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About Mercruiser

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA and the Netherlands
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Azamara, Celebrity, Princess
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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  1. No doubt, balconies are nice. I enjoy them too. But people with smaller budgets make due by camping out in the solarium, forward facing lounge, or even the buffet. All of these locations have good views and no weather exposure. I've done this myself on two of my three Alaska cruises.
  2. Correct. We are living in the Netherlands temporarily. So Amsterdam is my "local" port, making it easy to take advantage of last-minute deals. That would be another way to save money on a Baltic cruise: don't book until after final payment. This is a speculative strategy for the Baltic - only some of the cruises have cabin sales after final payment.
  3. Agreed. We went last week on our Reflection Baltic cruise. I thought the price was reasonable on the sea day lunch special: 2 for $55. It is definitely not up to Murano standard. I would not pay full price for this experience.
  4. My observation is that Baltic cruises are generally much more expensive than Mediterranean cruises. I was hoping to go on a Baltic cruise next year (2020) on my favorite cruise line - Azamara. But I got an email about 2 months ago with an "Exciting Deals" last-minute special on a Celebrity Reflection August 25 Baltic Cruise out of Amsterdam. I paid $5,186 USD (grand total with taxes) for two people in an A2 Aqua Class. This included $300 OBC from the TA, which pretty much covered tips. This was the first time in Aqua Class. I loved the open seating dining in Blu. Another way to save money on a Baltic cruise is to get a window instead of a balcony. It's mostly too cold to spend much time on a balcony in the Baltic. Conversely, it's easy to get space by the pool on a cool weather cruise. I would have booked a window, but they were sold out and the Aqua Class wasn't much more the the inside cabin on the "Exciting Deals". My only dissatisfaction with this cruise was the port times were too short, especially compared to Azamara. To add insult to injury, Celebrity's "ARRIVAL" times were basically when the ship was approaching the pier. It was another 30 minutes after that when you could get off the ship. In contrast, Azamara (owned by the same parent company) arrives early enough so that you can cross the gangway at the published ARRIVAL time (that has been my experience on 3 Azamara cruises). Itinerary for Celebrity Reflection Aug 25 2019 Baltic cruise DATE PORT ARRIVAL DEPARTURE Sun, Aug 25, 2019 AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS -- 5:00 pm Mon, Aug 26, 2019 AT SEA -- -- Tue, Aug 27, 2019 BERLIN (WARNEMUNDE), GERMANY 9:00 am 11:00 pm Wed, Aug 28, 2019 AT SEA -- -- Thu, Aug 29, 2019 HELSINKI, FINLAND 10:00 am 6:00 pm Fri, Aug 30, 2019 ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA 7:00 am -- Sat, Aug 31, 2019 ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA -- 6:00 pm Sun, Sep 01, 2019 TALLINN, ESTONIA 7:00 am 4:00 pm Mon, Sep 02, 2019 STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN 9:30 am 4:00 pm Tue, Sep 03, 2019 AT SEA -- -- Wed, Sep 04, 2019 COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 10:00 am 6:00 pm Thu, Sep 05, 2019 AT SEA -- -- Fri, Sep 06, 2019 AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS 6:00 am --
  5. A couple more pictures for Celebrity Reflection Cabin 1504 View of the bridge wing from the balcony. The Relaxation Lounge is just a couple of steps away from 1504, providing a quiet place to read with forward facing views. There is a tea station in here. The balcony furniture and view. Here is an overall view of the gym, located above these cabins. 1504 is below the last treadmill in the distance.
  6. SHIP: Reflection CABIN #: 1504 DECK #: 11 CLASS: A2 AREA: Starboard forward BED NEAR: Bath QUIET?: Cabin is below gym. We were woken up every day at 5:45 am to scraping noises. Presumably, equipmement is being moved to get ready for 6:00 a.m. opening. During the day, there are loud thuds as people drop the weight stacks. Bring earplugs if you stay in this area. BALCONY VIEW: Mostly unobstructed. Bridge wing is visible on left. Does not interfere with view. BALCONY SIZE: Standard. Has recliner chairs with footstools. Very nice WIND A PROBLEM?: No SOOT A PROBLEM?: NO PROBLEMS/COMMENTS
  7. You might want to read the descriptions of Schwerin and Rostock in the Lonely Planet Germany boom. They don't speak very highly of Rostock. We didn't go to Rostock, so I cannot say from personal experience.
  8. This is a two part trip by train . 1) Local train from Warnamunde to Rostock Hbf. About 30 minutes, leaves every 15 minutes. 2) Rostock Hbf to Schwerin Hbf. About 60 minutes, one train per hour. From Schwerin Hbf, it's a 20 minute walk, or a 8 euro taxi, to the Castle. Once at the castle, you visit the beautiful grounds, visit the inside of the castle (signs in English), and take a 90 minute boat ride on the lake that surrounds the castle. You can also visit the town of Schwerin. It has many historic buildings and some other museums. This is an easy and enjoyable DIY excursion.
  9. We did a DIY trip to Schwerin Castle today. It’s about 90 minutes away by train. The cost to get there is 27 euro, RT, total for two people using a “Mecklenburg Lander” ticket that you buy online or from the train station ticket machine. The grounds are beautifully set on the lakefront. We also to a 90 minute boat cruise on the lake. This is a very enjoyable outing from Warnamunde.
  10. Here is Reflection waiting for us at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam.
  11. My preferences are in descending order: 1) Vancouver to Seward (or reverse) 2) Vancouver RT 3) Seattle RT I prefer Vancouver over Seattle because the ship sails the Inland Passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The scenery is great and the water is smooth. In contrast, Seattle RTs head out though the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the open Pacific and then sail offshore on open waters up to Ketchikan. There is no scenery on this stretch because the ship is too far from land. They repeat this on the way back. Of the two Vancouver options, I prefer 1) because you don't spend time backtracking to Vancouver. You get more time in Alaska on a one way cruise. The prices are generally lower too, offsetting some/all of the cost of flying to Anchorage.
  12. The tiny cars are popular in Amsterdam because they are allowed to use the bike lanes and park with the bikes on the sidewalk. I just looked up the rate for a parking garage in the central district: 55€ per day. I never drive to Amsterdam. I always take the train.
  13. Good luck with your live blog. We will see you onboard at the meet & greet.
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