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About AL3XCruise

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, RCI, X
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean, Alaska

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  1. AL3XCruise

    Cruise ship funnels

    As far as aesthetics, there is an elegance to two funnel designs like Disney. In practice, whatever takes up the least amount of deck space tends to be the best, though I am partial to the old RCI funnels with the fully elevated lounge.
  2. AL3XCruise

    Would You Take a Seven Day "Stationary" Cruise?

    I agree there are plenty of places where the opportunity to explore for multiple days would be great. Most, however, probably have good alternatives compared to a cruise ship. NYC is a good example of an exception: the cost of a hotel room, food, and entertainment in Manhattan would certainly be more than that of comparable cruise accommodations. In most places, however, I'd lean towards a resort or traditional hotel if I was staying more than a few days AND the ship was not providing me with transportation to/from the location. Queen Mary and QE2 are both stationary, though I think they are marketed more as "floating hotels" than "docked cruise ships".
  3. I'm a big fan of Bermuda. Bermuda has snorkeling, beaches, forts, caves, various boat options, and more. One thing I love about a multi-day stay there is the ability to plan my own adventures; between the great public transit and not needing to hurry back to the ship, you have a lot more options! Based on what you like, I think it might be a good fit. I'd suggest checking out the Bermuda board here for more specific suggestions and making sure my supposition is correct! I've never been to Perfect Day, so I can't comment on that. Obviously PC and Miami have a lot going on, but if I were visiting them (and I have) I wouldn't consider an 8 hour stop on a cruise as the best option. I can't speak on Adventure OTS either as I've never been on that class of ship. Regarding the Escape, I'm a fan, and it has most of the on-board activities you are looking for. You can check for details on both ships, but Escape has a massive ropes course, nice slides, and basketball. There are multiple pools, but as is typical of a ship that size they can be quite crowded. Comedy was excellent, normally three shows (two family friendly and an 18+) every other night, alternating with dueling pianos. Choir of Man, now the headline show on Escape, is regarded by many as one of the best shows on any ship... short of a full up Broadway musical I tend to agree. Lots of live music options in different lounges and bars. One really nice feature of the Escape is the "Waterfront" on deck 8. It is an outdoor deck that wraps most of the way around the ship with seating, bars, and a few restaurant options. Its a nice option if you want to be outside but want something quieter than the pool deck. However, there are always some negatives. You mention trivia: it is held in the atrium where seating can be at a premium. You probably need to arrive fairly early to get a good seat. I didn't pay attention to bingo. There is karaoke, but it is in only one of several venues that have entertainment. The pizza is available most of the day, but not particularly good. When I was a teenager I probably wouldn't have cared, but I notice now. Not bad, but I'd put it on par with average frozen pizza you heat up at home. I also found the Escape to be a very pleasant ship during the school year; it may feel a lot more crowded when schools are out and there are lots of 3rd and 4th guests in cabins. Adventure OTS probably suffers from this as well, but I don't know how it compares. A few pictures of the Escape that might be relevant to you; The Waterfront Slides and Ropes Course Main Pool (right around freezing weather in NYC) Forward sundeck and Hot Tub
  4. OK. That's how A LOT of industries work. Revenue management has been a thing for many years. You can view it as wrong, but if you choose to do business with industries that price dynamically, you either need to try and use the system to your advantage and take the risk of late bookings or accept that you were happy with price you paid, when you paid it, and move on. If you consider it bad customer service, that's your right. But you know that is what it's going to be going in, yet chose to do business with the company anyway.
  5. AL3XCruise

    Bermuda help

    I lover Bermuda and have been there on several cruises, likely with around 10 days in port total. Never ran out of things to do, and enjoyed exploring on my own schedule via public transit. When I only have a few hours in a port, it feels much more important to carefully plan everything, choose packaged trips or excursions, etc. That said, @LHT28 is right it depends on what you want. I think most people will be happy in Bermuda, but for details I'd suggest posting in the Bermuda forum (link below) and letting people know what you are looking for. They can give you details on beaches, snorkeling, caves, zoos/aquariums/museums, shopping, sightseeing, and much more. Also, "Being on the water" can have different meanings, but there are tons of ferries and sightseeing boats in Bermuda, so you may be able to enjoy the sea air and the view that way if you choose. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/118-bermuda/
  6. Good point; I'll admit that all my cruises have originated in the US and Canada, where multi-port embarkation is uncommon. I'm sure the distance from the port to various attractions will diminish the appeal of certain ports for large ship passengers, but IF the industry is right about future demand I think there will still be plenty of room for all the 200K+ GT ships currently planned. Some ports will likely expand to accommodate the ships, others will invest in transit of some kind, and some will simply focus on smaller ships. Of course, as you said, if they are still ordering these ships at this rate in 15 years, the problem could become much more acute. I agree that right now the lines market the big ships as a destination. As they become more prevalent, its possible the amenities they provide will become standard expectations, pushing ships that size and bigger and forcing ports and cruise lines to figure out viable solutions. Or you may be right that the novelty wears off and the market trends to more flexible smaller ships. The next few years will be interesting! Publicly, cruise executives seem to think growth in the Caribbean will continue. Of course, they have motivations to promote the most optimistic picture! If they are proved correct, it is conceivable that current ships could be replaced by giants at near a 1:1 ratio. Ships in the 100GT range may be moved elsewhere or transferred to other lines. I've seen quotes from line management admitting some US ports have great potential, but the lines are focusing on maximum profitability routes out of Florida and don't have enough ships to expand. I'll admit I don't know nearly as much about other markets, though. I'm not sure how "on the edge" Oasis is with regards to stability. Enclosing the area in glass would have a much smaller impact on center of gravity than actually building out decks (talk about a lot of inside cabins!), which I'm sure would not be possible without major changes. But given the size of the ship, I'm sure even a relatively lightweight enclosure would be something requiring careful evaluation. I agree, though, that it is far more likely to see that kind of change introduced on the Icon than on Oasis 6, if at all. I agree. I also am really looking forward to the World class, as it will be our first time seeing someone other than RCI enter that territory! Sometimes discussions via text sound more like arguments than a friendly conversation, so just wanted to make sure my thoughts were taken in the cordial manner they are intended! Take care!
  7. AL3XCruise

    My Pet Peeve when cruising

    I think the issue with that comparison is that there are a lot more situations on a sail boat (or operating any equipment, really) where taking action without communicating first is inherently dangerous, potentially resulting in injury and damage. Not judging the approach, nor saying there isn't potential for injury if someone gets startled or pushed, but its not quite the same. Reminds me of a recent cruise. A woman with a stroller is trying to get on to a nearly packed elevator, and the passengers are quietly talking to each other about how to rearrange everyone so there is room. The woman angrily complains that the discussion is too loud and these people are going to wake the baby. Of course, her nasty complaint is in a much louder voice than anyone else had been speaking!
  8. AL3XCruise

    Antigua/St. Kitts help needed

    Assuming you want a tour, it is hard to go wrong with Thenford. You do get off the bus and walk around the fort, Romney Manor, and have some time at the beach, so it is not just sitting. Still, if you are looking for an active adventure it may not be what you want. I don't recall the name of the beach, but it was nice enough and had facilities, drinks, and chairs. And it was neat being at a black sand beach. A few pics from the tour:
  9. Assuming you don't want to spring for spa passes and an aft balcony, I'd agree with spa for winter, aft balcony for summer. The spa gets busy, but I never had trouble finding a seat. It isn't like the pool deck!
  10. I tend to agree, though I wouldn't be surprised if the final number hasn't been arrived at yet. I would imagine the design continues to evolve as features are added or removed up until substantial construction begins. With MSC entering the 200+ GT club, they are dramatically closing the gap between the Oasis class and the "next biggest" ship. It doesn't surprise me that RCI wants to make sure their flagship class remains well beyond the competition in terms of size and amenities. First purpose built cruise ships to have that status, at least, and they seem to have marked the start of the big ship era. The pace since Sovereign launched is crazy. Carnival Destiny was actually the first cruise ship to supplant all the the Atlantic Liners and earn the title of the biggest passenger ship ever.
  11. AL3XCruise

    Picture-A-Week 2019 - Week 10

    Nice set up. I can see why you used that more ;). And that focal reducer is definitely on my to get list... problem is, the list is just too long!
  12. AL3XCruise

    Picture-A-Week 2019 - Week 10

    One of the Meade SCTs or a reflector? The focal length on the SCT is a challenge, but it is way more portable than an 8" scope the same size! Wish I had some dark skies more conveniently located, but the 8" is small enough to take on a trip (assuming travel by car).
  13. AL3XCruise

    Why am I being charged for Free at Sea Gratuities

    Bingo! One way or another everything is priced in. A "Freebie" and any associated gratuities will somehow be reflected in the base rate, service charge, etc. on any line. Now certain people may find certain combinations of perks/fees/base rate on different lines that work best for them, but it requires some research to figure it out. Certainly it would be nice to have more transparency so you could accurately compare prices without a spreadsheet, but I think its safe to say that isn't going to happen! That said, NCL certainly has shown themselves to be very good at this type of marketing. After all, there is a giant asterisk at the heart of the Escape!
  14. AL3XCruise

    Picture-A-Week 2019 - Week 10

    So after taking photos of the Blood Moon I got interested in doing a little astrophotography. This was the first time the weather has cooperated so I decided to try a few shots of the Orion Nebula. Any good results are primarily due to the quality of my equipment since I know very little, and in the interest of getting done quickly in below freezing temps I applied even less... From Polar Alignment to Processing this could be better, but its a fun start! Single 20 second exposure at ISO800, 2032mm f/10 Telescope. 30 seconds would have been better, but my mount wasn't well enough aligned. Even this was pushing it. In the future I'll try stacking multiple exposures.
  15. AL3XCruise

    My Pet Peeve when cruising

    I agree. I find the broad generalizations very frustrating as well. The fact is, people choose a cruise line based on many factors, including budget, on-board atmosphere, activities and shows, itinerary, loyalty programs, and more. I know plenty of people who could easily afford (and have been on) top tier lines that frequent RCI, X, and other mainstream or "premium" mainstream lines. It also assumes that because that and expensive, sophisticated line won't have people sneezing without using tissues and always washing their hand. In my experience that's difficult to substantiate. Even in those groups, you get the good and the bad. The point is, there isn't a simple solution that both 1) provides the experience someone is looking for and 2) prevents you from experiencing certain behavior from other passengers. I'm not sure what the motivations are for people who suggest this, but there posts often seem more pretentious than helpful.