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Everything posted by Robkat

  1. Hope you're finding this thread as interesting and as useful as I have! The idea of makeup tattoos is intriguing ... like eyeliner and such? And what is bar products for hair? Wracking my brain but can't remember ever seeing anything like that. Oh, and thanks for the Wool and Prince suggestion ... will definitely check it out. Enjoy your upcoming TA's ... we're really looking forward to them!
  2. Thanks so much for this great reply! Very useful info! Had to laugh at the "Gift with Purchase" suggestion ... for years, I'd always have store schedules for all my favorite brands of when they were having their promos! Too bad for me if I ran out of something I liked when a promo wasn't running ... I'd wait to get those goodie bags (and soooo many make-up bags!)
  3. Wow ... this is unique (at least to us). DH makes our air arrangements and is the cruise itinerary researcher, so I'm sure he'll be really interested to hear this. Thanks for your reply!
  4. Thanks for the reply. Hope you post on how you like the eastbound vs the westbound you already did. Enjoy the Sky ... she's pretty ship. Have a great cruise!
  5. All of this info has been so useful (even when answers have been contradictory! 😂) and we're now clearer how we'll handle things with pills/meds/vitamins, etc. Along slightly different lines, how do you all handle toiletries and make-up ... As I mentioned, I normally transfer creams, etc into smaller jars and put them in toilet bags, that we carry on in our backpacks. Obviously, there would be additional "small jars and/or bottles" for a longer cruise, which we can't carry in the backpacks,which we bring on the plane with us. Does anyone just leave all that stuff behind and purchase new stuff at your destination? I mean, we normally have 4 good sized travel bags, and I'm can't help but worry about that extra weight in our checked luggage. In any case, would love to know how you all go about that aspect. Again, this is such a great community with such a wealth of experience and info, and we're grateful to all of you who share your "learned from experience" knowledge!
  6. Thanks so much everyone, for your replies. All good info that we can use. We're definitely looking forward to seeing whether we prefer eastbound or westbound! I guess our biggest concern is still arriving at an International airport with medications and assorted other vitamins and supplements. Thanks to @Steelers36 for your feedback, but we see that you're on a self-imposed pause from cruising, so we're wondering about recent experiences. Appreciate hearing any further responses! Thanks.
  7. After close to 100 cruises, we finally pulled the trigger and we've got our first transatlantic coming up in November this year! It is a westbound, and so, wondering whether we might prefer an eastbound, we also booked one of those for April next year. We are very excited for these new experiences, but along with that excitement comes some questions, so I'm hoping those of you experienced in transatlantics won't mind sharing your answers/suggestions or recommendations. For the first of the TA's, we're flying to Rome. So, right off the bat, in thinking about preparing for packing: 1. We bring a couple prescription meds, vitamins, supplements, regular first-aid kind of pills (ibuprofen, Rolaids, etc.) and cold/cough meds (in case). I usually count out the appropriate number of pills needed for the amount of time of the trip, and then re-package similar pills in small baggies. I'd read that someone said, that for international flights, everything must be in it's original bottle/packaging. I'm hoping this isn't the case as it would mean having to bring/pack many bottles for the various pills. Could you explain how you transport these kinds of things ... not worried about getting on the ship, but for the flights and getting through international customs. 2. Same sort of thing for various toiletries. I usually put things like face moisturizers and other creams into smaller jars. And then usually we carry on to the ships our toiletry bags (containing the jars) in our backpacks. In the case of flying, we'll need to pack these in our checked luggage, so in not wanting to add weight to our luggage, what do you all do with these sorts of products to keep the extra weight down? (And this would include heavier products, like hair prods, that can't be transferred into smaller containers.) 3. Any other pointers on packing for a longer cruise, especially to keep the weight down, with the flight up first before the cruise? Not so much worried about clothing (we can figure that out), but thinking more about other "assorted and sundries". 4. For anyone who has done a TA from Civitavecchia, will the MDR be open for lunch on embarkation day? (If it matters, we'll be on Caribbean P.). Does the boarding process commence, as it usually does round 11am or so? Thanks for any help or advice.
  8. We're cruising on a repositioning from Fort Lauderdale and ending the cruise in NYC (not sure yet whether it'll be at the cruise terminal in Brooklyn or Manhattan). We have flight options back to FLL from LaGuardia or Newark. Any advise /recommendations on which is the better choice for us to select? And, just on the off-chance that someone reading this may have the answer, does Princess do transfers to both airports?
  9. Just off the Apex on Saturday. We did see signs at Normandie DR , one saying Traditional Dining, the other one saying Select Dining, indicating where people should line up. It does help to make reservations, because on many evenings when the line ups were quite long (for us, at around 6:45pm), people without reservations were given buzzers, and we were always brought right in to a table. I'd say if you find a table and time you like, speak to the Maitre D to see if you can be accommodated each evening at that tIme and table. But, as I mentioned, Normandie did have a TD sign, so there's a good chance you'd be initially assigned there. Enjoy that surprise cruise!
  10. All the SV's had a lounger, 2 smaller regular balcony chairs, and a small table. We didn't ask for another lounger as we liked the walk-around space and the existing stuff out there suited us fine. We did notice that all the balconies on our deck had the same configuration and no one had a second lounger. So, whether that was because they also liked the roominess of the balcony, or whether they'd been told it wasn't possible, we're not sure. Yes, there was soot flying around out there. We brought pool towels and put them on top of the seats, changed them out a couple of times during the week, and it worked great. Just be careful to check where you're about to sit. Enjoy your SV!
  11. Was also on this cruise, in a Sunset Verandah, so slightly different perspective. The cabin is excellent and that huge verandah is a dream. If you opt for an SV, know that you will get lots of steps in, when heading to either of the elevator banks. We didn't mind and actually kind of enjoyed it. The ship is gorgeous. We've been on the Edge and we thought the Apex was even prettier. The layout is similar, but we did note some differences that seemed like improvements for the flow. We did feel, though, that they could use at least an additional bar ... on a busy, full ship like we had on this cruise, it's needed. Think we've read that they've addressed this on the subsequent E class ships, and we bet it helps. We love that this class of ship has 4 MDRs. It "should" help to disburse people a little more than the larger 2-story MDRs of the Solstice class. That, however, is not always the case. Most evenings we arrived at one of the MDRs to find a long line. We always make reservations for dinner ... of course always for specialty dining, but also for the MDR. Lots of people who choose Select, don't want to bother with reservations, feeling like they prefer to "play it by ear", which is great if that's their preference. The problem is when everyone lines up in one line ... so those with reservations are stuck waiting behind those who are just showing up. This seems like it would be an easy fix, if they just had two lines: one for Reservations/ one No Reservations. It's done this way on another cruise line, and for the most part, works well. Then there wouldn't be such a log jam at the front entrance. Once in though, the food was very good. We had many memorable dishes and were impressed with the taste and consistency. One thing that we didn't love though (and this is prevalent on most cruise lines) was the pacing of the dinner. One course would be barely finished and the next would immediately appear. We always tell our waiter that we're in no rush, but they're trained to be quick and efficient and to move things along. But since our preference is for a more leisurely pace, we take it upon ourselves to deal with this issue, and it seems to help. Also, in recent reviews, some people have been commenting about the service from the Sommeliers ... we found it quite spotty and inconsistent. On some evenings, he would be Johnny on the Spot, quick and efficient and keep an eye on each table. And on other nights, the Somm looked like he was walking through molasses and appeared to run around like a chicken with it's head cut off. We understand that when there are large groups (which there were a lot of on this cruise), they are very time consuming. But, in that case, let the Assistant Waiter take a wine order, or have the Somm ask for temporary assistance. We ate in the buffet for a couple of lunches, and we continue to think that X ships have great food in their buffets. We also like how the different food kiosks/areas are set up. But here I would implore people to be a little more focused and aware of their surroundings in the buffet, especially at really busy times. There are so many people walking around in a dither, almost bumping into others all over the place, gazing distractedly at all the food choices, stopping unexpectedly in crowded pathways. I can't tell you how many times I'd be in front of a kiosk and turn to find someone almost with their chin on my shoulder, checking out the choices! guess it's easy to pick up on the fact that crowded buffets aren't our favorites. LOL. But people could help by being more aware. Nuff said on that particular pet peeve! Will concur that the walking/jogging track on these E class ships are excellent! So much more interesting and varied that almost all others!!! The layout through the 2 decks and the incline are great. We also agreed with many of the OP's other remarks and grading, but hope that this different perspective was also interesting.
  12. Thanks for posting this. Bubble not burst ... it's definitely good to go into the cruise knowing what to expect! Your comment/opinion about the upcharging is absolutely right. Hasn't X now removed most of the incentive to upgrade to Premium. The reason most given for the reason to do so is for the better wines! Now what???
  13. We are flying out of Miami to Rome, where we'll board a TA cruise, which will end in Fort Lauderdale. So, we want to park our car in FLL, go to FLL airport and somehow get from there to MIA. Anybody have experience with this? Or suggestions for companies that do this shuttle? We were able to find Red Coach, which does shuttles between the two airports, and wondered if anyone has used them, and how it went. Any recommendations (besides Uber or Lyft) would be appreciated. Thank you.
  14. OP here: thanks so much to everyone who has posted, shown menus, and reported on their experiences. It's only been 10 months since we were on X last, and I've read this thread, almost in disbelief, to hear about these continued cost increases. When we upgraded from Classic to Premium for this latest cruise, we couldn't believe how much that upgrade had gone up in cost! It was over $100 more than when we had upgraded previously, not so long before. But, like most of you, we liked the included bourbons, tequilas and wine, so we shook our heads, bit the bullet and went ahead. Now, to hear that most of the nicer wines have been priced out of that (already paid!) upgrade range, and that we'll be charged an additional surcharge to have those same wines, is annoying and definitely has us going into this cruise a little up-in-arms. Not to say that we won't have a good time, but who likes feeling like they're having surcharge upon surcharge thrust upon them??? (Now, please don't someone tell us that they've also increased pricing on bourbons to put them out of the Premium package! Now that would be a bridge too far!!! 😂 Considering all this, could you tell us what the policy is about bringing wine bottles on. We haven't done this for so long, thanks to the drinks packages, but now ... Thanks again everyone.
  15. Have just read a thread talking about the price increase of many of the wines by the glass that used to be included in the Premium package. I've tried looking everywhere (and I just don't seem to EVER be able to get an appropriate reply from the Search bar here!) to no avail. For anyone who is cruising right now, would someone mind posting some photos of what wines (red & white) by the glass are now available in the packages, specifically the Premium package. It would be really appreciated. And, if someone has already done this, I apologize, but I just can't track it down. Thanks so much in advance.
  16. Thanks for the contact info... it's good to have as many options as possible. Good to hear that your experience with ITA was alright, we were a little worried.
  17. After working with the EZ Air agent, we called ITA Customer Service, and after giving the agent our locator number, he told us that we had the seats we selected on our record. Once our cruise final is paid, we will contact ITA to pay the seat selection fee directly to the airline. So ... we feel OK about where things stand.
  18. Well, not having used EZ Air before, my questions were to try to educate us about experiences others have had. But also to see, having thought that after booking with EZ Air that seat selection was possible, why we weren't able to do so. This whole thread has been very enlightening and we've learned a lot, about what we can expect and what we shouldn't! 😂 After reading all these posts, and making decisions based on experiences and suggestions, we were able to get seat selections into our ITA record, via an EZ Air agent, which we now know is the best we can do until the flights are paid for. As I said previously, the info we gleaned from all your replies, helped us understand how this program works, and helped us decide where we needed to do more research and where we should act. I'll send out our thanks again to all who took time to help us out.
  19. Thanks so much for this! Will use it and hope for some good results.
  20. Thanks for your reply. Well!!! This makes no sense, does it? How frustrating. I guess if you don't need them, it's not a big deal; but if you DO need assistance, it just doesn't make sense to make it an "ordeal" to contact them! Sigh.
  21. Was there no meal service???? There should be two, right? Dinner & breakfast? If you asked for them, were you given snacks? Was this booked through EZ Air We're in Florida and this is the only direct flight, which is really important to us. However, your experience doesn't bode well for us.
  22. Does anyone have the DIRECT phone number to EZ Air? Thanks.
  23. This is really useful info @sultan_sfo, and we really appreciate you taking the time to reply. A couple of questions: When you went into ITA's website to book your seats, did you use the Princess confirmation # or ITA's locator #? How far out were you from final payment to Princess? And from the flight itself? We're assuming from your description of the process that you paid the seat selection fee directly to ITA? And there was no change to the amount due to Princess at final? We can't figure out, especially now that we've read your experience, why ITA is preventing us from doing anything on their website, with the window stating that this reservation is not paid for. Did you have any phone conversations with them ... we're wondering if a call directly to them might get better results than dealing with Princess EZ Air. And a very big and heartfelt thanks to all who replied. As I said, this is the first time we've used the EZ Air option, and through all your answers, we're learning so much! What an amazing resource CC is in a situation like this!
  24. Thanks so much everyone for these replies. It's really given us some things to think about. It seems like if you get flights on a US carrier, even if you connect with a European carrier, you can make your seat selections. Because we're taking our flights directly from Miami to Rome, all on Alitalia, they might have some issue allowing seat selection? We're going to try the suggestion to call into Princess (oh Lord, give us strength!), and then maybe a direct call into Alitalia to see if someone there can help? Either way, at least you've all given us some good suggestions. In the meantime, if anyone reads this who has dealt with Alitalia via EZ Air and has any first hand experience with them, we'd love to hear about how it went. Thanks so much again for all your replies and suggestions.
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