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About Pellaz

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Atlanta, GA
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    Freediving, radio deejay, railfanning, writer/editor
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  1. That was our experience on the Magic and also the Vista (with minor variations on the items). Prior to that on Conquest-class ships we saw the "Pizza Pirate Plus" menu from 11 pm until 1am or 2 am, with lasagna every night and a rotating entree (like sausage-and-pepper, chicken parm, etc.) each night.
  2. Sea Day Brunch -- it's seriously one of the best meal experiences on Carnival. Also, always on the last sea-day, there's the Behind the Fun tour.
  3. Woah.... Lest we forget, one of Royal's Oasis-class ships failed its FIRST CDC inspection after arriving here in the States, as a brand-new ship. Also, CDC's records show that Carnival's ships have a lower incidence of norovirus than Royal. Your experience was subpar, but there's no need for all the histrionics. Our last few cruises on Carnival have been great...and meanwhile, the hallway carpet on Independence of the Seas was so filthy, I had to get a photo of it. (It looked like it hadn't been steam-cleaned in a decade.)
  4. I've always been surprised Royal doesn't sell some sort of holster or baldric to hold the cup while you walk around. Six Flags' amusement parks sell a shoulder strap and neoprene cup holder for their season drink cups for about $6...so Royal could sell something similar for, oh, about $12. :)
  5. Carnival has been doing this for several years now, with many raising concerns here on CC about security...and virtually no reported problems. Does Royal place the SeaPass cards by the staterooms right after embark starts, or do they wait until staterooms are ready? Also, is this in place yet on the Indy?
  6. No, I just walked down the beach to Jack's Shack and also went snorkeling. Sorry about that.
  7. Jiji's Asian Kitchen is similar to Mongolian Wok for lunch, and it is free/included at lunchtime also. The REALLY NICE thing about it on the Vista is that you don't have to wait in line: you are given a checksheet and a pencil, indicate what you want, and they grill it for you and bring it to you at your table. Go there for lunch on embark day, like we did. You'll see a lot of people on Deck 10 mobbing the buffet, but if it's like our cruise on the Vista, you'll walk up the stairs to Jiji's and find it to be almost empty. We felt a little guilty about it, and sorry for the folks fighting for tables just one deck below. Cucina del Capitano, right across the entry foyer from Jiji's, is similar on the Vista for lunch, but with a pasta bar instead. Both were excellent and both were a nice change from the usual madness at the Lido buffet.
  8. So, you withheld your customary tip and punished your wait staff because a late-arriving table threw off their rhythm? Whew, seems harsh. It's been a while since we had early dining, and when we did we were cruising with my old-school-cruiser mom and her DH, routinely sharing a table with other unrelated cruisers as she prefers. We also showed up timely every night on every cruise...EXCEPT one time: our port-stop at Grand Turk had been extended by an hour and we got back late...and it was the second formal night. My mom made the hitherto-unthinkable decision not to go to dinner since we would have been at least 20-25 minutes late, and I was detailed to go down to the MDR and tell our waiting tablemates (nice folks) and our serving crew that we would not be making it for dinner. The wait staff thanked me kindly for letting them know. As someone said, it's just the polite thing to do.
  9. Sorry, I don't agree with you there. Even with these relatively small increases, Carnival still comes out ahead when it comes to free/included food options and (usually) overall lower fare pricing. As for "Fun"..... I find that Royal and Carnival's slogans are both very apt. Royal's ships are certainly "Wow" (at least at first glance), and I think Carnival's ships are often more "Fun." Consider: how long did it take Royal to come to the realization that, hey presto, people of all ages really like water-slides?...the same water slides that Carnival and Norwegian have already been including on their ships for decades?
  10. Yep. For this reason I've always tried to get a cabana numbered #8 or higher. Not just because of the potential for "borrowing" but also because it's a lot less crowded out there. On Carnival cabanas are first-come first-assigned, so getting to ShoreEx as soon as you board is key to obtaining the cabana of your choice.
  11. I think the reason is that the best snorkeling and the most fish are well away from the beach (it's not a short swim), and in deep water (10-15 ft.) There are some rafts out there for people to rest on, but I can certainly see their reasoning. They post lifeguards out there for safety as well. (I bought a snorkeling vest on eBay for $10 and now I just bring it along. It packs down small.) The snorkeling is well worth it. There are sunken planes and cannons and hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of fish out where the lifeguards feed them.
  12. This is not correct. For whatever reason -- probably due to "public beach" rules and legal loopholes -- locals have been allowed to set up some loungers and umbrellas closest to the high-tide line in front of Margaritaville and charge for them. They are not technically "scammers" since their presence there is, unfortunately, legal, and they own and set up those chairs that are closest to the water. The easy solution: pick a lounger and green umbrella further away from the water -- there's a photo of them above -- as those are owned by the Grand Turk Cruise Center and ARE free. Or, turn to the right as you exit the DuFry shop, as all of those loungers along the beach near the Beached Whale Grill are free. It's also a lot quieter.
  13. That will depend on how relaxed you'd like to be. To the left (facing shore) is Margaritaville with its big pool, loud bar, and beach. Look for the free GTCC loungers and umbrellas that start closest to the buildings; the ones closest to the beach will be different colors and locals charge for them. To the right and a lot quieter is a smaller bar-and-grill place, owned by the same folk as Margaritaville but a lot lower-intensity, with free loungers along the beach. There might not be umbrellas there, though.
  14. I've only done the snuba excursion there (and I have rated it highly on Carnival's site, too). I recommend it; Big John is a great divemaster and snuba is fun, especially if you're loathe to deal with snorkels and getting water in. 🙂
  15. Yes, in fact I spent about three hours in the water out there close to the ship and out from Margaritaville, after making a pilgrimage to Jack's Shack. The sunken cannon is still there, as well as an anchor that's easily spotted and another anchor that appears to have been partly melded into the bottom; it's harder to spot. I also freedove down to the deeper part, maybe 35 or 40 feet. I was out there with one of the lifeguards from the ship, pretty cool guy, and he freedove to perhaps 60 feet, but he wanted me to "spot" him for safety reasons. 🙂 We saw quite a few small squid (first time ever for that at Grand Turk, for me) and also a small octopus in a hole not far from the aforementioned cannon. There was a guy feeding fish out by the safety line also, and so we didn't lack for fish at all. Underwater visibility was great until toward the end of the day, when it degraded somewhat. Not sure if it was caused by a receding tide or something else.
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