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soon to be mrs. k

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About soon to be mrs. k

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Apex NC
  • Interests
    stamping/scrapbooking, travel, cooking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean/Mediterrean
  1. soon to be mrs. k

    Miami Hotel

    Hello. Holiday Inn POM does not provide transportation service. However, they recommended the Miami Sunset, Inc. when I was trying to find a van service for my group. We had a total of 60 guests in our wedding and most of our guests are from out of town. All but a few stayed at the Holiday Inn. Here's their info. Looks like their website is under construction: Miami Sunset, Inc. sales@miami-sunset.com Monica and Jose Diaz 305-573-3454 Great group of people to work with. 1) Provided 2 airport shuttles for my incoming guests that were group of 10. 2) Service from hotel to the Port of Miami. 3) Service for my non-sailing guests from Port back to HI. 4) A SoBe excursion I put together for all our sailing guests after the cruise. My guests whose flight out were after 4:00pm. Miami Sunset was able to store our luggage in their moving van the whole time. From SoBe direct to Miami Airport. I LOVE THEM ALL. Very personable. Prompt. Vans are clean. Service is exception. I hope this helps.
  2. soon to be mrs. k

    Has carnival cut...

    11-8-08 cruise on Liberty: Classical Trio played at the Cabinet, Deck 4, during tea time on sea days, also at the Lobby, Deck 3 at 5:15 PM-6:15 PM and 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The Jass Buffet played at Cabinet, Deck 4, at 7:30-8:30 PM and 9:30 PM - 12 A.M. (check the Capers)
  3. We had a family reunion, and also celebrated the wedding of my sister, on board the Carnival Liberty. I’ve posted the Wedding Review on the Honeymoon and Wedding Forum. This post will cover our excursions that we did on own in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. Also I will include other highlights on board the ship as well. There have been other reviews of the ship’s interiors so will not include here. But feel free to ask questions. Cozumel – Monday 8 AM – 10 PM – Weather was very warm, sunshine, blue skies. I’ve been in Cozumel before, and also lived and travelled in Mexico extensively. I am not fluent in Spanish, but could read and speak a bit. I decided not to do any ship sponsored excursion. My family members wanted to see Tulum, so I was designated as the “tour guide”. We got off the ship around 7:20 AM (Cozumel time, which is one hour behind ship’s time, always set your watch to ship time), walked about 10 minutes to get the taxi to the ferry terminal. The ship docked at the new terminal, Puerto Maya, which recently opened up after being destroyed by a hurricane 3 years ago. Lots of shopping places and places to eat and drink at this terminal. The taxi was about $2 USD/pp, there were about 13 of us, 4 taxis, and the ride to the ferry was about 15 minutes. The ferry’s departure time was 8 A.M, cost $12 USD/pp, and ferry ride was about 45 minutes to Playa del Carmen. Rough ride, thankfully no one got sick, but we all looked “green” and queasy. We didn’t buy a round trip ferry ticket, there were 2 ferry companies, and we didn’t want to wait for a particular ferry to get us back from Playa to Cozumel. Upon arrival in Playa, I again negotiated with a “taxi supervisor”, (they are by the ferry terminal, randomly picked one to talk to, everyone we encountered spoke English) about trip to Tulum, we had 4 taxis, cost was $20/rt USD/pp, they gave us 2.5 hours at the ruins, they will wait for us, and we did not have to pay them until we get back to Playa. It was a 45 minutes taxi ride. The entrance fee to the ruins was $5 USD/pp, there is a little tram that would take you to the ruins from the entrance for $2 USD/rt pp, they will give you a band to put around your wrist for the tram ride, for you can opt to walk for 15 minutes in the hot sun. If walking, be careful of snakes in the ground!! We saw one crossing the street from the tram, yikes!!! Bring plenty of water, as it was hot. At the entrance, there were guides for hire, you can bargain, I think people were paying anywhere from $20, but we didn’t hire a guide, we had a guidebook (borrowed from the local library before leaving home), and just self toured. The place is compact, although there is a lot of walking involved to go from ruin to ruin, and is very hot. We were there early in the day before the bulk of tourists and tour groups arrived, so we had plenty of opportunities to get some really good pictures. Saw a lot of iguanas, be careful sometimes they looked like stone statues, so make sure don’t sit on stone pillars, and check before stepping on the grass also. The highlight of the tour was to be able to swim in the blue Caribbean warm water down by the ruins. We had an hour, we put our stuff by the rocks, there was a lifeguard by the tower, and this was also where we had our picnic “room service” sandwiches and fruits. Very wonderful way to spend a day. (There is a changing room/bathroom, but best to put on your bathing suit underneath your tank tops/shorts. Bring the carnival towels provided in your room. You can exchange for a fresh ones when you get back on board the ship.) Back to the little tram to the parking lot to our waiting airconditioned taxis to take us back to Playa. We arrived in Playa around 2:10 PM, enough time for me to buy ferry tickets, ferry leaves at 3 P.M. for Cozumel, had tacos pastor and beer by the terminal, some went shopping a bit. We all boarded the ferry, and were in Cozumel around 3:45, took taxi back to ship, again paid $2 USD/pp. We stopped for beer and snacks at Fat Tuesday, then board the ship, had dinner and went back out for more shopping. Boarded the ship around 9:15, ship sailed at 10 P.M. Lots of shopping places in the new terminal. We had plenty of time so we were able to do this on our own. Please remember as on any tour that you undertake on your own, you have to weight the pros and cons of going to the mainland or staying on the side of where the ship is docked, if you stay in Cozumel, there are lots of things to see and do in the island, and you don’t have to worry that something might happen and you will miss the ship. Also, if you take the ship sponsored excursion, if anything happens, the ship will wait for you to get back. Cost of this excursion - $55 USD/pp – (taxis - $4 USD, ferry - $24 USD, taxis and tour in Tulum - $27 USD). Grand Cayman – Wednesday 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM. Weather was sunny, and warm. This is a tender stop. You go to the Venetian Lounge and get a ticket for when you can board the tender. They will call those on ship sponsored excursions first, then they will call the number of those who are not on excursions, but want to go on their own. The wait for your tender number to be called wasn’t long, about 15 minutes. The tender takes about 15 minutes. At the port, there are local people selling tours. We went with Linda of Soto Tours, we wanted to do the stingray/coral reef swimming tour. We agreed on a price of $400 USD for 13 people, this came to about $31/pp. We had about 45 minutes to wait for the van to take us to stingray city. We used the time to stop at the Tortuga Rum store across from the port, had tastings of rum and rum cakes, bought some rum, they will take it directly to your ship, Coconut Rum was $9/bottle, cakes were same priced as those on ship, although there were varieties to choose from. If you want to buy something for a snack, they have individual wrapped cakes for about $4. Delicious. Linda gathered all of us and we were in the van and taken to where we had to board the catamaran, about a 20 minute ride out of town. There were snorkel gears and mask and water and juice on board the little boat. Took about 25 minutes to the coral reef, we were given 45 minutes to swim, then another 10 minutes to the stingray area, where we were given another 45 minutes with the stingray. Back to the van after that, and some of us wanted to be dropped off at the Royal Palm resort for a swim, and the rest were dropped off in town for more shopping and where you can also take the tender back to the ship. There is no admission charge to go to the Royal Palm, laid our ship beach towels, and had a wonderful time swimming. Very crowded with ships passengers, I think there were 5 ships in port that day. We ate at the restaurant, mediocre food and service, and expensive, drinks were okay but also expensive. Took a taxi from Royal Palm back to town, around $4. Did a little shopping and board tender back. Last tender at 3:45 P.M. Cost of excursion - $31/pp (plus $4 taxi for those who were dropped off at Royal Palm). Ocho Rios – Thursday 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM. Weather was warm, a little overcast in the morning, heavy downpour for about 30 minutes, and blue skies and warm in late afternoon. Again, we decided to take excursions on our own. I had been to Jamaica long time ago, did a land vacation, stayed in Ocho Rios for a week, and twice on cruise visits. The island is lovely, and remember it is a very poor country,. A lot of comments of this port stop is quite negative, but my experiences have always been positive. We got off the ship, I asked a port authority official what it would cost to do independent touring, and she referred me to Patrick, a local islander. Patrick gave us a summary of the tour, i.e. Dunn’s River Falls, countryside tour, Fern Gully, city tour, stopping at Soni’s for little shopping, and then back to the ship. We did not have a definite timetable, we can stop and leave anytime, we had the use of his services until we want to go back to the ship. This came to about $35 USD/pp, including the $15 entrance fee to Dunn’s River falls. Patrick bought the tickets, led us to a guide, and stayed with us until he was assured we were okay inside the park. We had fun climbing the falls, took our time, and then we boarded the van. Patrick took us by Fern Gully, also we stopped at local elementary school, had time to chat with the children, then we went on top of the hill to take pictures of Liberty below. Then Patrick led us to the Soni’ shopping, he guided us to what kind of coffee to buy, also what marinade and sauce to buy for the famous Jamaican “jerk”. He also led me to get some wonderful meat pies at Juicy’s, behind Soni’s, we bought meat pies and coconut soda, and we wanted him to take us to a jerk restaurant. We did not have enough time to eat at the restaurant, but had some Red Stripes. Patrick was wonderful guide, very knowledgeable and willing to share his birthplace, the school tour was a highlight, and we did not at all felt threatened or in danger. It was a good way to spend a day in Ocho Rios. We board the ship back around 3 P.M. Cost of excursion - $35 USD/pp. for 6 hours. OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: We had a fabulous wedding reception at the Hot and Cold Disco for my sister’s wedding aboard the Liberty (Venetian Show Lounge) before the ship sailed. Had 60 guests, 46 sailed, and almost all are first time cruisers. The “special” dinner (Silver Olympian) and “special” breakfast (Golden Olympian) the assistant chef created for my family. We asked if this could be arranged through the restaurant hostess, and it was a thoughtful gesture from the chef to be able to do this. Silver Olympian - rack of lamb, petit filet mignon, shrimp cocktail, braised ribs, creme brulee, warm chocolate cake Origami Sushi Bar for sushi, and warm sake. The sushi was free, there is a small charge for the sake. – The Origami opens from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM, deck 5, next to Hot & Cold Disco, near the Paparazzi Wine Bar. The Fish and Chips for fried oysters, ahi on top of watermelon, and bouillabaisse. The Taste of the Nation “Chocolate Buffet” for scrumptious lemon mousse and anything chocolate. The tea time by the Cabinet, Deck 4, on sea days. Delicious desserts accompanied by classical music The grill area (11 PM – 1:00 AM) by the lido deck aft for grilled burgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken sandwiches. The carving station for anything roast. The sandwich station for vegetarian foccacia sandwich Room service for coffee, juice, Danish and croissant for “wake-up” call breakfast Room service for sandwiches to take to Tulum tour The pizza place (open 24 hours) for goat cheese pizza, caesar salad and calzone after the casino closes at 3 A.M. The Golden Olympian for breakfast of eggs benedict, bagels and salmon, waffles, French toast, chicken sausages, corned beef hash and fresh brewed coffee and/or cappuccinos. Breakfast in the dining room (Golden Olympian) on the day of debarkation. We had our own “entertainer”, Wayne, he used to work on cruise ships a long time ago, joined us on this cruise. We arranged to have the Piano Bar for 2 hours on one of the sea days for private party, the ship provided a complimentary cake for November/December celebrants. We also brought some of our wines, and the wait staff opened and provided us with glasses. Of course, we gave them tips. Also ordered drinks through them. A one-hour private cocktail party with, again, lots of free drinks and appetizers for our group. One of my niece was a finalist at the “Carnival Legends”. She didn’t win, but it was wonderful to hear her perform. She also performed with the “Music Man” band in the Atrium on the last night. The Captain’s Repeat Guests Party, held in the Venetian Show Lounge, was very classy, lots of appetizers and drinks flowed freely. You can order drinks not on the drink trays that were being passed around. The pin on the special invitation was a nice touch. This truly was a memorable family reunion, and of course, very special because of my sister’s wedding. All first time cruisers were impressed by the staff and crew, who were very accommodating, very friendly, and acted on our requests with promptness and efficiency. We chatted with the staff quite a bit and learned much about shipboard life. In summary, we all are waiting for the Carnival Dream so we can do another family reunion cruise in 2010. In the meantime, I will try to cruise on another Carnival ship for 2009, or maybe go back to the Liberty for an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Carnival Liberty truly surpassed all our expectations.
  4. soon to be mrs. k

    Burnt out RCCL cruiser

    Carnival Liberty Dining Highlights: Silver Olympian Dining Room - racked of lamb, filet mignon, braised ribs, creme brulee, special dinner we ordered previous night - delicious.. Origami sushi bar - open only from 5:30 to 8:30. Very good sushi, on Deck 5, next to Hot and Cold Disco. Tea time only during sea days - Deck 4 - Cabinet - the desserts were very good, although the teas were the bagged variety. The classical musicians were very good. Fish and Chips - 11:30 - 3:30 - fried oysters, ahi sushi, boullabaise Breakfast in the dining room - french toast, waffles, eggs benedict, bagels and salmon, chicken sausages, fresh hot coffee Vegetarian foccacia sandwich by the sandwich place Roast carving station by the buffet Chocolate desserts during one lunch day, esp the lemon chocolate mousse The grilled chicken, burgers and hot dogs at 10 P.M. next to the pizza place Of course, goat cheese pizza and caesar salad at 2 A.M. after the casinos are closed. "Wake up call" service of coffe, fruit and danish/croissant And our highlight - we requested a special "ethnic" dinner and special "breakfast" served to our group (we had wedding of my sister, attended by 46 sailing guests!!!), and the assistant chef was very accommodating, and the food served was delicious on both times. The executive chef came by, and the servers were all wonderful.
  5. soon to be mrs. k

    Past Guest Party

    On the Carnival Liberty, the Captain's Past Cruisers Party was held at the Venetian Show Lounge. Tons of delicious appetizers, and drinks were available, never waited more than 5 minutes for waiters to come with drinks. Had campari and soda, not on the "regular" list of drinks, but you can order separately and the waiter was very accommodating, and also some bubbly. The party was very well attended, the show was very good, and of course, the Captain was very welcoming and gracious host. The highlight was they showed all the Carnival ships, and people who have sailed on them have to acknowledge by clapping. The Carnival pin that came with the invitation was a nice touch. :)
  6. soon to be mrs. k

    Miami Hotel

    Hi Lowash67, I booked my entire group at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami Downtown last November 5-9, 2008. We booked 22 rooms for 55 guests. We had 2 or 3 occupants in some rooms. I like the variety of room configurations at the Holiday Inn. All of our guests traveled from The Netherlands, Costa Rica, Canada, San Diego, San Francisco, Iowa, New Jersey, New York and Raleigh. This hotel worked perfect for us because of the location of the Bayside Marketplace. Our guests enjoyed the close proximity of shopping, Bongos and a taxi ride to SoBe. Most of all, I love the staff! Tania Corea, the Sales Assistant is an angel! She is fantastic. The front desk staff is used to handling large groups. Breakfast is excellent. Gym and Business Center is good. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone who will be sailing out of the Port of Miami. It is one of the smallest hotels on the Biscayne Blvd but the location and service are excellent. If you plan to provide transportation for your guests, please let me know. I can recommend a good van service. Also, they provide service for the Holiday Inn guests. We also had a welcome reception the night before the wedding. I will be more than willing to give share our experience. Good luck... I hope you enjoy planning your wedding as I treasured every moment of arranging mine. Edna Kaufman
  7. soon to be mrs. k

    Tulum on our own?

    You are absolutely correct, we decided to do the Tulum tour on our own because we were in port from 8 A.M. until 10 P.M. Also, I have an adventurous streak, I have never taken any sponsored excursions of any kind, and have traveled all over the world. Travel adventures always carry the risks that something might happen, and if you do not feel that you will enjoy the experience for fear of someting happening, then it is not worth to tour on your own, no matter how much time you have in port, and it is safe to just stay on the side of Cozumel and enjoy the island. Or you can take the ship tour, and be assured that if anything happens, the ship will take care of you. I posted my experience to share with those who might like to try to tour on their own. Happy cruising everyone, and always have a safe and enjoyable cruise...
  8. soon to be mrs. k

    Tulum on our own?

    Just came back on the Carnival Liberty 11-8 Western Caribbean itinerary. I did the Tulum tour on my own, with 13 family members and friends joining. We got off the ship, 7:20 A.M. Coz time (8:20 A.M. ship time), walked 5 minutes from ship to where taxis were parked, we were able to get van and one taxi (cost was $2 USD pp), 10-minute ride to ferry terminal, bought ferry ticket one way ($12 USD/pp or 140 Pesos), ferry leaves in the AM every hour on the hour, there are 2 ferry companies, one leaves 8 AM, the other leaves 9 AM, etc. Ferry ride was about 40 minutes, that day 11/10, ride was not smooth, thankfully, no one in the group threw up, but we were all feeling queasy. Upon arrival in Playa del Carmen, I talked to taxi driver, bargained taxi ride to Tulum - cost is $20/PP round trip, they will wait at the Tulum ruins for return back, at the ruins as we did not have pesos, taxi driver asked us if we wanted him to buy the admission ticket, $5 USD/pp, and $2 USD/pp for the little tram ride up the ruins, or you can walk (about 15 minutes in the hot sun, and you might also encounter snake in the road!, so be careful). Total cost per person for this wonderful do it yourself excursion was $27 USD. There were 4 taxis for 13 people. We had a leisurely tour of the ruins, we had a guidebook that I borrowed from my hometown library, took tons of pictures, and then for the highlight of our tour, we were able to swim at the beach for about one hour!!! We were in Tulum from 11 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. Back in Playa around 2:10 P.M., bought another ferry ticket for the 3 P.M. ferry to Cozumel. Some went shopping, I sat and had leisurely tacos pastor and Modelo by the taco place near the ferry terminal. Best to buy ferry ticket one way, so you don't have to wait for ferry, you can catch whatever ferry is heading back to Cozumel. Ride back was much better and smoother than in the A.M. Was back in Cozumel around 3:40, took cab ($2 USD/pp) back to ship. Was in the ship terminal by around 4 P.M. Had time for beers at Fat Tuesday (our ship didn't leave until 9 PM, Cozumel time, which is 10 PM ship time. Ferry in the afternoon leaves every 2 hours after noon. Just for comparison, my sister and hubby took the ship sponsored excursion, cost $81 USD/pp, they arrived in Tulum much later than. we were already on our way to the beach when we saw them, coming back they were rushing for their "yellow ship" to go back to Cozumel, and I was leisurely eating my tacos and drinking my beer. TOTAL COST = $55 USD - $24 for ferry ride, $20 for taxi to Tulum and back (2.5 hrs in Tulum), $5 entrance to ruins, $2 for little tram, $4 taxi in Cozumel to and from ferry terminal. Savings from ship excursion - $26 We never felt unsafe, taxi drivers were polite and honest, and all local people were helpful. They all speak English, too. Also, there are "guides" at the ruins, but we elected to self tour.
  9. soon to be mrs. k

    Carnival Liberty wedding on Nov 2008

    Congratulations!!! You must be pretty excited. My sister and future brother in law were able to do a ship visit last month, they were pretty excited, she was not able to spend much time on the ship, they "played" travel agents and were treated to sit down lunch. But at least she got an idea of the ship, she said it was gorgeous. If you can share the details of your wedding, we would appreciate very much. Again, thank you, and have a wonderful wedding and of course honeymoon!!!
  10. soon to be mrs. k

    Welcome Letters

    Hi Is it possible to get a copy of your template? I really like it. here's my email address: ednalita@jdkaufman.com Thank you Edna
  11. soon to be mrs. k

    Recommended photographer aboard Carnival Liberty

    Hi maddam_5maria, I am under the impression that there will be one specific photographer assigned to us during the wedding and reception. I am curious whether there's anyone out there who can give me a name.
  12. We are getting married on November 8, 2008 and we would like to find out whether you can recommend a photographer for our wedding. Is the ship photographer the same as the wedding photographer?
  13. soon to be mrs. k

    Im back! wedding 2/9

    Thank you, now we have a very good idea of what to tell our guests. We now have 40 sailing guests and 10 non-sailing. It makes us feel good to know our non-sailing guests at least will have some time to explore the ship before the wedding. My sister, soon to be mrs. k, will also be able to do a ship visit sometime in May. She is excited, she will get a better idea of the ship's layout, and also take a peek at the wedding and reception location. The visit will only be for perhaps 4 hours, but that would be enough time to get an idea of her wedding location. Thank you again for your time. Appreciate it. :)
  14. soon to be mrs. k

    Im back! wedding 2/9

    hi, I've been following your posts as my sister is going to be married on the Carnival Liberty sometime in Nov. 2008. Even with all the information and tips on the board, there is nothing really like being there and experiencing it!!! I'm glad you had a wonderful wedding ceremony, albeit short. Questions if I may: do your guests, both sailing and non-sailing have to be all together to board the ship? Did the non-sailing guests have time to enjoy the ship before the wedding, i.e. take a tour of the ship, grab a burger, or do they have to be in one place before the ceremony; (we have 36 sailing guests and 10 non-sailing), did you have music played during the ceremony, we were thinking of burning CD and playing it at the ceremony. Thank you for your time, and again, congratulations!!!!
  15. Am starting to help plan my sister's wedding on board Carnival Liberty in November 2008. We just made cabin reservations, and now the next call will be with wedding planner on the Liberty. She plans to get married in port of Miami before ship sails for Western Caribbean. Right now there are 18 guests sailing, and perhaps 10 non-sailing guests. We are pretty excited, have already mailed out the first newsletter. I welcome any feedback, comments, opinions and if there are anyone out there sailing on November 8, would love to hear from you. I'm sure as we progress with the planning, I would have tons of questions. Thank you all. - sister of soon to be mrs. k :)
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