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About ArtsyCraftsy

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Bellingham, WA
  • Interests
    lace crochet, paper crafts, music composition, PEO, cooking, collecting cookbooks (~ 3800 so far)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Regent Seven Seas, Holland America (so far)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Everywhere 😊

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  1. In addition to the possibilities Fouremco wrote about, you can also get OBC if you own at least 100 shares of Carnival Corp stock. The amount you get depends on the length of the cruise ($50 for less than 6 days, $100 for 7-13 days, $250 for 14+ days). You can find more information about it here: Stockholder Benefit Lana in Bellingham, WA
  2. I'm relatively new to cruise travel (3 cruises so far) with some fairly significant health issues that make some excursions/tours extremely difficult or impossible for me. I'm also extremely sensitive to the issue of possibly slowing down a group's pace, so I would never book any excursion rated higher than "easy," paying careful attention to how much walking/stairs/etc. are involved. I'd rather stay on the ship and take photos from my balcony while sipping a glass of nice red wine than run the risk of being "that person" that caused a tour group to proceed at a snail's pace. That said, there's an aspect that seems to get lost: It doesn't matter if the excursion itself is "easy" if getting to the departure point involves maneuvering a lot of stairs, walking 1/4 mile or more, or steep or slippery inclines. I got burned once by this -- so I now will not pre-book an excursion unless I know that I can get to the departure point. Sometimes I can tell from close up/street views on Google Maps (Hilo, HI is one example -- Google Maps shows the cruise ship dock with the busses/excursion vans directly across the street). Otherwise, waiting until I'm onboard to talk to the shorex folks (who should know this stuff) is the best option, even with the risk that excursions I might be able to do are sold out. Lana in Bellingham, WA (where it's snowing ... again)
  3. ArtsyCraftsy

    "Almost" Live from Explorer

    Wow -- "nightmare" is right!! I don't travel well under the best of circumstances. I always say I love visiting new places, but I detest the process of getting there -- too much anxiety and stress. Keeping fingers crossed that all goes smoothly for you over the next few days. I'm sitting here looking at 18" drifts across my driveway as the snow continues to fall today, so I feel your pain. Living where I live means trying to decide which airport works best (Vancouver or SeaTac), arranging transport to the airport, determining whether the flight time will necessitate an overnight stay before the flight, and now that most of my travel involves a cruise, making sure I get to the port in time (at least a day in advance unless I'm sailing out of Seattle). At this point, I'm just getting to the point where I *might* consider a 10+hr flight to or from some far-flung location for the right cruise/itinerary. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I book longer cruises -- if I'm going to put myself through the stress of getting to/from my destination, I want a super payoff when I get there, and for me, that's a cruise of at least 21 days. The only exception is a cruise that both starts and ends in either Seattle or Vancouver -- I'm OK with a shorter cruise in that case. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  4. ArtsyCraftsy

    Staterooms on Mariner

    My PCC at Regent steered me toward a shower-only cabin when I booked my first Regrnt cruise. I’m one of those ”mobility-challenged” folks, and I’ve had a few too many close calls. That’s all I book now, but i’m usually booking a year or more in advance so availability hasn't been an issue. Would it be a deal breaker if one wasn’t available? I don’t know but i’d sure try to find another date with shower-only cabin available.
  5. ArtsyCraftsy

    What does a butler DO?

    Thank you, everyone! I've gotten some great ideas for my first cruise with butler services. The canapés menu and sample letter are big helps. I've started a tradition of doing an Alaska cruise each summer for my birthday, and I use that as an opportunity to try out different cruise lines, so this year it's Oceania. I do have a few things that I like regularly: fresh ice twice a day (I go through a lot of ice), fresh fruit but no bananas, etc. But those are things that, in my experience so far, are usually taken care of by the cabin stewards. So that's part of my learning curve: what to ask the butler about, and what to ask the stewards. Or does having a butler mean I don't interact as much with the stewards? Anyway, I'm more comfortable with the "butler" concept, and I'm sure things will work out just fine. I'm really easy going, just very independent. At any rate, I get to see Alaska again and celebrate my birthday onboard. Should be a great trip! Lana in Bellingham, WA
  6. ArtsyCraftsy

    Another RSSC cruise on the books ...

    I had originally scheduled a Viking Ocean cruise to Alaska for summer 2020, but I got rather fed up with their lack of customer service and their policy of requiring full fare payment 1 yr in advance. They initially demanded full payment in December 2018 (20 months in advance) and when I refused, the Viking cruise consultant consulted his supervisor and got it advanced to July 2019, which is still over a year out from embarkation day. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that my curiosity about the Viking product wasn't sufficient to put up with that poor customer service and having to relinquish a load of cash for a friggin' 21 day Alaska cruise over a year in advance. Heck, RSSC requires full payment only 6 months in advance for the 131-day WORLD CRUISE, which is totally understandable! Most shorter cruises have a lead time of 3-4 months. One has to wonder if Viking's ambitious shipbuilding schedule has something to do with needing maximum cash up front. Whatever -- I KNOW I like RSSC, and I know what I'm getting for my cruise $$. That's good enough for me. As the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Lana in Bellingham, WA
  7. ArtsyCraftsy

    What does a butler DO?

    I suspect that I'll probably be the same way. I've been fending for myself for so long that it just wouldn't dawn on me to ask for help with things that I can manage to do myself. But having little nibbles delivered each afternoon would be a nice touch (and not something I'm likely to do myself since I wouldn't know where to get them). I'll see what the butler says after I board. That will probably clear things up just fine. I'm doing only a 7-day Alaska cruise for now -- wanted to give Oceania a try after cruising with Holland America and Regent Seven Seas. If all goes well, I'll likely start looking at their schedules and itineraries as an alternative to the other two. Thanks for adding your perspective here -- it really helps. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  8. Just booked a back-to-back cruise for the summer of 2020 -- a shorter one, a total of 15 days / 14 nights, Vancouver, BC to Seward, AK and Seward to Vancouver in early July. I've decided I want to try to do an Alaska cruise every summer -- there's so much to see there that multiple trips are warranted, and I can think of no better way to celebrate my birthday than being on a ship in gorgeous surroundings. This fits nicely between my two other RSSC cruises already booked for 2020: the World Cruise (Jan 24 - Jun 4), and the Grand Cape Horn Adventure (Oct 29 - Jan 5, 2021). Coincidentally, ALL three cruises are on the Mariner, as was my first RSSC cruise last fall. I honestly didn't plan it that way intentionally -- all of these are itinerary-driven. It just turned out that the Mariner is going where I want to go in 2020. Someday I'll sail on another RSSC ship, but I'm perfectly fine with the Mariner. I had such a wonderful time last fall, so this is perfectly fine. This means I'll be spending over 200 days on the Mariner in 2020. Bliss! 😄 Lana in Bellingham, WA
  9. ArtsyCraftsy

    Regent vs. HAL

    I was in a similar position when I booked my first Regent cruise. My only cruise experience at that time was with HAL in a Neptune suite, but I booked a Concierge on the Mariner as it was nearly identical in size to HAL's Vista Suite on their R-class ships (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, etc.) and I thought it might work. The Mariner Concierge suite is about 1 foot "wider" and about 6" "shorter" than the Vista, so they're very close. Also, many of the Neptune Suite perks and amenities are included with an RSSC Concierge Suite (welcome champagne, concierge service, coffee maker, binoculars, etc.). Really, the primary difference is the size. But I also travel solo -- so the smaller size wasn't as big a deal for me as it would likely be for a couple. Before my first RSSC cruise, I'd also taken a second HAL cruise -- 38 days through the North Atlantic -- also in a Neptune Suite. So I was a little nervous about the size difference when I boarded the Mariner in September. I spent the next 28 days in the Concierge cabin on the Vancouver to Miami cruise and ended up liking the size more than I thought I would. I actually found the smaller size to be an advantage when we hit some rough weather a couple of times -- there was more "stuff" within easy reach to touch/hold onto for balance when moving around the cabin. The Neptune has a lot of "open space," which made moving around in rough waters a bit trickier, especially at night when it was dark. When I started thinking about doing the 2020 world cruise, I had to think long and hard about whether I would be happy in the smaller cabin for 131 days. The final answer was "yes" -- the square footage seemed to me to be about perfect for one person, with more closet storage than I found in HAL's Neptune (the Mariner Concierge has a huge walk-in closet), comfortable furnishings, and enough room for a single traveler to "spread out" and not feel cramped. The next category "up" resulted in a price difference (including the single supplement) that put it a little higher than I wanted to spend unless I wanted to do ONLY the world cruise and no others in 2020, and THAT wasn't happening. 😉 I've also booked the Grand Cape Horn Adventure (68 days, Los Angeles to Miami) starting 29 October 2020, also on the Mariner, and I'm looking at a 14-day Alaska cruise in the summer of 2020 for my birthday, which, coincidentally, is ALSO on the Mariner. That said, I would certainly share your trepidation about a Concierge if I were traveling with a spouse/friend/etc. Lana in Bellingham, WA
  10. ArtsyCraftsy

    What does a butler DO?

    Thanks, everyone, for sharing your experiences with butlers. The Oceania website is rather vague about what they do so I figured reading the experiences of others would help put things into perspective. I've gotten some great ideas, though, especially the "chocolate-covered strawberries in the afternoon." It's not really a case of my not wanting a butler, but rather I don't want to make any major mistakes. I'm sure after I board in Seattle, I'll be able to meet and discuss things with the butler to find out what will work for me. But for sure that strawberries idea will come up in the conversation. 😉 Thanks again ... Lana
  11. ArtsyCraftsy

    What does a butler DO?

    Oh, this is good to know! I'm used to HAL which allows only one bottle of wine per passenger for consumption in the cabin only, unless you pay a corkage fee. And with Regent, there's no need to bring my own as drinks including wine are included in the fare and I like to experiment and try new things when I'm cruising. The cruise starts and ends in Seattle, and I can easily tuck a bottle of my favorite red in my carryon (I'll be taking the train to Seattle, then a taxi to the terminal), then see what the ship has to offer if I need another one. Thanks!! Lana
  12. ArtsyCraftsy

    What does a butler DO?

    Bear with me, folks -- this may seem like a dumb question... I’m taking my first Oceania cruise this summer -- a short 7-day trip to/from Alaska. I travel solo, and I’ve booked a PH2. I believe it comes with a butler. By the time this cruise comes around, I will have taken a total of 4 cruises: 3 on HAL, and 1 on Regent Seven Seas, none of which have involved the presence of a butler (concierge, yes; butler, no). So what, exactly, does a butler do? I grew up in an environment and culture where butlers existed only in literature, so I have no experience with this. I’m also fiercely independent, so things like helping with unpacking/packing won’t be needed. The only thing I can come up with is maybe helping me procure a bottle of decent red wine for consumption in my cabin in the evening or something like that. Or possibly getting reservations in one of the specialty restaurants? (although truth be told, i’m perfectly capable of picking up the phone and making my own reservations). Just trying to get some info and ideas so that I don’t make a complete fool of myself or unintentionally insult someone. Thanks! Lana in Bellingham, WA
  13. ArtsyCraftsy

    What has happened to Cruise Critic?

    If you're talking about the March 9 cruise out of San Diego to Hawaii/Tahiti/Marquesas on the Eurodam, there's a VERY active Roll Call that's been humming along for over a year. Over 100 folks so far, lots of activities planned, etc. If that's not the cruise you're talking about, then ... never mind. 😉 Lana in Bellingham, WA
  14. ArtsyCraftsy

    First World Cruise booked ...

    I really did. When I was in 2nd grade (age 7), we read a series of stories about a child in Lapland. That was when I started the list -- I knew I had to visit Lapland someday. (I still haven't made it, but I'm looking at a Regent cruise that covers that area, possibly for 2021 - the Grand Arctic Adventure, which visits several ports in that area.) As the years went by, I added new places to the list, usually based on stories or books I read for my classes, or penpals I obtained as part of school projects. Bolivia, the Netherlands, Scotland, Mali, Ceylon, Fiji, and New Zealand were all early entries (2nd - 6th grades). About 75% of the locations on the list are reachable via water -- either oceans or rivers. So far, with 3 cruises, I've been able to tick off several, and the world cruise will definitely cover quite a few more.
  15. ArtsyCraftsy

    First World Cruise booked ...

    Thanks! I have a couple of shirts I had printed with the slogan "Carpe friggin' diem!" -- my motto, for sure. 🙂 When I first decided to start cruising a couple of years ago, I was really concerned what my finance folks would say. Their response was "We wondered what was taking you so long to try this! Have a great time!" They know about the 2020 world cruise, but they don't have the numbers yet (that meeting is coming up next month). The last time I budgeted that much for something, I was buying a house. But really, you only live once, and life is short.