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About Skai

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  1. There was a time when Princess was considered a premium line. Alas, those days are now written in the annals of history. As long as one is primarily aware of this reality, then one sailing with limited expectations ought to be aptly prepared for the quality of fare. The Star was the first Princess ship that left us feeling "meh" about the offerings in the Horizon Court. That sailing was almost 10 years ago. Methinks it hard to believe that there has been any improvement, considering all of the ever continuing cutbacks that have adversely affected the quality of the included-in-the-fare offerings aboard. Breakfast(on port days) is where it really hits home. Being destination/port-active cruisers, we are usually wanting an expedient hot breakfast(w/ proteins) to charge us up for a long day touring in port. The buffet is the primary option on the days that we're looking to get off of the ship immediately after clearance. After returning to the ship on port-intensive days, sometimes we may be too tired to endure a 2hr MDR affair, and are often looking for a more casual dinner option....Perhaps, we may be wanting to choose to dine a little later, but still have the time to catch an evening performance. The option of dining at the buffet tends to be the choice here. The quality in the buffet(and MDR) on Princess has noticeably declined in both quality and variety over the years. It's to the point that we've looked to move on from Princess. We're content to pay more for more, rather than pay more for the same(or less -- as has been the case with Princess recently). They've missed the boat when it comes to securing our loyalty -- A misstep due to us likely among the younger demographic that they've been trying to woo to continue to fortify their regularly recurring passenger base going into the future. Perhaps they ought to spend a little more on their food budget, and less on skywalks to nowhere, fountains that take up valuable deck space, and Medallion systems that will be outdated technology by the time that they've finally ironed out all of the bugs. We'll look to sail Princess when fares are discounted and more in-line with what perceived value we believe that they provide.
  2. You may strongly consider canceling. You come across like you might be absolutely miserable in inside cabin.
  3. There's a simple answer to this query. It's not that Princess is cheaper, it's that the other lines(mentioned in the OP) are overpriced.
  4. In the past we have used the bubble wrap sleeves sold on board to pack souvenir liquor in our luggage. We brought some back from Cadushy, and IIRC the taller bottle was too large to use regular sleeves, so we had to wrap them in clothes and pack them that way. They made it home safe FWIW. I can suggest an alternative. On a recent land-trip where we were trying to pack less volume, I purchased some vacuum bags to compress clothing. They have a one-way valve that releases the air and allows one to pack tighter. I think that the bottles along with some clothing would be well secured if breakage is a concern.
  5. Skai

    omelet bar

    A picture is 1000 words...
  6. To each their own, I'm merely stating my personal opinion. We will have to adamantly disagree about the quality of beef in the MDR. I've consistenly been disappointed enough times(along with other guests at shared tables), that I no longer bother to order beef dishes anymore in the MDR. I too have often opted for made-to-order omelets at breakfast. Although, the amount of oil used in the pans usually makes them pretty greasy as well. I also find that I've usually needed to request them to cook them all the way through, so that the cheese actually melts. It seems as if they're trying to get them out as early as they can, underdone. Cereal, fruit, (pre-packaged) yogurts, cream cheese/bagels I do as well. They suffice, but I'm also one to crave a little protein with my breakfast. It's my opinion that Princess leaves a lot to be desired in this area. Is it too much to ask for some thick-cut bacon or sausage links that are actually browned, instead of mushy grey? How about some crispy well-seasoned home fries, instead of pre-frozen hash-brown discs that taste like dirt? Yes, I was primarily referencing the desserts offered in the buffet as poor. For those that might be craving a late night dessert, disappointment is going to be likely, 'as they often look like they taste much better than they actually do. My personal sentiment is that I prefer quality over quantity/variety. We don't cruise primarily for food, however, there was a time(when we first started cruising), that the food on Princess was much more appealing than it is now -- Much less hit-or-miss dishes and better overall quality. I look at Princess' fare with much less enthusiasm and see it more as sustenance in recent times. Sure it's edible, but it's nothing too exciting.
  7. Cut and dry (what the Princess "never had a bad meal" cheerleaders might not tell you) One ought to already be aware that overall food quality/presentation/service has seen a gradual decline among all mainstream cruiselines in recent years...... Princess does some things good, some things fair and some things bad. It helps to have sailed with Princess a few times to learn what to opt for and what to generally avoid. Let's start with THE BAD... Princess (included in the fare)desserts are generally pretty crummy. While they may have a fabulous looking appearance, once tasted, they come across with a very strange texture as if they have been freezer-burned(?) and having been made with poor ingredients such as lard instead of butter. Beef is to be avoided in the MDR. Don't do it. It's a sure way for someone that enjoys a nice steak to receive a major let down. The stuff ought to be make into beef jerky. The breakfast offered in the buffet is the same offerings everyday. Greasy eggs, slimy/coagulated thin sliced bacon, 1/2 cooked sausage links, hockey puck hashbrowns(that have a chemical aftertaste), Danishes and muffins so stale that they should be tossed to the seabirds, sliced fruit(canteloupe/pineapple/melon) that is mealy. Sliced cheeses and meats that have had their surface areas exposed to the outside air/temperature for how many consecutive hours(days?), coffee that tastes like a mud puddle. The Pizza (what was once a pretty good slice) is now a shadow of its former "Best Pizza @ Sea" moniker. Cardboard crust, wood-pulp shredded cheese, lazy (cheap canned quality) sauce. I used to look foward to the Pizza on the Lido deck. I've avoided it the last few times on Princess now. A little of THE FAIR... Generally the breads can be OK in the MDR, though they too have declined in recent years. Do they still offer breadsticks? For the most part, soups(hot or cold) are a safe bet. Most salads also suffice. When it comes to main courses(MDR), most pass the edible test, but a lot of the time, one's chicken, pork, fish etc. is smothered in some sort of thick gravy like sauce, and the accompanying vegetables often look like they were cooked at lunch time and reheated in a microwave. For those that like spices, MDR food is generally very bland. Sorbets, Ice Cream to accompany a fruit based pie/tart can be viable choices for dessert in the MDR. Ethnic themed offerings at the buffet(IE. Italian night, Mexican night, German night, 'Make your own Miso/Noodle soup etc.) -- While they may sound really appealing, often they will fall short of what one is likely used to when they think of authentic quality offerings of the above mentioned cuisines that they;re used to -- unless they live where only fast-food, chain-restaurants and greasy-spoon diners is all that is available. Hey, some seem to like Olive Garden and Chilis. The GOOD... This is getting harder to find on Princess of-late. The (upcharge)specialty restaurants(though not a personal fan of 'Share') are generally reliable for a good meal. I especially enjoy the French Onion soup in Crown Grill/Sterling. The International Cafe - The panini pressed sandwiches are good, and they often have some tasty deli-style salad offerings. Alfredo's -- while not the best pizza ever, it's certainly good. I could write a book here, but I won't. I've thrown a few that immediately come to mind for me personally, perhaps others could expound.
  8. It's my opinion that NCL has some of the worst food at sea. Their buffet was absolutely disgusting. In fact, when sailing NCL, we found ourselves eating in one of their countless specialty restaurants every single night of the cruise to be able to find an edible meal. Perhaps that is their gimmick...make the included (in the fare) offerings so awful to force passengers to pay more for their upcharge restaurants. I will give credit to NCL for their entertainment being top-notch. Perhaps that's where a larger portion of their budget is allocated, because it sure isn't the food. Hey, some may like what they pass off as sustenance. Different strokes for different folks.
  9. I prefer to rate products/services (such as cruises) from a total value vs. total cost perspective. Surveys have been done at restaurants that are looking at ways to improve margins. When the issue of how customers may respond to raising prices, studies have shown that patrons prefer to pay a little more for their 10 OZ. steak than to pay the same (existing) price for a smaller 8 OZ. steak. One could reasonably understand the need to raise rates to mirror the rate of inflation, however, Princess has also simultaneously made a multitude of cuts in recent years. Princess cruisers are now paying more for less, instead of paying more for the same.
  10. As much as Princess tries to bill itself as family-friendly, the line can't really compete with the "fun ships", Waterpark-of-the-Seas et al. contemporaries for the summer (school)vacation season. I can't imagine sailing on a Princess ship(or any ship for that matter) with 1000 kids, nor would I want to.
  11. It's a shame that people can't answer your query w/out derailing the thread about the dangers of Belize City. Cruise ship passengers arriving at Harvest Caye offshore of Belize now have another great way to explore more of the country. A ferry now operates from Harvest Caye to the popular Placencia Village in southeastern Belize. Tickets can be purchased onboard cruise vessels or at the information booth on Harvest Caye for $20 USD round trip. The private tour company, Placencia Cruise Control, which is owned by Belizeans, have been given a tendering contract to ferry the Harvest Caye guests to the pier. Once they arrive there, the guests can then meet up with whichever tour operator they booked for the day. Here's a recent account from someone who used the service earlier this year. "There is only one ferry. No name. They do not have a website and unfortunately there is no way to contact them. You will catch the ferry at the marina on Harvest Caye. It's $20 per person. You can try to buy your tickets from your cruise at the excursion desk soon after boarding, but there's a slight chance they won't be very helpful. The NCL rep who sold me my ferry tickets tried talking me out of it. She said people miss their ships all the time due to this ferry. I didn't believe her because I did extensive research prior to cruising and no where on the internet did I see complaints of people missing their ships due to this ferry. Also, someone on our snorkeling tour told me NCL said the ferry was sold out. Not true. We figured it's because they want you to stay on their island where they will drain more money out of you. If your cruise gives you a hard time, you can buy your tickets at the marina. The marina is about a 15 min walk from the ship. It's a very small island and the marina is easy to find. Just ask someone and they will point you in the right direction. Now, when you book your snorkeling make sure to email the snorkel company to let them know exactly when you arrive and depart Harvest Caye. There will also be a time change. Local Belize time is an hour behind ship time in most cases. So if you dock at 9:00, it's 8:00 Belize time. Try to get off the ship asap and get over to the marina so you can get the first ferry out. This will allow more time to enjoy your day. They will send the first ferry out as soon as it fills. The ferry captain is very aware of the time restraints. They will get you out asap and will insist that you be back at Placencia by a specific time (about 1.5-2 hrs before your ship departs). Same with the snorkel crew. They DO NOT want you to miss your ship."
  12. I called mid-40s (as the level to keep an eye on as an entry point) over a year ago -- before even this thread was posted. FWIW. The window is open atm. 🧐
  13. Some younger wines actually improve after being opened for a day, mellowing out the tannins and rough edges.
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