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Everything posted by Tom.Kitten

  1. I'm surprised to hear that people are reporting bad experiences with this operation. Yes, the lot is next to a storage facility, but the lot itself appears to be gated and locked, as their website claims. My own experiences (I've used them for seven cruises in the past) have been good. I am a tiny bit skeptical of "Our posters who live in Bayonne do not recommend parking there." If they live in Bayonne, why would they be paying $14 a day to park anywhere? But in any case, I will take your information under advisement. At the very least, if I were to use them again, I'll probably spend the cruise worried about my car.
  2. I love parking at Bayonne Cruise Parking. It's about a mile from the terminal, with a free shuttle (about a five minute ride) and luggage assistance. Best of all, it's only $14 a day (parking at the cruise terminal garage is $22 a day). I'm not a paid spokesperson, just a happy repeat customer. https://www.bayonnecruiseparking.com/
  3. I had The Key for Anthem of the Seas, March 23rd sailing. There was a priority Key check-in line, it went very quickly. There was no priority boarding. Once on the ship, The Key had a little check-in table, easily located. There, I was given a folder containing the details of Key perks for that voyage and Voom log-on instructions, and directed to the Theater if I wanted to drop off my carryon, and then to go to my choice of Chops or Jamie's Italian for The Key lunch. I went to Chops, waited almost no time at all on a fast-moving line, and was seated. Wait staff was quick and efficient. and my lunch (I had the filet) was excellent. Rooms were ready at 1:30, there was no priority treatment there. There were sections of the theater roped off for Key guest access for all shows I attended. Port debark was quick at the ports. Final debark was blindingly fast - escorted past the very long line (I almost felt guilty), whisked to the Key luggage pickup section, and was through and out waiting for my ride in a total of seven minutes from the time I had finished breakfast. I did not take advantage of any of the special times for onboard activites. Was the program worth it to me? Yes, I think so. I don't feel ripped off, in any case. Will I get it on my next cruise? No. Now that I've had that experience, I don't need to have it again.
  4. It's the "just put yourself out there..." that terrifies me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Especially as a solo cruiser, each cruise I start with the best intentions, I'll just "put myself out there..." but each time I get to the bar and all the cliques have already formed, and the circles have already closed. I don't really expect other people's crusie experiences to be about my insecurities, but certainly there must be a better way to stage a meet up.
  5. Good luck, and, most of all, have fun!
  6. The casino has a decent selection of slots, of course all very new and shiny. There was no smoking allowed anywhere in the casino (in fact, only two smoking areas on the whole ship, both on deck 15), so it didn't have that terrible stale-smoke-in-dusty-carpeting smell that most ship casinos have. I lost my budget extremely quickly, with almost no turnover, so I spent much less time in the casino that I normally would have. From my experience the slots seemed extremely tight, and there were not a lot of jackpots going on around me. I know most ship casinos feel tighter than land-based casinos, but this one was ridiculous.
  7. My first solo cruise was in 2015, six weeks after the death of my husband. It was on the Celebrity Constellation, and I did not enjoy it very much. I attended the first LGBT Meet of the cruise, but it was held in what felt like the loudest place on the ship at the busiest time - I tried to say "hi" to a few people, but I could not make myself heard, so I bolted. On the last evening of the cruise I was catching a smoke on the exterior deck by the theater, and a very sweet (male) couple started chatting with me, and, while I don't remember much else about that cruise, I do remember how greatful I felt to actually be in a conversation with real people after what felt like a week of isolation. I have cruised solo several times since, and have had a good time on most of them. I have also remarried, and the new husband is not much of a cruise fan (we did do one together), so I still cruise solo if I want a cruise. I attend the LGBT meets, but I do not have the required chutzpah to walk up cold to strangers and say hello unless they are very obviously there for the meet. I find the meets to be much more sucessful when they are "hosted" by a crew member, but that seems to be a rarity. Tess on the Grand Princess does it right!
  8. For the first two evenings, there was an event listed in the iPhone version of the app for the LGBT meet&greet that did not appear in the Android version. These events were held in the Martini bar, and were sparsely attended. As far as I know, those two were the only LGBT meets of the cruise.
  9. I was aboard the Celebrity Edge for the Maiden Voyage, 12/9/2018. When I first boarded, I was completely lost - I felt that the ship was inadequately marked with signs and directional information. When I mentioned this to a crew member, they did their best to make me feel stupid and insignificant. In speaking with other cruisers during the trip, I found that I was not alone in my opinion. I had an Infinite Veranda cabin, midship, port side, deck eight. The cabin itself was lovely, with a lot of storage space, and obviously immaculate due to its newness. The Infinite Veranda was a waste of time and space. The interior folding door for the veranda felt cheap and ready to break, and to operate it, one has to move the veranda chairs out of the way by pushing them forward about 18 inches, then give a very firm pull on the cheap aluminum handle to close the door, then move the chairs back to sit. There is a wall button to raise and lower the exterior half-window, but the veranda never feels like a real balcony. I grew tired of having to move the furniture around to use it, so it was basically an oceanview cabin for me. The onboard experience relies very heavily on an app that you use on your cell phone. There is an iLounge on the ship where you can buy a wide variety of Apple products, so it all ties in very nicely -- unless, like me, you have an Android phone. For the Android, there was a vast difference in the app's shipboard schedule content. I spent a lot of time waiting in long lines at the Guest Sevices desk. I truly hated the cruise until about four days into it, when I just let it all go and stopped caring. The buffet food was standard current cruiseline fare - repetitive selections of curries, stews, minute steaks, and really bad unidentifiable meat-like and vegetable-like substances. The buffet layout was confusing, and non-intuitive. The steak sauce was eight stations away from the meat station, for example. The desserts, though, were consistantly excellent. The least expensive adult-sized t-shirt in the signature shop was $55. The entertainment on the ship was OK. I saw all three production shows, which were earnestly performed, but unimaginitive and somewhat lackluster. Too much about the shows was showing off the theater's "technology" (multiple video walls and lasers). In the interest of full disclosure, I did not pay for the cruise, but rather was a guest of the ship's Casino. I would have hated the cruise a lot more had I had to pay for it. In retrospect, after having a month and a half to reflect and process, I would not volunteer to return to the Edge, even if it were for another complimentary voyage. The things that are designed to make the ship special are the things that I liked the least.
  10. It seems that a lot of the conversation about The Key program has morphed into a debate about cruise lines having the audacity to collect premium prices from customers by offering premium experiences. Isn't that the very basis upon which the cruise industry was built? If we all just wanted to float on water for a bit at the lowest possible price, we could bult a raft and drag it to the landing. Personally, I want a better experience than that, and I'm willing to pay more to get more. If your personal level of willingness is not on par with mine, that's fine with me. If you want to pay more than me, and get more than me, you have that right, and I applaud you for it. If you're own personal level of willingness has you at a lower spending and expectation level than me, that's fine too. Just don't b!tch about other people who are willing to pay more, as if you are somehow being denied basic human dignity.
  11. Sadly then you won't find it on the Edge. The $55 t-shirt is the least expensive one they sell.
  12. I've been on a bunch of cruises, and done a bunch of excursions, and by far the most wonderful excursion of all was the White Pass scenic railway. Indescribably awesome views.
  13. I would probably have waited until a sea day to have lunch at Chops Grille, but I might as well start off the cruise with it.
  14. The Key is being offered for my cruise on the Anthem in March. The "price including discount" for me is $20.00 a day. The Voom + Stream package alone is $15 a day. So the rest of the benefits offered by The Key (after the included internet) works out to only $5 a day. Since it includes a $25 Chops Grille lunch, that means I'm getting the rest of the benefits for only $10 for the cruise. I went ahead and purchased The Key. I think I'll get my money's worth...
  15. It seems that on most of my cruises, the LGBT meets were usually in the loudest martini bar at the busiest hour, and even if there was anyone else there to meet and greet I couldn't hear them and they couldn't hear me. The only cruise I was on where the meet was really successful was on the Grand Princess, where the meets were held in a quiet lounge, and the ship's wonderful on-board naturalist (Tess) was the unofficial hostess. She set up a little vase containing a rainbow flag on the cocktail table, so it was easy to identify who and where to gather. On that cruise we had a core group of about a dozen people who showed up and socialized every evening, and another 15-20 folks who would drop by for some of them.
  16. I was actually ON the EDGE, in an "inifinite veranda" cabin, when I wrote about having to move the furniture around to actually use the "infinite veranda".
  17. I'm on the Edge right now, and the glitzy tech that does not add to the cruising experience actually doesn't work properly on Android, so it actually detracts from the cruising experience. What a frustrating experience. They sell Apple products on Deck Three, so i guess they really don't much care, and it shows.
  18. The Infinite Veranda is pretty useless. The furniture is too large for the provided space, so you have to move the furniture, close the inner doors, move the furniture, open the window. move the furniture, then sit down. And when you're moving the furniture, as the room attendant warns you, you have to be very careful not to catch the chair legs on the flimsy deck plate. It's far better to ignore the Infinite Veranda, pretend you have an outside cabin with a big window, and book your next cruise on a different ship.
  19. It looks like the way these are designed, the inner door and the outer door cannot be open at the same time. I'll be finding out in person in a couple of weeks!
  20. If you're asking because you need to plug in a CPAP, the stewards will provide an extension cord (and distilled water) upon request.
  21. Cruise line formal nights are a conspiracy to extract more money from their passengers in the form of laundry and pressing fees and last-minute panic shopping in the on-board boutiques.
  22. DI is based in New York City. The Better Business Bureau"s website is quite the eye-opener.
  23. I first head to my cabin (if they're open) to drop off carry-ons, read the daily blab, and then take a nap until the muster drill calls start. If the cabins aren't available yet, I explore the buffet, then wander/explore the ship until they are. After the muster drill, I go to the sail-away only long enough to pass under what ever bride we're going to pass under, the return to the cabin to resume my nap. It really is all about the naps.
  24. There's even a fancy French name for it: Mal Debarquement. Some people get it badly enough to seek medical treatment, and it can last for months. I had a bad experience ibce several years ago, and found a simple remedy that actually worked. Simply sit upright and roll your head around on your neck very slowly for several revolutions, several times a day. After about six weeks of suffering and questioning my sanity, a few days of that simple exercise, and it was gone.
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