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h-sar

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About h-sar

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Edmonton AB, Canada
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, RCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean

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  1. h-sar

    Step by step - opening our medallions!

    So excited for your cruise, hllwdcruiser! Thanks for the unveiling. You did a great job of ‘unboxing’ 👍🏼. Can anyone comment on the benefit to Princess of mailing the medallions out? Seems like it’s an added expense. We got ours last month when we checked in for boarding and I liked just being able to pick it up then, not having to worry about losing it beforehand, or having it arrive on time, etc. Will the mailout result in, one day, doing away with the whole counter check in process, maybe?
  2. h-sar

    What would you take?

    I’ve also been doing this for over a decade! Take pump soap on all my travels. With the advent and popularity of pump soaps a number of years ago, I refused to continue using communal bar soaps 🤮! Heck, I can’t even share a bar of soap with just my ownself LOL! Bring insect repellent. Back of my leg after an hour at Princess Cays last month, 35 bites on my body. Painfully itchy for two full weeks after.
  3. h-sar

    Tips for group cruise

    I second this excellent suggestion. Have 5 of you responsible for 20 people each and, as stated above, put a magnetic dry erase board on each of those 5 cabins for messages to the smaller groups. Re: the private tea bday celebration. If you’re unable to have Princess do this, just give them advance notice that you’ll be coming with 99 of your closest friends to the next tea 😁 so they have enough food. Can’t see why you won’t still be able to hold your celebration...might even be more fun with other passengers enjoying the revelry! I can see them giving you one part of the MDR. OP, you’ve taken on a huge responsibility, but it’s evident that you’re giving this a great deal of thought. Hopefully, you’ll continue to get some good suggestions from others that will ease your burden somewhat. Sounds like a fantastic time coming up!
  4. h-sar

    Yellow fever shots required?

    Hate to bring this tragic dose of reality into this thread...but I think it’s necessary. Last month, over New Year’s, we were on the Regal Princess and did the Lumiere Chef’s Table with an older couple and their absolutely charming, lovely early 40s daughter from Switzerland. Partway through the meal, her two children (two of the most beautiful kids I’ve ever seen), about 8 and 13, were brought in by one of the headwaiters to say a quick hello Over the course of the dinner, she mentioned the many number of cruises on Princess she had done with her husband and children. She didn’t say why her husband was not present at the dinner and I never really did get around to asking. Toward the end of the evening, when I commented on how much her children resembled her, she said in fact they took more after their father who had passed away 11 months ago on a family trip to Brazil. He had contracted yellow fever and passed away within four days. This was their first cruise without him and she had not been sure how it would go. She said it brought back a lot of wonderful memories of their past cruises. It had been an absolutely lovely, magical evening at the Chef’s Table, made all the better because of their wonderful company, and then to hear her story at the very end was truly one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard.
  5. h-sar

    Excursion ratings

    I’ve often looked on in envy at those stick chairs, especially in long entry lines at tourist sites! Good luck with your health regimen - it’s not an easy task, but the results are literally life enhancing/prolonging.
  6. h-sar

    Midnight Buffet?

    The one and only HA cruise we took (my kids deemed it too slow paced and not for young kids 😄) had an amazing midnight dessert buffet. As others have said, it was more for show/pics than anything else. I felt intense first world guilt for all the food that would be thrown out, as very little actually got eaten. My family’s past 12 Princess cruises (Emeraldx2, Golden, Rubyx2, Crown, Regalx6) have all been over New Yrs. There has always been a midnight buffet on New Yrs eve with a big seafood spread and tasty bites. Very nicely put together. The video should give you a pretty good overview. Yowza! I have to slow down while filming 😬. I think I just wanted to get out of everyone’s way and not be that annoying person who films food. Plus, my kids were probably giving me death glares. Neither of those two factors actually stops me, by the way 😆. After all, the best way to measure the success of a day is to be able to count on more than one hand the number of times you’ve embarrassed your children! BD2C2F01-61F7-4A53-86DE-C7BEC856483F.MOV
  7. h-sar

    Excursion ratings

    You’ve been given some good feedback, Glenn. Tours in large cities are strenuous only in the amount of walking that is required. However, with the large size of the Princess groups (main reason we don’t do ship tours) and the inherent crowds in a tourist destination, the walking will be pretty slow paced. On the other hand, come join me and my jr high students on our spring break trips where we’ve averaged 18 km a day (26 in Madrid!) in very fast paced walking tours 😁. As others have said, good walking shoes (better quality runners) with decent grip are an absolute must. It’s easy to turn an ankle on those uneven cobblestones. From your various posts on this board, it’s obvious to see that you’re doing a lot of prep for this cruise, asking all the right questions. You mentioned elsewhere that you start and finish in Barcelona. Four visits there in 6 years will tell you that it’s one of my absolute favourite places!
  8. h-sar

    Best time of year to visit Athens,Greece

    I have to agree with everyone suggesting spring or early fall. Five years ago, we had no choice but to take a Mediterranean cruise in early August. Parts of it were tolerable for weather, parts of it were absolutely unbearable. If you can avoid June, July, and August, do so; not only would you be avoiding the heat, but a good 80% of the world has part of that time as summer vacation for kids. Europe will be wall-to-wall people, teeming with families and school trips.
  9. h-sar

    chef's table

    We were fortunate to be able to do the Lumiere CT on the Regal this past New Yrs. We were directed to Sabatini’s when we asked about CT upon boarding and a fellow who was there for that purpose took our names down on his list. Not sure what his official title was, but he would visit us at dinner every couple of days to keep us abreast of the plans. Apparently, the chef decided during the cruise which day he would be holding it - it hadn’t been pre-determined. This same young man was also at our CT dinner, assisting the maitre’d. When we tried to book the CT for our first leg, Christmas week, it was already full, but we were on a B2B and were the first to sign up for the following week. Glad they didn’t make us come back at the start of our second week to book. A once in a lifetime experience!
  10. h-sar

    Specialty dining

    Thanks, everyone. As per usual, the only consistency within Princes is....inconsistency 😁. The dinner shows up as a perk from the TA, with her company named as the ‘gift giver.’ I will check upon boarding about credit as an alternative, but will definitely use rather than lose!
  11. h-sar

    Specialty dining

    We received a specialty dining perk from our TA for our next Princess cruise. In the past, we’ve always gone to the dinner, so the following question has never come up. Should we choose not to go this time, is the perk lost or does it revert to an equivalent OBC to be used as we wish? The dining perk is showing up on our on-board reservations as specialty dining. Am guessing we will lose it (and if that’s the case, we’ll go), but thought I’d check here. Thank you.
  12. We did an interior for a 12 day Med cruise on the Regal when our kids were 15 and 17 due to financial reasons (flights were $1500 each!) and because we know we’d be in ports for much of the time. Was totally fine. Helped that DH liked to work out early in the morning and would use the shower in the gym area.
  13. h-sar

    Chef's Table - Ever Not Been Selected

    Yes and no. We were on the Regal for Christmas and New Year’s this year. We had to go to Sabatini’s to sign up and were there about 1:30 upon embarkation of our first leg; unfortunately, it was too late for the first week. I’m assuming some people who were on the previous week and were staying on had signed up earlier. However, we were at that time able to sign up our party of 5 for the second week of our cruise. In fact, we were the first ones to sign up. It was an incredible experience, one that we will not forget.
  14. h-sar

    Princess Cruise "Secrets" 2019

    On our B2B over Christmas/New Yrs, it occurred on the day before disembarkation on each leg of our two week cruise. In our case, it was on a Saturday as each leg ended on Sunday.
  15. h-sar

    Time frame to allow from port to airport

    Based solely on personal experience: 13 cruises in a row, leaving Port Everglades on what might be one of the busiest travel return days of the year (last Sunday of the two week Christmas break for most public schools and universities in Canada, US), usually no less than 7 other ships disembarking with us, picking up our own bags, Uber or taxi. With flights varying in departure time from 11:00 am to 12:10 (as it was this past Jan 6)...no issues to this point (and only had advantage of Global Entry card on one of those cruises as not everyone in the party always had one). Could that change next year? Absolutely. Will I base next year’s travel plans out of Port E on those 13 personal experiences or the possible what-if? Definitely on past experience. Typically takes us 90 min from walking off the ship to being at our gate. Just one family’s experience, though.
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