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About MWBearFan

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Half Moon Cay

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  1. My wife bought me a cheap rubberlike ring that I switch to when leaving the ship so I don't risk losing my wedding ring again. My original one came off in Lake Michigan when were at the dunes (sad times)... At least the Jeweler felt sorry for us and gave us a nice discount on replacing it. And thank goodness it was mine and not hers. But from that point on I wear the cheap rubber one when I go swimming or when I'm on a shore visit on a cruise.
  2. We were on the Victory last October. My wife's second cruise, my first. We had a blast and were sad to get off the ship. As you noted you're well aware it's not exactly the newest ship in the fleet, but, it didn't "feel" old to us. It was well maintained, clean, and well appointed. Crew and stewards were all friendly, and everyone we were around seemed to be having a good time. We were on a 4 day Bahama cruise we stayed in an aft balcony and loved the view. While it may not have all the bells and whistles that the newer ships have what it does it does well. We had a great cruise director in Philipee (sp?) There's something for everyone. What's the itinerary? Ours was Half Moon Cay (amazing), Nassau, sailing out of Miami. Half Moon Cay was amazing, beautiful private island beach and the "I wish I could stay here forever" sign says it all. Nassau we weren't as impressed with but enjoyed our time at the Warwick Resort day pass. The food on the ship was all good with exception to the lido buffet for dinner we weren't impressed with that. We loved Guy's, Blue Iguana, Pizza Pirate, and the Main Dining room. If it's available I'd recommend Faster to the Fun, found in the excursions page in your booking. We felt it was well worth it. We were on the ship within 30 min of arriving at the port, our room was ready when we got on board, didn't have to wait in line at customer service, and we were on/off the ship quickly for ports and debarkation.
  3. Another thing to consider is security. Saving money to leave your car in a sketchy area is not worth the risk. Organized Chaos had a good tip to use Google satellite view to get a feel for each lots situation. We cruised out of Miami last October and chose to park at the port in their enclosed garage as it has 24 hour security and we'd heard horror stories about off port parking of people returning find their cars broken into and even one case where someone returned to find a homeless person sleeping in their car. Now I'm sure many have cruised out of Miami and had no problems but we chose to pay the 22/night for peace of mind. Definitely research the lots the areas, as well as cost. Sometimes security is worth a little extra cash. We can't speak for any port other than Miami though as that was our first cruise. Our next one is out of Port Everglades but we won't have a vehicle to park.
  4. Definitely agree with arriving a day early and staying overnight if at all possible. Depending on where you live vs the cruise port flying out is ideal. Our first cruise was last October and we decided to drive 16+ hours from Indiana to Orlando two days prior and and drove the final 3 hours the morning of embarkation. Never again we were still recovering when we finally got to the ship. never again. You want to arrive at your ship well rested and ready to relax and enjoy your tropical vacation. It's an experience you will never forget, and likely will be hooked as we were. Try not to over plan, focus on enjoying the moments and keep in mind that anything you may miss out on you can do on your next cruise. Go with the flow, do what you want (within the rules of course :P) Experience new things. You can do as much or as little as you want. 7 days is a good length of time you should have at least a couple sea days to explore the ship. Our October cruise on the Victory was just 4 days and we had a blast but wished we could have had more time to explore. We are also booked on the Breeze for an 8 day cruise in 2021. Treat the staff with respect and take time to interact with them, they work hard to make your vacation special, and they are away from their families for long stretches of time. The interaction is welcome and makes them feel appreciated. Pay attention to time when in port. Ships time trumps local time if they say be back on board by a set time be there and good practice to be back a little early. If your not on the ship when it's ready to leave it will leave without you. You don't want to be one of those people running down the port watching their ship sail away. That said on our cruise it did seem that they were a little lenient in this area as the ship didn't set sail right at the time just don't rely on that leniency. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, and meds you think you'll need like motion sickness, aspirin, Tums, etc. While you can buy on the ship it's marked up cause they know they got you. Packing is a balance of bringing just what you need without over doing it. Where that balance lies depends on the person. One tip though is to plan versatile wardrobe that can be modified/accessorized to have variety. Plus you'll probably spend more time on the cruise in your swim wear than regular clothes, and you can wear the same outfit for multiple elegant nights again think versatility over quantity. Cruising has a learning curve and the best teacher is experience. We learned things good and bad on our first cruise that we'll carry into our next cruise and so on.
  5. I'm sure marketing plays into it as it always will but it's not the only factor. Consider it from a business standpoint, overhauling/refurbishing vs building brand new. The cost difference of overhauling an existing ship verses building a brand new ship even of similar size. The older a ship is more there's only so much can be done to update it without making major changes to layout/cabins, public areas, and venues. They do mention in their ship descriptions of these rebranded ships that they have been rebranded, though it's not plastered all over the advertising so those not familiar with cruising could easy think "new ship" when it's only partially new, the shell and much of the guts are the same but from an appearance and feature standpoint it is newish.
  6. I remember seeing that before our first cruise last October and asked here about it. As others have pointed out it's not a hard limit. It's a suggestion. I think they put this out there to cut down on people going nuts and bringing several bags. You probably could bring 2 checked bags each and 1 carry-on each, but as other's mentioned you might find that 2 bags and a carry-on each will be more luggage than you need. And if your flying it's extra money for baggage that you likely wouldn't need. We were on a 4 day Bahama cruise on the Victory and we both checked one bag, and our carry-ons. We realized soon we'd overpacked, which is so easy to do. We each had a checked bag and one small carry-on. The night before the cruise we were pulling things out of our luggage for the cruise to just leave in the car. I've heard people say pack what you think you'll need then remove half of it. One thing to remember is you'll often be in swim wear and, even though on a 7 day you likely have more than one elegant night you can always pack to wear a variation of the same outfit and nothing says you have to attend both nights. We're booked for an 8 day and are considering packing what we did for the 4 day cruise for our 8 day cruise.
  7. We are booked for a cruise on the Breeze in April of 2021 and of course no excursions are yet available we do want to purchase it. I'm sure it won't be till sometime in 2020 or early 2021 that it will become available along with the other excursions. We booked through our cruise through a Carnival personal vacation planner who made the process easy. I could shoot her an email and ask about being put on an early waiting list and maybe get it added as soon as it's available. One thing I know people have said in other posts regarding it is that even if it's sold out today, keep checking as sometimes people drop it and you might be able to get it.
  8. Our first cruise together was last October on the Victory and we did get the faster to the fun. I can't with any certainty with regards to the orange tape. I do know that all our tags and boarding passes had the FTTF logo clearly printed on them. It does seem like we had tags like the orange one in the picture posted by PortSideCruzan. It's even possible that is still on my luggage. As I haven't cruised without FTTF I can't compare cruising with it to without it. Like many things on a cruise it can be subjective. Some will say it's totally worth it and would never not get it (at least till they reached the status where those perks are earned). Some will say it's a total waste of money. For us we felt it was worth it. We liked arriving at the Miami Port and having a special entrance, and being able to skip the wait/lines and were on the ship within 30 min of arriving at the port. We liked being able to stop by our room, have our cards and drop our bags off and go off and eat and explore. Priority access to customer service was also nice. One time we had a guy behind us in the priority line waving his platinum card, we just laughed as we talked to customer service. Being on the tinder boats early for Half Moon Cay was great as well as being able to get off the ship early on debarkation day. We personally feel it's worth it and will get it on our upcoming cruise. I feel like it's worth trying once. But really asking others and researching what you get with it will help in deciding it's worth it to you. Essentially you are paying for some of the loyalty perks that diamond and platinum cruisers get.
  9. We are looking forward to it. We've heard so much good about the Breeze. We had a great time on the Victory last October. if only it wasn't 700+ days to go.
  10. Read on a review that someone had followed suggestions to use a clip similar to what you'd use to clip your towels to a chair to keep the door slightly propped. We'll have to try this on our next cruise.
  11. This is good to know. I know there are lots of threads on this topic, it does matter how that cash is handled. Our last cruise we had a really good room steward so we left him cash and a nice thank you note before we left our cabin on debarkation day. I'd have hated to have that cash taken from him to be "redistributed" when he deserved it. If cash given were to be redistributed it'd make giving gift cards a better idea. We brought an envelope with ones for tipping.
  12. If you haven't already and it's still available consider adding FTTF (Faster to the fun). We did that on our previous cruise and it was well worth it to have pretty much priority everything. Having your cabin ready when you board after an expedited boarding process so you don't have to lug your carry on with you when you do the obligatory first day lunch and exploring is so nice. Not having to wait in line at guest services and priority tinders, etc. edit - I'll second or third or whatever to the melting chocolate cake that was amazing. The smoked salmon filet was great and I'm pretty picky when it comes to fish. Also do make a point to go to the welcome aboard show, you can win things like excursions, drink packages, internet, etc. You fill out a raffle ticket and they draw for lots of things to give away. We won a $90 kayak adventure.
  13. On my last cruise one night I did order two entrees because I couldn't decide which one and there was no up charge. They are very flexible it's part of the cost of the cruise, you can get what you want, if you don't want an entree you can get a couple appetizers or an entree sized app, or any number of options. The only reason I could see them considering charging for this in the future is if a lot of people order excessive amounts and there is excessive waste. I'd only ever order what I feel like I can eat. The entrees aren't huge portions anyway so don't feel bad ordering extra.
  14. One thing you have in your favor is booking through the cruise line as if something goes wrong they will assist you in getting rerouted and join the ship. Not a fun scenario but it's better than missing the boat and having your vacation sail away without you. Coast to coast is a long trek and things can and do go wrong. Bad thing is that with your work situations that extra day isn't possible. Flying in the day of would make me nervous, and a flight that long would have you wiped out by the time you got to the ship. I can't really speak from experience as I've been on one cruise, my wife has been on two. Our first cruise together was last October (we got lucky and had beautiful weather 90% of our trip) We actually drove 16 hours from Indiana to Orlando and stayed two nights in the Drury Inn near Universal. Then the morning of drove the 3 1/2 hours from Orlando to port of Miami. We have another cruise booked but are definitly planning on flying in the day before. In our case it's a little over a 3 hour flight. Our choice to drive (and we love road trips) wiped us out by the time we boarded. Even two nights in Orlando as we spend one day with some friends there. We were dragging much of our 4 night cruise. If you can get an evening/night flight that would allow you to arrive the day before that would sure help even if that day is spent crashing/recovering. Being refreshed as much as possible prior to boarding is ideal.
  15. 754 days. We'll be on the Carnival Breeze on an 8 day southern Caribbean cruise out of Ft Lauderdale. Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Bonaire, Aruba with 3 fun days at sea. It feels like an eternity but gives us something to look forward too. We'll be cruising with my wife's parents and the cruise will be twice as long as our first cruise together on the Victory that only had two stops HMC and Nassau.
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