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About Dragonfly1984

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  1. I think OMEIV gave some really great, very important, information, that alot of people just don't think about. So I wanted to share my story of my first (and subsequent) use of a full face snorkel mask: We purchased two higher end full-face masks before a land trip to Belize in January 2018 (sorry, cant recall the exact brand right now). I'm a very experienced (surface only) snorkeler, and I've had scuba cert. for almost 20 years (but haven't even attempted an open water dive in awhile due to some inner ear issues), as a result, I *might* have been a bit cocky, and didn't really try on the mask before tossing them in the luggage. I didn't give in a second thought till I was hopping in the water from a tiny fishing boat at a reef. Double checked the seals(I have long hair, and its always a fight to keep *all* my hair out of a mask), made sure everything felt comfy. Within ninety seconds of starting to swim away from the boat, after some critters I had spotted, I thought I was having a panic attack. Stopped, yanked mask off, took a few deep breaths, and started all over. It happened again, and again, and again. I tried hanging on to the boat for security and sticking my face in, nothing helped. I just felt like I wasn't getting any air. Eventually I just gave up for awhile and went on chilled on the boat till I felt calmer (and apparently missed a pretty awesome wild sea turtle interaction). I refused to get back in the water till we were at the second snorkel stop. I've had panic attacks on land, but I've never had any anxiety around water, so I was pretty freaked out. While in the boat, I started trying on the mask, and practicing breathing with in. Turns out It was so ingrained in me to breath through my mouth underwater (whether, through a snorkel or a regulator) that I needed to consciously pay attention and breath through only my nose. Half way through the second snorkel stop I was having no issues at all. We used the masks again on a Disney cruise in October of this year, and I didn't have to think twice about my breathing and snorkeled for very long periods of time with no issues and, amazingly - No leaks from my hair escaping its ties. I've actually found it to have the best seal I've personally ever experienced with any type of mask. I *don't* think my early issues with the mask are necessarily normal, both of those trips were with my boyfriend, who is a strong swimmer but has far less snorkeling, and no diving experience, and he had absolutely no issues at all. At the present time, I can only surface snorkel (I start feeling severe inner ear pressure that I can't alleviate by about 8-10" under the surface), so for me the mask works wonderfully. If you want to try one, I agree with everyone else, that you should go for a quality mask rather than a cheaper one. Even though OP had no issues with a helmet dive, I'd still suggest you try practicing with a new mask a bit before you find yourself in open water. As you (OP) already know, panic and water are a terrible combination. as a nice bonus: They also make for nice underwater photos and selfies.
  2. Thank you so much everyone, you've been more helpful than you could know. After reading through everyone's suggestions, we realized the main draw of the Eurodam was actually San Diego - not the cruise itself. So we've narrowed it down to either Oosterdam or Rotterdam. Progress! @crystalspin I'm so sorry hear of the reason you had to cancel. I was actually originally looking for a Lanai on Rotterdam, but I guess the secret must be out on those, and I can't find any availability. However, I'm going to continue to stalk a few reservation sites, in hope that one opens up. We're not in a rush to book asap, so we're willing to take our chances on the hope one might become available last minute. @RMLincoln I went to check on N.A. itineraries, but apparently shes not sailing between Jan 20-Feb 3 - our exact window of possibility lol. Does anyone know if its a dry dock or charter or something else altogether? @skiwee I'm currently trying to sell him on an ocean view option on Rotterdam, since the price difference is more substantial there than on Oosterdam. Any suggestions/selling points you can give me? 🙂 pretty please. He's claiming he wont cruise without a balcony- however he spent less than 10 minutes on the balcony (i kinda dragged him out there) on our last cruise, preferring to relax in the cabin than on the balcony *shrug*. I'm happy to just be on the ship, not matter what type of room. Since the Vista "Suite" on Rotterdam, is basically just a suite in name only, do we still get double Mariner days? It does count as a suite for promotion benefits as well, correct? (i.e. extra obc under Explore4, or Amex bonus obc) Thank you again everyone, and I apologize in advance because I foresee a lot more questions in the future (I'm a planner/researcher by nature and profession)
  3. So, I'm in a bit of a dilemma, and I thought maybe the helpful CC people might be able to lend a hand. We're looking at trying out HAL for the first time this coming January (2019), and I'm very stuck picking which itinerary/ship. We don't want to burn more vacation days than a 7 day trip would, so we've narrowed it down to: 1.) Eurodam out of San Diego (either 3rd or 4th week of January) to Mexican Rivera. (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta) Pros: Neither of us have ever done a Mexican Rivera cruise. Low port loads- We'd be one of two ships at one port, and the only one in the other two. The ship looks beautiful, I'm dying to try one of HAL's hydro pools. She has Tamarind(looks delicious), which neither of our other two options do. It leaves from San Diego - I haven't been since I lived in LA several years ago, but my boyfriend, who I'll be traveling with, just spent a long weekend there for work in Sept. and wants to go back together so he can see more of the city (we'd only have about 2-2.5 days in san diego) Cons: Travel time - It leaves from San Diego. We live in Florida. Especially flying back home will eat up a large amount of time. I'm not finding myself super excited by shore excursion options. I have no doubt we'd have a great time, no matter what we ended up doing, but researching it now - noting is really jumping out at me. (I'm assuming it might be bit chilly for snorkeling?) Part of me thinks, we should just save San Diego for part of a bigger trip, so we have more time to explore. 2.) Oosterdam out of FTL (3rd week of January) Pros: Fort Lauderdale is way more convenient to central Florida than San Diego. We could drive down(3.5 hours) (probably day before after work), or possibly even fly down night before/morning of. Ship still has Hydro pool, and also looks beautiful. Goes to San Juan, its only a few hours(1-11), and I've been before and really enjoyed it, but it's on BF's places-to-go-list Goes to ST. Thomas - I would love to go back to Trunk Bay It goes to Half Moon Cay - We really enjoyed Disney's Castaway Cay, and would love to compare that to another private island Cons: No Tamarind Except for Half Moon Cay, Every port looks like it will be a bit crowded, 5 ships in FTL for embarkation and San Juan, 4 ships in St. Thomas, and 2 ships in Grand Turk. Will that be problem? Neither of us have been to Grand Turk.... it looks...ok? Im just not getting excited about it when i look at options... We might end up having to rent a car if we choose to drive down and back, we did this last year when we flew out of FTL in January, and it wasn't a terrible hassle, but it wasn't ideal either. 3.) Rotterdam out of Tampa (3rd week of January) PROS: Tampa is way more convenient for us than Fort Lauderdale. We'd be able to attend Gasparilla the day before in Tampa (we've never been and really want to) I LOVE LOVE LOVE the itinerary. (Key West, Mahogney Bay, Costa Maya, and Santo Tomas De Castilla) We'd have the opportunity to see some central american ruins (We went to Belize for a week last year, but never really got to any Ruins- something we both regret) Except for Key West, Neither of us have been to any of the ports. First time to Guatemala and Honduras for both of us. *I* love the idea of a small ship. CONS: I'm not sure how well *he's* gonna like a small ship No Hydro Pool. No Tamarind. We'd spend slightly more on the cruise portion of this trip, because we'd probably book a Vista Suite, since no typical balconies are available. I'm sure there are other factors I'm not considering, and hopefully some HAL veterans can help me out :) a few quick other notes, if anybody cares to read: -We'll probably end up getting the Spa Pass no matter what ship we're on. (We just got off Disney Dream in Oct, and we practically lived in the Rainforest Room, so heated stone loungers are the biggest draw for both of us) -We're not looking for a party vibe. We're mid 30s/early 40s, and tend to go to bed almost-comically early at home, but stay up *somewhat* later on vacation -We can entertain ourselves. I'm happy just people/ocean watching. He's happy just playing games on his phone. -I sometimes have anxiety when it comes to crowds. Embarkation and disembarkation at ports of call seems like it will be easiest on Rotterdam. However compared to Dream's 4000+ passengers, I'm guessing any of the ships will seem low-key. Thank you in advance, and sorry this is so long!
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