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abbydancer

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  1. And so, continuing. It’s Tuesday, and our second sea day. Today was the cruise critic slot pull after breakfast. We had breakfast, and then I headed to the meeting at the martini bar for the slot pull. There was quite a crowd there, but Kristi and Pat had done a great job with organizing it. I gave them my name, and my 15.00 and we headed to the casino. They’d picked out a 1.00 machine, and fed a lot of small bills to it. We each took our turn, and by the end, we were up, to about 20.60 total each. We agreed that everyone would get 20, and the person with the best spin got the extra 19.00. Jacqueline and David then decided to cash in their Elite 3 match plays. I did too, and decided to try to cash it out on roulette. It turns out I have to put the coupon and 5.00 on something. I put it on Red, and tried to put another 10.00 on black, but he wouldn’t let me do that. So I just watched David and Jacqueline play out theirs. At 12:30, we met Mike and Kathy for lunch. Apparently, they had 1:30 spa appointments, but an hour should have been enough. We were seated and ordered. And waited. Apparently, everyone had arrived at about noon, so the kitchen was backed up. At about 1:15, we’d been served appetizers (K had ordered from the main menu and that ended up delaying things a bit), but they had to leave. Mike had ordered Risotto, and Kathy a turkey panini. They left and I asked that two paninis and their desserts be sent to their room for after their spa visit. I heard later that that was successful. After lunch, I came back to the room and found a few messages from CC friends. I set up a couple of meetings and helped Carolyn find a couple of singles for Volunteer point. Wee had made up to meet our friends for a game of Catan. We headed to the card room and set it up. Fortunately, there was a table available. We realized that we’d forgotten our rule book, so I’d pulled a pdf up on my laptop (need it if we haven’t played in a while). It worked but not well, so I decided I’d ask John to print one for me later. We played, Donna won (a reoccurring theme has it’s turning out), and we agreed to keep doing it. Our next venue was to meet our Ft. Lauderdale CC friends up in the sky lounge. We’d had dinner with them when we were in Ft. Lauderdale in November. We quickly found them and met the friends they were traveling with. We were there for about 45 minutes, and then had to head to Qsine for our Petit Chef dinner. We joined Kathy and Mike, Jacqueline & David and also Ed and Judy, who’d decided to join us for this dinner. For those who don’t know, the Qsine menu has been replaced by Le Petit Chef, a four course meal in which each course is accompanied by an animation of the chef projected onto the table, making the course. I have video, but it’s easer if you google it, as it’s on you tube. While we all enjoyed it, (and I did think the steak was very good), I can’t see repeating this again. We’d also done it on the Edge, and we’d enjoyed it, but it was a different show, so we did it on this ship as well. It’s really a once and done thing for each show. They claim they will update each ship yearly, but I’m still not sure I want to do it again. The sad thing is, that on the Edge menu, I’d do the menu again, but not the experience. The other effect of is is that it’s pretty rushed, as you have to eat at the pace of the show, not your own. After dinner, we gathered our jackets and took a walk around the upper decks. We then headed to Michael’s club, where we ran into our various friends. Jacqueline was preparing for silent disco, which tonight was at the Disco on 4. She left and I followed. I didn’t see her when I first got there, but I did see some of my other CC friends. I danced with them for a bit, and then went back to get Glen. I did tell him it was less crowded than when we went to the Sky Lounge on the Reflection, so he came back. I had him do a swing with a fellow CC member who dances, but no partner on the ship. We danced a bit and then went back to Michael’s club for a while. Another fun day at sea in the books.
  2. We sail Princess a lot, and I haven't noticed pre staging the night before (until our last cruise on them) but we often try to leave as late as possible. We'll sometimes pack up everything and leave our carry ons in the closet while we get breakfast. We then go back and get them, and sometimes the room is all or partially made up for the next people. Not a big deal - we take them and go to a lounge. I don't particularly feel rushed off.
  3. Or ours in August, although presumably it will be fixed well before that.
  4. Ok - here you go with the first sea day. I probably won't post sea day pictures since they are mostly of food and I didn't keep close enough track of what we ate when. o, the first of our 3 start off sea days. We began with breakfast in Luminae, and were seated at the same table as last night. We had the same serving team of Richie and Fernando. After breakfast, M&K were off to the spa, and Glen and I were going to the official cruise critic meet and mingle. We had a bit of time, so we went to the store to check for reading glasses, since Glen couldn't find his. They didn't have any. We arrived just in time for the M&M. The cruise director introduced most of the officers, and we chatted with our fellow CC members. They also let us have the mic to introduce tours, and some of the members asked me to introduce myself, since I coordinated the roll call and thus was known to all. It was a fun gathering. Afterward, Jacqueline asked me if I wanted to go to an aerobic dance class on the pool desk. I said I would in a bit. In the meantime, Mike had come down since there was a mixup on their spa appointment, and he wanted to go back up to check on Kathy. So, we walked up together. I joined Jacqueline and did some of the aerobics, although the music kept cutting out. After about 15 minutes we'd had enough since it was hot and inconsistent because of the music problem. So we headed to her room. I chatted with her & David for a while, and then at about 12:15, we decided to go to lunch. We'd already agreed to meet M&K at 1, so I decided I could do lunch in parts. I called Glen and we had a nice lunch with Jacqueline and David. As they were leaving M&K arrived so we had coffee and a second dessert with them. Long, but a nice lunch period. After lunch, I decided to deal with the ongoing DVD crisis. While we were at dinner last night, they did set up the DVD player, but it was very difficult to use their remote to change the source back to the ship system. I had some spare batteries, so I'd put them in some of those, and that solved it. Since it was their remote, I figured they should supply them. Plus, we still did't have our DVD that Glen'd put in the mini mac. I went to John, and asked him to help. He rummaged through his desk, but didn't find AAA batteries, and said he was having trouble finding them, but that didn't mean the ship didn't have them. He contacted engineering, and said they'd come by the room if I was there. I said I would be. I went back to the room, and soon after an engineer arrived. He pulled out the mini mac, and said he'd extract the DVD and be back with both soon. I also mentioned the remote needed AAA batteries, and he said that a butler would bring them. Soon a butler arrived with a new standard remote (the one that controls the Celebrity app). We said no, we needed batteries for the Samsung universal remote that they gave us. (Turns out we should have kept it as we had one to control both tvs on the X app). So he left an came back a little while later with a box of 4. I put 2 in, and we were good to go, although if we wanted to see our accounts, or watch tv we had to back to the now single basic remote. Soon after, the original engineer arrived holding our dvd, now removed from the mac mini which he was also holding. He reattached it and now all was well. We then decided to start watching the Hobbit trilogy, extended edition. After watching that for a while, it was time for our next adventure - officer meet and greet in Michaels club followed by dinner in Tuscan. We arrived in Michaels and took a seat. Soon after, waiters with drinks and appetizers and officers started arriving and doing the rounds. M&K joined us soon after, and we met and had a picture with the captain. (Note that the photos arrived in our cabin the next day - nice as we never actually buy them). At 6, we headed to Tuscan for our first specialty dinner. There were six of us, as Jacqueline and David were joining us. Because there were 6, the waiter suggested we order all the appetizers and the charcuterie plate. We shared all the appetizers, and some of the plate, but there was a lot of meat and cheese left over. I had the ribeye for my main, and it was very, very good. But, by this point we'd been there a couple of hours. My plans for the evening was to assume we'd be done in 2 hours or so, and then we'd head to the evening show - which was Topper. It's a full production show, and Beth and I thought it was cute when we saw it on the Equinox in 2017. It was evening chic night, so we'd get reserved seating at the 9pm show. Somehow, by the time we finished, it was about 9:15, so so much for reserved seating. We did catch the end of show. After that, back to the room for a little moving watching and bed. Another exciting day of doing not much looms tomorrow.
  5. Since this now appears to have become a thread about drive by vs land, does anyone still want me to do my blog thing? If so, I'm happy to. If not, I'll drop it and just move it to my blog.
  6. I sail both, and find them more similar than different. The MDR menu on Celebrity is slightly more upscale, but food quality can vary with the ship. It's easier to get to Elite on Celebrity (depending on what cabin you get) but Elite perks are better on Princess. More internet, and more free laundry. They both have an elite lounge in the evening. Celebrity has passed appetizers and a limited menu of free drinks, but the number is unlimited. Princess has a better closet, but Celebrity rooms have couches. Princess bathrooms have shower curtains, Celebrity has doors (at least on the ship I was on). And mini suites on Celebrity get suite perks, including the butler, restaurant and private club. They are more expensive though. I think our current thinking is longer itineraries on Celebrity and getaways and Alaska on Princess, since we live on the west coast.
  7. I think what you are missing is that people on active roll calls enjoy meeting each other, and it's nice that the cruiseline provides a way to do that early in the cruise. And while the snacks provided aren't something they couldn't get anyway, some people enjoy having them. Also, there are usually some ship officers there to say hello. Sometimes they stay a bit to chat, some times they just say hello when introduced and then leave. It's a nice way for people who have been chatting for months or years to put a face to a name.
  8. I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that one of the ship channels on the TV will have them. I don't remember which one (bridge or navigation).
  9. An eclipse photo: And at total: I have some photo arranging to do, but I will start uploading the posts from the now post live Eclipse trip soon.
  10. Hi, No worries, I've been keeping pretty good notes, although the sea days are very repetitive, and there were a lot of them. I will come back and keep going, but it took me several minutes to get logged in so I can post. Between the slow internet, and CC's not keeping the logins, it's been hard. But I will start catching up tomorrow! Now we have to be up in 6 hours to get off the ship (sob), so goodnight all
  11. The Edge has it's own menu (and we thought the food was great - among the best ever on a cruise ship), but the rest of the ships all have the same one (bouillabaisse, lobster, steak, ice cream). The "other" menu is the same for all.
  12. At last it's Sunday, and time for our long anticipated cruise. We'd scheduled a 10:45 pickup with David, so met for our final breakfast at the hotel around 9:30. We then headed back to our room to final pack and get luggage tags attached. We then got a text from Kathy that David was here, so we hurried to the lobby (of course after doing a final check of the room), and met up with Donna and Tom, as well as Tatiana, who missed dinner last night due to flight delays. Apparently she arrived 7 hours late, so no wonder. We asked David about the possiblity of having him giving us a private tour to the Tigre delta. He said he could but he'd do the guiding using Google translate. We calculated how much more it would be, and said we'd get back to him. He also told us to tip the van driver (which of course we would anyway). We loaded the most of the luggage in the mini van and some in the car. We then headed to the port. There was a bit of congestion at the cab drop off, but they were able to go directly to the terminal entrance and a porter. We handed over our luggage, and went into the terminal, where agents quickly directed us to the correct line. The downstairs of the terminal consists of a seating area, as well as snack shop and maybe a gift shop. We were not directed there, but to a short line by the security screening area. Glen and I got through immediately, although they did make me open my purse after a couple of times through the xray machine. They also had Mike go through a few times, apparently their machines are very sensitive and his credit cards, in his money belt set it off. Eventually we got through, and headed up the escalators to the check in area. There was a short wait, and then we checked in. We had to surrender our passports, and wait a few minutes for the runner to bring over our welcome packet (cruise cards, and the card for the Michael's concierge and some information. We then headed back downstairs to wait for the shuttle bus to the ship. The shuttle that was there was full, but we got on the next one, and drove out of the terminal area, then into the port, around the containers. We waited for the shuttle before us to empty and then it was our turn. We arrived on the ship, got our welcome champagne and headed to Michaels club to wait for lunch time. A note about the terminal. It's much improved from last time, when it was just a big empty warehouse. There weren't porters to take the luggage - instead you brought it to a luggage area where it was piled up. (They did break a bottle of wine in Glen's suitcase back then). There was no seating - you went to temporary check in terminals and then straight to the shuttles. We sat at Michaels and they gave us water and offered sandwiches while we waited. At about 12:30 we decided to get lunch. We wre able to leave our backpacks with John, the Concierge. We headed to Luminae, where there was a line. Glen noticed the hostess, and asked me if that was Katya, who we had on the Reflection. We got to the front of the line, and sure enough - it was her. She remembered that we'd sailed with her before, which was nice. She first seated us against the back wall, so we asked for a more center table for 4. She seated us in the back room, and we were quickly given water and menus. I had previously challenged Mike to eat the Luminae burger without a knife and fork, as it's very thick. I told them I wanted it and was going to cut it in half. When it arrived, I noticed mine was a smaller burger. For dessert, three of us had the oil oil custard with fruit which was wonderful, and the only thing I remembered to take a picture of. After lunch, we went back to get our backpacks, and headed up to our room. Just before the cruise, we'd upgraded to a Celebrity suite, so we have a separate interior bedroom. I don't think I'd pay extra for the space, but it's nice. Soon our luggage, concierge and butler arrived. Prior to the cruise we got a call from the shoreside concierge, and I'd asked for extra towels and the minibar to be emptied and that was all done. Our butler is Joey from the Philippines, and he's very nice.We did ask him to have someone come up to hook up our DVD player. He said an engineer would come. We unpacked until Muster drill. We were in the main dining room and they made sure everyone could see the screen (significant improvement from last time). They did a video about Antarctica (be careful, don't throw anything overboard and if a bird lands on the rails, leave it). Apparently they also have a survival kit for each passenger - a warming poncho like thing, gloves socks and a full face mask. How reassuring. They then ran the regular video, showed how to put on the life jacket, and we were free to go. Glen went back to the room to finish packing, and I went to the cruise critic sailaway. I met a lot of people, and one advantage to being the keeper of the roll call, I knew who everyone was. I chatted there for a while, and went back down to finish unpacking. Glen then informed me that he found the mini mac that controls the TV, and it had a dvd slot. He put one of our DVDs in, and couldn't get it out. So I went down around 6:00 to Michaels to get my card punched, and to get help for the stuck DVD. Jon was with somebody so I asked if I could interrupt momentarily. I said I had a minor crisis, but that could wait, and did he have a hole punch. He didn't so I went guest services and came back. I waited until he was done, and explained the dvd problem. He said he'd let them know and that when the engineer came while we were having dinner, he'd fix that too. We decided to see the show at 7 and then dinner at 8. We left the room just before 7 and went to the theater. It was pretty full but we were able to get seats upstairs. It was a show called high impact, and it was 4 men doing Argentine dance and drumming. They were very good, and had been on AGT when they were a group of 8. I googled them and then remembered them from the show (apparently they got enough exposure that they were able to go from the slums of Buenos Aires to Tampa Florida and other places). We then met Mike and Kathy for dinner. We were seated at a table in the front section and met our server Ritchie. We ordered dinner and while it was very good, I noticed that the assistant waiter never came back to offer more bread. At the end of the meal, the Maitr'd of the dining room, Martin, came by to introduce himself, and ask if anything could be better. I said I noticed assistants for other waiters offer repeated bread and coffee to their tables, but nobody did for us. I suggested maybe there wasn't enough teamwork (I did say it nicer than that). Needless to say, it hasn't been a problem since. So tonight was the lunar eclipse. We thought it would be fun to see the Eclipse on the Eclipse. So we went back to the room after dinner. The DVD player had been set up, but the missing DVD was not there - we assumed it was still in the mini mac. At about 12:30, we headed up to the lawn. Glen had his new camera, and I had my phone. We had no view from our room so it was up to the lawn. I had my festive Disney hoodie on. Glen stabilized his camera against some benches and we watched. All I got were blurry shots of the moon, but Glen got some decent pictures, so the one's here are his. At about 2 am, we decided to call it a night. Back to the room to go to bed, and I found out the shower is very nice. Next post will have the pictures of the eclipse. I have to figure out how to do it and I want to get this up while I can.
  13. Hi all, It just took me about 10 minutes to load this page, so my next update will come probably once we're around the Falklands. I am writing offline, so expect a few then. Also, most of the pictures, going forward will be from Glen's camera - it turns out that we can use the internal network or something for him to air drop to me. And our first day in Antarctica had glorious weather. A description will come soon.
  14. We'll see what happens. Last time, we got to most sites we were scheduled for. BTW, the internet is not so great anymore, so if it goes away, I'll write off line and post when I get it back.
  15. Saturday. Our day at the Estancia, and major cruise critic get together. We had a 9:30 pickup for the tour. It's a small group tour with a local company. When we got to the lobby at 9:25, Jose, our guide was already there, chomping at the bit. He wanted to know where our friends were. I pointed out it was not even 9:30 yet. The did arrive at about 9:32, so close enough. He led us out to to the 17 person van, which had just a couple of other people in it. We then made a few more stops to pick up others, and once the van was full, we headed out to the Pampas. Jose gave us information as we drove out, but it was much of what we saw yesterday. About 40 minutes in we stopped for what they called a technical stop (which, as I recall from last time, means a bathroom stop.) We stopped for supposedly 10 minutes at a gas station with a cafe (fast food really), restrooms and a gift shop. I took a quick look, etc. and back on the bus. About 15 minutes later we were on our way. Next stop was at the border between Buenos Aires city and Buenos Aires Province. We had been told to carry our passports in case the police wanted to check. (Jose told us, but Mike said they already knew that). Jose said the passport cards should be fine. They stopped the van, but just to check the drivers logs, etc. Where we live, all that's ever checked at state lines is for people bringing fruit into California. That took a while, probably about 15 minutes. At this point, I was getting a bit antsy because we had an event at 5:30. (For some reason I thought we'd be back at 4). After the stop, Jose explained that we'd have until 1pm to to wander the ranch, ride horses or take a carriage ride, look at the gift shop, etc. At 1 we'd have the lunch of salads and bbq meat. That would be followed by a show with music dance, gaucho stuff and then horse stuff (which I kind of missed in his explanation). We arrived at the ranch and were greeted by employees with juice, wine and beef and egg empanadas. (There was egg in the beef empanada at the restaurant yesterday but I didn't know what it was. Now I do). Jose then led us into the very big dining hall, with lots of long tables with stage in the middle of the long wall. He selected a long table and said that's where we were to sit. At this point, I asked him about when we'd be back. He said between 5:30 and 6. That would be a bit of a problem for us, because we were supposed to meet for a CC event - drinks at the Park Hyatt. Our plan was to walk from our hotel to there with one of the people from the roll call. That wasn't going to work, so I asked Jose if he could drop us there. He said if the driver was OK with it he would. I then figured I'd let our friend know that she should meet us there, once we were on our way back to BA (our Verizon Travel Pass wasn't working well). We then went over to the horse area and decided to just pet them for a while, as we didn't want to ride and a carriage ride didn't seem to be worth the wait. We petted them for a bit and headed to the gift shop, looked around for a bit and then headed to the seats. The staff was good about providing drinks while we waited for lunch to start. We were first served some bread and salads - one was a potato salad, and some green salads with different ingredients. After that, the servers came around with different meats - started with a pretty good sausage, then a blood sausage (we all passed on that - by trying it at Steaks in BA I knew for a fact I didn't like it). It was followed by a generic steak, which was a bit dry - the chimichurri sauce helped. Next was chicken, which was good, followed by a filet steak, which was much better than the first. About 2:30, the show started. There was music, tango dancing, and gaucho dancing with whips. It was pretty good. During the show, they brought a flan (aka creme caramel) which was very good. Once the show went to just music, we headed outside for some air. We noticed Jose leading people towards the horse area, and we thought it was to see the old house and artifacts. Glen went over and then texted that it was a gaucho show. I watched part of it - they first herded horses and then they did riding to grab a ring. The show ended just before 4pm. Everyone started heading to the buses, so we headed over. By 4:15 everyone had arrived, so we waited a few minutes for the driver, and headed out about 4:20. They did say they'd drop us at the Park Hyatt. As we got close to Buenos Aires (ie, passed the border between the town and the city), I pinged the person we were supposed to walk with. She said she was going to have to bail because she'd just arrived a needed to sleep (the next morning I found out she was 7 hours delayed, so that was completely understandable. I also noticed, that his 1.5 to to 2 hours to get into town was wrong - according to google maps, the total trip would take an hour. Sure enough, we were dropped first at about 5:15. We looked and there was an imposing building to our left, but nothing that said Park Hyatt. There were a couple of what looked like employees or guards, so we crossed the street and asked. Yes, it was the back entrance of the hotel. We went up the stairs, into the building, and found Ed & Judy waiting there, near the bar. Jacqueline had told us that we were in a particular room, so I asked them about that. We were told it was in the other part of the hotel, so walk out through the bar to the center courtyard, and then walk down to the other building. As we walked down the steps we saw Jacqueline and David at an outside seating area, so we headed down. They'd purchased some wine and cheese plates, so we joined them. We were shortly joined by a few others, including a couple that hadn't signed up but was walking by. After about an hour, we decided that we needed to head back to get ready for dinner. By that point Donna and Tom had come by, and they also needed to head back to the Sheraton to get ready for their Steaks by Luis dinner. Ed & Judy were also going (as were others), so the 6 of decided to walk. I used Google maps to plot a walking course, and it took about 25 minutes. We walked to San Martin Plaza, and then took the street parallel to Florida, which is actually the street the Sheraton is on. Once we got there, we bid Donna & Tom a good night, and reminded them that we'd meet in the lobby at 10:30 tomorrow for the transfer to the port. We left Ed & Judy in the lobby while we went up to change. At about 7:35 we came back down and the four of walked to Cabana Las Lilas via the route, we'd taken back yesterday. One thing we'd noticed throughout that part of the city were what looked like nicely upholstered benches for sitting on were actually concrete. Here's one. We arrived at the restaurant at just about 8pm sharp. Turns out the entrance we were using was actually the back entrance to the restaurant. We were sent to the front, where we found the rest of the 14 people for dinner. We'd had 3 bail out, Tatiana (who was sleeping) and Mike and Kathy who'd decided not to go. We told the restaurant, and they were fine with it, and also quite willing to give us all separate checks. So we had a table, and great time. The waiter didn't speak much english, but that was OK, as Jacqueline's first language was spanish. It was amusing to have her try to explain what people wanted, as apparently Argentine spanish and North American spanish were not the same. We all ended up happy with our orders. The restaurant also put down the plates of bread and finger foods, which does cost about 4.50 US per person, but we all agreed it was good. I did end up trying the waygu burger (I was a little tired of steak), which was good. Glen had a steak and we shared a salad, creamed spinach and some rice. Dinner was a lively affair with lots of good conversation, but it was after 10 by the time we'd finished the main course, so we skipped dessert and got our checks. About 10:45 we all headed out, and everyone got a cab except us - we walked back. As we got to the corner, we realized that the restaurant we were at for lunch yesterday was not in fact the one that Florencia had recommended. Oh well, next time. We got back to our room and went to bed - tomorrow - the ship!
  16. Today was our first of two full days. The plan was for a tour with Florencia in the morning, a free afternoon and the tango show. We started with breakfast in the hotel breakfast room. Pretty standard buffet, but no omelette station. Apparently, better than the lounge, which we never really visited. Mike and Kathy had their private tour at 9 and we had ours at 9:30. Why were they different? The company we booked through gives clients a private tour, and since we'd booked separately (ie different reservation and credit card numbers) we got our own tour. I can't speak to what Mike and Kathy did, but they indicated they had a good tour. Florencia met us promptly at 9:30, and we jumped in the car with our same driver as yesterday. We had mentioned wanting to see the old Synagogue in BA, so we headed over there. It was before it opened so we just looked at the building. I thought maybe I'd go back, but now it has to wait until next time. It's pretty. From there we drove to Palermo, and stopped at one of the University building that is next to one of BAs newest landmarks - the Floralis Generica - a giant metal flower that opens a closes with the sunrise and set. (You can google to see it move). It's interesting. From there, it was onto the biggest bookstore in town. We know M&K were there, because Florencia said hello to their driver. The bookstore is interesting because it used to be a theater. The Borders books in Palo Alto also used to be a theater, but they completely gutted it (now I think it's one of those shared workspace things). This, the stage was left, so it was interesting for about 5 minutes. From there it was off to Recoleta, and of course the world famous cemetery. That's where the rich and famous are buried, including Eva Peron. We learned quite a bit, including that the family has to keep paying for there mausoleums, and if they don't, they fall into disrepair. On the way in, we saw this very old magnolia tree, with an interesting piece of art attached. Among the interesting things inside, this statue shows a woman who died abroad, but apparently her dog here went into dog mourning as it happened. This was well before the news traveled. So they immortalized the woman and her dog. From there, we headed to the Casa Rosada (Pink House) - made famous by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice - and the cathedral. We first visited the Cathedral, where we saw the tomb of San Martin, the liberator of Peru, Chile and Argentina. What looks like the coffin above is not, he's actually buried underground. There are three maiden status around it, and each represents one of the 3 countries. The picture shows Argentina. One thing I thought was very interesting about it was that each statue was holding something different. Argentina, has a scroll and a bundle of logs(?), Chile a plow and Peru a pick axe. Around the walls were the names of battles. From there, it was time to see the Casa Rosada and the balcony. That's were everyone including us go to see, although it's actually the back of the building. No one was singing outside on the famous balcony. Last time I was here, our guide then told us that when the did the Evita movie, they had to remove an air conditioning unit from the balcony because it wasn't there in the 50's. We then walked to Cafe Tortoni, the very famous and old cafe (moved to it's current location in the 1800s). There was a very long line to get a table, so we just walked through and looked at it. (Last time we were here, we did have a coffee and snack). From there, we headed to San Telmo and La Boca. We drove though the old streets of San Telmo, and stopped and walked around La Boca. From there, we drove through the port area, saw the Woman's bridge (we'd walked across it last time), and back to the hotel. We bid a fond farewall to Florencia, and headed up to the room. While out, we'd made arrangements to meet with Donna & Tom, the people did make it in from Iguazu at 2:30 Friday morning. They had a tour scheduled so we met with them in the lobby for about half an hour before their tour left. After that, we decided to get a light lunch. We'd asked Florencia for a good restaurant near our hotel. She recommended "the one on the corner" so we headed down the street. We found a restaurant called My House right near the corner, so went in and ordered some empanadas. They were OK, and fairly cheap - 6 cost about 5.00 and change. They were OK, but nothing special. Following that, we headed back to the hotel and I worked on this for a while. Around 5:30, I got this bright idea to take a walk over to Cabana Las Lilas - our location for our group dinner tomorrow night. Glen decided to go with me, and I pinged Mike & Kathy to see if they wanted to go. Mike did, so we said we'd meet him in the lobby. I figured we were good on time because it was about a 20 minute walk. It took him a few minutes to get downstairs, so we left at about 6. Still enough time to go round trip and have time to dress for dinner. Or so we thought. We headed down Cordoba street towards the river. About 5 blocks down, there was some major construction and we had to cross to the other side of Cordoba (the restaurant was to our right). We soon realized we'd slightly overshot the river walk that the restaurant was on. Crossing was a bit problematic, so we saw a chance to cross where cars were stopped for a light. We went between the cars and realized that cars going the other way weren't stopped. We waited for probably less than a minute that seemed like an hour, and eventually that side cleared too, so we crossed. We made our way and found the restaurant and I took pictures of the menu. Their standard steaks, about 12 oz were about 30.00 each. Not bad. We then walked up the street nearest the restaurant to avoid the construction mess. That seemed to work well. The street had stars with names in them, apparently BA's answer to the Hollywood Walk of fame. We arrived at the hotel with just about enough time to change clothes for the Tango show tonight. In 2010, we attended the Carlos Gardel show, because the fabulous BA travel agent we used said it was the least touristy of the shows (they are all aimed at tourists). At the end of October, I started looking at prices to see if they'd updated their discounts (the home pages has a popup that was giving discounts for September -November, but it still said that. In the meantime, I was working with David of David's transfer taxi, and he was selling it as well, and his prices seemed a little better. So I went to their site and every date I picked said "pick another date". I also emailed them and got no response. This went on for a couple of weeks, and then David told me it was closed indefinitely. So I asked what else he sold. He gave me some, and I ran them by our travel agent from 2010, and she said that Piazzola was good. So we booked that with David. At 7pm sharp, he arrived. The show was less than a kilometer away, but we still opted to book with David because it was a private transfer, and also, we didn't have to pay until we went. (Some people on trip advisor had booked directly with the CG show, and now had to go to their credit card to dispute). Turns out it was a very good thing we did, because although it was close, we probably would never be able to find it. He parked his taxi around the corner (since the show is on Florida, which is pedestrians only), and walked us to the show. It's in an alcove off the street which is why I figure we wouldn't have found it. He took care of the paperwork, and told us that he'd be back there at the end of the show waiting for us. We waited a few minutes, and then were ushered into the building. We headed down the flight of stairs. At the bottom there was the theater to our left, and a smaller theater to our right. The door to the smaller one was open. There were rows of chairs around a dance floor. They offer a tango lesson before the show and it was clear that was the spot for the lesson. We sat down, and waited for the lesson to begin. At 8pm two dancers appeared, and after a few minutes of warming up the crowd, ushered everyone onto the floor. They first taught the basic, and then had people pair up. It was fairly chaotic, but we got it right away, because we have danced tango before, and it was a review. He then taught two more steps, both of which were review for us. By the time they were teaching the third step, people were starting to file out to the main theater. After they finished, we made our way into the theater. At the entrance they took our ticket, and we were escorted to our seats. There was a floor level, with long rows and some private tables on the side, and two levels of alcoves with single tables along the side. We were seating on the first level of alcoves along the side towards the back. A server came by and after determining that we wanted red wine, brought us a bottle of wine and some bread. We had our choice of several appetizers, entrees and desserts. We were all over the map on this one as far as what we ordered. As we were finishing the entrees, the show started. It was a lot of different tango dances, interspersed with some singers. I enjoyed it, although I could have lived without the singing. It would have been nice if they'd had dancers dancing to the singers, but they didn't until the finale number. It ended at about 11:30, and we headed out and met David, where he said he would be. He dropped us at the hotel, and we bid goodnight to Kathy and Mike and went off to bed.
  17. Sorry, I guess I didn't include either. Restaurant was Steaks by Luis, and hotel was Sheraton Libertador. Working on Friday - I'm getting behind but tomorrow's a sea so I should have some catch up time. And failing miserably at remembering to take pictures of food, but I have a couple.
  18. So, I have some time, so here is the rest of arrival day. We exited the customs area, and quickly found our ride. We'd booked this part through a travel company, and the trip includes a pickup at the airport. We quickly found our guide, Florencia, who would also give us a tour tomorrow morning. She called for our driver and we were quickly on our way. While we were driving, she explained the money situation and other things about BA. Without much trafffic, we quickly arrived at our hotel. Maybe because of the delays, our room was ready when we arrived. We're on the club floor, which I think means a higher floor, and maybe some improved bathroom amenities. I checked out the club lounge (OK) and settled down for a nap. For some reason, the room was very noisy, but hopefully would be quieter at night. About an hour in, around 3:30 or so, the phone rang. Mike was on the phone - apparently Donna, the other couple on the steak dinner tonight, was stuck in Iguazu because of a last minute two day pilot strike. Their flight was cancelled and they apparently couldn't get on another flight on time. Donna asked me to let the hotel know. We chatted for a few minutes and then suggested maybe we head out for a coffee. Mike was up for it right away, but we wanted to showers. I decided as Glen took his, that I would just freshen up, and take my shower after our coffee but before our dinner pick up. We met Mike in the lobby around 5pm. We asked the desk person for suggestions for coffee, but I'm not sure we understood them. So we wandered down Florida street towards San Martin square. All we saw was a Starbucks, so we turned around at the square and went back. On the way back we saw the Florida Garden Restaurant, which was, I think, where we went for coffee in 2010, so we stopped there. We ordered coffees, and I learned that Cafe con Crema was whipped cream, I should have ordered con Leche. It was still good until the whip cream ran out - then it was just a pretty potent expresso. After enjoying our coffee, Mike decided to pay with dollars, and turns out it wasn't enough. Glen had some pesos, though so we paid with that. I think it was about 8.00 US for 2 doubles and single, so very good price. Following that, we went back to the hotel. First thing I had to do was talk to the front desk about switching out the van transfer to the restaurant to a car, since there would be only 4 of us. I finally met the guest services agent I had been emailing with for months, and she said it wasn't a problem. Went back upstairs and I took my much needed shower, after reminding M&K that we were meeting at 7:10 in the lobby, and that the restaurant took credit cards. We met them downstairs at 7:10 and noticed a car waiting out front. No one came into the lobby to get us, though, so we waited. At about 7:20, I asked the front desk to help us find the car. He called the company and after some back and forth, determined that it was our car. The driver didn't speak English, but showed the, for lack of a better term, order sheet. I sure couldn't read the writing, but it appeared to be OK, so we jumped in and headed out. About 25 minutes later, we arrived at what looked like the correct address. It was a non descript building with no outside signage. Once we were out of the car, we noticed that the opaque window in front did say Steaks By Luis, but facing inward. The door was locked, but we noticed a doorbell. We rang it, and it was quickly opened by Silvina, the hostess and apparently also the reservation team. She confirmed that we were on her list, and asked to wait in the vestibule just inside, as we were about 13 minutes early. Between then and 8pm a couple from Portland arrived, three young gentlemen from Malta, and a couple of other guys, who I never really met, and they sat at the other end of the table from us. Just before 8, Silvina gave us a welcome glass of champagne, and then at 8 ushered us back to the main room. There was a table set for 15, and a counter in the back. On the counter there were several bottles of wine, a plate of very large uncooked NY strip steaks, a plate of sausages and meat, a rind of cheese, and a plate of cheese, meats and empanadas. Note by this time, the others, including Ed & Judy from our roll call arrived. Luis introduced himself and the team, and then Silvina explained we'd start with the appetizer platter, followed by a salad, and the the cheese item, which would be grilled, along with the sausages and meat (pork shoulder and another normal meet cut that I can't remember), along with what she said were "a couple of surprise items that she wouldn't describe until after we at them. To me, that means stuff I wouldn't try if I knew what they were, and probably won't anyway because I probably wouldn't like them. That would be followed by the steak. Luis recommends Medium Rare, but everyone is free to choose. The last course will be dessert, and each will have an appropriate wine. We started with the appetizer platter. As you can see, it included lots of different and very good bread. I tried not to each too much of it, because I knew what was coming. All was good, and the empanadas were excellent. Next was the misto salad which, at the end of the day, was just a salad. Good but nothing special. After that, each group of 4 was given one of the now grilled cheese rinds. That was excellent. (There were 15 people so I'm not sure how it worked at the other end of the table. The platter of sausages came next. In the middle were things, as I suspected, I didn't want to eat. I had Glen try the darker one and he confirmed I didn't want to. Luis had suggested we try the lighter one with lemon - Glen described it as a lemon delivery mechanism. I tried it, and while it did taste much like lemon, I didn't like it. The sausages were good, although I decided to try blood sausage, I really didn't like it (but googling it, I learned that in the UK it's blood pudding - good now I know not to eat that. I also liked the pork meat. Turns out that the mystery items were heart and sweetbreads - no surprise that I didn't like them, and now I know why they didn't tell us what they were. After that, we had the star of the evening - the approximately 12 oz New York strip, marinated simply in salt. It was accompanied by a couple of slices of roast potatoes and a vegetable puree. It was as good as it looked. It was accompanied by a perfectly paired Cabernet. The final course was a slice of dulce de leche cheesecake with candied orange. A perfect end to a delicious meal. After settling the bill, we headed out to our driver waiting for us. A quick ride back to the hotel and to bed for much needed sleep. Tomorrow - city tour and tango show. Added bonus, working around construction on a walk.
  19. Good evening from a rock 'em sock 'em day in BA. We last left off just before boarding our connecting flight to BA. As we started to pack up to leave the lounge, a couple came up to us and asked if we we on the Eclipse. (They saw me perusing the X board on Cruise Critic apparently. Turns out the are on the ship too. We chatted for a few minutes and exchanged room numbers. Since they are in a Sky suite we'll probably continue to run into them on the cruise. Soon after we headed to our new gate (third gate since arriving) and got in line. In about 10 minutes we were safely tucked into our seats. I grabbed the headphones and decided to start watching movies. I first picked a movie I'd never actually seen - It's a Wonderful Life. I suspect now that I finished it we can say that it's a movie everyone has seen. It took a while to get through it because they kept interrupting it with things like safety announcements, service announcements and on and on. While it played we had dinner. Once the movie was over, I started Crazy Rich Asians. About 30 minutes in, I decided to take a nap, on the theory that I could finish it while I had breakfast at the end. I then spent the next several hours trying to nap, with only a small degree of success. I'm not terribly good at sleeping on planes. About a hour and half before we were supposed to land, they started the breakfast service. I opened to the window to discover we were flying over the Andies. Cool. Took a picture, but honestly it just looks like random mountains. As we were descending, the pilot came on with what he sad was bad news. We were cruising for an early arrival, but he said we were put into a 20 minute holding pattern. About 10 minutes later, we got the now 30 minute hold. About ten minutes after that, the flight attendants were told to sit down for landing. And a few minutes later, we landed. We headed towards the gates - it was about 10 minutes before our official arrival time, and if we could have made the gate quickly, we would have been on time. I also noticed a lot of planes parked along runways, as well as trucks. But no, there was no gate for us. So we pulled over to a side runway and wait for a gate. The pilot also told us that because of runway closures, they were told they could land, if they could do it on a short runway. He apologized for the heavy thrusting and braking on landing, but praised the first officer for doing it. (I asked Glen later, and he said he didn't notice anything different, and he used to fly). The net result was 20 minutes late. We quickly deplaned, and headed immigration. There we found a very crowded immigration hall. There were about 8 switch backs and we were at the end of number 6 when we got there. By the time the plane emptied, the line was beyond the switch backs. I think it took us between 30-40 minutes total. When it was our turn, took our passport and boarding passes from the plane, scanned the passports, took our pictures and finger prints, asked us where were staying, and sent us on our way (someone on the roll call said that they'd been asked for proof of leaving, but we weren't. Next stop baggage claim, where bags from our flight were already coming out. I'd say within 5 minutes we had our bags. We headed with those, and with the barely understandable custom forms we were given (included a set of field for info about your cell phone, and a few lines for purchases that didn't actually specify what kind of purchase) to the next room, which was an X ray machine. There was no real line, we were told which machine to go to and waited behind another couple. The agent had us put everything on the conveyor belt, she looked at the images, and sent us on our way. So, I'm falling asleep as I write this, so the rest will come tomorrow. The burning questions of "Did they meet their ride"? Did the hotel have the room ready" and did she take food porn pictures of the amazing dinner" will all be answered in detail tomorrow (the short answer on all is yes).
  20. That's what we're doing. And we're about to head out to our secret steakhouse dinner. Just curious, what flight are you on back?
  21. By the way, I did put the last one (2010) on my personal blog. Way too many typos and unfixed grammar, but if anyone wants to read it, it's here. I didn't cross post with Cruise Critic. (I will be doing that now, but the blog copies will probably start in a couple of days. abbydancer2003.blogspot.com It's the 2010 section.
  22. This was absolutely the strangest breakfast I've ever been offered on a plane. We just had a pre dinner snack, since dinner is likely not to be for another 3-4 hours, and lunch was 5.5 hours ago. Quesadilla and some dessert for me.
  23. Greetings from Houston, where I just figured out that unless I can sleep on the plane or in the hotel room in the afternoon, I will probably have a total of 10 hours of sleep between Sunday night and Friday night. I will be very cranky, I'm sure. So, our alarm woke us up at 4 as expected (something by Renaissance on Glen's IPAD) and quickly did our morning stuff in time to hit the 4:50 shuttle to the airport. We arrived around 5:05, checked our bags and were through security by 5:15. We have TSA precheck, but even the regular lines were pretty short at that time. Note that apparently the TSA has some sort of contract thing at SFO, so they are actually getting paid. There is absolutely nothing of interest to report on the flight, other than the very strange breakfast choices - some sort of chilled oatmeal thingie, and an egg white panini, which we selected - a panini roll with some sort of egg white thing, I think it had cheese from the texture. I ate some of the egg out of it, but it was odd. After breakfast, I watched a movie (Chappaquidic) on personal device entertainment and some recorded TV on my laptop. The flight arrived roughly on time. Our plan was to leave the airport and have some good Cruise Critic friends (who we'd never met) pick us up, and we'd go to lunch. I spoke to our friend and she was about 15 minutes out when we reached the passenger pick up point. So we hung out, they showed up, and we drove out of the airport area to a BBQ place called Rudys. They sell everything a-la-cart, so Glen and I split 1/2 pound of brisket, with bread, and each a couple sides. We then had an enjoyable meal before heading back to the airport via a Walgreens, since last night I realized I wasn't sure if I had enough contact lens solution for 17 days. The International Business lounge (Polaris) is in terminal E, but we missed the lane for that, so we just had her drop us at terminal C, which is in the same physical building as E. On the way out, I'd checked with the United Club that one could walk from the lounge back to C, since that's where our gate was. Since she said it was possible, we decided to go through security at C. It was very fast for the TSA precheck line - I'd say about 5 minutes and then a 15 hike through C to the middle of E. We arrived here at about 4pm, and I grabbed some juice and have been working on email, as well as stuff for the roll call for the cruise. We did chat with another passenger on his way to Frankfort, and apparently he's booked on the Apex. We gave him some tips from our brief experience on the Edge. Now we'll get a snack at the restaurant in a little while and then board the plane. By the way, the cruise is on Sunday. We'll be doing some sight seeing - a steak dinner on Thursday at a Secret Steakhouse, city tour & tango show on Friday, Pampas visit and roll call dinner on Saturday. And some comments from above: 1. The Princess trip was 16 days - one more in Antartica and a stop at Puentos Arenas Chile, which is where the second extra day went. 2. We booked (all 4 of us) a tour from Celebrity with airport drop off at the end during one of their excursion sales.
  24. Hello! Because we do get wifi, and I love live from threads, I'm going to do another one. So far, 100% on X, although I've yet to stay live, I have always finished. So here goes another one. Tomorrow (Wednesday) at oh dark thirty, we are heading to Houston with a 9 hour layover and then onto Buenos Aires. First, a bit about me. I'm a very experienced Princess cruiser, who tried Celebrity for the first time in 2017. My first Celebrity cruise was an Eastern Caribbean with my sister, followed a month later with an eastern Med on the Reflection with my husband, who will henceforth be known as Glen, because that's his name. In July of 18, my sister and I did Western Caribbean. So this is my fourth X cruise, and first time on the Eclipse. We booked this while on the Reflection. We'd done the Antarctica drive by in 2010 on the Star Princess, and loved it, so we thought it would be fun to do again. So we booked on board. About a year earlier, we'd interested some friends in cruising, and had done a coastal cruise with them earlier that year. We thought it would be fun to have company so we convinced them to join us. They will be known as Mike & Kathy (and if they want they can add their thoughts here too, since they are both members of Cruise Critic). So the plan was that we would go to an airport hotel tonight, Tuesday, because nobody was willing to drive us up here (we live about 25 miles south) at 4:00 am. So here we are in our room, getting ready for what will amount to a power nap before our 4 am wake up call. We're a little concerned about TSA times, but so far things seem OK. Mike & Kathy are flying non stop from LAX to EZE, and we will meet them in the hotel there. We're in Business class, and I was hoping to see the new Polaris Lounge in SFO but apparently not this time, as we board 5 minutes after they open. We will see the new one Houston tomorrow. More tomorrow, when I have lots of time.
  25. I'm in the same situation next year, and this brings up a question. My sister also has the premium drink package. So wouldn't the card load become a non issue, ie if she has the package can't she drink as much as she wants (which is probably one drink, but there you go)?
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