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Posts posted by cheffip

  1. Well, that was pretty painless! There was an Express Deal on Priceline for $120 in Condado area, but I decided to go with Hotwire for what I was pretty sure was going to be the Sheraton in OSJ.


    And that's what I got for my 2 night pre-cruise in November for $116/night, plus taxes & fees.



    Old San Juan

    Free Internet, Pet Friendly, Casino, etc.


    I'll get plenty of beach time on the cruise. I love OSJ and this is very convenient. And with this hotel, I only need to pay one taxi fare from the airport to the hotel. I'll drag my bags over to the pier!


    Good one! I'm surprised when people will pay hundreds more for the Sheraton OSJ when it is so easy to identify on Hotwire. Are you on a Carnival sailing? If so they will depart from the old town pier. Celebrity and RCI depart from the Pan Am pier and that definitely requires a taxi.

  2. I really liked the Marriott Stellaris (except for the bartender who completely and totally ignored us one afternoon), and I'd be happy staying there pre-cruise, but I think if I'm solo I'd rather stay in OSJ. It was difficult enough to try to get the Sheraton last time.


    I'd better try to get people to either commit to joining me or not and just move on with my own plans if people won't make up their minds!


    I did start my reading on betterbidding yesterday. I haven't seen any recent posts here about getting the Sheraton OSJ or how it was accomplished.


    I've won the Sheraton OSJ on Hotwire in the past and have seen it in recent Hotwire searches (though not for a Saturday night). It is easy to identify as a 3 1/2 * in OSJ with key amenities that include casino, pool, tennis nearby etc. and others that match up to better bidding.


    I did pretty well and got Marriott Stellaris for $126/night in November on Hotwire. Do your research and give it a shot. It is much better than paying the rack rates! Good luck!


    I noticed a Condado hotel for the same price for our post-cruise night in December. Do you remember if the Stellaris is the one with the 95% approval rating? There weren't many amenities listed.

  4. We also used Thi and were very satisfied. Thi arranged for us to take the Saigon River Express to the Cu Chi Tunnels. The boat ride was wonderful. They served a small breakfast on the way and lunch on the way back. The tunnels were especially memorable. It was one of the high lights of our Vietnam trip.

    If you go way back on our boards it is apparent you will be assured of a memorable tour with either tour company.


    Hi Lesley

    I wasn't aware that the Saigon Express could be arranged as part of a two-day tour. Did you see HCMC highlights on day 1 and do the boat tour on day 2? Was the boat chartered to your group or did you join a scheduled tour?

    - Phil

  5. On our cruise, we arrived in Halong Bay at 1PM so we had 1/2 a day followed by a full day in port. We did our boat trip starting at 2PM the first day and then drove to Hanoi that night....leaving the whole next day for sightseeing. Of course whole day means the part of the day before the 4 hour drive back to the ship. We really had from 8:30am-2pm to visit hanoi. Had we tried to do it in one day, we would have had to leave at 6am (isn't going to happen) and make the 4 hour drive to Hanoi for 4 hours of sightseeing. That's just not worth it...8 hours on a bus for 4 hours of sightseeing.


    Of course the drive can be a little less time...it's traffic dependent...but it will be at least 3 hours.


    Just wondering why you had to head back at 2 pm? I notice our departure is 10 pm so I would think leaving Hanoi at 4 or 4:30 pm would leave enough time even with four hours of driving.

  6. Smile Tours booked our halong bay cruise. In our case, they sent a van and guide from Hanoi to take us to the boat...but that was because we were going to Hanoi with them after the boat trip. They probably have someone local in the halong bay area who could just get you to the boat, get you on the right boat (not so simple),etc. They are reputable, so it's worth asking. You probably want a private boat with lunch rather than joining some other group...I don't think it costs very much more.


    We are also taking the northbound cruise later this year and our group has booked with Smile to go into Hanoi on Day 2. I was wondering about your experience with getting off the ship for the Halong Bay cruise with Smile. Were you able to get off quickly or did you have to wait for the ship's tours to go first? Also, how much time did you have on your tour and do you think you saw anything different from those who took the ship's tour of Halong Bay?

  7. Am I to infer that your balcony cabin from 1/2012 was twice the price of your OV cabin from 1/2013? If so, no wonder you liked the OV with the large window better. ;)


    We were thinking about booking one of these cabins on our upcoming Summit cruise in October, till I contacted our TA and found out that there was a 50 dollar pp price increase, combined with the fact that she had group balcony space. We were able to snag a sweet 16 balcony for only 9 dollars more than the OV with the large window, and we got 75 in OBC to boot. Looking forward to our first Celebrity cruise in 20 years. :)


    In my case there is a $1000 price difference. I'll be happy to just look out the window and spend the money on restaurants, drinks, shorex etc :)

  8. Just back from 3114 on the Summit. There was a constant low-pitch thumping noise in the room and in the hallway next to the room. It really sounded like a big low-rpm diesel engine - I think the diesel installed in 2008 is somewhere below this general area of the ship. The noise diminished towards the aft part of the hallway. The sound was not too loud, but it was certainly noticeable.


    Other than that, it's a great room. The window is huge, the outside wall (hull) is thinner than in forward OV rooms so you sit much closer to the glass, and the curtains go all the way down to the floor just like they do in veranda rooms.


    Anyone else experience the "constant low-pitch thumping noise in the room and in the hallway" noted by BostonRU?

  9. There's a set of double doors to enter the area by Stateroom 3116. and back aft of that section by Stateroom 3140 that leads to the aft stairs/elevator.


    Thanks for your comments. I just booked 3120 on Millennium and I'm assuming the configuration is the same?

    Question: were the double doors by 3116 kept open? Last fall I was in a similar "new" cabin on Grandeur OTS made from the former card room, and there was some noise from opening and shutting of the fire doors nearby.

  10. We were also on the Jan 6 cruise and found the Captain to be very personable, met him several times. Also, it seemed that officers were very visible. Had conversations with several of them. One of them even commented on the Oceania tee shirt that I was wearing one day, took my cabin number and that afternoon I had two Celebrity tee shirts show up in my cabin.


    Have a wonderful cruise.:):)


    Thanks for your comments. What were your impressions of food, service, cleanliness?

  11. I really wish I had not read that last comment. Joining Millie on Sunday and now my anticipation has become apprehension. Surely it can't be that bad.?


    Have a look at recent entries on the December 23, 2012 roll call. A couple of people on that cruise have been posting comments and answering questions and overall they are really very positive about their experience.

  12. I think people are using this section to communicate with people who are going on the same itinerary at different times. Since this is a new route for Celebrity we have all been looking for more information any where we can!


    I agree completely. This is a good thread to share information on this new itinerary (we're on the Feb 17 sailing). I've also been checking the other Millennium Asia roll calls to see what different people are saying, doing and booking.

  13. There are quiet spots to be had at the very front of the ship and at the back. The front would probably be the quietest as it's away from the announcements and any general traffic and there is a very top section which would be very peaceful. Obviously to see the wake you would need to be at the back and the climbing wall is there, but it's not open all the time and even though isn't a particularly noisy activity, and there are seating areas adjacent to it.


    This is a picture which I took of the aft of Grandeur whilst we were docked alongside her earlier in the year.


    Thanks...that's good to know!

  14. RCCL reps have no clue in this regard. :-)


    I got off the GOS on July 2, had cabin 8539 - and am happy to report the window is huge - these cabins share the same windows that were there pre-refurb. During construction, they simply brought each side in by ~1 foot, and built a 'seat' about 18" off the floor. It is a full sized picture window! I have a picture that I will try to post later - but trust me, these cabins have an excellent view of the ocean. :-)


    And, . . . sorry to report, shower curtains vs doors.


    Thanks for the report. Just curious...did you find the cabin and location quiet at night?

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