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About ArmchairQB

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Hamilton, ON, Canada

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  1. Don't forget a waterproof camera. Enjoy.
  2. We booked with the following in early May, although the tour was with Ecotours. https://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com The Belize City tour part is really just the drive out and in of the city. The site tour was fairly good. The transportation was very good. One of those airport car rental buses. Not crowded and the guide was interesting. There is a quick stop to try some local exotic wine (e.g. cashew). Most of the excursion is travel. We spent about an hour at the site and climbed 2 structures. (from the side) There is a cantina at the site, along with a number of local vendors. We stopped at the cantina and had a snack and some beer before leaving.
  3. We were there in early May on the Magic. The Breeze was also there and beat us to the dock. We left the ship around 10 or so and there were no free chairs anywhere. We had a beach blanket and just found a spot on the narrow strip of sand (maybe 20 feet) between the water and the first set of chairs. The water is nice but there is heavy seaweed on the sand if you venture out. Don't put your stuff too too close to the water. A large vessel went by and the wake washed up on shore and soaked a number of peoples stuff.
  4. Check out Mystic Snorkel. We were in Cozumel in early May. I booked them because I did not want to be in a large group. They only book small groups. Here is a overview of our morning with them. - Booking was easy by email. Deposit by PayPal. USD Cash remainder when you arrive. - Taxi from port was easy and inexpensive. $10USD with tip. - Cucci from the company called out to us as we were walking towards the boats. He then guided us to the pier where they dock. - He gave us the bad news. The other group had missed the ferry and we were on our own. lol - They fitted us with equipment and even had prescription glasses for my wife and daughter. The equipment looked new. - The boat is not very large. As we left the marina we could see the other larger boats also hiding out to the reef. But smaller boat means faster speed and after a minute or 2 we lost sight of the pack. To get in the water you go over the side - you can go feet first. Getting back on board is by ladder over side. A bit tricky to get your fins off and climb the ladder but the guide and driver will help you. - We were offered life vests but for some reason didn't take them. I am still not sure why. We are strong swimmers but my girls had never snorkelled before. Best decision ever. The guide will throw a life ring in the water with you and honestly we all floated with little effort. (just stay horizontal most of the time) I have always found the vests to be a pain. - We went to El Cielo first. Amazing. Not much to see other than numerous starfish but worth the quick stop. - Columbia reef - amazing - and the best snorkelling I have done anywhere (I've been to Playa del Carmen, Key Largo, Anguilla, Jamaica). There is a current so you literally just hang horizontal and drift. The guide (we had Sebastian) will point out eels, pick up a conch shell for you, etc. We saw 2 green sea turtles, barracuda, sting rays (small ones) and teams of fish that will surround you as you swim. The other groups were here - swimming in circles, if they weren't lined up to get off the boat. - Palancar was next. This is more for divers as it is deeper water with more elaborate coral. The depth makes it hard to get a good snorkelling experience. Sebastian asked if we wanted to try something else and we said yes. So we went to 4th spot. Lots of fish again. - They then dropped us off at Albertos Restaurant for lunch. (literally on the beach) This is maybe the owners place, not sure? The food was authentic Mexican (my MIL lives on the south Texas border) and a little cheaper than the cruise ship pier area. However the taxi ride was about $25+tip wiping out the savings. They will drop you on the beach anywhere on the way back - Paradise Island, Mr Sanchos, no problem. - I tipped the guide and boat driver $20 each. - We also had fresh fruit and soft drinks. The fruit was really good, especially the mangos.
  5. Something else I just thought of. The first thing I checked when I arrived in the room was the state of the fridge. The room (8400) one of those thermocouples as its cooling mechanism. The fridge was not cold. I decided to not ask for a new fridge (yes you can do this) but rather to just use our cooler. But, we did put a few things in the fridge and they DID get cold. Not just cool but cold. So if you notice that the fridge is not cold, don't panic. I would add that if you open and close the fridge very often, this type of fridge probably won't work very well.
  6. Yes, the tips are automatically added to your account on the last evening. They are based on a daily rate per person. There are entire threads about the concept of tipping and extra tipping. My personal opinion is that the staff is not well paid and I like to leave an extra tip to the wait staff and the cabin steward. Now I suppose if I didn't ask anything extra of the cabin steward (we asked for ice once for our cooler and received it every day afterwards without asking) or if we had Anytime dining with different wait staff each night - I may not have tipped extra. We were quite attached to our dining team and wanted to tip extra.
  7. I booked early in March for the Apr 28th sailing. Thanks. There were a number of people doing this on the last night. Yes, they were both there. That was nice for us because we talked about the Horizon cruise while in line. A good way to start. Thanks.
  8. ?? I do take my cell phone but to save roaming it is in Airplane mode when we enter the US. BTW, Hub cn be installed on iPads as well.
  9. Yes, but for those of us without US plans in Airplane mode....
  10. We are just off the Magic and sailed on the Horizon last August. Bought premium wifi on my account both times and shared it. Only one device can be connected at a time. You just enter the Folio number linked to the purchase and the month/day of birth on the S&S card that purchased it (through the Hub app). You kick whoever is connected off. You could share it amongst as many people as you want but only 1 person can use it a time. We paid $5 for the Hub app chat on the Horizon but didn't get it on the Magic. It worked fine (no need to buy any internet) but we found we were always together so no need to chat. 🙂. We thought the kids would go off on their own but they did not. You do need to leave the app open on your phone to receive the chat. I believe you will still get them if you close the app and receive a message - but not until you open it again. It was reliable on the Horizon but others have noted long lags on other ships. Download HUB before you board. It can be confusing to download after you have boarded the ship. (You need to connect to carnival wifi and go to carnival.com after you board)
  11. The Magic atrium is a great space. I do feel that these ships have so many areas to hang out in (including your room) and so crowds are not an issue. Getting a seat in Ocean Plaza during trivia was a bit tricky though.
  12. 7. Listing of all activities and you can "Like" them and get reminders. It will not work off the ship. Not intended for that. You need to be on Carnival WIFI. DEFINITELY download it BEFORE going on the ship. The Guest Service line on Day 1 is full of people trying to figure out how to install it without internet. (HINT: Connect to Carnival wifi and You open your browser and go to carnival.com)
  13. We are just off the Magic and sailed on Horizon last August. We don't understand all the "crowded" comments. Just avoid the main pool (there are other options on both ships) and you'll be fine. There are lines at some buffet stations (deli, Mongolian wok) but they were not unrealistic. To avoid breakfast lines go to Ocean Plaza. A simple Continental breakfast and plenty of indoor/outdoor seating.
  14. We are just off the Magic and sailed on the Horizon last August. We had Premium on both. I found the speed and reliability to be exactly the same. I hope you know that you only need 1 person in the room to buy it. We are a family of 4 and had no issues sharing the connection. We just kept kicking each other off when someone wanted to connect.
  15. We are just off the Magic and sailed on the Horizon last August. We did not book a Havana cabin last summer but did use the hot tub after 7PM. The pool was way too cold to use after 7PM. We liked the area as the view of the wake is better than at Tides. But we found (on both trips) that we had no trouble getting chairs in the Tides area and there were not many kids. Could be because school was still in. The Magic has the added advantage of 4 hot tubs on deck 5 with your choice of any chair you want. Want sun/shade just go to the other side of the ship. I would vote to not pay extra.
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