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Cousin Eddie

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Everything posted by Cousin Eddie

  1. I reserved through the website on about 8/4. I received confirmation for the Teppanyaki early last week. Just received email confirming the steakhouse yesterday. This is simply a guess on my part but it seems that they changed the front end user interface for making reservations, but the back end is still requiring manual input from the restaurant manager or team. I wonder why they didn't simply automate the entire process?
  2. The Loft 19 area is exclusive to the Mardi Gras, a new Excel class ship under construction. The Horizon does not have this area.
  3. In Barcelona their is a duty free liquor and beer store between the check in area and the boarding area so you can stock up there and carry it right on. I carried on alcohol on the Horizon in Barcelona, Dubrovnik, and Naples, no hassle, I placed 2 six packs on the x-ray scanner while re boarding in Dubrovnik and no one batted an eye.
  4. I have used both Blackboard and Canvas successfully onboard in the last few years. I would be sure to have her download and save a local copy of any spreadsheets, media, or other documents that she needs in advance just in case. That way in the worst case she can complete her assignments and and connect long enough to upload them. My experience with this is on Horizon and Vista and I had a solid connection the entire cruise both times, but of course they are newer ships. If she is able, I strongly encourage her to work ahead and leave plenty of time to account for tech glitches and periods of low/no connectivity. If the materials are available (some instructors give you access to only the coming week's assignments), I usually sacrifice a few sleepless nights prior to my trips to work ahead so I can enjoy the trip, but have done a lot of work in airports and hotels as well. I would be a little concerned about math courses only because in my experience many of them require timed testing or video proctoring which would be difficult to achieve at sea or in port. If these are not concerns, then it is solely dependent on the ship, and the timing of your port stops. Good luck!
  5. It looks like Carnival Breeze will switch to match local time in Bermuda for my cruise in September. According to the Port schedule, the times in port (in local time) match exactly the times posted on Carnival's booking page.http://www.marineandports.bm/Documents/Shipping_schedules/YR 2019 Cruise Ship Schedule pdf.pdf
  6. Yes this is the inaugural sailing, but some people consider the first cruise from the new home port of Port Canaveral to be the "inaugural" and so a thread of that title was already created for that sailing which caused a little confusion. By just using the date and itinerary I hoped to alleviate any confusion that might happen by having similar thread titles to the other sailing's roll call.
  7. Come check out the roll call we have for this cruise. It's going to be a fun trip! https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2629536-mardi-gras-europe-9-day-august-31-2020/
  8. Those look cool. There are a lot of really neat looking cabin choices that are different from the norm on this ship. Will be interesting to see how it all comes together.
  9. Hey Awesome! Hope you were able to get that limoncello back to the States without breaking!
  10. We booked in the Havana as well. We are a bit nervous about the layout after having been on the Vista and Horizon and have been spoiled by the Havana on those ships. Hopefully as more information comes out I'll see some things that eases the worry of that large pool area and two hot tubs being reduced to a single pool/hot tub. Either way we are super excited about the new ship and itinerary.
  11. Probably direct to Copenhagen for us, but it depends on award availability. Since the ship leaves on Monday we will need to get lucky to find a late Friday flight so we can have the weekend in Copenhagen. Since we are arriving in Southampton on a Wednesday we are looking forward to extending our trip for a few days before we have to come back to reality on the following Monday. Maybe up to Scotland or over to Ireland for a few days before heading home. Of course if the schedules line up right we might stick around England and try to catch a football match at Old Trafford (Manchester).
  12. I believe the poster was referring to a call from their PVP. In this case those working with proactive PVPs were indeed special as they were able to get booked several hours before any emails were sent and before either the website or phone agents could book. I was disappointed by this, but harbor no ill will towards anyone able to take advantage. I too received my email... about twenty minutes after I had booked through the website shortly before midnight. Interestingly the price when I clicked through the link in the email was $20 per person higher than what I had already booked moments earlier.
  13. Here is the roll call for the first cruise for Carnival Mardi Gras! Only 579 days. Let the countdown begin!
  14. Was sweating it out hoping the Havana interiors wouldn't sell out before I could get online to book. Made it with a few to spare, and now I can hardly wait for this one!
  15. This is now showing in my VIFP page. Unfortunately the link to the deal just loops to the main Carnival sales page for now. I also have a second one showing for $100 pp for Balcony and suites. Mardi Gras Early Saver VIP Access Exclusive Early Saver rates for VIFP Club Members Offer is valid for guests with a valid VIFP Club Member number. Offer is capacity controlled and is not combinable with any other discount or promotional offer. Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses are additional for each guest based on itinerary. Early Saver terms & conditions (T&C) apply. Onboard credit offer is non-transferable and non-refundable. Onboard credit amounts are the following: $50 per person up to $100 per room for Interior and Ocean view categories only. They are applied to your Sail & Sign account and may not be applied to cruise fare or Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses. 50% reduced deposit is applicable to sailings outside of final payment due date and is valid for all ships, stateroom types and sail dates. Deposit is non-refundable. Changes made to the reservation may result in the assessment of cancellation penalties or service fees. Early Saver fare is backed by a unique price protection policy and does not apply to group rates, membership rates, select promotions, or travel agent promotions. No name changes are allowed. Cancellations prior to final payment due date will receive a non-refundable and non-transferable future cruise credit in the amount of the deposit less a $50 pp service fee. The future cruise credit must be used for bookings in USD currency within 24 months from the date of cancellation. Offer does not apply to Carnival Australia. Offer is applicable on Mardi Gras sailings through April 24, 2021. Offer is available for new bookings only. Offer ends February 17, 2019. To submit a Price Protection claim, visit https://www.carnival.com/cruise-deals/early-saver/price-protection.aspx. Requests will be accepted up to two business days prior to sailing. Please request rate code REDACTED.
  16. On Horizon last year a number of people stayed off the ship in Florence and took the train to Rome and stayed the night in order to attend a morning mass given by the Pope at the Vatican. They rejoined the ship in Rome. I wish we had done the same, not for the mass but just to beat the crazy crowds and see more of the city.
  17. Looks like cabin 5221 is the only one on Horizin with 2 uppers if I’m not mistaken? I have not stayed in that one, but I have stayed with 2 of us in 5230 on Horizon and on Vista and they are the same size (185 sq ft) but without the uppers. It is close quarters with just 2 people and all your stuff. For just sleeping it would probably be fine, but I can’t imagine trying to move around or get ready for dinner, or even store everyone’s clothes and luggage. On the other hand, if you currently have a balcony elsewhere on the ship the cramped quarters might be worth it to use the Havana area. Maybe pack light, make use of the gym showers to lessen the traffic jam getting ready. For me, the proximity and comfort of the Havana pool deck makes it easy to stay out of the room most of the day and just dart back in when we need something. Just depends on your own personal priorities.
  18. We experienced the same in Galveston. We only travel with small backpacks so we were not about to pay the extortionists known as porters to save a few minutes. I had always wondered why some ports didn't have global entry lines while others did, but the situation with the porters leads me to believe it is a money grab at some ports.
  19. Thanks everyone! The Havana area has really reinvigorated my desire to cruise on Carnival. Not that I dislike anything about the other ships we have been on, but the same thing every time gets boring to me after a few times. I am really look forward to seeing the Mardi Gras layout and see what they do with that space.
  20. If I understand your question correctly you are wanting to know if you can pay on a previously booked cruise? As long as the transaction occurs inside the offer window, AND the transaction is coded as Carnival Cruise lines (or another of the World's Leading Cruise Lines properties) not as a fun shops or other purchases such as onboard credit or cheers or something, it should work. I have successfully used the offer to pay partial payment on next years cruise that was booked several months ago.
  21. Hey everyone, we just returned to the real world this past Monday from a week on the Carnival Vista and I would like to share some thoughts and few photos. Shortly after getting married my wife and I began a tradition of taking cruises together immediately following the holidays each year in lieu of purchasing each other Christmas presents. This has worked out great for us as it’s a good time to unwind and recharge from a hard year of work and the inevitable stress that comes with balancing work and multiple family commitments around the holidays. This year we chose to go for the Vista sailing from Galveston, TX for our 8th Carnival cruise. We had originally booked a different cruise, but after returning from Horizon last May we really wanted to get back to a ship with a Havana area. We enjoyed it so much that it’s going to be hard to talk my wife into returning to a ship without this feature. So anyway, here are a few random thoughts and a few photos, I generally don’t pay much attention to menus or fun times so I’m afraid that I don’t have any of those. We flew to Houston the day before the cruise left. Traveling with just the two of us and wanting some freedom to explore, the best way for us to get from HOU to Galveston and then to the pier was to rent a car from Avis at the airport and drop it in Texas City and get an Uber to port. On disembark we reversed this scenario. Our transport costs were: $26 for Avis, $25 plus $5 tip for Uber. Avis was $34 for the return, and the Uber from Port was $27. Embark Our arrival appointment was 11:30am. After a late breakfast and returning the rental car we arrived at almost 11:30 on the nose, completely by accident. I was planning on being later but was pleasantly surprised that we breezed through security and check in and walked right on and made a beeline for Havana. This was the easiest embark we have had on Carnival. After about an hour we dropped our bags and went out to explore. We found this little guy hiding in the Atrium The sky ride and ropes were up and going and after a painless muster drill in the dining room we were underway. Food We only ate in the main dining room twice. The first night and the next day (first elegant night). We used YTD and the Hub app to request a table each of these nights and within five minutes were headed to our table. Unfortunately, that is where the promptness ends with the dining room experience. The food was good, not great, but as with the last few cruises the service was again very slow. We just don’t enjoy the two-hour dinner service, but I know that some do, so we move on. The buffet, for both lunch and dinner was pretty good. I found it much improved over last year’s Victory cruise. We found the selection varied and the split stations were easy to navigate. The star of the show for us was Bonsai Sushi. We ate there about three or four times. If you make it there, I recommend the Wagyu Kakuni appetizer! My wife enjoyed the noodles and rolls too. We also made several trips to Guy’s for the requisite cheeseburger and fries, along with the Deli for hot dogs and Reuben’s. I don’t know why, but on this cruise the Deli line was nearly empty every time we went to eat so we took advantage. I ordered a pizza delivery from the app on one sea day and the young man made it to my chair in the Havana area about ten minutes later. While I really like the Carnival pizza late at night and for free, it leaves a lot to be desired early in the day for a fiver! The Pig and Anchor was good and popular, and the tacos and huevos rancheros at the Blue Iguana were great and worth the wait in line. Crowds and Atmosphere The big knock on the Vista class seems to be that its public areas are too crowded, and lines are long. Well that it subjective of course but I can tell you from my point of view it was very crowded on the lido deck and sports bar (college football championship and four NFL Playoff games) but the atmosphere was good, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. They showed the NFL playoff games and the College Football Championship game on the big screen on lido as well as the sports bar and it was a big hit. I used the gym on the sea day mornings and while it was crowded, I was able to find a treadmill to use and get to the weights without much hassle. I did notice that it seemed to come in shifts, as we the 7am crowd filtered out it got more crowded as the 8 and 9 o’clockers rolled in! The cruise director is something I don’t normally pay attention to, but in this case, Matt Mitcham really did add a fun atmosphere to the cruise. He seemed to be everywhere, was really engaging and got the crowd involved better than some I have seen in the past. We went to one comedy show and enjoyed, and the club was packed each night so I would suggest getting there early. The piano bar had good crowds each night, but both times we went it was standing room only, so we only stayed a few moments. Sorry, I don’t remember the performer’s name. We spent quite a bit of time in the casino and had quite a bit of fun. The dealers, hosts and passengers all added to a great atmosphere. Of course, it was terribly smoky as ever, I really wish they could figure out a way to alleviate that problem. Havana This was my second experience with the Havana area, and I have to say that this is the leading attraction on Carnival ships for me. I was concerned that the addition of extra cabins and the admission of suite guests from outside the area would dilute the experience by causing crowding. On this cruise there was no such problem. The area was well attended but there was no problem getting a chair or lounger. The hot tubs were relatively warm, and they saw a lot of use. We did see numerous people attempt to sneak in to the area from the side gates, but the staff was quick to explain that they needed to wait until after 7pm to visit so it never became much of an issue. We really enjoyed the dancing and music in the Havana Bar several nights. The bar staff were great back there as well. Especially Estefany and Jorge! Sunsets from the Havana hot tubs are pretty good Cabin We stayed in Havana Interior 5230. We absolutely loved the décor and the layout of the room. For two people it has plenty of room and the décor is light and airy enough to not feel cramped. We stay out around the Havana pool area so much that anything other than an interior would be a waste. One word of warning, this room is pretty much directly opposite the band in the Havana bar. And Latin music is best when played loud. And Latin Music played loud can be felt beating in your chest. And in room 5230 it can be felt beating through the wall and into your chest. If you find yourself in this situation, you might as well get up and go out into the bar and grab a Cuban Iced Tea and join in, because you aren’t going to be sleeping! In all seriousness, we will look for a room further down the hall away from the band a bit next time. Excursions In Belize we stuck to the Carnival excursion to Lamanai Mayan Ruins with the River boat trip. We usually don’t take Carnival excursions, preferring smaller groups but with the tendering situation in Belize it seemed easier. When we got to the lounge to get our tender stickers, I became very concerned. It seemed like everybody else on the ship had chosen the same excursion! Once off the ship and onto the bus things were surprisingly well organized and less chaotic. We settled into groups of about 35-40 and went off with each bus being independent from the rest of the crowd. So even though we all went to the same place, we were separate enough to make it manageable. The ruins were cool, the boat ride fun, and lunch was great! The Restaurant/ Boat dock/Gift shop Main Temple In Cozumel we booked independently through Cozumel Bar Hop and did the Bar Hop to the East Side of the Island. We have been to Nachi Cocum and Mr. Sanchos in the past and enjoyed them both, but this tour was our favorite experience on Coz so far. Colleen the guide was quite funny and kept everyone corralled and on schedule. We were joined by at least 5 other boats in Cozumel, our tour was short by 18 cruisers who were supposed to join but were on the ill fated Oasis of the seas that was stricken by Noro. Very unfortunate for them, but we ended up in a nice small group. Magic and Dream were there We headed to the East side where these beach views reside Coconuts pico is not what we get here in middle America, this stuff is hot!. At Rasta They are famous for Coconut Shrimp we were told, so what the heck. This is really good coconut shrimp! Our day in Roatan was the highlight of our trip. We booked a half day sail with City Dogs Sailing, which is an American couple who run sailing and scuba charters for small groups from First Bight. I did a separate review of this one on the Roatan page so I will link it here so you can check it out if you would like: Roatan Excursion Review Here is a teaser Debark Well, it started off well, with a casual breakfast in the Ocean Plaza waiting for them to start calling decks for self-assist. Then the supposedly well-crafted plan was immediately abandoned after deck 1 was called and it became a free for all. We finally realized that we were among the poor tortured souls ignorantly attempting to follow instructions while the smart ones were walking off the ship all around us and the staff smartly stepped aside and let them go. Here is one of the few things I know about crowd control: when the crowd wants to go away, and you want them to go away, the best thing to do is step back and watch them go away! On Horizon last year, the directions for self-assist were this: Come down to the gangplank anytime after we announce that customs has cleared us and walk off the boat, you have 30 minutes to do so, then we start the zones. It was beautiful as we strolled off with tons of others without being herded for pointless hours into nooks and crannies and waiting. I dream of that disembark sometimes, it was that good. This was a great cruise. The chaotic exit was a very small thing in the big picture, and so many stellar performances by staff members far outweigh this small problem. I would also like to say that even though they were shorthanded, and not getting paid, Customs did a great job, went as quick as they could and our officer even had a smile for us as we left. Thanks! We had a wonderful time and made some new memories and new friends. I can't wait to get back out there and make some more! That’s my review, hope it was helpful to someone, if you disagree with anything that I have said here that’s great, let me know, these are just my opinions and if we all had the same ones it would be a very boring world.
  22. I agree with you on embark and disembark. We too walked right on at our scheduled time (11:30) with no waiting and were on board within 15 minutes of being dropped off at the pier. You are also right about disembark being chaos. They announced that for self assist the stairwells would be closed and the forward elevators operated by staff to ferry passengers. We kept waiting around for our deck to be called for self assist, but after Matt called deck one we noticed that everyone just went on down. The elevators were being used from the upper floors and no one was in control. After a while we just went ahead and walked off. I am glad we did, because by that time the customs lines were getting quite long. I would like to see them adopt the system they used on our Horizon cruise in Barcelona, where self assist just walked off anytime they wanted for the first hour and then they started calling zones after they self assist got out of the way. We were off that boat in 15 minutes.
  23. Not the OP, but I was on the same cruise and in the Havana area. I did not see a bartender named Myu. The bar staff in Havana was Ignacio, Jorge, Estefany, and I believe Luis.
  24. Not sure about the Breeze, but just got the Vista on Sunday and they showed all of the NFL playoff games at the sports bar, in the casino, and on the big screen on Lido.
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