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About jeph

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Western Massachusetts
  • Interests
    Travel, photography, design, technology, art, architecture, wine, cooking, dining
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity, Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. ecs66, I miss the pre-cell-coverage, pre-ubiquitous-internet era of cruising, which was already drawing to a close in 2001, when I first sailed. While I do take a moment to check my email in port, there's a lot to be said for being at least a bit OUT OF touch while out to sea...like Ye Olden Days! 😊
  2. Again, thanks to you all for all the excellent info. Regarding the phone, I've never been one of those people who are joined at the hip with their cell phones-- I almost never have it on unless I'm trying to rendezvous with a friend or family member. And I can't believe how much people spend on them. I only upgraded to an actual smart phone a few years back when I got a notice from TracFone that my circa 2011 model-- which featured a teeny full keyboard, like a Blackberry!-- would soon cease to be functional, because it was only 2G. Its "new" replacement had hit the market around 9 months before I bought it, so it was already available for half price. I wound up paying 50 bucks for the thing. I like to joke that "My cell phone is so cheap, I'm not even sure it has an airplane mode-- I think it has Trailways Bus mode." 😆
  3. Thank you-- this is a tremendous relief! 👍 As readers probably gathered, I'm not in the "full-on Luddite" category, but not exactly "tech-forward" either. 😆
  4. I'm finding everything I'm reading in these posts-- not to mention within reviews of Caribbean Princess-- just fills me with dread. Where do I even start? 1) The cruise I booked for early August begins in Canada, and stays there for the first half of the ten-day trip. The phone service I've always used-- TracFone-- indicates that the phone isn't even supposed to be TURNED ON when the owner leaves U.S. territory, as it may damage your device. 2) As usual, I plan to bring a travel tablet w built-in keyboard to check emails occasionally while in ports. Like the cell phone, it is an Android device, but without any restrictions about having it turned on outside the U.S. I have no clue if the needed apps could be loaded onto that thing, let alone how. 3) But more to the point, I don't DO apps (unless we're talking about appetizers; I often order several of those.) The only app I've ever added that wasn't already pre-installed was Uber. Supposed to be quick & easy, taking just a few minutes. For me, two-and-a-half hours of moaning, screaming and swearing, and long, drawn-out calls to what are laughingly referred to as the "customer support" departments of TracFone...then to the manufacturer of the phone...and finally to Uber. By the end of this process, (actually, well BEFORE the end of this process!) I was thinking seriously that it would be so much easier just to hurl the phone into a running wood-chipper-- or perhaps to end it all by hurling MYSELF into a running wood-chipper. Does this sound like anybody else out there? 4) The more I had read, the more I wanted to skip the whole "magical medallion" nonsense and just use a cruise card as I had done on every cruise for the last 16-plus years-- until hearing that I might not even be able to get into my own cabin without one of the damn things. And to make matters worse, other than opening my cabin door, it doesn't even do anything I particularly care about, not to mention doing various things I wish it WOULDN'T (as has already been mentioned by several previous posters heard from in this thread.) So what exactly is the deal here? Even after all I've read, it STILL is utterly unclear to me how one gets all the needed info onto that gadget. Why the hell can't I just fill out forms online, as per the usual pre-cruise check-in / credit card setup procedure, and then they can hand me my medallion when I get to the pier? Somebody PLEASE tell me this is possible-- otherwise I may need to fire up the wood-chipper, and throw my reservation into it.😬 😱😖🤬
  5. Okay, that's pretty much what I figured...Thanks to all for the prompt replies & info! 👍 My train home out of NYC won't leave until after 11:30 am, so even if there were to be some delay at the pier, it wouldn't matter...but it's nice to know that's one less thing to get in line for! 🙂
  6. I've booked a Quebec City to NYC cruise for August. I took a similar cruise on HAL's Maasdam back in 2006, but I don't recall how and where U.S. Customs & Immigration paperwork / inspections were handled. Our first U.S. port of call after several Canadian ones was Bar Harbor, as will be the case for this upcoming trip. Would be the details be dealt with there in Maine, leaving us free to exit the ship with a minimum of fuss in NYC?
  7. Brisbane, speaking as a fairly serious wino, raised by a fairly serious wino, (here's to you, ma!) and as the brother of a wino so serious that his collection numbers in the thousands and he's a founding partner in one of the nation's most highly esteemed new wineries, I must take issue with your comment that "awards mean nothing these days". As the prior poster implied, Wine Spectator is no joke-- and their opinions and critical judgements are not for sale. This was the first I recall hearing about their plaudits for Princess, by the way. Meanwhile, for whatever it's worth, I have a bunch of very good Aussie Shiraz bottles in my modest basement collection that should be at their peak in another year or two. Cheers! 🍷😊
  8. Thanks for the info! Sounds like the best of both worlds, since in addition to the opportunity to do some touring ashore, we'll also get to enjoy the same leisurely scenic cruise of the waterway from the comfort of the ship...which makes a very stable platform for photography as well. I will be sure and keep my eyes peeled for those whales, too! 👍🐳
  9. Come on now, Brisbane; don't hold back-- tell us what you REALLY think! 😆 But seriously...I got a look at it about a year ago, when it was introduced fleet-wide in advance of my last trip w Princess-- and I was quite enthusiastic. Just the sort of moderately-priced, high-value choices I favor when I shop for wine-- in fact, I had some personal familiarity with many of the items on their new list. So maybe on your cruise Princess loaded a pallet that had been accidentally stored in a hot attic for six months? 😱 Or maybe, as the saying goes, it's just a case of "there's no accounting for taste", aka "different strokes for different folks". You do have a way with words, at any rate! 😉
  10. Back in 2006, I took a weeklong Montreal to Boston cruise on Maasdam; the scenic sail into and out of Saguenay Fjord (about 50 miles each way) at sunrise was a scenic highlight. I've just booked a 10-night cruise from Quebec City down to NYC on Caribbean Princess for next August, and part of the draw was the inclusion of Saguenay on this itinerary as well. However, unlike the Maasdam trip all those years ago, this time it's clearly a port call, with various excursions offered. I can't seem to find anything on Princess's own website, nor here within CC, which indicates where the ship would be located for the day. Is it along the St Lawrence near the outlet of the fjord, or deep within at La Baie? And is there a pier big enough and a mooring deep enough for the ship to tie up, or are passengers tendered ashore? If you've been on this ship (or one of similar dimensions) before at this port call, or even know someone who has, I'd love to hear from you on this point.
  11. Thanks-- I'd heard that Black Rock was among the best places to go! Do you know if the additional equipment (beyond the mask / snorkel set I plan to bring) would be available up there, or would I need to handle that somewhere in town first?
  12. I will be in Maui (Lahaina-- probably tendering in rather than docked) for the day on the 25th, and am thinking about heading a few miles north to Kanapali beach, which seems to stretch for six or seven miles more and is studded with resort hotels. Can anyone recommend a resort, or for that matter a public beach, with good snorkeling? IMPORTANT-- I will bring a mask of my own, but would want to rent fins, and some sort of safety vest for a bit of added buoyancy.
  13. Looks like a fine selection...I may go with some of those cocktails rather than a beer to cut through the spice of a curry or the like at the lunch buffet. 😎 I also noticed that a longtime family favorite, Lillet, a vermouth infused with a bit of orange flavor, is listed as an ingredient in one cocktail...I certainly hope they'd be willing to just make me a Lillet on the rocks with a twist of orange peel if I ask. Across nearly all the big lines, I think I only saw Lillet on offer once or twice in more than two dozen cruises over the years!
  14. Yeah, I reckon I'd bring my own bottle of Chateau Petrus and let 'em ding me for that fifteen dollar corkage fee
  15. I have only just now seen and read this thread-- I was curious about the topic because I am a "wino" and had heard about the new list elsewhere on the website. While I've read some comments expressing disappointment, I am quite impressed...I'd say the expertise Princess deployed has paid off. I am familiar with many, perhaps most, of these wines, because they are just the sort of bottles I look for and am likely to purchase for everyday enjoyment. They're not too pricey, but provide great VALUE for the money spent. I think it's a better list than most land-based restaurants can boast.
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