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Posts posted by mariakitty

  1. I have booked a surprise 3-night cruise for my husband on the Imagination. We are rather frequent Princess cruisers so I am seeking info on what I differences I should expect, or perhaps not expect, on Carnival. I did request anytime dining, even though we usually prefer traditional, and will purchase the Cheers program. I am seeking a carefree, relaxing cruise for my husband as he turns 40 the day before the cruise and has a fairly stressful new job.


    Is there a formal night on a 3-day cruise? Is lobster served any night in the main dining room? And most importantly, are any craft beers served?



  2. We have sailed both, and would definitely pick the Ruby over the Grand. The grand can have leaking peovlems in the buffet due to the removal of Skywalkers Lounge (which Ruby has). And if you have kids the kids center is much nicer on Ruby.

  3. We were on a the Ruby last Christmas and it was wonderful! There were many holiday activities, such as caroling and making cards. On Christmas Eve the staff sing and snow falls in the atrium! Santa has a gift for all of the kids on Christmas Day. One of the formal nights will be Christmas, and in general passengers seemed a bit more dressy for dinner on this cruise than we've seen recently. There were several holiday-theme cocktails available, and Christmas cookies offered in the buffet. Many people decorated cabin doors and there is a huge Christmas tree in the atrium.



    I packed a mini tree and lights, plus small stockings to decorate our room. We each had $15 to buy gifts from the ship for each person, which turned out to be so fun! card decks in the casino were a dollar. There were pens in the gift shop in clearance. The cigar lounge sells princess lighters for $1.50.



    We thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas cruise and plan to do it again soon. Mexico was a great choice as it was warm and the locals were in the holiday spirit. We attended mass at the cathedral in Mazatlan, which was easy to get to by taxi.

  4. As already mentioned, the attire on Alaskan cruises is more relaxed than other aprincess cruises. My husband has worn open-toed shoes in the MDR (sandals) without a problem, though flip-flops are not ok. There is no required shoe color either, even on formal nights.


    On non-formal nights my husband might where nice shorts (usually to the knee) and a button-down shirt without a tie and he looks as nice as most others in the MDR. Formal nights he will break out the suit and tie though!

  5. I recommend getting the soda package prior to boarding as you can go to any bar as soon as you are on the ship and no forms to fill out, no waiting to process your payment. My kids don't drink soda, but love the mocktails and juices. Key West Cooler is a favorite!

  6. When comparing the two ships, Ruby is hands down the nicer of the two. It has Skywalkers, a beautiful atrium and is in better shape than the Grand.


    With that said, if looking at itineraries, there is simply nothing that replaces sailing out to sea under the Golden Gate Bridge. It's amazing!

  7. We've had this card for a couple of years now, and never had any issues redeeming points. In fact you can do it all online, it's very fast and easy! And you don't have to use it exclusively for Princess. We ended up getting free air tickets to Las Vegas as we had more than enough points to credit our statement. However, since many of their changes in November we have only just now booked another cruise. Can't speak to whether the double points issue has been resolved.

  8. I signed up both of our boys to the kids club last week, but they went up one time and never returned. An overhaul is overdue, though if it has a surcharge we won't bother. One of the big issues is that our boys are 12 and 13. Princess wouldn't let the 12yo join the teen club and the 13yo didn't want to hang out with toddlers in Shockwaves so it wasn't a good fit. Instead they drank mocktails, occupied Explorers and Wheelhouse where there were outlets for their laptops and swam in the pool.

  9. Just off the Ruby today. We didn't have Club Class, however the impact on ATD was quite dramatic. This was our first time with ATD and we will never do it again. We waited at least 20 minutes to get a pager that was another 45 minutes to get a table. We originally got in line at 7:30pm so we had a looooong first dinner. We were then able to get a standing 8pm reservation for Da Vinci for the remainder of the cruise, but only after several attempts to meet with the maitre d.


    A section of tables is set aside in Da Vinci for CC, not the entire dining room. But the bigger problem is both ATD dining rooms taking reservations, which seems to defeat the purpose of "anytime" to me. If I had known we still needed reservations I would have booked TD originally. Lesson learned.


    but it was still a fabulous cruise!

  10. The Salty Dog Gastropub is in the Wheelhouse Bar. We Loved it and tried to get in a second time but couldn't make it. The concept is elevated pub food in tasting portions meant for sharing. For $19 you get the beer cheese and pretzel starter, then 3 plates per person and dessert. While we didn't have the recommended burger, we really enjoyed the white tomato soup with grilled cheese, the calamari, and the short ribs. The only plate we didn't enjoy was the crab cake. The Salty dog was very busy on our cruise and we couldn't get reservations until almost 9pm. It doesn't seem popular here with the CC crowd, but I heard many positive comments about it on our cruise. But if you are a traditional meat and potatoes eater this may not be for you.

  11. On our last cruise we booked two cabins: one mini with me, DH, DS, and an inside for our other DS and MIL. We did this to avoid MIL paying a single supplement since we paid for her cruise fare. Both of our sons stayed in the mini with us, which was our intention when we booked and no one at princess was bothered by this (booking agent, cabin stewards and passenger services were all told and were fine with the situation). We did tip our mini cabin steward and MDR staff extra to make up for the difference in mini vs. inside tips.


    Assuming cabins are sufficient for the number of passengers and you have life jackets for all, the only real issue will be the key cards. Everyone who is moving to a different cabin will need to visit passenger services to have their cruise card "re-keyed". Now our son who was booked into the cabin with MIL is a minor (10) so there was no question about changing his card to get into our cabin. Not sure if this will be the same for your party if adults are involved. Princess aims to please so I doubt you will have any issues.


    Have a wonderful cruise!

  12. I think Salty Dog is a great name!


    We are really looking forward to this on our Ruby cruise in December, much more so than Share. In fact I'm not sure I can get my husband in Share at all. I would expect a Gastropub to have high tables and stools so not an issue for us, though I can see this would be a problem for others. Hopefully Princess can find a balance. The Ernesto burger looks insanely good!


    Am I the only one chuckling at the number of comments about Salty Dog serving too much food? Isn't there always too much food on a cruise?! 😋

  13. We sailed the Grand two years ago on the California Coastal itinerary and had a wonderful time. Yes she is missing the central staircase, Skywalkers has been removed and she isn't brand new, she is still a beautiful ship and we felt the staff were friendly and constantly striving to please. The food was ok and the kids center was small, but it was the first cruise for our boys so they the thought it was great!


    If I had the choice to sail Ruby and Grand on the same itinerary I would choose Ruby. However I wouldn't hesitate to sail the Grand again. And the California Coastal is a fantastic itinerary, with something for everyone. We look forward to that itinerary again in the future.

  14. We did the Californial Coastal on the Grand out of SF in 2014 and had a great time. Weather leaving SF was gorgeous and so impress sailing by Alcatraz and underneath the a Golden Gate Bridge. It was the most spectacular sail away we have ever experienced, without question. Be sure to be on a top deck during sail away to get the full experience!


    The Grand is a fine ship, just remember that she is the first in her class so she is older. While the Grand is one of my least favorite ships in the a princess fleet, I would absolutely sail her again. Keep in mind that many of the reviews of the Grand are relative, based on comparisons to their ships in the fleet. There is no Skywalkers lounge, but this isn't a big deal to us anyway.


    Have a wonderful cruise!

  15. Thank you for the replies! They have been really helpful and we appreciate the feedback. :)


    I had forgotten about Alfredos, since we actually didn't make it there when we were on the Grand. I've heard rave reviews and we are pizza fans so this is certainly something to consider. On the other hand Ruby has (or will have) the Salty Dog gastropub which would also be to our liking.


    I also agree that 10 days is always better than 8, and the cost difference really doesn't matter to us. Since this is a holiday cruise and rates are higher than usual, we are going with an interior cabin, which we haven't done for a very long time and never with our boys. But I figure we just won't spend as much time in the cabin and that isn't a bad thing.


    My other concern with the Grand itinerary is that the seas can be really rough from SF to LA and that of course is something I cannot control. I guess we can just fill up on dramamine and hope for the best!


    DH and I will talk to Grandma and make the decision soon. Since we are going an interior I'm not sure if the current Twice As Nice deal does much for us. So much to consider (and I love it!)

  16. Greetings! Our family of five (me, husband, two pre-teen boys and grandma) are planning a Holiday Mexican Riviera cruise for December 2016 (over Christmas). We have two choices: 8-days from LA on Ruby Princess and 10-days from SF on Grand Princess.


    Living in Oregon we would drive to SF, or fly to LA, but with gas, parking fees, hotels, extra meals we don't feel the added cost of flying to LA is a deal-breaker.


    We have been on both the Ruby and Grand. Ruby is my favorite Princess ship that we've sailed and the Grand is my least favorite, however we had very enjoyable cruises on both ships. While the entire family would be thrilled with either choice, Grandma is leaning towards the Ruby, Husband is leaning towards the Grand (10 days!) and I'm really on the fence.


    Which cruise would you choose and why?

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