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John&Betty

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About John&Betty

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Kelseyville, California
  1. John&Betty

    Review; Solstice from Ensenada to Seattle

    I use the term "Commonly known as the Jones act" because when you say the Passenger Vessel Service Act nobody knows what you're talking about. John
  2. John&Betty

    Review; Solstice from Ensenada to Seattle

    We have heard that they intend to hinge the mast on top of the ship so it can be lowered when necessary to get under a bridge. John
  3. John&Betty

    Review; Solstice from Ensenada to Seattle

    We had a 12:20 flight so we were fairly relaxed about getting to the airport. We got green 14 luggage tags and were scheduled to get off at 8:30. We actually got off a few minutes after 9, We found our bags right away and there were no delays getting through customs and immigrations. We walked out of the building about 9:15 and got right on a Shuttle Express minibus which left for the airport in less than 5 minutes. We were there a right around 10 AM. From there things slowed way down. It only took about 15 minutes to check our bags at Southwest but the line for security went on forever! It was after 11 when we finely got through it and headed for our gate. From ship to gate was over 3 hours. I don't know if this was normal or if it was due to the traffic from the Solstice, in any event we were glad we had a late flight! John
  4. We are just back from a 9 day Pacific Coast cruise on the Solstice. This was our 24th cruise overall and our 11th on Celebrity. I do not usually write reviews but there were a few things on this one that I thought were worth noting. Because of the Maritime law best known as the Jones Act, and the fact that the Solstice is too tall to go under the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, we had to be bussed from San Diego to Ensenada. This caused a lot of angst among the passengers and in some cases made for a long not so pleasant day. John The bus to Ensenada We stayed at the Sheraton and we are Elite. This gave us a huge advantage. We were at the Pavilion at 10:30 and left on the #2 bus about 12:20. The bus was clean and comfortable and we had a good driver. He decided to take surface streets through Tijuana rather than the freeway which was probably a mistake. Traffic was bad and there were emergency vehicles all over the place. We heard later there had been some kind of explosion downtown. We got to the ship a little after 2:30, our cabin was ready and our bags were delivered before 5 PM. We talked to other people who said they got to the Sheraton at 10:30 and had to wait until 3 PM or after to even get on a bus. Some of the buses were reported to be very dirty. Several drivers got lost on the way. One turned into the San Diego airport by mistake, one was turned away at the border and they had to wait for another driver, and one drove around Tijuana so long he had to stop for gas. The personnel Our cabin attendant, Jose, showed up shortly after we arrived, introduced himself and asked if there was anything we wanted. He took very good care of us throughout the whole cruise. All of the ships personnel were very pleasant and helpful. The cabin We had a forward looking hump cabin on deck 9. When we walked in we were surprised to find the bed next to the deck. The diagram of the balcony cabins on the Solstice web site show the sitting area next to the deck which we much prefer. We assumed they were all that way so we didn’t say anything. A few days later we discovered that they alternated and half were one way and half the other. We could have moved to another cabin way down the hall but we decided that we preferred the convenience of being near the central elevators. The closet was small and very difficult to get into. There were only 4 small drawers for clothes plus a very small one under the desk. The end tables were very small and had no drawers. The designer sink in the bathroom was a thing of beauty but very impractical. The huge faucet jutted up above the sink in a way that made it almost impossible to wash your face. The ship The Solstice is very nice but there were a few things that we thought could have been done better. The Millennium class ships are still our favorites. The elevators are inboard to allow the maximum number of cabins on the outside. The card room and the library are open to the main atrium. When the band was playing you couldn’t carry on a conversation in either place. The observation lounge on deck 14 has only one entrance, the other side was taken up with a meeting room. This meant that every evening from 5 to 7 PM when the elite cocktail hour was going on that none of the other passengers could go there. On other ships there are entrances on both sides and the room can be cordoned off so that the cocktail party is on one side and the other side is open for other people. We talked to several non elite passengers who felt they were being treated like second class citizens because they were turned away at the door. The entertainment The shows were always at 8:30 and 10:30. We had Select dining and prefer to eat around 7:30. By the time we got out of the dining room it was too late for the 8:30 show and we didn’t want to stay up for the 10:30 one. The one time we went we got to the 8:30 show early and managed to find a seat. It was very crowded and many people had to stand. We heard that the 10:30 show had very light attendance. A lot of the ships we have been on have shows at 6 PM and 8:30 PM. This allows the people who want to eat late to attend the early show and makes room for the people who like to eat early and go to the 8:30 show. Getting off and on the ship In San Diego the passengers taking Celebrity shore excursions got off fairly early. The rest of us didn’t get off until 11:30 or 12:00. Then there was only one narrow ramp deployed. It was so narrow that people trying to get off had to stand aside for people getting back on the ship. There was only one ramp at all the places we were docked but most of them were wider. I’ve never seen that before, most ships use 2 ramps. The one place we were tendered things went smoothly.
  5. John&Betty

    Tour guide for Quebec???

    Hi Caroline, Thanks for the response and the info on Old Quebec Tours. We will contact them and see what they have to offer. The more we find out about Quebec City the more excited we are about going there. It looks like it has the old world charm of some of the places we have visited in Europe. It's not that easy to get to for us folks out here in California but like you say, easier than Europe! John
  6. We will be in Quebec for a day and a half next September. We woiuld like to take a tour in a six or eight passenger van for the half day. The other day we plan to spend exploring the city of Qurbec. Has anybody had experience with a guide with a van? John
  7. I'm still not sure if we would have a choice of table sizes. In other words could we choose to sit at a table for 8 with other people. LIKE breakfast seating in the MDR. John
  8. Hi, Were you able to choose to sit with other people when you wanted to? Thanks, John
  9. We are on the Infinity to Alaska next week and are thinking about trying Select Dining. We were on the Golden Princess last May and their Anytime Dining worked beautifully! Just like breakfast seating. They asked us what size table we wanted and we were seated right away. Of course they had one whole dining room set aside for it. The last time we tried it on Celebrity we were crammed into a small section on the balcony and all they had were tables for two. If they're still doing that we'll stick with late dining. John
  10. You get free unlimited calls throughout the US & Canada [U]if[/U] you have high spoeed Internet. Yes you can use it with any computer.
  11. It really works well! For $39 for the first year and $19 per year after that you get unlimited free calls throughout the US and Canada. From [U]anywhere[/U] in the world where you have high speed Internet. We used it with no problems on the Mariner a month ago and use it daily at home to save on our phone bill. [URL]http://www.magicjack.com/1/index.asp[/URL] They are available at Radio Shack. John
  12. John&Betty

    Things to do in Barcelona

    We were in Portofino a few years ago and noticed a statue by thr harbor. We walked over to look and it was a statue of Christofer Columbus! He is held in high honor throughout central Europe. The biggest crowd I have ever seen was in Barcelona last year on April 23rd. It was their patron saint's day and everyone was out celebrating. It took us over 2 hours to get from the airport to our hotel on Las Ramblas and then we had to walk, dragging our luggage, the last block because the driver couldn't get any closer. John
  13. John&Betty

    Things to do in Barcelona

    Click on the picture for the Corte Ingles web site. Nancy's right, they have everything! [URL="http://www.elcorteingles.es/"][IMG]http://home.mchsi.com/~jbglenn36/images/corte-ingles.jpg[/IMG][/URL] John
  14. John&Betty

    barcelona hotel?

    I think it's about 25 Euros. There were 4 of us when we were there last year and we used Autosvtlar http://www.autosvilar.com/ They charged us 50 Euros for 4 people and a lot of luggage. Here's out web page for Barcelona from that trip. http://home.mchsi.com/~jbglenn36/barc.html There are also pictures of the balconey room's at the Hotel Continental Barcelona if you click on "Sicily 2009" in our signature below. John
  15. John&Betty

    Things to do in Barcelona

    We e-mailed the Hotel Continental Barcelona about the best way to get to the fountains and thiis is their response. They are really very helpful there. We may just take a taxi though, it's only a little over 3 kilometers from the hotel. "Thank you very much for your mail. I am writing on behalf of Jose Maria Malagarriga because he was not around today. He will send you a mail tomorrow to say hello. Regarding your questions, I have checked the Magic Fountain schedule and in May the show runs from Thursday to Sunday from 20.00 to 23.30p.m Music starts at 21.30 and it goes on every 30 minutes. It is very easy to get there from the hotel. You only need to catch the metro at Catalunya station (in front of the hotel, in ramblas) get either the red or the green line and stop at Espanya. The fountain is at the very end of Maria Cristina Avenue Concerning your last question, yes we do have wireless internet available in the rooms. Yours sincerely" Araceli - Reservation Department
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