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81Zoomie

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About 81Zoomie

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Snowbird Wanna Be's
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    HAL, Princess, Celebrity, Azamara

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  1. Don’t let the Drake deter you from going to Antarctica. It is an incredible journey. Bring Meds and take them as a precaution. Leave high heels behind. The Drake is only about 1.5 days long. If you have the opportunity to take an expedition cruise and set foot on Antarctica, go for it. It was the most amazing experience!
  2. We sailed in a VT on the Eurodam about 10 years ago when they were the cheapest balcony category. Same size room as all the others. At that time there was no balcony furniture. Now I think they have tiny stools. It’s very windy when underway. The balcony is not covered and small. We loved being up high, but this is a consideration if prone to sea sickness. You will have amazing views when entering and leaving port! You can pop out and get a drink or coffee at the crows nest. There are also little used public restrooms very close which give you access to another toilet when there is a need. Spa amenities.... pretty worthless. But, you are also close to the spa which has nice big showers! Any day at sea is better than one in the office! Enjoy 😎
  3. The price of the Aug 2020 cruise we were considering increased $2300 per person for and interior. It went from $3199 to $5499 per person. Similar increase on OVs. We will pass on this “amazing” deal.
  4. We sailed Ponant to Antarctica in January 2019. Ponant is a sleek and elegant French cruise line. We would sail Ponant again in a heartbeat! You will not feel “ripped off.” The passengers were all very accomplished and interesting. The crew spoke many languages fluently and was quite engaging. The naturalists were awesome. The zodiac excursions had English and French speaking groups to insure safety; one language required in an emergency. This actually happened on our cruise when there was a BIG glacier calving in a bay that caused a mini tsunami with kayaks and zodiacs out. All announcements were spoken in both languages. This is common practice on aircraft and ships with international clientele. We really enjoyed the different “flavor” of this cruise. Antarctica is stunning and the scenery and wildlife “speaks” for itself.
  5. Does anyone know what upgrades the Zuiderdam is getting? Club Orange?
  6. 81Zoomie

    Time of Embarkation

    We cruised in Antarctica which may be different than other locations since we flew in on a charter flight. After landing we were met by staff who took our luggage to the ship. Then we boarded busses for a lovely lunch at a resort hotel. After lunch, hikes, and free time we were taken to the ship. I think we arrived about 3 pm. Muster was shortly thereafter in the theater. We sailed 4:30 - 5 pm.
  7. While everyone is focused on the foot stools, you may want to have a peak at the new balcony chair pics posted on facebook (Equinox Group). They look like outdoor dining chairs. They have upright low backs and DO NOT RECLINE! The comment said this was a Sky Suite. We love our quiet time on the balcony. These chairs will not enhance our experience.
  8. I wish they just bought Marriott mattresses. They are awesome 👍
  9. I thought the military discount was just for certain categories of cabins. Is this correct? Is it combinable with perks?
  10. Just saw a pic of the new Sky suite balcony chairs on Facebook. Small low back upright chairs that don’t recline. They look like chairs that come with outdoor dining sets you can buy online. Definitely not suitable for relaxing on the balcony. And, the foot rests are gone too. 😢 Looks like the old large wooden table is still there. Has anyone had any success getting the chairs swapped out? Is there any other furniture on a SS balcony? Almost seems like Celebrity joined the less time on the balcony is better for increasing revenue club. Disappointed because we spend more than “20%” on our balcony and loved the reclining chairs and foot rests.
  11. Thanks so much! The couch looks like something out of our parents homes, but it’s probably comfortable!
  12. Does ”untouched suites” mean nothing new including the balcony furniture? We are all for practical comfort over trendy and uncomfortable.
  13. I guess Celebrity overlooked the fact that we were paying for that 20% of the time we spend out on the verandah. We spend much more out there. When we find an Oceanview sufficient we book one. Between the weird chairs, the folding doors, and the blind/curtain issues we shall be avoiding the Edge and Apex IVs as well.
  14. Flight hints from BA to Ushuaia.... Get to the airport at least 2 hours early. Lining up in airports seemed like a national passtime. We flew to Ushuaia on LATAM. We each had a large and carryon size suitcase to check. Each was under 50 poounds. (We had read the baggage notes in our folder) our carry ones were not weighed as in common with some International carriers. No issue, no fees. Bring some snacks/food for the early morning flight down. You will only get a bag of crackers on the flight. It was a pretty normal coach experience. Upon landing, and after our agricultural check, Ponant took all our bags and we went to lunch at the Hotel on the hill. It was a really nice buffet lunch with all the wine you wanted. On the way home try to get on the early flight/charter back. We were on the later one and were driven to town to wander for an hour before going to the airport. We got to the airport on the Ponant bus 1.5 hours before takeoff. We were given box lunches for the flight back. We were at the end of a LONG check in line. Our return flight was on Aerolinas. We watched several folks have to go to a separate window and pay for extra bags after they checked in. We also watched a couple of folks turned away from the counter because their bags were either too big, too heavy, or to many. Now these Ponant passengers were pulling items out of their suitcases and filling sacks, pillow cases, etc.... and hauling them with them. Apparently LATAM and Aerolinas have different baggage rules. When we finally got to the counter (30 minutes before takeoff) they checked our bags 😁, but we had to go to the other area and pay. We gladly paid the equivalent of $30. I have no idea what it was for. I suspect Aerolinas May have a 50 pound total limit. When we got to the security line it was 20 minutes before takeoff. We got to our seats at takeoff time. I was stressed. The poor people who were schlepping their extra clothes from their luggage were frazzled and boarded last. After the easy low stress departure on LATAM, we felt somewhat “set up” on the return. Ponant could do much better in pre cruise information sharing. And finally, when flying home.... get to the airport EARLY. We arrived at EZE 3.5 hours early and there was already a line. We had to wait for the Delta counter to open, but the line was a mile long behind us. Ponant didn’t tell us they offered a transfer between the national airport and EZE. If we had known, we would have gotten on the early flight and booked a return flight that evening. We stayed an extra day in BA on the return and left the following evening. We did not do the National Park tour. We were glad, it rained. We made our own reservations pre and post cruise. Pre cruise we spent 3 nights at the Curio Alsemo by Hilton. It was in a great location by the markets and a great little plaza. We did the free walking tours where you tip the tour guides and they were great. It is a very walkable city and the US and EU currency goes a long way. We felt very safe, there is a lot of police presence. The food and wine is very good. The people are very friendly. English is not spoken everywhere, but almost everyone will take dollars due to the inflation of the Peso. Definitely go to the Opera house, Ricelleto Cemetary, and the Old Harbor Puerto Morales area, and eat some ice cream!!! if you get in a cab make sure there is a meter and it is running. One cabbie tried to charge us $50 USD and we just said no and ended up paying him $30 USD. It was about $40 USD to get from EZE to the hotel in BA when we first arrived. We took a walk up car service at the airport. Cabs arouns town were very inexpensive by US standards We cannot say enough great things about the Soleal’s ambiance, crew, and expedition staff. They were awesome 👏. We loved the small ship and all our interesting fellow passengers, 60% French, 35% English speakers, the rest a mix of German and other languages. The red jackets were warm, comfortable, and waterproof. The boots provided excellent traction. I brought folding walking sticks. I wish I brought one on most of the landings. I only used them once. I should have used them more. Layers are key. Some days we used 2, some days 3. Make sure you have good gloves, neck gator you can pull up, and a hat. The wind was wicked on occasion. Fleece lined leggings and fleece tops worked well. Tall ski socks for the boots. Someone recommended tall Hunter boot liners. 👍 I used them over my socks and stick on foot warmers and walked to the assembly area in them. It was a great hint. I’d be happy to answer any other questions about the cabins, sites, weather etc...
  15. I will write a bit more later. Wanted to post we LOVED our Antarctica expedition cruise on Le Soleal. Ship beautiful, food good, crew great, expedition staff wonderful, and Antarctica amazing! Hints about Ushuaia flights posted here were very helpful. We would enthusiastically sail with Ponant again!
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