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Everything posted by shipgeeks

  1. FWIW, Here are some further recollections about my experience on a freighter, back in 1969. We were originally scheduled to board in June. It was August before we finally got the call to "be at the port in two hours". There were 12 passengers. We had assigned seating at meals, each with an officer. We dined with the Chief Engineer. Our other tablemates were three women traveling on their own: one American, one German, one Australian. The food was very good, but very limited in our choices. At one point we all became so tired of fancy food that we asked for crew meals. We got pea soup once, then back to the usual passenger menus. We were not given an itinerary, just the assurance that we would be taken to Sydney, Australia. In Kings Bay, Georgia, we took on our cargo: a custom-built yacht, and 40 tons of dynamite, built into the hold one case at a time. That took four days. Then it was through the Panama Canal, then not another port until we arrived in Queensland, Australia. Fortunately, we love sea days, and we hadn't entertained any fantasies of South Sea islands. In our case, our goal was to get to Australia. Oh, and we were able to take along the 18 pieces of baggage that carried some household goods as well as clothing, etc.
  2. We almost always stay in a 17th Street hotel, and walk a block or so to the bridge there, where there are views of the port and the ships. Check out the two port webcams. One of them is the view you will see from the bridge.
  3. We keep wishing for an MSC ship sailing from Baltimore.
  4. We've never had our cabin changed either. However, there is a lot of discussion on another cruise line's forum about all the cabin changing that is going on at the moment.
  5. At least one of those early Seaside reports said it was horrible because, among other things, the pizza was not like his hometown pizza, and the shows were nothing but opera.
  6. And if you don't have any reason to call before the cruise (we never have), the entire experience is a real pleasure.
  7. LOL, You guys are reminding me why I never depend on reviews for making cruise and travel decisions. Our one Carnival cruise was the dullest, quietest cruise we've ever been on; quieter by far than our Cunard and Holland America cruises. I don't know why; the ship was full, there were passengers of all ages, the weather was fine. Every night we walked out of dinner, and found no one around. We were the only ones in the disco. No one in the bars. It was not a nursing home charter or anything, it was apparently just a lot of very quiet people who did not do anything. No drunks. No karaoke. (No complainers, either.) If I had been innocent enough to post a review, or recommend Carnival to someone who wanted peace and quiet, would it have been useful information?
  8. Medi, Are you thinking of sailing MSC in the Bahamas/Caribbean? (or Europe?) I think the number of kids aboard will depend on time of year. School holidays = many more kids. MSC has a relaxed atmosphere, but people do tend to dress up more than on Carnival, in the evenings. Food is usually good to excellent. The pizza is delicious! MSC has different "experiences", each with its own benefits. We chose Bella as we don't want room service, but we do want a set dining time. We much prefer MSC to Carnival and most other lines; however, you are making a good start with asking questions so you can decide if you are a good fit.
  9. We have always used our hotel shuttle. Sign up for the time we want when we arrive the day before.
  10. My understanding is that Bella and Fantastica have set dining times, and Aurea has flex dining.
  11. For our 40+ cruises, our practice has been to choose a cruise, book a cruise, check the confirmation, pay, do the online checkin. Then we anticipate, show up at the port, take the cruise. Recently I've been reading posts about the number of hours/days/weeks spent on the phone with the cruise line, prior to a cruise, trying to resolve something or change the booking. Why? Are we the only two people who have never had a reason to phone a cruise line?
  12. On our booking for February, I forgot to note our preference, and was given Early, presumably as the default. Our TA requested a change to Late, and it was fixed.
  13. Since we prefer an OV to a balcony for any itinerary, our answer would be $0. However, we would pay (but not sure how much; that decision might be coming up in a month or two) to go from an inside to an OV.
  14. How low are the cove balconies?
  15. We found the service in Bella (non-YC) excellent, too. And we enjoyed the theater shows, the guitarist, and all the rest.
  16. I feel that what was missing in the movie was the other passengers, and what they add to the experience. If course, the storyline made other people irrelevant, but in that respect it did not give a good representation of a Cunard crossing. We've always been fortunate in having cordial, interesting dinner table mates. Sailing as a twosome, we do have that advantage. We also enjoy the "people watching" onboard, whether beautiful, eccentric, or otherwise. There is always a variety. And the festive atmosphere just was not there; the feeling of "Aren't we fortunate to be here, on this wonderful ship with these wonderful people". Again, the storyline didn't lend itself to any of that, but it left a void for me. Luckily, I know the reality!
  17. The tap water on the ship is excellent. No need to buy anything. And if you have those water bottles, you can fill them to carry ashore.
  18. I have always found it curious that the higher the deck, the more the cabins cost. A high level in a condo in an interesting city would be fine, but ocean is ocean, as far as views go. Personally, I enjoy being low enough to the ocean that I can see the actual waves right outside my window, or a balcony on a lower rather than higher deck.
  19. As a person who has always had a hard time making decisions, I was fortunate that both of my main jobs took me to a logical stopping point. The health research study I worked on for many years was coming to an end about ten years ago. The university had been very good at helping us find work with other studies over the years, but that seemed like a good time for me to call it quits, shortly before I turned 70. Then I continued my real passion, teaching fitness classes. When the Pandemic hit, the university suddenly closed, as well as the church where I taught. A few months later, the university offered the option to teach online. I tried it, I did not like it. Since then, I've done an online blog for my students, but have no plans to ever go back to structured classes. I miss it, but now I can cruise whenever I want, not just during academic breaks. Our re-start cruise will be in February, something we've never been able to do before.
  20. dunhill, Am I correct in assuming you're asking about carrying liquid refreshment (not water) in your four water bottles?
  21. Is there some reason you think the MDR food won't be hot if it's supposed to be? We had breakfast and lunch in the buffet (that's just what we do), but always had dinner in the MDR. Both were just fine.
  22. Starboard. But we watched from the open decks, which we preferred to our balcony.
  23. Not necessarily cheaper, although if you are on a trip that takes a couple of months, the only comparison might be a segment of a world cruise, which is usually fairly expensive. The reason for taking a freighter might be for adventure, or a very different experience from cruising. There is no entertainment, no pools, no bingo, no shows. We took a freighter when we migrated from US to Australia. It took 42 days, and cost about the same as airfare. That was back in 1969. Our cabin was huge, compared to any we've had on cruises. The three meals were nice (only one choice at dinner); no buffet or other snacks. Since container ship schedules are dependent on the goods they're carrying, the schedules are not usually very precise. We gave up our jobs in June, drove to NYC.....and finally sailed in August.
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