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Everything posted by SWFLAOK

  1. Silver Spectre, you completely misunderstood my post. I said that Silver Sea was much better than HAL and Regent. I was not against SS at all. The only cruise ship we've been on that we enjoyed more is the Paul Gauguin, and it doesn't offer the amount of luxury and service that we had in our Silver Suite on the Silver Whisper.
  2. I didn't want to encourage others to think that walking to the baths was a good alternative. We always find that there are some people on the cruises we've taken that like to save money by "doing their own thing" rather than taking excursions.
  3. At the suggestion of my 60 year old brother, we did the Amazon cruise on the Silver Whisper last November. It was our first cruise on Silversea. If you have a 0 percent solo charge, take it. He would book another cruise immediately if he could find that. We booked a Silver Suite so he could join us for dinner since we didn't want to dress for dinner on formal nights. We all enjoyed the cruise. We dressed up enough that we never felt embarassed. There were old people who dressed up more than us. But there were not an excessive number of scooter chair, wheel chair and walker bound cruisers blocking up the hallways and access to tables in the dining rooms, creating backups getting on and off the ship. and getting on and off the excursion buses. That's what deters us from cruising. Silversea was much better than HAL and Regent when it comes to avoiding the assisted living passengers.
  4. My husband is also 6'4" and he had no more trouble than usual on our SD cruise. The shower is never is above his head, but it's usable. The bed was fine for him. Most king or queen cruise line beds are 80 inches so at 6'7" your hubby will need to stay up close to the headboard. Getting on and off the tenders always requires watching my husband's head on every cruise line. I've had to watch my own head quite a few times at 5'9".
  5. If you can afford to take a cruise on Sea Dream, then you can afford to take a taxi to the Baths and a taxi back. Even if you don't mind the walk from Spanish Town (and you'll have a long walk down to the Baths when you get there, and then back up to the road when you're done), this isn't a road with sidewalks, and the traffic will be close and fast next to you. Leverick Bay to the Baths is definitely not walkable, and is a much longer taxi ride.
  6. The last time we flew on ATN was December 2017, and it was our third trip. None of our trips were bad. The food was always edible. At least food was served, and it was included. The wine has always been drinkable and free. For an included flight, that's acceptable to us. We never go to see movies in a theater, so that leaves us with plenty of choices to watch. I found 3 movies to watch, 2 of which were good. We upgraded to business class for our September 2019 cruise because we don't like the seating configuration on the new planes. With the 2 of us, we don't want another person sitting in the third seat. We were recently on the Prinsendam for it's last holiday trip. It was our first, and probably last, cruise on HAL since we prefer smaller ships. Between excursions and meals, It took 4 times to watch all of Crazy Rich Asians. I loved it. I didn't even mind rewatching the parts that I had already seen. We're heading to Singapore for a Regent cruise in December. While we won't be living the lifestyle that the movie portrayed, I'm looking forward to visiting Singapore even more than I was when we booked that cruise.
  7. We haven't had access to the Business Class lounge on our return flights from Papeete to LAX. Our flights have always departed between 11PM and midnight, when most of the flights depart. The inconvenient time isn't PG's fault. It's often hard to find a place to sit at all once you get through security, and finding a comfortable place to sit isn't nearly impossible. We've always flown coach over and back, and the flight attendants, food and beverages, as well as onboard movies, have always been way better than the flights we take in the US, including those we took to get to LAX.
  8. The bus transport between the Hilton and the ship, provided by Regent, takes less than 2 hours, and is very scenic. We saw beluga whales in the water, and mountain sheep on the cliffs, and views of glaciers. There's a bathroom on the bus, and you're transported onto the dock. There may be a stop at another hotel on the way, which delayed us while traveling in the opposite direction. A few people preferred to get off at the extra hotel stop to use the restroom, despite having a restroom on the bus. This added an extra 15 minutes to our trip since they needed assistance to get to the restrooms in the hotel. The same 2 people needed to use the bathroom on the bus. Drinking too much coffee or tea before boarding a bus is not a good idea, especially if you are physically compromised and can not get to the bus bathroom in the back from your front row seats without assistance from people you aren't traveling with.
  9. My choice would also be the Concierge cabin mid ship rather than an aft cabin. We're bothered by the vibration when trying to sleep.
  10. We were on the Mariner for an Alaska cruise last August. We had a grab rail in our tub/shower. I'm 5'9 and my husband is 6'4, and we're both in our mid 60's without mobility issues. We had no problems with showering, even on the last few days of our cruise when we had high seas. I wish all of the cruise boats would get rid of the tubs. All boats have a limited water supply. They make fresh water from seawater, and fill water tanks in ports. With a limited water supply, there's no reason to be filling a tub. It's so much easier to get into and out of a shower stall, and it takes up much less room in the cabin's bathroom. We've had cabins on other cruise lines with a separate tub, wasting even more cabin space, and were then left a request in our cabin to conserve water.
  11. Since it's a small ship, boarding doesn't take much time at all. We haven't boarded earlier than advertised when staying at the IC Tahiti as part of the pre-cruise package so if you're hoping to board early if staying elsewhere, there's no chance. Many of the passengers come in on the late flight from LAX, and the ship doesn't leave port until they arrive, which could be well after midnight. On our first PG cruise, we took that flight, and didn't want to do it again.
  12. This was just the opposite of what we experienced on our 14 night holiday cruise on HAL. The first night and last night, which were both at sea, were casual nights. We've cruised on quite a few cruise lines, and the first night and last night have never been 'dress up' nights. On the first night, everyone is unpacking, and many have not even had a chance to read the info left in their cabins. On the last night, most passengers have to pack their luggage and put it in the hall before they go to bed. We wanted to book specialty dining that didn't conflict with dress up nights, but on the holiday cruise, almost every night was a dress up night, but we never felt under dressed with a dark suit and a basic dress.
  13. The wines for 9 dollars a glass or less were quite good, and we usually drink good wine at home with dinner. We didn't have any problems with our sommelier offering us anything higher in price without letting us know, and once she knew what we liked, she offered us something she knew we would like. We tasted each wine before we accepted it the first time. We did have trouble with one of the bars adding a dollar to the price of a drink on the menu for a premium spirit that we didn't order .That would have made us pay for the entire cost of the drink (9.50 or 10.00 plus 15% tip). When we pointed it our, they removed the charge. They did it a second time, and after that we had our cocktails elsewhere. We brought 2 bottles of good champagne on board since we were on a holiday cruise, and we had those bottles in our cabin with an ice bucket included without a corking charge.
  14. We couldn't figure out why HAL had a polity that gratuities weren't included, but that you can refuse to pay them, and that's OK. Why should that be OK? We didn't experience any service that didn't deserve a gratuity. We gave additional money to a few who went beyond the others, and I hope they got to keep that extra money. We also had some money left over in our ship's credit and we gave that to the crew fund. HAL should include the gratuity in their rates. If passengers feel like giving an additional tip to crew who went beyond the expected, they should be allowed to keep it. If passengers can't afford to pay gratuities on their cruise, then they should look at lower priced cruise lines.
  15. Motu Mahana is very easy, especially since they built a small dock to avoid the wet landing. There isn't much walking required at all, and definitely no stairs or inclines. If the weather is good, it's a highlight of the cruise. I checked google maps, and the walk from the tender dock was to the Magic Mountain Overlook. We talked to people who did that and they said it was doable, but very hot and they wished they had brought more water. We rented a car and drove up to the Belvedere lookout. While we were there the bike riders arrived from the shore excursion. They were all very exhausted
  16. Unless a bumpy ride bothers her hip, these all look like reasonable activities based on your info. The most difficult PG activities are the 3 coconut trail walk and the E bikes, as well as a long walk up the hill from the tender drop-off for a scenic view (a free activity) on Moorea. The rest of those you've mentioned should be easy to do. Good luck with your trip.
  17. If you take the PG airfare, they provide your transfers and don't make you wait for hours at the airport. You may, however, wait for hours at the hotel. The IC is, however, very nice, but the drinks and food are very expensive. If you don't take the bus tour, you'll spend time waiting for your day room. Many people go straight to the hotel, and change into swimsuits to hang out by the pool. The luggage is kept in a secure place. Around 6, they want the luggage back, and an hour or so later, you need to move to the public areas. The airport is really very crowded, and it's hard to even find a place to sit down. There are 3 or 4 flights that leave between 11 and 12. We haven't found an affordable way to get into the VIP lounge. After our first cruise, we decided to pay PG for 2 nights at the IC after our return to port. This was so much better than the day room experience. Breakfasst were included, and we rented a car for a day from the hotel lobby, which allowed us to go to the nearby grocery store for very reasonably priced French wine and snacks for our room, as well as drive around Tahiti and Tahiti Iti. We saw all of the waterfalls, gardens, and beaches, as well as the expansive views from Tahiti Its . On our departure day, we were allowed to leave later than the usual time, and didn't spend much time at the airport. There were only 2 other couples on our bus, and our luggage was with us. We found the extra expense to be well worth it compared to the entire expense of the trip.
  18. I would think the hardest thing to do would be getting on and off the tender since you won't be at a dock once you leave Tahiti. How hard that is to do depends on the weather. The Paul Gauguin has a long outside stairway down (and back up) to the tender. If the weather isn't ideal, these steps, as well as the tender platform, will be moving. Taking a long time to make it up and down this staircase will inconvenience others so there could be comments from other guests. Getting on and off the tender can be challenging, but the PG crew does it better than any other cruise line we've been on. You should be able to find excursions that are not challenging. The descriptions are pretty accurate. If it's a "bus" ride that stops at a number of sites, it might not be a real bus, but it will not require a long walk. Staying on the bus would be an option, but a long walk isn't normally involved. If there's a long walk to an overlook, it will normally say that in the description, and if it's an overlook, it's going to be uphill (and down). I can't think of any long staircases, so the uphill and downhill walks would be on a path or road, and the description should say that. If you have any questions about a particular excursion, I may be able to answer it. We're headed off for our 4th trip to Tahiti in September, taking the Tahiti to Fiji cruise.
  19. On our December cruise from Fort Lauderdale, 5 star mariners and those with Neptune Suites were allowed to board at 11:30.AM. Our Neptune Suite was available, but not everyone boarding at that time had suites available. The information in our suite did not indicate that there was room service available for lunch. The main dining room was open and we went there for lunch.
  20. In March of 2018, the carpeting in the dining rooms was probably less than a year old since the Paul Gauguin had been in dry dock the previous year. We spoke to crew members when we were onboard in late 2017, and they told us that those who stayed onboard as the ship headed to dry dock (without passengers onboard) spent all of their time ripping up carpeting and installing new carpeting. The next dry dock will be in 2020 after the Fiji to Bali cruise and before the Fiji to Tahiti cruise. At least the Paul Gauguin leaves time to get to dry dock and back from dry dock with no passengers onboard. That's very unusual for a cruise line. We have never noticed a smell to the carpeting, and we have been on a cruise early in the year before dry dock. As Wendy said, cruisers on board can bring in a lot of dirt. There isn't a lot of time between cruises to shampoo the rugs. On the other hand, we just cruised on HAL, and the Prinsendam was just one 6 night cruise out of dry dock. Our Neptune Suite smelled like dirty clothes, and it seemed to be coming from the mattress and pillows. I had some Lysol spray with me (the benefit of not having to fly to Port Everglades), but it only helped for a few days without spraying again). Much of the carpeting in the hallways was worn to the point of the pattern being gone in the center. Deck 12 looked good, even though we were on the way to the Crow's Nest, but deck 11 carpeting was extremely worn. Since the Prinsendam was sold after we made our reservations for that cruise, and won't be turned over to it's new owner until July, I can understand why they may not maintain it, but it was our first and last cruise on HAL. We already have the Paul Gauguin booked later this year, and we can't wait.
  21. I wouldn't worry about the zodiacs on the bow being moved. They don't look like they're moved on a regular basis. The tenders are on the sides of the ship. We have heard people mention noise from the Grand Salon below their cabins, but the entertainment doesn't last very late at night so it shouldn't be too much of problem unless you go to bed early and need it to be quiet.
  22. The shore excursion booklet also gives information on how fit you should be, and what walking distance and type of walking is required for each excursion. What's not pointed out very well is how far you might need to walk from the ship to the terminal to get on the excursion bus, or how hard it might be to tender to the dock to get to your excursion. Many of the people with walkers and scooters signed up for excursions but couldn't make it to the bus. This seemed to be a bigger problem on HAL than on other cruise lines we've been on, but there are always at least a few.
  23. Off topic, but we once went to an upscale restaurant in Newport Rhode Island, and were unaware that jackets were required. My husband is tall, but not really overweight, and weighed even less back then. They offered him a size 50 jacket that was way too wide, and not very long. It was bright green. He was told he needed to wear it if we wanted to dine there that evening. It was a very slow night, but the 5 other tables that were seated after us all asked him if he had won the Master's that year.
  24. We had more excursions cancelled than added on our recent Caribbean cruise on the Prinsendam. Check the tour excursion booklet when you board, and then make sure you read the daily newsletters delivered to your cabin each evening. You can also attend the EXC talks that preview each port. They not only go over the available excursions, but also give you some ideas of what you can do on your own.
  25. We had no problems with embarking or disembarking at the cruise port in Fort Lauderdale on Dec 21 and Jan 4. TSA at the airport was reported to be slow during the holidays, but TSA said it was within their criteria. Our local news in Florida said that the first missed paycheck for these employees will not be until January 14th. Since all of our many previous government shutdowns have resulted in back pay for federal employees, I think most employees will continue working for a while.
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