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About OC SeaPA

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    Cool Cruiser

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    The OC, Calif
  • Interests
    wine, travel, dancing

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  1. We just booked this excursion. Is the riverboat ride bumpy? Says speedboat, but looks calm in the photos. DH has back problems.
  2. thanks. I'll try that. We were on the Empress to Cuba in November last year- one of our favorite cruises!
  3. We just booked Empress on a Cuba reposition cruise in August. Because of a significant price drop the cabins went fast. DH suffered heart attack & quad bypass in April, but can now walk with cane limited amounts. Two cabins were available- by the elevator & all the way aft. We grabbed the one by the elevator, explaining his mobility issue. When the confirmation came it was for the aft cabin. i called about an hour later (right when i discovered the error) but the other cabin had been taken. All that remained was the same size and location, but because had bunk for 3 passenger they wanted to charge me $200 more. I was frustrated after having tried corp, customer service, & my TA to get cabin changed, so i said no. They offered me a bottle of wine for my inconvenience! I have calmed down and tried to request a cabin nearer the elevator, as has my TA, but they now say only cabins for 3 available, and we are only 2, and every time we call that person can't authorize the capacity change. Does anyone here have any way to get special assistance contacts for Royal Caribbean that can help us? is special needs only for WC? We have requested WC for embark/disembark, but is special needs only for accessible cabins (all taken for this cruise)?
  4. I disagree. We've been on over 50 cruises, including Disney, Oceania, Carnival, Celebrity (our favorite) and NCL (our most used). On our last Carnival cruise (4 day getaway over summer) they were polite but firm with anyone who overindulged. But had alot of families, and are really pushing families on their new ships. we are taking our family on a 7 day on the Panorama. I love to drink and party, although as a senior can't do quite as much as I used to. But on our last NCL did have some drunks out of control (one vomited next to DH in lounge), another passed out in hallway and had to get someone to get them to their cabin, etc. We have a TA booked on NCL specifically for the drink package with all those sea days, and will see how it goes. Hopefully will bid & get a Haven, but would rather do more cruises then pay those prices!
  5. We have over 50 cruises, and are top level or close on most. Last year did Carnival short cruises, Oceania (Tahiti to LA) and RCI (cuba). Each was good in its own way, but like to cruise, so could do 2 other cruises for what the Oceania cost. Didn't think it was worth 2x the cost, but we are not foodies so don't go by me. I like to have fun, so Carnival was good that way. Took my 92 year old Mom on one Carnival short cruise, and she is a cruise snob. She loved it! They are defintely trying to get away from the party crowd and more family oriented. Carnival is less tolerant of drunks than NCL! Taking the family on Carnival next. Love X,but had to cancel an Edge cruise due to heath.
  6. I am booked on the Edge TA coming up, and have another X booked later in the year. With the the pricing on the Edge I will probably not sail X again. Booked an infinity balcony "Pres cruise" at a price I thought was high, but the experience would be worth it. The ship was sold out- our E3 went from $3000 to $5500pp! Now after final payment down to $1750! We upgraded to Aq for good price. With the high prices now and thinking someone will (me?) can get the same cabin for 1/2 price.....Why not just price the cabins realistically in the first place?
  7. We not only look at ports & # sea days in a row, but also the flights. DH would rather have the long flight upfront, then a shorter hop home. Flights have become more stressful lately! Plus, airfares seem to be less expensive for the Oct/Nov times vs spring. That said, we are doing the Edge TA in April/May, but did get a great deal on BA home (London to LAX) using miles for business class, so should be fine!
  8. We love Celebrity, but their anti-smoking mentality probably means our Edge cruise is our last with them. DH has been a smoker (pipes & cigars) for over 50 years. I gave up getting him to quit, and he doesn't bother me when I drink (alcohol is also bad for you, but nobody says anything about that as most everyone drinks!) Just got off a RCI cruise to Cuba, and of course alot were enjoying their cuban cigars! Carnival just upgraded their smoking area on Mexican cruises, and it was used all the time. I hate the smoking and the smell, but want him to have as good a time on a cruise as I do. Celebrity take note- Smokers $ are as good as non-smokers $! It is not that hard to have a convenient area for smokers. If you hate smoke, just stay away from that area.
  9. We sailed on Oceania for the first time this year. At their buffet the passengers never touch the serving utensils- gloved servers put the food on your plate. such a better way to go! on one cruise (I think NCL) there was a novo problem, so they used the same system- no passenger ever touched serving spoons.
  10. Just back from Cuba- DH is a avid cigar affectionado. Here's some tips- 1- not all prices are the same! Quantanamera has a 15 cigar sampler pack that was great. Paid 12.5cuc in Cienfuegos, 20cucs in Havana Rum Museum, and same was 35cuc at the terminal. Great way to go- different sizes of a mild cigar. All were exactly the same package- all "government cigars". 2- Go to the :"2nd tier" cigars- these are the same tobacco, just not as large a leaf (more from the clippings), but smoke just the same. 1st tier- Cohiba, Montecristo- are the ones that could be counterfeit. 2nd tier- Jose L Piedra- ran 30cuc for a box of 25! Another bargain- Troya- in tubes- ran 1.35cuc per cigar, and are also a great smoke. 3- Went to tobacco plantation in Vinales- got Montecristos without box, band for 3cuc per cigar. At plantation found out the government takes 90% of the crop for the "government cigars", but the farmers have 10% they can sell themselves. Gave us a sample to smoke, and even I enjoyed them! If you have extra time in Cuba visit Vinales & the caves- fantastic experience!
  11. Just back from a B2b on Empress. We did 3 private excursions- 2 with FerTours and 1 with CubaConnections. I would definitely recommend Cuba Connections over FerTours. I'll try to keep it brief why- Tour 1- FerTours- Cienfuegos to Trinidad- tour time was cut short by RCI- tendering took longer, and left at 4pm rather than 5. Asked if we would have enough time to go to Trinidad, so should we just stay local? Guide said Trinidad ok, so we went. After a boring 1.5 hr ride there, in which he spent the entire time on politics (interesting at first, but enough) walked around. He was frustrated because we were not interested in the architecture, and did not want to spend our precious time visiting his friends museum. Lunch on the way back was fantastic, but no time in Cienfuegos. Wanted to get rum & cigars- he just dropped us off at the corner (wrong corner) then disappeared! SKIP TRINIDAD- stay in Cienfuegos. Tour 2- Cuba Connections- faster in responding (always within 24 hrs, FerTours sometimes took 4 days to get back to me). Listened to what I had to say, but really was a "guide". Had a full itinerary of what to see & when, couldn't get that from FerTours. Asked to see the Jewish Synagogue in Havana- want a great experience. Wanted a show- went with Cabaret Parisienne rather than Tropicana- again great advice! Took us to Hotel Nacionale earlier in the day to get tickets ($35cuc vs $120 on ship!), and got great tour of grand hotel. Went to Fusterlan, and felt we saw everything we wanted. Tour 3- FerTours- Vinales- tobacco plantation. Great tour, but not so much the guide. After e-mailing FerTours about lack of time management on Cienfuegoes promised us a great guide- Gabriel. Instead got Amanda & a driver, so with 4 of us there were now 6 in the car for a long drive (2.5 hrs). We asked for some rest stops along the way, as 2 had blood sugar issues and needed snacks, etc. Had a great experience at the plantation, and lunch at a paladar was out of this world! Was supposed to be 6 hr tour (back at r) but as staying overnight asked Amanda if we could see everything and she said back at 6pm. Got back closer to 9am, starving! On 3 hr drive back (bad roads, so they had to go slower) both Amanada and driver were constantly on cell phones or texting- never talking to us.. Don't mean to sound critical- it really was a fantastic trip! If I hadn't done Cuba Connections would not have anything to compare with.
  12. Just off the Empress. Santiago was cancelled- there was a problem with the dock. I don't know how long until it is added- instead we had a full 2 days in Havana, so it worked out fine. However, Cienfuegos was tendered, and a slow process. They took the ships excursion people off first, so we were an hour late in meeting our guide. We opted for Trinidad- DON'T DO IT! Too long of a drive, not see much different.
  13. Thanks. I hope the rest of the cruise was good. Was it? Was it only the first day that was messed up? In the old days when something like that happened they would open the bar up- I guess they don't do anything for "inconvenience" anymore. Started cruising in 1978- sure is different now!
  14. We are on the empress on Nov 19th. Do you think we will be sailing, or will they pull it for maintenance? Have you heard anaything?
  15. Thanks for the info. Again, I'm confused why we are tendering when everything I see says we are the only ones in port. Unless RCI found out the Empress is too large to dock? If that is the case and the ship excursions tender first I wonder what time we'll get off the ship?
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