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About Paelos

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Atlanta, GA
  • Interests
    Sports, Food, Wine, Fantasy Fiction
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival so far
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. I went in early 2018 on the Epic 1 - The staff is very friendly, especially if you're friendly to them. We didn't have to tip all the time to get great service, we only tipped when we felt it was warranted after we'd received great service. 2 - The elevator situation can be awful. My recommendation is NEVER use the starboard elevators in the front of the ship, because Haven people can put them on priority service and completely skip your floor. Also on excursion days they turn two of those elevators to completely Haven use. Instead, always use the port elevators in the front, and get on them at either deck 5 or deck 15, if you're in the middle, just walk down to 5, it's way faster than waiting. 3 - The easiest bar to get a drink at is the Casino area bar on Deck 6 with the video poker machines. I never had a wait there, and the bartenders are very friendly. The best drinks are at Maltings, but it can get very crowded at primetime, so I usually opted for sitting in Shakers instead in the evenings. The reason being is that the Shakers table service is VERY good and prompt. I usually tipped them every night because they were so good, and the bartenders make their drinks faster than sitting at the bar. 4 - The Wave bar near the pool, and O'Sheehans are the worst bars for wait times. I recommend going to the carts across from the Wave bar to get your frozen drinks and beers, and if you want a liquor drink you're better off going to Spice H2O during the day because I found the lines there to be much more manageable in the afternoon. 5 - The service at Taste was faster for us than the service at the Manhattan Room, and I honestly preferred the atmosphere of Taste better. Manhattan is just too dark and loud for me while they are playing music, and it took a little longer to get everything there, possibly due to the amount of people they serve since it's more popular. 6 - If you're going to Great Stirrup Cay, the least crowded area for us was in the back of the island near the final line of cabanas, and the guys at the "Island Bar" were extremely fast in clearing the lines. I think we waited a max of 5 minutes, and you could get 2 drinks at a time with no issues. 7 - If you're easily offended, the Epic's shows will offend you. Priscilla is a drag show, which can put some people off so fair warning. Also Burn the Floor has some extremely sexy moves and costumes in it. In our version they came out in leather gear with masks and dominatrix outfits, and in another scene all the girls were in extremely short Catholic schoolgirl outfits. It was a bit much in my mind, but the quality is good. 8 - The Cavern Club has the Beatles, but it will always be slammed and starting in the middle of dinner or at 10:30 at night, so we never bothered going. However, the Cavern Club also had a cover bad called 4 Blue, and they were phenomenally good. They even belted out a Rammstein song which I never expected to hear on a cruise ship. I love rock and hate all the normal ballady cruise crap, and these guys were a breath of fresh air. 9 - Don't go to any of the shows with D'Soul Duo unless you like the ballad crap. Seriously that's all they do. They'll bill it as something else like Motown songs, and then just sing the ballads. We didn't care for them at all. 10 - Make sure when you first get on the boat, you go to the Headliners Club. That's where they had the signups for tenders for Great Stirrup Cay, and also you could arrange you entertainment tickets and the restaurant changes. We moved everything around there before the other people on the ship because they didn't know where to go. 11 - Do the escape room if you have time, it's really fun and a good puzzle solving thing to do with a drink in your hand and some friends. 12 - People complain about the smokey casino, but I never noticed it being that bad. However, I'm not that sensitive to smoke even though I don't smoke. I recommend playing in the Casino for the first two nights, and then quitting because the machines all stopped seeming to pay out after night 2. Also, be aware that the table minimum for everything is $10, so if you're playing Craps, get your bankroll ready for that since on Carnival it was only $5 when I went with them. 13 - Make sure to use the wheel on your cabin room number to let your steward know what's going on. If you're leaving, put it on Make up room, if you're there put it on DND, if you want Turn-Down put the wheel on Turndown. When you come back you'll see if it's done because the wheel will be set to Welcome. It's the best way to get service. 14 - If you skip a port day and stay on the ship, make sure to do the water slides, and hang out in Spice H20, you'll basically have all of that to yourselves, and practically your own private bartender and hot-tub. 15 - The buffet has a drink vendor right in the center after you go by washy-washy. You can get beers and wines there, and the line is way shorter than anywhere else for beer and wine. 16 - I don't really recommend getting off the ship in Falmouth because almost every excursion is an hour bus ride. They really should port in Ocho Rios because it seems that's where everything is, but I guess they don't want to do that. 17 - If you want good seats in the Atrium for any of the big shows, you best get there an hour early because the area is tiny comparatively to the rest of the ship. Also if it's packed, you can go up one level to O'Sheehans and overlook the area from the barstools up there. 18 - They serve snacks outdoors between main buffet hours if you're hungry and just want pizza, burgers, ice cream, or some simple items. It made it convenient to stop by there on the way off the top deck going to the room. 19 - Be patient and flexible. There's ALWAYS a better option if something is crowded. If you really want to do something, get reservations or get there an hour early. If you don't care as much, be like water and flow to the next thing. You'll be much happier if you take that tactic instead of getting frustrated. You're on a huge boat with lots to do. 20 - A lot of the best activities start at 10PM, so if you're not a night owl you're going to have to make a call between having a breakfast in the main dining room, and actually staying up until midnight to see all the musical shows and parties you want to see.
  2. More and more casinos seem to be trying to stick it to the players because they think they have a captive audience. My response to them is that with gambling beginning to come to more states, with better options, they better learn that the players will stop coming. I've already given up playing more than about $100 on a cruise, because their limits and payouts make me feel rooked.
  3. My question is how do you stick to Margaritas for 10 in a row? Switch it up brother.
  4. Elation is a smaller sized ship than Summit (about 100 feet, but holds the same about of guests), and the decor is what I would call more colorful than anything you'll see on Summit which is going for a much more modern feel (more neutral colors and wood). The casino on Elation I think is bigger, but it's smoking where Summit is not. Summit would feel newer than Elation, with more specialty dining and more refurbished areas. The Elation has ZERO specialty dining. All it has is add-ons in the MDR, and the Chef's Table. However, I think the upper decks on the Elation are better than the Summit, and complimentary dining is better. The lido on Elation has the Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana, and Tequila and Rum bars all in one place, and then connects back to the buffet. The pools are newer on Summit though so if you like the pool Elation will be disappointing.
  5. Things I would cut? - MDR Dancing for sure. I think the whole practice is weirdly forced and awkward. - Paper Straws, I get they don't want to use plastic, but many times all I need is a stirstick, and you know what's good for that? Raw pasta. Works great, cheap, and biodegradable. - Stopping in the Bahamas unless it's a private island. If I never have to go to Nassu or Freeport again? I'm happy. Those are pointless stops for me. - Production shows. I think the quality on Carnival is so lacking compared to the other lines I've been on. Either commit to getting better performers and shows, or just get rid of it.
  6. If you enjoy good wine I'd absolutely bring it. Carnival's wine selection is drinkable at the higher tiers, but that's about it. I made the mistake of trying that Kathy Lee Gifford wine once, and literally couldn't finish it it was so bad. I mean when Kendall Jackson is considered one of the higher tier wines? You know you're not getting much on the quality level. That stuff sells for $12 a bottle at Target. That doesn't make a you a wine snob at all. For a nice cruise, I think getting a couple of nice $30 and up bottles and bringing them for before dinner in the stateroom is a nice idea. Then you can take them with you to the dining room in your glasses with a heavy pour. The cheers package is great for cocktails but I think it's a waste on the wine.
  7. The only meal that really stood out to me on my last NCL cruise was the late night Osheehans, so I think it's something Carnival needs to do better and I'd probably stay up later. As it is my time on the Elation last time the place was dead by 11pm outside of the casino so I didn't bother.
  8. First off, I think you're doing the right thing by comparing lines. The loyalty programs for all these lines are so ridiculously meagre that you should absolutely shop around for the best value without regards to the line. My experience having done NCL, Carnival, and RCCL is that they have basically the same elements with some things that vary. NCL has gone almost entirely to the "FREE AT SEA" or "TAKE ALL OFFERS" sort of cruising, which is the way for them to make sure they are driving up the cost of the cruise from the jump. The best way to find out what your cruise will actually cost is to make a spreadsheet, and then tabulate what you actually plan to do on Carnival (ie - if you plan to do excursions and drink packages with some specialty dining, price those out). Then compare that to the fare of the NCL cruise which includes the perks. The key thing is for NCL, they price the perks out for you, but you have to pay taxes and gratuities on those perks. That's why it's key to do a mock booking on their site, price it all the way through with the perks to the end, and you'll get a real cost. Comparatively between the two lines here's what I noted: Carnival has more included complimentary food (Guys, Blue Iguana, Pizza, etc.), the atmosphere is more "fun" which mostly means a lot of people drinking, younger, tons of tattoos and very interesting clothing choices, better comedy (imo) with more flexible show hours, the stage shows are rather ridiculous and not very good, the music is okay, and the for-fee dining isn't really worth it for me. The drink package on Carnival is too restrictive for my tastes. I don't like I don't like the fact that you're limited to one beverage at a time, and when I was cruising they wouldn't give me a bottle of water and a drink at the same time. Having a 15 minute waiting period or whatever it is when you and your shipmate are both on a package is silly. NCL has again imo, worse complimentary food, but much better high-end for fee food, alot of which will be included in your free at sea package. The beverage package on NCL is great because you can get 2 drinks at a time on one card, but it has some higher end restrictions on what liquors are included and that can piss some people off if you like a certain higher end brand. NCL tended to be a little older, a little less "intense" with the crowd type. I liked the fact that NCL does have much higher quality shows, but they are a bit too risque for me (but others would likely enjoy). The music is one of real separators for me in the two lines. If you like good bands, duos, singers, live music in all areas of the ship, etc. NCL is the way to go. Their entertainment from a musical standpoint is the best of any of the lines. If you're close on price, I'd book NCL over Carnival assuming you're okay with being in an older crowd. In my mind, it's a generally better line on the things I enjoy (food, drinks, music). However, if it's an atmosphere decision then go with the line you think provides that fun atmosphere, which is definitely Carnival.
  9. 6 to 8 weeks? Do you have your mail forwarded to you as well? Congrats, btw that's a lifestyle many would envy. And yeah of course decorating your house is different, you own your house. People don't walk literally 2 feet from my front door every single day on their way to work. If you're in an apartment complex (which is a much better analogy) or a hotel room, many of them have very specific rules about door decorating or outright disallow it. I don't see why the cruise lines are any different.
  10. I knew one of them had a lawn, couldn't remember! I'm pretty snarky so I don't mind getting snark back, it makes the board fun!
  11. I figured while I'm at sea I don't have to worry as much about lawn issues. That being said, is my disdain for door decorations a grumpy old man problem? Absolutely, I have no shame admitting that I find other people's certain behaviors on cruises to be incredibly tacky. You're on vacation with 1000s of other people, not a private yacht. Will door decorations ruin my cruise? No. Will they make me roll my eyes and wonder why anybody would think that I need to know as a passer-by that you love Shrek so much you threw a bunch of punny signs on your cabin door? I think we as a society will make due to if you just wear a funny T-Shirt instead of vomiting cartoons on your door.
  12. I don't particularly care for the door decorating thing because I think it's tacky as all get out. But I expect the common reason is that people love showing off or else they would just decorate with these things inside their cabins, not on their doors. "It helps me find my room" - Amazingly they've created this system where the rooms are numbered, which helps out. "But I might be drunk and can't see it." - If you're getting so drunk you can't find your room, I'd suggest a Friends with Bill W meeting, because you're verging into major problem territory. "But it's fun!" - And it would be just as much fun for you if you put it on the other side of your door where you can see it all the time in your cabin. But that's not what you want. You want OTHER people to see it. You exhibitionist you. "But It's my birthday/anniversary/etc." - Yep that's about a third of the ship, and why people cruise. Congrats! Your door covered in pandas is tacky as hell. "You're just grumpy and hating on something simple." - And it's pretty simple to leave a door a door. Not a portal to your weird Disney fetish. "Who's it hurting?" - My eyeballs.
  13. O'Sheehans is great for a late night stop, but I wouldn't do dinner there. It's very slow and I think a waste of time compared to the MDR service and food.
  14. For me I'd say the things I remember most from my NCL cruise were: - The profiteroles dessert at Le Bistro - The Jerk chicken wings at O'Sheehans - The salad bar at Moderno (all kinds of olives, cured meats, cheeses, marinated veggies, pickles, etc) - Smoked salmon (anywhere you can find it, I always enjoyed it)
  15. You'll be fine enjoy it. Some cruisers want to remember THE GOOD OLE DAYS that haven't existed for over a decade, long before you set foot on a ship. You won't notice what's missing because you never saw it. What is on a NCL cruise is a lot of good drinks, some of the best specialty dining on any line, and enough complimentary food to keep you occupied. The staff is very nice, the entertainment is very well put together, and the live music the best of any cruise line I've been on. Don't worry be happy my friend.
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