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About DebJ14

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Sugar Land, Texas
  • Interests
    Travel, reading, wine
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, MSC
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    W. Caribbean

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  1. If the TA had been up to snuff, they would have seen if you had any special offers BEFORE booking the cruise. We are not big gamblers and were surprised to find out from our TA that we had a casino offer attached to our past guest number. She took the casino rate code and compared it to all the other rates and the casino offer was definitely the way to go with both a reduced deposit and much cheaper price. We had no idea that we even had a casino offer.
  2. I would pass on the cruise if I could not have a balcony. I look at the ship as my transportation to the ports and I hate the noise on the Lido deck, so the balcony is my salvation. Can't comment on the cheers package as we maybe buy 2 or 3 drinks each on a 5 day cruise total, if that. Just don't need booze to have a good time. We were just on the Valor in May for her last cruise out of Galveston. We love the Valor and miss having a Conquest Class ship in Galveston for the shorter cruises.
  3. Glad you are OK. My son and his family (all Celiac) traveled with friends last month on the Vista. One of the friend's family members has a severe nut allergy. That had issues almost the entire cruise with the wrong menu being brought to choose the following night's meals. As a result, many nights dinner took 2 hours and many items were off limits as there was not enough time to prepare the food gluten free or nut free. One evening the waiter mixed up my son's entree with the entree for person who has the nut allergy. Thankfully, both meals were nut free so no issue for the nut free person. However, my son's meal contained gluten. He could not even finish his dinner before it was obvious that he had been glutened. He said he had a really miserable night. They complained to the Maitre D about being given the wrong menus to pre order from and their waiter was switched to a more experienced waiter. But, that is when the mix up between the meals occurred. My son said it was a crap shoot as to what they would get to eat and they took bets on whether or not they had been given the correct menu the night before. Not good! They need to go back to having the hostess take the orders as they did in the past or do like Princess and have an asst Maitre'D do the food allergy orders. I was really disturbed to hear about this since I also have Celiac disease. We have only had 2 instances in the past 12 years where a cruise line messed up my order. Once was on the RCCL Navigator of the Seas and once on the Carnival Freedom when the waiter gave me someone else's regular meal. In both cases I was down and out for most of the cruise.
  4. We received the VIPF Lanyards on the Valor in May, 2019 and the Vista in July 1019. Hoping for something different in Oct.
  5. Our Grandson had it every night in the dining room on his cruise on the Vista July 27.
  6. Princess has stricter document rules for single parents traveling with children. PASSPORT REQUIREMENT WHEN MINORS TRAVEL WITH ONE ADULT ON VOYAGES GOVERNED BY THE U.S. WESTERN HEMISPHERE TRAVEL INITIATIVE (includes travel within BERMUDA, CANADA, CARIBBEAN, HAWAII, MEXICO, UNITED STATES) When minors are traveling with only one adult 21 years of age or older, Princess requires that all guests must be in possession of a valid passport. We have implemented this requirement because we want to ensure that your party remains together should an emergency arise that requires one or more in your party to be disembarked in a non-U.S. port. We cannot guarantee that all members of your party will be allowed to disembark with just a WHTI-compliant document or birth certificate. Failure to present a valid passport for all guests traveling together will result in denial of boarding without refund of the cruise or cruisetour fare.
  7. You missed my point. Because of the accident in Freeport with the Oasis there was not a dry dock big enough to handle the Vista, except in Europe. So, Carnival bit the bullet, canceled the cruises and spent the money to hire the Boka Vanguard, and sail it over from Holland. It is the world's largest floating dry dock. We spoke to the Captain and he said that until they came up with this solution, they were planning to sail to Europe to make the repair. The drydock at Newport News is tied up with Navy contracts and it is really the only one, aside from Freeport that could have handled the ship. Since the repair actually only took 6 days I seriously doubt that the RCCL ship would be out of commission as long as you think if they did bit the bullet and sail it to Europe next week. This is no ordinary ship though: Boka Vanguard is a submersible ship tasked with the challenge of raising the 133,500-ton cruise ship out of the water so that the necessary repairs can be done. This dry dock is a first-ever operation for the cruise industry and was a creative workaround necessitated by the limited dry dock space at the Grand Bahama Shipyard. The large dry dock that Vista would’ve used in Freeport was damaged by a crane falling upon Oasis of the Seas earlier this spring. Carnival went out of their way to find a creative, but expensive, solution to a huge problem caused by the crane falling on the Oasis. Otherwise, they still be limping along missing ports and changing itineraries like the RCCL ship.
  8. Which is exactly what Carnival did with the Vista this month. They completely canceled 3 cruises and took the ship to Freeport. Because of the propulsion issues the June 29 cruise was delayed until July 1, at which time it became an 8 night cruise with only 2 ports. Guests were given the option to sail and get a big discount on a future cruise or cancel in full for a refund. Because so many people canceled and the sailing date was within a week, they put the canceled cabins up for sale at fire sale prices. We picked up a balcony super cheap hours before they closed the sailing. It turned out to be a wonderful cruise. It was the smoothest ride we have ever had with the ship slowly moving at between 9 and 12.8 knots. They dropped us off in Galveston and headed straight to Freeport for the repairs. Because none of the dry dock facilities in this hemisphere could accommodate the Vista, they sent a floating dry dock over from the Netherlands to meet the Vista. They also needed the lead time to have the parts shipped over. They replaced all the bearings on the Azipods, which should not have worn out in 3 years. I am sure there will be a settlement from the manufacturers as there was with Celebrity and Cunard over the same issue. The Vista was driven onto the floating dry dock and then the larger ship, with the Vista on its back, docked at the shipyard in Freeport where the work was completed in record time. They anticipated 3 days of sailing to the Bahamas and 10 days to fix it an a day or so back to Galveston. It was finished early, so they put a last minute 4 day cruise up for sale. Carnival bit the bullet and between the refunds, future cruise credits and repair expense it is estimated to have cost them $50 million. The stock price took a major hit, but they did the right thing and bit the bullet and fixed the ship. RCCL seems willing to to limp along for many, many, many months with a ship in need of repair. They could learn a lot from how Carnival handled this.
  9. I have a stack of RCCL playing cards from the Rhapsody, Splendour, Voyager and Mariner that go back at least 10 years. They were in our cabins when we boarded those ships. I also have really cheap radio with earphones, several fanny packs etc from when they used to give gifts. Now as Diamond we get a can of Sprite and a cookie we can't eat. It is not like we got the playing cards or gifts for sailing a lot. We only made Diamond last year and that was only because we got double points for booking suites on our last 4 cruises. I inherited a stack of unopened playing cards from my parents who died in 2010/2012 and were Diamond Plus when they passed away. They never played cards, so there is no way they would have gone to GS to ask for them, so they must have been in the cabins too. We don't play cards either, so I know we didn't go looking for them.
  10. On a family reunion Carnival cruise both of my sisters in law used their birth certificates and driver's licenses. I booked the cruise for the group and my TA advised that they needed a bridge document to explain why the last name on the birth certificate was not the same as on the license. They both brought their marriage licenses. They were not asked for the documents at check in and told me how stupid the TA and I were for telling them to bring the marriage licenses. However, the CBP officer wanted to see them in the terminal after the cruise. We had been to Belize and Roatan so they were doing a full inspection. This was at the Port of Miami. So definitely bring a bridge document. Better safe than sorry! And, now they listen to me more!
  11. When you complete online check in so that you can print the boarding pass it asks if you will be using a Passport (and says it is recommended) or a BC/DL. How did she check in and manage to miss that part? I think the TA should have told her what documentation is required, and perhaps she misunderstood the discussion about the passport as being required, vs highly recommended, but it is ultimately up to the passenger to obtain the correct documents. Our TA always reminds us to check our passports to see if they have 6 months of validity from our return date, and if a Visa is required discusses the various ways we can obtain one, either online or using the Visa service recommended by the cruise line or tour operator. My TA makes anyone not traveling on a passport sign a waiver that they understand that if they miss the ship they will have to obtain a passport and pay the expenses out of pocket during the time it takes to get one issued before they can fly home. And, it also states that they are responsible for having the correct documentation (which is spelled out for that particular trip) and can be denied boarding with no refund for failure to present it at check in. She had a cruiser miss the ship in Cozumel in the past who tried to sue her. Thankfully, she had the signed waiver and acknowledgement that it was the passenger's responsibility, but she still had to pay legal fees to get her attorney to write a letter disputing the claim, along with a copy of the waiver he signed. She also makes anyone traveling without travel insurance sign a waiver. Such a shame she has to play CYA,
  12. They are not always large, nor good in the steakhouse. On a cruise on the Vista they told us they could only get Caribbean lobster and they were puny little, rubbery things, so we changed our order from the lobster tail to the 9 oz filet.
  13. We have eaten in the steakhouse on nearly every cruise in the past 12 years. On our cruise on the Valor in May 2019 we were gifted a bottle of wine and a steakhouse selection in the dining room by a senior staff member. We had already been to the Valor steakhouse twice on that cruise. The Surf and Turf we ordered in the MDR was every bit as good, and perfectly cooked, as our steakhouse meals. In fact, since it had a completely different cover, and was on a different kind of plate, we suspected that it had been cooked in the steakhouse and sent down to us in the dining room. However, I still prefer the steakhouse just for that wonderful shrimp cocktail!
  14. It is outside on Deck 4 by the lifeboats on all ships in that class. It can be miserable as sometimes, when people do not follow directions, it drags on and on!
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