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About cardiffman

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Cardiff, CA
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  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. This is interesting. I was on Celebrity Eclipse down there. I think we got down *near* Paradise Harbor which is beyond 60. The Eclipse was said, by the cruise director in particular, as the largest ship to have gone down there. I have read a lot about ships going down there. What little I know about the Eclipse doesn't include its ice rating. What you're saying here implies that there could be fewer ships rated to go as far south as the Eclipse went come the end of the 2020-2021 season.
  2. If you want a place where people can't buy a higher level of service, there's always the DMV. Anyway we are all welcome in Cafe al Bacchio and we can all have coffee there together.
  3. I'm not that much of a Bond geek or a cocktail geek, but I regularly geek out about the Vesper. The Kina Lillet in the Vesper has a bit of quinine in it, which current Lillet Blanc doesn't have. So if you just use Lillet Blanc you're missing the quinine flavor, which in times past was a desirable flavor. The gin and vodka should also be strong, because due to the needs it was invented to meet, the Vesper has to be strong. When one of the new-run Bond movies was shown at a very nice cinema, they presented a version of the Vesper and that got me interested in this.
  4. To me, "immune-compromised" would mean that antibodies might not work as they should, and so your prior history of measles would be less of a factor in preventing the virus from taking hold. If this is right, then you're not an example of a person who had the disease in childhood and who would have been expected to carry immunity forward. Does this make sense? It sounds unpleasant either way.
  5. On our recent cruise in Antarctica they published, in the daily journal, just such a plan. They planned to be doing scenic cruising of the Gerlache Strait and so forth at the time when they would normally have the evening Elite gathering in the Sky Lounge, so the gathering would be canceled, and the Elite guests would have free drinks added to their accounts, so that all passengers could view the scenery from that lounge. So there's a precedent.
  6. From what I can tell, loyalty programs on cruise lines are really simple, but not well-aligned with what the holding companies need from the programs, and not very much like other loyalty programs in airlines or hotels. The cruise line programs are based on accumulating a point total or cruise-day total over your lifetime and then when you reach each level you are there permanently. You could do 15 nights over a period of 25 years on Princess and be Platinum. How is that what Carnival wants? I'm not as well briefed on Celebrity's program but it sounds like it is similar and similarly ineffective from RCI"s perspective. The most important feature of the airline and hotel plans is that the levels that you can attain that you never lose, like United Global Services, are very hard to attain. The rest of us get status levels that expire in those programs. For example I made "silver" in the Marriott program, with exactly the minimum number of nights, and I'm unlikely to stay at that level based on my plans this year, and forget about attaining a higher level. I made the "premier" level on United in 2001 because they lowered the threshold that year, and I didn't ever qualify for it again. Clearly these programs reward recent customers, not loyal but infrequent customers. If Celebrity modernizes their program I would not be surprised if the permanent levels that remain are very hard to attain and the lower levels will become temporary, and might be based on your most recent business with Celebrity. Some of the comments here suggest that RCI's four brands have a unified loyalty program. While most nights within Marriott earn the same benefit points, not all do. If RCI unifies the loyalty programs, I wouldn't be surprised if some weighting gives more benefits to a dollar on Silversea than a dollar on RCI. Or if not weight of dollars than weight of cruising days.
  7. Some ships have special provisions for the majority of the crew other than the lifeboats the pax would be in. The link is to an Instagram from one of the captains on Celebrity. She happened to post some pix and video of a drill they did for the MES that takes care of the crew on her ship. https://www.instagram.com/p/BvXPQHdHA6x/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet She included video of herself evacuating during the drill. The broader point of evacuation capacity is, yes ALL souls get a seat on something when the ship is evacuated.
  8. I am almost done with my first cruise on Celebrity. I'm in a Celebrity Suite, not PS or RS and I am wondering what you folks used to expect. I have other experiences in cruising and hotel stays that calibrated my reaction to the service we got and space we occupied, and I feel that the CS is as good as it gets. Can you kindly share some notes?
  9. @gretschwhtfalcon Nat'l Geographic/Lindblad and Hurtigruten also do landings on Antarctica. I haven't looked at any recent quotes to compare, but I seem to recall they are not the same style as Seabourn or Silversea. There is also an outfit called Quark Expeditions that does some really hard-core expeditions in much less comfort (the comfort level is based on my reading of their website and others may disagree). They also offer a package that flies over to the continent and then you explore by boat. The internet has been a slight disappointment on this cruise. I have done less instagraming and facebooking than I expected.
  10. I watch a lot of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" where Guy Fieri demonstrates a technique for eating large sandwiches. I did not think the Luminae burger requires the full power of his technique.
  11. I thought I'd post a few words about my experience today, Jan 16th, going to LAX. The destination of our flight is not relevant except that it's international: Buenos Aires. Southern California has experienced a lot of rain and Wednesday morning was expected to be, at best, a lull. And with all that's been said about TSA screeners needing to get paid, I was concerned that there could be a lack of staff at the checkpoints. And then the icing on the cake is, we needed to collect boarding passes at the airport because of an issue (that I created) causing a lock out for us on the website. None of the above affected us and in fact, we reached the airport loop with very little delay on the drive, arriving a little before 11, I think. Overall the time it took us to reach the concourse was low, without a lot of standing in lines. We had a car take us instead of driving ourselves in some fashion, and the driver knew a way around the bulk of the traffic. Probably known by natives but we're from San Diego. So we arrived in less than two and a half hours at the doorstep of the international terminal doors for our airline. The rain did slow down during the morning but by 12 it was going for real again. Then we had a quick schlep to the ticket counter, and our situation was handled in stride by the agent. We then made our way to the TSA check point pre-check line. That process went very well. The staff were efficient and curt but not mean, and really kept things moving. So if you're going somewhere via LAX in the next few days, I wish you the same good luck we had.
  12. Let me offer my thoughts and see which ones you may agree with. Veranda and balcony are pretty close to synonyms in their usage in descriptions of cruise ship cabin space. In the design of a house, I think of certain verandas as supported from below, while balconies are suspended or cantilevered. The examples of veranda I am thinking of occur mostly in the Southern USA. Also a veranda as part of a house is a space you can walk up onto from off the property, while a balcony is not generally reachable except from the rooms it is attached to. I once lived in a flat that had a small patio (the developers called it that anyway). For the exact same floor plan, one floor up, the developers and residents agreed the space above my patio off their flat was called a balcony. The one qualifying feature of those balconies was that they were suspended over each other and over patios like mine. In light of the above, perhaps both terms don't apply well to something attached to a cruise ship cabin, except where they are clearly cantilevered. The balconies on Princess ships are cantilevered in the cases I've seen up close. Their weirdness is that the Sky Suite (oddly enough the most expensive cabin on the Sky Princess) has a "wrap around balcony" that could better be described, in land terms, as a terrace.
  13. This is Mike. Kathy and I have a slightly easier schedule. We have a 2:30pm flight to catch, so we don't have to wake up that early. We do live about 100 miles from LAX so we can't sleep too late. We may get to use the AA lounge in LAX if rain and procedures don't eat up our morning. We'll land at 2:30am and it will be 7:30am ART. I've had jetlag before but this is a different level. It turns out if you're 22 and you fly LAX-CDG starting at 9pm, you land in the late afternoon, and you can just stay up and crash at about midnight, and that's cool. So in a way, the 5-hour time difference is less practical and I'm not 22 anymore. We'll probably need some sort of nap. We have had a good time cruising. Part of that is because Abby and Glen have been with us on all but one of our cruises. We also have ended up having adventures in ports. For example there is no dock for water taxis at the Office in Cabo. And when someone turns up missing at 3AM, they wake the whole ship with announcements until the person turns up--Okay that wasn't in a port. It was the talk of the tenders though. Although one seldom goes far from port, the thing about cruising is you go someplace over a period of days and you have your own place for your stuff. We also have fun running lines from a certain movie when we board a ship. We're basically in a kind of honeymoon with cruising and we hardly think of destinations that don't have harbors, unless it's to visit family or friends. Traveling on a Celebrity ship for the first time will be a fun thing for us. It's clearly going to be different in lots of small ways. Celebrity seems to be encouraging the skippers to be out on social media so we've been following @captainkatemccu and @captainsympouras on Instagram. The latter is our skipper this cruise. See you on board and remember, every day that the funnel is above the keel is a good day.
  14. These comments make me curious to experience it for myself. It will be a long while before I would end up on the Edge, though.
  15. I feel this is what Elton John would look like if he changed careers.
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