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Caribbean Chris

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About Caribbean Chris

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  1. Caribbean Chris

    Hawaii - Shore Excursions

    We don’t book a lot of ship tours but were very glad we did in Hawaii. One on Oahu was fairly inexpensive to the Arizona Memorial (a bucket list item for me and a historic “must”) with plenty of time for the excellent museum there, plus a drive to the cemetery in Punchbowl; ...the other on Maui was the famous Road to Hana tour all day, tendering in after arrival and last tender back late afternoon. The waterfalls and coastal scenery were wonderful, and lunch was good at Hana Ranch. Very memorable, full day, one of the best cruise excursions ever. We did see whales from the ship while eating breakfast in the Lido just after anchoring off Lahaina.
  2. Caribbean Chris

    Changing Dining room Etiquette

    I agree with saying something. I’m not a very confrontational person, but waiters need to know if they’re getting carried away with being speedy. This made me recall a few years ago at one of the Mariners Club lunches. It was crowded, loud, and rushed, with plates cleared and next courses served immediately regardless of who was still eating an earlier course. The food was not up to par either, very annoying overall for such an occasion that should have been extra-gracious. Other times it has been nicer, but I don’t really care any more whether we go or don’t go.
  3. The frowny face while standing in the relief box is priceless! Great photos of Boaz.
  4. Dennis, Winchester certainly gets lots of points for cuteness! That look on his face says, "what do you mean by 'challenging puppy,' dad?" Here's a picture of Raylene's boyfriend Firenze (a yellow Lab CCI Hearing Dog from the Orlando campus) when he came over to our house for a play date last week. We have a fenced back yard, and the two doggies ran like the wind out there. We loved watching them, especially when they both ran with ends of the same toy in their mouths. Firenze's mom, Pat, said "This is the best day of Firenze's life. It's like he's gone to Disneyland!" Needless to say, we're all looking forward to another play date soon, and - fingers crossed - we may be keeping Firenze for five days if Pat goes on a trip in May. Here's a photo of tuckered-out 7 year-old Raylene, and bright-eyed 2 year-old Firenze waiting for the next round of chasing.
  5. Beautiful ship photos on a beautiful sunny day! I believe Grand Cayman is always a tender port for all ships, as the island has never built a cruise ship pier. My relatives have a home there, and that topic has been controversial for many years. When we've gone to Cayman by sea, sometimes large tendering boats were supplied by the island and sometimes the cruise lines' tenders were employed, or a combination of the two. From your photo of the HAL tenders, it looks like you were fortunate to enjoy a calm day. Somebody posted earlier this year an episode where a Celebrity captain had to discontinue tendering entirely into Georgetown due to unsafe conditions after the first few hundred passengers went ashore. That was it for the day, other than bringing those people back aboard, so most of the passengers never set foot on the island. Or on windy days, we've seen big ships anchoring on the south side of the island with shuttle buses arranged into Georgetown.
  6. Caribbean Chris

    Holland American charges for dead people?

    It’s never easy for family and friends when something like this happens. But perhaps your headline should more accurately have been, ““Insurance company won’t pay for cancellation?” Whether or not your friend collects eventually for her deceased husband’s portion of the fare, if she does not cancel and chooses to travel solo in a double stateroom, yes - I believe she would be charged the same single rate that any solo traveler pays which is usually 200%.
  7. Caribbean Chris

    Wine packages recommendations?

    Our favorite, too. Last year I THINK I saw it on the HAL wine list, but it might have been on Celebrity.
  8. Caribbean Chris

    Wine packages recommendations?

    We can drive to the port in Florida and always bring our two allowed bottles, but for the next trip, we'll bring more. Our favorite moderately priced red wine - even with corkage added - is less than half of the selling price on board the ship. Even if it were the same price, at least we can count on having something we know we'll enjoy instead of playing guessing games.
  9. Caribbean Chris

    Wine packages recommendations?

    We’ve gotten away from the wine packages despite being eligible for a good discount as 3* Mariners. So often we’ve been told “we’re out of that but here’s a good substitute.” Last time, when we liked and ordered the substitute wine again, the wine steward returned with yet another wine because “that was the last bottle of (the good substitute)”. The mystery substitute-substitute tasted like cheap box wine, and when I looked it up, turned out to sell for less than $10 online. (Obviously there is markup in a restaurant setting, but it was an interesting yardstick.) Drugstore-level wine is not what I expect from the highest priced of the packages. We do tip the stewards extra, by the way, even though that shouldn’t figure into it. HAL has offered these packages as a supposedly good value at a consistent quality pre-screened by their corporate sommeliers. That’s all I ask. Maybe the latest version of packages will be an improvement.
  10. Caribbean Chris

    I think I may be excited about my first cruise.

    Enjoy the planning and enjoy the cruise! I’m another one who lucked into a free cruise long ago because of my job (I was in airline sales and went the extra mile to help one of the cruise lines arrange a last-minute charter flight they desperately needed). It was the best vacation I ever had, and two years later I managed to get a cruise line sales rep job in Washington, DC where my boyfriend lived. Double win! I eventually left the cruise industry but never lost the love of cruising. Next HAL Cruise in 3.5 weeks with that boyfriend to celebrate our 39th anniversary.
  11. Gorgeous sunset photos!!
  12. Caribbean Chris

    Club Orange is Excellent

    I agree, especially since those benefits are included even for the lowest priced Sky Suites on Celebrity, whereas only the Neptune & Pinnacle Suites on HAL have access to the Neptune Lounge (self service honor bar) and now the use of Club Orange. That said, Celebrity Sky Suite prices have shot up into the stratosphere in the past year or two.
  13. I have not read any posts in the HAL forum that suggested the complete elimination of the Pinnacle Grill as a specialty restaurant with a surcharge for dinner and lunch on any of the ships. People are understandably unhappy about the elimination of breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, a perk limited to only Neptune & Pinnacle suite passengers, since the end of 2018 on the Nieuw Statendam and Konigsdam. This change came with the debut of Club Orange (converted from the Culinary Arts Center) as a Neptune Suite/Pinnacle Suite dining room for breakfast and dinner.
  14. Very discouraging to read these service issues about Club Orange! Thank you for sharing the details.
  15. Caribbean Chris

    Our solution to lack of footrest on EDGE veranda

    You are right, first mate, and it’s good thing to point out. On the other hand, if you are relaxing with your book at the verandah end of the stateroom, your phone may not be handy, especially for women without pockets. So you can either stand up and press/hold the button, or go find the phone. Usually on cruises, I turn off the phone and leave it in the room safe, but on Edge, you end up taking it with you, which for me meant carrying a small purse all the time (I have an iPhone 7plus, which is somewhat larger than my husband’s pocket-size phone). I liked all the app’s uses, but some people have commented that they don’t want to stay tethered to the phone on vacation.