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About Atomica

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  1. Atomica

    Silly question for cruise-related gifts

    Maybe they could be from "The Captain", or something like that? Sounds like a great Christmas gift!
  2. Atomica

    flashdrive port

    You'll need to bring your laptop to access files off a flash drive; the USB ports are typically blocked. Most PCs are provided almost exclusively for internet use, and there's no guarantee that they'd have the programs you'd need to open your files installed.
  3. Atomica

    1st cruise...mariner of the seas

    Mariner's a great ship - you should have an excellent time. And, you'll find most guests are well-mannered. It's just the few ill-mannered ones in everyday life that people tend to write about.
  4. Atomica

    47 day cruise

    Longest voyage I've been on to-date is 18 days...but 47 sure sounds like fun! If you're interested in the itinerary and can afford the voyage, why not? :)
  5. Atomica

    Alaska cruise cabin advice

    It's better to focus on the location and amenities of your stateroom within the actual ship. Port/Starboard make very little difference in terms of scenery in Alaska; generally speaking, there's interesting things to look at all around you.
  6. Atomica

    Mickki Brown - sad news

    Really sorry to hear that; she was fabulous.
  7. Atomica

    Condolences to Sail7seas

    My deepest condolences, Sail, for your loss.
  8. Atomica

    My Cuba Cruise

    [quote name='Seemeilen']Island Venturer, 1. How to get from Montego Bay airport to the cruise? We hear there is a battle with Taxis to get a normal price (not ripped off) and of chaos at the airport side. 2. Dress code do we need smart clothes at all. Formal nights? 3. Gratuities on board - how much are expected / system?[/quote] Seemeilen - I hope this helps: 1. I got totally ripped off while taking an approved taxi from the airport in Montego Bay. It's partly my fault, as I was tired and hot. I'm not sure there's any way around this, other than to just negotiate the heck out of the fare before getting in the car. The cruise pier is about a 15-minute drive away. As for the airport itself - prepare for at least an hour-long wait for Customs & Immigration upon landing. Flights at off-peak times might not be so bad, but my flight arrived along with two flights from the UK and a handful from the US. 2. There's one "Formal" night onboard, and another 'Gala' night. People got dressy without going overboard. I wore a sports jacket, collared shirt, and no tie and was more than dressed up. 3. Gratuities are $10/pp/pd, added to your shipboard account - though you could probably do this in cash if you wished to.
  9. Atomica

    My Cuba Cruise

    [quote name='retiring soon'] Aaron ~ thank you for your delightful blog. I want more, a week goes by too fast! You'll have quite a different experience on Carnival Breeze but a good one just the same. I'm still thinking about the insalat di rucola I had at Cucina del Capitano, delizioso. Have a Guy's burger for me.;) [/quote] You're most welcome, Jo! I am glad you enjoyed it. Yes, Carnival Breeze will be a very different experience, but I am looking forward to trying out all that makes the Fun Ships so popular - and that includes a Guy's burger! The RedFrog Rum Bar also looks pretty good ;) -Aaron
  10. Atomica

    My Cuba Cruise

    [quote name='retiring soon']Hi all! I see Aaron has posted his Holguin day account. He lists the shore excursions available & seeing the price for a child got me wondering were there children on anyone's cruise? Aaron ~ thanks so much for the hints on what to eat & drink, also money changing.. I was surprised to hear the pork was tough as ours has always been good. Looking forward to your next instalment.;) ~ Jo ~ :)[/quote] Jo - There were a few kids on my sailing, but not many. I'd expect that to change around March when many schools have their Spring Break. I have to admit I was surprised about the pork! Our guide did such a good job of talking up how good it was that I thought the pork would be a no-brainer; turns out the fish or beef would have been a better choice :)
  11. Atomica

    My Cuba Cruise

    [quote name='retiring soon'] Atomica ~ I noticed on today's blog entry that you said the cruise will be repeated next year. Has that already been decided even with this year's season not over? ~ Jo ~ :)[/quote] In conversation with the Officers aboard Louis Cristal it seems to be common knowledge that the ship will sail back to Cuba again next winter. In many ways, that didn't come as a surprise to me; it likely takes more than a single season to prove the viability of a product like this, simply because of the relatively short initial duration (approximately four months.) However, I am excited to see how the rest of this season plays out for them.
  12. Atomica

    My Cuba Cruise

    [quote name='Balloon Man']Aaron: you mentioned you bought a litre of rum in Havana. Hope you didn't smuggle it on board :rolleyes:[/quote] No, no smuggling for me :)
  13. Atomica

    My Cuba Cruise

    [quote name='ONT-CA']Aaron, a million thanks for keeping us informed in what was a pending voyage to the unknown. Concerns are replaced with new expectations. I wonder if we could ask you to comment on the accessibility of wheelchairs both aboard and on tour. Obviously beaches are out but we wonder about the walking tours and special locations like The Jardin Botanical Gardens. Thanks[/quote] The ship is fully wheelchair-accessible, but it's worth noting that disembarkation in Punta Frances and in Holguin (Antilla) is via the ship's tenders, which are not wheelchair-friendly. The Jardin Botanical Gardens are mostly flat with dirt and paved roads, which shouldn't pose too much of a problem. While most places visited will have elevators, some sites are decidedly not wheelchair-friendly; the one that springs to mind is La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana where Hemingway liked to have his drinks. It's very crowded and very narrow. I hope that helps!
  14. Atomica

    My Cuba Cruise

    You have no idea how often I actually don't get any sleep! :D Thank you so much for your kind comments. Your assessment of CC mirrors my own; reviews seem to be the best thing ever or an awful voyage from h-e-l-l. I don't like trying to compare cruises to one another, because to me that's a recipe for disaster. I prefer to write about it, lay out my thoughts, and let people decide for themselves whether this is the right trip for them. This really was the most surprising voyage I've taken in a long time. My expectations were, to be frank, rather low. Chartered voyages often have a way of letting standards slip. But these guys were running the ship in Cuba like they'd done it for decades, not just a handful of voyages. Everything was branded - even the logo on the funnel was the Cuba Cruise logo and not Louis Cruises. It was very impressive. If you take Cuba for what it is and can appreciate some of the quirks of sailing on a comfortable mid-90's ship, you'll have a lovely time. [quote name='Balloon Man']Aaron, as the OP of this thread can I ask you to please write faster. Don't sleep. You don't need sleep - you've just had a great holiday! Those of us who will be following in your footsteps need to be able to read your complete report about what seems to have been a fantastic cruise ASAP. As a former journalist myself I have to say what a pleasure it is to read your thoughtful and incisive commentary. My one criticism of Cruise Critic (if one is allowed to criticise CC) is that so many contributors fall into the "loved it - hated" it categories whereas you simply tell it as it is -or was. The fact that a person of your vast cruising experience fell in love with this voyage (at least from what I've read so far) makes me want 24 February, the day we embark, to arrive even sooner. Of course, we don't yet know what happened days three to seven. Did it all go horribly wrong? Tune in .....[/quote]
  15. Atomica

    My Cuba Cruise

    At Toronto Pearson now waiting for my connecting flight home, but Day 1 is now FINALLY up! [url]http://www.fromthedeckchair.com/2014/01/17/cuba-cruise-live-voyage-report-day-1/[/url] The GoDaddy domain issue was fun to rectify at sea with spotty internet. Fortunately, the wi-fi began working on the last two days of the voyage. All the kinks should be worked out for those on the next cruise. I did read a comment re: adapters. Each stateroom has one European-style outlet and one North American one. The hair dryer is attached to the desk in an odd way (bolted in) and rests in a drawer. It uses the European plug. I brought a laptop, two cameras and an iPhone with me and never had problems swapping things out to charge them, but if you have a lot of devices, an adapter would be a wise thing to bring with you.