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Everything posted by kdawg954

  1. First off I fully believe that Carnival has better tasting “free food” offerings than Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. I am definitely a meat eater, but Carnival’s vegetarian options in the main dining room were very good. Also the soups tend to be winners. I also think having the options of a Burrito Bowl with chicken, steak, shrimp or fish at Blue Cantina or a Guys burger . . . .with no additional cost, is such a good incentive for lunch or just getting back from in port. The French Toast is usually the “king carb” at breakfast. Really good. The pancakes and waffles aren’t very good IMO. The omelettes are almost always aces.
  2. I will get the info and post either later or tomorrow. It was a really cool place as there were like 8 guest houses an outside bar and grill, outside shower, boogie boards, etc. Believe check in was at 1 and checkout at noon. Keep in mind there are many options so check the site as well and the reviews of the places. But this place was really cool and extremely secure.
  3. Ocean Park is less than a mile east of Condado. It is more resedential and less flashy than Condado. Calle Loiaza is the main strip and there are many good coffee shops, restaurants and plenty of nightlife as well . . . But I took Uber to La Placita every night. 5 minutes away as was Condado. Pinky's was excellent for Breakfast. I was torn between here and Condado but the cheap Ubers made it a non factor and I felt like I got more of an authentic San Juan beach experience instead of the Miami Beach experience I felt walking Condado.
  4. I can confirm you can bring pretty much anything that is not bottled or alcoholic as your 12 pack. And quite honestly you can bring more than 12 without any issue Energy drinks, coconut water, Capri Sun, etc.
  5. Seen many kids at church with shorts and a T-shirt over the years. If the pastor isn't bothered by it not sure why anyone else would be. I do agree it is so rare to dress up as a family that why not dedicate 2 nights on your vacation to a nice dinner and dress nicely for the occasion. My wife and I make it a priority to have 2 or 3 cruise elegant options. But it just doesn't bother me if that is not what that family wants to do. It's their vacation and if the Maitre D is cool with it then so be it. I rather spend more energy on convincing the waiter I need a second (or third) lobster.
  6. Having been here in May 2018 and having a good day I knew once my tour with Royston wasn’t going to happen . . . .I was heading back to Shipwreck in May 2019. Not gonna lie, these cab drivers will discourage you quickly. They all recommended I go to Cockleshell Beach instead ($8 pp each way vs. $4 pp each way) and kept telling me about the sea urchins and not being very swimmable at Shipwreck. I trusted my instincts and said “Nope take me to Shipwreck”. As soon as I got there it was the great mecca I remember . . . .maybe better. Found 2 free lounge chairs up top right under a huge tree. The water was a beautiful turquoise and the black sands were glistening. Put my water shoes on and swam by the small reef for some quality snorkeling. Enjoyed several Pirate’s Punch drink with the rum added and fresh cinnamon/nutmeg. $5 only. Its funny, the taxi drivers dont want to take you here . . . .yet they all show up here for lunch and even admitted the food here is better than any of the other beach clubs . . . And cheaper. Highly recommend the non breaded wings. Excellent flavor. Hell even on the way back, after the driver finished eating, he was trying to sell me on going to Cockleshell. He doesn’t realize with St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Barbados on my ship itinerary, its less about the white sand beaches and crystal blue water . . . .and more about the vibe. Shipwreck has that. Sure its a bit rustic but that is what makes it charming. Just a great day with a great staff of people, good food and good drinks at good prices. Highly recommend.
  7. Jealous of you all. Have tried to book with him 2 years in a row in mid May and both times he was in the States with family. He owes me a free tour for having to cancel on us twice now lol . . . .nah he gave me a heads up both times that it could be a problem and have backup plans. Real cool dude. He has a lot to live up to because it will be hard to be the chill day at Shipwrecked beach I have had 2 years in a row.
  8. Yea we did Lay Back Bar & Grill. Guy offered us 2 beach chairs and an umbrella . . . .and 2 rum punch (or beers). . . .for $20. Very nice beach with beautiful water. The rum punch was potent. Think it was 6 beer bucket for $20 as well. The surprise was the food . . . .it was excellent. We had the conch platter. $18. . . .we split it, came with rice and peas, salad, french fries and plaintain. . . .and a suprisingly good amount of conch. Real easy day . . .at the end of the pier its the first restaurant on the right.
  9. Taxi is $9 pp each way 2 chairs and umbrella $20 Was there a week ago . . . .clearest water out of any I have seen on the Southern Itinerary (including other St. Thomas beaches) . . . .solid snorkeling but hell you can see the fish above the water with no problems. The negative is size . . . .and because of the lack of size it gets crowded quickly . . . So if you do decide to make this your beach day, get there early and you will have a great day.
  10. Airbnb is a fantastic option in San Juan. Just got back from a precruise stay in Ocean Park, 4 houses from the beach . . .$100 a night, and that is after the taxes and fees. They offered beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, coolers, excellent security. Room for 4, but only 2 of us. Best part was Uber was $5 or less everywhere. Went to La Placita 3 nights in a row, spent $20 those 6 Ubers. Did a post night stay at Embassy Suites in Isla Verde, and it was also nice . . . .but that one ran me $180 after taxes and fees . . . . And that was after me doing a Hotwire deal and Coupon . . . .that place pushes near $300 a night on the regular. The main weakness of Airbnb is the lack of it being “full service”. The owners aren’t coming in to make your bed, change your towels and all that stuff . . .. but they do very well to accomodate any problems you have. I will continue to seek out my options but I am way more open to airbnb now
  11. Again I totally get that. And Im sure those places you will have access to a pool/beach or at the very least be well equipped with the proper clothing for the day if you are walking. Being surrounded by 200 people, literally arm to arm, with the sun blasting and many people getting off planes and in normal clothes, waiting for a muster drill . . . .is not the same as going to the beach with your family. Hell I am from South Florida and I wasn’t expecting that environment for muster . . . It wasn’t proper . . . And I was in a tanktop and shorts.
  12. Just did Boatyard this past Friday. That place is great man. Staff consistently coming up to remove cups and plates and asking if everything is good. It can be a party place with music and “shots” calls but also lay further away from the bar if you don’t want that. I will say we got there around 10:30 a.m. and there was a big line and was even told there would be no more lounge chairs . . . .just seated chairs with umbrella. Soon as we got in we located 2 sets of loungers with umbrella right next to each other with no problems. But definitely keep in mind the amount of ships in port and the time you get off the ship to ensure a good experience. plus access to water toys, swim with the turtles, free drink and shuttle back to the port . . . .its hard to top the value. Beach was gorgeous. Staff was friendly. Doing a Barbados land vacation later this year and I will make sure to see all of the land stuff and even do a catamaran so that way all my future cruises I can go straight to the Boatyard to spend my day. Its just easy.
  13. True, but combine that with the sun blasting you for 40 minutes and being surrounded by what had to be at least 200 people . . .there was a complete lack of air flow and a whole lot of humidity. Plus they tell you not to bring drinks to the muster drill. Many people still had on travel clothes, not swim trunks. Its not a proper venue to hold something as important as a muster drill . . . Especially if you want people to pay attention and not suffer from a heat stroke.
  14. The Maitre D / Dining staff is not turning away any small kids for wearing a Tshirt and shorts . . . .even on elegant night. Just got off the Fascination and adults were let in with Tshirt and Shorts on elegant night. That being said I would try hard to make sure you have some sort of collared shirt and dark jeans/slacks for elegant night. The casual nights you should not have an issue with Tshirts. The main thing to stay away from on casual nights are sleeveless shirts (men), gym wear, swimming trunks or any swim attire . . .and flip flops.
  15. It isn’t. But when you are leaving out of Port Canaveral, in the middle of July in 95 degree heat, and your muster station is on the Lido Deck and lasts over 30 minutes with really no shade or overhang (On the Pre refurbished Sensation) . . . Its a crappy way to kick of your vacation. More than a few people passed out and needed medical help that day.
  16. Back home and watched the whole thing from my OV cabin. It was more annoying than anything as we only had one sea day and that was when it happened . . . 8 a.m. you hear a distress signal and anchor dropping and a bunch of life vests being thrown from balconies. Was worried for him at first but quickly found out he did it on purpose and got irritated. It was surreal watching him attempt to swim back to the ship, clearly a decent swimmer but the current would push him further away every attempt and after 30 seconds he would just stop swimming and float to catch his breath. Carnival handled it extremely well. All phases.
  17. I mean I wouldn’t judge cruise activities of the entire brand based on a southern itinerary out of San Juan on the Fascination. This is designed to serve as an adventurous off the ship cruise or a very relaxing on the ship cruise when most get off every day in port. Its like me judging the entire Norwegian brand based off my one cruise on the 3 day NCL Sky. Worst food and service I ever had on a ship but I realize this was essentially a 3 day booze cruise in hindsight over Black Friday weekend and I want to give the brand another look on a bigger, more modern ship. But Fascination fits perfect.
  18. Most disappointing food I ever had on a cruise was the Allure in 2016. It felt more mass produced and in poorer quality than any other cruise I had been on. Extremely disappointing. Plus paid Johnny Rockets was not as good as free Guys Burgers IMO. The pay options was some of the best food I ever had on a cruise line. And the Mamma Mia show felt like a big scale event. So there are pros and cons for sure. If you are searching for great, free cruise line food . . . .Celebrity is as good as it gets IMO from the mass scale cruiselines. But if you don’t mind spending extra, I have never had bad food on any paid venue.
  19. I mean how do you know its better if you didn’t go on the Fascination? Sure the Freedom of the Seas is newer, bigger and has more amenities but those should be near the bottom of the list when talking about a San Juan Cruise. Itinerary, Price, Food and Service are a much more important factors and my experiences on both cruiselines allow me to give the edge to Carnival in all 4 of those areas. And I had the same decision to make last year . . . .the price difference was nearly $500 less on Carnival and the ship was only 2 months out of drydock and fully updated to the newest 2.0 amenities. Carnival just made more sense in that situation.
  20. I also had this choice and went with the Fascination. Freedom was more than 3 years from the previous dry dock and Fascination was 3 months post full makeover. Also Fascination visited an extra island and was about $500 cheaper. i thought it was perfect for this itinerary. If you go on this cruise just to stay on the ship . . . .then that would be a mistake. I live in South FL so if the ship is going to the standard Cozumel or Nassau with 4 out of 7 sea days . . . .then having a fancy ship to be on can be real useful. But when you are off the ship every morning from 8:30 to 4:30 . . . It was real useful not having a massive ship to get around. My complaints would be: 1. Needed a sea day late just to recover from all the action. Did not get to try Sea Day Brunch because of this. 2. We had an anniversary on this cruise and wish there was a speciality restaurant. Thought about Chef’s Table but did not like the location of it (Near the YTD and was open so others could see in) It was all good because the MDR food was real good and our head waiter was the best we ever had. 3. No fridge in room. Cabin steward was great in ensuring we had ice when we came back from port every afternoon. Thats about it from the negative side. Liked it so much I am leaving in May this year on the Fascination again . . . .and this time there is a sea day the day before we come back. Great ship! Great itinerary!
  21. My day with Bernards was flawless in May. Crazy about OP not getting in the water at Maho . . . .we had 45 minutes and it seemed like 90 minutes. We took a break from the drinking at Maho and spent the entire time in the water except for 2 minutes when we knew a plane was coming and we took a selfie with it behind us. DJ was our driver as well and he never said anything about not being wet. That said by the time we got out the water and walked towards where he parked, we dried up . . . But we also brought beach towels. A+ operation. For me I rated it my #1 excursion that trip with Cosol a very close second . . . .that should let you know how highly I think of Bernards.
  22. Yea was eyeing the Breakaway in May and it came out more than $1200 more than the Fascination out of San Juan (with flights). And the damn drink package doesn’t include speciality coffee, fresh squeezed juice or bottled water, plus you are dropping 20% gratuity. They really price themselves out of their competition but I still will look.
  23. Man, I have been dying to try a big boy Norwegian ship but it just prices itself out every single time. I did the 3 day Sky and it left a terrible impression from a food and service perspective . . . Luckily it was dirt cheap and included basic alcohol. The live music was also as good as any other ship I have been on. Great Latin and Reggae artists. Oh well one of these days.
  24. Yep. Allure entertainment was really good. But my goodness was the “free food” disappointing. There was not one memorable meal the entire week on the free side. The two best things I ate during the week were the Dinner at Chops (very good) and the table side Guacamole at the Mexican paid venue. The reason why people big up the roast beef sandwiches in central park is because the buffet and main dining is just not very good. Every Carnival ship has been solid on the “free side” when it comes to food. If you go on the Allure with the beverage package and the dining package . . . .you will find it tough to beat. But the extra cost would likely pay for 3 Carnival cruises.
  25. Space Center . . . . Blah lol I would of done Islands of Adventure. The Multi park pass is great for the Hogwarts train but if Harry Potter is not a must, save the multi park money for a single park and use the savings on an Express pass. You WILL see everything with an Express pass. People complaining about the holiday have no idea what they are talking about. Holiday weekends are bad “for the weekend”. Come the Monday holiday, people are already leaving the area and the parks aren’t nearly as crowded. Plus there is no school and people are off work in the area so the traffic isn’t nearly as bad as a non holiday during the week. i know your post is old . . . .but he is 10 and you guys aren’t going to visit Florida for a long time. If you can switch your plans . . . .go for it.
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