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About l2f

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Cruising, Travel, Camping
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  1. Thanks everyone for all the replies. L2F
  2. l2f

    Driver for the Day

    Thanks so much Hatteras51. L2F
  3. Thanks. I know we are quite a few months out. Usually that has gotten us nice prices at Hampton.... not so this time.
  4. l2f

    Driver for the Day

    Hello, A few years ago we were at a port where taxis were expensive. It was actually cheaper (based on what/where we wanted to go) hire a private driver for the day. We went to see the sights we wanted to see, then spend the remaining time at the beach. Driver stayed with us at the beach. This worked out also as the beach was a bit from the port. I haven't seen any threads here for Aruba about hiring a driver. Has anyone done this and if so may we ask who you hired. Thanks in Advance. L2F
  5. Sorry I re-typed this and the "improvement" left out the date. It was for May 1st. Thanks.
  6. We are considering a cruise from Miami and part of the planning is pre cruise hotel. The last few cruises from Miami, we have stayed at Hampton Inn Bricknell. The cost has gone up over $100 a night from our last visit. Is there some major event in town that day/weekend? Or a reliable source to determine this. Perhaps it is just time to find another hotel. Thanks in advance. L2F
  7. We are considering a cruise from Charleston. The new (I think old as well) says you must stop at the luggage tent to drop off luggage. But the FAQ says you are allowed to carry on your luggage. We always carry on ALL our luggage (FL ports) and at Charleston our luggage would be 1 large (25" bag) each person. Can someone answer know... 1. What do you do if you carry on your luggage? Tell the luggage tent you intend to carry on your luggage. 2. Are the luggage scanners the same size as the FL ports which a 25" bag will go thru the scanner. Thanks.
  8. Disembarkation We all had late afternoon flights, and knew the airlines won’t let us thru the security checkpoint until (4 hours for us and 5 hours for our friends) prior to our flights. We were flying different airlines in different terminals so we would have to say our goodbyes before going thru security. Their flight was 1 hour later than ours, so none of us could go thru security checkpoint until 12:30PM. So we stayed on the ship until last call, which was around 9:15-9:30. We usually eat the final breakfast in the MDR and this cruise was no different. We were at the MDR doors when they opened at 6:30. The line wasn’t that bad. After breakfast we all went to our cabins to retrieve our luggage (we carried everything off ourselves) and met near the Alchemy Bar in the sitting area. Some were already using this area to wait. We got the seating area closest to the Alchemy. We sat here until last call and exited the ship. There was hardly a wait at customs. Perhaps 5 minutes. Once outside, we tried to get a mini-van taxi. A gentleman asked if we needed a taxi to the airport, we said yes a taxi for four. He said $15pp, $5 cheaper than a taxi. My van is over here. We immediately said, we want a ride for just us four. (we didn’t want a shuttle making stops all over NOLA) Gentleman says it will only be us four. So we followed the guy and everything went smoothly. Now the long day really beings…. First off really no options for food/snacks before you go thru the security checkpoint at MSY. Plus we couldn’t check any luggage so we had all of our bags. We found a place that all four of us could sit. And we sat for about 2.5 hours. There was a Dunkin Donuts so we did get a drink/snack on. Around 12:30 we said our goodbyes and went thru our respective checkpoints where we then sat for another 4 hours. We didn’t try to book any post cruise excursions, as both couples hoped to possibly get an earlier flight. We called our airlines while at breakfast, as we took flight numbers of possible earlier flights and could ask specifically about them. No luck, no seats available on any flight getting us home earlier. Our friends went straight to their airlines ticketing counter when we arrived at MSY. Well the folks in front of them in line took the last seats on an earlier flight to their destination. We did feel bad for them had we got off the ship as soon as we could have, they could have gotten home much earlier. We didn’t want to book too early of a flight in case of fog or something causing a late arrival being this was the first time sailing from NOLA. We all made it home after a long day of sitting in airports and long drives once landing at our destinations. We all got home close to midnight. A couple of final thoughts Weather was great except for the morning of Nassau. However even with two nights of rainy weather, this was a very smooth sailing. Entertainment for us was a bit lacking this sailing. The platinum gift of a lanyard…… No juice glasses or juice being offered during breakfast in the MDR. Had to ask and hope. Won’t use the word/phrase we’re thinking here. We did save the FunTimes. Reply with your email if you want a copy. All the crew we encountered were smiling and working hard. And of course we had another great cruise and looking forward to planning the next one.
  9. Cruise Director The CD was Dustin Gabriel. We sailed with him back in 2017, consequentially on the Glory. He is one of the best CD’s we have sailed with. A lot of energy. Dustin’s trivia shows are quite entertaining. Many people make comments about announcement…. too many, too few, too early, too late, too loud….. We felt Dustin’s announcements for us were about the right amount and with the right amount of info. The only negative we could say it seems most announcements now are always related to money making activities. Spa, Bingo, Tee Shirt Sale…. Which is probably more of a corporate directive, than any certain CD. Ports Note… the couple we were cruising with has never been to any of the ports on this itinerary. Key West – We didn’t have any excursions planned here. We decided to just leisurely walk around. We walked down Whitehead Street to Southernmost Point, and back on Duval. Making stops along the way. This is an easy port to save money if you choose. Half Moon Cay – One of our favorite ports. Unfortunately it rained over night and was just clearing upon arrival. We had no excursions planned for HMC. Just a beach day. We went to the Platinum/FTTF meeting location but no guests or staff was to be found. Waited a few minutes, and just headed down to deck 0. We decided to find a spot on the beach down past the pirate ship. After a few hours, the clouds mostly cleared. The beach (slightly) as well as the water close to shore had seaweed, but that is to be expected after rain/storm. This was a little disappointing as leading up to sailing, we had been praising to our friends cruising with us how beautiful the beach and sand was at HMC. You know, that baby powder feeling of the sand. Really didn’t get that feeling with the damp sand from the rain. Still had a great day. A little seaweed and a few hours of clouds weren’t going to ruin our day at one of our favorite beaches. Freeport – This port surprised us (in a good way) compared to a previous visit. The port area is very industrial. We feel you need to get away from the port area in Freeport (which we usually try to do at every port.) We decided to do a Carnival Excursion. We wanted to go to Gold Rock Beach, but it was bit far for a taxi. But friends told us how much they enjoyed the Carnival Excursion Kayak & Nature Experience. You kayak thru the mangroves, then a stop at (to our excitement) Gold Rock Beach for lunch and beach time. We enjoyed the kayak portion, but the time at Gold Rock Beach was wonderful. Nassau – This was the last port and again there was rain/storm over night. Actually it was raining when we arrived and rained until mid-late morning. We had a Day Pass reservation at British Colonial Hilton. We decided we didn’t want to sit on the beach in the rain. Again the rain did let up late morning, but at this point we lost around 3 hours of the Day Pass. We did contact (via email) the third party vendor we booked thru and explained…. But also knowing it was a chance of not getting our deposit refunded. Fortunately the vendor did refund our deposit, even though the Hilton said the weather wasn’t that bad and “many” people enjoyed the resort. We can only believe it was more the people staying at the resort and less cruise guests. But who knows…. We did get some ponchos and walk around for a short time. Many locals told us it had been raining in Nassau for two days. We made the best of it and had a very relaxing day.
  10. Food Food is so subjective. For us… Breakfast – We usually have all breakfast meals in the MDR. But for this cruise, we had the first sea day, all port days, and debarkation day breakfast in the MDR. (6 of 😎 The other 2 were Lido. For breakfast in the MDR, we had great service teams all but one day. This one day the helper was “late to work” leaving the Team Lead alone. Not sure why the Team Lead couldn’t request/get another person. The Team Lead advertised to guests his helper was late. We could only guess the Team Lead didn’t want to get the person in trouble. Understandably, most everyone in the section was upset at how slow the service was this day. Something new we did notice at breakfast in the MDR. Not sure when this changed, but there no longer juice glasses as part of the table setting. Additionally, the Wait Staff doesn’t offer/ask if you want juice, like they used too. You had to ask/order juice. This became a bit annoying as more than once we had to ask multiple times for juice. Perhaps this was a new change. Didn’t ruin our cruise, but a change we did notice. We didn’t go to Sea Day Brunch any this cruise. We aren’t fans. Not so much the menu as it is the 8:30 opening time. At home, we both (as well as our friends we were cruising with) get up early and eat breakfast by 6:00AM. It is hard to wait until 8:30AM, which really becomes 9:00AM by the time you actually get food. Lunch – Most cruises we usually eat a salad and pizza or a salad and ½ a deli sandwich for lunch. But since the deli menu has changed, and our favorite sandwich (the turkey on country roll) is no longer offered, we didn’t use the deli at all. We’re sure they are other great items from the deli we just didn’t visit this sailing. We ate most lunches at Blue Iguana except for 3. Once at Ol’ Fashioned BBQ, once at Guy’s Burgers, and once at the buffet. We also had some pizza for a mid-meal snack. Dinner – Always in the MDR. We had the assigned, early dining in the Platinum Dining Room, upper level. Our wait team was great. Jayson, Dewa, and Vijay. One of the best wait teams we had on any cruise. Each night we were the first or second table seated. All but one night (and not the first night) service was great. The Glory has the American Table menu. For everyone at the table, whenever a steak/prime rib/filet was ordered it came cooked as requested (or very close) except once. The night they offered Filet, all four at the table ordered medium well, and all four came barely above raw. When we were informing the Head Waiter, just so happened the Assistant Maître D was walking by, asked the Head Waiter about the food, apologized to the table, and took the raw filets himself to the galley. (We could see the escalators from our table and the Maître D go there with the plates.) Several more times throughout the dinner service the Assistant Maître D stopped by to ask how we are doing. We always found something to eat and by no means went hungry. Entertainment Production Shows – the shows playing this week were: Amor Cubano, Getaway Island, Motor City, and Epic Rock. There used to be a time we went to every production show. Two things have changed this activity for us. A) We don’t care for the Playlist Productions and B) We have seen most of the production shows. Not that we wouldn’t see the same show over (as we have), but to see it as a Playlist version, no thanks. We tried it. Or we believe it was the playlist version…not being as good. Next year we are booked on the Horizon, so perhaps we can see new production shows. Music - A few years back we really got into listening to the live band. (partly because of see previous statement about the shows) The spring of 2014 on the Pride, we discovered we really enjoyed listening to the live band. A band called Hi Lux was on the Pride and they were really good. Every cruise since 2014 we have gotten lucky and the bands have been really good. Except 2017, oddly enough that was on the Glory. Well our luck ran out again on the Glory. The band on the Glory was called Group Therapy and (for us) weren’t that good. None of us could really put our finger on it. The musicians were good. There were two vocalist one male, one female. But the weird thing was the female vocalist, 99% of the time sang the songs we know has a male lead singer. And the male vocalist, 99% of the time sang the songs we know has a female lead singer. Then the male vocalist always tried to change his voice to mimic the artist he was singing. Just wasn’t working for us. We understand these bands (or it used to be this way we heard) don’t work together forever. Individual members contracts end, and a new member joins the band. The band has to get into sync with new member. This happened a few years ago, (believe it was the Breeze), we heard great things about the band and all their names. But during our sailing, the female vocalist of the band was no longer part of that band. When we asked, the band members said her contract was up and she was replaced with XYZ. (sorry forgot her name) The piano bar seemed off as well. We listened while at the Alchemy Bar a few times and again didn’t sound good to us. The couple we were with, went to the piano bar one night and said they left after a few songs. Comedy Shows - We did go to some of the comedy shows. We saw Shayma Tash and Orlando Baxter. Both were pretty funny. Casino - We aren’t big gamblers. Never any tables games. Usually we spend a little on slots. The casino never seemed overly busy the times we walked thru. The smoke wasn’t as bad as some cruises, but noticeable. Not to start a smoking/non-smoking debate, just an observation. We thought we read some new smoke venting/filtering device was added in the casino a couple years back. Not sure. Didn’t notice a difference really. Bingo – we did attend two sessions of bingo. The last bingo of the cruise for the $5,000 pot and one other session. No luck, again.
  11. FunTimes Recently the topic of people wanting FunTimes for their upcoming cruise has been discussed here on CC and we like to see them prior to sailing. Unfortunately they were none to be found for this itinerary. Some on CC stated since the Glory moved to NOLA this was the first sailing for this itinerary. No problem. We did save the FunTimes. However we don’t subscribe to websites/services to post pics into our threads/reviews. Just ask and provide an email, we will gladly send them. Embarkation We checked out and left the hotel approx. 10:30 (give/take a few minutes.) We arrived at terminal, went right thru security, and directed to Captain’s Lounge. Seated less than 5 minutes and was called to board. We were in our cabin by 11:00ish. We carried on all of our luggage. So by 11:30 we were unpacked, and ready to start our cruise. Vacation has officially begun. Cabin Again we went straight to our cabin. Empress Deck - AFT. Our cabin was ready. Our Sign & Sail cards were waiting in the cabin mailbox. Our cruising friends were on the Verandah deck, mid ship. We were both portside. Cabin Steward stopped by as we arrived at our cabin. Introduced himself. His name was Nelmer. We chatted a moment and he asked us if we wanted our cabin serviced AM, PM, or Both. At the same time he was handing us the form where you select if you need bath robes, extra towels, etc. And if we needed anything let him know. Our only additional request was ice daily. Cabin Steward did a great job all week. Probably the best Cabin Steward we ever had on any cruise. A first for us… Sea Day 2, we come back to the cabin (cabin had already been serviced that morning) and the door was open. Nelmer was across the hall. We asked him if he was done. Nelmer told us they had to take the headboard for cleaning. It would be returned later in the evening. Oh, OK. As we left the cabin we were like, what! Is he pulling a prank? Neither one of us heard this one. That evening Nelmer made a point to tell us the headboard had been put back. He explained to us the inside cabin headboards are made of a different material (forgot the material) than the balcony cabins. Whatever the material it required them to need cleaning. The balcony cabin headboards material we believe he said were synthetic. We did received a letter from Head of Housekeeping about the headboard in that evening’s mail. Anyway this was a new one. Muster Muster was on the outside decks. Carnival staff was using tablets to scan Sign & Sail cards to account for everyone. Several people that had their names called to call Guest Services to get the place/time for their “special” muster. Although we didn’t time it, seems muster went fairly quickly. Maybe 20 minutes.
  12. This is be a short (no photos) review of the May 11, 2019, 8 Day, Glory Sailing out of New Orleans (NOLA.) Itinerary: Key West, Freeport, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau. This sailing had 3 sea days. This was our experience and opinions of this cruise. This was our twelfth cruise (all on Carnival) and the first time sailing from NOLA. Pre-Cruise We tried something new this year, and stayed close to the airport we fly out of in NC. Otherwise it would have required leaving home approx. 2:30AM to catch our flight. That didn’t seem to be the way to start off vacation (or the traveling to begin vacation.) Airfare to/from NOLA for us was some of the most expensive flights we have purchased in recent years. Very limited direct flights to/from NOLA and none that worked for us. Not sure if it was the time of year or the particular airports being used. But driving wasn’t an option for us, so we had to fly. We flew into NOLA the day before the cruise. Since our second cruise, we have always flown in the day before. Our flight would only allow us about a half day to play “tourist” while in NOLA, and it seemed everything we wanted to do revolved around eating local cuisine. We were excited to sail from NOLA. Hotel Hotel 1 - We stayed at LaQuinta – Crabtree near RDU. This was about 10 minutes away from the airport. Hotel was just OK. Believe we got the highway side of the hotel as the traffic noise was quite noticeable in our room. We did request a quiet room away from ice machines, elevators, laundry, etc, but didn’t specify the highway. Oh well, it was one night and kept us from having to leave the house 2:30AM. Got a nice deal. Since Wyndham bought out LaQuinta, they had bonus points which reduced the price. Breakfast was included. This was your typical hotel hot breakfast. We arrived at LaQuinta around 8:30PM. When checking in we asked two things. If they saw the notes we included on the reservation (about a quiet room) and breakfast. The person checking us in (didn’t get their name) said they saw the notes and breakfast opened at 5:00AM. 5:00AM is when we had to leave the hotel for the airport. We asked if they have coffee and/or anything available (danish, fruit, something) any earlier. They said usually. We went down at 4:40AM and got lucky. Everything was ready. Morning was starting off great. We checked out at 5:00AM and headed to RDU. Would we stay here again, not sure? The price was good. It did save us several hours in the morning. Our flight to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) had a layover in Dallas. We had just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat before boarding another plane for the second leg of our flight(s) to MSY. Once we landed at MSY, we grabbed a taxi to our hotel, Hampton Inn NOLA Convention Center. $36 (flat rate) total for the both of us. We have stayed at Hampton Inn’ before. Usually one of our first choices for a hotel. We got a great deal. This was probably do to booking quite far in advance. Not something we normally do but…. Really nice hotel. Definitely would recommend and stay here again. Unfortunately the Trolley didn’t run any closer to Hampton Inn than Canal Street due to construction. Breakfast was included. Again it was the typical hotel hot breakfast. That said, it was much better than LaQuinta. Especially the hot items and choices. Half day in NOLA After checking in, we dropped out bags off, met our friends (their flight got in about 45 minutes earlier than ours) and had a very nice lunch at Emeril’s. After lunch, we went to the French Market. Among things we did at the French Market was have a Beignets at Café Du Monde. They were great. There were many ideas for places to eat for dinner (as we all wanted to try local cuisine) we were just too full from the big lunch at Emeril’s, so we skipped dinner. Just walked around NOLA a bit longer.
  13. This was our experience each time as well. Porters insisting we MUST check our larger luggage with them. We just figured the Porters were so insistent on it as they felt they were possibly losing out on tips.
  14. For the last 3 cruises, we carry on our check bag (25") and our carry on. No problem fitting thru the scanner. Is it a hassle, probably but we want to get unpacked and get vacation started.
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