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Bimmer09

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  1. On 2/6/2020 at 12:50 PM, Jasperdo said:

    Excellent news. I know how much you and Carol were looking forward to returning there. Enjoy!

    Jasperdo just to update- the 2020 Bayreuth Festival didn't take place and nor will the 2021 so it looks like our tickets will transfer to 2022.

     

    We make final payment on this October's Azamara Med cruise on June 30 and either I or Az may cancel before then, in my case if there is quarantine likely . I am checking Italy France and Spain daily for any glitches/policy changes. Of course if none surface in June we will have to go on the assumption that all will be well...

     

    Norris

  2. Here are links and brief descriptions of my reviews for anyone with a lot of time on their hands. They cover the 3 lines I like to sail; Princess, Celebrity and Azamara. The most recent ones are in my signature at the bottom of this page. Enjoy!

     

    I read reviews by too many people to mention (as long as they have photos/videos)

    Thanks to Crystal (Singinalot) for the shout out!

     

     Crown Princess ABC Islands January 12 2018 E734

    Photo/Video review https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2588776

    8 days of eating (food porn). Also dining ashore which was not our norm. Aruba sunset cruise. Bonaire Glass boat.

     

    Regal Princess New England/Canada October 14 2017 C743

    Photo/Video review https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2556992

     

    Lots of New York Skyline/Central Park photos. Newport mansions. Boston Harbor tour.

    Bar Harbor. Canadian ports with Peggy's Cove and lobster. New camera.

     

    Celebrity ReflectionWestern Caribbean January 14 2017 Sky Suite 7258

    Photo/Video review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2447364

     

    South Beach segway. Art Deco buildings. First time Miami sail away. Falmouth. Ocho Rios beach. Cayman turtles. Cozumel. Lovin' Labadee. Rented upgraded camera.

     

    Star Princess Sept 2016 Vancouver to Whittier D733

    Photo/Video review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2403532

     

    Fine dining in the Pan Pacific, Vancouver. Misty Fjords by boat. Juneau aerial tramway. Luxury car White Pass railway.New Pro Canon lenses. Glacier Bay. College Fjord. Anchorage.

    Rented $2,000 lens for best glacier pics.

     

    Comparing Princess and Celebrity

    http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2317130

     

    Comparison review using photographs, pie charts and even pie.

    Ruby Princess and Celebrity Silhouette duke it out for their brands. Written 2016

     

    Celebrity Silhouette January 2016 Eastern Caribbean Sky Suite 7309

    Photo/Video review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=48880163#post48880163

     

    First X cruise. Sky Suite. San Juan segway tour. St Maarten. St Kitts railway.

    Murano, Tuscan Grill, Lawn Club Grill, Alcoves, Luminae and Blu

     

    Emerald Princess Sept 2015 Rome to Barcelona C750

    Photo/Video review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=47937585#post47937585

     

    Lots of Rome photos including fantastic food. Albergo del Senato. Forum. Rome at 5 a.m Palermo. Herculaneum ruins. Remains of Costa Concordia. Florence. Uffizi. Michelangelo David. Cinque Terre. First time in Barcelona. Gaudi tour. Tapas

     

    Ruby Princess Jan 2015 Eastern Caribbean D616

    Photo/Video review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2161859

     

    Princess Cays. St Thomas boat tour to St John. St. Maarten. Grand Turk tour. Estonian singers and dancers on board (fantastic!)

     

    Ocean Princess Sept 2014 Venice to Rome Suite 6088

    Photo/video review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2110302

     

    Small ship/huge suite. Falling in love with Venice. Venice at 5 a.m photo tour.

    Sail away. Malta excursion. Stunning Valletta harbor. Croatia- oysters in Mariston.

    Palermo trash porn. Pompeii and Positano. First visit to Rome. Colosseum.

     

    Caribbean PrincessJan 2014 Western Caribbean C749

    Photo/video review www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1976282

     

    Friends on board. Delayed sail away from Houston. Roatan and dolphins. Belize and mangroves air-boat. Cozumel. First of 4 visits to Houston opera. Good eats!

     

    Ruby Princess Jan 2013 Eastern Caribbean C749

    Photo review www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1786957

     

    Aft suite on beautiful ship. Butterfly gardens. Memory foggy.

     

    Diamond Princess Aug 2012 Vancouver to Whittier C757

    Photo/video review www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1798138

     

    Pan Pacific dinner. Favorite Princess ship. Harv n Marv whale watching. White Pass railway.

    Eagle watching river trip near Haines. Glacier Bay and College Fjord. Anchorage. Best waiters from Thailand. Ship tour.

     

     

    Crown Princess Jan 2012 Southern Caribbean C749

    Photo/Video review www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1932543

     

    First aft suite (Free upgrade!) Princess Cays, Aruba. Submarine. Curacao.Slave museum, crashing waves. First time Marriott Harbor Beach hotel, Ft Lauderdale. Carol sings in Princess Pop Choir. Ship tour.

     

    Coral Princess Aug 2011 Whittier to Vancouver C210

    Photo/Video review www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1850609

     

    First cruise with Princess.Carol's first cruise ever. Overnight in Anchorage. Hubbard Glacier. Glacier Bay.Harv n Marv whale watching. Helicopter landing on glacier. Misty Fjords floatplane tour with Island Wings. 5 days of drizzle then 2 days of 70s sun. Vancouver. Butchart Gardens.

     

    It's hard to remember now, 9 years into our cruising life, exactly what we did in each port so I am glad Carol took notes and I took photos and wrote it all down on Cruise Critic-otherwise the cruises would blend together into a mush.

     

    I hope you may want to read some or all of these. Every one of them was fun and interesting 


    Norris

     

  3. On 5/8/2020 at 2:13 AM, FlorenceItaly said:

    Norris, in regards to the cuisine, I think it was due to the long cruise.  There were a lot of world cruisers and this crowd expects a lot, LOL.  It was wonderful being pampered, but, I must confess we found it a bit too long.  I never thought I would feel this way.  Perhaps, if we would have been on a bigger ship we would have felt differently.  I do think variety is the spice of life, and you should give HAL a try.

    Having a 9 day cruise as our longest so far (Azamara) I can surmise that a cruise lasting over a month would wear us down a bit and be unkind to our cat, Snowy. There's no way a cat knows you are coming back when you leave with suitcases. That's one consideration until we are cat-less. From our own standpoint or my own I should say I feel that I would get so into the rhythm of ship-life that returning to work after a month away would really be hard and as long as I have a job not even feasible to take that amount of time off.

     

    There's retirement ahead and reduced income but I think I would rather take six 7 day cruises or four 10 day than one 42 day cruise on the same ship. A World cruise is not even something we dream of. There are parts of the world we are happy to avoid and have no interest in and parts we could go back to time and time again, by ship or by air/car as we love them so much. Mainly Western USA and Western Europe.

     

    I agree that variety in cruise lines is a factor for the avid cruiser. We love Princess foremost but are happy to have added Celebrity and Azamara to the list. HAL may well be next, or Viking. There's a number of lines I have no interest in sailing but those two seem like a good fit.

     

    I will certainly keep your endorsement of HAL in my mind when I consider them.

    My thanks for that!

    Norris

  4. On 5/8/2020 at 10:21 PM, MJSailors said:

             Thank you, Norris for posting a link to your review of the Alaska 2016 cruise that you and Carol enjoyed. It is a much appreciated way to spend some time during these days of isolation.

              I have been watching a program entitled The  Cruise on You Tube. It is a British production through ITV that follows certain Princess ships on various cruises to the Med,Alaska and the Caribbean. The show consists of six seasons with various amounts of episodes. The ships are the Star, Royal,Regal and the Majestic. We have sailed with two of the captains that are involved in the show. Captain Nash and Captain Perrin. Captain Tuvo (Captain Bye-Bye) is also featured on the series that follows the Star Princess on an Alaskan voyage. We were hoping that he would be the captain on the upcoming cruise we were taking on the Sky Princess which we plan to cancel soon due to the virus.

              These past few months have proven to be such a different time. Living eightymiles east of NYC,we are very aware of the effects that Covid-19 has brought to the way we live.  We need to stay the course and support one another so that we can return to “normal” whenever that can be.

             Posting your cruise review is a boost for many. I will also look for your YouTube channel. Since I am dealing with painful back issues as well as adjusting to this quarantine, You Tube has become a good diversion for me.

            Hoping that you and Carol continue to stay safe and healthy!

     MJ, thank you for the response and for re-reading our Star Princess adventure!

    I have been surfing various boards looking for  photo reviews and of course have to go back a few months to find any that weren't interrupted by Covid-19. Lots of time on my hands to check out lines I haven't sailed. Princess remains my go-to for value and bang for the buck. 

     

    Thanks for the mention of "The Cruise" videos on Youtube. When I went looking for them  a few years ago they weren't available to view in the USA. I have already watched the first couple featuring the Regal. A really well-done insider's view. I have subscribed and will watch them all.

     

    I'm glad you are staying safe-the more of us that treat social distancing/masks/hygiene seriously as if our lives depended on it the quicker the virus can be managed to a level where cruise lines can get back to making our cruising dreams a reality.  There is a sense of urgency in finding an effective vaccine, unlike the lack of urgency in finding out who is carrying the virus. We can all help by slowing the spread.

     

    As Captain Tovo would say...."Bye Bye!"

    Norris

     

  5. 16 hours ago, WisCruiser2 said:

    Whew! Just finished after having to pause several times, but so enjoyed your witty review and stunning photos! Two years ago at this time we were eagerly getting ready to pack for our 2-week Alaskan Cruisetour, and your reviews brought back fond memories of the cruise portion. We did the land portion first with southbound cruise, so I had to re-orient the ship 😉

    IF we ever get a chance to get back to Alaska, we may have to splurge on both the Misty Fjords trip and the White Pass Railroad. 

    Thanks for taking the time at the time, and for your other great reviews. Hope you and Carol are doing well and hope you'll get to your Michigan home soon.

     

     

    Hello Wisconsin!

    Thanks for taking the time to read my Star review and for the kind compliments. We did 3 Alaskan cruises in 5 years but it's already been almost 5 years since our last. Even though it was the same ports as always we found new experiences on shore and highlights were the dogsled camp, Misty Fjords on a boat and the luxury carriage on the White Pass train. I missed the chance to eat at Tracy's Crab Shack but there's always a "next time".

     

    A cruise tour is on our bucket list for sure.

     

    Alas we sold our Michigan home 2 years ago and are getting to know Chicago better. I have to salute the people of Chicago who are doing a great job of staying inside and social distancing outside using masks in the majority. 

     

    Stay safe and healthy!

    I forsee a nice drive up to beautiful Milwaukee this summer...

     

    Norris

  6. Marie, thanks for the follow-up and the endorsement of HAL.

    The few HAL photo reviews I have seen on CC show the food to look good on the plate which is a good sign and now you've given the cuisine a big thumbs up.

    They have some very old and several smaller ships and although I am not a night owl I do like choices of entertainment in the evening so will think "bigger" when looking at their fleet.

     

    I was attracted to the Nieuw Amsterdam sailing on Jan 16 2021 as it stops in San Juan PR and Princess never (?) goes there it seems.

     

    A cruise of 51 days? My mind is boggled at being pampered and entertained for that long!

     

    Cheers!

    Norris

  7. 5 hours ago, FlorenceItaly said:

    Norris, unfortunately the HAL site is not user friendly.  You DO have your choice of stateroom location, but, you will need to call HAL.

     

    Thanks Florence.

    Adding another step and one that can potentially eat up the customer's time is weak in the digital age. Not a problem on the Princess and Azamara sites so it can be done.

    I'm not desperate to sail HAL although not averse to the idea as they seem to do a lot right and their ships are built for relaxation and enjoying the sea ( a real promenade deck, Crow's Nest for example)

    If I can't find a Princess itinerary for January 2021 that suits-one of the newer Royal Class ships just for variety sake -HAL will certainly get a second look. No Az sailings then. Viking? Virgin ?(tongue in cheek on that loopy design)

    Time is on my side. 

     

    Florence am I right in thinking you have sailed HAL and if so your opinion of your experience?

     

    Cheers and thanks again!

    Norris

  8. John, I went back to the HAL website yesterday and checked out a Nieuw Amsterdam sailing on January 16 2021. Tried a booking on a Neptune Suite and again it came up as a guarantee. On Princess as you know you can see all the cabins that are available and book the one you want-which in our case is always aft with a wake view. 

     

    Norris

  9. On 5/3/2020 at 6:52 PM, Jasperdo said:

    Good news about the Bayreuth Festival. Happy to hear that you won't lose your place in line, after waiting so long.

     

    We enjoyed our cruise on the Eurodam. There were a few things that I thought they did better than Princess, and other things I prefer the Princess way. We would definitely sail HAL again if we found a great deal. But we still prefer Princess. It seems a better match for us, overall.

     

    Sitka was the main reason we did chose HAL for that cruise. Princess hardly goes there. I though it was a terrific port. It felt more like the "real" Alaska to us. Not a Diamonds International in sight. Compact downtown with lots of history and friendly people. If you're interested, here is a link to the photos I took that day:

    Sitka

     

    Thanks John-I loved the photos and it looks like perfect weather for your visit. It certainly looks less touristy than the other ports in Alaska.

     

    I have looked at HAL for Caribbean cruises but don't like that I can't book a specific cabin on their website and I am not the man to book "guarantee" cabins, ever. The ships have some nice public rooms though.

    Norris

  10. Hi, John- The Bayreuth Festival is communicating with ticket holders later this month and have suggested that 2020 tickets can be used in 2021 or in 2022 which is what we could take as I already canceled one Azamara cruise this October and booked a new one for October 2021 which I don't want to cancel. So should be Germany 2022, August.

     

    How was your HAL Alaskan experience? Have thought of them just to visit Sitka.

     

    Cheers!

    Norris

  11. Greetings from Chicago in Lockdown!

    I'm an avid reader of CruiseCritic, mainly for the cruise reviews. Those won't appear again for some time.

    I'm including a link to a review from my last visit to Alaska in September 2016 should anyone want (a) a break from talk of refunds (b) for anyone who is curious about Alaskan cruises (c) for anyone who had booked this year only to have their hopes dashed. 

     

    There are a lot of videos which due to the software changeover/update on CC  since this sailing, can no longer be seen. If you keep a screen open on Youtube (Norris Adair channel) you can watch them there. This is the first Vancouver video that might land you in the right place...

     

    Here's the link to the review itself....

     http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2403532


    Norris

     

     

  12. On 4/10/2020 at 8:48 AM, Marvy Mare said:

    We found the same thing when in Antigua in 2018. We got off the ship before our scheduled tour and thought we’d walk around for a bit. We were harassed so much that we were both nervous. Managed to find a quiet bar where we could wait in peace. 

     

    Maris (and hi again Noreen!) there are a number of islands where wandering past the port gates is going to get you harassed and there are even recommendations on board to avoid doing so in some places. Ocho Rios is one place that immediately springs to mind. Falmouth too and on my one visit to Grenada 30 years ago me and my then wife chose to go to a beautiful public beach only to have to deal with an endless cavalcade of hustlers. One even went down to the water and brought back a conch shell to sell to me, LOL.  I told him that after my nap-"once you go away"-I'll go down and get a free one  myself . Hair braiding?

    Can I play you a Bob Marley song? Need some "smoke"? Etc. Beach day cut short.

     

    I can't blame poor people/hustlers for trying to make a quick buck from the tourists they'll never see again but now they'll get a good idea of what it's like when their island is no longer on an itinerary. Common sense-taking "no thanks" for an answer and moving on to another tourist will probably never occur to them so I would expect them to return to work with even more gusto when the ships return. Sigh.

     

    The Caribbean Ports section is always worth a visit to see if harassment is prevalent on one of your port stops. The ABC islands I love for the lack of hustlers (in my experience after multiple visits). Thanks for the heads-up on Antigua!

     

    Norris

  13. 4 hours ago, Marvy Mare said:

    Take care and keep healthy! Thanks so much for following! Next Photo Cruise Review in a couple of years, I hope!

     

    Maris, thanks for helping us all through these long days of isolation and reminding us through your great photos of what we are now missing- the freedom to travel and meet new people in far-off places where we can leave our daily cares behind as we glide over sparkling blue seas with a cocktail in hand and a smile on our happy faces.

     

    Wonderful review!

    Cheers!

    Norris

     

     

  14. 2 hours ago, Marvy Mare said:

    _DSC5818

    This is way off topic, but this was our view across the lake two days ago and the photo below was from early this morning. I took a break from my report to catch a photo. Views like these make me realize how lucky we are and this too shall pass.

    _DSC5884

    Maris

     

    Maris, your review is helping us all take our minds off the unparalled and uncertain times we find ourselves in and along with Noreen's Silhouette review reminding us of what we are now missing-the freedom to travel on wonderful ships to explore this amazing world we are lucky to live in. Cruising creates happy memories that can last a lifetime.

     

    We all hope to sail again and when we come home we hope to share our memories as you have so generously done. I have my fingers crossed for the cruise lines...

     

    My thanks for your continuing posts and stellar photographs that take us away to a better place at a better time!

     

    Kudos!

    Norris

  15. 17 hours ago, calicakes said:

    We go down to Marco 1x a year and will be retiring in Naples in a few years.  You'll be happy to know that Little Bar is still there!! 

    Yes, still there but according to my Man on Marco has closed until it's safe to open again.

    It was my favorite spot on Marco for the seafood, a cold beer and Pelican watching.

    It's been many years since I was there. A woman called Duffy was always my server and she was a gem.

     

    I imagine the Florida fishermen who catch those great shrimp and groupers are having to cut back due to lack of demand by the restaurants. 

     

    I also used to enjoy a German restaurant there called the Bavarian Inn. Very authentic food.

     

    I'm sure when the time comes you'll be very happy in Naples!

    Thanks for the comment and take care.

    Norris

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