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sofietucker

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Everything posted by sofietucker

  1. Yep. Ultimately, I agree with Taylor Swift (while not a Swifty myself): "Trash takes itself out." They'll get theirs one way or another.
  2. One reason I make a point to call out our great attendants by name in the post-cruise surveys, to help counter the folks like your neighbor
  3. And re: Virgin: we docked next to them in Rhodes last fall, mingled in port, went on a private tour with some pax. Overwhelmingly in their 30s +/-, big time party vibe, folks shared with us that there are regular pajama parties on board...
  4. We actually were cancelled for going to Volos due to severe ruinous flooding at that time... Went to Cesme (Turkey) instead. But we had PLANNED to visit the small-but-nice Volos archaeological museum and then go to the highly recommended beach, literally a couple of blocks away. We had originally tried to do a ship's excursion that went to a town (Makritsnya?) and then the beach--but that was cancelled on us TWICE. The other itinerary that went to that town would have put us in a coach for hours... I'm sure Volos will have bounced back by the time you go. PS--I found organic Greek saffron threads for 5 euro (a box of 4 envelopes) in Kalambaka. Astonishing.
  5. Ditto. We had to ask what fish it was, lol.
  6. We stay in Sky suites. Always find we can get room service dinner from Luminae. We get the Luminae burger on sea days. Our butler (or his colleague) makes our breakfast himself when we order it.
  7. Probably first-timers who have an inflated idea of having "servants." I always remember how Queen Elizabeth took Megan Markle aside and explained "that's not how we speak to our staff." Folks show who they are...
  8. Two other points: 1. School year schedule: folks with kids--even if they don't bring them along--and those in college incl. grad school--as well as teachers!--are going to be sailing May-August and during the holidays. We were on the Silhouette Jan 2-11. and there were a bunch of younger people. 2. Quality of activities on board can guide the action. We are hard-core music and dance people and will stick with the bands all night if they're good. Ditto disco. On our cruise, it was actually pretty bad. We almost always left the live bands after a set--as did most other folks. DJs were making poor music choices (not danceable, rap, etc.), ditto for the THREE silent disco events. The same for most of the pool music! A shame. But YMMV, depending on the talent on board. PS--we are 70 but folks think we're in our 50s, just young at heart.
  9. The Persian Garden on Silhouette has in total: a 5-bed heated-lounger room, a steam room and a sauna, plus 2 open (mixed gender) showers. So no fancy salt rooms, etc. as on the Edge-class ships. Re: AQ, my comments from another thread, mentioning MDR but not the other specialties: We were in AQ on the Silly in January--usually get a suite, where you can choose to eat in Blu (reservations) along with Luminae, but they were all sold out and we liked the location. Well, nope. The spa amenities were useless: the spa concierge is just the regular one; we already get a better discount with loyalty status; we don't take classes, free or paid; and the stateroom "spa amenities" we reserved were laughable--no room at all to lay out a yoga mat, use bands or weights. Plus no fancy water (discontinued). Plus the room won't be any bigger than veranda or concierge, balcony quite small--and right under the noise of furniture being dragged about. BUT! The location makes it easy to avoid taking the elevator as everything's just a deck up... And re: the seafood in Blu, that was kind of a bust for us. The lump crab in the Crab Martini was mashed, tasted like tuna, and mixed with cucumber, not avocado as described. Saw mussels on the menu once, and octopus once. No clams (or as they spelled it in Venice, clambs)--but they had spaghetti vongole in the Lido. And mussels up there in the Lido a few times--and scallop ceviche, and tuna crudo, etc., in coconut shells... But they did have fish on the Blu menu every night. Shrimp and scallops occasionally (just as in the MDR, you can get shrimp cocktail every night--where they also have lobster on chic/formal night). It is less hectic and better service than MDR, though. All that being said: Sushi on 5 is good if you like sushi and hotpots. Service was very slow (the officers eat there a lot, lol). Didn't eat in these restaurants on this cruise but on many others: Tuscan Grille is great but A LOT of food (they were pushers, lol). Murano yummy French. Little Petit Chef is fine but a super limited menu and really about the show--and your meal's pace is strictly controlled by that. Check their menu to see if that's what you want to eat, lol.
  10. There were 2 evening chic in January on a 9-night in the Caribbean. A bunch of folks were dressed to the nines--glitz and sparkle and even a couple of tuxes. Also camo pants and grunge. (And some odd couples, where one was dressy and the other super casual...)
  11. We've done a bunch of snorkels on GC, but never on our preferred boat, a cat (including next month's, which photos show a motorized snorkel boat). It's not really a "day sail" type of island--maybe due to the currents, etc.?
  12. Yep, it was quite a young wine! We had high hopes and drank it anyway, lol. Pretty plush with "healthy tannins," as I recall... Brought our aerator to the table to oxygenate it asap. (Mixed case, don't remember the chateau. At that time, Total Wine was heroically carrying 3-4 vintages each from quite a few vineyards, old & new worlds. Even had the lamented Marquis Phillips wines in multiple vintages--they later morphed into Molly Dooker).
  13. It was--I'd gotten a mixed case (in 2005) and we impatiently drank a bunch of it too young... Ah well. The weather gods do bless the grapes from time to time.
  14. If you have time one or two amazing things to do on your way/on the way back between Rome and Tuscany: 1. go to the Giardino Tarocchi in Capalbio, magnificent, larger than life series of mosaic sculptures of the tarot. Think of Barcelona's Park Guell on steroids. Walk-in buildings; one was the sculptor's apartment while she worked (Niki de St Phalle). On the coast up from Civitavecchia. 2. The floating-on-a mushroom medieval town of Civita di Bagnoregio, east of Lake Bolsena, off A1. Just astonishing. Google or find more about both of these on Trip Advisor.
  15. Re selling expensive bottles: we had the premium package in January. We used to get bottles of Caymus and pay the difference. This time, they had it by the glass for $25 (or in our case, the difference) but NOT available by the bottle at all. Somm could not explain. We just went ahead and drank up his bottles glass by glass, lol. He gave us generous pours; I think we got the better end of the deal.
  16. We had a CMS certified sommelier on a HAL ship in 2009. Ankush, interesting guy, from South Africa, studied in London. We became best friends after we shared with him a 2005 Bordeaux we'd brought to the MDR... The crazy thing--by comparison--was how subsequent HAL wine stewards seemed notoriously uneducated. Then a couple of HAL cruises ago, there were a raft of young wine stewards all wearing tastevins (the chains) and claiming to be sommeliers. Odd. One young woman, at a chef's dinner in Pinnacle, sabered a bottle of champagne (she was being mentored by the "real" somm on board).
  17. The core issue--on all the endless dress code threads, and the accompanying drama--is fundamental disrespect. It's "How can I get away with breaking the rules?" It's a middle-finger salute to their fellow passengers, the officers, and the crew. It's a childish "You can't make me!" Folks will tie themselves in knots to not "have to" wear this or that. But no one is MAKING you! Easy solution: eat in the buffet! They literally serve much of the same food. Or even order surf & turf in room service. But no. Folks want to get out there and wag it in everyone's faces: "Ha ha ha! Lookit me! I got away with it!" We once sat at a table for 12 where everyone else was in tuxes or dark suits and one clown paraded his sleazy shiny oversized tee shirt with a bow tie screenprinted on it. His companion in her dressy gown was clearly uncomfortable. We all felt his sneer was directed right at us, losers who follow the guidelines. But that's what these folks want to do: ruin everyone else's time with their rebellion. Because they are too immature to tolerate wearing a collar for two hours.. They are also the ones who get kicked out of cathedrals in their shorts and ball caps. (PS: Julie can simply wear slacks and be comfy; no one makes anyone wear a dress.)
  18. Nope. The stripes in the shirt--in fact the entire shirt--is CASUAL. Get at least a long-sleeved black shirt with a collar, preferably not made of knit.
  19. We don't decorate our DOOR, but we drape a couple of large scarves/pareos over the greige furniture, to brighten it up a bit. Then they're handy to grab on the way to the pool/beach.
  20. from Villefranche (Nice) you can go to Monaco (Jacques Cousteau foundation is here), Cannes, Grasse (perfume capital), Eze, or further west to Provence. Nice itself is lovely too, We used a company called Day Tours (affiliated with Spain Day Tours, but in France) that put 8 of us in a van, for a full day of things to see, do and eat, but relaxing and quite nice. Another day in V-F it was pleasant to stroll, eat, climb the hill to see the next bay... Malta has TONS to do. Just in town on your own: the Knights of St John (crusaders) Grandmaster's Palace and Armory, the archaeological museum, art museum, shopping, eating... Many day trips to widely differing things: the island of Gozo, the beach where Troy was filmed (and the Blue Hole), small towns, the town where Game of Thrones was filmed (and mosques there), Several sites of 6,000 years old amazing--and very different--ruins of their culture when it was the Mediterranean center of trade... Corsica a very cool palace, beaches, nice to just linger by the harbor for a drink and watch the yachts of Saudi oligarchs. Naples is the jumping off place for both the Isle of Capri and Pompeii (the latter is a long day). Also Sorrento is there with its lemon groves and limoncello. You can also go south to the Amalfi coast from there. Messina: you'll go by the island of Stromboli, which is an active volcano. It burped when we went by, creating a ripple of waves and shaking the ship! Taormina is a lovely town to visit, stroll and shop--do not miss the fabulous Greco Roman theater an the end of the high street. (This town will be familiar to you if you watched season 2 of White Lotus, the main backdrop.) Also Mt Etna, if it's a sunny day (it will be cold, dress warm). Ruins, of course. And beaches.
  21. Zadar!!! The Sea Organ, do not miss it. Kotor is spectacular just walking around. Spilt is also just great for walking about. But also there are ruins (Domitian palace, Salonika, etc.), all the Venetian "leftovers," etc. We once kayaked over to an island in the bay at Dubrovnik, lovely. The water will be at its warmest on your trip. Of COURSE there are the Game of Thrones tours... And from Split we once did a fabulous small eco tour of small farms and wineries. Saw a donkey crushing olives to make oil as done for 4,000 years. They grow oysters on ropes up the coast... You will be there in time for great options with fruit in season, etc. Amalfi Coast: You can go to Positano, or Capri, but not both. The latter will be more crowded (but it will ALL be crowded, lol). Try to skip Pompeii this time if that's a choice, a whole bunch of time in a vehicle. A tour of smaller villages--by boat!--is best. Two things: look up all the festivals that will be happening when you are in these ports. Sometimes you hit it just right--as we did once in Dubrovnik--for great fun. For the girls, make a game of finding the winged Venetian lions of St Mark carved on pillars, over gateways, etc., in all these cities (except Amalfi coast), which once belonged to The Most Serene Republic of Venice. The same ones that are on the pillars in Plaza San Marco next to the Doge's Palace in Venice. They always are holding a book. (You can also find them widely across the Greek Isles and into Turkey too...)
  22. We're doing a reverse. And having been in and out of Marco Polo a bunch, we are going to save on the drive (only an hour vs and hour and a half) and the hectic traffic and craziness and use the airport in Bologna. It's literally the same price, on the same days and same times. We'll spend a day or two there. Then a car/van/train to Ravenna port. On the back end, also have done Civitavecchia-FCO a bunch. Take a car service of whatever sort from FCO: a transfer, a rental, an Uber... That train from Termini is a schlep unless you only have a carryon; ok when we were young and strong but now, nah. Plus the logistics of: getting to the station (yes next to the airport, but still), getting tix, getting on, off, and to the ship all eat up a whole day, where it's really only a 30-minute ride or so. We stay in a hotel the night before (that Rome Marriott Park is good, cheap, nice rooms, great pool, if you're not trying to go INTO the city too) and then wrangle a ride the next day. Shared a van from there with some folks on our roll call last time, worked out great and very inexpensive. (So also, check out your roll call and see what other folks are doing.)
  23. I would stay put, were I you. We were in AQ in January--usually get a suite, where you can choose to eat in Blu (reservations) along with Luminae, but they were all sold out and we liked the location. Well, nope. The spa amenities were useless: the spa concierge is just the regular one; we already get a better discount with loyalty status; we don't take classes, free or paid; and the stateroom "spa amenities" we reserved were laughable--no room at all to lay out a yoga mat, use bands or weights. Plus no fancy water (discontinued). Plus the room won't be any bigger than what you've got--balcony likely smaller--and right under the noise of furniture being dragged about. BUT! The location makes it easy to avoid taking the elevator as everything's just a deck up... And re: the seafood in Blu, that was kind of a bust for us. The lump crab in the Crab Martini was mashed, tasted like tuna, and mixed with cucumber, not avocado as described. Saw mussels on the menu once, and octopus once. No clams (or as they spelled it in Venice, clambs)--but they had spaghetti vongole in the Lido. And mussels up there in the Lido a few times--and scallop ceviche, and tuna crudo, etc., in coconut shells... But they did have fish on the Blu menu every night. Shrimp and scallops occasionally (just as in the MDR, you can get shrimp cocktail every night--where they also have lobster on chic/formal night). It is less hectic and better service than MDR, though.
  24. It's a beautiful town! The old harbor is very picturesque. Wonderful beaches. Many great museums and antiquities. Central old town has been continuously occupied since Neolithic times. The port (Souda) is 7 km away from Old Town, 15-minute drive (roughly 4 miles). For comparison, it's a mile further than from Port Everglades cruise port to Las Olas Blvd in Ft Lauderdale. If you dock in Heraklion instead, you'll find the famous palace of King Minos and the minotaur at Knossos, among many other amazing sites. Everywhere in Crete, the countryside is wonderful and wild, lots of small villages, vineyards, farms and olives.
  25. One note on Athens: they have just started issuing timed tickets to the Parthenon on the Acropolis, to significantly cut down on traffic. If you are going, jump on this ASAP. (Fabulous new Acropolis Museum nearby too, BTW.) From Rick Steves:https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/greece/new-rules-for-acropolis-tickets This site *seems* to be the most current and valid: https://acropolis-greece.com/ (The only one without a weird "suspicious/risky site" warning.) Notice the difference between Acropolis site and Acropolis Museum...
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