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Everything posted by LandlockedCruiser01

  1. How do the orders get delivered? Do crew members have it delivered to a specific port, and if so, what address do they use? And what if the ship misses that port? As for giving gifts and personal care items to the crew, it smacks of virtue-signaling. Don't do it. Give strips of paper with pictures of old white dudes on them.
  2. It's a cruise, for crying out loud. Socializing is what makes it great; otherwise, it's a glorified bus tour. No other vacation has the same fun social vibe a cruise has. While I picked my cruises for the ship and/or the ports, it was the people I met that made them memorable. A cruise with social distancing is like a beer with no alcohol or a cake with no frosting. It fits the dictionary definition, but something is majorly lacking, which kills the enjoyment. Perhaps a land vacation, like an AI with room to spread out and get away from other people, would be more up your alley, if social distancing is a big deal to you.
  3. Oh good! This trip report scared me! Many Chicago restaurants are moving over to app-only menus, and I hate it. That's why I eat out strictly in the suburbs now. But while I begrudgingly tolerate such menus at a Friday-night dinner, I refuse to sail on a cruise line that won't give me a normal paper menu.
  4. Are normal menus ever coming back, or should I plan on migrating over to Royal Caribbean or Norwegian? (Either that, or just eat all my meals in the Lido buffet.) I LOATHE using a cell phone on a cruise, because it reminds me of my job (I work in IT). For photos, I used a point-and-shoot camera; it was a fun conversation starter on my Inspiration cruise.
  5. I do the "reverse pill-boxing": I keep the amount I'll need for my cruise plus a few extra doses in the original bottle, and dump the extra into a pill box. The bottle does into my backpack; the pill box stays at home. I also carry a printed copy of the prescription, with all the information matching the bottle label. This way, I have bulletproof defense against everyone: the embarkation agents, the US-based police, and the Customs officers. Foreign police, it's a hit or miss; but if they can read English and my pills are legal in their country, I'm safe from them too.
  6. Theoretically, it's a hit or miss. Poolside bars during the daytime may have bartenders who are more lenient with having a teenager sit there, provided that she doesn't drink alcohol. With indoor bars and any bars at night, your odds are extremely low. Just sit at a table together, with you drinking a beer or a cocktail, and her drinking a virgin drink; problem solved. Unless she'll enjoy the taboo factor of herself sitting at a bar, I highly doubt she'll see the difference. Practically, why would she want to? When I was 13, I wanted to hang out with my peers. Not sit at a bar with my parents and strangers twice my age. (Who seem "young" to me now, at 37.) Sitting with parents was well and good, but it had its time and place: at breakfast and dinner, when I specifically promised to join them, and maybe during shows,
  7. I'm a simple man, when it comes to New Year's Eve. As long as I have strong drinks to chug, a lively dance venue to party in, and a friendly lady to dance with, they can serve simple bologna sandwiches, for all I care. It just has to be enough of them to soak up the booze. For New Year's Day, I want something filling and hearty, to help nurse my killer hangover. Something like a rich, cheesy, meaty pasta dish. With a beer on the side, of course.
  8. I agree with you in principle. But my situation was different: I was cruising solo. A fine dining venue like Sir Winston's feels suited for a special occasion with a significant other, where the ambiance, not the food, is a #1 priority. Its offerings didn't seem much different from the ones I can find around Chicago, so the value just wasn't there for me. (I chose In-N-Out Burger, a uniquely California experience, for my dinner instead.) Also, I'm uncomfortable dining alone in a nice restaurant, unless I'm on a cruise ship. :) I suppose if I were cruising with a significant other, I'd splurge on Sir Winston's. It's romantic, and I do enjoy good steak and seafood. They're just not fun to eat alone.
  9. The "betting" might have been metaphorical. Still, there's a difference between true connections and what I call "courtesy connections", where you have a shared goal but not always shared interests. The former is when you bond over a new experience, realize you have things in common, and become friends, even if just for the duration of the cruise. The latter isn't too different from work colleagues. That is, you make an effort to get along and exchange pleasantries, but you don't hang out outside that place. (Unless you bond well enough for it to turn into true connections, which happened on one of my cruises: I ended up dancing at Señor Frog's with my tablemates.) By and large, your tablemates will be courtesy connections. And that's fine. At work, your shared goal is to get the job done. At assigned dining, your shared goal is to enjoy a fun company with new people.
  10. Thanks! That couple were the alpha dogs of the table. That is, they took charge to get everyone to introduce themselves, started group conversations, and set the tone for the dinner social dynamics. I saw them while I was doing the limbo, but they sat on the sidelines rooting for the participants, not partaking themselves. (Limbo would be a challenge for most 60-somethings.)
  11. Whether or not they become your friends depends on how close they are to you in age, or shared interests (or lack thereof). On my first cruise, at age 29, I was the youngest at the table, while the "alpha dogs" of the table were a couple in early 60's. Some of my tablemates saw me doing the limbo on the Lido deck or dancing with a woman (which they probably found nostalgic). We didn't hang out outside dinner, but I really enjoyed their company; they inspired me to always choose assigned dining on my future cruises. Go ahead and change it! You may or may not gel with your tablemates, but they'll at least provide you with a proverbial home port to go to each night. (With your cabin being the dry dock.)
  12. I've only done Carnival. One thing that put me off NCL is lack of assigned dining. I like having a guaranteed set of dinner companions, to compare notes and shoot the breeze with. On one cruise, my tablemates even adopted me. So, I didn't want to look for a table like a new kid in school. And eating dinner alone feels, well, lonely. Eating breakfast and lunch alone, I don't care; those meals have a more "utilitarian" feel. Perhaps on Epic and other ships with Studio cabins, there are organized dinner groups, but I feel gun-shy about chancing it. As for solo experiences on Carnival, see my reviews in signature links. I didn't post pictures of me with the people I met, out of respect for their privacy, but I mentioned them in the reviews.
  13. I beg to differ on Carnival being solo-unfriendly. While its pricing structure is meh, its onboard atmosphere is very solo-friendly. I always had a very easy time meeting new people. All I had to do is either start a friendly conversation or draw attention to myself by going onstage in the piano bar. The rest would always snowball from there, in the best way possible.
  14. I stayed on the Queen Mary on my latest cruise. (See my review in signature.) It was truly awesome, despite an overly cold room. The ship/hotel just breathes history everywhere you go. It gets under your skin, even if you're only a casual history fan. That said, I did not eat at Queen Mary, save for a morning coffee at Starbucks. The food menus were nothing special and obnoxiously overpriced. Instead, I took the AquaLink to Alamitos Bay for dinner at In-N-Out Burger, and a normal road bus to downtown Long Beach for breakfast at a diner.
  15. He definitely would not. Judaism provides a few limited leniences for travelers when it comes to kosher laws. But whether or not a closed-loop pleasure cruise is a form of travel... well, only an experienced rabbi can answer that for sure. There are specialized kosher cruises on fully chartered ships, so highly observant Jews are better off sailing on those.
  16. They don't. Kosher meals, resembling TV dinners, are ordered from land-based kosher kitchens, and sealed in double-wrapped packages. The outer wrapper is taken off by the line cook who heats the meal; the inner wrapper is taken off by you, the diner. Flatware is plastic/disposable, because the koshering process for regular flatware and plates is impossible to do on a mass-market ship. Depending on how strict they follow kosher laws, Jewish passengers can also eat fresh fruit, bread, and other parve (neither meat nor dairy) foods off the buffet. Some packaged foods are OK too, provided that they have a rabbinical kosher symbol on it, like OU, CRC, or Kaf-K. Source: I'm Jewish.
  17. That's true on land. But on cruises, work talk seems to be semi-taboo. (Which, interestingly, isn't true at AI resorts.) I rarely had anyone on a cruise ask me what I do for work, and I never initiated that question myself. All "getting acquainted" questions seemed to revolve around past cruises, excursion choices, favorite ships, and food preferences. Only when keeping in touch after the cruise with the people I exchanged contacts with, we talked about our jobs.
  18. You probably should have put "[SFW]" in the title. (It means "safe for work", opposite of the more common "[NSFW]", or "not safe for work".) I waited until today to read this thread, because I last accessed Cruise Critic on a work computer, and the word "horny" put me off.
  19. The Moderna vaccine has a downside: it contains actual Covid virus in it, albeit inactivated. The Pfizer vaccine has Covid RNA fragments. So it seems like you're more likely to get sick from the Moderna vaccine. I want something that's close to Covid, but not actual Covid going in me. I'm not high-risk, but I ain't taking chances with having to quarantine for 2 weeks.
  20. The vaccine has just been found, thanks to Pfizer. It's 90% effective; that's higher than the flu vaccine. So the light at the end of the tunnel isn't headlights of an oncoming train. That said, I'd rather forego cruising for the rest of my life, than cruise with masks and social distancing.
  21. I'm with you! I washed my hands almost obsessively on all my cruises, where the main fear was norovirus, rather than that gray thing with red spikes. I don't have pervasive health problems, but even if I did, I refuse to spend the rest of my life---because according to some sources, masks and social distancing are here forever---cowering in fear at home. Besides, a cruise is about being social, so social distancing will render the experience nearly meaningless.
  22. Social distancing (good god, I hate that term!) on a cruse would be my personal hell! On every cruise I took, what made it exceed expectations by leaps and bounds wasn't the comfort of the ship, it wasn't the good food, and it wasn't the friendly crew---it was the fellow passengers I met. They adopted me, thought I was fun, and treated me as one of their own. We went from polite introductory handshakes to dancing up a jam circle and taking silly group pictures like old friends within days. If such an experience won't be possible on my next cruise, I'll either scramble to find a cruising group any way I know, or just forego cruising altogether. That said, when I went to Wisconsin Dells in June, the town pretty much gave the finger to social distancing. My group of friends was exchanging hugs and taking selfies with another group we met, all within less than 2 hours of first introductions. And half the cars on the streets sported Illinois plates, which is a beacon of hope: people are people, and there'll always be social experiences. Masks, I can put up with. But social distancing will be a HUGE deal-breaker.
  23. Wow! Love this! How did the passengers and the crew pull this off? Did they self-coordinate turning on the lights in all the right cabins? Or did an engineer plan this somehow?
  24. This sounds an awful lot like a Las Vegas or a Beverly Hills VIP yacht party. It's got proverbial Kim Kardashian written all over it. I highly doubt this environment will appeal to your average Americans, let alone Millennial hipsters, who have an aversion to anything not down-to-earth and grass-roots, or at least not appearing that way. (Like those pseudo-dive bars that still charge $7 a beer.) Like I said in another thread, VV is targeting The Beautiful People to the exclusion of other demographics. Well, more power to them, but I doubt there are enough Beautiful People to fill their ships. VV would be better off emulating Carnival of the days of yore: laid back, boozy party ships, with gimmicky games and college-style drinking contests.
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