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ctbjr1309

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Everything posted by ctbjr1309

  1. We are just home from Havana. Had a great week on SD II. I am not going to do a play by play review of the week since TrapperZimmy did such a fine job at that. I am happy to answer specific questions to the extent possible. I don't have any info or details about any of the specific shore excursions though. As a start, I'll list some of the on board crew who we had the pleasure of spending time with: Captain Svein-Rune Stromnes. Our first time sailing with him. Fun to learn that he and I share the same birthday. This was either the first or second time that I've had more nights on board than the Captain. Hotel Manager - Jamie Macgregor. Maitre d' - Nichola (from Sardinia). He went on leave today. Silvio back to work this morning. Concierge Staff- Frud and Lucy Sommelier - Eric. Great to have him back on SeaDream. Bar Staff - Sev and Tudor. Wait Staff - Fernando, Emmanuel, O'Neal, Jesse, Carlos, Raja, Jerry and others who I can't currently recall unfortunately. Head housekeeper - Arla. Our housekeeper was Jessy. She did a great job. Chef - Jorg from Germany was in his 3rd week. Executive Chef Tomasz from Poland was on board training Jorg. Generally excellent meals. The staff was top notch and as always made for a fantastic experience. The wifi connection was tolerable. Staff very excited (but unfortunately circumspect) about the upcoming announcement. If I recall correctly, we were 96 passengers and 93 crew. 50 passengers were repeaters. One interesting thing about the SeaDream Cuba experience was their difficulty in obtaining certain food and beverage items. For example, the week prior they ran out of Bailey's and couldn't get more. No lemons available during our week. Initially I was told no Diet Cokes on board so I would need to drink the Cuban equivalent which was watery and not very carbonated. Fortunately, Nichola found a modest supply of Diet Cokes that Fernando doled out to me throughout the week. Yesterday was a sea day. The Captain stopped the ship in 2800 feet of water and let us go swimming in the Straits of Florida for an hour. Great fun. That's about it for this non-review. I'm happy to answer specific questions about our experience so feel free to ask.
  2. Sorry to miss you on the Crossing, vandrefalk. Many of the crew we sailed with will still be on board. I know you'll have a great trip. Elevator repair is not the reason for the unscheduled dry dock so with any luck it'll be repaired soon. Oh, I just remembered why I booked the SD I crossing - Jost Beach Party on Day 1. Is there a better reason?
  3. Sorry, I had intended to mention that the elevator is still out of commission. The story I heard is that they are waiting for a part. Not sure if it's an issue getting said part into Cuba or something else. I have this nagging recollection that the elevator was not working over New Year's but won't swear to it. We didn't hear much about Nikola and I intentionally didn't ask any of the crew. I figured that we'd hear any news of significance. Of course, among the passengers there was a fair amount of reminiscing about him and talk of how much he is missed. For what it's worth, there was no shortage of bananas last week so clearly local bananas are not difficult to come by. I was impressed with the quality of the food in light of the provisioning issues
  4. I believe I heard that the SD II TA is rather lightly booked. I hope that you enjoy your first SD TA experience as much as we have. The Captain was doing his best to promote the upcoming SD II Crossing. I will be on the SD I TA in April so unfortunately, his entreaties were lost on me. Silvio is great. We're sorry that we missed him although we did have the chance briefly to say hi to him on NYE when he visited SD II for a crew party. The crew was very circumspect about the upcoming announcement and I didn't push it so can't help with that. The yacht is in generally good shape but given its age there is always the opportunity to spruce things up. The staterooms are in need of refreshment but that's not in the cards for this upcoming dry dock. I understand the reason for the change in length of the SD II Eastbound TA trip to be due to an equipment issue needing attention. We enjoyed our week immensely. No complaint from us as to the current status of standards on SD II. I expect that you'll find things on board to be to your liking. Have a great trip!
  5. A couple of additions: Club Director - Matt. Our first time sailing with him in this capacity. He did a great job. Activities Director - Toni. She also did a nice job.
  6. ctbjr1309

    SD 1 March 2 to 9 overview

    For what it's worth, we have disembarked in SJU a number of times over the years. My recollection is that the process has for quite some time been as described by Tiki_Man. I don't believe his experience to have been a one off situation.
  7. ctbjr1309

    Cuba

    Thanks, Trapper. Great info and quite informative. Very helpful.
  8. ctbjr1309

    Cuba

    Thanks, Zimmy. Very helpful. Much appreciated.
  9. ctbjr1309

    Cuba

    Trapper, thanks for taking the time to complete the trip summary. A couple more questions: 1. Are there compulsory excursions at each port? Or once we do one are we good to go? I assume we can do as many as we want but just not sure if we're looking at a requirement to do one or several. 2. What is the disembarkation process like? Is it like Europe or certain Caribbean ports where you can walk off the ship whenever you like (prior to 10 AM) and head to the airport? Or is it like SJU or STT where passengers are summoned to the Main Salon at a specific time? I assume the former since US CBP not involved but want to confirm. Thanks.
  10. ctbjr1309

    Travel Documents Arrived Today 🤪

    I don't believe so. We have used the same agent for SD (and predecessors) since 1996 and presentation and delivery of cruise docs has varied wildly over that time. We received cruise tix by email last December and a fancy box containing tix, itinerary, luggage tags and baggage straps for our upcoming voyage.
  11. ctbjr1309

    Travel Documents Arrived Today 🤪

    Ours arrived this week. Nice new presentation.
  12. ctbjr1309

    Cuba

    Very helpful. Many thanks for the thoughtful and helpful responses. Much appreciated.
  13. ctbjr1309

    Cuba

    Trapper, thank you for the updates. They are most appreciated. We are on the March 4 (Cienfuegos-Havana) sailing and have some specific questions that I hope you won't mind entertaining. In no particular order, they are: 1. Are any kind of health documents required for entry into Cuba? I'm not aware of any but wondering what you heard from those boarding in Cienfuegos. I know that your experience might have been different since you entered the country on SeaDream. 2. What did you do about visas? I understand that visas are required and can either be obtained in advance on line or by purchasing them at the US departure airport. Any thoughts or did you hear anything worth passing along from fellow passengers? 3. How did you obtain CUC's? I read that there is a 10% tax for changing USD into CUC's . Is there an easy and legal way around that? Are credit cards of any use in Cuba? 4. Regarding the compulsory tour, are all passengers required to take the same tour? Or are there multiple tours with a choice available? Must we comply with this requirement in Trinidad? Or can we take a tour elsewhere if we prefer? 5. You mention insurance in one of your posts. I understand that our airfare includes the Cuba health insurance required for entry into the country. Should we expect to be required to purchase insurance a second time once on board? Or was there an opportunity for passengers to demonstrate that they had already purchased the required insurance. Finally, is there anything else you can think of that would be helpful for first time Cuba travelers to know prior to departure? Many thanks in advance for any information or guidance that you can provide.
  14. ctbjr1309

    Cuba

    Thank you for these updates. We board on March 4 in Cienfuegos so are very much looking forward to your reports as this week unfolds.
  15. ctbjr1309

    Current staff on SD1

    As of last week, the following were on board: Capt. Smorawski Gareth (Club Director) Mark (new Hotel Manager) Silvio (Maitre d') I believe that Capt. Smorawski will be on vacation in 6 weeks. Don't know about the others. Hope you have a great trip!
  16. ctbjr1309

    Christmas Cruise - any thoughts?

    Yes, I agree as to passenger mix. I recall the number being 80%. Biggest percentage of repeaters we've ever experienced.
  17. ctbjr1309

    Seadream 1 in March 2019

    They are above the desk.
  18. ctbjr1309

    Seadream 1 in March 2019

    I have never tried to get off the ship at Spanish Town but based on my experience with Seadream I can't imagine that they wouldn't let you off the ship there even if not participating in the excursion. I'd just confirm with the Activities person on board the ship at least a day ahead of time.
  19. ctbjr1309

    Seadream 1 in March 2019

    A (reasonably reliable) friend currently on board SD I confirms that the 2 USB ports have been added in the rooms on SD I as well.
  20. ctbjr1309

    Seadream 1 in March 2019

    I'm fairly recently back from 9 days on SD II in the Caribbean. I noticed and specifically commented on the number of dinner menu items labeled as Gluten Free. Menus should be consistent across both ships so you should have plenty of GF options. Visiting the Baths at VG shouldn't be a problem. The ship will stop at Spanish Town around 8 AM and you could just get off with the group going to the Baths and organize your own transportation. Alternatively, but less conveniently, you could wait until the yacht arrives at North Sound (around 10 AM), go ashore at Leverick Bay and then organize your own transportation to the Baths and back. Have a great trip!
  21. ctbjr1309

    Cuba

    While on board SD II last week I discussed wifi with a SeaDream exec. For what it's worth he told me that SD wifi is delivered by satellite so my guess (and that's all it is) is that the on board wifi during the Cuba voyages will be the same as experienced elsewhere on SD.
  22. ctbjr1309

    SeaDream II Eastbound TA April 2019

    I have a recommendation.....
  23. ctbjr1309

    Christmas Cruise - any thoughts?

    FWIW, the teen and teen -acting adult quotient is very low this week on SD 2. A couple very well behaved teens and (so far) no teen-acting adults. We are booked on the next 2 NYE week cruises so hoping this year is not an anomaly.
  24. ctbjr1309

    SD II New Year's voyage

    You and me both! We shall see.
  25. ctbjr1309

    SD II New Year's voyage

    No worries, Jim. Just wanted you to know that I’m paying attention!
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