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About StrawberryHill

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    Cool Cruiser

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    San Pedro

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  1. All the photos taken during the cruise are included. They always take a photo when you get on board and during the sail away party if you attend that. If the photo is posted in the photo gallery you can take it to the photo desk and they will scan it into you thumb drive. Then you can take the photo back to you room and throw it in the drawer with all of the other paperwork. We ended up with close to 100 on the last cruise ( 15 days ) with all of the casual portraits and the port photos etc.
  2. Coral 1st, , Ruby 2nd, and then Royal way down the list. Royal is too big with fewer outdoor viewing areas. Coral is smaller then the Ruby wit lots of outdoor areas. No more Island Princess for us because of the additional cabins ruined the ship. WE werer on the Island thru the Panama canal and it was just not the same ship.
  3. HILO: Went to the Tropical Botanical Gardens. Nice easy bus ride form the dock and the excursion left after lunch. This was a gorgeous park for those of you who like flowers and plants. Nice easy hike down the hill to almost the beach and then back up the hill. They do have golf cart service for those who don't want to trek back uphill. The bus driver will let you off in old Hilo if you want to shop. You are are on your own to get back to the ship - about 1 mile There is a small store about two blocks from the dock. You have to cross a fairly busy street and its better to wait for others ( safety in numbers ). They have everything you might need ( Hawaii prices ) and a killer Frappuccino. There is a Margarita bar right next door. It is challenging enough to get across the road back to the dock without tequila in ones system. OAHU: We rented a car ( National at the airport) and drove to the north shore beaches. It takes about 20-30 minutes to get to the north shore. If you plan renting a car, its better to get off the ship early and share a cab with others going to rent a car or cabbing to Pear Harbor. Only a few dollars to get there if you share and $25 coming back at night solo. There was no issue with car availability. Choose any color Subaru you want. When you drive back to the dock ( Aloha Tower ) there is parking ( paid ) right there, or free - for a short time - a block away so you can pick up other folks. The north shore beaches are beautiful. The winter waves were not there, but you could still feel the power standing on the shore. Lots of surfers out. Road traffic was not too bad and there was always parking. Pipeline parking was a little challenging, but its Hawaii. We had a snack at Ted's bakery and then around 1 pm we drove to the Polynesian Cultural Center which does not open until noon. We saw the main canoe show and the island of Tonga show - well worth it. Its pricey though, $65 each to get in plus food. We stayed for a couple of the other island shows and then took off for Waikiki Beach when the Luaus started around 6 pm. Dont try and get near Waikiki Beach at sunset. its a bloody zoo. Drove around looking for parking and then gave up. Drove back to the ship to drop off people and then to the airport to return the car. Gas is cheaper there than in Calif. Made it back on board for 9:30 anytime dining. KAUI: Rented a car ( National ) and drove tp PoiPu Beach. All of the major rental car companies have shuttles that run to the dock every 15 minutes or so. the airport is a couple of miles away. You can actually drive back to the dock and park inside the gate to wait for passengers as long as you stay with the car. Poipu Beach was amazing. Wear water shoes because there are rocks just past the shore. There are a couple of places that are sandy out far enough that you can start snorkeling. the seals showed up and parked themselves on the various beaches to sun and bark at people who act like they have never seen an animal before. The lifeguards were constantly yelling at people to leave them alone. The chickens and roosters were numerous also, hens and chicks right there on the beach. Lots of chickens. " crossing the roads". Ate lunch and had shaved ice at Brennecke's right there behind the beach. There is also a beach rental place right there. $30 for 3 chairs and an umbrella, nice ones. Easy to carry stuff from there to the beach. Parking was very close also, although it got filled up later in the afternoon. Very pretty drive from the cruise dock to Poipu Beach. There are multiple routes so you don't have to see the same things both ways. Again, gas was cheaper than Calif. Takes about 20 minutes. MAUI: Took a cab to Kaanapali beach ( Whalers Village - $20 each way ). There is a bus that leaves hourly from the Lahaina Visitors Center to Whalers Village and back. We missed the bus both ways and did not want to wait an hour for the next one. There is a beach stuff rental place on the ocean side of Whalers Village. $60 for 3 beach chairs and an umbrella - same stuff we got on Kauai - twice as much ? Lunch was also twice as much on Maui. I guess we will go to Kaui if we ever go back to the islands. The beach was great. the tide was coming in so it was a challenge to keep ahead of the surf. We actually got caught by a wave and all of our stuff ( along with everyone else on that stretch ) got soaked. I saved my bottle of beer and my bag with my phone etc. The clothes, books, towels etc. got soaked. The tour catamarans also beach right there in front of where we were sitting. Lots of nice sand along the entire beach and great snorkeling at black rock ( north end of the beach ). The black rock beach area is a bit rocky on the bottom the closer you get to the black rocks. Got back to Lahina to shop before standing inline for the tender. Loooooong tender lines, don't know what the issue was. I think we left port an hour late. I think there were only 4 or 5 tenders running.
  4. Hi, Just wanted to talk about our fabulous 15 day cruise on the Ruby Princess. WEehad a balcony cabin and yes, the extra chair was gone ( I was not sad ) and the small round table with the glass top was still there ( happy !! ). They did embark in groups and we had to wait about 15 minutes before boarding. The cabins were not open until 1 pm so we went to the MDR for a nice relaxing lunch. The four of us sat and ate while somewhat planning our time on board. This was SO much nice than fighting the crazies in the buffet. The ship has been refreshed since we were last on in 2017. The carpets are the same color port and starboard so it was remember which direction off of the elevator and remember which elevator bank you are on. The trip over was a bit rough at times, made swimming in the pool challenging. made going to sleep and night wonderful. The trip back was so smooth you had to remember you were on the ocean. Weather was not an issue. Cool enough to leave the balcony door open at night. The weather on the islands was perfect. The food was outstanding. My wife always takes the headwaiters recommendation for dinner and she was only disappointed one evening. The meal she ordered was swapped out for something different within minutes. Chocolate Journeys ( the one with the pistachio filling ) are worth the trip alone. We do same time dining ( early ). i had the pool pizza once, seemed to not be as good as other times. There were more entree choices, Stromboli and Calif Toast ( Bread with Avocado ). Had a burger one day and it was good. Ate lunch in the MDR more than once. We ate in the Crown Grill one night and it was very good as advertised. The cruise staff was very good and energetic. The passengers talked Gary Golding into doing the YES/NO Gameshow on two nights. Gary was hilarious on Liars Club, He is very talented. Since we had a lot of sea days, the ships officers were out and about a lot of the time. Very easy to chat with. I actually won a life changing prize during a drawing at the end of the one of the Wake Shows. A coaster and a coupon with a chance to win $25,000 in a casino game. they shot the Wake show at 3 pm every afternoon from various parts of the ship and we would stumble across them once and a while. Did not do trivia or Bingo or gamble in the casino - read three books, all from the library on board. They must have gotten some new stock. The production shows were pretty good. One good magician and one who drug his acts out waaay too long. He did do close up in the Explorers lounge later in the week and was Very Good. Only watched the singer ( Bryan Cheatham) one night. We had seen the comedian / impersonator (Mike Wilson) on other cruises. Music was good, the house band was Main Offenders, There were two duos, a woman guitar player and the required Ukulele player. One other thing I did new this time, brought on board some bottles of coke ( always do that ) and this time I ordered a bottle of rum (1/2qt) thru room service for $15. Lasted almost the whole cruise with a drinks and snacks almost every night on the balcony before dinner. Cheaper than $8 rum and cokes from the bar. Bought the prepaid water - 24 bottles - used them all up. At $16 dollars it was well worth it. Yes, the women wanted the photo package. Each couple came back with 125+ photos ?????????????? More stuff for the storage boxes. Wife bought the soda package, no more stickers on the cruise cards, They scan the card or you can just give the barkeep the tumbler and it will be refilled. the tumblers were nice this time. May keep this one. Digital door openers by each door. Did not have any issues except having to wait what seemed like a long time to get the door to unlock. We mss the mail boxes, sort of like home when you go to look to see if there is any mail. Not the same when its laying on the bed or on the floor under the door. We put out future cruise deposit down on a Norwegian Coastal cruise on the Crown next summer. We will see what cards are dealt in the year ahead.
  5. Too bad about Ports of Call. They used to greet the ships from a loud speaker and everyone would wave from the restaurants as the cruise ship sailed by. The Missouri will sometimes salute with a horn blast. it will be interesting on the 24th when we sail on the Ruby. The coast guard will also escort the ship out of the channel with guns manned.
  6. I was going to reserve 12 bottles today for our trip next week and the choice is no longer there. Oh well, we will drag a few bottles along and refill them as needed.
  7. Three years ago we watched the final four and the championship game on the MUTS screen. Sail away and dinner were during the final four and the turnout was sparse. Championship game was a blast to watch. the outdoor area was packed with fans and they were quite vocal. We will be on the Ruby this year during the sweet sixteen, regionals and final four Saturday. Looking fwd to watching if its on. Hopefully ESPN international will be televising the games.
  8. There is a free shuttle bus that will take you to the Pier 39 area. If I remember right, Fisherman's Wharf is a short walk from there. Pier 27 is also close to the financial are and the end of the California St. cable car line.
  9. The moment when you first get on board and open your stateroom door for the first time. Its like....ahhhh, I am back at home. We also like getting dressed for dinner, being waited on hand and foot, having the same waiter and busboy every night who have you drink ready when you sit down, and the fun conversation with our cruise mates.
  10. We did one of our Alaskan with our sons when they where 16 and 13. We booked thru the friends and family discount and had to book with an adult in each room ( to get the cheap fare - ocean view rooms). When we got on board we went to the passenger services desk and had them switch the room keys so both boys were in their own room. They knew the oldest was 16 so there was no problems doing this. We had rooms next door with no connecting door. No issues at all during the week.
  11. You get a sofa bed as you would in a mini suite. the room is much smaller than a mini suite room so it feels cramped with more than two people. With just two people you get a couch to lounge on. Even with two people it seems like a smaller room than a regular balcony room. There is less space to store stuff.
  12. We ordered two cases for our Panama Canal cruise last year. We went thru both with none left over.
  13. We have went on the rainforest walk and went to the lumberjack show. Both were fun and not too expensive. We have also just meandered thru the shops on the boardwalk along the river where the "houses of ill repute" used to be.
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