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Everything posted by TrapperZimmy

  1. Glad you've been having a good time. Actually, 40% repeaters is kind of low these days. We've been on trips where it is closer to 80%. The crew changes aren't really unusual. Those officers have been on board for a while. When we were aboard in January, they were planning their vacations. I still have problems grasping the idea that we go to them for vacation, but they go home for vacation.
  2. Since we haven't done that itinerary on SeaDream, the only question I can address is your last one. Seasickness, or should I say rough seas, can occur anywhere and at any time. We've been in water that is notoriously rough, e.g. Bay of Biscay, and felt nothing. We've sailed all around the Med from Lisbon to Alexandria and the only rough water we have encountered was a short trip from Haifa to Ashdod (on Azamara). And that was due to a storm. SeaDream rides well, so being a small vessel is not really a factor. That being said, we always bring enough Bonine for each day of the cruise. I usually take one before embarkation and then only when it gets really choppy, which is rare. After our first cruise on SeaDream, where just about everyone was sick coming out of San Juan, we've done over 20 sailings without incident.
  3. It won't be exactly the same. All the staterooms have been redecorated and significantly improved. Electrical outlets and USB ports by the bed, for instance. More storage space, too. Two whirlpools in the Crow's Nest and a water slide on Deck 3. However, you are likely to recognize crew members, which is the best part.
  4. And, as I always advise, don't put down any non-refundable money because ports of call may change at the last minute do to sea conditions.
  5. Jim, just walking from bow to stern on that monster ship is more exercise than I want to get on my vacation.
  6. Can't comment on "go go go" because we mostly like to "relax relax relax." But I do have a comment about Anguilla. This past winter we finally made it to the island and took SD's excursion to the beach, which was beautiful. It was on the itinerary for two previous trips over the years, and each time we got there the seas were too rough to anchor and tender in. The consolation prize was an extra day in St. Barts. The advice I always give is don't book anything anywhere that you can't cancel without penalty.
  7. Only the ones who get to see it. But it is good for those of us who sail on fancy ships to see up close what poverty looks like in lands of no opportunity. And if we are prompted to do something about it, either on the island or at home, it is worth the trip.
  8. Rothko is right. Just follow the money. If I ran a Caribbean island, I would waive all port charges for any ship with 4000 or more passengers. We'd make it up on mai tai and t-shirt sales alone. Frankly, I think the only reason these ships go to an island is to meet the requirement of having a foreign port on a round trip US cruise. Otherwise, there is so much to do onboard that there would be no reason to get off. And the company would make more money keeping the passengers on board where they pay for everything beyond the basics.
  9. Yes, 700 is hardly a megaship. Think ten times that. We have done a number of sailings, although not recently, on the R ships, with Renaissance, Oceania and Azamara. They run about 630 passengers with deck 8 being the penthouse suites. It is a nice size ship and easy to get around. But they are still large, as far as we are concerned. When you have to wait in line or get a number for a tender, it takes away from the relaxation. The great thing about the cruise industry is that there is a cruise for everybody's taste and interest. Check out Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas which will launch soon. The largest ship yet, with something like 20 dining venues. Seasickness is not necessarily related to the size of the ship. Our worst case of it was on Azamara during the 24 mile trip from Haifa to Ashdod. By morning, everything in the room was on the floor. On the other hand, we did the crossing on SDII a couple of months ago and had 3 or 4 days of rough seas with glassware crashing all over, and didn't even need the Bonine.
  10. I debated as to whether I should respond because I really find the smell of cigars to be disgusting. However, I will tell you the published policy. I will also tell you that in all of our experience we have found that there is rarely more than three of four people smoking on the yacht. SeaDream's smoking policy onboard limits the use of smoking tobacco products only to certain areas on the outside decks. SeaDream respects our patrons' personal decision to smoke but at the same time ensures that passive smoking should not be forced upon our guests and crew involuntarily. SeaDream's humidors carry a fine selection of cigars for purchase. For the comfort and convenience of all our guests, cigars, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and pipe smoking is permitted only at designated areas on Deck 3 and Deck 6 except during meal hours. Smoking inside the vessel is not permitted.
  11. We've never felt it was too hot to eat on deck. When eating outside, they do not enforce the "no shorts rule," and there are ceiling fans they can turn on. There are also heat lamps if it is chilly. As for the wind, if it is problematic, there are clear curtains they can roll down on the sides of the yacht. Garysaragh is (are?) correct that when the dining room is open they will allow al fresco dining, but when dinner is served topside, that is for everyone. I suppose you could use room service if you don't want to be out. As for the waves, I can't see that being on any particular deck would make a difference, except that low and midship is the best location for those prone to seasickness. I kind of think it would be nice to be up close and personal with the waves washing against the ship. You actually spend so little time in the room that it doesn't matter whether you have windows or portholes. The bigger question is do you want to be closer to the dining room, the pool, or the piano bar/casino/spa and gym.
  12. That is my understanding. It is neither per cabin nor per passenger. Whether the concierge can remove it from your phone and place it on your tablet is something you might need to discuss with her. But do you want to keep doing that throughout the trip? You may need to do a cost-benefit analysis. Because Zimmy and I needed to keep up our business activities, we each needed our phones on wifi. I would have liked to have been incommunicado to really feel I was on vacation, but in the long run that would have been very costly. I guess it would depend upon whether you could do everything on one device or if you need both. Remember that you can probably get free (unsecured) wifi in restaurants and bars on the islands, if that satisfies your needs. By the way, we know that people were doing face time and Zoom during the sailing, so the Starlink connection was really good.
  13. Hi, Franny. We just returned from a 16-day crossing in a deck 4 cabin. Despite several days of 4 meter swells, we did not feel uncomfortable. Walking around may have been an issue, and a lot of glassware was broken, but we didn't hear anyone complaining of seasickness. Schnauzer is correct that there are a number of shaded areas around the yacht. Umbrellas can be set up around the pool and in the Crows Nest on deck 6 forward. When the yacht is sailing, umbrellas cannot be used. We purchased the wifi package and were very impressed with it. It is fast and we were able to make phone calls with it in the middle of the Atlantic. You purchase it for each device, either by the day or by the cruise, and the concierge programs it with a unique password for you. I always take a sport coat, but only wear it if having dinner with the captain or if it is chilly when dining al fresco. Rarely see anyone else wearing one except for those instances. Mostly, I like to wear it on the plane because of the extra pockets. A caution about excursions. If booking on your own, don't commit any money. It is not unusual to miss a port because of sea conditions. Totally the Captain's discretion.
  14. Hi, Jim. I will make a special accommodation for you and Lois to join us onboard anytime in the next ten days. We are between Bermuda and Lisbon, but we can slow down for you.
  15. After several unsuccessful attempts, we finally got to Anguilla this past January. We took the ship's excursion to a beach and it really was beautiful (at least until the downpour). Sand all the way into the water. The excursion included beach chairs with umbrellas. I'd recommend it. We also went to Saba, where we had been once before. Once was enough for us, although the van ride to The Bottom could be a thrill ride at any amusement part.
  16. In over 20 years I don't think we've ever seen a price cut. If it is the mid-February that you are talking about, that is an $800 savings per person for the Deck 2 stateroom. Subtracting the cancellation fee they will charge for the St. Thomas, that is a huge deal. I'd grab it before they change their mind. I have no idea why they would be doing this. As long as it isn't a soft charter, you should be okay. All other things being equal, my personal preference would be to go for the St. Martin primarily because we have not been happy with any of the hotels at St. Thomas, Ritz-Carlton included.
  17. JES, we are the other two who booked it. We've never been to Bermuda and thought this would be the best way to see it in the short time we will be there. Carnac and Dee, if you book it there is a greater likelihood it will go forward, with at least 8 people. I'm calling a window seat.🚌 😎
  18. Not sure if he and Blondie are doing the crossing with us. It would be nice. Its been a few years since we have seen them.
  19. Hey, Jim. Royalty? Not sure who you mean. And we don't sail for another month.
  20. I would never discourage anyone from extending recognition in the form of money, but my take on "gratuities included" is that the proprietor, whether it is a cruise, a resort, or a restaurant, has made a decision to pay their employees well enough that they are not dependent upon the whims of the customers. Of course, that means the price you pay reflects the proprietor's increased payroll cost. When crew members leave SeaDream, my impression is that they are leaving the industry and not going to a line where they can make more money. My understanding of the welfare fund is that it covers unexpected expenses that a crew member might incur, such as having to fly home for a family emergency. And that isn't just the waiters and stewardesses, but includes the guys you see wearing the blue or white jumpsuits who keep the ship moving and the toilets flushing. I have been told that crew parties, for instance, do not come from the welfare fund, but are paid by the company.
  21. So true about "average temperatures." When we did our Norway cruise, we planned on sweaters and sweatshirts. I ended up buying shorts and a polo shirt on board because it was so warm. Layers it is.
  22. Glad to see that you are joining us, JES. I don't think we've sailed with your before, so it will be nice to meet you. 65 seems like a nice number. Last I looked, there was one Commodore left and several regular cabins. Is it likely that all of the other Commodores are being booked as Commodores? This is our first crossing, but hardly our first SD. When we get off in Lisbon it is off to the airport for a flight to Paris for a few days. My biggest question at this point is how to pack for varying weather conditions. Will we need to bundle up to sit on deck, or can we sunbathe every day? I expect that Paris will be in the mid-60s for the middle of May.
  23. As cabosal notes, it is really what you are comfortable doing. For our part, with about 25 cruises under our belts, we started contributing to the crew fund as soon as we learned about it. When Piaa says it benefits everybody, she isn't meaning that the money gets distributed to the entire crew. Just as it says, it is a welfare fund to provide for special needs, either individually or for everyone. Our way of giving individual recognition is by making special mention of people or actions in the evaluation form we complete at the end of the cruise. That way management knows who is deserving of special recognition. The crew members know we love and appreciate them by our returning a couple of time a year. And if you let the concierge know a couple of days before the end of the cruise, it will just be added to your final bill. You will get a letter of appreciation.
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