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purplephenom

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About purplephenom

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  1. The times I've had success are when the provider is the same as the cruise ship, and the descriptions are exactly the same. I've also had some success when the 3rd party excursion is better and cheaper. This has been more hit or miss, so probably depends who is reviewing. The form is easy to fill out, so can't hurt to try. If it's not accepted you're no worse off than you were before you tried.
  2. You could always take your luggage to the airport, check in (if available that early) and then take the light rail back downtown. It's about a half hour ride and maybe 1/4-1/2 mile walk to the inner harbor. I live in Maryland and I enjoy time at the inner harbor, in spite of the chains. A couple suggestions- as mentioned, the aquarium is fun and can take a couple hours. I probably wouldn't bother with the Science Center- IMO it's best for younger kids. You could get a water taxi day pass- it makes a couple stops- I haven't ridden in awhile, but I think Fort McHenry and Fells Point are places it stops. Easy way to spend some time. As for safety, the inner harbor, Fells Point, Harbor East are perfectly safe. Since the riots a few years ago, there is definitely a visible police presence. The thing with Baltimore, is the not so nice/safe areas aren't that far away. So do keep an eye on where you are walking.
  3. Thanks. In that case, I think walking around and taking some pictures of the bridge at sunset seems like a good idea. Since I posted this, i'm now leaning towards Carnival's nightime cocktail tour excursion. I'm hoping that goes by some good spots to take pictures, but it looks like a new excursion and there are very few reviews.
  4. thanks. We will be there on a Wednesday- I see right now Curacao is the same time as here in Maryland, but in February, Curacao is an hour ahead, is that right?
  5. get the warm chocolate melting cake- it's on the dessert menu every night. Try to win a ship on a stick. It's amazing how quickly some people go from "Oh I don't care about that," to "oh my gosh i want one." It's just a fun cruising thing. Check out the Piano Bar. Go to the burrito side of Blue Iguana and ask for a taco salad/burrito bowl. Check out the deck parties...they may or may not be your thing, but at least you'll know you tried
  6. Keep checking for Faster to the Fun, sometimes more become available. Best tip I can give you for waiting on a higher deck- go up as early as you can and find a table to sit at. You can always check your phone, read, play cards, get something from the coffee shop, or whatever. But you'll have more options of things to do if you get a table versus a bench/couch thing
  7. A couple of my favorites A wooden carved box from Roatan. I use it to save cash through the year for spending money on the next cruise. Also from Roatan, a small painting I watched being painted at Tabayana Beach. It's probably no bigger than 8" across, small enough to hang up at work, and reminds me of what i called the best day of my snorkeling life. A little hand made perpetual calendar (is that what they're called? it has blocks for months and dates). It's tiny, tropical colored, shaped like a cat, and takes up very little space. An elastic beaded bracelet from Miami. It certainly wasn't expensive, I think it was maybe $2- the blue is the color of tropical water, it's not fussy and easy to slide on and off. I love wearing it on a freezing cold day in January, since it reminds me of past vacations. I try to pick up small things in ports- I like carved animals- easy to display together since they have a theme, but each country's looks a little different.
  8. You won't have a couch, so make sure you put everything away so the vanity stool and chair become places to sit, and not just catch alls to dump stuff on. I like setting the tv to the lido deck camera. That way you know when it's light out, but you also know when the deck is starting to fill up, if you want to get up there and get a chair. And you also know when the towel animals invade if that's important to you. Setting an alarm for the latest possible you want to get up helps. That way you'll have some idea of what time it is. Some ships have fridges in their interior rooms- the Splendor and some Sunshine rooms do, the Fascination doesn't. The Fascination had some motion lights under the closet- if you walked in front of them, they would come on and that was enough light to get to the bathroom in the dark, so we didn't leave the bathroom light on. The biggest thing is find quiet spots to hang out elsewhere on the ship, so you're not sitting in your room thinking about how small and dark it is. If you're only in there to sleep and get ready, it's more than sufficient for that. Also, if you like naps, use the darkness to your advantage in the middle of the day
  9. We really enjoyed Blue Bay. We did it as a Carnival tour, but I dont think it's necessary. The tour wound around before getting there, but based on the trip back, my guess is it's 15-20 minutes from the port. Snorkeling was pretty good- we saw a turtle which was awesome. Someone will probably come along with a better description, but I'll try my best here. There's a very calm area for swimming with rocks on both sides. If you stay in the calm area and go towards the rocks on the right, you swim over some sandy areas- don't get disappointed and keep going. There is coral and decent snorkeling closer to the rocks. If you swim around the rocks, there is better snorkeling but also more wavy. The person I was snorkeling with had a hard time on this side, but I found it just fine, if you don't fight the waves. Chairs were included in our tour, but I believe there's an entrance fee if you go on your own. There is food/drink. I think you have to walk up to the restaurant to order, and they'll bring you your food. But I'm not 100% sure on that- i spent all day in the water and just snagged a couple fries from the person I was with. Bathrooms were clean enough. The Carnival tour probably had about 3 hours of beach time- the surprise to me was that they had snorkel equipment for us, but fins weren't included. You had to rent those separately. I don't remember all the details, but this really was a good day. I remember being tired and happy heading back to the ship.
  10. If i'm understanding you correctly...if you leave your carry on bags with the porters, they will then arrive at your room with your suitcases. If you're going to do that, make sure you keep your boarding docs on you. You may want to consider keeping one bag with you (repack when you get to San Juan if needed), with minimal items for the day. Or, drop off your suitcases, board ASAP, eat lunch and relax/explore for a bit. Rooms will be accessible at 1:30. You can then take your carry ons to your room, drop them off and go explore.
  11. I'm also curious about this. does the tour include the bridge area or does it make sense to do that before the tour?
  12. Hmm..i like this idea. we get in later than you do, but I'd be up for a quick hour or 2 walking around/shopping, go to the beach for awhile, go back to the ship to change and then go take some pretty pictures at night. I want to find the Curacao sign, and it looks nice at night- and of course the bridge. We get in late, but one way or another, I want to make the most of our port time, since this is my favorite port.
  13. I sailed the Sunshine in February 2018. I really enjoyed the Ocean Plaza area. It was nice to sit and listen to music, and have games in the Red Frog Pub, and Alchemy right there. I think some of the newer ships have that, but it was the first ship I'd been on with that area- I missed it on my cruise this year. Serenity is big and pretty and awesome. But, we did the Aruba/Curacao route, and seas were rough for awhile and it was windy. The top deck of Serenity was closed a lot, and it was packed on sea days. I only really went to look for a spot after coming back from Port and later in the afternoon and it was a nice spot to hang out. Wasn't a fan of the layout of the show lounge. Missed having somewhere besides the floor to set a drink. And the floor level of the lounge filled up quickly. But the shows were enjoyable so we dealt with it. I'm not usually cold, but the ship seemed cold to me. After dinner i would change into leggings and a hoodie for the Piano Bar in the evening. The Piano Bar seemed small, but we were always able to get a spot. We had late seating in the MDR, and dinners seemed to take a long time. We had a table for 2, and the dinners were around 1.5 hours. That may not be a long time for you, just our experience. Back to Ocean Plaza..there's some breakfast/lunch set up there. It's not every possible option, but it's enough to tide you over when you just don't feel like dealing with Lido, and it was never really crowded. Blue Iguana = awesome. That's not unique to the Sunshine, I just wanted to work it in. But it was never open enough. I think it closed at 2:30 or 3, and we would just be getting back on the ship then. Ropes course...i desperately wanted to try it and was soon regretting it. It's apparently one of the tamer ones, but I just have no balance. If you want to try it, a trick I read was to hold on to your harness, not the ropes. I was too terrified to try this, but the I was very proud of myself when I completed it. We'll just ignore the fact that kids were racing around and I took forever. Slides..the racing slides were fun, especially if you have a buddy to go with. I dont know if these on all of the newer ships, but it was the first ship I had been on that had them. These were shut down a lot due to winds as well, but when they were open, my cruise buddy and I definitely had a few races. Activities...there were a lot of activities on this ship. At times, I felt like I had to choose between things. I was happy to have options. Crowds. Finding a table on Lido was the most crowded thing for us. Because it was crowded, there were times when 2 people would sit at a table for 6. And then of course a bigger party wouldn't have a table and pull chairs over to a smaller table. So we would have to find a table, then possible go find loose chairs elsewhere. But ultimately, that wasn't a big deal, we always found a spot. We tried to eat at off hours (right before things closed) I'm trying to balance the positive and negative on my notes here...but in reality, the positive far outweighed the negative. I think this was still my favorite cruise. I don't know what's important to you- if you have questions, I might have answers EDIT: Also, i think this is the only ship the Havana Bar has Cuban snacks. I made lunch out of those a few times, they were pretty good. EDIT #2: I now realize I misread, and you were asking about the Sunrise, not the Sunshine. My apologies for my rambling. I'll leave this up just in case any of it is helpful, but clearly I need to read closer.
  14. We will be visiting Curacao next February, and our port hours are 1:30-10 pm (approximately, might be off by a half hour). I sort of want to do some sort of excursion, the person I'm traveling with wants to skip an excursion and wander around the city on our own. He normally likes excursions- he just doesn't want to miss out on shopping/exploring if everything is closed after an excursion. Are we better off skipping the excursion to explore/shop? With this option, we could do a night time tour excursion or something. Or if we did an excursion during the day (the ones we are looking at go until about 5:30 or 6:00 pm), would there be enough for us to explore/shop after? By shopping, we're not talking about anything expensive- just little touristy things. We've been to Curacao before and really enjoyed walking around the downtown area..but last time our port hours were different and we could do that after an excursion. Can someone help us settle this debate..otherwise it will go on for a full year😉
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