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About msmayor

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Jersey
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Half Moon Cay
  1. msmayor

    St. John on your own

    We were on St. John four weeks ago, and toured the island. I suggest checking to see what, if anything, is available at Trunk Bay for you to enjoy your beach time. Our ferry crew told us that there were no concessions at all available at Trunk Bay yet due to the hurricane damage. They were selling water, soda, chips and hot dogs for the people to take with them as they said nothing would be available.
  2. msmayor

    2020 Schedule Available

    It's been a while since we cruised Carnival but are looking at a holiday 2020 sailing for the family. I gather the Radiance is a new ship? We want to sail out of Port Canaveral and it looks like that is what will be offered out of that port.
  3. msmayor

    St Thomas to St John

    Just three weeks ago we were on a cruise that stopped in St. Thomas, and took an excursion to St. John's. No one asked for any passport. Just the usual photo ID so we could get back on the ship.
  4. msmayor

    Is my Passport Card good enough?

    The pages become valuable when one travels to a country that requires a visa. To each his own, and if someone wants to spend the $$ on a card for convenience that's certainly a valid choice. The only convenience I see, though, is that it fits in the wallet. My passport cost works out to $11/year to be able to easily travel wherever I want, whenever I need to. In an emergency, I won't have to spend time in an embassy or consulate to get one. I spend far more per year on a AAA membership to make sure I don't get stuck somewhere needing a tow. My passport is cheap compared to that.
  5. That is a lot of paperwork to carry...so make it easy and get a passport.
  6. msmayor

    Summit or HAL

    My husband and I have sailed on a few HAL ships (Veendam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam) and just recently sailed on the Summit...our first Celebrity cruise. We've also sailed RCL before and were excited to try the line that we thought we'd read was a "step up" from RCL. We expected it to be comparable to HAL. We were underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong - it was a nice cruise and we enjoyed our time on the ship. We knew not to expect a lot of bells and whistles and an older décor (the ship is going in for major drydock this spring), but it was the service that just didn't blow us away. We felt the HAL experience was better on that front. We also HATED that so many of the tables for two in the main dining room appeared to be nothing more than fours or sixes with the tables separated by a mere two inches. Sorry, but that is not a table for two that I can feel is 'date night' for me and my husband, and leads to an awkwardness with the 'table mates' as you feel rude if you don't include them in conversation since you're so close, but don't really know if they want to talk since they, too, asked for a table for two. No true promenade deck either for our morning walks. We like to circle the deck completely and have always been able to do so, relatively protected, on the HAL ships...three laps to a mile. There is only a jogging track on deck 11 of the Summit which requires 11 laps to a mile. Not quite the same thing.
  7. msmayor

    Is my Passport Card good enough?

    Please do not associate the idea of "closed loop cruise" with not needing a passport. It simply isn't true. A cruise that departs and returns to LA is closed loop, but if it stops in Japan it doesn't mean the traveler doesn't need a passport. The passport card may be good to get in/out of the US but it will NOT allow you to go to Japan. The use of a passport card or other ID/birth certificate for travel is only applicable for most travel destinations in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas. Columbia is NOT part of that group. I would not risk my whole vacation on the statement that because it is a "closed loop cruise", a passport is not required.
  8. msmayor

    Is my Passport Card good enough?

    It is purposely vague...because the rules are vast and constantly changing, it is impossible for them to ensure that the most up-to-date and accurate information is present. They do not want that financial responsibility if there is an error or omission on their website, and I cannot blame them. Too many people just don't read 'terms and conditions' and other information presented...people skim it, click the check box and move on, and then seem surprised when they learn what they've agreed to. It remains wholly on the shoulders of the traveler to know and comply with documentation requirements. Even travel insurers won't take on the responsibility of 'not knowing'...I've never seen a policy that covers the situation where boarding/travel is denied due to improper documents.
  9. msmayor

    Is my Passport Card good enough?

    To those who say you should be fine because a passport card or DL/birth certificate are fine for closed-loop cruises...that is true of entry back INTO the US to the same port. One must also look at the rules of entering the country or countries you are going to. When we did a partial Panama Canal transit last year it included a stop in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican immigration information clearly stated that a passport was required to enter the country at any time. This from travel.state.gov website on Costa Rica: For sake of comparison, here is what it says for the country of Jamaica, one that is one many closed-loop cruises: If I were the OP, I would most definitely get some official assistance from the Consulate/Embassy while there is still time to get an emergency passport. The cruise line may be required to collect passport information for the Columbian authorities to get the ship cleared, and if you don't have one, you may be denied boarding.
  10. msmayor

    Rotterdam in NY

    Makes sense now - lucky for the passengers, they could have an evening in NY if they liked.
  11. That sounds about right. We did a partial transit, only going through the Gatun Locks (in/out) and port fees were close to $350pp.
  12. msmayor

    Visiting St. John

    We were just in St. Thomas last week and finally got the opportunity to take an excursion to St. John. On the Summit, we docked in Crown Bay and took the ship's excursion which was the ferry over and then a guided open-air taxi tour. There were two other groups with us - one doing Trunk Bay and the other doing 'St. John's On Your Own'. We took the Island Girl ferry which picked us up right at the Crown Bay pier. It was about a 40 minute trip to St. John's and very pleasant, with lots of commentary by the crew on what we were seeing. One point they repeated multiple times for the benefit of those going to Trunk Bay - there are NO services there. The hurricanes last year inflicted significant damage and they have not yet been able to rebuild/repair. They were selling water/soda/beer, chips and hot dogs on the ferry and encouraging people to get refreshments on board as there would be nothing at the beach available. During our taxi tour we drove to an overlook of Trunk Bay and while indeed a beautiful beach we could see the devasatation. Buildings that were once completely hidden by trees were exposed and significantly damaged. We returned to Cruz Bay and drove around back to the ferry pier and again could see a lot of the damage the hurricane caused. The main school is heavily damaged; they have trailers on their field to use as temporary buildings for the students. Many homes and business still destroyed. Our guide said over 1000 of the residents (about 5500 before the hurricane) have left the island and don't know if they'll ever return. We did return to the St. John dock with about 45 minutes before the ferry was to return to Crown Bay so we walked a bit up the street to a small shopping area that was operational. Beautiful spot and we did buy a few trinkets. Bottom line, I was glad we took a guided tour. Not sure I would have been happy if I'd been on my own trying to figure out how to get around and what was open/operational.
  13. msmayor

    Rotterdam in NY

    As we sailed under the Verrazano Bridge after leaving Cape Liberty around 4pm Sunday Oct 21st, I saw the Rotterdam headed UP the river, towards NY. I thought it was unusual to see a ship headed to port so late in the day. Curious as to what the itinerary was...
  14. msmayor

    Sales pressure at programmed events

    I use the spa on every cruise we take, and this past Summit cruise two weeks ago was no exception. I put a clear statement on the form I filled out on the first visit - "No product sales please - I do not buy" and to the credit of the spa employee she never once mentioned a single product she used. What I found more annoying was the constant "You should buy a drink package" once the bar servers found out we did not have one for the first two days of the trip. One server alluded to the fact that they earn a commission on every one they sell, and stated "I'll be in this lounge every day - you buy a package, take care of me...and I'll be sure to take care of you. We'll help each other..."
  15. I thank everyone with their comments regarding their staff experiences and information about wine service at dinner. I guess my confusion with the wine service and presence of the sommelier stems from what I've been used to on previous lines. On our Carnival cruise, a bar server always approached our table every night to ask what beverages we wanted or provided a wine list if we wanted a bottle. On Royal Caribbean, the waiter always asked if we wanted wine or other non-alcoholic beverages and also provided menus. On HAL, the wine steward in the dining room also approached us every evening shortly after we were seated to hand us a wine and beverage list and checked to see if we wanted anything. In all cases, we never felt the need to ask about getting wine. On Summit, we were never approached or asked about beverages other than water and coffee. We certainly could have spoken up if we wanted - just an observation that we were surprised it was never offered to us. Not a complaint, just an observation that we found odd considering the profit option on alcohol. We did not have a drink package so the opportunity to make some money on our drink purchases was there.