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Everything posted by SwankieG

  1. Can you pack some foam ear plugs? I have a hard time at concerts so I’m used to having them on hand. Some are quite comfy. They also can muffle snoring husbands. 😂
  2. He’s very much alive and still performing. I took my parents to his show two years ago for their anniversary and I was beyond surprised by how good the concert was.
  3. You have little control over who will staff your ship so either family is going to get great at hair or you are. In my case, my hair no makeup team were me, myself, and I. Just choose something that can handle humidity and breezes—you are at sea, often all and will take outdoor pics—and pack awesome hairspray.
  4. My husband and father have never had to show their paperwork!
  5. In brief, IT teams fix functionality of a site or app. Marketing writes copy and is responsible for accuracy on a site and I suspect the marketing team became super lean during the COVID shutdown.
  6. The two accounts enable your wife to complete her check in appropriately (including security photo and uploading her documents) and be able to order whatever she wishes on her own device while onboard. She can call Princess directly for assistance with how to set up the app correctly. After her app is set up, she can add the cruises to the app using the booking numbers. The benefit of having two app accounts (on separate devices) is simple if you look at it this way; you each have had separate cruise cards on past cruises so you need separate apps to function in a similar fashion. Add to that the fact that she will be able to make reservations, order beverages and snacks, etc. on her own and it’s a great thing to have.
  7. I don’t recall ever seeking a “deal” on specialty dining unless your TA gifted you specialty dining, you are in a suite, or get one of the coupon books.
  8. The cruise wedding was great. We didn’t have bridesmaids or ushers, either and just wanted our family to relax on board. We didn’t order the package at all but they still shot video and still photos and didn’t stop until we asked to stop. Our photographers (literally, we had two—that was a surprise) were great. We took photos all over the ship—inside and outside. We didn’t want the video but ended up getting it and we’re glad we did. It was a fun thing to view on our anniversary. Crown Grille staff were amazing and made our group dinner very special. The wedding coordinator wasn’t great for setting that up but our travel agent moved mountains.
  9. Princess is a great way to do an intimate wedding. We jumped on a seven-day cruise for our wedding in 2018 and scheduled it to occur on a formal night so everyone could have two reasons to be dressed up. If you don’t want to pay the fees to be legally wed per Barbados law (the fee is crazy for what actually happens) have a private, secret wedding pre or post cruise. We did. It just didn’t make sense to send so much personal info through many hands for us. It can be a secret shared between the two of you. Word of caution… if you create a welcome letter and app with details about a meet up for sail away, wedding details, etc… Some (ahem… almost all of our guests) will not read it. Just roll with everything… the stories will crack you up later. The only thing that is important is the actual ceremony. Some lessons learned/ideas. Your flowers and cake may not end up how you expect. We brought a custom topper to be the focus of the cake (ask for it before you leave the venue or buy an inexpensive one) and hired someone to make all bouquets out of paper clay (think like sugar flowers but more flexible and less breakable). We also had a wedding certificate for the parents to sign. Bring a portable music device (an iPod is wonderful) with your music. You don’t have to go with what the contract has. Your travel agent can work wonders, too. Ours managed to get our party of 13 in one corner of Crown Grill for a fab wedding dinner. I will say we ended up having another, small-ish “welcome home” party for those who could not make the cruise, too, so it is great that you are already thinking of that. Do photos in and around Crooners. You will be glad you did (I won’t spoil the surprise) and the staff will ensure the newlyweds get whatever cocktail they need (trust me, you may need one) in short order. You will have to meet with a crew member who will act as your on-board planner if your wedding occurs during the cruise. If you are lucky, he or she will be an amazing fixer and will be a special escort to get you down to the chapel. I opted to have a second dress for dinner. You do you but it was nice to ditch the veil and train for a chicer and fresher white evening gown. Also, the photo package is negotiable. Do not pay this fee in advance and negotiate for what you and your family need at a price you can afford. With COVID, 2022 is a great plan and we hope you have an amazing cruise wedding!!
  10. I encourage you to read the CDC's actual demands on their web site. It's an interesting read. I'm not sure the current US CDC "plan" makes sense for cruise lines at all, especially when no other transport is subjected to the vast majority of the elements. Can you imagine cruise lines holding contracts to immediately house guests shoreside in the case of quarantine and ensure that each unit has completely separate ventilation? How about a 12-hour "down time" between use for embarkation and debarkation for any enclosed space? Thats only two of the many elements.
  11. Princess really does Christmas right. The ship is decorated beautifully, the holiday programming for all ages is great, and Christmas eve and day were packed with events and surprises. We didn't have kids in our group but we had fun watching children visit with Santa on Christmas day. I'm not sure how COVID mitigation measures may impact how things are handled so I won't detail much here but it was a great way to celebrate the season.
  12. Hopefully, your wedding is still on track. I'm sure COVID has been an added pressure during planning. The third party vendor, Royal Oceans Events, was a bit of a nightmare nightmare for us. Why Princess doesn't handle wedding planning in-house is beyond me. They would not answer questions without a signed contract. Once signed, theey didn't offer many concrete answers and the package is largely one size fits all. Several questions and requests were answered by saying it was up to the ship and they would request but could not make guarantees, much like what you are hearning. Thankfully, our travel agent was very experienced with Princess (and they with her). She served as a central point of contact for guest reservations and was our advocate who worked directly with Princes to resolve Royal Ocean issues that did not make sense. In short, find a good travel agent who does a lot of group business with Princess. That person can both help your guests with reservations and can smooth over any Royal Ocean bumps that may arise. Keep in mind that a Princess staffer, not a Royal Oceans Weddings rep, will be your on-board coordinator. He or she will meet with you on embarkation day and will work with you to accomplish your goals, if possible. Ours was simply amazing.
  13. Onboard, cise lines follow the laws of the countries they are registered in. In port, the ceremony may follow the laws of the port. You could also marry in a civil ceremony prior to boarding and have a symbolic ceremony onboard. Reach out to the lines servicing Southampton departures for more information.
  14. Hopefully, if you planned for a destination wedding fro the jump, you also planned for a dress that travels well. A dress must be carried on for your own sanity. I will not begin to tell you shipped or checked dress horror stories. If you kindly ask airline staff to hang the dress (and it is not huge), most will oblige--but it shouldn't be so large that it requires booking a separate seat otherwise the dress will be a beast to travel with every step of the way. I carried a fairly powerful magnetic hook and steamer onboard. The hook gave me room to steam the dress and train and shoot a pretty cool photo of the dress hanging in front of the balcony slider. Good luck!
  15. Spring in the Mediterranean is wonderful! Enjoy your honeymoon cruise and launching your voyage into marriage. 🍾🥂
  16. Princess also has their own Honeymoon Wishes registry. It worked well for us. A honeymoon is a great time to book a Chef's Table experience, Ultimate Balcony Dining, couples massages, and wine maker dinners. Some other experiences are great but have elements to keep in mind. The Ultimate Balcony breakfast is ok on a lazy sea day but it is an insane amount of food. The Ultimate Ship's Tour also includes some gifts (chef's jacket, robe, stationery, etc.) you will need to plan to pack to take home. That said, you do you. Your honeymoon is a time to connect and relax however you see fit. Cheers to the start of your life together! 🥂
  17. What do coupon books have to do with special occasions? They are part of a promo. Expectations sow the seeds of disappointment and upgrades and perks outside of promos and known, publicly stated benefits tend to be sweeter and more free flowing when you are not on the hunt for them. They do happen with special occasions but are kind of like Fight Club; you show gratitude but don't talk about them or others will expect and demand them.
  18. Cheers to many cruises ahead! 🥂 I'm sure you both had a great time!
  19. Princess takes good care of their single cruisers, especially if they are young adults traveling with family.
  20. I've been present for #2. Aniversaries are much like birthdays; a cake, group singing at dinner and a message on your door. For #3, my parents renewed their vows for their 40th, forcing me to begrudgingly go on my first cruise that I swore I would hate. I didn't. The ceremony is really dependent on staff and the captain. Everyone was amazing on this one and everyone (including staff we all had contact with who attended) had tears in their eyes. Princess Cruises is AMAZING for vow renewals, especially if you can do a candlelit one on a formal night. In short, if you have a milestone to celebrate, do it! For #7, birthdays can be upgraded with paid packages. Decor is then deployed in the room--think mobiles and banners--which is fun. Your cake will also be upgraded. For #9, my husband and I got married on the Grand Princess on a formal night at sea. A third-party vendor manages the details and some pluses and minuses exist with that. Thankfully, we had a TA who is very experienced with Princess and ironed out some kinks. I will say the onboard coordinator was amazing and we had staff come by while I was staging outside of the venue to offer well-wishes (our families, save for my dad, were inside). The quality of the ceremony is very dependent on the on-board coordinator and the captain. The packages are listed online but our travel agent navigated some odd challenges for us (choose one that does a lot of business with Princess) and we did research to know what we needed to roll onboard with to ensure the experience was a good one. Weddings in port during a cruise can be a challenge unless you are traveling with your attendees. A port change on our wedding cruise left another bride nearly in tears. Most of her non-sailing guests could not change their travel plans and had to skip the wedding. We have seen engagements #8 and port-side weddings. Enagagements can be awesome and, for a fee, Princess will work magic for you. Port-side weddings onboard don't seem to be worth the expense and stress. Guests have a very limited time onboard unless they are sailing so it is a mad sprint to get everything coordinated and celebrated before sail-away. Princess is amazing and either your travel agent can populate certain celebrations or you can enter them into your cruise personalizer. For anything else, call Princess in advance. They are surprisingly happy to help and, like most in the service industry, enjoy making special moments memorable. For #6, my parents also attended a reunion of various personnel who served on the same aircraft carrier. They had a great time and the ship arranged some private functions. Most importantly, let your team know about your celebrations. They love to be in on the fun and can offer suggestions.
  21. In all sincerity, your husband's health is a serious concern and you should discuss the risks of travel and infection with a doctor, not a cruise discussion board. Even a cold can lead to deadly complications if a weakened immune system is in play. The wildcard in all travel is other people, their approach to hygiene, and whether they self-quarrantine or carry on with their travels when they show symptoms. How much people spend or how many passengers are aboard has nothing to do with the potential to catch something. Any public place has the potential for viruses and diseases that can be transmitted my surface contact or close proximity--regardless of the number of passengers a vessel, aircraft, bus, train, taxi, etc. can carry. Heck, even currency can help viri find new hosts. We have managed to avoid completely noro, even when a ships reported passengers aboard had it; however, we have caught awful colds.
  22. On addition to the previous: Enroll your house in the local police department's vacation check program. Ensure a local family member had copies of all essential documents. Have a copies of passenger contracts and insurance policies in hand. Call your credit card companies and banks so your ATM and credit cards do not get locked down for potential fraud while making purchases or withdrawals. If it's an international trip, your government has tips, programs, and resources. If you are fro the U.S., check out https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go.html.
  23. Bravo! My husband feels the same way and every man looks dashing in a tux. We have a blast on formal nights.
  24. The Plaid Kangaroo on Etsy (I cannot get the forum to take the link) does an amazing job with cruise signs. The quality is high and she will do her best to make something really special. We were surprised by the quality of the sign and speed at which it was done.
  25. I have had both on a few ships. Deep tissue involves a lot more pressure and focused worm to release stubborn knots. Swedish is more long strokes with light pressure for relaxation. If you want a soft touch, go Swedish. If you are looking to force tension from trouble spots, go deep tissue. The masseuses on board are really great (just watch for upsells like hot stones and the normal product pitch) so we always book a series of three to get the 10%/20%/30% discount, often as couples massages.
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