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About cmason

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Raleigh, NC
  1. I can wholeheartedly recommend: an iPhone. Hear me out: it sounds a bit crazy at first, but in my experience, an iPhone is one of the simplest cameras around (and easiest to use phone). Taking photos is dead simple, just push the camera icon, and start snapping. To encourage you to hold the iphone in proper landscape mode (tilted on its side), Apple turns the volume button into a shutter button, so taking the photo works just like any other camera: push the button. Any controls etc are hidden behind menus that are easily accessible, but do not clutter things up for those who would be confused by them. Yet its what happens AFTER you take the photo that really helps me recommend the iPhone. Unlike most point and shoot cameras, the iPhone shines when it comes to sharing and downloading the images. With a point and shoot, you have to take the card out, transfer the images, find the images on your computer, etc. (don't get me started about wifi on a point and shoot...if you think this is a benefit you have not used wifi on a point and shoot before). With the iPhone, from the image itself, the user can click and send via email or SMS. And all images taken are automatically uploaded to iCloud. If you have a Mac (or if a family member has a Mac), iPhoto on the Mac will automatically download all those photos for safe keeping and viewing. For $99, an Apple TV will automatically show those same photos on the family TV. In other words, just take the photos, the rest of automatic. Brilliant.
  2. Oh, we have enjoyed table mates on plenty of cruises, its just my wife wants to be with her family on the cruise, rather than meeting new friends. Everyone cruises the way they like.
  3. My wife is not fond on having tablemates, and when we are traveling as a family, she prefers to just have our family seated at a small table. Usually, I remember to check on the table assignment when we board, but the last cruise I forgot. We arrived at our assigned table, and were shocked to see it was a table for 10, nearly full. Due to the shock, we immediately went to the Maitre d' (rudely, in hindsight, without even acknowledging the other diners sitting at the assigned table), and mentioned we had requested a table for four. Maitre d' was wonderful, explained his problems with overbooked dining times. We switched dining times, and headed off to the Windjammer, so as not to disturb our former assigned table any further. Nothing at all to do with our assigned tablemates, just my wife's preference. Sometimes its not you, its me.
  4. i did western med, and I have never seen water so smooth as I did in the Med. I called it 'bath water', as it was glass smooth, especially from Greece back to Italy. Of course, this really depends on the weather conditions, but it was nothing like the Atlantic
  5. cmason

    Navigator/General questions

    The drink prices are normal for a resort :) Search these forums, there are lots of copies of bar menus. Figure $4-6 for beer, $8-10 for mixed drink/pool drink. Wine is all over.
  6. cmason

    wine package

    I don't know the answer to your question, but when we got the wine package, they would not give us a bottle unopened. We were welcome to take the bottle wherever we liked on the ship, but it had to be opened first. Toward the end of the cruise, we took two bottles: one to the room and another to dinner. (We usually started the evening in the wine bar before dinner). So, if the rule we were given is applied, IF you could take them off the ship (I have no idea if this is true), they would be opened bottles. Probably not the best way to travel with wine.
  7. Whether its early or late dining, you will have the same servers, so a chance to get to know them is the same either way. I have heard that MTD often has different servers, so you may want to consider that. As for which dining time...really only you can determine that, depending on your kids. The late dining is often as late as 830pm. There are plenty of opportunities to keep the kids from getting hungry, and my kids at that age enjoyed late dining as it gave them an opportunity to eat a slice of pizza at 5, and other snacks later before dinner. When they were much smaller, I never would have done late, as they wanted to go to Adventure Ocean, and it started really messing with bedtimes.
  8. Our last time on NoS they had ice tea, coffee, and lemonade in the Cafe Promenade. IMHO, the ice tea is nearly undrinkable, being made from some sort of concentrate. It's ok w lemonade in it...
  9. Great job and I am impressed that you found a awesome way to communicate your enjoyment of taking a cruise. Here is some feedback for your next episode: 1) your location was too dark. Points given for having the pool deck in the background, but the Viking Crown was much too dark, and of course the movie screen was too hot to get the right balance. Frankly however, I can not think of too many locations that would not suffer from wind, crowd noise, etc, so I look forward to seeing your creativity in the next location. 2) I think the menu and compass are much too detailed for the video format. I suspect that most viewers, like me, simply watch in place on Cruise Critic, which means a 640x480 view at most. It just isn't possible to read the menu or even the scrolling text you added. You might want to consider static images with text or better yet, simply post companion photos. 3) You might consider doing multiple locations, to break the scenes and to add interest. Watching you on the couch isn't that thrilling. Standing up and walking will likely help with the stiffness as well. 4) keep going, its great!
  10. cmason

    Navigator/General questions

    Don't sweat it! The rooms are smaller than the typical hotel room, but you really won't notice. I suspect you won't find that you spend much time in the room anyway. As for luggage, take what you have. If its too big to store in the cabin, the room steward will store it for you and bring it back the night before you leave. As others have said, there is lots of room under the bed: we store 4 rollaboards under the bed, there is plenty of room. Drink package: I think you would have to work really hard to make the drink package really work. Given that its around $55 per day, that is quite a few drinks: 11 beers or perhaps 8 mixed drinks. Every day. Now, on a good day by the pool, I could do that, but not everyday, especially if you are going ashore. On the other hand, the packages do include soft drinks, so if you are really into soda, that package by itself runs $6.50 per day, so that means you get 49.50 in alcohol, less if you also do premium coffee. Do the math yourself, and you can always create your own "personal package' by budgeting yourself $55 per day for drinks, you probably will spend less than the package when all is said and done. Premium restaurants: Personally, I say no, its not worth it. The food is good, don't get me wrong. But it isn't the best steak I have ever had, or best Italian food I have ever had. The way I figure it, I can go to good restaurants anywhere, any time. I don't need to do it on my cruise. I am in the camp that I am paying for my meals in the Dining room or Buffet, and paying more for food that is already paid for ruins my appetite. $30 doesn't seem bad for a steak until you consider that it is $30 plus the dinner you didn't eat downstairs. The Main Dining Room is full service, and superior service to what you get at most casual restaurants. If its your first cruise, enjoy the dining room. That way you will know if the specialty would appeal next time. Or check the menu during the day, and if nothing appeals, book a specialty table that night.
  11. cmason

    Jewel and young teens?

    No, they won't let the 11 yr old in the 14 yr old program. As my kids got older, they found the kids club less interesting. 6-12 was about the sweet spot for them enjoying it. By 14, they make friends by the pool, so I would not worry much about them. Plus, the waterslide is a huge hit as well.
  12. We did the Western Med cruise out of Rome. The late dinner seating was completely booked, oversold even. Traditionally, Italian families eat later (as do most Europeans) than Americans typically do. The Head Waiter told me that they were unilaterally moving families who didn't have a preference or thru some other criteria (I assume being American?) to the early seating, since the late seating was oversold and many were angry about the possibility of eating so late. He also told me that moved many to later slots in MTD as well. Early slots for MTD were available, I suspect there were waits for later seating. So if you want late seating, book it as soon as possible. We ended up with early seating and had no trouble making those times. Full days in port usually resulted in returns to the ship around 3pm anyway. There was never a port where we were pressed for time.
  13. cmason

    Buckets of beer?

    in the past, when I bought the bucket, it was buy 5 get 6. Any type of beer...I usually did Corona, a good by the pool beer. Its not advertised, but all the pool bars do it. If you have a balcony, its great to get that bucket, full of ice and beer, and take it to your cabin for a nice afternoon on the balcony.
  14. cmason

    Buying Alcohol?

    No, they only sell liquor by the drink. You can purchase a bottle of liquor from the on-board duty free, but they will hold the bottle until the end of the cruise, and deliver it to your cabin on the last night before debarkation. Even if you purchase a bottle in port, they will take it and store it for you.