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JaneAustenCruiser

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About JaneAustenCruiser

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Michigan
  • Interests
    running, yoga, reading,
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    The next one

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137 profile views
  1. They did!! The crew did an amazing job decorating around the public space and I included one picture of the some of the pastries they did in the Cafe. IT was super fun! They had a lot of Halloween themed events, especially into the night.
  2. My husband and I, dad and stepmom and my sister and a friend were on the Infinity for her sailing from Miami to San Diego through the Panama Canal October 25-November 9. My dad and stepmom have been on lots of cruises, but this was only my second and the first for the rest of the group. We had veranda rooms on 9 (9035, 9037, 9039) right underneath the spa near the stairs. My last cruise was on the Reflection so the Infinity was a little bit of a change. She's in great shape, despite the grousing of some I've seen on this board. I can't believe the work that goes into keeping a ship of this size in such immaculate condition. We had our balcony railing removed for about 4 days so they could refinish it (all railings for the set of rooms to our left and right had this done), but it wasn't an issue for us at all. You can tell the decorating is a little dated, a little work, but honestly, if I hadn't known how old she was, I'd never guessed she'd 'had work done', so to speak. 🤣 All our excursions were from the ship, except for our last one Cabo, which was organized through the travel agent for the group we were part of. Miami: embarkation was great. Much nicer than the last time I was on Celebrity (~1.5 years ago) and embarked out of Ft. Lauderdale. They were doing something to one of the (extra?) engines/turbines while we were waiting for embarkation to begin. I have to say it was entertaining and interesting to watch them mess about with it. They drew quite the crowd in the terminal while they were moving it. It took them a good hour to get it detached from its mount into a the travel container they were putting it in. Sail Away was smooth and delightful. It was really fun getting to introduce the newbies to the ship and our staterooms. Food: I found the food to be excellent in every respect. Oceanview Cafe was great, MDR was excellent, La Petite Chef was very good. We didn't do any of the other restaurants although my sister and her friend went to Tuscan 2x and loved it. My sister felt some things were undersalted, but this is from a woman who salts McDonald's fries. 😂 I'm kind of disappointed that Qsine in just La Petite Chef now. Once you've seen it, that's it. I mean the food was good, but I wouldn't do a repeat on the same cruise. I ate at the Spa Café for the first time on this cruise. Last cruise, I was confused and thought it was part of the Aqua class rooms only. Very nice, good food. Menu stayed the same each day, but it was a good spot for my husband to get his usual power bar/granola bar for breakfast. Two days at sea were great. Little rolley as we headed down to Cartegeña. Cartegeña, Columbia: We did the ship excursion to the Rosario Islands to snorkel and swim for the day. The Isleta resort is tiny and perfect. There were only 25 people on the whole island, not counting the staff as we were the only ship in port that day, I believe. Tons of room to spread out, free snorkel equipment and kayaks, delicious lunch included. They had a roped off swimming area bound on one side by a small pier/breakwater and that provided some fish habitat. I felt snorkeling was fine - it wasn't a reef, but I got to see fish and critters and putz around so I was happy. Water was like bath water - I could've stayed in all day. I usually get cold quickly swimming (Lake Michigan! LOL), so this was great. They did have a local guide who would have taken us out to a better snorkeling spot but he only took cash and I didn't have enough. They had one small vendor on the island selling some handmade items but it was completely unpushy. He sat at his table and if you were interested, you could go look. Perfect day! Speedboat ride back to the ship was a blast because the wind had picked up so we hit some swells and it was sofun going over them at speed. Colon, Panama: OMG, poor Panama! This city is….not great. We didn’t do any excursions (none of them peaked our interest, TBH). We didn’t feel safe in the town at all. We went to the small shopping center right outside the port, bought a few tchotkes and got back on the ship. ☹ Poor Panama. So much potential. Panama Canal: As cool as you think it’s going to be. Amazing feat of engineering, blah blah, etc. It’s all been said before. Nice relaxing day. Brutally hot until we got to Lake Gatún and then it cooled off. Puntarenas, Costa Rica: Wonderful. I’ve been in Costa Rica before and loved it (San Jose and the surrounding countryside). We did a coffee plantation and art tour. Very educational. The tour guide was excellent, giving us a very comprehensive run down of the good and bad in Costa Rice. They have their issues, but what a country! Tempting to think of it as a place to retire. 😄 Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala: Fascinating country! Being a person who is probably part crow, I like anything colorful and shiny. As you can imagine, I spent a LOT of money in Guatemala on their amazing weavings and fabrics. We did a self-guided tour of La Antigua. Bring a coat – it’s not as warm there as you’d think. I would have loved at least 3 days to explore the town. It was honestly packed with people and challenging to navigate but what a fascinating place. My biggest excitement? HANDMADE SHOES!! Go to the Armonía-Harmony shop owned by Mr. José Goméz just off the cathedral square (as you have the front of the cathedral at your back, it is the street heading straight away from the church on the left) for handmade shoes and boots for men and women. I could’ve bought the whole store. He has purses, bags, wallets, belts and etc too. Incorporates the traditional fabrics into many of his designs. Again, the tour guide for the bus ride up on this was fabulous. Volcanos, explanation of country government and culture, super educational! Mazatlán: We were scheduled to stop in Puerto Vallarta, but the captain made the decision to take us to Mazatlán instead since there was going to be 4 other ships in port. God bless him for that! Mazatlán was great, but brutally hot. We walked into town just by following everyone else walking that way and visited the cathedral and the market center. Ate at one of the small restaurants upstairs in the market and I had the best huevos rancheros I’ve ever had. SOOOO good. By the time we got done with the crowds and the small city tour, we took a plumería back. We just could.not.walk.in the heat anymore! My husband was really over the crowds too. Cabo, San Lucas: What a difference from Mazatlán. Not crowded, tender port, much cooler (temp wise). We did a group excursion with the group we were part of (Crochet Crowd) that was a party/snorkel boat. Fun time. Saw sea lions, had some okay snorkeling. The water was a little choppy but it was an overall beautiful day. San Diego: Disembarkation was so easy. I expected to have to fill out a customs form or something, but all we did was show a guard our passport and off we went. I was stunned. Overall, it was a perfect cruise. The ship was in great condition, the crew was wonderful, the food was great, the weather was great. We bought small bottles of alcohol in port (think 5ths or less) for gifts and they went through the scanners and were never confiscated. I kept thinking they’d wrap the stuff up and give it to us when the cruise ended, but they even let us keep the small bottle of rum we’d purchased in Puerto Quetzal for rum and cokes (the port bar had you buy the small bottle and they’d provide the Coke). Weird. My husband practically had to be dragged kicking and screaming off the ship, he loved it so much. We put down a refundable deposit for our next one and he’s already saying, “when are we going to book the next cruise”! One shout-out I must do to Celebrity as a cruise line is that my dad started having some irregular heart beat issues while we were on the ship the day before pulling into port in Guatemala. The medical staff on the ship were amazing. They made a decision to take my dad to Guatemala City to see a heart specialist and arranged transportation, got a translator (whose first language was Spanish – I can speak it more or less, but it was a relief knowing I didn’t have to handle my dad’s medical issues in a foreign language), provided transportation, contacted the home office in Miami, etc. As it turns out, he was pretty dehydrated and his electrolytes were whacked. After a bag of fluids that night in the ship’s medical suite, he felt pretty good by the next day when they transported him to the hospital. He was back the same night. Things looked normal and his tests came out well. Long and short: they could’ve kept him some more time and spent some more money, but it didn’t seem necessary. He was fine the rest of the trip as we nagged him to drink more water! LOL
  3. Just logged into my Celebrity account today to select our last excursion for our upcoming Panama Canal cruise on the Infinity October 25-Nov 9. They have a pretty good sale going on right now. Ended up cancelling the ones I booked at higher prices and rebooking them all. Ended up saving $70 overall for 4 excursions.
  4. Lol, me too! Glad I have a compatriot in the Planning Department. Great review!
  5. Thanks for this - we'll be on Infinity in October for my 2nd and my husband's 1st cruise!
  6. We'll be on the Celebrity Infinity. 🙂 I believe we're there around the end of October.
  7. @soozles Based on what I've read on other posts about the solarium and Spa Cafe, you should be fine. I'm not an expert cruiser in any level, but my novice assumption is that the Adults Only part is to keep kids from running around like maniacs in the pool area and create a more relaxed space. If I was onboard and saw you bring your baby into the area to eat, I wouldn't think a thing about it. 🙂 If I'm wrong, I'm sure one of our more experienced cruisers will show up here to let us both know the true story. The thing I was pleasantly surprised about was that the Spa Cafe was open for all cruisers - my first cruise, I didn't realize that and thought it was just for the Aqua Class passengers.
  8. @laurab23 I had another poster put this website up and I found it incredibly helpful; it talks about room sizes and also provides pictures and layouts: https://www.cruisedeckplans.com/DP/deckplans/index.php. My first cruise in Feb 2018 (Celebrity Reflection) was in a balcony cabin and after that experience, I can't imagine going to a room where you can't open the door to your own private patio! 😄 I just really loved being able to find some peace and quiet out there in the mornings, having coffee, hanging up wet clothes (haha), watching the sunset. I know some people spend very little time in their cabins so for them, an OV would probably be just fine. I liked the availability of the privacy outside without having to fight over a deck chair or whatever. We're heading off to the Celebrity Infinity in October and have booked a veranda cabin. This will be my husband's first cruise and I think he's going to love it. Hope whichever you choose, you have a great cruise!
  9. I took it on the Reflection in Feb of 2018 and as a beginner in wine, I found it fascinating and very enjoyable!
  10. What a great list! Thank you! We have $250 OBC and I was wondering what we'd use it for!
  11. Sorry, forgot one item! One of the locals in Antigua did recommend that if you are going to Antigua and plan to shop the markets, cash is more readily accepted there. S/he said many of the local shops will take cards, but cash is still king, so to speak. 🙂 I'm going to hit the port ATM when we get there!
  12. We'll be on the same cruise!! We too are looking at the self-guided Antigua tour. I've looked at TripAdvisor for some additional information on what's going on locally from a safety perspective and haven't found much that's recent. State Department lists Guatemala as a Level 2, Exercise Caution for crime, but for perspective both France and Italy are Level 2 for Terrorism. 😛 My husband is very cautious and is hoping we can get some more info!
  13. I was wondering if anyone has recently done any of the Antigua tours from either of the cruise ports lately. The last report in the forums I can find looks to be from 2018. A lot can change on the ground, politically, in a country in that amount of time. I'd really like to do the self-guided Antigua tour that Celebrity offers. State Department doesn't list Antiqua's department (county) as a higher risk than Guatemala itself right now (Level 2- Exercise Extra Caution). I'd be happy to hear anyone's stories of their recent visits!
  14. I never realized that the Aqua Spa cafe food was available to all. When I was on the Reflection in 2018, I thought it was just for Aqua Class members! I'll have to remember this for our cruise on Infinity in October!
  15. I was thinking the same thing - how much more is fuel than it used to be, how much extra does the cost of environmental stewardship (worth every penny in my book) add to the cost, wages have gone up, the cost of transporting supplies to the ship cost more. I could go on.. Is some of it trying to plump up their bottom line? Oh, indubitably! But it'd be interesting to see how much their expenses have also increased since the OP started sailing. I went on my first Celebrity cruise last February 2018 and as someone who doesn't (and has never) made 6-figures in any year I've worked, I was completely blown away by the quality, attentiveness, and cleanliness of the ship and her staff. Maybe some of this is #firstworldproblems?
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