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Everything posted by SantaFeFan

  1. Award winning brochures? Seriously? Now, that is what I would call pretentious. 🤣
  2. Palo is much, much better. From my experience on Crown Princess, Sabatini is not much better than Olive Garden. Palo stood out for their selection, quality, ambiance and service. No comparison at all. Palo wins hands down.
  3. I second that. The best meal and most personalized service we have received on a cruise was in Palo on Disney Magic. We enjoyed it so much we dined there twice on that 7 day cruise. Besides the excellent menu items, our waiter made suggestions and offered special items not on the menu. The head chef would even come out to each table to ask about preferences and special foods that diners might want to try. They encouraged us to try different items, and gave no expectations that we finish anything they brought. It was nice sampling several items we would not normally order. This was a decade ago, but it sure made a great impression.
  4. You should try specialty restaurants. That is where the food stands out. Prepared to order, more attentive service, smaller, quieter, more intimate surroundings. Best I have experienced were Palo's on Disney Magic and RMS Olympic on Millennium (now Tuscan Grille), and the most unique and fun was Qsine on Reflection and Constellation.
  5. According to many travel and cruise web sites they are. So are Celebrity and Princess. And also Azamara, your favorite cruise line based on your short posting history. If you disagree, then take it up with the travel experts on those sites. You might consider writing to them to voice your disapproval. 🙂 BTW: I have never been on HAL, so can't pass judgement either way like you are doing. I will leave it to the travel experts to make that call. 😉
  6. According to smartertravel.com, NCL is considered an economy cruise line and HAL is a considered a premium cruise line, so HAL would typically be more expensive and offer a more upscale experience.
  7. According to local marine experts, that is not the case in most of the struck whales we have seen along our coast this year. Over half were in good health.
  8. We have had several dead whales washing up on our beaches this year. They are an environmental problem that is expensive to resolve. Quite a bit of media time has been dedicated to these incidents. In most cases attempts are made to haul the carcass out to sea and do whatever is necessary to sink it to the sea bottom where it can be reclaimed by nature's scavengers. Occasionally, the carcass is so decomposed that hauling it away is impossible, so digging a large, deep hole is necessary to bury it far below the expected low level of the beach surface. That often is quite difficult due to access for large construction type equipment needed to dig the hole and push the carcass in. In more public beach areas, the odor of a decomposing whale can be very overpowering. Never a good situation to have to deal with.
  9. And since you have to pay much more, I would expect these and other things to be included. The "you get what you pay for" mantra works both ways. You pay little, you get little. You pay a lot, you get a lot. Nothing magical or special about this simple concept.
  10. A 3rd reason is probably just as relevant - they don't want to, or cannot, spend so much money. Not everyone has enough extra money laying around to take expensive vacations. They may want to, but can't justify the cost at the time.
  11. It was mostly meant in jest. 🙂 It's quite simple. The last time I exchanged gifts with strangers was in grade school where were forced to exchange gifts after picking random names for Christmas. Most of them were kids I did not hang out with and hardly knew. It was very impersonal. It felt like a fake "feel good" effort. Family is completely different. You know them and care about them, and can at least put some personalized effort to give them something that THEY will appreciate, not something that we like. I put effort in thinking what family members might like and knowing that they will most likely enjoy the gift. We do this every Christmas. A true gift is given for the benefit of the receiver, not the giver. At a meet and greet, if a complete stranger gave me a gift, I honestly would not give it much value. When it involves strangers, it can't be personalized so it actually means very little. So why bother hauling stuff that most people couldn't care less for?
  12. Ahh, another person allowing themselves to feel insulted. Some people are just too darn sensitive and get insulted by every little thing, and don't have a sense of humor. Sigh. Relax. Is this really worth getting all bothered about????? Laugh it off!!!
  13. No gift exchange for us. We left grade school decades ago.
  14. Well, the "no extra charge" is a bit misleading. When a passenger pays 2x to 4x the cost of mainstream lines, there better be more included in that very expensive fare, including "free" specialty dining.
  15. It's to help minimize this type of incident - a dead whale impaled on the bulbous bow of a cruise ship: I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have had an unusually high number of dead whales washing up on our beaches this year. Most have died from traumatic injuries, most likely from ship strikes. These majestic animals need to be protected. Slowing ships in migration zones will give them a fighting chance to get out of the way in time. They don't realize that cruise and container ships can travel at over 25 miles per hour, and can easily misjudge how much time they need to get out of the way.
  16. Well, since I wouldn't book a cruise on a Carnival ship, I see no reason to waste my time reading the Carnival forum, so No, I haven't read your critiques over there. I wasn't attacking you. I was remarking on the simple fact that every comment you make on the "Ask A Cruise Question" forum is in defense of Carnival. Since this is the only forum I run across your posts, it seemed quite logical to believe that you were a big fan of Carnival, especially with the avatar that you use that indicates you are at a high tier on their loyalty program. My apologies if I interpreted that you were a big supporter - but all the signs pointed in that direction. Nothing offensive about "boy" in "fanboy" unless you want to be offended. The term "fanboy" is no more insulting than saying you are a "cheerleader". It just means that you really like something and want to support it if you can. I wouldn't be offended if someone remarked that I was a cheerleader for the cruise lines that I favor, which I frequently do. I happen to be Diamond level on Royal, Elite level on Celebrity, and Platinum level on Princess, and will share my favorite things about these lines when appropriate, just like you do. Why be offended that someone notices that we like something? It seems that people go out of their way to be offended these days. Sigh.
  17. I haven't tried placing my head in a toilet and flushing to wash my hair, but I know enough about what I like that I won't be satisfied with the experience. Same with Carnival. Too many horror stories on CC, in the press, and most importantly, from friends I trust who have similar values who ended up regretting taking that one and only cruise on Carnival. Why waste money on something I might not like instead of on something I know I will? You are a super fanboy of the line, that is clear (obvious by your choice of an avatar), and are always defending your favorite line. You must like the low end, budget atmosphere. That's your choice. But just because a person can make their own choice, doesn't mean they make smart ones.
  18. 50 years of traveling internationally without carrying my passport if it wasn't necessary, including dozens of cruises over the last couple of decades, and never had an unexpected need for a passport if it wasn't required in the first place. I would consider myself, and the myriad of others who leave our passports in our safe as large corporation travel departments, cruise experts, and even the US government, have recommended. I would say that has established us with an equal, and perhaps even more substantial, proven ability. More "sky is falling" opinions. You never cease to amaze. And again you insult everyone who doesn't do it your way by assuming we leave our passports secured in our safes because we are of lower intellect, are too scared, or have lower capabilities than you. You would be much better arguing your case if you didn't repeatedly insult people who don't do things the way you have wrongly deemed to be the only perfect way. Again, you never cease to amaze us with your superiority attitude, constantly denigrating us that we aren't as capable as you.
  19. Repercussions would be no different than if you had been robbed and were forced to give them your passport, a risk that is just as real as the perceived risks you continue to harp upon. 🙄 I don't know why you distrust people so much. You must have been horribly let down sometime in your life. In all of my travels over 50 years I can't think of a single person who promised something important and then not delivered on that promise. Faith in other people is a blessing, and everyone of us does it every day of our lives. Distrust in people is a curse, forcing oneself to constantly judge everyone around you as to their intentions or their ability to follow up on promises. But, as you said - being suspicious of people is a choice each of us can choose or not choose. And one more thing - the difference between you and me has nothing to do with trusting or not trusting the crew to do as they promised. The difference is how much of a control freak we each are. If I don't need to carry my passport I am much more comfortable with leaving it in the safe than with carrying an unneeded item around with me all the time. I trust that my intelligence and planning abilities will get me back to the ship on time, while you are betting that yours won't.
  20. The port agent is a contracted service that is also responsible for all arrangements needed for the ship to be docked in that port, including assisting late passengers as necessary. Their responsibility is quite extensive, and they have a wide range of contacts that could prove helpful in the case of a missed ship. How much assistance they may provide a late passenger is not well defined. Passenger assistance is a minor responsibility compared to what must be done to accommodate the ship at the dock, such as arranging supplies or provisions when necessary, arranging for minor repairs that can't be handled by ship's staff, and managing docking permits from local authorities, to name a few.
  21. I chose #2. But I will re-word it with much less overly dramatic, sensationalist wording that you have used to embellish your point: "I miss the ship but don't have my passport. I trust that security will do as they promised and leave my passport with the port agent - after all, I trust them to do so many other things to make my cruise safe and enjoyable, so they certainly can be trusted with this simple task as well. When I finally arrive at the port, I approach the port agent and retrieve my passport and ask for any assistance in re-joining the ship. If I am dealing with an injured companion, in hospital myself, or detained by authorities (since I do not partake in activities that may get me detained, this is unlikely), the port agent will still have possession of my passport when I, or a representative I have contacted, is able to retrieve my passport. If I get to the port I call the port agent at the number listed in the daily newsletter to make arrangements to meet him since it was so easy to have his phone number with me for such emergencies. Even if it goes smoothly I then have to figure out how to get home." In the first scenario, the situation you describe is impracticable. Why ruin a trip by spending vacation time and even more money dealing with a lost passport when it was so easy to leave it in the safe if not required by local laws, a secure place where it is always available?
  22. It was on Celebrity Infinity in 2009. The tour was from Manta, Ecuador to Machalilla National Park, and was an 8 hour duration. Perhaps the scheduled tour guide was absent and the cruise line employee had to take over. I don't know. But she seemed to know the tour quite well.
  23. I said "almost always are not cruise line employees". But, on rare occasions they may be. Several years ago on a Chile to Florida repositioning cruise, we took a ship sponsored tour and the guide was a cruise line employee. I know because I saw her working the excursion desk later in the cruise. Probably a rare occasion, but it did happen at least once. Since I cannot accurately say I know that "all" ship sponsored tour guides are contractors, I played it safe with the "almost always" statement.
  24. Most of the time the tour guides are contracted by the cruise line from local companies. They are the same people who would be conducting tours for non-cruise line sponsored tours. If you would normally tip a non-cruise tour guide, also tip the cruise tour guide. They almost always are not cruise line employees, but are local people.
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