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About SkyPiglet

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Nature and Culture
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    Anywhere the sea takes me...

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  1. Thanks for the posting video, it shows the room pretty well, and that room looks good enough for me! It will be kind of an adventure with the portholes bunk beds anyway 🙂 Either way, I will have an awesome time! Thanks everyone for your input!
  2. Yes, that is correct, at least it was last night when I posted. Now it is no longer the case.
  3. Thanks! For the record, I just did a mock booking for the room offered as an upgrade. Total cost of what we have paid so far, plus the upgrade $175, is about $65 MORE expensive than just booking the room in the first place. Slick! I am not too worried about sleeping on the sofa-bed, or even an upper. Since it is a lower deck, my "room time" will be limited anyway, I was just curious to make sure I wasn't missing out on something super big. But being roomier is somewhat tempting.
  4. Currently booked on Carnival Valor for a 5 day Western Caribbean cruise of of New Orleans in May. Room is 1212, which is a classified as an upper lower with portholes. It has a twin and a and a sofa bed. I know it is a rock-bottom pricing type of room, which is fine. I have normally booked higher deck interiors, and one balcony for comparison so I not familiar with these types of rooms. I am travelling with my mother in this case, so there is no need for a convertible king bed. I have an offer to upgrade to an Ocean View stateroom with two twins, and a sofa, 1441 for the "exclusive" price of $174. For the price, it strikes me as a "going rate" upgrade and nothing too special to offer and I will most likely pass, but I wanted to make sure that I am not throwing away an amazing deal. Anything special about the ocean view compared to the upper/lower besides a pair of twins that become a king and a bigger window? Thanks!
  5. I really enjoyed the drinks made by Brian on the Breeze, and of course Maria and Savio on Dream. Maria was really good at crafting a customized drink, I cannot remember the ingredients, but I remember the name of one she made us, Coco Loco Maria. The Alchemy Bar alone got my money's worth on Cheers 🙂
  6. To everyone who has replied.... thank you all for the advice! A few points that were brought up... Dining: I am definitely a MDR diner as opposed to Lido. I enjoy the food and experience a bit more. Back at home, I do occasionally go out to dine alone, so I am not too worried about that. I was just wondering if it might be different on the ship. I hadn't really thought about asking to share a table with others for YTD though, so I will definitely give that a try. Not having to worry about deciding when/where to eat with someone else really opens up possibilities too. Ports: I am more excited about my port time than in the past, since I can plan my activities out for myself, and not worry about the cost for two people, or negotiating with the other person about what to do. Pre-Cruise Groups: I took your advice and joined the Facebook group for my sailing. There isn't a roll-call here yet... maybe I should start one. Activities: This is my biggest worry. I am planning on doing the production shows, comedy club and Maybe hit up the piano bar. There will likely be other random activities going on. If I keep myself busy, this shouldn't be a problem. Cheers: Going back and forth on this one. In past cruises, it has certainly been worth it for me, and with just me to pay for, it does make sense. I will probably just buy a $250 giftcard and wait till closer to sailing to use it, or apply it to my account on board if I don't get Cheers. All in all, I think I just need to keep myself busy, and dive into on-board activities. Like any cruise, attitude makes or breaks the experience, so I will go in with enthusiasm, and see how it goes! I know I only have until February, but it seems so far away! CoW mAn, thanks for the video, that is very helpful! MLJS, thanks for posting your detailed review, especially all the food and drink menus! Going under the Sunshine Bridge looks exciting, I will have to make sure I don't miss that! Naxer, slightly off topic, but what part of Michigan are you from? I am in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area.
  7. I have booked a five day cruise in the near future on the Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, and I am a bit nervous. I have cruised seven times with Carnival and certainly know my way around, but I have always cruised with my then wife. Long story short, after many life changes in the past year, I need an escape, and booked a cruise, by myself, just me 🙂 I managed to find one that fit my schedule and budget on Carnival Paradise out of Tampa in February. Though excited as always, I am a bit nervous. If anyone has experience on solo cruises, or any cruise on Paradise, I would love your input. 1) I have never cruised by myself. For anyone who cruises solo, can you tell me what it's like and what to expect? Pros and cons? I am a bit of an introvert by nature, but the idea of setting my own schedule and activity choices is appealing. 2) I always do YTD (your time dining) due to the flexibility. Will this be awkward without a dining partner, or is the crew pretty responsive with the same level of service? 3) Carnival Paradise. I know Paradise is one of the smallest ships. I am more used the the larger ships (Breeze and Dream are my favorites). I have heard that the smaller ships are amazing, but at the same time, I know that they do not have as many activities. I know I will certainly miss the movies on the main deck. Is there anyone who knows the smaller ships that can make some recommendations? 4) Beverages. Since I am solo, Cheers is a lot more cost effective. On the other hand, Paradise has no Alchemy Bar (my favorite) and I believe there is no steakhouse bar either, so I will probably just do beverages a la carte. Under Cheers, I normally do 6-10 drinks per day. Without Cheers, it will be less. I plan on just getting a Carnival giftcard to settle my SnS account, for slightly less than Cheers (about $250) and see where it takes me. Thoughts? 5) Ports. In Grand Cayman, I am snorkeling on my own. It is walking distance from the dock. From Cozumel, I booked a Carnival excursion to Tulum. Any other suggestions to maximize my port time? 6) Sings and Solo's events. Has anyone attended these before? I am wondering if they are effective at all to meet people to hang out with during the cruise. I am NOT looking for the singles/hook-up scenes, but it might be nice to have some folks to hang out with on the cruise. As an introvert, I have no expectations, but would like know know what it's like. Anyways, as I said, I a bit nervous about doing the whole thing on my own, but I am looking forward to it as an experience. That being said, any input/thoughts/suggestions/advice that is offered would be appreciated 🙂 Thank you much!
  8. I cannot speak quality or value of the cake, as I have never had it but I have not read too many positive reviews of it. I think the other treats and pastries are pretty good, but it depends on what you like. I really think those gift packages are more geared towards people outside of the trip surprising cruisers with gifts, etc. Wine or champagne probably won't be the highest quality, but it can certainly be very enjoyable, depending on how picky you are. I posted to JH's page on facebook and he had champagne and strawberries delivered to our room. It wasn't super fancy, but we enjoyed that a lot. My mother-in-law once gifted us the pastry tray once and we very much enjoyed it. I would say it was worth it, but those fruit tarts were phenomenal! As for the decorations, the price seems pretty steep for some paper hanging decorations, you might be better off going to a Party City store to pick up some decorations and magnets to hang them. You will get more bang for your buck and make it more custom to what would be meaningful to you and your husband. Then if you do order some sweets or wine or something, when you specify the time for delivery, just make sure he is out of the room, and then sneak off for five minutes to decorate the room before he sees it 🙂
  9. Easy to see where the confusing comes from, since the port city in Antigua has nearly the same name. There is also a town called St. John in Michigan, but I doubt that causes any issues :)
  10. We would book based on itinerary, but don't commit to it since it can be changed per cruise contract. Cost of transportation to home port is important as we live in Michigan, driving is not a viable option with limited vacation days at work. At the end of the day, travel cost is about the same. Amenities on the ships DO vary. We would typically book the Dream class ships for the multiple dining and bar options. Tandoor was frequently the tie breaker. It will not be anymore... As for the Nickle and Dime Trend... On our first cruise, there was a free (included) sushi stand on the Lido buffet... now Bonsai is on more ships, at an upcharge. There was also a fancy and fun midnight chocolate buffet (we have not seen one since then). On our third cruise, we ate at Fish and Chips (free) once or twice. We also tried the Steak House for the first time (WORTH IT). On our fifth cruise, Fish and Chips on Conquest was replaced by a weird (free) BBQ joint. (Seafood Shack opened LITERALLY on Conquest's next cruise). On our sixth cruise, we tried dinner at Cucina del Capitano at an up-charge. We found to be comparable to Olive Garden both in the up-charge price and quality. Not quite worth it. On our seventh cruise, the Taste Bar was replaced by a revenue producing, no frills beverage bar. Some crew told us the Tandoor would be going away and replaced by Seafood Shack (fee based). I inquired to JH about it, and was assured Tandoor would remain. CCL has since changed its mind. Also, room service had cut back on its hours, and up-charged for hot food during the night. This is a clear trend of eliminating included options for the sake of paid options that generate additional revenue. Ten years down the road, will the only free (included) options be the MDR and Lido Buffet? Though disappointing to lose Tandoor, I understand that it was not the most popular. CCL needs to appeal to demand. On the other side, the removal of an included option to replace with a pay option changes my expectation of what I am paying for with my cruise fare. I know Carnival pretty well, but now I wonder what I can expect in the future. If I book a future cruise, will other restaurants I enjoy (Blue Iguana, Pizzeria del Capitano, and/or Guy's Burgers) become up-charge restaurants? That type of uncertainty and sudden change makes it a little bit difficult to commit to future cruises.
  11. I know, I know... old thread.... ...but John Heald did post today on FaceBook that the Dream and Breeze have opened Seafood Shack. I posted to his page and inquired about Tandoor since he had mentioned that in an earlier post it would remain. Tandoor is gone now, I guess management changed their minds. I am posting this so my posts here will not misinform anybody. His exact quote, following my question about Tandoor remaining or not... "Thats correct and at the time of answering that was the right answer but since then a decision has been made to replace them I am afraid. I hope you get to enjoy the Seafood Shack and dont forget there is Indian food available from the dining room menu. cheers mate. " JH
  12. I was on the Dream in August. I brought my stainless steel straw. The only times I even wanted one was with frozen drinks, and those pretty much came with a plastic straw still. Non-frozen were served (mostly) straw-free. I never asked for one because I am on that band-wagon, but you will be given one if you ask.
  13. I heard this rumor too, from a crew member. I posted to John Heald's facebook and asked about it, and he replied that they are keeping Tandoor. I hope his information is accurate. I guess we will find out for sure around October His exact response....
  14. The ship will likely have an "Afternoon Tea" in the aft dining room in the early afternoon. The sweets and snacks are awesome, and it is free, unless you want fancier tea (covered under Cheers fwiw).
  15. Sadly, it was empty on Dream in August. It had been converted to a basic bar.
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