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Posts posted by John1928

  1. We've done both and I would recommend either. The snorkeling in both places is excellent.


    The West Bay (Tabyana etc.) locations will have vendors (though less aggressive than some other places we've been) and have been fairly crowded (on shore) when we've been there, they're also a longer drive, but these options also tend to be a bit less expensive with more options for alacarte food/drinks.


    Maya key has the animal exhibits/encounters, some additional educational materials, more shade, and no vendors. They also have a dock that runs most of the way out to the reef so you can get to the first drop-off pretty quickly and a marked path through the coral channels to get to the "outside" of the reef. That's not a particular concern for me, but I've been on tours where inexperienced people struggled to navigate through a reef without hurting it or themselves.

  2. Please don't flame me because I would really like to know the reasons behind someone cruising with an infant or toddler. I didn't vacation with my pre-schoolers (other than the occasional weekend that was fully dedicated to the little ones) because my personal experience was that I couldn't remember anything that happened in my life prior to age 5.


    I can remember a few events when I was as young as 2 and the vast majority of significant events by the time I started kindergarten at 4. Regardless, it's not whether the kids will remember the experience... I work long hours and travel for work several months out of the year, when I take a family vacation, I want to actually bring the family. I will certainly remember the experience even if my children may not.


    If you're not looking for a family vacation and would prefer a romantic getaway, girls-weekend, or hard-partying booze cruise those are different (but still valid) objectives and obviously you're less likely to bring kids (of any age) on such a trip.



    What do you do with infants on a cruise? How do you control the behavior of a toddler who wants to be anywhere but the unfamiliar confines of a floating hotel? How do you snorkel or zip line or kayak or dive or go tubing or climb or horse back ride with small children? My imagination doesn't even compute that?


    Infant's (some, not all, if you have a demon child this could also impact your plans) love looking around and seeing new things,all the people and activity. They like to play in the sand, splash in the ocean, and ride in a backpack while you hike, sight-see, or visit a museum. Can they scuba dive or zip-line? Nope (though neither does my wife!) but you can handle it the same way you would at home or on a land vacation (taking turns, travel with a group and alternate which spouse does excursions at each port, selecting "cultural" rather than "adventure" excursions, or paying for child care (bring along your niece!)).


    Honestly a cruise is an easy vacation with little kids. You're never more than a couple hours from "home base", you have significant flexibility on when they'll eat and sleep, and there will almost certainly be other kids around to play with (at least on Carnival).

  3. There's no such thing as free...


    If luck has been on your side you may not have paid for it already, but if you keep earning and taking that type of "free" cruise you will most assuredly pay for it eventually (said as a non-gambler who rides his wife's casino offer coattails).


    If you're busy, booked, and tired already there's no harm in passing this up. Most likely you'll receive similar offers regularly in the future anyhow based on recent history.

  4. As I live at the roulette table, anytime we have an alert dealer they will stop anyone from playing both sides of a 50-50 bet, or even bets that cover the whole board except the zeros (like playing 1st/2nd and 3rd sets), even without it being match play.


    Is there some reason for this that I'm overlooking or is it just a dealer/policy-setter who is bad at math and expects different results in the long run with paired vs. sequential bets?

  5. I was doing this for my cruise group today, and ran in to a customer service rep who would not link bookings unless I had everyone's booking number AND security PIN. I had never heard of needing someone else's PIN, which I didn't have. Like in many situations, I called back later, talked to another rep and got it taken care of.


    Last week we needed to have booking numbers and PINs to link our reservation with my wife's cousin's reservation. First the cousin was told that when she called in (so she sent us her PIN) then when we called in we were asked for her PIN. It does seem like a bad design from a security perspective.

  6. If you tend to be cold why take the risk, wear the wet suit.


    Asking other's opinions on water temperature may not be very directly helpful. Those are height of summer water temps around here and nobody I know wears neoprene for that, but I wouldn't knock someone who did in order to be comfortable...


    Honestly most other people probably aren't likely to notice unless they are also cold and and wishing they had dressed warmer too.

  7. Do not expect US$ change anywhere in Cayman. You're not in Kansas anymore. I wouldn't travel to the US and expect a random merchant to be able to provide change in any given foreign currency. Don't expect that here.


    You're right, you wouldn't expect that in the States, but you're also not going to be able to pay with foreign currency for the most part in the US (other than the occasional Canadian small coins masquerading as their south of the border cousins).


    However, the difference is that you can pay in Dollars in most touristy places in the Caribbean, and you probably can even expect to receive change in US dollars at many (though certainly not all) locations at other stops on the same cruise or elsewhere in the Caribbean. You are correct that it's a good point to make explicitly that this is uncommon in Grand Cayman.

  8. The primary purpose of this requirement is an affirmative liability defense if they fubar the treatment of a pregnant passenger. They've achieved that goal already by requiring you to report this information whether you choose to comply or not.


    The fundamental question is what would Carnival actually do differently if they know you are 9 weeks pregnant. The answer for the vast majority of cruisers is... NOTHING. No special equipment on board, no extra evacuation plans, no special training, they apparently may flag you for alcohol or tobacco purchases (which may not even be for your own consumption).


    Now, if she had an accident or other medical emergency there may well be differences in care (avoiding X-rays, meds, more intensive monitoring, etc.), and perhaps they assume they no longer need to ask the patient or test for pregnancy if it's been answered prior to boarding. However, that's a risky assumption as many people won't even know for sure at 7 weeks.


    This is no different than if something happened on land and you were to end up unconscious in an ER not associated with your primary care provider. Do you wear a medical-alert bracelet 24x7 indicating you're pregnant?

  9. You can buy it later, and it would cover your husband if he slipped, fell, and broke his arm in port, or if there was a hurricane (that formed after you purchased the plan).


    However, for issues related to an existing medical condition you're going to need pre-existing condition coverage which typically needs to be purchased within 15 days of deposit. You might find some plans which offer that even at a later date but that is not common in my experience.

  10. This is awesome news. I can't wait! I hope it snows in the atrium! My kids will flip!


    I'll let them see it in my driveway for half of what you're paying for the cruise. I'll even let them shovel for no additional cost. ;)


    We've been on ships three times in the last few holiday seasons. Some decorations in the atrium and a few other places, but as others have said it's not particularly extravagant. On par with the food court at a local mall give or take.

  11. Even with fixed time dining I've found the service to be asynchronous between tables if the wait staff is good (and they usually are).


    We typically have a table or more for our whole family, so sometimes we're the slow ones in the room if there are 20 odd people putting in orders. Those meals could push two hours as everyone is chatting about what they did during the day and generally just relaxing over a meal.


    Other times we're traveling with a smaller group of 8-10, including my sister who should be a pit crew chief, or a boot camp DI. On those occasions we may be ready to order a minute after the menus arrive, and it wasn't uncommon to be receiving our desserts at the same time or slightly before the folks at the neighboring tables (who likely showed up 10 minutes late and took their time) received their entrees. Those meals were often about an hour long.


    On my own I'd choose to move at a slower pace but you can see the potential amount of variance and try to aim for either end of that spectrum.

  12. $1.50 for a drink and $1.95 for the entire can. It is all in cans except for Coke, which they have on fountain.


    I don't recall if it was on the Glory or Liberty, I think the later, they also had diet coke on fountain at the pool area bars (Red Frog/Blue Iguana). Much faster refill pours than waiting for the foam to go down when using a (Caribbean) room temperature can over ice.

  13. When the municipal water looks like this, they usually tell customers not to drink it until they flush the lines. I wonder why a ship's lines are any different.


    Typically when our municipal water looks like this it's because they're doing the twice yearly hydrant flush, and the notices all very clearly say that the water is safe to drink or use, but that you may wish to delay doing laundry as clothes may be discolored.



    No home that I am aware of has a backflow preventer on any water use, so that when a section of water pipe is shut down, anything can flow back into the water mains, causing contamination (the usual case when there is a pipe break). Every toilet, shower, galley sink faucet, dishwashing machine, laundry washer, and deck wash hose valve has a back-flow preventer on it, which must be tested annually. On a relatively small 2200 pax cruise ship, we had a spreadsheet of over 4000 backflow preventers that had to be tested.


    This seems to be becoming more common in residential use as well. I believe in-ground sprinklers and exterior hose bibs require a backflow preventer (maybe city code, not required elsewhere?). The last two showers I've installed have had them integrated with the shower head, and so did the last sink set (but the spigot was extendable so that may be why). Even toilet fill mechanisms are designed to be anti-siphon (simple air gap above the overflow tube works in a motionless house). Of course I've never tested any of them, so who knows if they keep working...

  14. To say the Legend has " most of the other 2.0 upgrades " is not correct. The legend does not have Guy's , blue iguana, alchemy bar, or an EA sports bar. That is lot missing. I happen to love the Conquest class of ships. Perfect balance between a big and small ship.


    The Legend may not have those items but they are all on the list for Pride's dry-dock.


    From the Pride fact sheet on goccl:

    To be implemented during 10/19/14-11/09/14 Dry-Dock

    Routine hotel maintenance

    Cosmetic enhancements such as new carpeting and tiling, etc. in lounges and public areas

    · Revamping midship pool to be resort-style pool

    · Fitness Center – new equipment and flooring

    · Guy’s Burger Joint

    · BlueIguana Cantina

    · BlueIguana Tequila Bar

    · Bonsai Sushi

    · WaterWorks

    · EA SPORTS Bar

    · Alchemy Bar

    · RedFrog Pub

    · Cherry on Top


    Nothing wrong with the Glory at all, we've enjoyed her and others of the class post 2.0.


    We opted to do the Pride this December as it seems like there may not be an option to sail from Tampa on even a mid-sized CCL ship in the future and't we've never been to this port. We also haven't sailed on a Spirit class ship before, so this is another reason we decided to try this out as there are plenty of folks who seem to particularly like the layout. We'll see in seventy odd days!

  15. My choice would be in the third picture, the second one from the right hand side. NAKED NUN. Gives me chills just thinking about those Immaculate Heart Sisters from grade school. LOL.


    I went to Immaculate Heart for elementary school as well though presumably not the same one. Such a thought gives me chills too... But not good chills, more like run screaming chills. And these weren't even knuckle rapping sisters, generally good/kind ladies but also mostly octogenarians...

  16. We all have the same reason to buy a stock....to make money, period.


    It is not hindsight for me. I own those stocks. That is why I could just rattle them off like I did. Gains have paid for entire cruise, not just tips.


    So, work the system to do even better.


    $7 to buy, $7 to sell and on average (if averaging works for gambling it works for stocks) no change to a tiny uptick in value over the course of a week while you hold the stock.


    With current prices that works out to a 112% yearly return for a single 7-day cruise if you could buy in and sell for exactly that one week.


    Even if you keep it for a month you're still at ~%28 annualized return. You can find stocks that have done better, but you'd be very hard pressed to find ones that do so every time.


    More work than it's worth for me, but I've never aspired to live a profit maximized life.

  17. Our son was allowed to move up last year as well though he was only about 10 days shy of his birthday on that cruise.


    Moving up seems to be allowed fairly often, but rarely if ever down.


    Presumably Carnival's internal policies have lower kid:worker ratios for younger kids which makes moving someone up easier than down. Also having a younger kid's parents give permission to be in with older kids is probably easier than explaining to other parents why there's a kid with 5 o'clock shadow in the same group with their 2 year old. ;)

  18. We are headed to cozumel with our 1 year old daughter in a coupe of months. How can we safely get her to Chankanaab Park? Do you think a taxi will allow us to install our car seat? Does the park offer shuttles that might allow this option?


    We took our daughter when she still fit in the detachable car seat/carrier. No problem "being allowed" to buckle her in, but functional seat belts are far from universal in all seats of those cabs so you may not be able to have her in the middle.


    I have never seen separate shuttles from the park, though your ship excursions likely use a bus (probably with no seat belts)

  19. <snip> Because my husband is still leery of doing things on his own, will probably book through Carnival. The excursion info says flexible return times, anyone done this and found this to be true? <snip>


    Unfortunately, I cannot answer your question. Fortunately, I can solve your problem.


    This is a perfect place to help your husband overcome his reluctance. It's about the easiest port and excursion to do on your own anywhere; A great place to get your feet wet on the subject of independent booking. There are independent tours we've taken that I would only recommend to certain people who have a particular risk outlook, but this is one anyone can do.


    The risk of missing the boat is almost nil unless you fall asleep as you're 10 minutes from the port and there are a line of taxis waiting to bring folks back when you're ready to leave.


    If you take the cruise excursion you'll likely stand around by the sign holder for 20-45 minutes before heading out. I'm not sure how they do return times, but if it's anything other than a chit for a taxi you'll have extra time waiting around on the back-end as well. The $10 savings wouldn't be enough to sway me on its own but it's a bonus in this case.

  20. I've found the MDR food to be more or less the same across ships in the Carnival line or between lines for that matter (more difference over time than between brands/boats). I suspect your experience would be similar on a future cruise unless you were just wildly unlucky this time or tried a different dining approach next time.


    If you decide to give it a go again in the future I have heard many people rave about some of the special Indian meals that are available for vegetarians (not sure if they contain tree nuts), and there should be safe options at the deli, burger, pizza, burrito, Mongolian Wok, fish-n-chips, and sushi stations (not all of which are available on all ships).

  21. Even if shorts were allowed most nights it would be fun if there was one night when people dressed up.


    This... This is the crux of the matter.


    There is a group of people for whom elegant/formal night is in some way fun or gratifying. Clearly for folks who fall in the "it would be fun" camp there's a reason why they would want to see this tradition continue, and that's a valid position from this perspective.


    For someone who doesn't consider dressing up to be inately fun, a compulsion to do so in order that others may enjoy the experience may well translate into: "I want to objectify you for my personal visual gratification. Now, dance monkey!" :D


    See where the conflict comes in?


    I agree with a previous poster that it never seemed to be an issue when I've been on NCL, and I'd be more than happy to see Carnival try a two dining room solution where folks had to opt into one or the other. They must feel that the split would be too lopsided to make this work, or is there some other logistical hurdle involved?

  22. there is space on the form for 4 names... for security/safety the person picking them up has to have the phone that they give you. You have to show them the phone every time you drop off too.


    We have not found this to be the case with the phones though specific policies may be different over time or on different ships. When dropping off we often wouldn't know definitively who would be doing the pickup (true even when it's just the wife and I).


    They would often ask if we had the phone (which I took as a more abstract "does *someone* have the phone if we need to call), but never made any allusion to this needing to be the person picking up the kids.


    For the OP we've never used more than 4 (2x grandparents, aunt, uncle), so I'm afraid I can't answer that definitively. With the grandparents and the siblings with kids of similar ages all on the list for each of the kids I don't recall running into any scenarios where that was too limiting.


    The most useful was the other parents so a single person could collect all the kids at once. I can't recall any situations when the grandparents actually did a solo drop-off or pick-up let alone more extended family, but I can understand why that may be desirable.

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