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Everything posted by teddy'sgirl

  1. I have to agree. We went in March and honestly, they are nothing like what you've already seen. The only thing impressive we say there were the iguanas. Biggest ones I've ever seen! :eek: These ruins are not in wide open spaces like the ones you've already been to. They are set back into the trees and they are not many visitors. I decided the reason the iguana were so big was because they had to be eating the tourists! LOL :D Skip the ruins, skip the iggies, enjoy the beach!
  2. Thanks Gloria. We do realized that we are still cruising at the end of hurricaine season. In fact, we just got off the Fascination Saturday and we were prepared for a missed port or delay in boarding. I was not, however, prepared for a 3 and 1/2 embarkation with 2 hours being held in a parking lot while those who arrived by shuttle were allowed to board before we could even move out of the temporary parking into the parking lot! :mad: BUT, that's a whole different story. Once we finally got on board, our cruise was fabulous! Actually, the calmest waters we've ever had! No dizziness after the cruise either! :D Thanks for the heads up though!
  3. I really think it varies from ship to ship. DH and I cruised in March on the Elation. It was our first experience with ATD. While we loved the flexibility, we really didn't have a lot of interaction with the wait staff which I missed. Our first two cruises we had early dining. Our first cruise was on the Inspiration and had a fabulous wait staff. Last December we cruised on the Triumph. Our wait staff was good but just didn't stand out. We seemed to be an after thought on more than one occasion. Last week, we cruised on the Fascination with ATD. I have to say, the wait staff was fantastic! We did have a night where one team just didn't have the personality as the others but another night, the head waiter knew our names even without asking! We sat in different areas each night but I have to say Malvin on our first night and KJ on our third night were fantastic! We've had good experiences with both and we've had not so great experiences with both. I think it just boils down to the ship you are on.
  4. WOW! You all have my attention in Coasta Maya! I think that may just be what we are looking for. We've been to Cozumel 3 times and DH and I have been to the Barcelo in the Riviera Maya area so needless to say, we LOVE Mexico. We are comfortable enough with Cozumel for a beach and shopping day. Not sure what we will do in Belize. I think in Roatan, I want to do a bigger excursion, leaning toward the Victor Bodan tour. Looks like our last day will be beach and 100% Agave. We've done Uxmal with the kids last year in Progreso and DH and I have been to Chitchen Itza so I think we will take a break from Mayan ruins this time around. After last week in Nassau, our oldest even said he wished we had gone back to Cozumel! :o I really like this itinerary but was worried 4 port days in a row would be too much. By day 4 on our 5 day cruises, we are all ready for naps! I think if we space out our activities on port day and not run full throttle, we should be OK with this itinerary. Just have to remember the umbrella stoller for the 4 y/o. She gets heavy trying to carry her everywhere! ;) Thanks for everyone's input!
  5. We are looking at cruises for next October and would love some input from those of you who have sailed these itineraries. This will be our 5th cruise and our kids 4th cruise. We are looking at a 7 day cruise this time since both our kids will have 2 weeks for fall break. We considered the Magic out of Galveston but that's an almost 14 hour drive. :cool: So we are looking at the Dream out of Port Canaveral. One cruise is western carribean and one is eastern carribean. The western itinerary has a sea day then ports in Cozumel the second day, Belize the third day, Roatan the fourth day, Costa Maya the 5th day, and then a sea day before returning to Port Canaveral. The eastern itinerary ports in Nassau the first day (not my favorite port), then has a sea day the second day, day three and four are St. Thomas and St. Maarteen with days five and six being sea days. We have been to Cozumel and to Nassau before so we know we will probably just hit the beach on either of these ports. My concern is that the western carribean itinerary will be too much activity for us with 4 straight port days. Keep in mind, the kids will be 14, 11, and 4 at this time! So your thoughts and advice on these two itineraries will be appreciated. If you've done excursions in any of these ports, which ones? I know I have plenty of time to research but thought I would start here! ;)
  6. Sure wish I had known about the Lt Blenders before our cruise last week! :cool: We ordered the Baja Bob's powdered mix but really didn't care for the aftertaste. Picked up some Margaritaville powdered mix while in port at Key West. It was better than the Baja Bob's but still had a little aftertaste. But not giving up the search for a decent tasting powdered margarita mix! :D
  7. This is where I was most frustrated with Carnival! We arrived at the port around 10:30 am, knowing about the delay but to make sure we could find the port without any problems. We were directed to Regency Mall and told to find the Carnival reps outside of Sears. We did and were given a piece of paper with "Boarding Zone #2" on it, no name, no booking number, just here's your paper and check back with us hourly. They told us to arrive at the port at 4pm. We did and were directed to the "temporary" parking. Once there, we were not given any other information until about 5pm when we could see people on the Lido deck but we were told they were not allowing anyone on the ship yet! :eek: A Carnival rep finally came to the lot about 5:30 to pick up people who were being dropped off by family and taxi's. She was looking for one particular taxi who had passengers and had a meter running for an hour and a half! We were FINALLY allowed out of temporary parking at 6pm. They had quite a few angry passengers in the parking lot. We could see the shuttle buses dropping passengers off at the terminal but we were still being held! I don't know if that was Carnival's decision or JaxPort's decision but it was a bad decision! :mad: I have to say that once we were on board, we had a fanstatic cruise but emabrkation was awful! On the flip side of that, debarkation was a breeze and I was expecting the worst! We did self disembark and were off the ship and in our car by 8am! I was a little taken aback by the lack of check points when we got off. Customs simply took our form and never looked at it. We never had to show ID (passports, birth certificates) to anyone. A little odd but glad we were able to get off the boat quickly!
  8. I think the thing that bothered me the most was watching a security guard in the immediate port area. We were walking behind 2 very "well developed" young women. They were approached by every tour operator and taxi driver they walked past. Each making it very obvious they were looking them over! Then the security guard was walking toward them and he too, gave them both a very long look over. He even turned his head around and continued watching them, to the point he almost ran over us! :eek: It just made me feel uncomfortable to think this security guard was supposed to be protecting visitors! The Straw Market vendors were pushy but took a "no thank you" very well and left us alone after that. We did have one incident of a young child in the Straw Market trying to put jewlery on us as we said "no thank you" but a second firm "no thank you" stopped that. The security guard incident and the Straw Market just make us feel uncomfortable. I think Junkanoo Beach was a bad decision and I did not feel comfortable there as well. We did go in and inquire about the day pass at the Hilton but after what we encountered at the port and our port times (12n to 10P), we decided not to spend a lot of money on a beach day as we planned on being back on ship before dark and most beaches close between 5 and 6pm. I guess it helps to mention here that we were with our 3 children so the Hilton would have cost us almost $200. This was at 2pm, so we decided it was not worth it for 3 hours. Knowing all of this now, we would have come off the boat and gone straight to the Hilton and stayed until 5pm. We had a really hard time finding the stop for the jitney and asked about cab fares as well. These seemed to vary from cab driver to cab driver. With that said, I alloted only so much money for our stop in Nassau. With the variance in cab fares, I just wasn't comfortable cutting my funds that close. It was just a rocky first experience for us and things did not work out like we had planned.
  9. We just came back from our first trip to Nassau. We had planned to go to the Sheraton but after about 15 minutes off the boat, decided not to spend a lot of time in port, so we opted to walk through the Straw Market and then went to Junkanoo Beach. If I had that day to do over again, I would have skipped the Straw Market and walked right down to the Hilton. Junkanoo Beach was not very clean and lots of glass in the sand. We were told they had an area to shower off before coming back to the ship. As we approached the bathroom/showers, we were told by the locals hanging out there that the showers did not work but offered to let us clean up with their bucket of water. Needless to say, we put clothes on over our wet bathing suits and walked back to the ship. About every 15 minutes, we had someone coming by to offer to braid our girls hair or sell us some trinkets. Pay the money and head to one of the hotels for a day pass. I know some people like Nassau, but that was my least favorite port....bar none!
  10. For the person who would like to know how embarktion went....don't flame me but this was by far the worst embarktion I have ever had in 4 cruises. We were told to be at the port at 4 pm and in the mean time, we could to to the Regency Mall. We spent 5 hours at the mall. There was a Carnival booth set up outside Sears at the mall that was kind enough to give us a worthless paper with embarktion zone # 2 on it and instructed us to come by hourly for updates. We followed their directions as were supposed to and we ended up at the port at 4 pm. We were lined up in a "temporary" parking lot....for 2 hours! No information at all but could see people walking around on the lido deck. After 2 hours, we were allowed to go to the parking lot. Another hour and 15 minutes, we finally made it to the boat and then thankfully, our room were ready. We maAfter encountering many rude Carnival folks, we made it to our room. Now let me say, once on board, the employees were fabulous. We could not ask for better. Just very frustrated with the whole embarktion process. I can't help but think if we were at the port at 10am and followed directions, why were we one of the last to board? Like I said, once one the ship, all is well and just as fabulous as Carnival is! Also a little frustrated that we ended up having to spend $30 on mall food court food for lunch. I can't help but think Carnival could have given us a voucher for lunch somewhere. I guess that sounds bad but I was really frustrated with the way it was handled. Lemonade was available by the port once we got there but no cups! Even met some folks who were supposed to be guests at a wedding on board and did not make it to the wedding because they were stuck in the parking lot! Such a shame. I know they can't control the weather but just felt like it was a botched situation.
  11. KentuckyKat, not sure where you are but it's 5:30 and we are STILL sitting in the JaxPort parking lot waiting for permanent parking! What a fiasco!
  12. Oh please do! We are leaving Saturday morning for 2 days in Savannah, then on to Jacksonville to board the Fascination. You have me hanging! We're a family of 5 as well with a 13, 10 and 3 year old so I understand being pulled in so many different directions and just needing to relax and do nothing. Love your review but you have me hanging here! :D
  13. I didn't get that from any of these posts. I just think for those people who need to get a plate for someone else in the family (i.e. children, elderly, disabled), the tray makes it easier to carry two plates and two drinks. I don't think that's being a "table hog." If anything, it allows us as a family to all eat at the same time and finish our meal more quickly as one of us is not making multiple trips to get one plate for our child and make another trip for myself.
  14. We are considering a cruise out of Galveston next year. Can someone elaborate on this Texas law please? We like to buy our alcohol at duty free on the ship as it's so much cheaper, plus we buy some to bring home as gifts. I take it that this won't be possible if we sail out of Galveston?
  15. I'll add my 2 cents worth in as well! Those trays sure make it easier for me or DH to get our 3 y/o plate back to the table so everyone can eat together. Multiple trips are not an issue unless you are looking at 3 or 4 trips just to get breakfast for myself and my child, while DH sits with her. I think Carnival might want to reconsider this one simply due to families with small children and as some people have posted, those with disabilities and the elderly. Trays make it easier to fill two plates for two people and only have to go through the line once.
  16. Last December, we made it to night #3 in the MDR. I left with her mid-meal because she was just soo tired and just wanted to get down and run around. We ended up with room service while hubby and our other two kids had warm chocolate melting cake! We never made it back to the MDR the rest of the week! I just didn't want to have to deal with another meltdown (hers and mine)! :rolleyes: I just felt so bad for the folks around us! :o We loved anytime dining the last cruise and it seemed to not take quite as long so we felt this would be a good option. I've never requested a table before so I'm sort of in uncharted waters (no pun intended)!
  17. We sail next week on the Fascination!:p We have anytime dining which hubby and I have done on the last cruise without the kids. When we sailed last December, we had early seating. We love the MDR but dinner takes so long when you are dealing with a 3 year old. Would it be too much to request a table that is more secluded (i.e. away from other guests) so as to not bother other guests if our daughter starts to get bored and a little rambunctious before dinner is finished? :o
  18. Check your FunTimes daily. Normally it's in the theater. My youngest daughter won raffle tickets last December on the Triumph for being the youngest passenger with the most cruises at the past guest party. We were about 10 numbers off from the winning number at the free cruise raffle! :rolleyes: Oh well, it was fun anyway! Looking forward to some Bingo this time.
  19. After 3 cruises and watching everyone PLAY bingo, I've decided to join in on a couple of games. Can anyone tell me the price of the bingo cards? I seem to think they went up in price as the week went on. I don't plan on spending a lot of money on Bingo but would like to play a couple of games. Just need to set aside money in the budget. Sailing in 9 days! Can't wait.
  20. Ordered ours yesterday! :p We typically buy one of the drinks in the take home plastic glass when we first get on board then take it back to the room with us. Then we can take our "in room" drinks where ever we want to go. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but your Bon Voyage order should be waiting in your room when you arrive unless you are departing from Alabama or Texas, then it's delivered the first day at sea due to liquor laws in those states.
  21. Someone mentioned a powdered margarita mix. Has anyone had any experience with this? We normally get a bottle of Capt. Morgan from BV and mix it with Sundrop (citrus soft drink) but we'd really like to have margaritas in the room this time. We aren't really wild about all the fruity drinks so looking for something a little different.
  22. We sailed last December in an OV on the Triumph with 5. 2 adults, 3 kids ages 11, 9 and 2. Worked very well for us as there was plenty of room for the youngest to sleep with us in the two twins pushed together. The older two kids were fine with the bunks because they didn't have to sleep together! :p We've been looking at different ports and ships and have run into the same problem in finding rooms that will fit 5. Adjoining rooms would work but we have to stick to ports that are close enough to drive to, airfare for a family of 5 gets outrageous! Yep, that 3rd child gets REALLY expensive! :eek:
  23. We did the Chef's Table on the Elation in March. I can't compare it to any of the other ships as that was our first experience. We had appetizers in the galley and our meal was served in the library. Wonderful experience!
  24. Can I clarify this? You can uncork your bottle in your room and take the WHOLE bottle to the MDR? I think I understood that to be the question, correct me if I'm wrong please. I understand being able to take a glass of wine in without question. We've only been charged the uncorking fee once in 3 cruises but if I knew I could uncork our bottle in our room I would have saved a little money! :rolleyes:
  25. We cruised on the Elation in March and I had the sea bass. I'm not much of a sea bass fan but this was wonderful! We had it the night before at the Chef's Table so when I saw it on the menu in the MDR the next night I had to have it! We are leaving in a little over 2 weeks on the Fascination and can't wait to try things I've not had before!
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