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GiannaD

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Posts posted by GiannaD


  1. We experienced a delayed boarding on a Celebrity ship in February. Yes, we had to wait to board and then wait for our rooms to be ready but it was well worth the slight inconvenience. It was likely the cleanest ship in the fleet and there was no illness on the ship that we knew about. You are lucky to be on this sailing. The Grandeur is a lovely ship with a marvelous crew and we will sail on her again this year.

     

    Relax and enjoy your vacation.


  2. Day 10: St John’s, Antigua | Monday, November 25, 2013 | Partly Cloudy 90F

    Also in port: Mein Schiff 2 | Port load: ≈ 4736

     

    Eclipse was backing into her berth as we awoke on a beautiful day. We were excited for our Antigua excursion, which was a helicopter tour over Montserrat. Having taken flightseeing tours in Alaska on our first cruise, we knew this was a real thrill. We’d reported our weights to the Excursions desk as instructed a few days prior, so all was set. On the pier, we located our contact amid the masses and waited for the others to arrive. While we waited, we were treated to the Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra, who had a contingent of seven musicians on the pier. They were great! I regret not buying a CD, as they’re not on iTunes that I can find. Our contact told us they’d just won the big steel music competition and it was apparent in their performance.

     

     

    After a few minutes, the last of our group arrived. The straggler was in a wheelchair due to an apparent foot injury, which presented a bit of a problem, as we had a hike along the waterfront to get to the shuttle van. As her chair was not the powered sort and I could see she was going to have trouble, I offered to give her a hand and she gladly accepted. My parents did not raise an ill-mannered heathen. The drive to the helicopter facility was about 10 minutes and upon our arrival, a scale waited for us in the lobby for a last-minute weigh-in. The weight limit was 215 lbs (I think) and my pre-cruise weight was a little north of that, but it’s just an estimate, right? Wrong. Learn from my failure, dear readers. I was called back to the lobby as the others went through the safety video and was told my combined weight (including my photo gear) was significantly off and I couldn’t go. My heart sank and I had to break the news to my wife, who was in tears. This was the one excursion we truly looked forward to. After some discussion, the staff told us they had an open flight later in the afternoon, but we’d have to buy a second seat for the extra 40 lbs of my butt and camera gear. We had some extra cash and decided it was worth it, so we went back to the port to kill some time.

     

    We shopped for touristy stuff and first aid things for her toe and I even managed to get some decent shots of the little hummingbirds I missed in St Lucia. We had lunch on-board and relaxed by the pool before it was time to meet our contact person on the pier again. We paid for the third seat and found out they’d arranged this flight just for us. Yes, we’d already paid and were paying some more. They could’ve just sent us back disappointed, but they didn’t, and by going out of their way, it literally turned our day back around and I think Caribbean Helicopters deserves to be commended for it. Anyway, with that mess out of the way, we loaded up in a Bell Jet Ranger II for the flight. They let me clamp my GoPro camera to the dash, so if you’re inclined to do so, you can

    to see the 12 minute video. Kristi was assigned the front/left seat for weight distribution and I drew the right/rear seat behind the pilot. Our pilot was a young woman from Canada, if memory serves, and she explained that they were allowed to do these tours of the exclusion zone in return for giving volcanologists rides to study the island.

     

    We lifted off and flew over the harbor, where I was able to fire off a few shots of Eclipse and Mein Schiff 2. There was a little panel in my door that was open and I could stick my lens through for unobstructed shots. We flew south, along the west coast of Antigua, then about 10 minutes to the southwest to Montserrat. I was vaguely familiar with the recent history of the island. I knew a volcano erupted and covered much of the island in mud and ash, but I was unprepared for what I saw. Here was an island just like the others we’d been visiting. It was covered in lush vegetation and settlements dotted the hillsides. Then, with little warning, a long-dormant volcano burped to life and over the next few years, obliterated nearly every town, including the capital, Plymouth. Homes, schools, universities, churches and the airport were destroyed. Those structures in the exclusion zone (the area potentially exposed to any future eruptions) covers about 75% of the island. I’ll let my photos and video do the talking, but flying over modern day ghost towns is absolutely surreal. After about 20 minutes over the island and another 10 minutes back to Antigua, I asked the pilot if we could go back over the harbor so I could get some more shots of the ships and she obliged. This excursion was truly the highlight of the trip.

     

     

     

     

    Thank you for your wonderful review and the amazing video of Montserrat. After watching your video three times I decided to book the tour on our Feb 22 cruise. It was a truly amazing experience.

     

    I was fortunate to be assigned the front seat next to the pilot and had an awesome view. The weather was unusually clear and we had a marvelous view of the summit with its escaping plume of steam. The pilot circled the summit so we could get a really close up look.

     

    I would never have even considered this once in a lifetime flight had I not read your post and viewed your video. It was truly the highlight of the whole cruise.

     

    Thank you again,

     

    Gianna

    492252076_MontserratVolcanoSummit.jpg.9facd36397f474cc3a1f50f03fb4e72e.jpg

    1518947714_AntiguaHarbor.jpg.f9d0a3ada7ee37c52e1ae457a36a2559.jpg


  3. The OP is correct about the lack of publicity for the brunch. There was a sign as we left the MDR the evening before the brunch and it was listed on the back of the daily in the box that listed the hours for the various food venues the day of the brunch.

     

    Our waiter did not mention the brunch and there was no other publicity. We missed the brunch in 2013 on the Eclipse because we were expecting to see some publicity in the daily.


  4. We just completed a 14 day on an S class ship and did not find the storage space an issue.

     

    I took the life jackets out of the wire bin under the bed and put them back under the bed so I could use the bin for storage. I also asked the room steward for extra wire hangers for the closet. They use less space than the wood hangers and allow you to hang more garments.

     

    The walls in the cabins are metal and I take along some heavy duty magnets with hooks so I can hang up extra items

     

    You may also consider using the ship laundry service.

     

    The cabins do alternate the bed location. The cabins without a sofa bed have the bed by the balcony.

     

    The Celebrity S class ships are marvelous and you will enjoy your cruise.

     

     

    Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app


  5. We were on the Feb. 22 sailing of the Eclipse. The brunch was on the next to last sea day. It was very nice with great presentation. The only downside was the mass rush when the doors opened. It would have been better to go about 30 minutes or more after the brunch began.


  6. Hi, guys.

     

    I'm cruising with Celebrity in 8 days. I booked aqua class in deck 11.

     

    Anything I should know as first time cruiser? :rolleyes:

     

    Here are my questions:

     

    1. They say aqua class has premium bottle water every day. Do I need to bring some bottle water when I board?

     

    2. I have pre-paid gratitude thing, I saw some posts about this, its very chaos. I think I can tip couple dollars more if I got good service, but how those waiters and servers know I have pre-paid gratitude?

     

    Your main dining venue is Blu but if you want to try the Main Dining Room you can be seated there in the select dining area whenever you choose.

     

    3.My fiancee and I are non-alcohol drinker, is the premium non-alcohol package worth the money?

     

    Thanks for your inputs. :)

     

    Your main dining venue is Blu but if you want to try the main dining room you can be seated there whenever you choose. You can also eat in the specialty restaurants or other dining venues.

     

    Enjoy your cruise.


  7. Diamond Balcony Discount When Booking More Than 6 Months From Sailing Date:

    $125* for sailings of 3-5 nights

    $225* for sailings of 6-9 nights

    $325* for sailings of 10+ nights

     

    *When booking less than 6 months from sailing date subtract $25 from each dollar amount.

     

     

    Thanks for the quick reply.


  8. We have just become Diamond on RCI. I have seen a balcony discount mentioned on this thread and on the Crown & Anchor list of perks but can't find the current dollar amount.

     

    Can anyone let us know the dollar amount of the discounts available. I know it varies based on the length of the cruise and booking date.

     

    We're planning a Bermuda cruise for August.

     

    Thanks


  9. We had a bit of a different experience, but not much. We brought Grandeur "home" to Baltimore from South America, so we had 9 days on her (only 2 of them were sea days). The crew and staff were what I might call disheveled, but we chalked that up to the swapping out of the south american crew with the American crew and the learning curve. Half the staff was being reassigned after our cruise and the other half had literally boarded with us. Jimmy was our CD, but we only saw him maybe twice the entire cruise (he too had just come on board). However we LOVED the CD staff. We loved Lynn (I think she is still on) and Melissa in particular (Melissa was leaving to head back to a South American itinerary after our cruise).

     

    She is rather, um, boring. If you enjoy laying by the pool, just relaxing she is great, perfect in fact. If you are more of a mover and a shaker you may find her boring. We survived the 2 seas days but didn't love them. We briefly thought about getting back on her this spring because Ricky (our favorite CD) is on her till May, but figured we wouldn't enjoy another few sea days.

     

    Cant comment on the kids clubs since we don't have kids.

     

    Ricky is a great CD. Who is the activities director for this spring?

     

     

    Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app


  10. Here are some hints I haven't seen on this thread.

     

    The closets on S class ships are large so I just ask the room attendant for some wire hangers and use them for hanging extra clothes.

     

    The life vests are in a wire basket under the bed. I take the vests out, put them under the bed and use the basket for under the bed storage . I find this easier than using a suitcase for storage. The basket can also be used later in the voyage for storage of dirty clothing.

     

    The walls in all cabins are metal. I have some heavy duty magnets with hooks, that I place on the walls and use the magnets to hang clothing on hangers. I also use the magnets to hang up a host of other items. I use small magnets and a lanyard for hanging my sea pass.


  11. We just got off the Eclipse today. Depending on your loyalty level laundry is available. For us it was all we could fit in a bag for $20. It didn't have an item limit. If you roll up each item you can fit quite a bit in a bag. We used the service twice and the laundry was returned neatly folded. I don't know if the fill a bag offer was available to all guests. We are Celebrity Select and I know Elite gets 1 free bag per cruise.

     

    As the poster showed above there are three plugs at the desk. If your appliances are dual voltage you can take along the appropriate adapter and use all three plugs.

     

    Storage hint: The cabins do not have a lot of drawer space. The life jackets are under the bed in a wire bin. I take them out of the bin and use the bin for under bed storage of clothing etc. Also the walls are magnetic in all cabins. I take along some heavy duty magnets and use them as extra hooks on the walls.


  12. We got off the Celebrity Eclipse today in Ft Lauderdale and flew SWA. We were told that Southwest no longer participates in Luggage Valet. We met a couple on our flight who got off a Holland America Cruise today and were also told that Southwest does not participate.

     

    It looks like there is no definitive answer.

     

    I would have been happy to use the service.


  13. I agree with the above poster that travel insurance is important and that you have to read each policy carefully. For many reasons: Don't leave home without it!

     

    A few policies allow you to buy insurance close to the cruise as long as the storm has not yet been predicted. It is a bit late now but you could call Celebrity and ask about their Cruise Care Policy or check out insuremytrip.com.

     

    Check for alternative flights from your area and see if you can get out early. You can also explore with Celebrity how to arrange to board the ship at a later port of call if all else fails. This happens frequently and they have procedures in place to allow for joining the cruise late.

     

    Good luck!


  14. For Deck 9 take a look at the deck plans. It the cabin has a sofa bed or upper berth indicated the bed is by the bath. If the cabin does not have these features the bed is by the balcony. Ex. 9288 on the hump has the bed by the balcony. 9286 and 9290 have the beds by the bath. The location of the bed alternates as you go down the corridors.

     

    9257 bed by bath 9259 bed by balcony

     

    Hope this helps.


  15. On the S class ships the beds in the standard balcony cabins alternate with one by the bath and and the next by the balcony. Rooms with a convertible bed and/or upper birth have the bed by the bath and the room adjoining (no upper or convertible) will have the bed by the balcony. I don't have a way of telling if the head of the bed is toward the bow or the stern as it has never made a difference to me. I do prefer my bed by the balcony so I can see the water and have more walking space as I enter the room.


  16. What has your experience been as you were on that ship?

     

     

    In 2013 there were very long snaking lines to get into the terminal, more lines to claim luggage and then lines for customs and taxis. Basically the terminal is inadequate and Celebrity is moving the Eclipse to Miami for 2015. The problems are specific to this terminal and debarkation from other X ships goes smoothly.

     

    The 14 day is a wonderful itinerary and the Eclipse is a great ship. We will be sailing on her again February 22. The only downside is the terminal.

     

    Disembarkation seems to have improved in 2014. Search the thread below for more disembarkation info. Eclipse Disembarkation - What was your....

     

    http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1986253


  17. I had posted this information on another thread last month detailing our Eclipse disembarkation experience on Jan 11. This is the same disembarkation that Pilot70D (whom we had the pleasure of meeting several times aboard Eclipse):

     

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Maybe because I had a whole year to get worked up about this after reading the many bad reports, our experience with getting off Eclipse today at Port Everglades actually went very well.

     

    In preparation for this problem, I booked a 3PM flight out of FLL today (we are now at the airport). I was also planning on using Luggage Valet to avoid having to wait for our luggage. Unfortunately Luggage Valet was not available for Southwest Airline passengers--at least for this sailing.

     

    We were assigned Group 20 luggage tags which were given to us on the evening the ship left St. Thomas (Jan 8). The paperwork we were given said that the estimated departure time for each of the luggage numbers were:

     

    #01-08: 8am-8:15am

    #10-19: 8:20am-9:00am

    #20-29:9:10am-9:50am

    #30-34:9:50am-10:00am

     

    So here was the actual time line for us:

     

    8:36am: Luggage Group #16 was told thru the PA system to begin disembarking

    8:46am: Luggage Group #18 was told to begin disembarking

    9:08am: we (#20) began lining up to go to Deck 2 to disembark

    9:10am: we step off Celebrity Eclipse.

    9:15am: our line moves into the baggage claim area. We find our 6 bags pretty quickly and then line up to go thru customs/immigration. There are 5 desks that are open. There appeared to be enough baggage porters available for anybody that wanted one.

    9:44am: we are officially in the USA (1st time in 2014!) and now line up for a taxi. Our line is not very long but the line also merges with people from another line looking for a taxi (they are from another terminal). When we reached the front of the line, we told the taxi dispatcher there that we needed a minivan/SUV for the 4 of us and all our luggage. She asks us to stand to the side where there were some other groups waiting for a large taxi.

    9:53am: we are directed to a SUV taxi to take us to FLL.

    10:02am: we arrive in our taxi to the Southwest terminal at FLL. The taxis fare is $19.70.

     

    We got to the airport too early to check our bags--we had to wait until noon--3 hrs before our flight was scheduled to leave. After we checked our bags, we found the line to the security checkpoint to Terminal 1 (Southwest Airlines) to be incredibly long. With all the cruise ships in town (4 including gigantic Oasis of the Seas), it was crowded. The line backed up all the way across the skywalk over the street and we found the end of the line where the car rental desks were. Fortunately the line moved very quickly, so it looked worse than it turned out to be. Also there were TSA agents managing the line to help people find the end of the line and they were on the lookout for passengers in the long line whose flight was leaving within 30 minutes.

     

    Waiting for our taxi at FLL:

    12298994405_f2d93026e8_b.jpg

    Thank you for your detailed post. It lets me know that we need to be in an early disembarkation group to make an 11:40 flight. The later groups seem to have the most delays and longest lines.

     

    The problems are specific to the terminal used by Eclipse and seem to be the reason that Eclipse will sail out of Miami in 2015.


  18. We were on the Eclipse until January 11th AND there were a lot of ships in port that Saturday, a lot.. Our debarkation was organized but took a long time. We were in suite and could have left the ship at anytime but we chose to remain aboard until 10:00 or so.

     

    We used the luggage valet service and that worked like a champ. Our four large suitcases appeared on the baggage carousel on schedule when we reached home. We each had one small piece of carry off luggage but nothing we needed to retrieve never the less we had to go through the same serpentine as those who had to retrieve luggage before going through customs. Stupid and useless wait.

     

    For those retrieving luggage the wait to get a porter was around ten minutes or so. There were lengthy lines to clear customs but the that delay was relatively short, no more than 15 minutes. The line to get a cab though was something else. That line was very, very long but orderly and well managed. It took 25-30 minutes to get to the head of the line and into a cab.

     

    All totaled it was one of the best organized debarkation days we've seen. Most of the delays were due to factors beyond Celebrity's control. The only senseless part was making everyone go through the serpentine line whether one had luggage to retrieve or not. We can't say enough good things about luggage valet. That made the trip home a lot less painful than in years gone bye. We had four large, hard sided spinner suitcases which never had to touch after we put them in the corridor the night before.

     

    Here is something to consider as well. Once we got to FLL the line to go security took 55 MINUTES!!!! Luckily we had enough spare time before our flight that we weren't panicking. Many others weren't so fortunate.

     

    Hope this info is helpful. Now go enjoy that next cruise.

    ;):);)

     

     

    We know self debarkation is the fastest way off the ship but we are not able to manage our luggage on our own. We hope to use the luggage valet and need to know if it is available for Southwest flights at 11:40 out of FLL. Thanks for your information. It looks like the lines are still long to get through the terminal and then wait for a cab. We really hope to use the luggage valet even if it doesn't speed up the lines. I think the key is for us to try to be in an early debarkation group.


  19. We will be sailing on the Eclipse February 22, 2014 and would appreciate hearing about your experience with disembarkation at Port Everglades during the last few months.

     

    Our disembarkation in March 2013 involved long lines, delays getting through customs and long waits for cabs. Most of the delays seemed to be due to the poor configuration of the terminal which has not changed. We hope the situation has improved in 2014.

     

    Thank you,

     

    Gianna

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