - last week, we used it every night and loved it.
  12. I read that review, and it sounds like the first Sunrise cruise had similar hiccups to the ones I experienced on the first cruise on the Elation after it had come out of its two-month dry dock. Here was our experience on the second cruise: - we were proactively offered a real ice bucket by our room steward; he kept it filled daily. - Guys Pig and Anchor was definitely open; we were one of the first on the ship and raced up there to check it out. We could have been its first real customers! I'm sure they had to have had a soft opening with employees before us though 😉 - Lido buffet was the same size it's always been on this class of ship, but yes breakfast and lunch lines **at the buffet** were longer because the ship was at max capacity (with more cabins too). That said, if you were in a hurry or impatient, for lunch you could almost always grab pizza, a guy's burger, a taco / burrito at Blue Iguana, or a bowl of noodle soup at Lucky Bowl with little or no wait. Lucky Bowl had quick but weird breakfast offerings if you felt like trying something new. Lines for dessert were managed well too! - we had the mid-tier WiFi package and noticed that it was substantially faster on this ship throughout the entire cruise than on previous Carnival cruises. I'd never call it 'instant' or 'speedy' but it did the job and we were very satisfied with it. - per that review of the first cruise, they must have fixed or cleaned up the majority of what was originally unfinished, because by the time we got on everything was immaculate and in working order (except for the Cruise Cam and location map on the cabin TVs.) The aft pool ice machine wasn't working for the first two days, but after that it was fine. That's it! - Having never sailed the Triumph, I never felt like I was on an old ship that had received a face lift. At least 90% of everything looked and felt brand new, so we really had to look around and scrutinize to notice some leftover flooring, doorknobs, etc from the original ship. The least inspiring update was the Atrium - it didn't feel old at all but it was a little bland. - we made a point of going into the piano bar when another live band was playing at Red Frog a few yards away. Incredibly, with the Piano Bar's door closed we couldn't hear the other live band. Loved the cruise, the ship, and the staff. Would definitely sail again, with the knowledge that areas of the ship can get pretty crowded.
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