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About jondfk

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Bay area, California
  • Interests
    Golf, Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, RCCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Panama Canal

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  1. You'll never hear a word onboard, certainly not from other pax. From staff only if you commit a most egregious violation. There's really no reason for any anxiety, given that you say you plan to comply. Realize that folks here, and in general on social media, feel free to say things they'd never in a million years say to your face. Put your anxieties aside and switch instead to anticipation for all of the lovely experiences you'll undoubtedly have onboard! Enjoy.
  2. Back on topic, we're also on Royal on September 29th (and the B2B on October 4). Our medallions also arrived yesterday, shipped from Singapore on Monday so pretty fast door to door. A couple of observations: Packaging is exactly as photographed elsewhere in the thread. Frankly, the amount of packaging is silly, I really hope they dial this back to just the essentials. The medallions and their cases could easily fit in a FedEx envelope. A positive surprise is that Princess joined our B2B cruises into one medallion token which I thought was quite clever, assuming all works as advertised. Very much looking forward to our first medallion experience.
  3. My observation is that with the exception of holiday sailings SF & LA Hawai'i cruises seem to have space available until quite close to sailing. If you're not particular about the cabin, don't want Club Class or a suite, wait for the promotion you like to come along and book then (3 for free, sip & sail, etc). The more limited cabin categories tend to get grabbed months or a year ahead. Holiday cruises always sell out - book as soon as you know you want one / see a cabin that suits your needs.
  4. In the evening I wear Dockers or something similar and a collared shirt, usually a camp shirt / madras or something similar, always short sleeves. A pair of casual loafers and I'm all set. For formal nights I swap out the short sleeve for long and call it good enough. For lunch it's nearly always a polo / shorts / reef sandals. That's my daytime basic attire whether at home or on ship. I've only run afoul of the dining room police once, when I wore a ball cap in for lunch and was asked to remove it. I'm not sure the windblown mop I exposed by doing so was any sort of upgrade, but I complied without complaint nonetheless. Oh, and I've been told repeatedly that shorts are permitted (not encouraged but permitted) first night / last night to accommodate those who may not have received their luggage / have already packed their luggage. I'll be testing this myself in a couple weeks on Royal. . .
  5. We've done 18 cruises with Princess, one upgrade, but it was a BIG one from an MA mini to a full suite. That cruise was for our 25th wedding anniversary and this definitely played some role in the upgrade since which I answered the phone call the first thing the Princess rep said was "congratulations on your upcoming anniversary, thanks for celebrating with Princess". I confess that I had hoped this might happen and booked the MA (now M1) cabin knowing the only possible moves would be to full suites. The call came about 60 days prior to sailing. I managed to keep it under my hat all the way to boarding, it wasn't until we jumped into the Suites/Elites line at checkin in Southampton that my wife realized something was off in a good way. A lovely experience, but we figure we used up our upgrade luck for life on that one.
  6. I don't consider myself an insomniac however I do routinely operate on something between 5 and 6 hours a night. Friends joke that the always check the timestamp of my emails to see if I'm 'late' writing after 3AM or so. Cruise ship cabins being small as they are, and my DW needing a more 'normal' amount I sleep I'm frequently wandering the halls at 3, 4 or 5AM. I'm always amazed by how MANY people there are out and around at this time. You'll bump into 5 or 10 (15 or 20?) people around the IC in these early hours, some, jet lagged, some insomniacs and some just crazy's like me. In any case, nobody will raise so much as an eyebrow. You'll also learn the IC isn't truly 24 hours. There is a brief changeover period around 3 or 4AM when they clean out all the cases, toss out yesterday's goodies and get set up for breakfast. Even during this period they are happy to serve you, but selections will be limited and not on full display in the case but rather on the transport rack. The overnight barista will be really happy to see you as any little bit of business helps keep him/her going until the end of their shift which is typically around 6AM. I have nothing to add to the sleeping on the balcony topic.
  7. La Patisserie dates back to the launch of Coral, many years before the invention of International Cafe. Back in those early days this was the place you could get a cup of brewed coffee (across the bar) and a couple of sweet nibbles all day long. The name has lived on, long after it's original purpose, lol.
  8. As said, the ship docks right in the small city of Manzanillo. On the South end of the bay which is opposite to where the resorts are. It's primarily a container port though the cruise ship pier is, thankfully, well away from the container activity. Look forward to seeing you onboard - we're on Royal Sept 29 - October 14 B2B. On the October 4 sailing the highlight port wise (IMHO) is Loreto. A lovely little port on the inside cost of baja. The only disadvantage is it's a tender port, but it's a short ride from the anchorage to the tender pier, so it went pretty well last year (on Ruby).
  9. I couldn't agree more, the small bar at Bayou is a nice little spot albeit without the special wine list from Vines. If they have music it's typically a bit of jazz in keeping with the Bayou theme which is very nice too. And finally I'll agree that it's rarely crowded though on longer cruises eventually folks do discover it.
  10. Club Class vs a standard Mini I'd say is worth a few (very few) dollars per day premium IMHO. In my experience Club Class dining room service is far better than ATD but little if any better than "traditional" dining (Princess nomenclature for fixed seating). We've had as good, or better, service from a fixed service team than the CC staff although I agree the latter aim to please. Club Class is nice, but it's absolutely not worth the premium that's sometimes asked. At $10 pp/pd I think there's value there, higher that this, not for me.
  11. At the time there were reports of light updating of the some cabins, mostly replacement of bedding. TV's were replaced ship wide to get ready for on demand video (still not activated until OM turns on next year I believe). I don't think any of the cabin upgrades were extensive, would be surprised if anyone reports restaining of cabins woodwork. Our deck 6 Window Suite received no upgrades of any sort aside from a new TV - and the terrible sofa loveseat has needed replacing for many years already. There was quite extensive work done to the outside decks. Resurfacing of pools and spas, replacement of failing book around the same. Installation of hundreds (thousands?) of RF receivers required for OM. Reupholstery chairs in the MDR and some public lounges such as Crooners, strangely Explorers lounge escaped reupholstery and needed it, I'm told they 'finish' this sort of work when the time expires so often some areas might have to wait for next time.
  12. That's an interesting comment, I too find the 'breakfast club' about the nicest group of folks anywhere on the ship. I thoroughly enjoy my new found friends around the IC in the early hours.
  13. As said, it will be a formal night and this is one night that you'll see EVERYONE out and about which can make getting around and finding a place to enjoy more challenging than it might be another night. Every lounge and entertainment space will be up and running - no idle moments. We've done a few and have generally enjoyed, do be prepared for the largest crowds you'll see anywhere with the possible exception of the embarkation hall.
  14. Well, the first few in the series Grand (originally), Golden & Star had Skywalkers perched very far aft and accessed by an inclined moving walkway (The Skywalker) from the aft elevator core. Positioned as such you had fantastic wake views and decent forward views. The walk up the moving walk could be a bit of a thrill ride in it's own right in rough seas. Likewise, even once you reached Skywalkers being so high and so far back could make for a lot of motion at times - fun! Out back, such as it was, and elevated above the rest of the ships structure, it really does look like a handle on a shopping cart! Later ships in the series had Skywalkers built into the top of the aft elevator core which, while easier to access has somewhat less good views (in my opinion). Since it is no longer all the way aft, the wake views are less spectacular. On Grand, Skywalkers was reportedly constructed of steel adding a lot of weight to the very back of the ship, this caused some undesirable characteristics (wallowing) at sea which is why Skywalkers was surgically removed a few years ago (there are some neat videos of the cutting away of the structure online). Later ships used much more aluminum and light weight material on upper decks which eliminated the wallowing problem and also allowed for an additional deck full of passenger cabins - but that's another subject.
  15. Thank's to all who corrected me. What I intended to write was that Ruby lacks the "shopping cart handle Skywalkers" that I prefer but I forgot those crucial extra words. All Grand class ships, save Grand herself, has one of two versions of Skywalkers. Apologies for any who I confused, I'll take more care in future.
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