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Everything posted by JFontaine

  1. Summary of testing required on this itinerary as of now: St. John's USVI - test required, embarkation antigen test should suffice Antigua - ? "Please check with cruiseline for protocols" St. Barts - Yes - will need antigen test on board? Note - unvaccinated passengers need a compelling reason to enter St. Marteen - no test if fully vaccinated Puerto Rico - no test if fully vaccinated US - no test flying from Puerto Rico
  2. What's the etiquette in the AS? I watched on different days one solo and one group join the singer to sing "their songs". Both were pretty cringeworthy, in my opinion. One woman plopped herself down on the piano bench (covid). I saw another woman doing some sort of paperwork with a task light spread out on a couch. A guest asked her to shut the light.
  3. Looks like St. Maarten no longer requiring Covid tests from fully vaccinated travelers. http://www.sintmaartengov.org/PressReleases/Pages/As-of-November-1st-2021-fully-vaccinated-travelers-will-no-longer-require-a-COVID19-test-to-enter-St-Maarten.aspx
  4. Looks like Antigua has lifted the prohibition on self-guided excursions. https://antiguaobserver.com/cruise-bubble-removed-vendors-and-operators-in-st-johns-stand-to-benefit/amp/
  5. I was on board 2 weeks ago. Muster drill was outside. Most people stood next to each other but I stood away from the pack, and said to one of the crew why I was standing apart. No issues with that, and I wore a mask. I waited for the crowd to thin out before going back. It was up to us to space apart in all venues.
  6. Yes on the Butler. Sewer type odors, I know they are common on cruise ships, and they come and go. Elevator issues started mid-cruise. With such low occupancy we never waited for an elevator at the beginning. By mid-cruise we waited, and I noticed the same elevators in each bank never appeared.
  7. The onboard comps which are available to all players (not just casino guests) are based on points. 1000 points translates to $10 in comp dollars, which can be used to offset onboard purchases only. I don’t know the formula for how points accumulate. I would characterize the reward program as not generous.
  8. And in conclusion, Yesterday was another picture perfect day with smooth seas. If I could’ve ordered weather for a week cruise to Bermuda in October, this was it. The variety show featured Elio Pace, who put on two other shows. He is an amazingly talented guy, and probably the best performer I’ve seen on a cruise ship. There was no comedian on this cruise. There were also few songs in any venue the entire week written after 1975. Departure this morning could not have been less stressful. My family received earlier tags than I did but that was easily resolved. Pickup for private car services is on the upper level (same as drop off) which meant a ride in a packed elevator with mask-less longshoremen. Welcome home! I saw my butler twice on the cruise. His claim that he’s the best part of the suite experience turned out not quite true. I loved the washer dryer, although it took a very long time to dry anything. The ship is old. Recurrent toilet problems in my suite that they tried but failed to fix, a phone system passed its prime, awful smells around the gangway, elevators out of order. The internet was a hit or miss affair, and I was relieved that I didn’t have to work on this cruise. Reliable Internet on a cruise ship has become fairly standard. Covid - while I was mostly comfortable, there were things that Crystal could’ve done better: better spacing in the main dining room and buffet, where half of each room was closed, and in the theater, where people were escorted to seats too close together. In such a small room, there are no bad seats. Several people who served us spent the entire week with their mask below their nose. If it was so apparent to us, why didn’t their supervisors notice? I spent months almost sick with worry over Covid and this cruise, and it turned out that none of my fears materialized. It was a great trip, a rare experience of being on such a big ship with few people. Thank you to everyone who posted in the last few months about Crystal, Bermuda and PCR tests and those who wished us well. Much appreciated.
  9. In the homestretch now. The Captain warned yesterday that the weather today would include rain, but happily it rained for only a few minutes, and the rest of the day was sunny, warm, and fairly calm seas. It felt like a late summer day. The pool deck remains mostly empty and relaxing. We find spots here and there where we can better see the water. The service continues to be very good throughout the ship. Following the recommendations on this board, last night I ordered chicken parm for dinner tonight. It was delicious. Today was an unannounced sale of leftover Furla and Kate Spade bags and wallets. The selection was sparse but the prices were low. It was a one day only event and I saw them pack up what was left. In cabin on demand movie selection is interesting. I'd bet their distributor is from the UK. There is no CNN or CNN International, but there is CNN Spanish. The only football or baseball games are on ESPN or occasionally on TBS (baseball). Channels come and go, but CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News and Turner Classic Movies seem fairly constant. We gain back an hour tonight.
  10. Bob, There were several taxi dispatchers at the ship, but only one taxi waiting. I asked the dispatchers and the taxi driver if we would have a problem getting one going back, and they all assured me we would not (our driver offered to come back but I didn't want to lock in a time). When we were leaving the beach there was one taxi waiting. We went on the day of the overnight, so no concerns about missing the ship. Plan B was to walk to the Princess hotel's beach next door, and take their shuttle to the main hotel, and get a cab there, but their gate was locked. Plan C is to walk up to the road and either look for a taxi or, last resort, take the bus. The bartender at the beach said he could call a cab. Their menu was very limited, burgers, fries, maybe a couple of other things. I saw a chest with ice cream sandwiches etc. Bring cash, not sure if they took cards.
  11. Our last cruise was on the Celebrity Edge a few weeks before the start of the pandemic, Washington's birthday so very crowded,, 3500 passengers? This situation is overwhelmingly good for us (tempered by the fact that there's not enough cruisers to sustain this, etc). There are no crowds, no wait for anything ever, no line, nobody on the elevator, sit where you want, or there, or there, we are waited on by multiple people at a time. We had the pool deck entirely to ourselves for an hour this morning (you have to chuckle at the no chair saving warning). There is no noise from anywhere around my cabin because nobody is around my cabin. I never see my cabin attendant, her cart, or the butler in the hall. We see the same people all over the cruise and they smile and say hello because they remember us. Whatever entertainment that is lacking in energy, the experience is more than made up by having the ship (almost) to ourselves. I mention the low energy because it might be important to others.
  12. About last night: we are exploring the 'always available ' menu choices in the main dining room. There's no list apparently, but whatever we ask for we are told is always available. Last night wedge salad, matzah ball soup, filet mignon, pasta and sauce. Everything was good, and the baked potato was delicious. We caught the last 5 minutes of the high energy show in the nightclub, and then the band and singer outside at the pool. With such few people on board, that was a low energy event, but the deck looked very pretty. I have yet to glimpse the captain. If you read as many of these contemporaneous reports as I do, many of the writers report a day that is just off. Maybe its the clash of high expectations with the reality that nothing is perfect. If you're lucky it's the day before the end of the cruise, when you mentally prepare for this being over, time to go home. Mine was today. I write about it not for anyone to feel bad for me, I'm incredibly lucky in every way possible. But maybe it will be of interest. First, lunch closes too early, and I feel like I'm rushing around to eat before 1:30. Yes, there are other options. But many other cruiselines have fixed this annoyance over the years. And I fell last night, missed the step coming out of the bathroom, because I couldn't find the night light, and I forgot to bring a battery operated tea light. There are 12 unmarked light switches in and around my bathroom. Yes, any one of them probably would've prevented the fall, but as I said earlier, cruise ship lighting shouldn't be this complicated, especially around the bathroom with a step. I did ask my butler for help with the light above my bed, and he had to fumble around with it before he got it. And although falling at 3 am alone is a jarring experience I am fine, other than a small bruise on my knee. The weather has been warm, sunny and humid since we arrived, no thunderstorms despite the dire weather forecasts that I followed closely prior to arrival. And I just got the two missing covid test results, as we are about to leave Bermuda I really am fine, and extremely lucky.
  13. I asked at the front desk and by the time I got back to the cabin it was there. Liked how they put my suite category on it. Seems like a holdover of another time? Thanks for mentioning it.
  14. Left it blank. Nothing was mentioned. They're looking for a hotel, if applicable.
  15. I had a 1 pm time, my family in regular cabins had 3 pm. My TA got theirs changed to 1 pm. When we pulled up at 1 sharp, there was not another car on the drive, not one. As we went through the process there were maybe 6 people in sight. By the way, I asked this question before my cruise, so let me answer it with some experience. Print as much as you can before the cruise to make embarkation less stressful. Your cruise ticket bar code will arrive with your luggage tags in the mail. Bring that, and print the Bermuda Travel Authorization, and the form with emergency notification information, even though you have previously provided it on line. You will also be juggling your passport and covid card. You will get the pier Covid test result on your phone, and you will need to sign up for that and then show it on your phone. And fill out two health forms per person at the pier before boarding. It's a lot, so being organized in advance helps. If it is a big hassle to print, don't worry about it.
  16. No, I did not inquire but I will. I like writing letters.
  17. Thanks but not mine. I did use the same email address for the three of us, which wasn't a problem before, but could've been the problem here.
  18. My wonderful cab driver today described the current wave as being driven by young people not vaccinated, who choose not to get it because of misinformation onsocial media, and there is little masking or distancing among those people. Sound familiar? He said 35 people died in the first 3 waves combined, and 75 in this one (I might have numbers off). He said there's been a huge surge in vaccination in the past few weeks. There is no government mandate, and only a few private employers are mandating, mostly multi-nationals. The resorts have no mandate, but require weekly testing of emoyees. He thinks the virus is coming in from the 4 weekly flights from the UK, where the residents go home and don't isolate. Spent a wonderful morning at Horseshoe Bay Beach, which my sister and I had to ourselves until we were joined by about a dozen others. $32 cab, plus tip, pickup is right at the ship's door, no walking to the roundabout. We were there before the chair rental ($10 each) opened at about 10:30, and the concession was closed as well. Restrooms open. My middle aged back made contact with the sand for the first time in 40 years. Good thing nobody was around to witness that. I immediately got thirsty since I had no water, and thought about Castaway and Blue Lagoon. The bar opened at about 11 and that diet coke was expensive and delicious. One cab was there when we were ready to leave at 1 for the almost 25 minute gorgeous drive back. If you like the beach I highly suggest making this trip. Lunch was Chinese food, and my NYC family loves it and has eaten it every day. The grill happily delivers to me.
  19. No stationery this cruise in a Seabreeze Penthouse Suite this week. Different color luggage tags that on a normal capacity cruise mightve meant expedited delivery. I've received some Crystal 30th Anniversary gifts that my family in a regular cabin didn't. The default water is Rvian and Pelligrino. I mentioned that I drink a lot of water, and while my butler offered to bring me small bottles of Evian, today, day four, he said they don't have any, would Fuji be OK? Yes. I asked my butler the amenities that go with the suite and he said the biggest one is him. When pressed, he said laundry, and then corrected himself to say pressing only. I asked about the phone and he said 30 minutes. Do your research in advance. I tried ordering a hard copy of Crystal's brochure as Keith suggested in May, never came. I've seen my butler twice in 4 days.
  20. Reported by ship - all who were tested were negative.
  21. I called the front desk (again) and she said she was waiting for more information. It's 7:30, a half hour after the gangway was to open.. She said she'd call a clearance officer and call me back. Report is gangway is open and guests can go ashore. I have only received 1 of 3 results by email. No news is good news, it appears.
  22. Test results coming by email. So far I've received one of three. According to Crystal they started hearing reports of emails a half hour ago from guests, but nothing official to ship.
  23. No. At the end of the show, the announcement was no results yet. But the show (Elton John) was great.
  24. White night tonight. They spend such time, money and effort to make it nice. We lasted about a half hour, and during that time it was mostly the small crowd watching the band. Not sure why they don't have the dancers out on the dance floor, that might've gotten the crowd going. There have been just a handful of casino players each day, but the casino appears fully staffed including the high-roller room. There are three casino guests on board, and accumulated points translate to on board credits. On board credits can't be used in the casino, and we were told they can't be left for tips. I've received no information about the benefits of the suite. An hour of phone calls, pressing, unlimited specialty restaurants? I don't really need anything, but it would be nice to have a list. It would also be helpful if I was an engineer. The lights, washer dryer, even the shower are complicated (takes a while to get hot water). Maybe that's the beauty of a long cruise. It takes a week to fully figure out the room. I love the lighting and it isn't a complaint. There's something in the closet I'm still trying to figure out. Makes me laugh.
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