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Everything posted by jimdee3636

  1. The only dancing venue on the larger HAL ships is the B.B. King's Blues Club. And (although it's usually good) that's not "ballroom" dancing.
  2. Thank you Flatbush Flyer, pinotlover, and everyone else who has made suggestions. They're all very helpful. Jim
  3. After nearly thirty cruises on nine or ten different lines, I can say confidently that the only line currently offering a meaningful ballroom dance experience is Cunard. Until five or six years ago, I might have added HAL, at least for a little pre-dinner dancing in the Ocean Bar. But then they did away with the jazz/swing combo that used to play in that venue. On our 21-night Cunard Queen Mary 2 cruise in 2019, I think they offered three or four hours of ballroom dancing every single night, usually to a live nine-piece band and a singer, with occasional professional performances and a half-dozen or so "dance hosts" (of both sexes) for solo passengers or for people whose spouses didn't want to dance. They also had a separate (and spacious) disco, with either a live band or a very good DJ, that was open until 1:00AM. There's nothing else like it at sea.
  4. My wife and I are considering a 20-night Buenos Aires-to-Lima sailing in February and March of 2023 on the Marina. The prices, with O-Life Air, seem quite reasonable considering the fact that there will be very long overnight flights both ways. However, we'd want to arrive in Buenos Aires at least one day before boarding the ship, and we'd like to upgrade the overnight flights to business class. I know of course that this will cost us a lot more, but does Oceania make it easy to do? Or would we be better off making our own air arrangements and just booking the "cruise only" fare? I don't mind spending money (if something is worth it), but I hate hassles! In case it matters, we would not in any case use Oceania for our pre-cruise hotel stay in Buenos Aires.
  5. I couldn't get the link to open up, but I can tell you from my 2019 experience on the QM2 that the $12 limit is indeed an obstacle in many cases. For example, Tanqueray martinis---my favorite pre-dinner cocktail---were $12.25. And it's not as if you can just pay the 25 cents or whatever the particular difference may be. And as Big Mac noted, the "package" wine offerings are quite meager. Unless I were getting the package automatically as part of a QG/PG promotion, I would just pay for whatever drinks I want and not have to think about whether they're included. That wouldn't be a fun way to start an evening of fine dining.
  6. The Seabourn 2022 WC has been cancelled, but the Seabourn 2023 WC is still very much on.
  7. chiefofsages: Keep in mind that shyness is not something you're born with and can't do anything about, like having blue eyes or brown eyes. It's learned behavior. And like all learned behavior it's probably been reinforced over time by habit. But that doesn't mean you can't change it, or at least push your boundaries. If you're on a cruise ship, I suggest you spend more time approaching crew members rather than other guests. They're almost guaranteed to be more interesting than the guests They're usually from places you've never been to (but might like to know about). They've learned to speak good English, which is not an easy thing to do and which is an indication of their intelligence and ambition. They're typically busy, but they want to project a friendly and welcoming attitude to the guests, so they often have time for a quick conversation. And they're usually homesick to a degree, so if you ask them even the simplest question about their country ("What was it like growing up in Bali?"), they love it. I've gotten close to quite a number of crew members over the years, and I still have an e-mail friendship with a Serbian bartender I met on the Oceania Riviera five years ago. She keeps urging me to visit her country, and I just might do it once things have truly opened up. Anyway, I'm not saying it's easy to change habits, but it can be done. The key is to take baby steps and not be afraid of falling. Most importantly, relax and have fun---you're on a cruise! Jim
  8. I was wondering the same thing. It was a very informative and entertaining thread, and I was looking forward to seeing some lengthier comments now that people on the ship have returned home and have had time to reflect on their experience.
  9. If anyone currently onboard has dinner at Bistro Sur La Mer (French specialty restaurant), I'd be grateful if you comment on the noise level there. Some previous reviews of the Majestic (from its time in Australia and Asia) have noted that the restaurant is close to the atrium and that the music, DJ announcements, and general passenger noise make it impossible to have a quiet conversation at dinner. I hope they've done something to fix the problem, because the menu looks great. Thanks!
  10. Geoherb: If you think of it, please post your impressions of the Majestic after you get home. I'm on the ship in early October, once it repositions to L.A. Like you, I'm married but sailing solo. Jim
  11. Yes, as paddy Anne said you're going to get lots of different opinions. I did a studio once---on the Bliss---partly because I wanted to see what the experience was like and partly because on that sailing the studios were less expensive than a single-occupancy regular interior. it was OK, but for me once was enough. The cabins are ingeniously designed but they're still small! The only benefit I got from the lounge was the espresso machine (I'm an espresso fanatic and have my own machine at home). But I didn't use the lounge as many people do, i.e., to meet other solo cruisers. I generally met people in the Observation Lounge, the gym, or elsewhere on the ship. If I sail solo on NCL again, i expect I'll get a regular inside cabin, enjoy the extra space, and pay for my espresso at Starbuck's.
  12. If it's not too much trouble, why don't you post a quick review of your experience after the cruise. I'm sailing solo on the Majestic in early October out of L.A. and would love to know your impressions of the ship and what it was like to sail solo on it.
  13. I'm assuming that the crew, even if they're not Princess "rookies," are new to each other. Do they seem to be working smoothly together in venues where you can observe them, such as bars and restaurants? Or are things kind of disjointed?
  14. I don't know if this is typical, but HAL seems slower than most other lines---including some in the Carnival "family"---in announcing future cruises. For example, Princess currently lists all of its sailings through December of 2023 and Seabourn through November of 2023, whereas the farthest-out HAL sailing is at the beginning of May, 2023. The frustration for me is that I'm very much interested in whether HAL is doing a Voyage of the Vikings (VOV) 35-night sailing that year, but if they're not there are a number of late 2023 Princess cruises I'd consider instead. In the current booking climate, I'd rather not wait too long or the sailing and/or the cabin type I want may be gone.
  15. Is the International Cafe' "fully" open, i.e., 24 hours a day, the usual food and beverage offerings, etc.? It's my favorite spot on any Princess ship!
  16. It's great you're doing this! I'm booked on the Majestic for its first post-Alaska sailing in early October and I'll be eager to hear all about the ship. One thing I'd particularly like to know is whether the noise level inside the Bistro Sur La Mer (I think that's the name---one of the specialty restaurants) is high. Early reviews said that because this restaurant is located close to the atrium, all of the sounds from musicians, singers, DJs, and everything else permeates the dining area. Hopefully, they've fixed the problem. Actually, I'm also interested in the Cantonese specialty restaurant. If you go, please let us know what you think of the cuisine, service, and ambiance. Thanks in advance!
  17. That's the best way: pay Cunard to do it. However, you can save a few bucks on port days if you don't mind waiting a bit before getting off the ship. The laundry rooms are often empty after most passengers have gone ashore, especially on the first port day after a string of sea days. Another money-saving idea is, if you wear wick-dry t-shirts or other wick-dry clothing, just wash them in the sink and hang them up on the clothesline ("Stendofilo," I think it's called) above the bathtub. They're usually dry in a matter of hours. But I would never try that with cotton clothes; you'll be bringing wet clothes home with you!
  18. Well. thanks for the compliment.
  19. Along with getting free laundry, the 50% discount on wine-by-the-bottle packages was a major benefit of reaching four-star status. I normally don't need sommelier-type advice, but I do need someone who can bring the requested bottle to the table quickly, know how to open it, put it in a nearby ice bucket if it's a white or sparkling wine, keep an eye on our glasses to see if they need refilling, and---if we don't finish the whole bottle at that meal---re-cork it and put it away for us to finish the following night. I've always gotten that on HAL, but I'm beginning to have my doubts if we'll ever see a "civilized" wine service on HAL again. A damn shame, and maybe, for my wife and me, a deal-breaker with respect to booking future cruises on HAL.
  20. I hope it works that easily for me, too. I dread the whole app thing. (I'm booked on the Majestic for their first California Coastal cruise in early October). Thanks for posting this information.
  21. I've got a transatlantic (Miami to Lisbon) booked on the Oceania Riviera in March of 2022. I support Del Rio's 100% vaccination policy, but I sure hope he wins his battle against DeSantis fairly soon. I assume Del Rio's Plan B is to move all the Miami cruises to St. Maarten or somewhere else in the Caribbean. That would be a hardship for people in the Western U.S. To get to many Caribbean islands from out here, you have to leave early in the morning, take two flights to Miami, then a third flight that might arrive as late as midnight. Not a fun way to start a vacation.
  22. PhD-iva: It sounds like you've hit what I call the Cruiser's Trifecta: an itinerary you like, on a cruise line you like, for a price that seems reasonable. Too often, cruisers focus only on the price or on the percentage of the single supplement. A cruise is not a bargain if the itinerary bores you or the cruise line isn't the right one for you. Have a great time! You'll soon be making your packing list. Jim
  23. I won't comment on the "trailer trash" aspect of rbtan's post, but I agree that a "true" 14 night cruise is likely to be a more interesting one than two B2B's. Not only are you not repeating any of the ports, but you're not forced to get off the ship on the seventh day. Those who say that it's just like any other port day are forgetting that on a "real" port day you can, if you choose, stay onboard and enjoy a nearly-empty ship. I've done that plenty of times when the port is overly familiar or doesn't do much for me.
  24. Cindy: One way to start is by stressing that a "solo" cruise is not the same thing as a "singles" cruise. Jim
  25. But only those 35 people, right? Not the "good" passengers? If so, they got what they deserved.
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