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SF Cfan

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  1. When we returned to FLL from our Allure cruise back in the good old pre COVID days of December 2019, Royal offered the check the bags in on the ship and you'll see them again at your home airport service. There was a charge for it. But, it worked as advertised. Don't know if they are still offering this service. If they are an they can accommodate the 10:50 flight time that would save you having to reclaim them when departing the ship.
  2. Barcelona is an easy place to begin or end a cruise. I don't know what the experience will be like sailing out of Ravenna other than it appears to be closest to Bologna for air connections. Civitavecchia is a good way from Rome airport or the City of Rome. The June 6th and 13th sailings will give you access to star sight museums and historical attractions by virtue of calling at Livorno and Civitavecchia. I would recommend the June 13th sailing because it gives you the opportunity to extend at both ends in Barcelona and Rome. This offers a nice combination of incredible historical sites and soak-it-in beautiful port towns. Even though you may book guided land tours it may be helpful to pick-up a copy of Rick Steves guide book on Mediterranean Cruise Ports. The book does a good job of describing the logistics of getting from the port to where the actual things are that you want to see. This may help you maximize your time in each location. Best wishes on your ultimate selection.
  3. 7 days on the ship with lots of inviting indoor areas and beautiful scenery, I think it would be easy to enjoy one's self. We'll be on the other side of September 21, less than 12 hours per day of daylight and losing some minutes every day. I think you have the right outlook. Just going in with the knowledge that the weather may be gloomy from boarding in Seattle to the cruise itself. We just don't get the Fall warm and dry weather to the extant that Northern California does.
  4. Found this, which should be helpful even though it is not good news. https://www.cruisecritic.com/ab/agents/variation-a/articles.cfm?ID=3363 Passenger Z books two cruises that are back-to-back on the same ship. The first is a repositioning from San Diego to Vancouver. The second is a one-way Alaskan cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage. That passenger is essentially being transported from San Diego to Anchorage by way of Vancouver, which is not a distant foreign port since it is in North America. A violation would be triggered. Again, the cruise line is not likely to allow you to knowingly create a violation and would not allow the booking in the first place. If the booking slips through, Passenger Z would likely be denied re-boarding in Vancouver.
  5. We sailed on her 3 years ago, Pacific Coastal. I would sail on Explorer again tomorrow if I could even with the obvious long-in-the-tooth issues that VirginiaIsForCruisers accurately described above. We have since cruised on Ovation and Allure. It's fun to have that perspective. There is no denying that the resort vacation experience was on a higher level on Ovation or Allure. However as far as Explorer goes I like the more formal main dining room, the Viking Crown Lounge for a nice view, and the less crowded buffet (realizing that this may be time of year dependent).
  6. Of the two, I'm only familiar with Omega, the prices on the Ovation two years ago were similar to those on land. If you are going to be in Seattle before or after the cruise there is an Omega boutique in Bellevue, which does have a large selection on display. If you found something that you like it is very probable that they would ship it back to your home to avoid the 10+% sales tax.
  7. I also sailed on this itinerary in 1992. The approximate order of ports was Labadee, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.
  8. This recent comparison on YouTube may provide some useful insights as well. Are there late night options for a sandwich, pizza or heavy snack? Yes, Cafe Promenade and Sorrentos on Deck 4 Are we going to miss lots of scheduled shows and events by selecting late dining? No. Will the swimming pools be open on cruises to cooler destinations? Are they covered? The Solarium, Deck 14 Forward is glassed-in and the pool just behind it is covered. You are in for a treat if you decide to book. The Anthem class ships are very inviting and as you will discover well suited to all weather cruising (lots of indoor public spaces like Club Two70).
  9. +1 for deck 6 and Boardwalk access
  10. And similar logistics / time getting to and from the airport to the cruise terminals in both Seattle and San Francisco. The extra 3 days at sea would make a really nice difference. I think we all experience that great "vacation" feeling on days 5 & 6 of the cruise. Then the cold-hearted cruise line kicks us off of the ship on the 8th morning. Wouldn't 2 or 3 more days be nice? Yes they would!
  11. Yes, the starboard side in this instance was facing southeast with more of a view to the island.
  12. Things were more fun in the pre-social distancing days. I can attest that the Ovation sails under the Lyons Gate sans stacks. This was the 1st time she did it. My first cruise ever was on the Viking Serenade, the 4 day (Mon-Fri) Baja Cruise. Loved it, glad to see RC coming back to San Pedro.
  13. We've cruised twice with John. First time was in 2011, 12 day Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona on the brand new Magic. John was the Cruise Director. Second time was in in 2015, 11 day Journeys cruise out of New Orleans to Bermuda ending in San Juan with calls in between. That cruise was on the Dream and John was John plus whoever the Dream's CD was at the time. Some impressions may have been ship, crew or itinerary related. But, 2 cruises with different itineraries and 4 years apart, John was a common element both times. The captain's receptions were more substantial, 'not phoned in' comes to mind as being different from the usual Carnival event. The captain and the crew were in no hurry to leave and made a point of talking to individual passengers. I don't know that this was a direct effect of John's presence. Nonetheless it made an impression on me. John was very approachable and visible. John seemed to give more attention to what type and where the cruises were sailing. By this I mean his comments were nuanced during events like the sail away party or welcome show in the main theater. This was very noticeable when we did a second Mediterranean cruise in 2016 on the Vista. Everything was very standard Carnival generic on that cruise. That's not a terrible thing. It just wasn't the 2011 Magic cruise with John's savvy dialog. There are many CD's with good comic timing. John is another level above on the Love & Marriage show and any else he touches for that matter. John is chatty over the ship's public address in a good way including more thoughtful anecdotal information about upcoming ports or events on ship. Some will bristle or remind me that the better CD's do this too. I think John's years of experience make him seem more relaxed in his expertise than some. Your upcoming cruise may be a little different depending on what role the actual CD plays. The final thing that comes to mind in terms of being different was the food in the main dining room. This observation is probably shaky ground because we have both time and circumstances to consider. But, it was awesome on both 2011 Mediterranean and 2015 Journeys. Full disclosure, the 2015 Journeys cruise included a traditional everything and the kitchen sink midnight buffet and wonderful food in the MDR. Of course wouldn't you know that the food on the 2016 Vista Mediterranean cruise, sans John was just good, not great. Not sure how much of a John factor was in play, probably more of a change in budget than anything else. I haven't given you as many things not to miss as I would have liked. But, I hope this gives you some sense of the overall experience sailing with John. Please let us know when you get back next year what the experience was like.
  14. We really enjoyed the 4J on Magic.
  15. My wife and I have cruised on all 3 of the Dream class ships and the Vista including Mediterranean cruises on both Magic in 2011 and Vista in 2016. We did not care for the Vista compared to any of the other classes of ships that we have sailed on with Carnival. The lack of the soaring atrium lobby along with the unstructured main performance theater seating and more casual main dining room come to mind as negatives for us. It wasn't a bad experience by any means just not as good. I'm encouraged by the deck plans for Mardi Gras. I see elements of Royal's Ovation of the Seas, which we have also sailed on. This appears to be a major focus on impactful public spaces, something that was lacking on Vista. The Mardi Gras Grand Central Atrium looks similar to the Club Two70 on Ovation. This is obviously a major jump up in size for a Carnival ship. I can speak from experience on both Carnival and Royal, when you are enjoying a 10+ day cruise during the normal school year one can expect the Lido buffet to be free of crowds, lines, or major back-ups. This is not the case for 7 day cruises when is school is out. We can speculate at this point how that is all going to play out on Mardi Gras. In any event I would like to sail on her when cruising finally comes back as a thing to do.
  16. We sailed on her last year on December 15th. I still have the email confirmation from booking the shows on November 15th. I can't say how much earlier the shows were visible in the online cruise planner or if higher-ups in the Crown & Anchor rankings get an earlier crack at it (we're Platinum). Everything was wide open when I reserved for 4 30 days out.
  17. Magic inaugural cruise out of Barcelona, May 2011 (second overall sailing for the Magic). Favorite cruise ever to this day.
  18. First cruise overall and first cruise on RC, 4 day Baja out of San Pedro on the Viking Serenade, October of '90 or there about. Catalina Island, San Diego, and Ensenada calls, the cost was more expensive in real dollars, seems like $360.00 per person inside cabin. Service and food were terrific. Disco in the Viking Crown Lounge was terrific.
  19. Our last 2 cruises were on the Explorer and Ovation, with the latter this past May from Honolulu to Vancouver. Didn't notice smoke on either. But, have complete empathy with original poster. We were on the Carnival Vista when she was brand new and there was a substantial lack of ventilation in the Casino. The smell of smoke was overwhelming. We're not super sensitive to cigarette smoke. But, it was enough to cause us to avoid walking through the casino. Club TWO70, the Solarium, and Northstar are terrific all-weather spaces on Ovation (noting Solarium is age restricted and Northstar is a limited time view). The sports court is all indoors. Bundle-up and there is plenty of viewing space on the open decks. Famy27, I believe you will enjoy an Alaska cruise on Ovation.
  20. AT&T with iPhone and Voom package, that is correct - enable the WiFi calling feature and keep the phone in Airplane Mode when on the ship. The iPhone will use the ship's WiFi for placing and receiving phone calls. I have done this on the past 2 cruises.
  21. My wife and I sailed from Honolulu to Vancouver on the May 2nd sailing on the Ovation. 2) this will be my first sailing on the Pacific Ocean so I’m a little concern about sea sickness The ocean was smooth to small chop most of the way. One day in the open ocean the wind was blowing 30+ knots across the bow. That would put the wind at your back going the other way. One thing to keep in mind is that the water temp of the Pacific is cool to cold until you get even with lower Baja California. This means the outside temp may range from the 50's to 60's for the first 3 days on the open ocean, perhaps 4. It might rain part of the time too. However, the Ovation has several really good indoor spaces with open views as you are probably aware, including Club 270. (3) how’s the entertainment on the Ovation? Multiple major productions with about 24 cast members, 2 sets of female singers, 1 male pop singer, Jimmy Hopper (who was terrific IMHO, noting that taste in music is subjective), an Aerosmith cover band, comedian, magician, pick-pocket expert. There were 2 or 3 matinee performances with different material in addition to the primary evening entertainment. Plus, there were the live bands that performed in the bar & cabaret spaces. Enjoy your cruise.
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