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Posts posted by GiannaD

  1. Welcome home Grandeur of the Seas! Baltimore is happy to have you back.


    Now it is time for all of us sailing the Grandeur to join in the Royal Caribbean Meet & Mingle Roll calls and to sign up for a meet & mingle party on board the ship. It is quick and easy.


    The roll calls are great for exchanging ideas, setting up shore excursions and meeting people on your sailing. The parties have light refreshments and usually include some raffle items from RCI.


    Please join your roll call now!



  2. There are some chairs and lounges on deck 5. The area aft of the hump on the port side is a smoking area. You can see in the photo that most of deck 5 is a promenade next to the lifeboats. Lounges can be seen in the background.


  3. Our family, with boys 13 and 10, did this excursion last summer. My younger son is interested in volcanos. We looked at private excursions - which in our view are usually a better value - but this excursion was the cheapest way to get to Mt. Etna.


    The bus ride is scenic and takes you all the way to where the ski lift could take you up higher. You are at the top for an hour or two and get a snack of cannolis and juice. There's a brief stop below Taormina (15 minutes) and a longer stop at a jewelry factory where we were served a snack of antipasti.


    We enjoyed the excursion though the jewelry factory stop was strange. I realize that the jewelry factory paid Celebrity to stop there and that made the excursion cheaper, but it was lame. I didn't see anyone buy anything. This is what you get with ship's tours.


    A trip to Etna is something you and your children will never forget!


    I have taken tours of Mt. Etna twice. The first time my children were 10 and 12 and it was a memorable trip for all of us. In August we went from 95 degrees at Taormina to quite cold at the summit which is about 11,000 ft. We could see the vapor arising from the main crater and smell the sulfur. The lower oxygen level was also quite noticeable. We went by bus and 4 wheel drive vehicle from Taormina.


    My second visit to Etna was from Catania. We went in March and it was raining ash and snow on the upper slopes. My feet were warm from the lava flow below and my face and hands were cold. Amazing! That trip was by bus, ski lift and 4 wheel drive vehicle.


    Take along a jacket and be prepared to be amazed. It will be a great experience for your children especially if they are interested in volcanoes!

  4. We were in 9192 which I think is right nextdoor to where you will be. I thought it was a great location. You will love the ship. Enjoy your cruise.:):)


    Your cabin is wonderful because it is on the forward "hump" of the ship. Your interior is the same as the others and your balcony is about 3x the size of a standard balcony. Your bed will be near the balcony which gives better access to the desk, closet, and couch which are near the bathroom.


    Enjoy the cruise!

  5. In Celebrity's schematic of Equinox cabins they have an obstructed symbol in the cabin box. Since I have never cruised before I would not have a clue what kind of obstruction it could be. Maybe I will call Celebrity and ask. I wonder what deck the lifeboats are on?


    By the way, what do the numbers and letters correspond to when identifying the cabin? Ours is 1B. What is the difference between 1A, 1B 1C and 2A, 2B, 2C?



    Your cabin is in a wonderful location. It is right next to the forward stairs and elevators which means less walking through the long hallways to get to the elevators. There is a sound barrier between the elevator lobby and the cabins so it will be quiet in the cabin. There are cabins above and below so you won't have any noise from clubs and dining venues.


    The square and triangle symbols do not indicate obstructions. They indicate that the couch makes into a bed and that there is a bunk that can be pulled down from the ceiling. These will not in any way impact you if there are only two in the room. The upper bunk is recessed into the ceiling when not in use and the couch remains the same.


    Your bed will be near the bathroom and can be made into one queen/king size bed. It is actually king width but not quite as long with a curved bottom. (Bed positions on Solstice class ships alternate from near the bath to near the balcony.) Check out a schematic on Celebrity's website.


    Your cabin is just forward of the lifeboats which are on deck five. You'll be able to lean out on your balcony and see them along the side of the ship to your right.


    The difference between 1A and 1B in your area is that the 1A cabins are "hump" cabins and have much larger balconies. The staterooms inside are the same. The 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D etc cabins are on lower decks in less convenient locations. Some cabins on deck 6 have a view of the roofs etc. of the lifeboats while others are above the theater. Basically it is location, location, location!


    The Equinox is a wonderful ship with a great crew. Relax and enjoy your cruise.

  6. Missed a good deal for balcony's on the Equinox, booked a ocean view

    cabin to be chosen at check-in...may well be a bow cabin.

    Anyone who has had one of those cabins, please tell me about your


    Thx very much!


    The ocean view cabins on the deck 6 bow of the S class ships look directly out onto the helicopter pad. When we were on the pad for a sail away we saw some guests look out at us and with a shocked expression on their faces quickly close the curtains. They obviously weren't expecting to see a large number of us looking back at them!

  7. :confused::confused:



    Allure and Oasis always dock at Crown Bay; the water is not deep enough at Havensight. I have also docked at Crown Bay on Celebrity.


    I agree! In February 2013 the Celebrity Eclipse docked next to the Oasis at Crown Bay and in March 2012 the Celebrity Equinox docked at Haversight.

  8. Advantages....disadvantages. I'd like to hear opinions...we have a hump cabin booked, deck 7 port side, mid ship. We've only sailed once before so I'm only somewhat familiar of how ships are laid out.


    It's a great location. You are right by the mid-ship elevators which are convenient to everything but the cabin is very quiet because there is a wall between your cabin and the elevator lobby. You also have a great view with no lifeboats directly below your cabin. Enjoy!

  9. The problems with terminal 25 cannot be put off on Immigration staffing....Although it was minimal for awhile & no one there from Celeb.to or port to help sort out the lines the problems have more to do with layout, organization or lack thereof, & location.....


    Terminal 24/25 was a nightmare after a great cruise .... the long outdoor walkway/ line to get to the luggage area is not acceptable; and the space inside to claim luggage is way too tiny for a big ship.. Then there is no space for immig lines-- and then a huge back up for taxis and vans...too small a staging area...



    I agree that the inadequate size of terminal 24/25 is the major factor in the debarkation and to a lesser extent embarkation problems experienced at Port Everglades. We sailed the Equinox twice and had no problems because it uses the state of the art terminal 18 that was built for the Oasis and Allure.


    Using two terminals (24/25) with long walks from the ship to the luggage area is difficult and then the waiting area for immigration and customs is much too small for a ship the size of the Eclipse. As others have said the debarkation problems started long before the sequestration.


    Adding to the debarkation difficulties is the fact that the terminal is on a narrow dead end spit of land with one road that becomes clogged with traffic and the taxi/incoming luggage staging area is a small loop that is shared with another large ship on the opposite side of the spit of land. (You can see the docking area on the satellite view on http://www.portevergladeswebcam.com.) The access road becomes clogged with taxis and trucks so even once you are out of the terminal there can be a very long wait for transportation to the airport, hotels or parking areas.


    Basically the docking area is inadequate! By contrast terminal 18 is a dream.

  10. How much was the tour

    There were only 6 of us so we paid $65 each which included all admissions and transportation around the island and to and from the ship.. If Gigi has a larger group the price goes down accordingly. While not cheap I felt we got a lot for what we paid. You can discuss the price with her depending on the itinerary. We had a private van with driver and I think she does a walking tour of just the town that is of course less.


    Hope this helps.

  11. Did you also do any other sightseeing with her besides Jewish sites? we've booked with her in 2 weeks and I was wondering if there is anything else on Curacao we can ask her to show us .



    We basically did the Jewish sites but also went to the Curacao Distillery which is Jewish owned but an interesting sight for anyone. We rode through Willemsted and saw the floating market and other things along the way. We did the synagogue last and I chose to remain in town and look around on my own. I crossed the pontoon bridge and walked back to the ship. Along the way there is a mall in an old fort and a street market with typical souvenirs. It is a fairly long walk to the mega port but pleasant.

  12. How far is it from the ship to town?


    Willemstad is split into two main districts by the Santa Anna Bay, a deep but narrow channel; Punda is on the east side, and Otrobanda -- where cruise ships dock -- is to the west. There are two main docking spots. The new Curacao Mega Pier is designed for post-Panamax ships (that can't fit under the city's famed Queen Juliana Bridge). The aptly named Mega Pier is located in West Willemstad, just a few minutes walk into downtown. Smaller ships dock at the Curacao Cruise Terminal. Both are within walking distance of the Queen Emma Bridge, which connects the two sides of the city. (Punda, the side opposite the cruise docks, features the main shopping and business areas.)



    You can walk from the ship across the pontoon bridge into the Punda district of Willemstad. It is a fairly long walk but pleasant.


    The attached photo was taken from the upper deck of the Eclipse March 6. It does not show the promenade from the ship to the pool in the foreground. The Punda district is in the distance across the Saint Anna Bay.


  13. We would like to have a tour with Gigi in April while cruising on Carnival but I am hvaing hard time reaching her via email. Can you suggest a better way to contact her ?



    I contacted her about 3 weeks before our tour and she responded quickly. I had read on the boards that she was sometimes slow to respond to her e-mail because she does not always know her schedule. Her e-mail is gigischeper@hotmail.com.


    The phone number I have is +(5999) 697-0290. I don't have the country code. Hopefully you will be able to contact her. Her tours are wonderful.



  14. Gianna,


    Thank you so much for the reply, I read your post and it sounds like a wonderful tour--I appreciate the details about the walking as well. I'm especially glad to know that it is an interesting tour irrespective of one's personal religion as not everyone in my group is Jewish.


    Thank you again!



    You are welcome.

  15. Hello all! I will be in Curacao next month on the NCL Sun and I would really like to do some sort of Jewish Heritage tour with my group (probably 7 would go), normally I would just book the NCL tour as it seems fairly comprehensive and not terribly expensive, but I'm taking my mom on this cruise and she has fairly serious breathing issues--such that a long walk as part of a group would be out of the question. She can take a walk just fine, she just needs to take breaks and probably would not be able to keep up with an organized group walk.


    My question is, has anyone done the NCL Jewish Heritage tour, and if so, was there a lot of walking, any walking? The description on the website doesn't mention walking and it is classified as a "Level 1 - Low Activity" but I've been on a few classified the same that had a fair share of walking.

    Thank you in advance, I appreciate any feedback (or suggestions for alternatives)!


    We did a private Jewish Heritage tour with Gigi Scheper March 6 and it was wonderful. Two in our group used canes and there was very little walking involved. The only challenging place was the cemetery where the area was uneven so some in the group remained at the gates. We parked right by the synagogue and the pace on the rest of the tour was great for those who needed a bit more time to walk. You can find my post under "What was your favorite thing to do in Curacao?" It is #13. Please let me know if you have any questions.



  16. TBN's hubby here...


    Been there several times. Went to this slavery museum and hotel last week (Celebrity Eclipse) and it was really worth the time and small fee. The hotel grounds are also beautiful and there are three restaurants that all looked wonderful.


    We sometimes walk across the floating bridge then turn left and walk by the open-air market.


    The Jewish Synagog and museum is very interesting and also worth the small fee. In the center of town. The entrance is on the side and is a bit difficult to find.


    The town is lovely and we sometimes spend most of the day walking around and doing some nice shopping at some interesting shops. There are little alleys with small shops and some interesting murals and 3D artworks that we just run into so if you walk around be certain to peek down each little side street even if it is just barely wide enough to walk through.


    Lunch with the locals is interesting in the old market building. To find it just continue walking along the same street where the open air market is and it is just beyond the 'new' market. (the new market is a concrete round- shaped building full of small booths of goods) Brain Cramp right now on the name, but it is a rectangular wooden lattice-work building with the name (something) Blue over the door. Open fire cooking by several local groups with a bunch of picnic tables and a $12 each lunch that is more than I could eat. Just look around and pick what you want. Stewed goat, stewed chicken, veggies, plantain, fish, pumpkin pancake, fresh lemonade or soft drinks, and on and on and on... great fun.


    Kon Tiki Beach is nice and fairly close with food and many nice locations, chairs and beds to sun. Small entrance fee.


    Hope this helps


    All of the above suggestions are great. Whether you are Jewish or non Jewish I would highly recommend the Jewish Heritage tour offered by Gigi Scheper. She is a wealth of information and a marvelous guide. The tour ends at the Synagogue in the center of the town which gives you time to explore the places suggested above. You can walk back to the ship over the pontoon bridge, take a cab or Gigi will take you directly to the ship. We were on the Celebrity Eclipse last week and really enjoyed Gigi's Tour.


    She includes:


    Beth Chiam Cemetery, oldest walled Jewish Cemetery of the Western Hemisphere dating from 1659.


    Mongui Maduro Museum/Library situated in an old plantation house which was used as a vacation retreat in the summer by Jews living in town. The house is furnished with lovely antiques original to the house and sits on a breezy hill with a view of the surrounding area. The adjoining library is fascinating.


    Curacao Liqueur Factory home of the the famous Blue Curacao Liqueur, invented by a Jewish family. The present holding company is 95% Jewish.


    Drive through the old Jewish neighborhood of Schaarloo 1850-1970.


    Visit to the Mikve Israel Emanuel Synagogue, and the adjoining Jewish Historical Cultural Museum. The building dates to 1731 and the congregation is one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. This is the highlight of the tour!


    Along the way you see some of the sites of Willemstad and the surrounding area.


    We are not Jewish and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Gigi.


    gigischeper@hotmail.com +(5999)697-0290


    I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.





  17. We are just off the Celebrity Eclipse and did Gigi's Jewish heritage tour on March 3. She was absolutely wonderful and gave us a real understanding of the role of Jews past and present in the development of Curacao. The Mikve Israel Emanuel Synagogue was the highlight of the tour. I would highly recommend her. gigischeper@hotmail.com


    I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

  18. I haven't seen any specific items listed that are required for verification for the teacher discount.


    I have a copy of a letter acknowledging my request for service retirement on the school system letterhead and assume that will be enough if they ask for verification. My retirement pension is from the state system so that doesn't indicate I was a teacher.


    For poster Dizney: Celebrity had a special offer for a teacher discount of $300 that ran during the summer of 2012. I'm not sure how long it ran but I just happened to see it under Special offers. It was not in the booking pane where you indicate over 55, firefighter, military etc.

  19. Beautiful piece! I posted the one we won on the Eclipse in 2012 on page 1 of this thread, I think ours was by the same artist, Carl Seigler. Sounds like you need to catch the ship he is working on.:D


    We had befriended an officer and when we told her that we had won a piece and asked where we could find bubble wrap, we were surprised with an awesome Celebrity bag filled with bubble wrap, tape, beach towels, tee shirts and other goodies. We wrapped the vase in bubble wrap and the towels and put it in our carryon and it made it home in pristine condition.


    Yes, the piece was by Carl Siegler. He was amazing.


    I hope he is on our upcoming Eclipse Cruise.

  20. I was lucky enough to win a glass bowl on the Equinox in 2011. The artist was leaving the ship and raffled off many of his pieces at the last glass show. The frequency of the raffles seems to depend on the artists who are on board at a given time.


    As for packing, I wrapped the bowl in many layers of dirty laundry and put it in the middle of my suitcase. It arrived home without breaking.


    The glass shows are marvelous.



  21. Is the train booked through the cruise or can it be done independently? If so, is there any savings?


    The train is usually booked through the cruise company. I don't know if it can be booked independently. Our car was entirely from the Equinox.


    I would do the train but am not at all certain that the dome car is worth the extra money.

  22. Did you check the seat arrangements in regular coaches? I would want to be sure they are not just as cramped before making a decision. If, in fact, they are more spacious I will take your suggestion. P.S. I think guides are just "luck of the draw". Thanks.


    The dome car seats were basically wooden benches on a platform with a table between the benches like a cramped restaurant booth. You could not get up and walk around to stretch or view the other side of the tracks.


    I would definitely do the canal tour rather than one that concentrates on Panama City. The canal is unique in all the world and a must see. You can see the countryside, new construction and the locks. The bus on the return trip does not ride along the canal but gives a view of the isthmus.


    Once again, a ride through Colon on the bus or a quick trip to the shops on the dock is all you likely want to do.

  23. Bigbenboys, I'll still a bit confused, so I hope you'll indulge me.


    I thought aft cabins were in the very back, so I guess I'm confused. Are these verandas larger and not windy.


    If they are windy, since this is a transatlantic crossing, perhaps we should start eating more NOW instead of waiting to get on the ship so we can hopefully avoid being blown off into the middle of the sea. :p;)


    In all seriousness, should I stick with 7286 or go back to the aft cabin I originally thought of. I like a large balcony and this I thought was one, but I also don't want to be blown off.



    Thanks for any answers

    We were in 7286 on the Equinox in 2012. It is on the aft angle of the hump not on the aft of the whole ship. It has the bed by the balcony.


    The balcony is huge compared to the other balconies. It was covered by the balcony above and looked down on a small boat rather than a lifeboat. The view straight out was great. Wind was not an issue. On sunny days you could sit in the sun or sit near the doors in the shade. The room is quiet but very convenient to the stairs and elevators. You don't have to walk down any endless halls. (On S-class ships the aft elevators are at the hump and it is a long walk from them to the stern of the ship.)

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