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artmc

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About artmc

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Winnipeg, Canada
  • Interests
    Travel, reading, music,
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity

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  1. artmc

    WHEN CAN I GET ON BOARD THE SHIP?

    in 2017 we sailed the Royal Princess out of Barcelona. We had finished checking in at 1:10, and a sign said cabins would be available at 1:30. Much to our pleasant surprise, we were told that in fact the cabins were ready, so we went there to drop off our hand luggage. Much to our really pleasant surprise, our suitcases were already outside our door when we got there. I suspect this is more the exception than the rule.
  2. artmc

    Advice needed on inside cabin

    We did four Carnival and two Celeb cruises in inside cabins. On our third Celeb cruise, DW and unofficial TA, initially booked an inside cabin and then pleasantly surprised me by getting it upgraded to a balcony (partially obstructed) telling me to not get used to it as it was to be a one time thing. HAH!!! We both liked it (me especially) and we since did a three week Princess Mediterranean cruise with a balcony, also partially obstructed and enjoyed it immensely. In December we're sailing on the Sapphire Princess out of Singapore, again with a balcony, this time unobstructed and high up (Deck 12, I think.) I get my money's worth out of the balcony. In the past I've ordered breakfast for the balcony and enjoyed both the food and the experience. Before dinner I'll often sit out there either reading or leaning on the rail and holding a glass of wine. If I see other people doing the same thing, I'll raise my glass to them. I've yet to have anyone not return the favour. After shows/dancing/drinks I may sit outside in the dark watching the stars, the moon's reflection on the water or maybe other ships in the distance. I live about as far away from an ocean as you can get in North America, so despite being on 8 cruises (soon 9) I can never tire of just watching the waves. When we used inside suites we always took lower deck cabins as there were no view issues, and we don't have mobility problems. Some people on a Carnival trip said their inside suite was right under the pool deck and when there were deck parties they thought some of the dancers might fall through their ceiling. The point: inside or outside you need to know what's beside or above your cabin. Most ships have their main entertainment and dancing at the front of the ship.
  3. artmc

    Movies Under the Stars - -

    All this time I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I have no problem with the movies at night because I'm not going to be on deck, since DW and I are usually at a show or dancing. But during sea day afternoons it's not unreasonable to expect some peace and quiet, particularly when movies can be shown on TVs or in the theatre. I've only been on one Princess cruise before and couldn't find a quiet area on the decks that didn't cost to enter. We stay in basic balcony cabins. Does anyone have suggestions? We're sailing on a Sapphire Princess Asian cruise in December.
  4. artmc

    Bangkok - tours

    DW and I will be taking a Princess Sapphire cruise in Southeast Asia this December. One of the stops will be Bangkok. Does anyone know of a private company that can show us city highlights that would be cheaper than the ship excursion? Thx!
  5. artmc

    Cholon in Ho Chi Minh City

    DW and I toured Vietnam extensively in 2015. The one part of HCMC/Saigon we didn't see was Cholon. We're going on a Princess Sapphire Southeast Asia cruise in December which stops in HCMC. I'm hoping we can revisit the city and concentrate on this area. There is a shore excursion that takes you to and from Saigon and leaves you to explore it on your own, but it's almost $80 per person, which seems rather expensive. Does anyone have other suggestions? BTW, for anyone going there, if you visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, right across from it is an apartment/office building that was in the famous photograph of the helicopter on a roof top loading up with passengers during the fall of Saigon. (The view you'll get is from the other side of the building.) Contrary to many erroneous descriptions, that picture was not taken at the U.S. embassy. It was simply a building that had various CIA operatives as tenants. There's still a ladder on the roof. I was told you can't go in it.
  6. artmc

    Formal Night Men's Wear question

    DW and I are doing our first European cruise - 21 days, Barcelona-Barcelona, Royal Princess, May 6, 2017 - and we're very excited. I read this thread as well as the Princess website and understand that suits or tuxedos are acceptable formal night attire for men. I'm wondering what are the "unofficial rules" of tuxedos vs. formal suits. The reason I ask this is because circa 2012 DW and I did a Celebrity Caribbean cruise during American Thanksgiving. Presumably because of the holiday there were relatively few Americans on board. (Approximately 800 of the passengers were British, 300 were German and we heard many people speaking French.) On five previous Caribbean cruises I always wore dark suits for formal nights and never felt remotely underdressed (and I hate being underdressed). However on the 2012 cruise I mentioned most of the men were wearing tuxedos or white dinner jackets and very few of us (or so it seemed) wore suits. Fortunately the other men at our table (one American and one British) both wore suits so I didn't feel completely out of place. Given that we'll be on a European cruise, should I assume most men will be wearing tuxedos?
  7. To quote an old Three Dog Night Song, I've Never Been to Spain but I kind of liked the music. (Actually...really like the music.) That changes in May when we fly to Barcelona for a Princess Mediterranean cruise. I can't help but wonder if you were putting yourself at risk taking For Whom the Bell Tolls into Franco's Spain, or was it a more tolerant place than I imagine?
  8. Really there's no rules on this. What you enjoy reading at home will probably do just fine. However I often select books set in the places I'm visiting. If you're on a Caribbean cruise, you could do worse than read Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea, To Have and Have Not, or Islands in the Stream. Going to Spain? You could read For Whom the Bell Tolls or Death in the Afternoon (about bull-fighting). Going to Spain and/or Paris - The Sun also Rises Doing a European cruise - consider Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad Going to Florence? - try Forster's A Room with a View Cruising in south East Asia? W.S. Maugham short stories give a glimpse of life in ccolonial Malaysia and various local islands.
  9. Morning: sitting on the balcony wearing a bathrobe, eating breakfast. Late afternoon/early evening before late seating: pre-dinner glasses of wine. I'm either sitting and reading as I sip my wine, or stand at the railing and look for other people doing the same and raise my glass to them. Rare are the people who don't return the favour. Late, late evening - watching the stars and the lights of ships in the distance, maybe drinking wine. We did five cruises with inside suites. That's not happening again.
  10. artmc

    Nightmare tablemates?

    On seven cruises we've always done set seatings (late) and have yet to have cringeworthy tablemates. In fact, we keep in touch with two couples years later. The others were nice enough but no one we felt the need to exchange email addresses with. We did have one particularly interesting companion at a dining room lunch. We were seated at a table for 10 and one woman insisted on informing us how much she gave to various people in her church, becoming increasingly detailed - way beyond too much information. If that wasn't enough, she then talked about the ones who weren't grateful enough or who didn't put the money to sufficiently good use, getting angrier as she went on. Fortunately she didn't stay long and after she left, the rest of us exchanged "that was awkward" smiles, and then talked about all manner of things.
  11. artmc

    Celebrity v. Princess

    DW and I sailed on Celebrity three times and enjoyed it tremendously. We're booked to do a 21-day Mediterranean Princess cruise out of Barcelona leaving May 6. We did this because it had an itinerary we like. I'm wondering what differences, positive and negative, we might expect. We liked Celeb for its food (though we never did the specialty restaurants). DW and I are 62 and 59 respectively but hardly stuffy and we really liked Celebrity because most of the passengers were similar in age and attitude. In other words, does Princess have a comparable passenger mix and night life? And do they have classical trios/acapella groups/guitarists etc. playing in other venues? How do their mainstage entertainment compare? Are there trivia contests? On sea days what activities take place around the pool? Any other information/suggestions/thoughts would be appreciated
  12. artmc

    The Best Thing You Ever Ate

    Lamb shanks in the MDR on either the Infinity in 2011 or the Eclipse in 2012 (can't remember exactly which). They didn't have them on the Silhouette in 2015.
  13. artmc

    Bathroom Night Light

    On previous threads some have suggested using the TV channel that shows the view from the on-deck camera as an in-cabin nightlight. You get some, but not a lot of light, and there's no volume. DW and I prefer to leave the bathroom light on and the door shut. The light that comes through the bottom of the door suffices.
  14. DW and I did this cruise in 2012 and highly recommend it. The only complaint is that during the first week the main stage entertainment was rather repetitious. I'm guessing someone cancelled at the last minute. The second week had more variety. The ports were superb. I particularly liked St. Lucia and Grenada. In the latter we took a morning private excursion which was superb. (Sorry, I wouldn't remember the name of the tour company.) We went back to the ship and had lunch and decided to explore the capital city on our own. Given that it was Sunday, there wasn't much opened, but we ended up walking to a church that had been badly damaged by Hurricane Ivan about four years earlier, and were invited in to see the restorations. We even climbed in the belfry. In Aruba we took a Celebrity-arranged sailing excursion which included two snorkelling sites (one with a sunken WWII German ship) and another where we saw sea turtles. Then they had an open bar, and a trapeze which you could use to swing off the boat. All of this was great, but it was the overall fun atmosphere that made it my all-time favourite shore excursion. Seeing the surfers in the Barbados was also great. Two week cruises won't be as swarmed with kids and spring-breakers as the one week-cruises. If the amusement parts don't interest you, and you have the time either pre-or post cruise I strongly recommend the Florida Keys, especially Key West. I'm sure the South Pacific would be equally attractive, or maybe more. However, if you've got the chance to come this far now, I think you should. You may not be able to do it later but possibly could still do the South Pacific, given its proximity (relatively speaking) to you.
  15. artmc

    Bridge overlook???

    We were on the Eclipse circa 2012 and Host Andy was there. So while the ship was docked, we got to see the bridge. It was interesting enough and I'm glad I did it. I wouldn't necessarily pass up the opportunity to see it again, but if I couldn't repeat the experience, I would still die happy.
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